Monday, September 21, 2015

The Weight of Feathers: Interview & Giveaway

Welcome to the blog tour for Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore! This tour is run by the lovely Griffin team at St. Martin's, and yes, if you stay tuned, there is a giveaway in it for you, and the winner will receive a signed, finished copy of the book!

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
Release date: September 15, 2015
St. Martin's Griffin, 320 pages

Goodreads | Buy It!
The Night Circus meets Romeo and Juliet in this stunning young adult novel about two teens who fall in love despite the almost impossible odds against them.

The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows-the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find. 

Lace Paloma may be new to her family's show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it's a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace's life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

For the tour, I was lucky enough to interview the author of the book, Anna-Marie McLemore! Read her interview below, and keep going to win your very own copy of the book!

1. Is there anything in particular that inspired you to write this story?
The story started with the idea of these two different shows—mermaid performers, and winged tree climbers who are half-dancer, half-tightrope walker. Those two shows could be allies, but they could just as easily be enemies. And I loved exploring that in a setting that had the clarity of sky versus water. One family versus another, when both are more alike than they'd ever admit. A boy who's wary of water, and a girl who fears heights as much as she loves rivers.

2. Who was your favorite character to create and why?
I loved writing Cluck. He values his heritage so deeply even though he’s an outcast in his own family.

3. What does your writing process look like? How did you go about penning this story?
I outlined, and then outlined some more . . . and then tossed aside the outline midway through. I like knowing where I’m going, even if halfway through writing the story I have to let it go.

4. Did you read as a child? Who was your favorite, or who inspired you to become a writer?
Despite plenty of encouragement, I came to reading slowly, mostly because I’m a slow reader. But I will mention one of the books that made me a reader, The Little Prince. I read it in French class, and because it was in French, I had to go slow. All of us did. The beauty of that story, combined with the fact that I felt like I was in the same place as my peers, helped reading click with me.

5. What are three things you can’t live without right now?
Ridiculous socks (courtesy of author Mackenzi Lee, I’m currently wearing ones with unicorns and narwhals on them), fizzy water (I run on carbonation), and spending time with my family and friends.

Thank you so much for having me! 

The giveaway is US & Canada only and will be shared with St. Martin's Griffin for mailing purposes only. The winner is chosen randomly via Rafflecopter, and the winner will receive one signed, finished copy of the book. No PO boxes, please. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Last Good Day of the Year Review

The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
via publisher (thank you!)

Goodreads | Buy It!
Ten years ago, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, seven-year-old Samantha and her next door neighbor, Remy, watched as a man broke into Sam’s home and took her younger sister, Turtle, from her sleeping bag. Remy and Sam, too afraid to intervene at the time, later identified the man as Sam’s sister Gretchen’s much older ex-boyfriend, Steven, who was sent to prison for Turtle’s murder.
Now, Sam’s shattered family is returning to her childhood home in an effort to heal. As long-buried memories begin to surface, Sam wonders if she and Remy accurately registered everything they saw. The more they re-examine the events of that fateful night, the more questions they discover about what really happened to Turtle.

I've really been into the YA thriller genre lately—it's always been one of my favorites as well. This was such a well-crafted mystery, and it definitely did not disappoint.

Though I'm still a bit confused on the title (if anyone got it, please let me know because I'm still trying to figure it out!), I loved this realistic, eerie depiction of how a family copes after a tragedy and how they try to figure out the real story.

It was full of suspense, but not the fast-paced, scary suspense. It was more of a slow burn and stayed true to the realistic nature of it all.

I also loved a point brought up about how different scenarios were treated in a group meeting for families whose children had been kidnapped and murdered:

"William's murder got far less attention than it should have because he wasn't a pretty little white girl.... It's the kind of injustice so heinous that you would almost have to ignore it unless you were face-to-face with his mother; the prejudice of the system is the kind of thing most people can't stand to acknowledge, because they aren't willing to accept what that says about the world we all live in."
This was an excellent and poignant read, and I'm still thinking about it even though I finished it almost two months ago!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Geek Girl Review

Geek Girl by Holly Smale
Release date: January 27, 2015
Harper Teen, 384 pages
via publisher (thank you!)
Goodreads | Buy It!
Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. 
She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves. 
As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did. 
And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything? 
I loved this cute tale of a girl who just wants to stay in and read her books but instead gets accidentally discovered as a model! Harriet was content, but she was starting to see the difference in herself and her friends

It had such a fun message about staying true to yourself and being honest with your friends that I think is perfect for anyone. But it was a little simplistic for my taste—super basic plot, predictable events, a magic flight to Russia from the UK that seemed to not be a big deal and they were able to fool family and friends?

I didn't totally fall in love with it because of that, but it was so cute and had such a good message perfect for younger readers looking to get into YA but maybe are not ready for some of the harder topics yet.