Tag Archives: Interview

Blog Tour: The Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern | Author Interview + Giveaway!

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Welcome to the blog tour for
The Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern!

Today I’m on the blog tour for THE RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES, hosted by Macmillan/Fierce Reads!! I’m really excited to share an interview with author Kate McGovern on today’s post! We’ll talk about the book, Kate’s personal experiences, and more! Before we hop into the interview, let’s have a refresher on the book first!

Blog Tour: The Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern | Author Interview + Giveaway!Title: The Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern
Publishing Info: November 24, 2015 by Macmillan
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 27, 2015
Related Posts: The Rules for 50/50 Chances

A heartrending but ultimately uplifting debut novel about learning to accept life's uncertainties; a perfect fit for the current trend in contemporary realistic novels that confront issues about life, death, and love.
Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she’s going to die? Because when Rose turns eighteen, she can take the test that will tell her if she carries the genetic mutation for Huntington’s disease, the degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother. With a fifty-fifty shot at inheriting her family’s genetic curse, Rose is skeptical about pursuing anything that presumes she’ll live to be a healthy adult—including going to ballet school and the possibility of falling in love. But when she meets a boy from a similarly flawed genetic pool, and gets an audition for a dance scholarship in California, Rose begins to question her carefully-laid rules.

INTERVIEW WITH KATE MCGOVERN

Brittany: The Rules for 50/50 Chances is your debut novel — congrats!! How did you choose Rose’s story for your first book? 
Kate McGovern: ​Thanks! RULES is a story that sat with me for years before I wrote it. I read an article about a young woman in a similar situation, and I couldn’t get her story out of my head. My college playwriting professor, who is still a mentor to me, always said to “write the things you obsess over,” and I think that’s very good advice. Rose’s voice came into my head fully formed–she was always herself, right from the first page–and I think it’s because her story just haunted me from day one. I needed to write this book.

B: The book follows Rose who has a 50/50 chance of inheriting Huntington’s Disease from her mother. The main thing she struggles with is when to take that test that will tell her how the rest of her life is going to go. What’s the biggest decision or event (that you’d like to share) that’s changed the course of your life?
KM:
​Ooh, tough one. This is cheating a bit, but I’d say that each of the major moves in my life was a defining experience: first when I moved to New York City after college, then when I moved to the UK at 26, then when I moved home and settled down in Cambridge, which is my hometown. The New York years were very formative for me as a writer–I had my first full-length play professionally produced, and I was published for the first time, although I didn’t write fiction yet at that point. And I also started working in education, which is my other passion (I now for an awesome education non-profit organization). Living in the UK for three years took me completely out of my comfort zone in all the best ways. There’s something about being an outsider that is ​indispensable for a writer. I loved it. After I finished grad school at Oxford, I taught in an elementary school in very, very far West London, which gave me a fresh perspective on public education in the U.S. And moving back to Cambridge was the start of a new phase of my life, where I feel much more settled and finally “grown up,” in a way. (It only took me until my 30s :))

B: I really admired Rose’s strength and how she was trying to find a perfect blend of head and heart when it came to the really tough decisions and moments with this disease. What do you hope readers take away from Rose’s experiences?
KM: Dealing with a parent’s illness of any kind is a singular, unbelievably difficult experience. Rose has to grow up in some ways before she should. I’ve had a lot of readers ask me what I would do in Rose’s position, and the truth is, I just don’t know. In some ways, I’m in awe of Rose, and of others who are in her shoes (including readers who have experienced similar circumstances). I hope readers empathize with her, and take away from her that it’s possible to live well and fully even in the midst of incredibly challenging and destabilizing circumstances. Rose might seem indecisive, but I think she’s just scared, and rightly so. She’s doing her best with the hand she’s been dealt, which is all any of us can do.

B: I read on this “Meet the Newbies” post from Dana Square and A Perfection Called Books that there are a lot of personal tidbits and likes from your life that appear in The Rules for 50/50 Chances! (I love when this happens. It’s so fun to identify!) How did you decide which favorites to include in the book?
KM: My cousin described reading the book as a “treasure hunt” because she could see the little bits that were taken from real life in the midst of all the fiction, and I love that. The truth is, it’s all fiction–because even the pieces that are based on my real experiences are taken out of context, mixed up, changed to fit the story, etc. Nothing in the book is taken directly from my life. But ​​I did have fun using some things in particular: Rose’s best friend, Lena, has pieces of several of my closest friends, but especially one of my college roommates/BFFs. So she was really fun to write. Rose’s mom is not like my mom much at all, but my mom does love trains, and so do I, so that’s where that detail comes from. The cross-country train ride Rose takes is based on my own experience–I rode the California Zephyr in 2012, and it was such an unbelievable experience that I knew I had to write about it somehow. I enjoyed reliving that train ride by writing those scenes.

B: What has been your favorite experience so far about being a debut author? Has anything really surprised you?
KM: ​This is going to sound obvious, but I was really surprised when I suddenly realized, “OH, now people are going to READ THIS.” I hadn’t really thought about that part, but it’s very exciting (and scary)! Beyond that, one of the best parts has been the incredible support I’ve received from my community, near and far. My family, my friends, my colleagues at my day job–everyone has just backed me up, and been so excited, which has been really humbling and wonderful. I’m very grateful for that. I’ve always, always wanted to write a book. So I’m just trying to soak up everything about this experience, because it really is living a lifelong dream.

B: We always like to know what else authors have in the works! Do you have any other projects you’re working on next? Are there other genres you’re considering or is contemporary/realistic fiction where your passion lies?
KM: I’m working on another book in the same genre–YA contemporary. I think that’s where I’ll stay for now, but I might branch out eventually. I love mysteries and thrillers–I don’t know if I’d be very good at writing them, but I’d love to give it a try at some point. My current work-in-progress is really a love story at its core, but it also deals with race and violence–some big stuff. As with RULES, I really started from the characters’ voices, and I’m just trying to do their stories justice.

A big, big thank you to Kate McGovern for this wonderful interview! It was an absolute pleasure and I loved hearing more about THE RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES!

GIVEAWAY

There is also a giveaway! One Winner receive a copy of THE RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES! All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter form below to enter!
Winner must be 13 years of age or older to win. US residents only, please

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis | Author Interview + Giveaway!

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Welcome to the blog tour for
A MADNESS SO DISCREET by Mindy McGinnis!

Today I’m on the blog tour for A MADNESS SO DISCREET hosted by Irish Banana Tours and Harper Teen! I am SO excited to share my interview with Mindy McGinnis with you today and talk to you about A MADNESS SO DISCREET! Before we hop into the interview, let’s have a refresher on the book first!

Blog Tour: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis | Author Interview + Giveaway!Title: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Publishing Info: October 6, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 29, 2015
Related Posts: A Madness So Discreet, The Female of the Species, This Darkness Mine

Grace Mae knows madness.
She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.
When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.
In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBook | The Book Depository

INTERVIEW WITH MINDY MCGINNIS

Brittany: I really enjoyed that A Madness So Discreet is a historical horror/thriller novel! Did you have any specific references or influences from history when creating the setting and characters?
Mindy McGinnis: Yes, definitely! For setting I was relying heavily on the history of the Athens Lunatic Asylum in Athens, Ohio. It was a beacon of moral treatment in the late 1800’s for the insane. Characters I always allow to grow and inform me on their own time. I start with a shell and let the story make them, so, no historical influences there.

B: I just loved the gothic horror feel of the book. Did you have any specific inspirations for this time period while writing Madness
MM: Not necessarily. I love the 1890’s because it was a huge cultural change for a lot of people. Technology was moving forward in leaps and bounds, medicine was changing, schools of thought across the board were morphing constantly. There was a lot of quiet upheaval going on, which relates well to the book.

B: Are there any awesome trivia facts or anecdotes about the writing and creation of Madness (I recently read that you wrote it in three weeks!)? 
MM: Ha! Yeah, I did write the majority of it (probably 90%) in three weeks. I was confused about when my deadline was, and writerare better at procrastinating than actually writing. So… that was interesting. I don’t recommend it, although I was immersed in the world.

B: What did you find the most challenging about writing a historical fiction piece?
MM: I researched for an entire year before writing a word of this book. There was much to learn – the beginnings of criminal psychology, the history of asylum medicine (both the good and the bad), and of course historical details in general. What kind of lighting would be in a room in 1890? What would an asylum inmate be wearing? I’m very particular, and there were days when I couldn’t finish a sentence without doing half an hour of research in order to make sure I got it (hopefully) right.

B: The different locations throughout the book were so vivid for me! Did you have a favorite setting within the book or one that was exciting to have the characters explore? 
MM: The Athens Lunatic Asylum in Ohio has an amazing history. You can do a quick Google and learn about how it’s one of the most haunted places in the world and hear horror stories about the graveyard. And while I’m a fan of the supernatural, I’m also a fan of data. That type of history doesn’t interest me, because most of it quite frankly, just isn’t true.
I toured the buildings, which are now part of the Ohio University campus. You can’t go into the patient wards for safety reasons (they are literally crumbling), but some parts of the building are currently in use as staff offices as well as an art gallery. The gallery is open to the public, and when you visit you can see original floors, staircases and woodwork from the insane asylum years. Definitely hit up my Pinterest board if you want to see some pics from my tour!
You can most definitely repost some of my pics from Pinterest, just make sure if you use any of the older ones that you use the attribution that I did, b/c some of those actually belong to University Archives.

B: Is this book the start and end of A Madness So Discreet or do you think you will revisit it somehow (novella? Companion? Inspiration for another historical novel?) at a later date?
MM: I would love to write more in this series. I have an outline for another Grace / Dr. Thornhollow adventure, but it is unsold, as of this interview. If Madness does well, that could change!

ABOUT MINDY McGINNIS

Mindy McGinnisMindy McGinnis is a YA author who has worked in a high school library for thirteen years. Her debut, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, a post-apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film my Stephanie Meyer’s Fickle Fish Films. The companion novel, IN A HANDFUL OF DUST was released in 2014. Look for her Gothic historical thriller, A MADNESS SO DISCREET in October of 2015 from Katherine Tegen Books. Mindy is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary.

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

A big, big thank you to Mindy McGinnis for this awesome interview! I had an absolute blast and it’s always so neat learning more about the writing process and inspiration before and after reading the book! 


Be sure to check out all of the other awesome blogs and post on this tour! There are some truly great posts in store for you!

GIVEAWAY

There is also a tour-wide giveaway! One Winner Will Receive a Harper Teen Horror-themed prizepack! All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter form below to enter!
Winner must be 13 years of age or older to win. US residents only, please!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Latest Bookish Addiction [14] – Blogger Spotlight Features

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In keeping with the theme of my blog, I decided to start bringing you updates of the newest and greatest bookish addictions in my life so I can share with you some awesomely bookish things or discuss if maybe we share the same bookish loves. It seemed like a great way to get a little discussion going in a very relaxed way.

This Edition’s Bookish Addiction? Blogger Spotlight Features!

Somehow, someway I ended up hopping onto a lot of blogger guest posts and/or Q&A features in March (The Bloggers We Read @ The Things We Read, The ABCs @Andi’s ABCsInside & Out @ Bookmark LitBook People Talk Movies @ Bring My Books) so I figured what better time and what better way to repay the favor by spreading the word?

I really enjoy blogger spotlight features! Naturally, we’re always wanting to get to know books and authors, but I also really enjoy getting to know more about the bloggers behind the posts. I’ve made SO many great friends by being a part of this community and I’m always thankful for the people who helped spread the word about my blog, especially when I was starting out. I really wanted to compile a list of all of the features I could possibly find that showcase other bloggers and their work!

We bloggers love spreading the word about books but I think it really creates even more sense of community when we help spread the word about each other! I think it’s a great way to reach a new audience, show support for fellow bloggers, and also get to know someone new yourself. I’ve had a few bloggers sign up for my Book and a Beverage feature that I got to know because of the feature and I’m so grateful that we started to chat!

So without further ado, here’s a list of all of the blogger Q&A/guest post features I’ve been able to find so far! If I missed one that you know of, please hop on over to the Google Doc so I can add it to the list!

** Thanks to Asti from Oh, The Books! for the heads up that she also has a list of Blogger Spotlight Features! Some of these were found thanks to her blog! **

BLOGGER INTERVIEW FEATURES
(includes question and answer format)

BLOGGER GUEST POST FEATURES

Which blogger spotlight features are your favorites? Are there any other blogger Q&A features or guest post features that I’m missing? I’d love to add them to the list!

And to see where else The Book Addict’s Guide has been featured, check out a complete list on my About Me page!

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon: Questionnaire

BANNER - 2015 LOVEATHON

2015 Book Blogger Love-a-Thon
Hosted by: Alexa Loves Books
Dates: February 21-22, 2015, 9AM-9PM EST

This part of the Love-a-thon has previously been an interview swap, but this year it’s a questionnaire which I also enjoy very much! Get to know a little bit more about me and my blog with this year’s questionnaire! I can’t wait to meet more people and get to know the ones I love even better!

 QUESTIONNAIRE

What’s your name? Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide

Where in the world are you blogging from? I live in an outer suburb of Chicago — if you know Naperville, it’s about 25 minutes southwest (almost as close as you can go the cornfields without hitting the country!)

How did you get into blogging in the first place? Back in 2012, my friend Lisa and I (who is now back in town! Yay!) got obsessed with this used bookstore (RIP Bundles of Books) and we kept going back and buying soooo many used books. I started reading a lot more because of it and felt like I wanted to do something with all of the thoughts in my head about these books. I must have been feeling creative that day and Goodreads just wasn’t enough because I thought about starting a blog and just sort of went for it!

How did you come up with your blog name? See above! I started buying waaaaay too many books (hence the book addict part) and I wanted to be able to share my reviews with people to help them choose their next read. (At the time, I thought I was going to be VERY influential… somehow haha. I was a bit delusional about what I would do with my blog. I kind of thought people would read it but at the same time didn’t even expect it.) It actually started off as “The Book Addict’s Guide to Reading” but I eventually dropped the “to Reading” part because it was long and made me sound a bit pretentious haha.

What genre do you read and review the most on your blog? It’s changed a lot over the years. I started out with most adult cozy mysteries and YA dystopian with a splash of adult contemporary. Now it’s more YA contemporary and fantasy with a bit of adult fantasy and contemporary, and of course other YA genres like sci-fi, paranormal, and still some dystopian but I find it hard to find a really good one nowadays since I exhausted that genre a bit!

What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews? I have a few different features that I host on my blog — Book and a Beverage is a blogger spotlight & interview feature which I post every Thursday with a new blogger (and their book/beverage, of course)! I also have features that I post periodically like My Latest Bookish Addiction, where I share my… well, latest bookish addiction haha!
I’m also hosting the Book Blogger Organization Challenge where I invite bloggers to make plans to do all of the maintenance and behind-the-scenes aspects of blogging! There are lots of reading challenges which I LOVE but I’m more in need of the organization side of things.
There are also a few features I host with other bloggers! A group read & post with my besties that we call On the Same Page (we also host Twitter chats and ARC tours, as well as the OTSPSecretSister project and A Fortnight of Fright during Halloween season) and a book and beer feature called Pub Date!
ALSO, the usual things that aren’t special features like discussions, interviews, blog tours, and even my own handy-dandy infographics/reading guides!

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Best blogging experience so far? Gah, there are quite a few that have totally made my blogging life! The first one that comes to mind is the Fall Fierce Reads tour stop in Chicago from this past October (2014). I was not only asked to be the featured blogger on the stop (meaning I got to interview the authors and give some amazing books away) but I was also asked to MODERATE THE EVENT. *dies* It was so nerve-wracking but in the BEST possible way! Know what made it EVEN BETTER? Marissa Meyer was one of the authors I got to meet and interview!!! (And we all know how obsessed I am with The Lunar Chronicles!)
After that, I’d have to say all of the events I’ve been to! Meeting bloggers at events like BEA 2013 and 2014, ALA 2015, and all of the Anderson’s events… it’s been so amazing!

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Favorite thing about the blogging community? The people! I’ve honestly made some best and life-long friends through this community! It’s so amazing to meet so many people that I connect with on so many levels and I know that some of these friendships will last for a lifetime!

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Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2015! Just five!? That’s hard! Hmmm. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demitrios (I have my copy now but still need to read it!), The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows (March), Liars Inc by Paula Stokes (March), The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West (May), Resonance by Erica O’Rourke (July), Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman (September), The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (September), Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (October also omgggg), Winter by Marissa Meyer (November also omgggg then my world ends goodbye)

What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read? I’m actually going to say Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. I read it as a kid and LOVED it, re-read as an adult and still LOVED it and I think if you haven’t read it before, it’s never too late. Maybe it’s just because I had such a strong connection to it but I know several others who love it as well!

Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF? Male BFF (assuming he’s taken) is Captain Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles. LOVE a scoundrel and he seems like he’d be SO much fun, a blast to hang out with, and an all-out riot. Female BFF, I want to hang out with Anna Oliphant from Anna and the French Kiss. I just think we’d CLICK and I want to hang out with her and her friends!

Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests? WELL those are most of my interests haha! But Shane (my husband) and I love to homebrew together (that’s brew our own beer in case there was a question — I’m assuming you know but you never know!) and we love to travel, go camping, and occasionally take on home improvement projects. I used to scrapbook but I just haven’t had the time for it! I’m hoping to eventually get back into some craft stuff but I need to sort out all of my time schedules first!

Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for? Well book shopping is #1. I really don’t go shopping for clothes or shoes, etc (seriously just bought new work clothes for the first time in… oh, 8 months? I don’t go shopping haha) but occasionally I’ll go thrifting with my friend Lisa (but that can’t count because we’re mainly hunting down books)! I was going to say I like going to the liquor store but that makes me sound like a boozebag… what I MEAN is like I like picking out new beers and trying new craft beers! I also love buying things off of Amazon because I’m too lazy to go to the real store and when I do, I’m often buying too many things that I don’t need at Target.

At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing? Oh gosh, I have become that person who listens to their book on tape and doesn’t listen to music anymore. I really don’t have any jams right now but I do have a Motion City Soundtrack CD on constant loop in my car whenever I’m done with my audiobooks so we’ll pretend like that’s a good answer.

Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book. The Lunar Chronicles!!!! Omg I NEED this series to be made into movies… but I would also be very, very scared. And let’s talk about how ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES has already been optioned and my heart is already breaking.

Thanks for getting to know more about me! I can’t wait to check out everyone else’s questionnaires and getting to know more about them too!

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler: Review, Interview, and Giveaway!

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler: Review, Interview, and Giveaway!Title: Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler
Publishing Info: December 9, 2014 by Dahlia Adler
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 30, 2014

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.
    But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.
    Until he does.
    Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.
    Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

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Pretty much every since college, I’ve been looking for a book that incorporates a college atmosphere. I fell in love with young adult, but I was still craving those books that reminded me of my college years and there just weren’t that many out there. With the emergence of the “new adult” category, I got very excited but upon sampling a few selections, none of them really did it for me. Yes, many more sexy times happen in college than in high school but I didn’t want to read just a romance novel in a younger package than it usually is.

Then came this year. I swore off new adult for a while (unless it leaned heavily towards the young adult side), not wanting to try another one unless I really felt confident that I would enjoy it. I saw that Dahlia Adler had a new adult book coming out and because I love her so (and was genuinely interested), I immediately jumped on the chance to read, review, and promote. I finished LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT in a single day because I couldn’t put it down. I absolutely loved it and it really was the perfect new adult for me.

The thing I’ve been craving the most in new adult — the college feel — was very much a part of the book and almost all of it takes place while Lizzie is at college at Radleigh University. I just love the campus feel and the change-up from roaming the halls of a high school to dorms and quads and lecture halls. Throw in a hot YA (hey, I’m sure a lot of us had a hot teacher/TA in college) and things just got even more interesting!

From the very first few pages, the emotions were running high. From a string of “big mistakes” to an all-time low, Lizzie Brandt was already have a terrible year and things just started piling on after her parents’ death. I really just loved how realistic her reactions to everything were. Lizzie is very protective of her brothers and immediately starts planning what she can do to keep the rest of her family together but she’s not totally un-selfish either which I liked. Of course she wants to do the best thing for her brothers but she’s also still in college and has a lot of her own life to live. Everything gets turned upside for her so quickly and it’s incredibly difficult to manage.

I really loved how everything was handled with the story line too. I’m sure some people are thinking, “Student relationship with a TA? No way.” Because in any other book, I’d be hesitant about it too. The relationship between Lizzie and Connor felt totally natural and I wasn’t quite sure exactly how that relationship would start. Despite the natural hesitance about the two getting involved (hey, they had qualms of their own, of course!), I was always rooting for them to make it work somehow. I absolutely love Connor and yes, it was infuriating and scary at times watching this romance pan out for Lizzie, but boy did I want those two together! Everything really fell into place as the story progressed and I think Dahlia Adler totally hit the nail on the head with this pairing and how the entire conflict was handled.

I KNOW you’re wondering, “But what about the sexy parts?!” WHEW, BOY, you guys. Yes, there are sexy parts. Lots of them. And GOOD ONES. I’m not a romance reader (just contemporary where things tend to not get as steamy) but things got hot and heavy in LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT and I loved it. (Also holding my Kindle away from my husband so he didn’t read over my shoulder during the more detailed scenes because I was blushing). I thought the characters had great chemistry and yep. I’ll admit it. I totally had a thing for Connor too.

For someone who’s been hesitant about new adult for so long, I’m so happy that LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT started to bring me back towards this category of books. This book was utterly addicting and so much fun to read. I finished and immediately wanted more! If you’re on the fence about new adult, DEFINITELY try this book! It’s one I will be highly recommending!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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 BUY IT!

I absolutely devoured this book and I highly recommend it! If you’re hesitant about new adult, this is one to try! It has a great college feel, a steamy romance, and awesome characters.

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BOOKS LIKE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

when joss met matt      the sea of tranquility


INTERVIEW WITH DAHLIA ADLER

I also got to interview the wonderful Dahlia Adler about her new release (on sale now!) and it was so much fun to find out a little more background on the book! Check out the interview below to see more about Dahlia’s experience with new adult, LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, writing, and more!

Brittany: I’ve really been looking for a new adult book that incorporates the college experience a lot into the story and so happy that it was such a big part of Last Will and Testament! Was their a lot of your own college experience in the book?
Dahlia Adler: Yes and no! I chose Byzantine History, honestly, because it was my college class with the hottest professor, and Lizzie takes Russian because it was my favorite class in college. Even Stats was taken from my own syllabus. I certainly didn’t hook up with any TAs, and I didn’t go to any frat parties (the Greek system was kinda meh at my school), but I also had a really rough time in college when my dad was diagnosed with cancer (see Behind the Scenes), so the parts about needing to beg some teacher patience and miss class because being in the hospital came first were definitely part of my experience.

B: Your debut novel Behind the Scenes was a young adult novel and you have a companion YA novel — Under the Lights — out in 2015. Was Last Will and Testament something that just came to you or a specific choice to write in a “new adult setting”?
DA: Last Will and Testament came to me very specifically, based on a conversation with a friend. Somehow it came up that her parents set her up to be the guardian of her younger brothers when she turned 18, even though she was going to college in upstate NY, which is hours away from her home, and I just knew there was a book in it. I wrote the first chapter quickly, but then set it aside to work on YA. But as soon as I hit some roadblocks in the YA side of my career, I knew I needed to write something else, for myself and potentially to self-pub, and I immediately picked LWaT back up.

B: I feel like new adult books still have a little bit of a stigma for being over-sexed or romance novels in a younger package. Was there anything you intentionally wanted to include or avoid in Last Will and Testament based on the current generalizations towards the new adult category?
DA: I’m not someone who shies away from writing sex, or who has a problem with there being a prevalence of sex in NA – it is a lot of the adolescent and college experience, whether or not you’re having it. What bothers me about sex in NA, often, is A) romance novel terminology that doesn’t sound anything like how people actually talk and think, and more importantly B) perfect fantasy sex. I don’t use phrasing like “his length,” so that didn’t require intent from me, but having sex scenes in which they don’t both finish was very intentional. Because that’s sex sometimes!
Also, Lizzie’s someone who is unabashedly sexually active, as are her friends, albeit to varying degrees. There is no slut-shaming, no virgin-shaming, and no magic manparts; Connor isn’t the man who taught her how great sex can be. All those things were important to me to show as well.

B: Were there any particular hardships about publishing LWaT? Was it more difficult because of content or age range?
DA: Honestly, nothing but my own know-how limitations. I write YA on the upper end anyway, so it’s not a huge content jump for me, and I had so many people graciously answer my questions and help point me in the right directions. I did hire people for more than I thought I would, and I’m glad for it. I’d rather focus my energies on the things I’m good at and learn fewer things well.

B: Who was your favorite character to write in LWAT and why? (Personally, I hope it’s Connor. Yum!)
DA: Haha alas, it’s Lizzie, though Connor was a lot of fun too. I just really enjoy writing irreverence. And arguing.

B: With the topic of a student dating a TA, I had a few guesses at what might happen in the end (though I was still surprised!)… No spoilers of course, but did you always know how LWaT was going to wrap up or did you go through a few possibilities?
DA: Oh, no, I definitely did not. In fact, that ending now is about 10K words longer than it was when it went to my first betas. I know not everyone is going to love the way that things play out, but when I finally finished the ending that it is now, I knew it was the truest way things would’ve happened for these characters.

B: Do you have any habits or rituals that help you throughout the writing journey?
DA: Writing sprints are hugely instrumental to me on days it’s just not coming naturally; god bless Twitter and writer friends.

B: If you could pick one of your characters to hang out with for a day, who would you pick and what would you do?
DA: From any book? Probably Vanessa. I feel like she’d be a lot of fun to just walk around the Grove with, and definitely to go shopping with, and then end the day in front of the TV. I’m lazy – those are all my aspirations.

B: I love your “rec-ing ball” posts and tweets — recommending books is one of my favorite parts about being a reader & blogger! (This may be an evil question but) which books do you recommend that most?
DA: Oh man…I rec a lot! I think the books I’m most known for rec-ing are probably Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, Unteachable by Leah Raeder, and OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu. Possibly Deeper by Robin York? My rec-ing for Swimming to Tokyo by Brenda St. John Brown has gone a little quieter, but I’m working on picking that up; that’s a little sleeper NA I’ve gotten extremely good rec response to. And of course, I push my CPs’ and accountabilibuddy’s books as much as humanly possible, and love them all – The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall, Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca, and Sekret and Skandal by Lindsay Smith!

A BIG BIG thank you again to Dahlia Adler for this wonderful interview and the opportunity to read LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT early! I loved it so much and want people to read it that I’m also doing a giveaway! Enter the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win an ebook version of LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT! (This will be a Kindle or Nook version, depending on what the winner has for an ereader.)

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Interview with WE WERE LIARS author, E. Lockhart

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INTERVIEW WITH E. LOCKHART, AUTHOR OF WE WERE LIARS

This May, The Selective Collective featured WE WERE LIARS and we had so much fun featuring the book and sharing it with everyone! Usually we have a Q&A that goes along with our feature but with a few of our members attending BEA and E. Lockhart herself attending the conference and other fabulous events, we had a hard time coordinating our schedules for a Q&A. We did still want to feature the Q&A and share the fantastic interview so voila! A whole post dedicated to do just that. We all really still wanted to share this with everyone so we thought better late than never!

WE WERE LIARS takes place over several summers so we think it’s a great book to pick up this summer (or any, for that matter!) — Here’s a little more info about the book to help clue you in:

We Were LiarsPublishing Info: May 13th 2014 by Delacorte Press
Source: Copies provided to us by Random House for review and use for the Selective Collective promotions!

Book Synopsis: A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE
.
 — From Goodreads.com

INTERVIEW WITH E. LOCKHART

Without further ado, let’s get on with the interview! 🙂

Selective Collective: We Were Liars is a very different book than your previous works.  How did you end up with the inspiration to write Cady’s story?  Was it a long time coming or a random inspiration?
E. Lockhart: We Were Liars is different from my other novels because it’s more dramatic than comic, and because there’s a twisty mystery element to it — but it’s the same in that all my books are about the inside of someone’s head. I write fiction, in part, to understand the human mind a little better.

SC: Cadence suffers memory loss from after the “incident” during her fifteenth summer and we the readers only figure out the pieces bit by bit as she does.  Was it hard to arrange the timing of the reveals?
EL: Absolutely. A suspense novel requires a lot more careful structuring than a comedy. I used the word-processing program Scrivener, which allows a writer to see a kind-of birds-eye view of a book’s plot. I rearranged the story many times before I found a structure that worked well.

SC: The Sinclair family dynamic is a rocky one even for the blood relatives, but ever since he was first introduced to the family, Gat had a terrible time being accepted as the outsider in many different ways.  Was there a deeper meaning to the way the Sinclairs reacted to Gat’s recurring presence every summer?
EL: Racism and class prejudice run deep beneath the surface sometimes. People believe themselves unprejudiced, but that’s just a story they tell themselves. Eventually, the truth outs. I was interested in Gat as a love interest and as a catalyst for the stuff that happens on the island. He is such a strong character, so ambitious and ardent and still so conflicted.

SC: We Were Liars features several literary references, including Shakespeare’s King Lear.  What motivated you to pay tribute to the classic tragedy?
EL: There are only so many plots in the world. “A quest.” “A monster.” “A stranger comes to town.” Then there’s:   “Once upon a time there were three sisters, but only one of them was good.” That’s a familiar one, yes? King Lear, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast. I was interested in that plot, and the many ways it gets told and retold.   Family is a universal. Competition between siblings is a universal, too.
Of course, We Were Liars is also a variation on “a stranger comes to town.”

SC: We appreciated the multicultural romance in the book, because it’s not always handled in such an authentic, mature manner.  What are your thoughts on diversity in YA, and how to you approach writing characters that come from different cultures than your own?
EL: I have written characters whose race and gender and cultural background differ from my own in every book I have ever written. I must, because I am locked into only my own single existence and the books have multiple characters.
Gat in We Were Liars is unlike me because he is an Indian-American young man, but he is very much like me in his New York City home life, his middle-class upbringing, his intellectual curiosity, his anger and his position as an outsider in a privileged environment.
Cadence in We Were Liars is unlike me because she is rich and entitled and suffers chronic pain of a type I have never experienced, but she is like me in being an only child of a single mother, an ardent reader of fairy tales, and a white woman. It is, you see, not so very different to write Gat than to write Cadence.
It is important that books for young readers reflect the world in all its diversity, because one of the jobs that books do is to validate and reflect human experience. It is powerful and empowering to see oneself represented. But that is not all books do: they encourage empathy with people very different from ourselves, they encourage critical thinking, they are inspiring, they are entertaining, they are, sometimes, nothing more than a pleasant way to escape one’s everyday life.

SC: Your book is difficult to discuss without giving important plot points away — how wary are you of spoilers with this book compared to your others?
EL: The readers of We Were Liars have been amazing. Everyone keeps the secret and just shoves the book at other people, saying: “take my word for it — just read it. I won’t tell you any more about it.”
I think that kind of sharing is part of the pleasure of reading and filmgoing — and of doing so in a community. No one spoiled Allegiant for me. No one spoiled Shutter Island. Or Memento. Or The Sixth Sense or The Hunger Games. Everyone knows the fun is in the discovery.

A huge thanks to E. Lockhart for the interview and her participation in this Selective Collective feature! The answers were amazing and I always love how an interview really brings a book to life even more!

And don’t forget to check out the features from when we featured WE WERE LIARS back in May!

Tee @ YA Crush  Roundtable
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  From Page to Screen
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Review
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  “The Long Con” 

 

 

My Last Kiss Blog Tour: Chatting with Author Bethany Neal!

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Welcome to the blog tour for
MY LAST KISS by BETHANY NEAL!

I am positively THRILLED to be on the blog tour for Bethany Neal’s debut novel, MY LAST KISS! A big thanks to Bethany Neal, The Fantastic Flying Book Club, and Macmillan Teen for arranging and hosting the blog tour!

If you’re not familiar with MY LAST KISS, it is being released on JUNE 10th, people! Very exciting stuff! It’s a great mix between contemporary, mystery, and paranormal and it definitely had a Before I Fall type of feel for those of you who were fans of Lauren Oliver’s book!

My Last KissPublishing Info: June 10th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre: Young Adult (Mystery/Contemporary/Paranormal)
POV: First Person (Cassidy)
Find It Online:  Goodreads // Amazon // B&N

   “What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?
Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss—the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died—is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.
If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made—good and bad—that led to her last kiss.
Bethany Neal’s suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart
.
” — From Goodreads

Author Bio:
Bethany Neal writes YA novels with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Ann Arbor, Michigan home. The things she is obsessed with include, but are not limited to: nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, dream analysis, memorizing song lyrics, pickles, dessert, predestined love, not growing up, sour gummy candies, music videos, Halloween, and fictional boys who play guitar. MY LAST KISS is her first novel. // WebsiteFacebookInstagramTwitter

“OPEN INTERVIEW” WITH AUTHOR BETHANY NEAL!

For my part of the blog tour, I got to interview author Bethany Neal in what we call an “open interview”. So what does that mean? Just that instead of formal Q&A, we actually set up a time to chat about all kinds of things (but of course the book too!) Check out our Q&A below!

Brittany: My Last Kiss was your debut novel. What was the biggest inspiration for you to finally pick up the pen (so to speak) and write Cassidy’s story?
Bethany Neal: Well, MLK is technically my second novel. I landed my agent with a different YA mystery/thriller love story that didn’t end up selling. But the inspiration for Cassidy’s story came from a number of things. My initial idea was that she was alive and Ethan (then named Evan) had died in a car accident and it was her fault.
Brittany: Aww man!!  I am always interested in YA mystery/thrillers!! Shame it didn’t sell… I’d definitely hope to read that someday!
Beth: Thanks. I hope you do too! I still love those characters so much–especially the dreamy love interest.
Beth: Anyway, Cassidy’s so was ironically way too woe is me with her alive. So with some inspiration from the Metric song ‘Help, I’m Alive’ I decided she wasn’t…alive. And the story took off from there.
Brittany: Oooooh I love that song. I can totally see that!
Beth: You know Metric?!
Brittany: I don’t know a lot of Metric but I do know that song a love it! (I am in no way a real writer but feel the need to share that it inspired an idea for me as well — one that I never started working on, but the idea was there! I literally have a single page haha)
Beth: No way! That song is MAGICAL!
Brittany: I definitely felt like My Last Kiss was a combination of several different types of “ghost stories” all rolled into one. Do you have a preference between contemporary and mystery and horror or a little bit of everything all rolled into one?
Beth: I’m a huge fan of shades of gray (but not the 50 kind!). Stories that blend elements of the supernatural while still keeping the characters and plot grounded in some kind of reality are my favorites. Although I do prefer anything with a dark side.
Beth: Ghosts have always fascinated me. Their mere existence is just so bittersweet. They’re here, but not here. Being able to see but not touch–it’s heartbreaking.
Brittany: Gonna throw it out there… Patrick Swayze in Ghost? Totally a vibe I got in MLK! (So, you know, I hope you liked that movie haha)
Beth: GAH I LOVE SWAYZE!!!!!
Brittany: OH PHEW!!!
Beth: I mean, come on. He’s basically the perfect man. He can dance. He can rip out a bad dude’s throat (in Road House). And he’s BUFF!
Brittany: Haha he really can do it all!!!
Brittany: Aside from the “unfinished business” of solving her own death, do you think Cassidy came back to tie up other loose ends of her life before it was her time to move on?
Beth: I think Cassidy’s staying in the living plain depended on her resolving the horrible way in which she died, but the reason she was brought back was Ethan. Love conquers all…even death and all that.
Brittany: I love that.
Brittany: “Death cannot stop true love”
Brittany: (Sorry, HUGE Princess Bride fan over here)
Beth: Oh, don’t get me start on Wesley. Only man alive that could make me approve of a male ponytail.
Brittany: YES. I think that is the only male ponytail I have even been attracted to
Beth: I know, right! Maybe it’s the way it compliments the pirate mask.
Brittany: True.. I just seems to fit well together. And sword fighting
Brittany: [Comments about staying on track… The Princess Bride easily distracts people] So Cassidy has to relive her memories in order to put together the pieces of the mystery of her last days/hours. Do you have any specific memories you would relive if given the chance?
Beth: Oh so many. That’s part of why I write YA. It’s an opportunity to relive a little and redo things the way you wish you’d done them the first time.  I think I’d go back to all the bonfire parties my high school best friend used to throw on weekends. Those were the days…
Brittany: Ohhh, those were the days indeed. We had quite a few bonfires as well!
Beth: I’d also tell my younger self to stop being so darn shy!
Brittany: Perfect transition into… Cassidy died before she was able to set the wrongs in her life right. If you were given the opportunity, would you ever go back in time to change anything in your life or a you a believer in “everything happens for a reason”/“you learn from your mistakes”?
Beth: I do believe everything happens for a reason, but I would totally go back and try to change certain things. For instance, I would apply to film school after I graduated high school. Mostly, I’d be more brave the second time around.
Beth: I like the ends of my life, just not necessarily the means. If that makes sense.
Brittany: It definitely does! I feel like I would have changed a few things here and there BUT I always wonder (oh, parallel universes) if that would change where I ended up and I would never want to change the end result!
Beth: I’ve seen enough time travel movies to know it doesn’t end well, but I don’t think I could resist the urge.
Brittany: Haha always my worry But I know I’d end up changing SOMETHING if given the opportunity! It’s too good of an offer to pass up
Beth: And if you hold on to the everything happens for a reason fate thing, you will end up where you are now anyway, it’ll just be by a different path. No alternate universes allowed!
Brittany: Very true!!
Beth: That got unintentionally philosophical…
Brittany: Never a problem! I always enjoy a good philosophical discussion that includes parallel universes too haha!
Beth: Girl after my own heart
Brittany: MLK revolves around the events that transpired Cassidy’s birthday party (which IF I remember correctly was dangerously close to mine) — did you include the birthday aspect in the story intentionally? (A sort of reminder of how young these characters really were and how it was much too soon for Cassidy?)
Beth: Oh, how creepy for you! Should I say sorry or you’re welcome??
Brittany: Haha it’s a good kind of creepy, no worries! I actually really enjoy making that connection!!
Beth: Oh good! Now back to your question…
Beth: The birthday party scene was one of the first I wrote. I usually don’t outline before I start writing, so it came to me very organically. The party atmosphere and interactions are very much familiar from snapshots of my teen years. Though my main goal was to have a ton going on with very few answers offered to the reader so they’d be placed in the chaotic state of mind Cassidy’s  that night. I didn’t make a conscious effort to address Cassidy’s youth by having her die at her 17th birthday party.
Beth: I think subconsciously I may have though.
Brittany: Ooh very awesome! A lot of that reminded me of my teenage/younger years as well! Organic is the perfect description. It all just felt so natural and real.
Beth: My subconscious works overtime when I write.
Brittany: haha it’s funny how that works!
Beth: Good! It was important to me that even though Cassidy was a ghost the story felt real.
Brittany: Absolutely! Even the setting felt incredibly vivid. Did you have any real life inspirations for the locations? (I’m eyeing that bridge…)
mlkbridgeBeth: I did have a real life location in mind while I was writing about the bridge/river. My hometown is in a river valley and there’s a rail bridge near my boyfriend’s parents’ house that I mentally spruced up to make it more visually interesting. I even have pictures for you on this one! Here’s the rail bridge that I changed into a covered bridge in the book.
Brittany: I definitely felt like I had a good picture of the bridge so I loved how easy it was to picture!
mlkriverBeth: And here’s a picture of the river taken last year on the exact day Cassidy died. Creepy-awesome or what?
Beth: So happy the bridge came alive for you while you read
Brittany: Ooooooh creepy-awesome for sure!
Brittany: That pretty much covers my big burning questions! (Unless there’s anything else you’d like to add!)
Brittany: Thank you SO much for letting me interview you! I had a blast with the open interview format and so happy we got to chat!!!
Beth: Mind if I ask you a question?
Brittany: Ask away!
Beth: Which character did you just adore and which character did you want to punch off the page?
Brittany: Oooh awesome question
Brittany: I loved Ethan from the beginning but towards the end I really grew a respect for Aimee! As for punching people (lol) hmm. In the beginning…. I actually don’t think I felt strong negative feelings for anyone. Maybe a little bit for Cassidy, actually, because we find out that she may have cheated on Ethan. I didn’t feel  angry enough to punch her though! Towards the end, I was really upset with [possible spoilers redacted!] I also surprisingly liked Caleb. A lot. I had a guy best friend growing up so I really appreciated both his friendly affections for Cassidy and his deeper feelings
Beth: This is so interesting and fun to hear!
Brittany: Great question! I bet it’s incredibly interesting to hear how people react to the characters — both as they read and also how personal connections affect that perception
Beth: It so is. This is officially my favorite part of being an author.

Another HUGE HUGE HUGE thank you to Bethany Neal! We had such a blast chatting and I really loved the open interview format. I had such a great time talking with Bethany Neal about My Last Kiss (and of course, Patrick Swayze and bonfire memories and The Princess Bride).

Want to connect with Bethany Neal? (I’m sure you do after that amazing Q&A!) Check out her links below!

Bethany’s Website // Twitter // Facebook // Goodreads // Instagram

And be sure to check out the stops on the MY LAST KISS blog tour too! They have some other amazing features for this fantastic book!
MY LAST KISS BLOG TOUR

GIVEAWAY!

There’s also a fabulous giveaway and prizes for one lucky winner! Please see all of the details below before entering. Good luck!!!

DETAILS:
Win (1) signed hardback of My Last Kiss + a Swag Pack ( MLK Button, MLK Notebook, & Cassidy’s watermelon lip gloss)
SPECIFICS:
– US/CAN Only
– Must be 13 or older to enter
– Giveaway starts MAY 26th until JUNE 11th
– A false entry will be consider as cheating, so this person will be disqualified.
– Winner will be notified via email and needs to answer in 48 hours letting us know if he/she accepts the prize and send us his/her full name and address.
– Your personal information won’t be used or be seen unless you’re the winner of the giveaway. We won’t sell it nor use it in a bad way.

 

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UNFORGOTTEN Blog Tour: Interview with Jessica Brody!

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Welcome to the UNFORGOTTEN blog tour, hosted by Macmillan! I’m SO excited to be a tour host today with author Jessica Brody stopping by for an interview! Before I start with the tour stop, here’s a little more info about UNREMEMBERED and UNFORGOTTEN to get yourself acquainted with the series:

UnrememberedTitle: Unremembered
Author: Jessica Brody
Publishing Info: March 5th 2013 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (BYR)
Find it on the Web: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N

  “When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.
    Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.
    Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.
     Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?” — From Goodreads

UnforgottenTitle: Unforgotten
Author: Jessica Brody
Publishing Info: February 25th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Find it on the Web: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N

  “Some memories are better left forgotten… 
    After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.
    Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, this riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.” — From Goodreads

I’m so excited to have been able to Interview Jessica Brody! I’ve had the opportunity to meet her and she’s super sweet and very nice so that made me even more excited to be able to share an interview with her today!

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JESSICA BRODY

Brittany: There were lots of surprising twists and turns in Unforgotten! Did you plan most of them or did some of them take you by surprise as well?
Jessica Brody: Thank you for saying that! I love surprising readers! So…mission accomplished! I did plan most of them, but like with every book, things popped up that I wasn’t expecting. There’s a new character in this book that I’d always planned on adding but many of his scenes and dialogue and characteristics were surprises to me. When I started the book, all I had in my notes was: “Enter character” and that was kind of it. He came alive to me as I wrote. 

B: I love that this book dug even deeper into the science-fiction aspect of the series. Was it hard to imagine and invent all of the new technology that Sera and Zen encounter?
JB: Oh, just wait until book 3! There’s SO MUCH MORE fun technology!!! Hard? Yes. Fun? Definitely. Most of this book takes place in the year 2032, which is only 18 years from now. So coming up with that world was really challenging but also entertaining. I basically looked at all the technology releasing today and then just took it up a notch. I think the technology I’m looking forward to the most are the cars that drive themselves. Many experts say we are not too far away from this. And I can’t wait. It’ll be like having a private chauffeur everywhere I go! 

B: I absolutely loved the ending and felt like all of the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly back together to form one incredible fact and really brings the entire series together! Was it hard to get the details to all fall into place?
JB: YAY! That makes me so happy to hear you say that! This book was such a complicated, jigsaw puzzle of memories (both real and not real), time periods, facts, and events. It was SUCH a hard book to write. So much of what I thought would work, didn’t end up working. The hardest aspect was keeping track of everything Seraphina remembered and everything that was erased from her memory. As the author, you have to know both, even if your character doesn’t. It was a mind meld! If you want a challenge, write a book that has memory manipulation and time travel. 

B: Do you have anything special you do to help you out if you hit a writing roadblock?
JB: Yes! But it’s kinda weird. Okay, so whenever I hit a roadblock, I go and get a massage. I’m a member at Massage Envy—it’s one of those places that has massages for like 40 bucks. I don’t know what it is, but something about being relaxed on the massage table with the soothing music and everything, it completely unblocks me! I get so much brainstorming done there! Then when I leave, I race to my car, get out my phone and start recording all of my notes from the session. But it’s funny, inspiration can hit you in the most random of places. One of the biggest twists in the book (I’m not going to tell you which one!) happened in the drive-thru line of an In’n’Out at ten at night. I was waiting for my food and BAM! it hit me. I actually screamed aloud, “I got it!” right as the employee was handing me my fries. He gave me the strangest look and went, “Um, yes, you do?” 

B: Did you have any specific inspirations for the Unremembered trilogy — either the characters or the concept?
JB: Actually, yes! The middle of this book was the hardest part for me. I got through it by taking long walks and listening to one song on repeat. “Treacherous” by Taylor Swift. That song perfectly sums up the relationship between Seraphina and a certain character I can’t really talk about. I must have listened to that song at least 200 times while writing this book. Every time I couldn’t get a scene right, I would go for a walk, put the song on repeat, and just let my mind wander. So, thanks, Taylor Swift and whoever broke your heart this time!

B: It looks like the Unremembered trilogy is your first published set of books that aren’t contemporary! Was it difficult to write a different genre?
JB: I think every book I write is the hardest book I’ve ever written. Because if I’m not challenging myself to be a better writer, then the book isn’t worth writing. But I will say that UNREMEMBERED, UNFORGOTTEN, and Untitled book 3 were MUCH harder than my contemporaries. Not only because they were sci-fi and therefore required more unique world building, the creation of new technology and all that, but also because this is my first trilogy as well. My other YA titles have all been standalones. There’s something really nice and fulfilling about writing a standalone. You start the book, you finish the book. You say goodbye to the character and move on to something else. Writing a series is a whole different animal, because there has to be a really good reason why this character’s journey can’t be wrapped up in one book. And that makes her journey so much more epic and complex, which can be a daunting task at times. But now that I’ve just finished writing book 3, I can say, the hard work is well worth it. It was a roller coaster ride of a project but I’m proud of what’s come out of it and I can’t wait for everyone to read the final ending!

*Oh and please check out the UNFORGETTABLE FAN challenge that’s currently running on my website! Every fan who completes the challenge gets a prize pack which includes an Unremembered Eternal Knot necklace! Visit the UNFORGETTABLE FAN challenge here! Thanks for the great questions, Brittany! And thank YOU, Jessica! I had so much fun reading your answers and I’m already excited for book three! (Even though it’ll be a while to wait yet!)

Become a fan of Jessica Brody and the UNREMEMBERED trilogy! Visit the links below to connect with Jessica and find out more info on the series!

I also have a special Unforgotten secret to share with you! Each stop on the tour has one so if you missed any, be sure to check out the official schedule at the Macmillan Teens blog! Okay, here’s your Unforgotten secret (and honestly, one of my favorite parts about the book!!!) Unforgotten Secret 6 

GIVEAWAY!

Want to win a copies of UNREMEMBERED and UNFORGOTTEN? Macmillan is offering up copies of both! The winner this giveaway will receive a paperback copy of UNREMEMBERED and a hardcover copy of UNFORGOTTEN! US & Canada residents only. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification before the prize is forfeited to the next person. a Rafflecopter giveaway

NIL Blog Tour: Interview with Lynne Matson!

Nil Banner

Welcome to the NIL blog tour, hosted by Fiction Freak! I’m so excited to be a tour host today with author Lynne Matson stopping by for an interview! Before I start with the tour stop, here’s a little more info about NIL to get yourself acquainted with the book:

Nil by Lynne MatsonTitle: Nil
Author: Lynne Matson
Publishing Info: March 4th 2014 by Henry Holt
Find it on the Web: Goodreads || Amazon ||Barnes and Noble || Book Depository
My Review: Nil – Lynne Matson (posted 2/12/14)

  “On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days–to escape, or you die.
    Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.
    Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.” — From Goodreads

Today, I get to share with you my interview with author Lynne Matson! I’m so excited to have been able to interview her and to share her answers with all of you guys!

INTERVIEW WITH NIL AUTHOR LYNNE MATSON

Brittany: I loved the unsettling combination of paradise and doom that was the island of NIL and it definitely reminded me of a number of literary and TV show mash-ups! Did you have any strong influences that helped you form ideas for the book?
Lynne Matson: I’m so glad you got the twin vibes of paradise and doom! Hawaii was a big source of inspiration for me; it’s where I saw the contrast of beauty and danger. It’s gorgeous, but surfing there has risks (big waves, sharp rocks) and oh yeah–the island has active VOLCANOES. 🙂 Volcanoes epitomize paradise and doom, don’t they? Islands in general are often packed with gorgeous, but for me, islands always hold a hint of danger . . .and maybe more than a hint. Because when you’re surrounded by water for who knows how many miles, WHAT IF YOU CAN’T ESCAPE?! And what if there’s something else stranded on the island with you?! So much potential for scary awesome when you’re stuck on –or writing about–and island. Sekrit admission: I watched A LOT of Gilligan’s Island as a kid, and their 3 hour tour that turned into a decade long island adventure fascinated me. (So did Ginger’s hair but that’s not important. :D) I think that show always left the viewer asking “what would I do?” And so there’s NIL… 🙂

B: There were quite a few interesting twists in the end! Did you always see that as the final outcome or did NIL surprise you?
LM: Thank you! It may sound crazy, but always knew the ending. When I started writing, I had the beginning and the end…and a rough sense of the middle. And it was the middle twists that surprised me! 🙂 Certain characters deaths, Rives’s insights, and a few other things. 

B: If you were stranded on NIL, what do you think your strategy would be? Which characters would you most likely team up with?
LM: Oh my gosh–if I were stranded on Nil, I’d like to think I’d find a group of other people and not be stuck wandering on my own. (And clothes. I’d pray for clothes… that would be priority number one. 😀 Nobody wants to be running around a strange island naked. right?!) That’s another tricky facet of the island– how to figure it out alone. If each person has to figure everything out on their own each time (like re-inventing the wheel, so to speak), that’s a challenge that must be met before escape is possible. So much information gets lost (and has been lost at the start of the book) due to the “revolving door’ nature of the island, that not only figuring NIL out but helping preserve their findings becomes one of Charley & Thad’s missions. So who would I team up with? Someone who’s a NIL veteran, like Natalie, or Rives. Or Thad. Who wouldn’t want to pair up with Thad?! lol

B: I saw that you used to be an attorney — Was it tough to make the transition to writing? Was it something you always knew you wanted to do or did the story of NIL just hit you?
LM: Writing books is WAY more fun than being an attorney IMHO! 🙂 I’d stepped away from law for a few years before I started writing. I was a stay-at-home mom, doing a little part-time work occasionally for the law firm where I used to work, when I started writing my first book (which was not NIL. :D). I’d always loved writing, since I was little. In high school, I wanted to become a journalist, then during college I switched to law. Looking back, I think it’s because I wasn’t confident enough to go for the writing dream…or maybe I just wasn’t ready yet.:) I always had lots of stories floating in my head–but I never gave them the time they deserved. That finally changed when I was home with the boys; that’s when writing became mine. Creative time just for me…and then I thought: why not go for it? Worst case: I don’t get published, and I’m no worse off that I am now.  But I went for it, and am so glad I did. 🙂

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lynne MatsonAuthor Bio: Lynne Matson grew up in Georgia in a house full of books and a backyard full of gnarly pines. Back then, Lynne would stay up late, reading Nancy Drew books under the covers (with a flashlight . . . a weak attempt at ninja stealth). Now she still stays up late reading books and writing them. When she doesn’t have a book in her hand, you’ll find her listening to music, messing around with paint, or hanging out with her husband and their four boys . . . or all of the above.

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A huge thanks to Lynne Matson for the awesome interview! I absolutely loved learning more about the book and the ideas that helped form it! Don’t miss NIL coming out this March at a bookstore near you!

GIVEAWAY!

Want to win a copy of NIL? The winner will receive a hardcover copy of NIL and some awesome swag! US & Canada residents only. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email notification before the prize is forfeited to the next person.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon 2014: Interview Swap!

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon 2014

I’m so excited to be participating in the BOOK BLOGGER LOVE-A-THON again this year, hosted by Alexa and Katelyn! First thing today is the interview swap and I’m super excited to have interviewed KIM from THE NOMADIC BOOK HOARDER!

Brittany: I love that your blog is called The Nomadic Book Hoarder! (I am a book addict after all…) How did you end up deciding to start a book blog?
Kim:
Thank you! I have been reading book blogs for so long, but I was always a lurker! I’ve wanted to start my own book blog for quite a while, but I was hesitant because I’m not a native English speaker. I knew there were more international bloggers, but it was always holding me back. The funny thing is that Twitter made me start my own book blog. When I joined Twitter, I started following all my favorite book bloggers and I learned how much fun bloggers were having recommending each other books and talking about books and fangirling over books. And then I knew, this was a great community for me, because I want to talk about books all the time, but my family and friends are getting sick of it. And that’s how after  years of being a lurker I finally joined the book blogging community!

B: I saw from your blog that you just started blogging this past July! What’s your favorite thing about blogging so far?
K: My favorite thing is definitely getting to know other bloggers and connecting with so many people! I’m a very newbie blogger but the welcoming in the book blog community has been great 😀 I’m so glad to have made bookish friends (because before blogging I didn’t have any friends who read!). I also love that I’m writing again. Not stories, but writing blog posts counts as writing to me. I used to write all the time in my teens but I gave up when I went to uni.

B: What’s one of your favorite posts that you’ve written so far? Was there any special reason it meant so much to you?
K:
I personally love to read discussion posts on other blogs, they are my favorite kind of posts. I have written a few myself and I’m proud of them because I found them so hard to write, much harder than reviews for example. My favorite discussion I’ve written is the post where in I share my thoughts on J.K. Rowling’s Ron/Hermione revelation, because I love the Harry Potter books and Ron/Hermione is my OTP. This was near to my heart and I needed to write this post, because I had to vent about it.
Another favorite post of mine is my review of Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern. It’s a one-star review (which I don’t like), but also a very personal post and that’s why I like it.

B: If you could pick one book or series to live in, which would it be?
K: Okay, first thing on my mind was Throne of Glass because of CHAOL. But then I thought I wouldn’t actually want to live in that world and also Chaol should be with Celaena haha. Not that he would pick me over Celaena, but you know, a swooning fangirl can be quite annoying!
I love this question, but it’s also very hard to answer because most of my favorite books have worlds I’d never want to live in (like most fantasy and dystopian worlds)! Like, I love the idea of living in Hogwarts, but not during the events in the book! No, I’d much rather be a student there AFTER the Battle of Hogwarts. So, I’m picking Pivot Point. It’s still in our world, so I wouldn’t need to adjust too much, but I would get an awesome mind power ability! AND there’s no evil wizards or scary monsters.

B: What’s one book that you really, personally connected with? (Either a recent read or one from your childhood!) Was there any specific reason why?
K: When I was in my teens I read and loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and I really connected with it. This is because I could see myself so clearly in one of the main characters (Lena), and I related to her so much that it hurt. In a good way, mind you. I used to reread these books every summer (summer seemed fitting!) and I cried every time during some of her chapters.
Two years ago I read Sisterhood Everlasting, the final book in the series that follows the main characters ten years after the fourth book. And I could still see myself in Lena.

B: You’re stranded on a deserted island and can only bring three books with you! Which would they be?
K: Ah this is so hard, because do I choose my favorite books or books that I cherish for other reasons (like signed copies)? Hmm…I would definitely go for favorite books that I could re-read again and again, because those signed copies are awesome but I wouldn’t have any shelves on the island to showcase them.
I will bring Tiger Lily and Persuasion with me, because they are two of my all-time favorite books and I can re-read them and not get bored of them. Also, I’m cheating because I’m bringing the Harry Potter box set with me, so I’ll have the whole series with me! Actually, being stranded on a deserted island would be perfect right now, because I can finally reread the entire Harry Potter series as that is something I’ve been meaning to do for ages. As long as you pick me up after I’ve finished it, I don’t want to be stranded forever, lol!

B: Do you have any special reading or blogging goals/ideas/posts in mind for 2014? 
K:
I do have some new type of posts planned. You might have noticed the ‘Nomadic’ in my blog name and wondered what it is doing there. Well, besides reading I LOVE travel and when I started my blog I wanted to write a lot of travel posts too and have my blog name reflect that, hence the ‘Nomadic’. But I never got around to it, because I loved writing about books to much! But this year I am going to write some travel related posts and have a few planned. But I don’t have any specific goals in mind for this year. I just want to continue having fun with blogging and meeting other bloggers!

Thanks so much to Kim for the interview!!! It was great getting to know a new blogger! Please do check out her blog and say hello!! I’ve already been chatting with her on Twitter since we got paired up and she’s pretty awesome! And don’t forget to check out Kim’s interview with me over at her blog too!

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