Guest Post: Brooding YA Hero

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Hello everyone! Today I am participating with the Sunday Street Team and the illustrator Linnea Gear! Below is the guest post.

Guest Post:

How do you come up with character designs? Do the designs match the character’s personality? 

Designing characters is my favorite thing to do because you can literally incorporate anything you want. The designs always match the characters personality and that’s what makes it so amazing! It’s why I love drawing people in general, because every person is so different. They can be tall or short, big or thin.

Do they have tattoos, piercings, scars, or a disability? What does their hair look like, what is their background, do they have gap teeth? It is all so much fun to do! Pinterest is also great place to get character design ideas. Here are some of my favorite:

Fatima 1

Fatima 2

 

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Guest Post: Gray Wolf Island

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Hello everyone! Today I am participating with the Sunday Street Team and Tracey Neithercott to bring you a guest post! Below is the Tracey’s answer to my question. 

Guest Post:

What’s you’re writing process as an author?

I love reading about other authors’ writing processes because in the back of my mind I think, “That’s how
I’m going to do things from now on!”

I’m going to write 5,000 words a day.

I’m going to ignore my inner editor.

I’m going to do it all with shiny, Pantene-perfect hair.

Let’s face it: I never, ever have shiny, Pantene-perfect hair. And my process is much less glamorous. It starts with a lot of staring miserably at a blank screen and gradually progresses to grumblings about the pure pain of writing a first draft.

I’ll begin with a disclaimer: I’m not the sort of writer who sees double rainbows and snuggly puppy dogs while drafting. Actually, that’s a lie. I do see those things, but only because I’m procrastinating by scrolling through Tumblr.

So I do everything I can to get myself into the writing headspace. I make a latte or three meant to energize me and/or allow me to procrastinate writing for two more minutes. I put on a sheet mask, because if I can’t have bouncy, shampoo-commercial hair, I can at least try for glowing skin.

As you can see, much writing is happening. To make it go faster, I’ll turn on my Brainwaves app, plug in my earbuds, and let the sound induce the right Brainwaves for a creative state of mind. This is something I used to roll my eyes at before returning to my hard work of staring at the blank screen. Now, though, I’m pretty convinced it helps me get into the writing mode.

I let my brain waves do their syncing thing, pull off the sheet mask, and marvel at my glowy skin. Then I take a sip of latte and start writing.

I do a lot of preplanning, mostly because I enjoy outlining but also because I’m a type A writer who needs to be in control. By the time I start writing, I have a roadmap for the story, including major story points—the inciting incident, midpoint, plot points, climax, and so on—plus the main scenes that connect them.

But sometimes it’s hard (or always it’s hard), so I’ll make another latte and stare at the screen and wonder whether I can shake the story from my brain like water from my ear. (I can’t.)

When the words really won’t come, I create a scene sketch: major events, character arc, setting, and bits of dialogue. It’s enough direction to get me going.

It goes on and on like that for weeks and months and what feels like centuries until, blessedly, I peel off a sheet mask and get to revise.

Now I really do see double rainbows and snuggly puppy dogs.

I don’t need sheet masks or glowing skin because I am on fire. And people on fire don’t waste time lining up mask eye holes.

Instead, I sit down at my computer and make a list of everything wrong with my book. This isn’t hard to do. I’ve been keeping the list in my head since page one.

And that’s how it goes: Working from biggest changes to sentence-level edits, I move through the manuscript until it’s polished. This is fueled by lattes, yes, but also decaf green tea because it’s less expensive and also more practical for nighttime writing.

Sometimes, I’m happy for my process. Like during revisions, when I’m tidying things up and finally seeing the book I imagined in the beginning. Other times I hate it—during those days words won’t come or when they’re the wrong words, or when I feel like the vision in my head doesn’t match the story on the page. But it’s like my critique partner jokes: “Get used to it. We can’t change our process.”

Guest Post: Danika Stone

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Guest post

Hello everyone! How are you all doing? Today I am participating in the Sunday Street Team to promote Danika’s lastest book Internet Famous. Below is the guest post, info about the book, and some info about the author!

Guest Post: 

 

  • Playlist for the book:

 

  1. “First”, Cold War Kids
  2. “Gold Guns Girls”, Metric
  3. “Here”, Alessia Cara
  4. “Settle Down”, Kimbra
  5. “Goodnight and Go”, Imogen Heap
  6. “Feel Good Inc.”, Gorrillaz
  7. “Dreams”, Beck
  8. “Spirits”, The Strumbellas
  9. “Genghis Khan”, Miike Snow
  10. “How Do You Feel Now”, Joywave

 

About the book:

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High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.

About the author:

Danika Stone

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens (All the Feels and Internet Famous) adults (Edge of Wild and Intaglio). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.
Ms. Stone is represented by Morty Mint of Mint Literary Agency.

Review: Girl Out of Water

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Girl Out of Water by: Laura Silverman

Rating: 4 Stars

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating with the Sunday Street Team to help promote this book. I had heard about this book through GR. I liked the synopsis (mostly because of her cousins mentioned) and when I saw it on Netgalley I immediately requested it. I am happy to say that I quite liked this book!

The book begins with Anise surfing and generally enjoying her summer. Anise and her friends are looking forward to this surfing competition (I think). Anise also has a possible romance blooming with a friend of hers.

This all changes when she goes home. Her dad informs her that Aunt Jackie got into a car accident and broke her legs. Anise is in shock and concerned about her young cousins. Anise asks her father whether or not they (cousins and aunt) will be visiting this summer considering the accident. Her father then informs her that they (Anise and him) will be staying with them for the whole summer. This doesn’t sit well with Anise as she had plans this summer and doesn’t like the idea of traveling. 

Anise then informs her friends about this development via text. All of her friends spend the night together celebrating. As Anise is leaving tomorrow and she likely won’t see all of them when she comes back (some of her friends have graduated and are going to university). Anise and her father fly the next day to take care of her cousins.

Wow this book took me by surprise! I was not expecting to like it as much as I did. This book is written is first person in Anise’s point of view. There are some flashbacks here and there as well as text messages.

My favourite part about the book was without a doubt how family had such a big role in this book. There aren’t a lot of contemporaries where family is a major focus. And I really appreciated that! I felt that Aunt Jackie’s accident was handled well. Everyone’s reactions was realistic and I really felt for all of them.

I really liked Anise’s relationship with her father. They were really close. And both supported each other while Jackie was in the hospital. Anise’s mom also played a huge part of the book. Even though she didn’t actually come in. Her mom really shaped Anise as did her father.

I really enjoyed reading about her cousins! Parker and Nash were adorable as was Emily. I liked reading about their interactions with one-another. And how much they looked up to Anise and her father. Especially Emily. I liked how despite Anise struggling to comfort them and give advice, that she didn’t give up.

The romance between Anise and Lincoln was sweet. I especially loved how it didn’t take over the plot. And for once the male lead didn’t have some horrible dark past. I liked how Lincoln encouraged Anise and helped her with her cousins. I also felt that Lincoln having one arm was handled well. And it was interesting to read about.

Anise’s relationship with her friends was also fun to read about! I especially loved the best friend (whose name I’ve forgotten).  The almost romance was also sweet and sad to read about. 

I liked how the internet played a big part of the book. As the was Anise’s way of contacting her friends. It was also fun to read about surfing and skateboarding. Anise is really competitive and I liked that about her.

I really enjoyed Anise’s character. I liked how she subtlety grew throughout the book. It was really heartbreaking to read about her mother and just how much it shaped her as a person. When she moved she lost contact with her friends in fear that they were moving on without her. It was done well and realistic. I liked how throughout the course of the book that Anise found a way to balance her friends and family. The ending really proves it to you. It was sweet to read about.

 I only had a few problems with this book. I did not like Anise’s reaction to moving at first. After reading more I came to understand her reaction because had it been me I think I would’ve had a similar reaction. I especially did not like her friends contacting her and trying to convince her to come back. Her aunt could’ve died and Anise’s friends know this. There were times that the dialogue was off and left the book feeling slightly dramatic. Nonetheless I slight enjoyed this book!

Overall I really liked this book! I highly recommend this book to contemporary fans. 

Review: Bound by Blood and Sand

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Bound by Blood and Sand by: Becky Allen

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Jae is a slave in a dying desert world.

Once verdant with water from a magical Well, the land is drying up, and no one remembers the magic needed to keep the water flowing. If a new source isn’t found soon, the people will perish. Jae doesn’t mind, in a way. By law, she is bound by a curse to obey every order given her, no matter how vile. At least in death, she’ll be free.

Elan’s family rules the fading realm. He comes to the estate where Jae works, searching for the hidden magic needed to replenish the Well, but it’s Jae who finds it, and she who must wield it. Desperate to save his realm, Elan begs her to use it to locate the Well.

But why would a slave—abused, beaten, and treated as less than human—want to save the system that shackles her? Jae would rather see the world burn.

Though revenge clouds her vision, she agrees to help if the realm’s slaves are freed. Then Elan’s father arrives. The ruler’s cruelty knows no limits. He is determined that the class system will not change—and that Jae will remain a slave forever.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this Arc in participation of the blog tour and the Sunday street team. When I saw this book amongst the October SST I immediately signed up. I liked the synopsis and I thought that this book would be very interesting. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

I was not sure whether or not I would like this book. Considering that the main character is a slave I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to take. I was actually quite surprised that this book wasn’t graphic! Yes there were some scenes that were quite horrible but it didn’t bother me.

The book is written in third person alternating between Jae and Elan’s point of views. There are also some flashbacks that prove to be very important to the plot.

The book begins with Jae as she is tending to the garden. Unfortunately she cannot do that good of a job because Aredann (the estate where she lives) is lacking water. Her guardian Lady Shirrad allows Jae to use the water carefully as she is expecting a very important guest. 

Once her work is over Jae makes her way to her quarters and talks with her twin brother Tal. Their conversation is interrupted by another slave who mentions he has information on the guest that arrived. Said guest is Lord Elan who is a prince. The reason for the visit is to determine whether Aredann is worth saving. The Highest (Elan’s people) can only give so much water to the estates. According to said Closest (the slave) the Highest are planning on moving Lady Shirrad and her servants to another location so that they can pass the water along more easily. But the Closest will not be coming.

This is literally the most powerful book I have read to this day! It really makes you think about everything differently. Especially water and how there are so many people in this world that don’t have access to it. And wow the writing style was so good!

The magic system in this book was very interesting! The author manages to make you feel like you are with the characters going through their journey and suffering. It honestly felt like I was in a desert even though I was in my bedroom.

I especially liked reading about the characters and their relationships with one another. All the characters are gray and very well done! I liked all of them (expect Elan’s father) even Lady Shirrad, who in the end earned my respect. 

I loved Tal and Jae’s relationship. Tal brought the good side in Jae out. Tal was also quite sweet himself. Jae is a very different character than I am used to reading. She is very bitter and angry. But there is goodness in her. Elan was somewhat annoying in the beginning. Throughout the book he grew. His character development was my favourite to read about!

There is literally zero romance in this book! Which is something very rare in fantasy. Jae and Elan’s relationship was definitely interesting to read about. Jae despised Elan at first as the book continued they have an almost friendship. They trust each other but they’re not necessarily friends. I have feeling that they will become something more in the next book.

I enjoyed reading about Jae’s powers and how they connected to the Well. And the Well’s history was very interesting as well. I did not see that plot twist that came in the end! It was beautiful and depressing at the same time. Come to think of it I didn’t see anything coming.

This book is quite slow but I found that it worked for the plot. As it is also focused on the characters. I found that the author did a good job of balancing the plot with the flashbacks. They were became overbearing. In fact I looked forward to reading the flashbacks.

I didn’t have any problems with this book. It just felt like a 3 star read.

Overall I enjoyed this book! I will definitely be reading the sequel and possibly anything this author writes. I highly recommend this series to everybody! I personally feel that this is an important book that everyone should read.

Giveaway for a preoder of Bound by Blood and Sand! 

Review: Fear the Drowning Deep

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Fear the Drowning Deep by: Sarah Glenn Marsh

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC from the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating in the Sunday Street Team. 

I had heard about this book through Twitter. Quite a few people were talking about it but at the time it didn’t catch my eye. It wasn’t until I got the sign up form for the street team that I considered reading it.

Now I suppose because I didn’t really care much for Fear the Drowning Deep I didn’t have any expectations. I was quite surprised that I enjoyed it! The book takes place sometime during the 1913. It is written in first person through Bridey’s point of view.

The minute you read the first page the book grabs you and it’s hard to stop. We are taken right when Bridey finds a dead girls body. Soon after that the town is in a frenzy as there hasn’t been a death since Bridey’s grandfather.

When Bridey was seven years old she and her grandfather were walking by the beach. She’s trying to have a conversation with him when suddenly he stops replying. He mentions whether Bridey can hear the singing to which she replies no. Her grandfather claims that the singing is coming from the water. He walks to the cliff and jumps off with a smile on his face.

Bridey told her townspeople about what happened but they all thought she was crazy. Add to the fact that she’s the only person in the town who doesn’t like the water. Throughout the book Bridey soon realizes that all these disappearances and murders are somehow linked to her grandfather’s death. She explains as much to her people but they don’t believe her. The only one who does is Fynn and the Witch she is apprenticed to. With their help she looks for a way to stop the monster from killing her townspeople.

I didn’t see any of the plot coming! This is a very original book. The book is fairly fast paced and I was never bored. It was interesting reading about the witch that Bridey was apprenticed to as well as the monsters. All of the monsters are from some mythology. Personally speaking I have never read about these monsters before.

The family relationship was absolutely amazing! Bridey has two sisters and adoring parents. Despite some of the sisters’ arguments they stood by each other. The same goes for Bridey’s parents. When Bridey found Fynn her parents took him in and treated them as their own. They stood up for him when the town started to get suspicious of Fynn.

I also loved Bridey’s friendship! I forgot her friends’ names but I loved reading about them! They were a tight group. Now one of her friends is a guy and there is a bit of a love triangle but it gets resolved fairly quickly.

I liked reading about Bridey and Fynn’s relationship. They were sweet together. Although I did feel that it was a bit rushed. There is a certain reveal that comes out about Fynn which ruined the romance for me. I still liked his character though.

I found the ending to be just right for the book. And in a sense it was beautiful. It gives Bridey and the readers hope.

I had two problems with Fear the Drowning Deep. I wished that we got to read more about Bridey’s friends. They didn’t really come in a lot. And that reveal about Fynn was shocking and a bit odd considering that Bridey and Fynn were dating.

Overall I enjoyed this book! I am definitely going to be checking out more from this author. I recommend it for anyone looking for a fantasy standalone. 

Review: All the Feels

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All the Feels by: Danika Stone

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life…and her last tangible connection to her deceased father. Thus, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.

Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinare, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a call that ignites the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life, and her disapproving mother’s new boyfriend. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to get away from it all… and figure out what (and who!) she really wants.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating in the Sunday Street Team for this book. 

I had heard about this book through GR. At the time I didn’t really pay attention to it. Then when I joined the Sunday Street Team for the author’s other book Edge of Wild I noticed that the author was having another book coming out this year. Honestly the first time I read the synopsis I thought I would hate this book because at the time it sounded really dumb. But I decided to give it a shot. There are a lot of books that I now love and at one point I thought I would hate. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book!

The book begins with explaining us a movie. The only thing you know is that it’s an alien movie. The main character whose name is Spartan is trying to kill the aliens. With him is a little girl who is attempting to help him. When the two reach an escape pod Spartan tells the girl to run while the countdown is going off. The girl is able to reach the pod and escape. Meanwhile Spartan dies in the explosion.

We are then taken to Liv and Xander. The two are both in shock. Although Liv is in much worse shape. Xander gently tells her that they need to leave the theater and guides her out. He goes to get the car meanwhile Liv waits inside. She has an emotional outburst and takes it out on the workers. Eventually she leaves still very upset. The minute she reaches her house she goes to Twitter and tells some of her friends that Spartan died. Spartan could have made it out  as there was one more pod left.

The following week Liv remains depressed. Xander has tried his utmost to help her and get her out of the house. Her mother has tried to same although she doesn’t do it very nicely. Then one day when her mother’s boyfriend comes over and Liv’s mother wakes her up. Liv changes and goes downstairs to find her mother and her boyfriend going out somewhere. Liv’s mom asks her to tag along but Liv declines noticing that Gary (the boyfriend) doesn’t want her to come. They leave and she opens the fortune cookie’s they left her. Taking the fortune as a sign Liv comes up with #SpartanSurvived and enlists Xanders help.

Wow I seriously did not expect to enjoy it that much! The book is written in third person which I found surprising considering it’s a contemporary book. But luckily I liked the writing style! I found that it suited the story. It is divided into two parts. Before Dragon Con and during Dragon Con. There are text messages, twitter conversations, and some fanmade pictures! This was really cool! I’ve never read a book that’s formatted this way. The chapter titles are quotes from things like Harry Potter and Doctor Who. I think that added a nice touch the to overall story.

I completely understood where Liv was coming from! While I haven’t been an active member in fandoms I have loved so many tv shows and books, and mourned the characters that died. While I never let it take over my life I can see why some people would.

Liv’s only connection to her father was through the Starveil films and when Spartan died her whole world feel apart. It wasn’t much help from her mother who viewed fandoms to be dumb and also internet friends. She isn’t close to her mother because of this. Xander and his girlfriend Arden helped whenever they could. 

Xander and Liv’s friendship was adorable! He was so sweet to her and understanding. He agrees to help her with #SpartanSurvived and eventually gets sucked into the fandom. This in particular was amusing to read about. I was really glad that for a majority of the book they remained friends. The romance was really slow burn but I liked it.

I thought it was brilliant when Liv came up with #SpartanSurvived and it was awesome watching it grow and become such a big deal to the fans that Liv talked to! I would never have come up something like that. And I absolutely loved reading about Dragon Con! It was amazing and I so need to go there one day!

The author did an excellent job writing about being in a fandom! It was so much fun reading and it reminded me about how I converse with my friends on GR! While Liv loved Starveil Xander loved steampunk and cosplays. The author did a good job fleshing out the two different fandoms.

The characters in this book was realistic! Liv eventually finds the confidence to get out there and explore the real world and try to make friends with people in her classes. Xander was her support system as was the other fans of Starveil. She grew into a strong and likable character! Xander was a doll! I loved how he said things like ‘dearest’. He’s so different than the other male love interests. It was refreshing reading about him.

I only had three problems with this book. I would have liked to see her of Liv and her mothers relationship. When she goes to Dragon Con you’re not shown her mothers reaction and I really wanted to read about that. And when she reached Dragon Con Liv only called her mother once. I’m surprised that her mother never called her. And like most contemporaries Xander and Liv get into a bit of a fight which I didn’t understand. Thankfully it was resolved quickly. While the epilogue was sweet I felt that it was rushed and somewhat unnecessary. Nonetheless I still liked this book!

Overall I enjoyed this book! I recommend it to all fangirls and fanboys. And anyone trying to understand fandoms.