Author Interview with Mark Falkin, Literary Agent and YA Apocalyptic Author of The Late Bloomer

Hi guys! Today, I’m celebrating my school’s homecoming! Roll Red Roll! Man, it’s pretty sad that this is my senior year homecoming–and my last homecoming as a high school student. I’m going to be celebrating as I cheer on my school at tonight’s football game. Roll Red Roll! Mark Falkin is here on the blog to talk about his latest book The Late Bloomer, which releases on October 16th from California Coldblood. It sounds really chilling and intriguing, so I hope you enjoy this interview and check out Mark’s book!


About the BookThe Late Bloomer

Imagine THE STAND told with the intimacy of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY.

A keening wail heralded the end of the world.

It came from everywhere. After it passed, most of the world’s population was gone—either taken by a bizarre affliction or their own hand—leaving behind a stunned and altered race controlled by a shadowy superintelligence.

Opposing this threat are the late bloomers—teens for whom puberty was delayed.

Within these pages lies the transcript of a recording made by one of those late bloomers. His name’s Kevin March. When the apocalypse hit, he was about to get kicked out of his high school marching band for smoking pot. Kevin’s bright, wise beyond his years, and he just might be meant for something big in the new world order—if he can survive it.

Going on the run to find his little brother, Kevin teams up with his biggest crush, Kodie, and his best friend, Bass. The trio strike out across Texas in search of food, shelter, and answers.

Mark Falkin, bestselling author of Contract City, returns with a young adult thriller that combines shades of Lovecraft, Salinger, and Twain, all of it told in Kevin’s unforgettable voice.

The Late Bloomer releases from California Coldblood on October 16th. Pre-order it today!

Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Book Depository


Mark Falkin Interview.png

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

What Bernard Malamud said: I’d be too moved to say. But to try to say: It’s a compulsion. Naively, I think maybe it’s an attempt to explain life to myself. I don’t get any real solid answers, but sometimes I feel maybe I’ve got it cornered, this explanation.

In third and fourth grade I would make these holiday themed puzzle books for my classmates. I’d create this hand drawn book and ask my Dad to run off copies at work which he dutifully did, having his secretary do it. She stapled them too. The teacher was flummoxed and thrilled at my self-aggrandizing precociousness, helping me hand them out at home room around Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. They were mini versions of those Highlights kids’ magazines and they uniformly contained a word search, a crossword, a maze you solved with your finger or pencil, hidden pictures, and flash fiction. Really flash—“I saw Santa in my living room on Christmas Eve and he’s sure fat alright.” The looks on my classmates’ faces trying to solve my puzzles, read my little story… oh, I was hooked then. Orwell wrote of the sheer egoism of the writer. I felt that glory in Third Grade.

Skip to high school and I found myself doodling epigrams in the margins of whatever we were doing in AP English class. These later bloomed into bad poetry. I did the bad poetry thing off and on through college and law school. In law school I thought I could do what Grisham did and write a novel my first year, that blistering 1L year. Um, no, I didn’t pull that off, but I did start a novel that I published ten years later.

2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?

I can longlist some writers who combined form my lodestar: Stewart O’Nan, Daniel Woodrell, Douglas Coupland, Stephen King, Karen Russell, Barker, Palahniuk, Lethem, DFW, Ellis, Proulx, McCarthy, McGuane, William Gibson, Bradbury, Updike, Capote, Oates, TC Boyle, Sedaris. Steve Martin’s Cruel Shoes. Oh and Vonnegut, Kerouac, and the insufferable personality that is Hunter S. Thompson.

I cannot say who’s the most impactful, per se. I just know that these writers formed me.

Lately: Tommy Orange inspires me. Merritt Tierce inspires me. Emil Ferris inspires me. Billy Collins inspires me. Joan Didion inspires me. Kate Tempest inspires me.

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

I’m a literary agent and erstwhile/recovering music and IP attorney. I wish writing was full-time, but then I’d miss out on my clients’, and clients-to-be, exciting new work.

4. Your upcoming YA dystopian novel The Late Bloomer chronicles one teen’s journey when a cataclysm strikes Earth, but it’s unlike any apocalypse seen in fiction. What inspired this end-of-the-world scenario? In your opinion, how does your novel stand out from other books in the apocalyptic/dystopian genre?

The Late BloomerIt’s an apocalyptic/postapocalyptic novel, not dystopian, and it’s not straight YA either. It’s a crossover novel. That’s not me saying that; that’s pro readers and other writers saying that, so.

Ultimately, I love the genre. What inspired me was that I wanted to write a horror novel that was unlike anything else out there and that was the scariest thing I could think of and what makes it scary isn’t just a set piece here, a set piece there, but something that holistically makes you shudder, making you feel something deeper than just simple fear but rather a resonating poignancy through the pathos. What makes this story unique is that it avoids the well-worn tropes. There are no zombies, viruses or virals, no doomsday asteroid, no aliens, no environmental cataclysm, no nuclear holocaust.

As far as direct inspiration, the three simultaneous sparks were these: There’s a line in Lord of the Flies that goes You knew, didn’t you? I’m part of you? Close, close, close! I’m the reason why it’s no go? Why things are what they are? and a little supernova exploded in my mind and I probably said behind clenched teeth in public “that’s it!” The book’s working title was No Go for a long time and was even initially pitched with that title. There’s that and there’s a certain work of fiction that I can’t disclose for spoilage reasons; the way it made, still makes, me feel . . . I approached this book at the outset from the standpoint of wanting to make the reader feel like I did reading that work. And then there’s this: a few people reading might remember these emails I used to send out during October years ago, I think 1998 through 2003. They were these epistolary little stories that came in bi-weekly installments that I called the Chronicles of Spooky Month which over the years got longer, less funny and more scary. In maybe 2012 I attempted to take a run at it again for fun and as a palette cleanser. I wrote a couple thousand words and put it away, never sending anything out. This was the impetus for The Late Bloomer. This book really is an all-grows-up, exploded version of that. Pure fun. Labor of love.

Continue reading “Author Interview with Mark Falkin, Literary Agent and YA Apocalyptic Author of The Late Bloomer”

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd Blog Tour: Book Review — A Terrifying yet Fascinating Novel that is Unlike Anything I’ve Ever Read Before

Hi guys! Tomorrow is the last day of August, and man, this month has flown by! (Generic opening phrase used when scheduling a post in advance is written. Check!) Today I am a part of The Book of M Blog Tour, and I had the amazing opportunity to read what turned out to be a chilling, haunting, and baffling book set in a dystopian world. It’s truly nothing I’ve ever read. Enjoy!
The Book of M Blog Tour.jpg


About the BookThe Book of M

Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.

Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

Goodreads


4 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a free hardcover copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher and the tour organizer. This will not affect my review in any way.

From the moment I first heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. Once I picked it up, I just couldn’t stop. The Book of M isn’t your average dystopia or futuristic fantasy—it’s much more than that. Peng Shepherd explores our memories and our subconscious as she turns the world upside down in her debut novel, a world in which a single forgotten memory can wreck havoc. While this book may not have been perfect, it certainly captured my imagination so much that I even flipped ahead a few pages just to know how did the world end up as it is. I’ve never read anything like The Book of M, and I can still feel it haunt me even after I finished the last page. Ooh, the chills!

The Book of M takes place in a near-future world where shadows can disappear at a moment’s notice, and with those shadows one’s memories. It was such a haunting and chilling concept that it terrified yet fascinated me. I wanted to know so much more about the events that led up to the Forgetting and how the loss of one’s shadows work. I was so amazed yet creeped out by how forgetting something can change the fabric of reality itself—imagine doors, stairs, objects, or even people disappearing once a shadowless forget about their existence. I became very entranced by this post- apocalyptic world, a world that I didn’t want to enter yet leave at the same time. Shepherd’s world-building is some of the most innovative and interesting I’ve ever read, combining Indian mythology, magic, and the subconscious all into one epic tale. It’s certainly one that I’ll never forget.

The Book of M also switches between the point of view of four characters—Ory, Max, Naz, and The One who Gathers. Through each POV, the past, present, and future intertwine together, with flashbacks and simultaneous events scattered throughout. It may not seem evident how all of these lives will come together, but when they do, it feels like an explosion of imagination, triumph, and even horror. I found myself dreading Max’s slow yet painstaking Forgetting, and I wanted to know more and more about the safety and status of every character. There were so many surprises that the book sent shockwaves through my body. Believe me, when you get to the very end of Part 4, you want to throw your book at the wall. Out of every plot twist I’ve read, it was one of the few ones that I really and truly did not ever see coming.

However, I do have to mention that The Book of M does have its flaws. There were some aspects of the world-building that were confusing and inconsistent. Did the world’s depopulation occur because someone forgot a person existed? Did they disappear the same way as objects? How far is the extent of someone’s Forgetting? How can person forget that something didn’t exist? The workings of the Forgetting had a few holes such as these that could cause some people to scratch their heads. I know that I had my questions that I really wanted to be answered. There were some things about this book that also did make me uncomfortable and that I didn’t like. And many times because I just wanted to know what happened to a certain character, it was very very tempting to skip one person’s POV to get to another’s (I even did it a few instances). While it did capture my attention and imagination very much, the book wasn’t 100% perfect in my eyes.

Regardless, The Book of M is nothing like I’ve ever read. It’s very innovative and imaginative as it combined elements from science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and dystopia into a concoction that is fascinating yet terrifying at the same time. I certainly won’t forget all the horror and chills I’ve had to go through, all of the triumphs and defeats. I cannot express how much The Book of M will blow your mind. The eerie atmosphere will suck you right in. I warn you, enter with no expectations at all. I didn’t know what I was walking in to, and you won’t either.


The Book of M GiveawayDid Someone Say… Giveaway?

10 Winners will receive a Copy of THE BOOK OF M by Peng Shepherd.

Open to International

Must be 13+ to Enter

Click the link below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the AuthorPeng Shepherd

Peng Shepherd was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she rode horses and trained in classical ballet. She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, and has lived in Beijing, London, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York. The Book of M is her first novel.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


Follow the Tour Here!

Tour Schedule

WEEK ONE
AUGUST 20th MONDAY JeanBookNerd INTERVIEW
AUGUST 20th MONDAY TFAULC Book Reviews EXCERPT
AUGUST 21st TUESDAY Book Queen Reviews REVIEW
AUGUST 21st TUESDAY TMBA Corbett Tries to Write INTERVIEW
AUGUST 22nd WEDNESDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT
AUGUST 23rd THURSDAY 100 Pages A Day REVIEW
AUGUST 23rd THURSDAY Insane About Books REVIEW
AUGUST 24th FRIDAY BookHounds REVIEW & INTERVIEW
WEEK TWO
AUGUST 27th MONDAY A Dream Within A Dream REVIEW
AUGUST 28th TUESDAY Wishful Endings TENS LIST
AUGUST 29th WEDNESDAY FUONLYKNEW REVIEW
AUGUST 29th WEDNESDAY Book Lovers Life EXCERPT
AUGUST 30th THURSDAY Book Briefs REVIEW
AUGUST 30th THURSDAY LILbooKlovers REVIEW 
AUGUST 31st FRIDAY Here’s to Happy Endings REVIEW

Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Have you read The Book of M? Do you like dystopian novels?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

Email | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin

ARC Review: The Island by J. L. Pattison — A Government Conspiracy Thriller Filled with Hope and Perseverance

Hi guys! I am in the Philippines! I will be out of the country for almost two months, but I will still be active on the blog and on my social medias. Though it may be trickier to correspond with me (since I am 12 hours ahead), for sure if you are in America and you cannot sleep, you have someone you know you can talk to. Today I am reviewing J. L. Pattison’s The Island, which just released. I hope you enjoy!


About the BookThe Island

Agent Sherard Parker never expected to get caught.

His first reconnaissance mission with the DEA was supposed to be simple: infiltrate a small South Pacific island and gather intelligence about its involvement in the international drug trade.

But when Parker stumbles upon a hidden airliner reportedly shot down weeks earlier—an act of terrorism that sparked a war—he realizes the island is more than just home to a major drug operation, it’s also part of a conspiracy so evil it could lead to World War III.

After being captured, Parker is forced to abandon his original mission for a far more important one: escape from the island and return to his family.

Can Parker lead an eclectic band of prisoners in a daring life-or-death escape from their tropical prison, or will those in charge of protecting the island prevail, keeping its dark secrets forever?

Goodreads

Buy The Island on Amazon!


4 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a free physical ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.

Two years ago, I really enjoyed J. L. Pattison’s short stories “The Visitor” an “Alibi Interrupted.” The author truly knows how to write a story that packs a punch and chills you to the bone. I honestly was a bit hesitant to read his newest novella The Island, but by the end, I became reacquainted with Pattison’s signature storytelling style similar to The Twilight Zone. At first, I was very uneasy with the first third of the book because the prose did not feel exceptional at all–there was so much telling instead of showing that I doubted if I could continue and finish. I did read from an uncorrected galley, so these problems could have been fixed in the finalized copy. And it did get better as the story went on. By the halfway point, I was hooked.

The Island is a government conspiracy thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end. It serves as a stark warning to those who have become dulled from the technological Information Age today–who follow the crowd, normalize disasters, and are addicted to irrelevant media. It certainly has made me think about how I view the world and people around me, how I receive news and use my phone. The Island is certainly an eye-opener, warning that readers should not become mindless drones addicted to social media and smartphones. Pattison’s latest book will make you question your morality and trust at times. There will be moments when readers are compelled to scream at some characters in order to reveal to them the actual truth, but in the end they will have to accept the finale and all its heartbreaking punches. The book certainly chilled my body to the spine as it creeped me out yet engrossed me with its suspenseful atmosphere.

While The Island is a great novella to read, please remember that this is a work of fiction. While plane switching and crash cover-ups may be a possibility in real life, it also may not. My only concern (other than grammar) about this book is that readers could become conspiracy theorists regarding many disasters. Honestly, I have a favorable view of our government, that it is necessary to maintain order and aid its citizens. However, has the government performed bad crimes? Yes, and I will not deny that fact. But my only wish is to not become too consumed with conspiracy theories. The Island will certainly cause you to question the actual motives of the government, and it is important to have a healthy skepticism at times. However, while government conspiracies may exist, I ask for you to not become accusatory at every disaster. Government conspiracy stories are fun and interesting and thought-provoking to read, but always remember that it is a work of fiction, though there may be some truth to the story.

Ultimately, The Island is a book filled with hope and perseverance, regardless of the current conditions and the possible outcomes. Sherard Parker is a man–one who values his family and his freedom–who anyone can relate easily with, and readers will root for him from page one. His struggle to get off the island and free its prisoners is full of courage and optimism that will inspire anyone to continue fighting the good fight, no matter if it ends up in success or failure. The odds may be stacked a million to one, but The Island shows that a person must retain hope, maintain courage, and continue to fight his battles.

Please note that I am reviewing an uncorrected galley, which means there may have been changes from this version to the published one.


About the AuthorThe Island

J. L. Pattison is the author of liberty-minded speculative fiction whose stories are garnering favorable comparisons to the works of M. Night Shyamalan and Twilight Zone creator, Rod Serling.

His first paperback, SAVING KENNEDY, contains his two previous short fiction e-book releases, THE VISITOR and ALIBI INTERRUPTED, both of which deal with the subjects of time travel gone wrong, the JFK assassination, and the consequences of the decisions we make.

His latest book, THE ISLAND, delves into governmental conspiracies and has an ending you won’t soon forget.

When not writing, J.L. Pattison enjoys board games, reading, fishing, rooting for his beloved San Francisco 49ers, and drinking copious amounts of sweet tea . . . an addiction he acquired while growing up in the South. He currently lives in the Western United States with his wonderful wife and six amazing children.

Website


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Have you read The Island or Saving Kennedy? Do you like government conspiracy novels?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

Email | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin

May Reading Recap

Hi everybody! This month’s Reading Recap will be very short because I have read only two books this month. Yes, two. This past May has been one of the busiest months of my entire life, with AP exams in the first two weeks, end-of-school activities the third, Boys State on the fourth, and traveling to the Philippines on the fifth. It has been very crazy for me, so I have not been able to read at all. Hopefully this summer, I’ll be able to catch up on reading and reviewing and blogging!


4 Stars

The Gravedigger’s Son by Patrick Moody

The Gravedigger's Son

Goodreads

The Island by J. L. Pattison

The Island

Goodreads


In Case You Missed It: This Month’s Posts

Author Interviews

Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, author of A Dog Like Daisy

Author Guest Posts

Wendy McLeod MacKnight, author of The Frame Up, on “The World Behind the Frame”

LILbooKtalks

“Mermaid Tails and Fairy Tales” with Tobie Easton and D. G. Driver

Discussions

Memorial Day: A Personal Reflection on Washington, DC, and TN Boys State

Book Reviews

Genesis by Brendan Reichs

Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

Runtime by S. B. Divya

Seeing through Sampson’s Eyes by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Blog Tours

Genesis by Brendan Reichs

Reading Recap

April Reading Recap


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

Email | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin

 

Sci-Fi Novellas Double Mini-Reviews: Seeing through Sampson’s Eyes by Pamela Schloesser Canepa & Runtime by S. B. Divya

Hi guys! Today I have for you two mini-reviews for two novellas I have received to review last year, and I finally found the time to both read them and review them. They’re both science fiction and really short. I hope you enjoy these mini-reviews!


About Seeing through Sampson’s EyesSeeing through Sampson's Eyes

Who knows what secrets lie behind one’s eyes? You have no idea until you walk in their shoes. In a technologically advanced, yet socially regressing society, Norrie, daughter of Sampson and Abrielle, is about to learn what it’s like to be considered less than human. She is now twenty, curious, confident, and unstoppable. Embarking on a journey together, Norrie and Abrielle set out to discover what remains of their beloved Sampson, yet each ends up pursuing her own individual end goal. Walk with Abrielle and Norrie to see what they will find.

Goodreads


2 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.

I had high expectations for this novella because I enjoyed its prequel Made for Me, and sadly, Seeing through Sampson’s Eyes disappointed me. Although the beginning—just like the first novella—wrenched my heart and made me emotional, the further I dug deeper into the book, the more I found myself scratching my head and becoming confused at the events that unfolded. I honestly thought that the story would revolve around Abrielle and her mother finding Sampson’s eyes, but this character-driven novel strayed away from the summary I’ve been given, and this didn’t turn out well for my reading experience.

Continue reading “Sci-Fi Novellas Double Mini-Reviews: Seeing through Sampson’s Eyes by Pamela Schloesser Canepa & Runtime by S. B. Divya”

Reading Recap for April 2018!

Hi guys! This school year is quickly wrapping up, and right now I have so much end-of-school events going on right now. My five (yes, five!) AP exams are starting this Friday, and next week is lined up with so much from concerts to graduation. I am NOT graduating this year, but I will sing with my choir for one of the last times then. Today, I have for you a reading re-cap for the month of April, in which I finished 10 books! For May, I know that number is going to be cut in half, haha. I hope you enjoy!


5 Stars

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish in a Tree

Goodreads

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help

Goodreads

Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar

Ahimsa

Goodreads


4 Stars

The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat

The Changelings

Goodreads

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

Brightly Burning

Goodreads

Kat Greene Comes Clean by Melissa Roske

Kat Greene Comes Clean

Goodreads

Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

Onyx and Ivory

Goodreads

Genesis by Brendan Reichs

Genesis

Goodreads


3 Stars

Fighting Fate by Shaila Patel

Fighting Fate

Goodreads


2 Stars

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands

Goodreads


In Case You Missed It

Author Interviews

Jessica Pennington, author of Love Songs & Other Lies

Melissa Ostrom, author of The Beloved Wild

Melissa Roske, author of Kat Greene Comes Clean

Patrick Moody, author of The Gravedigger’s Son

Author Guest Posts

Bridget Hodder, author of The Rat Prince, on “Why Fairy Tales? A Theory of Magic”

LILbooKtalk

“Portraying Pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement” with Alice Faye Duncan and Andrew Maraniss

Book Reviews

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

Circle of Ashes by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh

Fighting Fate by Shaila Patel

Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

Blog Tours

Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier: ARC Review and Top 10 Quotes

Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington: Tour Announcement and Schedule

Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington: Author Interview

Misc.

March Reading Recap


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

Email | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin

 

The Queens of Innis Lear Blog Tour: Book Review — A Brilliant and Epic Fantasy Retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear

Hi guys! I hope you are all having a great Good Friday, and for Christians full of prayer and mediation. Today I’ll be a bit less active in the spirit of the day, and I’m eagerly awaiting Easter, the day that Christ has risen from the dead! When I got back from DECA SCDC a few weeks ago, I received in the mail a huge book called The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton. I love fantasy, but I was very surprised by its massive size. I am so glad to be on the Blog Tour for this wonderful King Lear fantasy retelling, and I hope that you will check out Tessa’s latest novel!

The Queens of Innis Lear Tour Banner


About the BookThe Queens of Innis Lear

A kingdom at risk, a crown divided, a family drenched in blood.

The erratic decisions of a prophecy-obsessed king have drained Innis Lear of its wild magic, leaving behind a trail of barren crops and despondent subjects. Enemy nations circle the once-bountiful isle, sensing its growing vulnerability, hungry to control the ideal port for all trade routes.

The king’s three daughters—battle-hungry Gaela, master manipulator Reagan, and restrained, starblessed Elia—know the realm’s only chance of resurrection is to crown a new sovereign, proving a strong hand can resurrect magic and defend itself. But their father will not choose an heir until the longest night of the year, when prophecies align and a poison ritual can be enacted.

Refusing to leave their future in the hands of blind faith, the daughters of Innis Lear prepare for war—but regardless of who wins the crown, the shores of Innis will weep the blood of a house divided.

Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Book Depository


4 Stars

Disclaimer: Thanks so much to Tor and JeanBookNerd for sending me a hardcover copy of this book in exchange for an honest review for the blog tour. This will not affect my review in any way.

To be honest, when I first received this book, I felt overwhelmed by its massive size: 576 pages with the print smaller and packed tightly. I did not think at first I would be able to complete it by today. When I first started The Queens of Innis Lear, Part One went by very slowly. I thought to myself, “How will I be able to get through this tome at this pace?” and I read lighter books when I did not feel in the mood for an extremely dark adult fantasy. But as I went on, deeper and deeper into the storyline, I found myself not wanting to stop. I became entranced by all the bloodshed, the betrayal, and the magic, and everything started to play in my mind like a movie. Miraculously, I’m writing this book on the Sunday before this review/tour stop is supposed to go live, and I’m writing in a bit of a different style than I normally do.

The Queens of Innis Lear is a clever and imaginative epic fantasy retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear with a Game of Thrones-esque atmosphere. I am not familiar with King Lear at all before reading this novel, so I decided to read the Wikipedia summary (gasp! though I highly recommend it before reading this book) of the play to get some background information. Gratton truly kept the essence of Shakespeare’s original work while adding her own fantasy elements and literary style, which created a beautiful and elegant masterpiece of prose and morality. I loved how names and events were very similar to the play’s (such as Elia = Cordelia, Regan = Regan, Gaela = Goneril, Elia/Cordelia is banished from Innis Lear/England, illegitimate Ban/Edmund devises a plan to exile his true-blood brother Rory/Edgar). The world-building of the entire novel just fascinated me, and I did not want to leave! All my questions about who’s who and what’s what became answered as I progressed further into the novel. I wish there was a map, though — that would make the reading experience even better!

Continue reading “The Queens of Innis Lear Blog Tour: Book Review — A Brilliant and Epic Fantasy Retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear”

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/

The Alchemists of Loom Read Along Bonus Content!: Timeline of Events Leading up to and in TAoL

Hello guys! I am currently a part of my first EVER read along, and we are reading Elise Kova’s The Alchemists of Loom, which is pretty good so far! In our read-along group, we are reading a couple of chapters a day, discussing the book, and winning some giveaways (well I haven’t yet, but I hope to)! If you want to check out our group, then click here for the Facebook group!

May taol Read Along.jpg


If you are part of the read-along, here is today’s bonus content! I have today the timeline of the events that led up to and are in The Alchemists of Loom! History, woo hoo! If you’re a history buff like me, especially about historical, dystopian, or fantastic worlds, then you’ll like this!

Continue reading “The Alchemists of Loom Read Along Bonus Content!: Timeline of Events Leading up to and in TAoL”