Yet Another Book Haul📚

Hello fellow readers! Happy New Year. I hope your New Years resolutions are off to a great start. My resolution, if I were to do one, would probably to stay away from the bookstore until I’ve read the books I have already. Anyway on to the books I hauled over the holidays!

The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

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In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.


The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.


Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

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A teen plunges into a downward spiral of addiction in this classic cautionary tale.

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After you’ve had it, there isn’t even life without drugs….It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth — and ultimately her life.

Read her diary.

Enter her world.

You will never forget her.For thirty-five years, the acclaimed, bestselling first-person account of a teenage girl’s harrowing decent into the nightmarish world of drugs has left an indelible mark on generations of teen readers. As powerful — and as timely — today as ever, Go Ask Alice remains the definitive book on the horrors of addiction.


Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

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“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.


The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

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Surprises abound and sparks ignite in the highly anticipated, utterly romantic companion to My Life Next Door

Tim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To:

– find the liquor cabinet blindfolded

– need a liver transplant

– drive his car into a house

Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To:

– well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.

For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.

Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted . . . but maybe should have.

And Alice is caught in the middle.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this return to the world of My Life Next Door is a story about failing first, trying again, and having to decide whether to risk it all once more.


Helium by Rudy Francisco

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Helium is the debut poetry collection by internet phenom Rudy Francisco, whose work has defined poetry for a generation of new readers. Rudy’s poems and quotes have been viewed and shared millions of times as he has traveled the country and the world performing for sell-out crowds. Helium is filled with work that is simultaneously personal and political, blending love poems, self-reflection, and biting cultural critique on class, race and gender into an unforgettable whole. Ultimately, Rudy’s work rises above the chaos to offer a fresh and positive perspective of shared humanity and beauty.


The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

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Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?


Paperweight by Meg Haston

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Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.

Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.

Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn’t plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.


Mosquitoland by David Arnold

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I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.

After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, Mosquitoland is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.


The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby

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A near drowning…a coma for days…and then…

Olivia wakes up to realize she doesn’t remember. Not just the accident—but anything from the last four years. Not high school. Not Matt, the guy who is apparently her boyfriend. Not the reason she and Jules are no longer friends. Nothing.

That’s when it hits her—the accident may not have taken her life, but it took something just as vital: her memory. The harder she tires to remember things, the foggier everything gets, and figuring out who she is feels impossible when everyone keeps telling her who she was.

But then there’s Walker. The guy who saved her. The one who broke her ribs pumping life back into her lungs. The hardened boy who keeps his distance despite Olivia’s attempts to thank him.

With her feelings growing for Walker, tensions rising with Matt, and secrets she can’t help but feel are being kept from her, Olivia must find her place in a life she doesn’t even remember living.


Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

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What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?


Which one are you most excited for?

Have you read any of these?

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Caroline Eversole and the Gilded Gauntlet by B.B. Morgan

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for an honest review. This does not alter my opinion in any way.

Goodreads Description: Caroline is no ordinary peacock, and she’ll prove it. Caroline lives a life of luxury in the Fourth Terrace, made possible by her father’s prosperous shipping company, but she daydreams about pirates, mermaids, and a life of freedom on the high seas, away from her overbearing mother and her high-society demands. But everything is not as it seems; her father is not the gentleman he pretends to be. He is a pirate, and he needs Caroline’s help to retrieve the Gilded Gauntlet before its owner, Talbot Ghost, comes looking for it. Caroline will be put to the test; help her father and the pirates, or do what she feels it right? Either will have ghostly consequences.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The adventure was very fun to be a part of.

I’ll admit, I was a bit annoyed with Caroline in the first half of the book. She allowed other people to decide who she was. However later on She proved herself time and time again that she wasn’t some peacock waiting to be married off, that she didn’t need anyone to decide for her.

I especially loved her relationship with Phineas. They were both expected to do things they didn’t want to do. Caroline broken tradition, deciding that she would no longer be a victim of circumstance. Phineas wanted to follow his own path before he “retires” as king. The pirates in the story also represented a semblance of the freedom they were both looking for. Though the punishment for piracy was steeped, those pirates continued to live their lives without deferring to anyone. It was an aspect of the book that I liked.

Emotions by Arnie Cantarero

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book by the author for an honest review.

Goodreads Description: Jason Ariaz is not your average 22 year old. He has been genetically and cybernatically enhanced but that’s only the beginning. He is an emotionless extraterrestrial born to human parents and living amongst us. Both him and his implanted thinking computer were damaged on landing and must go through life as less than what they really are. The purpose of their mission: to gain permanent emotions from the more primitive society that is Earth. If he is successful, he will be the first of his species to do so in nearly 200,000 years. Hope lies in the fact that he is capable of emotional episodes and he has been able to forge true friendships. However, he does have the chance of completing his mission if he can truly care for Ariel, the closest human in his life. But he better know his heart soon. Their lives are in danger of ending tonight, unless he can recover what his species has lost.

Rating: 4/5

Science-fiction stories usually aren’t my number one choice for reading. However, this story is truly DIFFERENT from everything else I have read! The story gripped me from the start although at times I did get lost. I found the writing style to be perfect. At first I couldn’t click with Jason but after a while I started to love him. I was able to feel how emotionless Jason was in the way that he spoke and thought. As the story progressed Jason starts to experience more in his life, the style of writing starts to transform. The author did a great job of letting the reader feel like they were growing up with Jason and experiencing what he did first had. This is obviously a VERY unique idea for a story, and I immediately grew excited about the concept. It was amusing to me how in this story, the author gave the humans the “upper hand”. To think that these life forms could need ANYTHING from us that they hadn’t already had was a great idea.

Overall I would recommend this book to sci-fi lovers and those who are on the fence.

Aaru by David Meredith

Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃🍁🍽 I personally am very thankful for each and every one of you that read my reviews. Thank you!

Disclaimer: I received a paperback copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. Goodreads Description: Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear. She is sixteen years old. Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model. Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale. What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

Rating: 4/5

I’m normally not a fan of sci-fi. But with that being said,I was immediately sucked into Rose and Koren’s unique world(s). It was well written and powerful, many times I found myself in tears over the unfairness and the powerful emotions that flew off the pages. David Meredith does a fantastic job of covering difficult and challenging subjects. He uses a lot of detail in his book making it easy to relate to both Rose and Koren, along with their parents.

Overall, I highly recommend for thosewho love sci-fi and maybe for thoseof you that don’t.

Weave A Murderous Web by Anne-Rothman Hicks and Ken Hicks

Hi guys. Long time, no see. I guess I’m partially to blame for that. School has been stressing me out with all the homework. However, in my free time I read as much as I can.

Goodreads Description: No good deed goes unpunished. When Jane Larson—a hot-shot litigator for a large firm in New York City—helps out a friend, she is sucked into the unfamiliar world of divorce and child support. Jane’s discovery of the deadbeat dad’s hidden assets soon unravels a web of lies, drugs, and murder that keeps getting more dangerous. Soon, Jane is involved in a high stakes race to recover a missing suitcase of cash and catch the murderer before she becomes the next victim.

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Rating: 3.7/5

I have got some extremely mixed feelings over this book. I loved Jane’s character; I admired the fact that she knew what she wanted in life and wouldn’t let anything get in the way of that. In addition to Jane, we’re introduced to a plethora of other characters, while I did enjoy the addition the characters, sometimes I had a hard time of keeping everyone straight, which made some parts of this book difficult to get through. The plot/mystery wasn’t the most suspenseful I’ve seen & was a bit slow to get into the action and excitement. I did suspect who the killer was before the ending. The one aspect I feel that the plot would have benefited from was character development. I found the writing uneven and hard to get into at first but progressively got better as you went along. I found the story confusing at some parts because of all the laws and regulations. However, I REALLY loved that in the end the heroine must save herself using her own wits, resources and intelligence. She doesn’t need to rely on a dashing muscular hero to come in and save the day.

Frost on my Pillow (The Fire Bringer #1) by Leah Hamrick

Hi loves. Here is a book review for you.35089321

Disclaimer: I recieved a free e-book from the author for an honest review. This will not alter my opinion.


Goodreads Description: One girl, one voice, one necklace with the power to change the universe if fallen into the wrong hands… One love that’s sure to show in the stars… One boy who will do anything to protect her, even if that means laying down his own life to keep the demons from her… One Fire, one Ice.


3 Stars

Rating: 3/5

This story gave me mixed emotions, after such a promising start that it would have a lot more drama on the paranormal side. Instead, there was the typical school drama and a love triangle that had me cheering for the underdog. Overall, I did like this book. The chemistry between Lyla and both the men in her life was good, and the romance between Ethan and Lyla was strong and illustrated how good they are together. The way this story ended is to be continued and does leaves readers hanging, but it will also make readers intrigued because of what does happen. There is a good story here but a lot of formatting errors that made a smooth read difficult. This has the potential to be a good New Adult addition.

Recommendation: New Adult and Paranormal Romance readers

Summer of Authors #13: Author Interview with Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks, authors of Weave A Murderous Web. Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks

 


About Weave A Murderous Web29444730

No good deed goes unpunished. When Jane Larson—a hot-shot litigator for a large firm in New York City—helps out a friend, she is sucked into the unfamiliar world of divorce and child support.

Jane’s discovery of the deadbeat dad’s hidden assets soon unravels a web of lies, drugs, and murder that keeps getting more dangerous.

Soon, Jane is involved in a high stakes race to recover a missing suitcase of cash and catch the murderer before she becomes the next victim.


 Which writers inspire you?

We are inspired by writers who create plots that draw you in with characters and settings that come alive. Among many others, we both like Charles Dickens and Kurt Vonnegut. Another favorite of Anne’s is Charlotte Bronte. Ken admires William Faulkner.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Ken met Kurt Vonnegut once and asked him this question. His response was that he always wanted to be a writer. We adopt that answer for our own. We have both been fashioning stories in our minds for almost as long as we have been reading.

Why do you write?

We think that all artists create their art for essentially the same reason—they have a view of the world that they want to share with other people and, perhaps, at the same time teach them to see things from a different perspective, if only for a short time. This is why we write. We enjoy putting together a mystery, but each book is also trying to convey something about the world in which it occurs.

Where do your ideas come from?

The germ of an idea can come from anywhere—the newspaper, an overheard conversation, an incident on the street. The layers of plot and the interactions of characters come from bouncing ideas back and forth.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

We think that after many years we have learned from our mistakes and will remove material that is not actively moving the story forward no matter how much we enjoy the way it is written.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest thing about writing is marketing the book so that people will read it. It is a tedious and joyless process.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Once you formulate a basic idea and have a good concept of your characters and the story arc, the act of putting the novel down on paper is a lot of fun.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

This is a difficult question to answer since we sometimes put a book aside and work on something else before coming back to the first project. We go through a substantial rewriting and revision process. It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

Ken often reads on his iPhone. He loves the feel of paper and even collects old books, but it is very convenient to have a book in digital format that he can turn to anywhere without having to carry a large volume. Anne, on the other hand, only reads books on paper, usually from our local library.

Do you think that the cover plays an important in the success of a book?

There is really no question that readers are attracted to a book initially by a good cover. Publishers spend large sums of money to create eye-grabbing images. However, no one ever recommended a book based solely on a cover. Rather, readers talk to other readers because they like the writing.

Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing a book?

The best advice we can give is to stick with a topic that you know thoroughly. Don’t write about the South Pacific if you’ve never been there. Second, expect to work very hard and thoroughly rewrite every sentence of your novel many times until you get it right. Third, don’t use a big word if a small will serve the same purpose.

What is your favorite book and why? 

Anne loves Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut, which has funny and interesting characters, a plot with unexpected twists, and a point of view that is unique. Ken would describe Bleak House by Charles Dickens in a similar way, although it is not as thoroughly amusing as Sirens of Titan.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Travel as much as you can afford. Work hard. Harder!

Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?

Ken would love to meet Socrates. Anne would enjoy spending time with Bob Dylan.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

In addition to what we wrote above, if you don’t feel compelled to write, don’t start. It is a process that you should undertake only because you have to, not because you simply want to do something with your free time.


About the Authors:

Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks have been collaborating on books for forty-six years. Their first joint effort was a student project while Anne was at Bryn Mawr College and Ken attended Haverford. Since then, they have written over twenty books together. They are members of International Thriller Writers. They live and work in New York City, where many of their books are set.

Their Jane Larson series of mystery/thrillers involves a high-powered New York City attorney with a penchant for getting involved in situations that she would be better off leaving alone. These novels have been praised by reviewers for their gritty portrayals of city life, lively characters, fast action, surprise endings and highly polished prose. Jane is cynical and rebellious, but she finds herself drawn to the simple life her deceased mother lived as an attorney who served women unable to afford legal services. The series includes Weave A Murderous Web, Praise Her, Praise Diana, and Mind Me, Milady.


Readers can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

To learn more, go to http://randh71productions.com/blog/

Blood Moon by John David Bethel

Hi lovelies. I’m back with another review.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for an honest review. This will not effect my review.

Goodreads Description: On a hot, steamy afternoon in Miami, Cuban-American 33239090businessman Recidio Suarez is brutally beaten and abducted. Handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded, he has no idea why he has been targeted. What he discovers is heart-stopping. What he endures during almost a month of captivity compares only to the most horrendous stories of prisoners of war. He is tortured, and under the threat of death, and worse – the rape of his wife and torture of his children – Suarez is forced to hand over his multi-million dollar holdings to his captors. Suarez survives and then spends the next few months staying one step ahead of the murderous pack. During this time, he and his lawyer, Nolan Stevens – a former Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Office of the FBI – are having difficulties convincing the Miami-Dade Police Department that a crime has been committed. Their efforts are complicated by Steven’s difficult history with the head of the MDPD Special Investigations Division, who is not interested in pursuing the case.


4 Stars

When I first started reading this book I had a feeling I wasn’t going to like it, but boy was I wrong. This book blew me away! The pace starts off slowly but quickly increases as you keep reading. However, at times I did think the book was drawn out a little. The book is extremely well written; it is dark and doesn’t hold back from the gory details. Definitely not for the faint-of-heart. 

Recommendation: definitely worth a read.

Call Me Sunflower by Miriam Spitzer Franklin

Disclaimer: I recieved a free physical ARC for a honest review. This does not change my opinion of the book. 

Goodreads Description: Sunny Beringer hates her first name—her real first name—Sunflower. And she hates that her mom has suddenly left behind her dad, Scott, and uprooted their family miles away from New Jersey to North Carolina just so she can pursue some fancy degree. Sunny has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, and she’s had to leave her beloved cat and all her friends behind. And no one else seems to think anything is wrong. So she creates “Sunny Beringer’s Totally Awesome Plan for Romance”—a list of sure-fire ways to make her mom and Scott fall madly in love again, including: Send Mom flowers from a “Secret Admirer” to make Scott jealous and make him regret letting them move so far away. Make a playlist of Scott’s favorite love songs—the mushier the better—and make sure it’s always playing in the car. Ask them about the good old days when they first fell in love. But while working on a photo album guaranteed to make Mom change her mind and rush them right back home, Sunny discovers a photo—one that changes everything. Sunny’s family, the people she thought she could trust most in the world, have been keeping an enormous secret from her. And she’ll have to reconcile her family’s past and present, or she’ll lose everything about their future.


This book was a very easy read. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down. Sunny is a relatable character with a notable cause. I was both heartbroken and warmed by the way Sunny views the world and her attempts to change it. This is a story of love, family, resilience, and grief. It is a poignant reminder that families don’t have to be perfect to be full of love.

Recommendation: Middle graders 

Summer of Authors #8: Author Interview with Jon Del Arroz

Hello loves. I am back with another author interview! Please give a warm welcome to Jon Del Arroz, author of For Steam And Country.


About For Steam And Country 35378932

Her father’s been pronounced dead. Destructive earthquakes ravage the countryside. An invading army looms over the horizon. And Zaira’s day is just getting started…

Abandoned at an early age, Zaira von Monocle found life as the daughter of a great adventurer to be filled with hard work and difficulty. She quickly learned to rely on only herself. But when a messenger brought news that her father was dead and that she was the heir to his airship, her world turned upside down.

Zaira soon finds herself trapped in the midst of a war between her home country of Rislandia and the cruel Wyranth Empire, whose soldiers are acting peculiarly—almost inhuman. With the enemy army advancing, her newfound ship’s crew may be the only ones who can save the kingdom.


Jon Del Arroz

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t wait to be acknowledged by agents or editors. Readers are what matters. You get those by having product out there. Just produce, get the train started, put it up on amazon yourself.

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

First thing that comes to mind is Excalibur by Tim Marquitz. It’s a really fun shoot em up in space that’s light, a quick read and action packed. It’s probably my favorite book I’ve read that’s out in 2017 so far and it deserves more cred!

 

As a writer, what would you choose as your spirit animal?

A ferret (thematic to For Steam And Country!)

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

It really depends on the story. This book was a straight up fantasy, so it was mostly brainstorming and making things up. I have a sci-fi I wrote (which is in process for revising) where I had a character whose a master botanist. Did a lot of research on plants, botany, gardening and the like for that and spent hours on YouTube trying to get little details.

How many hours a day do you write?

Two to four.

 

How do you select the names of your characters?

For this book in particular I wanted to do something special. Most fantasy has pretty generic sounding fantasy names, and I think it’s made them imminently forgetful. I developed a naming convention through nobility in my book’s setting of Rislandia where people get named after cool items and gadgets that are steam punk themed. So you’ll have characters like Zaira Von Monocle, Mathias Du Gearsmith, Talyen Von Cravat. My hope is that those names will stick in people’s heads a little longer than if it just had more of a standard fantasy flavor. So far reaction’s been favorable!

 

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I do commercial real estate.

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Tons. Last book, Star Realms: Rescue Run was littered with references to Anne McCaffrey, my favorite all time author. For Steam And Country has a lot of Final Fantasy easter eggs.

 

What was your hardest scene to write?

Wasn’t in this book, which I found pretty easy to write all around, but it was in the one I referenced above with the botanist. There was a death of a character I just didn’t want to get into that head space. I procrastinated the scene for about a month and a half.

 

What is your favorite childhood book?

When I was a kid my favorite book was 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

2 months for first pass, about a month to edit, couple weeks on a third pass. I take breaks in between to work on other projects so I can come at it fresh so the whole process is about 6-9 months.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

It’s all about confidence. Write confidently that your ideas are interesting, that they’re worthwhile and it will translate to readers. This is true for main characters too — I used to write main characters to feel “more real” with a lot of lack of confidence in themselves. While it felt accurate, it didn’t make for good fiction. People escape through fantasy/sci-fi and want to see ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and that requires confidence.

Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers?

Put yourself out there. Self-promote and don’t be ashamed of it. So many people are scared but you gotta get your friends and family reading. They’ll tell their friends and family. It cascades. It’s super important and you gotta be marketing yourself constantly. The game never ends.


About the AuthorJon.jpg

Jon Del Arroz began his writing career in high school, providing book reviews and the occasional article for the local news magazine, The Valley Citizen. From there, he went on to write a weekly web comic, Flying Sparks, which has been hailed by Comic Book Resources as “the kind of stuff that made me fall in love with early Marvel comics.” He
has several published short stories, most recently providing flash fiction for AEG’s weird west card game, Doomtown: Reloaded, and a micro-setting for the Tiny Frontiers RPG. Writing and reading Space Opera is his life!

Star Realms: Rescue Run is his debut novel. You can find him during baseball season with his family at about half of the Oakland A’s home games in section 124.