Exclusive Interview with K. M. Robinson

Hi guys! One of my most anticipated reads for 2017 is Golden by K. M. Robinson, and she is one of the closest authors I know! I am so glad that I have the opportunity to interview her! Golden is coming exactly in one month on March 28th with Snowy Wings Publishing, and you should definitely read it! I know I’m going to soon! Hope you enjoy this interview!

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1. How you would pitch Golden to me if you had one shot to convince me to read it?golden-cover-reveal-feb-9-2017-by-k-m-robinson

What if I told you that Goldilocks wasn’t innocent…or a child…or naïve? What if I told she didn’t just wander into the bears’ house…or that the Baers weren’t actual bears?

Now what if I told you Goldilocks was actually highly trained and sent on a mission to destroy the Baers by getting close to the youngest…and if her deception is uncovered, they will all be in danger?

Goldilocks has the ability to take down an entire society…until Dov Baer messes those plans up. Now that Goldilocks is forced to betray everyone, not even she has hope of surviving.

This is not the Goldilocks you thought you knew.

2. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

I enjoy writing because it lets me tell the stories I was looking for but couldn’t find. I like to consider myself a creator of new worlds, both in my writing and in my photography, so creating these stories gives me the opportunity to assemble these places that wouldn’t otherwise exist. I love that creation…they are something that never existed and couldn’t be built by anyone else. It’s amazing.

3. Who are your favorite authors, and which ones have had an impact on you? Who has affected your writing style the most?

This is a hard one! I have so much admiration for my friend, Lisa Brown Roberts. She writes YA contemporary romance, which isn’t a genre I typically prioritize when reading, but this woman is so skilled and so funny that I would drop anything to read her books. She transports me in her stories and makes the world we live in so much more fascinating, which is so incredibly hard to do. I can not praise her work enough.

My other favorites are actually in the question below, so I’ll let you skip down to check that out.

As for influence, I would say Veronica Roth had a big impact on me because she gave me the freedom to have “real” endings. When things happen within a story, I want to see the consequences play out…not some happily ever after where actions go unpunished and no one gets hurt. All actions have consequences, so when that doesn’t follow through in a story, that annoys me. I love a happy ending, I really do, but there can be happiness after some scars too. She gave me permission to follow through and create real endings that aren’t always wrapped in a pretty box with a sparkly bow.

4. What are your favorite genres to read and write? What are your favorite books?

Retellings and dystopians are my favorite. I love books like Divergent and The Hunger Games. Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki is one of my favorites. I also like Kierra Cass’ The Selection Series because I’m such a huge fan of princess stories and love stories.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?

When I’m not writing, I am a professional fine arts conceptual photographer, and I educator authors, book reviewers, and entrepreneurs through Reading Transforms on marketing, branding and social media strategy. There’s a lot of overlap in all of those things (surprisingly) so together it’s full time, but if I were to take writing out and look at it separately, it would definitely be a part time thing at the moment, only because this is my first book and I won’t make enough money to go full time until I have at least a handful of books out.

6. Why did you choose to make this book a retelling of Goldilocks instead of another fairy tale? What drew you to Goldilocks and the Three Bears?

Everyone ignores Goldilocks. There are billions of Little Mermaid/Cinderella/Snow White/Sleeping beauty retellings…but everyone ignores Goldilocks. I find it completely unfair! **dramatic hand to forehead** 

But in all seriousness, I’ve been obsessed with Goldilocks since I was young because we have the same hair.

When I would walk into a store and when I found myself in the hair care aisle, I would match my color to the colors of hair dye. It always matched ‘gold” or “golden” and it was never that white-blonde color people assume Goldilocks’ hair is. I was always annoyed that she was portrayed as a white-blonde, when she clearly had my hair color (as named by the hair dye section of the store.)

For years I thought about her and never really cared for the story I was presented with. I’m a fan of “the real story behind the story,” so I was obsessed with knowing why she was in the bears’ house. Eventually I decided to actually write the story, made the bears into a family of Baers, shifted their roles around a bit, and then I gave Goldilocks a dangerous reason for being there, and suddenly I had my answers.

7. If you could be any fairy tale character, who would you be and why?

This is so hard. My go-to response is a princess, but I’m not even sure which one-I have five favorites. I think, if I was forced to chose, I’d have to say The Little Mermaid, because she’s a mermaid AND she gets to wear fancy dresses when she’s on land. I’ve always had a fondness for mermaids and the water!

8. Which character was the easiest to write? Who was the hardest to write?

Within Golden, Auluria was the easiest to write, just because I knew what decisions she SHOULD make, and what decisions she COULD make, and then I tended to ask her to make the ones that would have the most painful outcomes.

The hardest to write was Eden because it was such a fine balance between making her harsh and giving her a heart but only allowing her to show glimpses of it. She has a crazy background that really plays into everything too.

9. Golden is full of secrets and surprises! Did you ever surprise yourself whenever you included something shocking, or did you plan them all out from the beginning? Are there any hints you would like to give out?

I frequently find myself surprised at some of the things that happen within my stories. My characters tend to surprise me more than anything. I’ll write a minor character who was only supposed to be in for a scene or two and suddenly they’re so important that they’re demanding their own spin offs! No joke-you’ll meet one of those characters that wormed their way in to my story in the series I have coming out in June, called Jaded.

As far as hints for Golden…no one is as they seem at first. Every situation has more than one side. There are also some secrets I’ve hidden in the story that do not affect the story line but are really cool extras (usually about the characters) that fans can find out by joining my live broadcasts and interviews that will give new depth to the entire story.

Also, there are hidden pictures and symbols within the chapter header graphics. You’ll have to use both hands to count them all…more than once.

10. You are a professional photographer! What do you love about photography? Do you have any tips and tricks you would like to share with us?k-m-robinson-author-photo

I am! Photography is my outlet. It’s where I express my feelings, good and bad. If I’m happy, I create an image. If I’m upset, I create an image. And when I can’t, it’s like I can’t breathe. I love it!

As far as advice: study, study, study. I take between 500-800 hours of continuing education every single year. I’m never done learning. And if you don’t take the time to learn it and learn it really really well, you’ll never survive. Creating new worlds in imagery takes so much training and practice to make it believable. I couldn’t always do the things I can do now, I had to put the effort into it and understand that I will never be done improving my craft.

Also, learn the business side of things. A lot of creatives focus on the creative side and forget to learn how to run the business side of things. This goes for all creative jobs, including being an author.

11. How did you decide upon publishing your books with Snowy Wings Publishing?

It was a very long journey, actually. A few years ago I wrote the book and then did nothing with it. Eventually some people convinced me to do something with it, so I did a ton of research and submitted it to a few publishers I liked and trusted. I had a lot of interest, even some offers, but ultimately I turned them all down because they weren’t the right fit. The Snowy Wings came along and had so much of what I was looking for-the rest was history!

12. When you have a case of writer’s block, what is your go-to cure?

I typically work on more than one story at once, that way if I hit a wall with one, I can bounce over to a different manuscript and work on that for a few hours, and then come back to the one I was having trouble with. That almost always works. If it doesn’t, I do something else creative-fine arts conceptual photography, dress making, costume creation, etc-and that usually gets the creative thoughts flowing enough to jump back in!

13. How does it feel like to be a debut author? Could you describe some of your emotions when you found out you were going to be published?

It’s interesting. For so long I hadn’t planned on being a published writer, and then I got those books deals and thought “this is it, it’s real,” but then I ended up turning them down, and for a year I did nothing. I completely moved on with life. Now suddenly my books are being published and for awhile it just “was.” But now that I can hold the printed books in my hands, now that my swag is arriving in the mail, now that people are reviewing my book…it’s suddenly VERY real. Sometimes it’s the coolest thing in the world, and other times, it’s just part of everyday life.

It definitely became real when I opened my first box of proof books in a life broadcast over on my Facebook page. Now I’m speaking at schools, people I know are commenting on my book and asking questions, I’m working with bloggers and booktubers. It is now a very real part of my life and it’s pretty fun!

14. What are your current plans with your writing career?

I intend to keep writing. I have a second series debuting in June. I also have a number of other projects with “things happening” so we’ll see where all of that goes.

15. Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers?

You can do this. Find positive influences in your life and let them help you stay on track and stay inspired. Do not listen to the people that tear you down-writing is subjective and not everyone will like your work. It’s okay for people to not like it.

Take the time to learn the business side of writing. Understand marketing, study branding, learn social media strategy, find people who know more that you do and become friends with them and learn from them. Get to know the industry and avoid making common mistakes that people don’t know about until they’ve already made them. Don’t go into this blind-take the time to learn and present yourself as a professional.

And finally, keep record of everything-you will use it later. Document your writing journey, from the desk where you wrote, to the things you were thinking, to the text messages your beta readers sent you. Keep a file and pull it out when it’s time to market or you need a pick-me-up after someone said something discouraging. You’ll thank yourself later for keeping these memories and feelings.

You’ve got this-don’t give up!

Thanks so much, Katie, for coming onto our blog! Can’t wait to read your book!

If you want to check out Katie’s book or social media accounts, or Snowy Wings Publishing (and join the Street Team!), click the links below!

Connect with K.M. Robinson
 
Connect with Snowy Wings Publishing
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Exclusive Interview + GIVEAWAY with Elle Cosimano

 

Hi guys! So I just finished a really good book called Holding Smoke, and I am so glad to be hosting Elle Cosimano today in an exclusive interview with her! Also, she is giving away a hardcover copy of Holding Smoke in the Rafflecopter link at the bottom of this page, so I urge you to check it out! Enough said, let’s get on with the interview and giveaway!

elle-cosimanoElle Cosimano grew up in the Washington, DC suburbs, the daughter of a maximum security prison warden and an elementary school teacher who rode a Harley. She spent summers working on a fishing boat in the Chesapeake Bay, baiting hooks, scrubbing decks, and lugging buckets of chum. A failed student of the hard sciences, she discovered her true calling in social and behavioral studies while majoring in psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Fifteen years later, Elle set aside a successful real-estate career to pursue writing. She lives with her husband and two sons in Northern Virginia and Mexico.

Elle’s debut, Nearly Gone, was a 2015 Edgar Award finalist and winner of the International Thriller Award. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Horror Writers Association, and Sisters In Crime. She was selected for the 2012 Nevada SCBWI Agented & Published Authors’ Mentorship Program, where she worked under the guidance of Ellen Hopkins. She attended the Writers’ Police Academy at Guilford Technical Community College, Department of Public Safety, to conduct hands-on research for her books.

holding-smokeJohn “Smoke” Conlan is serving time for two murders-but he wasn’t the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke’s new home and the only one he believes he deserves.

But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they’re asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn’t care that the “threads” that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.

Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink’s help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he’s willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.

2017 Nominee for the Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in dark fantasy and horror writing

My Mini-Review (Full to Come Later!)

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the author in exchange for a review. I also got some free signed swag- this is outside of the trade agreement. None of these factors will affect my review.

Rating: 9/10 stars

Overall Thoughts: I really liked this book! It was very well-written, and it definitely does leave an impact on you. I was creeped out at times because it was very haunting and chilling. This is one of those books that you’ll just go “Wow” at the end. I know, because that happened to me!

Pros

  • That ending. I never saw it coming! You’ll never predict it!
  • It will make an impact on you! There’s an article by the author at the end that have the potential to change your outlook on the world. I know I was just amazed by it- it links well with the ending!
  • Hooks you in emotionally, especially with the flashbacks and vivid imagery

Cons

  • I started to lose interest in the middle, but the ending hooked me back it.
  • Some details were a bit off to me. Sometimes I didn’t know if Smoke was in his body or not, and other times I wondered how these events stringed together.

Recommendation: Definitely!

elle

1. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

I love storytelling in all forms. I love reading stories, watching them, listening to them, and I enjoy creating stories of my own. I think it goes beyond the escapism. For me, the fascination is in the discovery process, both of the characters within the tale but also of my self. When I was a kid, I had an uncle who would read fables and fairy tales aloud to me when I came to visit. We would talk about the characters and their struggles–why they made the choices they made and how they felt about those choices. These were formative moments for me, and in hindsight, I can see how strongly they’ve influenced the kinds of stories I write today.

2. Who are your favorite authors, and which ones have had an impact on you? Who has affected your writing style the most?elle-cosimano

The first book I really, deeply connected with was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I read her books over and over again. Her characters were so real to me, so alive and layered, each one unique. It was amazing to me, that she could achieve that kind of depth of character and richness of setting in such a short book, or that she could make me feel so much within so few pages. To this day, I still gravitate toward books that make me care the way this book did–stories and characters that make me laugh or cry or shout out in public places. When I write, my goal is to make a reader feel.

3. What are your favorite genres to read and write? What are your favorite books?

I love thrillers and suspense of all kinds, and I appreciate a touch of mystery in anything I read. In adult fiction, I enjoy crime thrillers and psychological suspense. When it comes to YA, I also gravitate toward books with a touch of magic, paranormal, or fantasy in them. And I love a good atmospheric ghost story for any age! When mystery, thrills, and speculative elements are combined, that’s often the perfect combination for me.  

4. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?

I’m Mom to two very busy boys, ages 11 and 14, so my time is divided between writing and Mom-ing. I retired from a long career in real estate to write books, and writing has been my career every since. As for what I do when I’m not writing? I live on a beautiful stretch of beach, and it’s a great place to plot murder. . .  errr. . .  I mean to relax and enjoy the sunshine.

5. Would you want to have a power like Smoke’s, even with all the risks? Why or why not?

Smoke’s ability (astral projection) came at a pretty steep price–a near-death experience at the hands of someone who was supposed to care for him. I don’t envy any of the experiences Smoke endured in order to possess the ability to separate his spirit from his body. I can’t imagine anything more painful than suffering that, or feeling so broken you might never be whole again. So no, I don’t think I would ever want an ability like Smoke’s. 

6. How much research did you have to put into Holding Smoke since it takes place in a prison in Denver? What did you learn?

When I was growing up, my father was a warden of a maximum security prison just outside of Washington, DC. Over the years, he managed institutions which housed some of our nation’s most violent offenders, so I had a great resource for a lot of my questions, and have visited him at the prison, and also at a detention center (jail) before. I attended a special police academy for writers where I was able to take classes on cell searches and talk with corrections officers about their experiences, as well as do a ride-along with a deputy sheriff who answered a lot of questions about arrest procedures and responding to domestic violence calls for me. I interviewed EMS responders and ER physicians for answers to several medical questions. I interviewed a lawyer regarding some of my legal questions. And as for the setting, I lived in Denver for two years, so I was already familiar with the region. As for what I learned? Well, I wrote about that in the Author’s Note at the end of the book. But you can read it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elle-cosimano/the-good-the-bad-and-the-_9_b_5922654.html

7. How does it feel like living in a tree house on a Caribbean island? I bet the view must be beautiful and breath-taking there!

I don’t live on an island, though that might be nice! I live in Mexico, on a stretch of the eastern coast called the Riviera Maya. My community is tucked between the Caribbean Sea and the jungle (but I can see the island of Cozumel on a very clear day from the beach across the street.) My house is mostly open-air, and the living spaces are under a palapa, a thatch roof made from dried grass or dried palm leaves. The support poles are made from trunks of very hard wood trees called zapote, giving it the look and feel of a tree house. It’s very peaceful. We live simply here, mostly outside, and it’s a great place to raise the kids. I also get very interesting critters in my kitchen sometimes. . .  scorpions, snakes, pumas, and spiders the size of my face. I post a lot of pics of my home on my Instagram. You can see a pic of me in my treehouse here: http://www.instagram.com/p/x4jF9rJnaz/

8. The title of your book Holding Smoke is a play on Smoke’s nickname. Why did you choose Smoke as the name of your protagonist, and how you did come up with the title?

Honestly, I can’t remember when his name came to me. I was doing a lot of research and reading about Near-Death Experiences (NDEs). Lots of people described their experiences very similarly . . . seeing themselves from outside themselves, almost as if they were in ghost form looking down on their own bodies. Several reported that their NDEs left them with the ability to project their souls at will. So in my mind, Smoke’s astral form was very wispy and ghostlike. But word choice is important. It reflects the narrator’s voice and the lens through which they see their world. A “hardened” kid in a dangerous world probably wouldn’t call himself “Wispy”. But he might just be okay calling himself Smoke. It felt like a fit, both to his voice as well as within his setting.

9. What is your favorite quote from this book, and is there a message you want your readers to get from Holding Smoke?

“The way you look when you project yourself, the places you can go, the things you haven’t figured out how to do yet. . . it’s all in your head.” — Pink, Holding Smoke

This is my favorite quote from the book, and perfectly encapsulates the message I wanted readers to take away from Smoke’s story.

10.  Do you have any tips for any aspiring authors or writers?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Everything you need to become a writer? It’s all in your head.
Now onto the giveaway!!!
Click below to win a hardcover edition of Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano!
Just a few quick notes:
1) This is a US Only giveaway (sorry Int’l).
2) You must be 18 years or older or have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter.
3) No PO Boxes. You must have an address to have the book sent.
4) Be truthful! All entries that do not do what the instructions are will not be counted!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I wish you the best, and happy reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Liebster Award

Hi guys! We’ve been nominated for our third blog award, and this time, we were nominated by four amazing people: Becca from Book Review Becca, Krysti from YA and Wine, Rendz from Reading with Rendz, and Not-so-modern girl! The LILbooKlovers team would like to extend to each of them a huge thank you for their support, and I urge you to check out all their blogs. I love them all! Now, here are the rules and questions they gave us with our answers! liebster

Rules

1. Thank the person who nominated you and answer the 11 questions they’ve written for you.

2. Nominate 11 people and give them 11 different questions to answer.

 

Becca’s Questions (Answered by Kester)

1. If you could be best friends with any fictional character, who would it be and why?

Can I be friends with Thursday Next? If there was a book world, I would ask her to take me with her and introduce me to all of my favorite characters!

2. What is the first book or series that made you love reading?

In elementary school, it probably was the Magic Tree House or Hardy Boys series. I loved reading those! But then I didn’t like reading during middle school.

It wasn’t until last year as a freshman when I started to love reading again, so I would say that Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich was the book that first made me go “Reading is so cool and fun!”

3. If you could go to one fictional place for a single day, where would you go?

I would love to go to Hogwarts for a day, regardless of whether I can use magic or not! It’s so pretty, but I think that it would be better in person than in the movies!

4. What is your favorite TV series that is based on book or series?

Fresh Off the Boat! It’s my favorite TV show! It’s based off of the memoir with the same name by Eddie Huang, but I haven’t read it yet.

5. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

It would be my Bible! There’s so much in the Bible that can nourish me both mentally and spiritually! Fictional wise, I would choose… ooh this is tough… Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. It’s so beautiful and so deep that I would uncover new details about the characters if I kept on re-reading it! Either that or The United Continuums by Jennifer Brody. The story will never get old! Oh, I can’t choose just one!

6. What made you decide to start blogging?

My friend Lilly (the LIL in LILbooKlovers) and I thought that book blogging looked really fun, so we just made our blog! Our hunches were true!

7. If you could interview any author, living or dead, who would you choose?

Ruta Sepetys. I just want to meet her and just talk to her personally. I would love an interview with her. So many people say she’s the nicest person you’ll ever meet, and her books are just so amazing!

8. If you could turn any book into a movie, who would you pick to direct it?

Hey Jennifer Brody! For the Continuum Trilogy, would you like George Lucas to direct it? Because the series is a sci-fi one, I think George Lucas will do the job right!

9. Who would be your dream cast for this movie?

I think Jennifer knows the dream cast better than me. And she’s turning into The 13th Continuum in a movie soon!

10. Would you name a pet after a fictional character?

Yes! I’ve been wanting to have a pet pig named Hamlet for a while! That would be my dream! And I would dress him up in Shakespearean clothes and take pictures with him and a skull.

11. Do you like to write outside of blogging?

I am honestly not a writer. I like to write reviews and blog posts and that’s just it. I usually don’t have the time. But my author friend  Erin Beaty (whose debut book The Traitor’s Kiss you should pre-order right now) told me I should write more, and maybe I’ll try it out in the future. I’m probably going to do short stories like one of my other author friends J. L. Pattison, who writes some of the best short stories, does. I think it’s better for me to make a little anthology than an entire book!

 

Krysti’s Questions (Answered by Kester)

1. What hero from a Dystopian novel do you think our world needs right now?

I think we need Myra, Aero, and Seeker from The Continuum Trilogy by Jennifer Brody. They are the perfect examples of how stronger we are together, yet weaker we are if we are divided.

2. What book have you read that has lifted you up and made you feel stronger?

Although it made me cry, I think Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys definitely strengthened. It changed my life and my viewpoint on the world!

3. Name one book that has made you better understand a different culture.

Detour by Devorah Fox. I learned quite a bit about the Jewish culture in it and enjoyed reading it!

4. What’s your favorite diverse book you read in 2016?

I feel so bad since I’ve only read like one or two diverse books last year and didn’t enjoy them, but I know I’m going to read some more in 2017!

5. What diverse book are you most looking forward to reading in 2017?

Redemption time! As of now, my favorite diverse read of 2017 is Soulmated by Shaila Patel. Laxhsmi, an Indian girl, and Liam, an Irish guy, meet together in this cute romance that I loved so much!

6. What book would you make required reading for everyone in the world if you could?

I think everyone needs to read Salt to the Sea. It’s so inspiring, beautiful, poetic, and elegant that there’s so much to learn from it! Writers can definitely learn from Ruta’s style, and readers can learn lessons from the characters’ narratives!

7. What book quote do you find most inspiring?

I can’t just pick one, so I got to list a few that I think are inspiring:

“We don’t deserve to be hurt by the ones we love.” – If You’re Gone, by Brittany Goodwin

“There is pain on Earth. But it’s worth it anyway.” – Eden’s Wish, by M. Tara Crowl

“The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you give.” – All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven

“The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it’s the small things that count.” -All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven

“Fear isn’t the measure of our true worth. It isn’t even the measure of our abilities as a soldier. Fear is simply a normal emotional reaction to danger- and we are in grave danger now. We only become cowards if we give in to the fear and let it dictate our actions.” – The United Continuums, by Jennifer Brody

“United we are strongest.” – The United Continuums, by Jennifer Brody

” ‘I can survive on my own.’ His voice took a harsh turn. I didn’t like the hurt in his words. bo
‘I’m sure you can, Dov. But the point is you don’t have to.’ ” – Golden, by K. M. Robinson

8. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose?

To multitask. I can literally get so many things at once if I can multitask multiple things at once… did you know humans actually can’t?

9. Pick a genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Dystopian, Mystery, or Science Fiction.

None of the above! Historical fiction is my genre! (I know you wanted me to pick out of the five, Krysti, but I’m sorry!) I love history and older cultures and time periods! It transports me to a time that has already existed, but totally different than today’s society!

10. What is your favorite book series of all time?

The Continuum Trilogy, hands down! If you want to know why, just read my reviews!

11. And because I just have to, if you could have a chat with any book character over a glass of wine, who would you choose?

Yes, Krysti!!! I love this question!!! So even though I’m underage by a little more than 4 years, if I could chat with a book character over wine for him and sparkling grape juice for me, it would be David from the Fire in the Woods Trilogy by Jennifer M. Eaton. I want to know more about the Erescopian culture! I think alien cultures are fascinating!

 

Rendz’s Questions (Answered by Cayli)

1. Name a place you wish to one day visit. (Real/fictional)

I would love to visit Narnia one day. That would be SOOOOO epic. Or maybe a loop from Miss Peregrine. Oh man, that would be AWESOME.

2. What is the best movie quote you know?

Oh no. I honestly have no idea. I don’t have any inspiring quotes from movies, but I will always treasure the Mortal Instruments movie when Alec was sure they were all going to die, and Jace’s actor said, “Have a little faith” even though it wasn’t scripted. It fit perfectly with Jace’s character, and I laughed so hard at the awkward looks he was given.

3. Do you ever buy books you never read? 

YES. 100% YES. I say I’m going to read them, but then I buy books that I plan on reading the moment I get them, so I never have time to read the ones that are not as important.

4. What is your favourite non-book related activity?

I was about to say writing, but I guess that’s book-related… I love art. Painting. Sketching. Crafting. I get a lot if my ideas off of Pinterest (Love it so much!)

5. Do you read a lot of non-fiction?

Not really. It depends on the book. I love non-fiction that is about WWII, mostly. It’s really interesting and heartbreaking to see the people go through that time period.

6. Do you take a book wherever you go?

Yes, I do. And I end up forgetting to read it because I’m having too much fun or I’m just too busy. But I do bring one just in case.

7. What is/was you favourite subject in school?

I would say English right now if I wasn’t stressing out about it right now. I love my pathway Digital Arts and Design. It’s very interesting and it allows me to make art over a computer; I’m not too accustommed to it, so it’s really fun

8. Cats or dogs?

Dogs all the way!!! (Love you, Alli <3)

9. What would be your super power?

Like the famous wizard Justin Russo once said… Read in the dark! That, or transportation. That’s be nice, too.

10. Which character would you go on a lunch date with?

OH BOOOOOYYYYYY. Who do I pick? It’s between Jacob Portman, Will Herondale, and Simon Lewis… Simon…??? I don’t know 😥

11. What is your favourite sweet?

Chocolate covered pretzels. LOVE THEM.

 

Not-so-modern girl’s Questions (Answered by Kelsey)

1. What three words best describe your reading habits? 

Contemporary. Relaxing.  Crying. 

2. On average, how many books do you read a month?

2-3

3. If you could visit any time in the past, where would you go and what would you do?

Renaissance. Go to a masquerade ball. 

4. Which character in a book has the same name as you?

Kelsey from The Thing about Truth by Lauren Barnholdt

5. What is your best reading memory?

Staying up until 2 o’clock in the morning crying my eyes out over a fictional character. 

6. Who is your favourite classical author (if you have one!)?

C. S. Lewis

7. If you could only have one type of weather forever, what would it be?

Slightly Cloudy. 

8. If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Tank tops, jean shorts, and converse

9. If you could swap places with one character from a book, which character would it be and from which book?

Violet Markey from All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

10. Have you ever borrowed a book and never given it back? Or has someone borrowed your book and not given it back?

No. I’m too paranoid that I would ruin the book. Or they would. 

11. Cats or dogs?

DOGS!!! 🐶🐶🐶

 

Our Nominees

Kourti from Kourtni Reads

Mandy from Book Princess Reads

Jannin from The Booknerd Dragon

Stephanie from Teacher of YA

Olga from Olga’s Oddish Obsessions

Melanie from Mel to the Any

Janelle from A Rogue Librarian

Megan from ::bookslayerReads::

Orang-utan Librarian from The Orangutan Librarian

Payton from Payton’s Book Thoughts

Tiana from The Book Raven

 

Our Questions to Our Nominees:

1. Have you ever read a book that made you cry? What was it?

2. What do you eat or drink while you read or write?

3. If you were in charge of making a soundtrack for a movie adaptation of a book, what songs would you choose, and which book would it be?

4. What is one thing about book blogging you love and one think you wish could be improved?

5. What book is your most anticipated book that is releasing or has been released in 2017?

6. Out of all the books in your collection, which one do you prize the most?

7. Who is an author that lives in your state (or country if outside the US) that you love his or her books or are looking forward to reading?

8. If you could travel back in time to meet any author and ask that person one question, who would it be and what would you ask?

9. Who are some bloggers that you’d like to meet in person?

10. Do you have a favorite musical? What is it, and what are some of your favorite songs?

11. If you could live in any book world for a year, which book would you transport yourself to?
If you were nominated, you don’t have to do this award, but I would love to see you do it! Please tag me when you’ve posted yours! If you’ve already been tagged, you don’t have to do this, but it’s a little token of me saying “I like your blog!”

Thanks for reading! Have a great week!

 

+ J.M.J.

Happy Reading! ~ Kester

 

 

Exclusive Interview with Erin Beaty!

Hello! Last week on the #BBTC Twitter Chat (hosted by the lovely Brittany’s Book Rambles!), I got to meet a wonderful author whose debut book is probably one of my most anticipated reads of 2017! The Traitor’s Kiss sounded so amazing that I wanted to interview Erin Beaty so much, and I’m so happy that I’m able to host her on our blog! It was so fun last week, and to those that were there with me last week (or to those who were not), here is my exclusive interview! Go pre-order it today! TTK comes out May 9, 2017!

erin-beaty-credit

1. In your own words, how would you describe The Traitor’s Kiss?

ttk
Kester Note: By the way, look at that pretty cover!
When I was pitching the story to agents and later to publishers, I called it “Jane Eyre meets Mulan.” It’s about a girl who lives in a society where the vast majority of marriages are made through a system of matchmakers. Sage is completely unsuited for marriage herself, but she gets hired as the matchmaker’s apprentice, and a big part of the job is spying on people. They’re headed to a national marriage conference with a group of specially selected brides when Sage gets romantically involved with one of the soldiers from their ceremonial escort. The problem is, she has to lie about who she is, but so does he. In the middle of all this secret-keeping from each other, they uncover a treasonous plot that threatens to plunge the whole kingdom into civil war.

2. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

Until very recently, writing was something I only did on the side. Growing up, I loved to read, but I was all about science and math, and writing was just another skill to master. My dad was pretty insistent on communicating clearly, and I would often go 15 rounds with him on various history and English papers- and this was back before Microsoft Word! I studied engineering in college, but I did so well in my humanities classes, a few professors suggested I change majors. And somehow I always roped into doing the write-ups in our group projects. Did I like writing? Sort of. Mostly I was just glad our lab results were presented clearly.

Years later I had a blog, but it was mainly to keep family in the loop about our lives as we moved around the country. People who read it were always telling me I should write a book. I thought that was just weird until one day I got hit with an idea so hard I actually sat down and started typing. Now I’m like, why did it take me so long to realize writing is awesome?

Really, though, I look back over years of blog entries, and I see a lot of improvement in my story-telling. I wasn’t ready until now, so I don’t feel too bad about waiting this long to start.

3. Who are your favorite authors, and which ones have had an impact on you? Who has affected your writing style the most?

I really do love Jane Austen, because she has this dry, observational wit and her heroines don’t compromise what’s important. I love the precision of Michael Crichton and Robert Heinlein (and their science) and the historical narratives of Michael and Jeff Shaara. As a teen, I was all about Tamora Pierce, but her influence was more in living rather than writing. I’ve been pretty eclectic in my reading, though, and I don’t know if I can really nail down where my style comes from. Even now when I read books I feel like I’m learning something craft-wise. I think I will always be evolving.

4. What are your favorite genres to read and write? What are your favorite books?

I read whatever sounds interesting, and generally contemporary is lower on the list- I guess I never felt like I fit in my own time. You can be pretty certain I will never write a contemporary novel. I like sci-fi and fantasy, but I can be picky about it, especially if I think it’s going to take a lot of effort to understand the world. I adore historical fiction, but it has to be accurate.

My all-time favorite book is Michael Crichton’s Timeline, because quantum physics and medieval history make my nerd heart beat fast, and this has both. Other books I’ve read over and over are everything by Jane Austen, Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday, Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels, Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword, and Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and his short story anthology The Past Through Tomorrow. All those had huge influence on me in my teens and twenties, and I go back to them like comfort food.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?

Oh lordy. I have five kids and am married to a Navy man, so my life revolves mostly around running a household and moving every two years. The only reason I have time to write is because I’m anti-social. I’d say it’s part-time, but I don’t have any other real paying job, though I teach at the local writing center. Until we move again, that is.

6. Would you want to be a spy? If so, what would be your code name? What would also be your dream mission?

erin-beaty
Photo by Devon Shanor
I think I’d be a terrible spy- even calling people on the phone makes me hyperventilate, but I might be able to handle the type of spying Sage does. She kind of studies people like a naturalist studies ants. My code name would be Mama Bear, and the best mission I could handle would be where I’ve got a background job, but I’m really looking for signs of human trafficking or abuse.

7. Before you started your writing career, you worked in the U.S. Navy as a weapons officer. How was being in the Navy like? How did your experiences help you write this book?

There were so many good things and bad things, but I honestly don’t think most of the bad things were that unique to the military. Jerks and incompetence exist everywhere. There was sexism, yes, but also incredible support and empowerment. I learned so much about myself- what I was capable of, what my weaknesses were, and what was ultimately important to me in life. I learned how to prioritize and how to get stuff done. There were miserable times, but I dealt with them and came out stronger. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

There’s nothing specific in THE TRAITOR’S KISS that relates to lessons I learned, but there’s an underlying theme of what it means to be a leader, especially a military one.

8. Your novel is “Jane Austen meets an espionage twist!” Which Jane Austen character can you relate with the most? Which character relates to Sage Fowler, the protagonist of The Traitor’s Kiss, the most?

Is it vain to say Lizzie Bennet for myself? She sees the absurdity in everything and so distances herself from the world a bit. Sage is actually more like Jane Eyre than any other literary character – she starts with bitterness and loss, and she’s probably rougher around the edges than any of Austen’s characters. Definitely doesn’t have any of their refined manners.

9. In your own opinion, what is your favorite quote from your novel?

The one that always makes me smile is when Sage goes to apologize to the matchmaker and says, “You see, the way this works is, I say I’m sorry for the horrible things I said, and then you say you’re sorry for the horrible things you said. Then we smile and pretend we believe each other.”

10. If your book was turned into a movie, who would you want as the director and cast?

I love Kenneth Branaugh as a director (and an actor, but I don’t see a part for him). I’d always envisioned Duke D’Amiran looking like Richard Armitage, which is interesting because I think he’s kind of hot, and the character is the main bad guy. Majel Barrett would have been a great matchmaker, but that’s not possible. There’s an actress named McKenna Knipe who kind of has Sage’s looks, but I have no idea if her acting is any good. All the guys I can think of are too old. Wouldn’t mind sitting around looking at candidates all day, though.

11. Could you describe your reaction when you found out you were going to be published?

When my agent called to say I was going to an acquisition board at Macmillan, I was ironing a bunch of shirts for an upcoming wedding. I very carefully set the iron to the side and sat down on the couch behind me and said, “What?” Then I started shaking all over. For the rest of the evening, I was bumping into things left and right.

A week later I was lying on a bed at my in-laws’ house, staring at the ceiling and waiting for the results of said board. When my agent called to say I had an official offer, I just closed my eyes and shook my head for about ten minutes. Then I got up and got all the kids dressed for the wedding’s rehearsal dinner, where I imbibed heavily.

12. What is your go-to cure when you get a case of writer’s block?

I break out old fashioned notebooks. Writing things out by hand unlocks the creative part of my mind. But if my brain is just tired or stressed, I’ll watch a movie or read a favorite book. The book or movie has to be something I’m already familiar with, though, so there’s no real effort to understand what’s going on.

13. Do you have a favorite snack, drink, or song you like to listen to when you write?

erin
Photo by Devon Shanor

It’s hard to eat and type or write, so I often have chai or lattes on hand. I’ll snack while I edit sometimes. I have a few mood playlists, but interestingly, I can’t listen to anything with words if I’m editing, only writing.

14. As a debut author, what is one thing you wish someone told you before you started writing and publishing?

I’m kind of glad I didn’t know how much work it would be or I might have chickened out. There were many things I heard over and over – that each level of success only brings a new (and often worse) kind of stress, that I would experience horrible jealousies over other writers’ successes, and that I would leave some of my early writing friends behind – so I expected them, but I was unprepared for how they felt.

15. What are your current plans with your writing career?

I guess I’ll just keep writing books as long as it’s fun and people want to read them. I have several stories I want to develop, but right now life (moving) is getting in the way, and the priority in writing is finishing what has now become a trilogy. I let the writing genie out of the bottle, though, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put it back.

16. Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers?

Critique other people’s work (in a partnership), and learn how to do it well (it’s not easy). That was the best thing for finding the problems in my own writing. And write what you would want to read. Believe it or not, there’s lots of people out there who will like it, too. 

Thank you so much, Erin, for coming onto our blog! I loved your answers! I’m so excited to get The Traitor’s Kiss in May!

If you want to get some more of Erin Beaty through her social media accounts, or if you want to pre-order her book, check out the links below!

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

I’ll try to be at #BBTC tonight for anyone who wants to join me!

Do you like the classics like Jane Austen’s books? Do you like books infused with espionage? Will you pre-order this book, or is your interest piqued? What’s your most anticipated 2017 read? Comment below with your thoughts!

Til Next Time! ~ Kester

Free E-Book Today Only: Fire in the Woods, by Jennifer M. Eaton

Hi guys! I have another review posted up, and it’s on Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton! I loved this book. And today’s a special day! Why? This book is FREE on Amazon Kindle today only! I repeat, this book is FREE on Amazon Kindle today! Go download it now! Here is a link!

Fire in the Woods on Amazon Kindle for Free 2/24/17

If you are not yet convinced to download it, then read my review!

 

Synopsis: When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally.

But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel. But her father runs their house like an army barracks. and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere.

Ever.

So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met? Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David.

That doesn’t mean she won’t do it.

It just means she can’t get caught. Helping David get home while protecting her heart—that’s gonna be the hard part.

After all, she can’t really fall for a guy whose not exactly from here. As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But all is not what it seems. David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs as alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she’s to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it.

FIRE IN THE WOODS is Star-Crossed meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind!

 

DISCLAIMER:  I received a free digital copy in exchange for a review from the EMBERS IN THE SEA Blog Tour.


Rating: 10/10 Stars!

 

My Overall Thoughts: I love Fire in the Woods! Yes, I know I’m writing this review a month after I read it, but who cares? A review’s a review! I’m still rating it 5 stars. Any hoo, I sometimes couldn’t put this book down! I laughed, I almost cried, and I was hooked. It felt like watching an action-packed sci-fi movie!

Continue reading “Free E-Book Today Only: Fire in the Woods, by Jennifer M. Eaton”

Sweet 16 Special!

So I was told that a birthday post was in order. Happy birthday, me, I guess lol. Anyways, I decided to do something special for tonight….

And that special thing is a nice run down throughout my reading life. Catch everyone up on how I became a reader and what led me into the reader I am today!

I’ll tag a couple of bloggers that I follow to do this as well when their birthday rolls around. Hopefully, you guys will enjoy! (UPDATE: If you end up seeing this before I fix it, no one is tagged as of right now. I have no idea how to tag people 😥 Me + Technology/computers/the mix = lol wat.

Here we go…

Elementary,

The reason I didn’t put a specific age for this one is because it isn’t all that important to the topic of reading. I just wanted to point out that I did read at this time, but I never really saw reading as a great past time. Read-Around-the-World-Day was the day I had to sit there all day pretending to flip the pages.

When I was doing my AR tests, I read a bunch of Magic Tree House and Judy B. Jones. They were my all time favorite. I also enjoyed reading about supernatural things like ghosts and the Bermuda Triangle. Those made me mad crazy for more information. Imagine my face when I was told the Bermuda Triangle was nothing but an area that was lost to towers (I am not very caught up with this information so do not take my word for it.)

Age: Eleven-Twelve,

Around this age I was in middle school. I did not have many friends. I was that girl who thought she had to fit in to… fit in. I was that girl who turned her back on the friends who were willing to be there, because I thought they were not cool enough. Yet I cried about how lonely I was. I pushed everyone away, thinking I could get better.

Truth was, I didn’t need better. Because I already had better. I meant one of my best friends today while sitting down for a middle school movie… Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. 

I sat next to my friend as she told me how much she loved the books. I was all into the movie, too.

“Who’s the dude with the goat legs!?”

“So when you cut a head off, two more grow back?”

“His shoes are flying!!!”

And my friend told me that this was nothing compared to the books. I was a bit iffy about it, but I was so into the movie I asked to borrow her book. This our relationship grew. Reading opened my eyes up. It helped to see the world in a different perspective. 

I fell in LOVE with Percy Jackson. I don’t think I ever read a series so quickly in my life. One moment I’m reading about the Sea of Monsters (which, by the way, explained the Bermuda Triangle in a whole other light haha!), and the next I’m onto the next series: The Heroes of Olympus.

I got to The Mark of Athena, and stopped there… why? Because it was the LAST BOOK UNTIL THE FOLLOWING YEAR. *tears*




Age: Thirteen?

Still in middle school. By now, I have my own groups of friends. They accepted me, and I called myself lucky to have them. I still read, but I usually kept to my one genre: YA fiction. To be honest, if it wasn’t Percy Jackson related, I hardly looked it’s way.

Hey, but it was a start.

I joked around with my friends about the books. We have inside jokes that I’m sure they would get the moment texted them: “I hope your eye twitches.” (PJO fans, I expect you guys to understand this.) Life was great!

I was a bit of a fangirl over these books. I swear, I knew almost everything about Percy Jackson. I loved Greek Mythology. I was thirteen, and I watched documentaries on this stuff. Like, you know how there are Twilight fan girls out there? Hanging posters of Edward on their walls and screaming every time his name pops up? That was me. But with this series.

Age: Fourteen,

This was my eighth grade year. Stuff started to get really awful for me. I got in fights with my close friends over stuff I deeply regret today. It was a year that I felt like every night I would cry. Lunch hours were spent in silence. (It got better, though!)

I was on the House of Hades I believe. I was still very much a fangirl. Very much. (CRIINNNGGEEE.) I remember one of my friends telling me in the ninth grade, “You used to be so crazy.” I’m so sorry, fellow classmates.

I was a bit distracted from reading due to the fights. But I do remember reading The Mortal Instruments. I fell in love with this series too. I got a couple of my other friends to read them, and still today we joke around about Sebastian and Jace and whatnot. Talk about major geek alerts!

This series really opened my mind to other books. It made me realize how big the reading world is. I should go explore it.

Reading really kept my mind off of things. Reading also saved me. Without Jesus in my life, in that moment in time, I would not have changed, and I would not have been able to see all my wrongs.

This series really opened my mind to other books. It made me realize how big the reading world is. I should go explore it.

Also… this was around the time I decided I wanted to become a writer. I wanted to write books and make people smile just like my favorite authors could do for me. I wanted to put a smile on someone’s face. I wanted to make someone’s day. Just doing that would make it all worth it for me.





Age: Fourteen-Fifteen,

High school. Oh, boy. Freshman year was a little tough at first. I’m such an introvert that it kept me from making other friends. My close group of friends moved away, others did not have a problem talking with other people. I felt alone.

But no pity party here, because I sucked it up. I ended up falling in love with reading. I read all sorts of fiction. I loved historical fiction, I loved dystopians, I loved contemporaries, I loved anything that felt good in my hands. Freshman year was also when I read The Chronicles of Narnia. It was presented to me by my youth pastor. It may have took me the entire year, but I did enjoy every minute I spent reading and analyzing every word of it.

I fell in love with The Infernal Devices. Today they are still a top favorite. I started watching book-tubers on YouTube like PolandBananas and JessetheReader (Many others as well). I wanted to start reading books to get their meaning other than just reading them. So I did.

Since the day I decided I wanted to start writing, I came up with this story that only a few people know about. It is one story I hope to write about one day, once I have modified it. And man, has it gone through a lot. Name changes. Plot changes. Setting changes. Same concept, but every year it evolves into what I want it to be.

I have practiced writing. I studied websites on tips and good writing habits. I had people read tiny prompts that I wrote. The passion continually grew and grew. But I hardly ever published any of my work. I was too scared… am too scared.



Age fifteen-SIXTEEN,

We’re getting close to the end! Sophomore year has been by far one of my favorite years in a long time. I forced myself out of my shell, and I actually made friends with a lot of people. I met people who shared common interests. I met people who knew what I was talking about half the time!

For the first semester, I was in Art. Throughout art, I would make fan-art symbolizing my favorite books. My art teacher thought they were beautiful, and I even remember one person going, “Hey! I love that series!” Thank you, Brad.

My genres expanded greatly. Around this time I joined LilBooKlovers. Thank you, Kester, for this wonderful opportunity! I have always wanted to review books and to talk about them. This blog was one of the best things to ever help me.

Again, I wrote and I wrote. I showed a friend of mine. And I wrote. Took a long break. Wrote. My story was still changing by the things I experienced.

By the next semester, my story was something completely different. Today, it is something I feel like cannot go to waste. It has come so far. I haven’t wrote the book. Far from that, but I think about it all the time. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to share it to the world.


This is my Reading Story. Not too grand, but it’s what got me into reading!!!

I want to tag the following people to do this when their birthday comes around or if they would like to modify to fit something closer, feel free! If you would like to do this tag, feel free to do so!

I tag: 

Jannin from The Booknerd Dragon

Rendz from Reading with Rendz

Aaron from Swords & Spectres

 

BOOK HAUL!!!😍😍😍

I recently bought five books on amazon and they finally came in today!!!

Disclaimer: I bought all of these books with my own money. None of them were sent to me. 

1. A Monster Calls by Patrick NessBook Description: The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

Review: https://lilbooklovers.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/a-monster-calls-by-patrick-ness/

2. The Love that Split the World by Emily HenryBook Description: Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves. Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right. That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau. 

3. Girl in Pieces by Kathleen GlasgowBook Description: Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you. Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge. 

4. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy Book Description: What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission. Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she caused irreparable damage to the people around her—and to the one person who matters most?

5. Milk and Honey by Rupi KaurBook Description: Milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. Milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

Have you read any of these?Are any of these on your TBR?

Catch the Spark Within – Chapters 12 and 13! By Alex Abaz

I have received a free copy of this book for a honest review. 

Hey, back and better than ever! These following chapters were very short, therefore the reviews may be short. But they were wonderful nonetheless!

Chapter 12: Crises are not fun but they do present opportunities to do more than just rescue and repair matters.

Crises are never fun. They cause tension between people that probably wasn’t there before. But are they necessary? Yes, sometimes they are.

Alex Abaz assures that crises bring opportunities to heal relationships and to grow personally. A fight with a best friend, we’ve probably all have had one, can strengthen the bond between two people, if it all ends well. You learn more about someone and understand each other a little more.

They can be hard to get through. They make you want to give up mid-fight. Voices inside your head tell you to give up. To walk away and pretend nothing ever happened.

Don’t do this. All you’re doing is hurting those around you. All you’re doing is making it worse. Try to find that finish line. Find the resolve to all of it. “Put aside the hyrt and reach out.”

Chapter 13:  Our Children are Entrusted to Us for such a Short While.

Now, I’m not a parent. Far from one actually. I still have parents whom I trust to take care of me until I’m responsible to take complete control of myself. 

But I do agree with Abaz that children take after their parents. They sponge off their parents’ actions and habits. 
Let’s just say if my parents decided to follow the ways of their own family and didn’t raise me the way they did, I’d be a completely different person. They both changed so my brother and I could have a chance in making a difference in the world.

Parents should be open to the child’s interests. Discipline their child to do what is right. Don’t lay off raising them until it is too late. Be their parents so when they are ready, they will fly high. 

Exclusive Interview with Helene Dunbar

Hi guys! Happy Presidents’ Day! We don’t have a giveaway planned for this week, but we do have a special interview with Helene Dunbar, author of These Gentle Wounds! I loved this book, and it’s really haunting and chilling! Hope you enjoy this interview!

helene-dunbar

1. What is your book These Gentle Wounds about? these-gentle-wounds-final

These Gentle Wounds is about Gordie, a boy who is the lone survivor of a horrific family tragedy. It opens five years after that event, at a time when Gordie feels as though his life is as “normal” as it is ever going to be, given his abuse and trauma-related PTSD. But the reemergence of his biological father, the person he blames for the tragedy, turns everything upside down and he is forced to figure out how to draw upon strength he never knew he had, in order to move forward.

It is a story of strength and brotherhood and complicated relationships. 

2. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

I’ve written as long as I can remember. In high school, I was editor of our newspaper and literary magazine. I even went to journalism camp. My goal, which I achieved, was to work as a drama critic, but finding full-time work there is hard, so I moved to marketing writing. I came to fiction writing very, very late.

3. Who are your favorite authors, and which ones have had an impact on you? Who has affected your writing style the most?

I have favorite books more than favorite authors. Usually I fall deeply in love with a book and then am disappointed to find the author going in a different direction with their other work, although I totally understand that because I do it myself.

It’s hard to say who has had an effect on my writing style. I come from the world of drama and journalism, so some of that probably leaks through and it’s probably why I love writing dialogue because theatre is, of course, 99% dialogue.

I can say that when I started writing fiction, I spent a lot of time analyzing books by Maggie Steifvater, Hannah Moskowitz, and Andrew Smith as kind of my own fiction-writing tutorial.

4. What are your favorite genres to read and write? What are your favorite books?

The books that got me back into reader were Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, but I primarily read contemporary.

My favorite books are a mixed bag, but here are a couple: Amber Dermont’s THE STARBOARD SEA, Hannah Moskowitz’s TEETH, Donna Tartt’s THE SECRET HISTORY, and my all-time favorite is Evelyn Waugh’s BRIDESHEAD REVISITED; I’ve always been fascinated by that period of English history.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job? helene1_

When I’m not writing, I’m a wife and mom. Currently I have a number of part-time jobs all of which involve writing in one way or another, but I’m preparing to go back to full-time work in communications I’m also a long-time freelancer for an Irish magazine called Irish Music Magazine, covering traditional music in the US, which is a huge passion of mine.

6. How much research did you have to complete to make Gordie’s case of PTSD as authentic as you could?

I spent a lot of time in PTSD forums, read many, many articles, and drew on some of my own experiences as well.

7. The title of These Gentle Wounds still intrigues me. What is the origin of the title, and why is “these” in These Gentle Wounds a different font than the other words?

The book was originally called “In Case of Emergency”, which wasn’t a title I really loved. Titles have never been my strong-suit and These Gentle Wounds came as a suggestion from my Flux editor, Brian Farrey. We discussed the idea of how mental health issues aren’t the same as physical issues because they can’t be easily seen and that makes it, in some ways, so much more difficult for anyone who is wrestling with them.

As for the italics, you’d have to ask Flux.

8. Who was your favorite character to write and why?

In TGW, my favorite was probably Kevin, Gordie’s brother. I did a lot of work on him very late in the revision process because his scars are harder to see than Gordie’s. Since Gordie was directly involved in the incident and Kevin wasn’t, I really wanted to show how the event damaged both kids in very different ways. Kevin has a lot of survivor’s guilt and that comes out in a variety of not-always-productive ways.

9. Gordie’s favorite sport is hockey while Sarah’s favorite hobby is photography. Are you interested in either hockey or photography?

I grew up in Detroit, so I love hockey. Gordie was named after Gordie Howe. I don’t have a particular interest or talent in photography.

10. I saw that you are a Pitch Wars mentor. Could you describe to us what Pitch Wars is and what you do in it?

PitchWars is a writing “contest” started by the amazing Brenda Drake. Mentors publicize the type of manuscripts they’d like to work with. Writers then “query” us. We choose a project to work on and basically put the writer through boot camp, helping them revise and polish their manuscript in order to get it read for agents.

It is a crazy amount of work, but is massively rewarding. I’ve worked with two authors who have gone on to sign with amazing agents and I couldn’t be prouder of them.

11. In your bio, you state that you have lived in two countries and six states. Where have you moved, and how did you end up in Nashville? Which one was your favorite place to live?

I’m from Michigan, and in chronological order the list would be: Michigan, Chicago, DC, New York, New Jersey, New York, England, New York, Nashville. I’m very good at packing.

My heart will always be in New York. I moved to Nashville to work (briefly) for a record label and because my Scottish-born husband really wanted to get out of the city. It’s home for now.

12. How do you cure a case of writer’s block?

I rarely have writer’s block, my probably is usually a lack of time to sit down and write. But I’m also a believer in giving myself a break when I need it. So if I’m not on deadline and boring myself when I sit down on write, I just take time off until I’m hungry for it again.

13. One of my favorite quotes in the book was when Ms. DeSilva said to Gordie, “See, I told you that you were brave.” Bravery is one of the central themes that surrounds this book. What is the message that you are trying to tell your readers with Gordie’s story?

I believe that everyone has more strength, courage, and love inside them than they give themselves credit for. TGW is really a story of Gordie learning to believe in himself and if there is a message to this book that would be it.

14. Have you written any other works? What are also your current plans with your writing career? what-remains

TGW was my debut. WHAT REMAINS came out in 2015 and I have a book releasing later this year called BOOMERANG, which is a book that means a great deal to me. More information on it is up on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28271395-boomerang

15. Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers?

Read. Read. Read. Then write according to your heart and not the marketplace.

Try to learn patience. Publishing is a very slow business.

Find your community. Writing is isolating, and bonds with other writers can get you through the storms.

Thank you so much, Helene, for coming onto our blog!

If you want to check out Helene’s books and social media, click below!

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Tumblr  |  Goodreads

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

‘Til Next Time! – Kester

Milestone Sunday! 100 WordPress Followers and 3,000 Views! + Happy Birthday to Cayli!

Hi guys! Happy Sunday! Today marks a special day… well yesterday. We’ve achieved some special milestones this week, and we’d like to share them with you!

But first…

Happy Birthday to Cayli! Her birthday was actually yesterday, but I would like to post it here on LILbooKlovers! I am so glad that you are a part of the team, and I have loved working with you! I’m happy that we share Digital Arts together! Thanks for everything you have done for this blog! You have contributed so much!

Now onto our two milestones…

This week we reached 3,000 views on LILbooKlovers! I’m so happy! These past fe3000-viewsw months have been crazy hectic, but I’m so glad I’ve gotten to meet a ton of new blogger and author friends! We would like to thank each and every one of you who have taken your time to view and read our posts! We couldn’t have reached this point without you!

100-followersAnd our second milestone: Yesterday we reached 100 WordPress followers! *grabs the champagne and opens it* I am so thankful that we’ve gotten to meet so many WordPress bloggers, and that many of you have decided to follow us! Thank you for all your support! We couldn’t have reached 100 WordPress followers without all of you bloggers following us and telling your friends! I’m so thankful for all these blessings!

Thank you to everybody for helping us! I have to give a few thank you’s before I go really quick. To my closest blogger friends, thanks for all the fun conversations in the comments sections, all the support, and all the fun at BBTCs! To my closest author friends, thanks for all the support, encouragement, books, ARCs, and texts that have helped me continue to be a book blogger and reader who wants to help out as many authors and bloggers and readers as I can! To Cayli, Kelsey, and Lilly, this blog wouldn’t have been the same without you guys! To my family, thanks for all the love and supports and jokes about me being a big reader! And to all of you followers and viewers, thanks for taking the time to look at LILbooKlovers! Thanks for everything! Hope you can continue to share and follow us so we can spread our book love to as many people as possible!

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for J. L. Pattison’s SAVING KENNEDY! Please go enter right now here at this link!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f13123ce8/