Monday, October 5, 2015

Book Tour Review: The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie

Title: The Sisters of Versailles
Author: Sally Christie
Genre: historical fiction
Series: The Mistresses of Versailles #1
Pages: 432
Published: September 1 2015
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 4/5

A sumptuous and sensual tale of power, romance, family, and betrayal centered around four sisters and one King. Carefully researched and ornately detailed, The Sisters of Versailles is the first book in an exciting new historical fiction trilogy about King Louis XV, France's most "well-beloved" monarch, and the women who shared his heart and his bed.

Goodness, but sisters are a thing to fear.

Set against the lavish backdrop of the French Court in the early years of the 18th century, The Sisters of Versailles is the extraordinary tale of the five Nesle sisters: Louise, Pauline, Diane, Hortense, and Marie-Anne, four of whom became mistresses to King Louis XV. Their scandalous story is stranger than fiction but true in every shocking, amusing, and heartbreaking detail.

Court intriguers are beginning to sense that young King Louis XV, after seven years of marriage, is tiring of his Polish wife. The race is on to find a mistress for the royal bed as various factions put their best foot - and women - forward. The King's scheming ministers push Louise, the eldest of the aristocratic Nesle sisters, into the arms of the King. Over the following decade, the four sisters:sweet, naive Louise; ambitious Pauline; complacent Diane, and cunning Marie Anne, will conspire, betray, suffer, and triumph in a desperate fight for both love and power.

In the tradition of The Other Boleyn Girl, The Sisters of Versailles is a clever, intelligent, and absorbing novel that historical fiction fans will devour. Based on meticulous research on a group of women never before written about in English, Sally Christie's stunning debut is a complex exploration of power and sisterhood; of the admiration, competition, and even hatred that can coexist within a family when the stakes are high enough.

If you were a fan of Sophie Perinot's The Sister Queens, Sally Christie might be your new favorite historical fiction writer. Here, she retells the unlikely but true story of the five Mailly-Nesle sisters of Louis XV's court. Infamous for their activities and relationship to the King, their various stories had yet to be translated into English and this first novel in the series will leave you anticipating the forthcoming sequel. From genuine Louise to avaricious Marie-Ann, these sisters were always interesting. Sally Christie ably creates a vibrant and realistic world for her characters, and The Sisters of Versailles is a story that flows easily and well.

The Sisters of Versailles reads and feels very much in the vein of Philippa Gregory's type of historical fiction. There's some political intrigue and scheming to be had, but the focus of the plot and motivation for the characters is usually based on personal desire, be it sexual or otherwise. I didn't really care for most of the characters themselves, but I was totally involved in their stories and outcomes. The four sisters are the most dimensional and defined, with varying degrees of characterization for the courtiers and people they interact with. Aside from the sisters, King Louis exerts the most influence on the other characters and the plot. 

First in the planned series from the author, this is a bigger book. But happily,  it doesn't lag or lose focus because of that pagelength. The pacing remains steady and the plot moves along at a good clip throughout the book. The rotating POV used can take a moment to fully adjust, but the voices of the sisters really are quite distinct and easily differentiated between. The amount of detail and research that went into creating The Sisters of Versailles is readily obvious and helps to create a fully-envisioned sense of place for the characters. Versailles itself has been described and explored in many books, but Christie's knowledge subtly keeps the chateau vivid and authenthic.

I thought the trilogy would be centered around the five Mailly-Nesle sister but it is clear that is not the case. The story ends well before the end of Louis' life, and well before his most famous mistresses appear on the scene.  For a series opener, The Sisters of Versailles can be read as a standalone novel. The plot and story are resolved with satisfaction, but I can't imagine signing off this series before meeting Louis other infamous lovers: Madame du Barry and Madame de Pompadour.

The Sisters of Versailles is compelling and hard to put down. The setting is rich and real, the characters are interesting and different, if not exactly likeable, and the plot is well-rendered. It's an exploration of power and family, ambition and piety set across the reign of one of France's best-loved monarchs. The early years of the French court in the 1800s is a fascinating time and Sally Christie more than does it justice here.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Book Discussion/Review: Madapple by Christina Meldrum

Title: Madapple
Author: Christina Meldrum
Genre: contemporary, surrealism
Series: N/A
Pages: 410
Published: May 2008
Source: purchased
Rating: 3/5

The secrets of the past meet the shocks of the present.

Aslaug is an unusual young woman. Her mother has brought her up in near isolation, teaching her about plants and nature and language—but not about life. Especially not how she came to have her own life, and who her father might be.

When Aslaug’s mother dies unexpectedly, everything changes. For Aslaug is a suspect in her mother’s death. And the more her story unravels, the more questions unfold. About the nature of Aslaug’s birth. About what she should do next.

About whether divine miracles have truly happened. And whether, when all other explanations are impossible, they might still happen this very day.

Addictive, thought-provoking, and shocking, Madapple is a page-turning exploration of human nature and divine intervention—and of the darkest corners of the human soul.

For their latest Forgotten Fridays pick, the ladies at Great Imaginations selcted Madapple by Christina Meldrum. Pixie and Kara were not able to finish the book, unfortunately, but Lyn and I read the book this month, and got together for the discussion post! Thank you, Jessie!

Lyn: So! Madapple! Was it mad enough for you?

Jessie: Mad is a good word for it. I think there’s a lot of madness to be found in Madapple. Both as in “what the hell is going on with this girl and also with her mom” and also the emotion from the main character of Aslaug.

Lyn: I was expecting something a bit crazy from this one, since I have seen a few reviews talking about the level of intensity. And no one was exaggerating. This one was a total trip, and it was different and set up a character who was honestly sheltered and slightly on the lower end of the intelligence scale, which was wonderful. I’m sure that there was a lot working against her, and it does take a toll on young people when they do not get the proper amount of nutrients or medical care.

Jessie: I liked the unusuality of the POV used here. It’s honestly not one seen much in contemporary YA; in fact the whole feel, tone, and voice of this book is just very ~different from the norm. Add in the religious elements, the horticulture, and the unreliable narrator, it adds up to a really memorable experience. I can see why it’s not a book for everyone (there were admittedly parts where my eyes glazed over and I had to reread sections) but I liked that the author took some risks. Some aspects played out better than others, but I can say that Aslaug and Madapple weren’t ever predictable.

Lyn: I like how you pointed out that there was no predictability – I couldn’t stop reading this one because I kept thinking, “What the hell is going to happen now?” And then, the unreliable narrator. Have I ever mentioned before how much I love them? Because I do. I feel like the reader has to flesh out some of the other aspects while trying to decode what is really happening. This was one book where I didn’t have all of the answers, but I was okay with it, because in this story, I think that Aslaug was not the only confused, mislead person.

On the religion, I thought that it was going to be a big turn off for me, but I liked how the author was dissecting and exposing the center of manic religion in her texts. She all but admitted that most popular religions are recycled material, and how people use religion as a weapon, and not a tool. Most people are honestly in it for their own gains, and not for the goodwill of others. It was brilliant how the author was open ended yet very transparent in her own take on the inside world of fanatic religion. I thought it really added that extra tension and insanity to the plot.

Jessie: The religion angle was handled better than I expected but it also was pretty dry and lifeless. I liked that Madapple and its characters explored various angles and influences on Christianity and the effect of religion on people, but those were the sections that dragged the most for me. I found myself way way more invested in the cutaway chapters set during the child. Watching that second storyline develop as your understanding of the main plot continues was a really cool reading experience. It reminded me of The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, and that is a good thing.

I was pretty hands-off about the romance, though. It definitely was my second least favorite part to both the story and to Aslaug’s characterization.

Lyn: Oh, the “romance”. That was really difficult, and I thought that it almost worked. I can see the fresh angle that the author was working: Here we have a girl that was shut away from people her own age, so it was natural that a teenager who develop a strong crush on the first boy that paid her any mind, even though they were related. She used the crutch of “virgin birth” to justify her feelings, and even though she knew deep down that it was wrong, she had never dealt with proper socialization with people of the opposite gender. It was quite easy to exploit Aslaug due to her shut-away life. It creeped me out, but I understood that it could happen, and how everyone was using a lie to hide away from the ugly truth.

However, I lost a lot of, um, artistic respect for the “romance” because the author pushed so hard that it was never rape. If a girl is drugged, even if she shows interest in a guy, it is still rape, and it severely pissed me off that the author just brushed it off. I had to grapple with a lot of anger over this.

Jessie: See, my interpretation of the romance was different but I didn’t like it any better, hahaha. I didn’t think “virgin birth” was a crutch to Aslaug. I think she was so upset and confused, she genuinely believed it was an authentic possibility. I don’t think she had a motive or intentionally wanted to deceive but that her subconscious latched onto the easiest answer; the one her own mother had used herself to shield her own shame and anger and guilt over the circumstances of Aslaug’s conception. That part I didn’t mind so much. What I minded where the other three points you brought up: that Rune was the first man of her own age she had ever met, that they were related/raised together for a time, and that Aslaug could not give consent in the state she was in when the baby was conceived.

Those issues are massive, to me. I cannot support any of the romance for those reasons. It’s icky and gross and the fact that none of it is addressed by the author lowered my rating majorly.

Lyn: I hope I didn’t give the impression that I was condoning the romance, because, yes, it wasn’t there to “ship” characters, but as a prop for the “virgin birth”. But I have to totally agree with you. I would have given this book 5 whole stars if the rape was addressed. Aslaug called the right shot, and she was talked out of it, and when Rune still later denies that it was consensual, and a FREAKING LAW OF COURT DOESN’T ARGUE, then we have a problem. Even if she was not drugged, then I still would have called it rape – this girl had some real issues and could have easily been pushed or convinced that it was okay. The fact that she was drugged and it was never rightfully called “rape” shocked me. I was hoping to read in the last chapter that Rune’s ass was serving time for kidnapping and rape, but it was just glossed over, and I truly believe that a book aimed towards a young female audience needs to take more responsibility with issues of consent and rape.

Jessie: I also thought the finale was a bit cheesy and simple. The declarations of love! The reuniting! The happy ending! Well maybe it was not 100% happy; Aslaug will still have issues and their family is not a healthy one, but it wasn’t exactly fitting for the story that preceded it.
Lyn: That ending upset me as well. You can’t tell me that she was balanced and okay. I don’t like to tell people how to write their stories. But I can say I think in this situation, the child taken by social services and given up for adoption, and Aslaug slowly building a relationship would have been more realistic. I am also fairly certain that a person who went to court to testify that you murdered your mother, fully believing that it was true, would just turn the other cheek and accept the outcome. That isn’t rational or realistic. The ending didn’t fit with the overall darker, grittier tone of the novel. For the love of all things unholy, this girl was tied to a bed, raped, and forced into birthing a child, and then wasn’t even really allowed to be a mother. That isn’t just going to be cured with love or happy thoughts. That is years of therapy right there. That isn’t right to rig the ending for something sappy and light when the rest of the book was cold, cruel and shocking.

Jessie: Final rating? For me: 3 out of 5 stars. The mythology and the storytelling were top notch (and different! Norse!); I also liked the writing and the originality of this book and its off-the-walls plot. Just not enough to completely overcome the issues I otherwise had with Madapple. Meldrum has talent and imagination, that much is clear. I don’t know that I would rec this to every contemporary fan, but those who like darker edges to their YA would probably enjoy it.

Lyn: I think I am going to stick with 4. I loved the Norse mythology, the Danish, and the utter horrifying setting of the novel. But there were some HUGE ISSUES with this book.
Okay, I lied. I think 3.5. The more I think about the ending, the angrier I am becoming.

Check out some of our other discussion reviews:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

September Books!

September! I love September! So many great things start happening. The end of summer, the beginning of fall! Book Outlet sales! It's just a wonderful time to be alive and bookish.


After the Woods by Kim Savage - a darker YA contemporary. I haven't heard much but the premise is very much Jessie bait.
My Second Life by Faye Bird - this sounds kind of like The Lost Girl and the themes and ideas being explored sound interesting and different.
These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas - Synopsis and some major coverlove lead me to this one.

Thank you, Macmillan!

From the lovely and wonderful Morgan

Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey (Wilde Island #1)
In the Time of the Dragon Moon by Janet Lee Carey (Wilde Island #2) - I have had both of these on my TBR for a while both because of DRAGONS and Morgan's own love for ITTOTDM. So I am very excited to dive into this series.

and a Stucky caaaard! <3333

So, as I mentioned, Book Outlet had a sale. And the paragon of self-control that I am, this was my haul:

The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #3)
Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #6)
A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #7)
The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #8)
Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #9)
Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #10)
Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time #11)

This is a favorite series. One whose original covers were terrible and needed updating (plus these tall paperbacks take up less room than the giant hardcovers.) So buying 7 at less than $5 each was a solid choice.

But that's not all!

Shadow and Betrayal by Daniel Abraham (Long Price Quartet #1 and #2) - I raced through Abraham's other fantasy series last month. So this omnibus of the first two in another acclaimed series was an easy buy.
The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr - I've loved most of Zarr's books but I have heard from a few friends that this one is a bit more difficult to get into.
Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman - Eon and Eona were such great fantasy books. It's been too long since I've read an AG novel so this should tide me over until Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club comes out. Plus? That cooooover.

Unsouled by Neal Shusterman (Unwind #3) - So this is a hard series to read, but it's also really thoughtful and good.
The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay (The Fionavar Tapedtry #1) - I've been hit or miss with some of GGK's novels but the last few were excellent. It's about time I try one of his most beloved books.
Indigo Springs by A.M. Dellmonica (Astrid Lethewood #1) - I don't know much about this and have only one friend who has read it but she loved it. So, on Christina's review, I'm trying it.

So besides Book Outlet, I also purchased:

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #3) - I love my signed ARC from BEA 14 but I needed a finished copy. So. Here it is in all its glory.
The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn - this author's debut was creepy and well-written. Also, dragons. And this sounds very promising.
Storm by Amanda Sun (Paper Gods #3) - I am so sad these books changed covers before the end of the series. I still like this cover but the others (esp. book one) were so striking! Also these books are creative and fun.

So, The Shadow Behind the Stars is beyond gorgeous in person, guys. This is one beautiful book.

See? Proof?

It's going to be displayed very prominently on my shelf, let me tell you.


The Sleepwalker Tonic by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller (Nightmares! #2) - book one was fun and creepy. I am not sure how long that charm can last but then again, it's Marshall Jason Segel.

Lady of Magick by Sylvia Izzo Hunter (Noctis Magicae #2) - I love this cover. I haven't read the first book yet but I couldn't resist a sale.
The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Trilogy #2) - fnally bought a finished copy to go with my ARC. I am going to have to reread these before book three comes out.

In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo - I don't know too much about this but: it was on sale for $4, Jim di Bartolo is really talented, it's not a straight narrative story. That was enough for me.
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed - I have had my eye on this since it came out and thanks to a giftcard, finally got it for myself.
White Cat by Holly Black (Curseworkers #1) - I have this in nook, but I love these covers and this is a favorite series and also I am a magpie and needed to own it. Worth it.
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid - I opened this on a whim and didn't stop for two hours. And once I fed my dogs, I didn't stop until I finished the book. It was so good. Highly highly recommended.

Current look of most of the library:

What's new on your shelves? How is your September shaping up? Doesn't it seem like A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT of books were pubbed so far?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Two Minute Review: The White Rose by Amy Ewing

Title: The White Rose
Author: Amy Ewing
Genre: fantasy, dystopia, young adult 
Series: The Lone City #2
Pages: 320
Published: expected October 6 2015
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 2/5

Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments

Violet has escaped and is on the run from evil people who want to impregnate her and then murder her once she gives birth. This should be a harrowing, terrifying, exciting read about danger and covert maneuvering and women's rights... it's just... not that. It's not half of what it could be -- there are some topical issues at play that could be explored meaningfully and carefully. But they're largely ignored for the same old angst and romantic interplay. It's the 19037845720 verse, same as the first.

Admittedly, I like some of the ideas here (especially how dark Ewing is willing to get [ I mean, most YA books don't even address pregnancy much less forced surrogacy and then murder, etc. ]), but the execution  of those ideas leaves a lot to be desired. The whole world is shallow and so are the characters within that world. It's too flimsy so I shouldn't be surprised that the women's rights issues are not addressed in favor of a much less substantial plot. I was bored by what The White Rose chose to do and by its characters lack of dimension (exception: Raven who is a large part of my rating) or originality. Given two books and 650+ pages there should be more depth to the series.

I think I am getting off the The Lone City train at the second stop. This had potential, but like the cover of the second book --- the closer you look, the less it appeals.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger
Author: Rae Carson
Genre: young adult, historical fiction, magical realism
Series: The Gold Seer #1
Pages: 432 
Published: expected September 22, 2105
Source: ARC from publishers for review 
Rating: 3.75/5

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

So, I quite liked this historicalish series-opener from seasoned fantasy author Rae Carson . It was fun and different and highly, compulsively readable. It features some fun tropes and unexpected diversity and was an action-filled story; it was memorable. Yet I didn't fall in love with Walk on Earth a Stranger.. but then, I didn't love the first book in this author's last trilogy, either. Sometimes a series needs a book to gain footing, and this was a solid foundation for Carson's planned trilogy.

 Walk on Earth has some of my favorite tropes to read -- in YA or not. I love genderbending, girls defying rules and conventions, and I also love themes of revenge or retribution set in untamed lands. I played Oregon Trail as a child and to see that journey recreated (besides Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie) Across with a spirited character like Leah Westfall was both nostalgic and a whole new joy. Leah's growth as a character is notable and authentic. The magical realism angel is stressed lightly but, honestly, it  feels like an afterthought to the more realistic historical fiction story being told. 

 Leah sets out on her journey and the secondary cast is filled out by the companions she meets and journeys with on the long and dangerous road from Georgia to California. The exception to the pattern is with  Jefferson, her best friend from childhood and  eventual love interest. And when I say love interest, know that it is a minimal part of the story and the complex relationship that exists between the two characters. This book isn't a romance and it doesn't really have those kinds of feels or ships, if that's the kind of story you're looking for. That's not to say Walk on Earth a Stranger doesn't have emotion (the boooot) or heart (Leah is one helluva heroine), but it's more driven by darker emotions (fear, anger, revenge, ambition) and focuses on a wider scope. 

I might have really fallen in love with this if the ending had melt more complete instead of a holdover until the next book. I get that it's a series with an overarching villain and theme and struggle to be developed over three books, but it felt unsatisfying and too easy (running into each other that quickly??)  after the hundreds of pages and thousands of miles invested. The lack of resolution was disappointing.  know I will return for the next book in the series with Lee/Leah and Co. (I mean, I did read 2/3 of The Girl of Fire and Thorns series) but I hope it will pack a more emotional punch.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Blog Tour Review: Avelynn by Marissa Campbell

Title: Avelynn
Author: Marissa Campbell
Genre: historical fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 352
Published: September 8 2015
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Rating: 3/5

Marissa Campbell's debut novel is a winning combination of romance, history, and adventure sure to appeal to fans of Diana Gabaldon.

It is 869. For eighteen years, Avelynn, the beautiful and secretly pagan daughter of the Eadlorman of Somerset has lived in an environment of love and acceptance. She hasn't yet found a man to make her heart race, but her father has not pressured her to get married. Until now. With whispers of war threatening their land, her father forces Avelynn into a betrothal with Demas, a man who only covets her wealth and status. The dreaded marriage looming, she turns to her faith, searching for answers in an ancient ritual along the coast, only to find Alrik the Blood-Axe and sixty Viking berserkers have landed.

Alrik is unlike any man she has ever known, strong and intriguing. Likewise, he instantly falls for her beauty and courage. The two stumble into a passionate love affair, but it's more than just a greedy suitor who will try to keep them apart.

As the Saxons and Vikings go to war, Avelynn and Alrik find themselves caught in the throes of fate. Can they be true to their people as well as to each other?

Marissa Campbell ventures into a turbulent time and place for her debut historical novel Avelynn. I love finding historical fiction stories that aren't set in the more popular eras of the genre, or based on the most infamous figures known from then. Focusing on 869 in England  and a Lord's daughter from Wedmore definitely qualifies; this wasn't a rehash of stories I've already read. Campbell has an eye for detail and description; her characters are lively if not wholly three-dimensional. There's a lot to offer in Avelynn, and it's very readable.

I was engaged in this story early on in the 350-page length. Campbell's writing style is smooth and natural but the plotting and pacing are less polished. I had issues with the time jumps as the story progressed -- one chapter could cover just a few days, but then a new paragraph/chapter begins and it's weeks or months later? It was disconcerting and led to more than a bit of confusion and distance from the story being told.  

Possibly as a result of the timing and pacing issues in Avelynn, I also had issues with how fast Alrik and Avelynn go from possible enemies to head over heels in love with one another. It happens much too quickly.  I couldn't buy the rapid relationship as authentic for either character; it didn't make sense. Star-crossed love is a great trope if it is done well, but Campbell failed to take the time to develop their interactions into a believable plot point.

I liked Avelynn as a character, however. She was strong and independent without being an anachronism. She was intelligent and fair, but her narration could also falter, or venture into telling instead of showing. Alrik was given less to work with, since he isn't a POV character and features into the story less than Avelynn. There was certainly chemistry but I found the relationship to be a misstep.

Avelynn has a lot to offer Outlander fans, I think. The feel of the two stories is a lot alike (save the time travel) and the romance really is the focus of much of the story once it is introduced. If those two aspects draw you to a book, then this is a good fit for a next read.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Blog Tour: Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

Today, I'm more than thrilled to highlight an absolutely amazing contemporary by one of my favorite authors, Leila Sales. Tonight the Streets are Ours is the story of Arden Huntley, a "recklessly loyal" girl who decides to road trip to find her favorite blogger when he posts about his break-up. What follows is surprising and true, but we'll expound on that in tomorrow's review. Today, in honor of the book's release and September 19th's hashtag event, #tonightthestreetsareours, we'll be switching up the usual blog tour format. Instead of talking to Leila, she'd like me to answer her questions about being a blogger.

Photo credit: Franck Goldberg
Leila: What's the hardest part about being a blogger?

Danielle: Time. 

I work 60+ hours a week at my day job and I have an apartment, a husband, and a cat that all require some sort of daily attention. (Rude, right?) I read a book every other day, which means about 2 hours a day of reading, and each review takes an additional 2 hours to write, format, post, and cross post to GR. I can't even begin to calculate how much time I spend networking, reading others' blogs, commenting, trying to keep up with pub news...I try to post two to three times a week, but sometimes it's all I can do to tweet a star rating. 

In TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS Peter purposefully keeps his blog a secret from his friends and family so he can write whatever he wants about them. What do your friends and family think about your blog? Do they read it and comment on it?

My family is aware of the existence of my blog, but despite multiple links in all of my social media profiles, I'm not sure any of them have ever visited. Occasionally my husband and girlfriend will comment on my GR account, but they never cross over here. 

I think that's OK, though, because I've been more brutally open about my mental health issues than I think I could be if I thought they were reading.

What's your favorite comment you've ever gotten?

I don't even have to look it up; I keep it over my desk to remind me why I blog.

Dear Danielle,

There are a lot of firsts for a first-time author. In my day job as an editor, I've seen most of them. Two are pretty inevitable: the first bad review and the first good review.

I've seen most of them for the writers I've worked with, but now it's my own book out there. It's a very different thing to experience these firsts for your own work.

Thank you, Danielle, for my very first good review--hell, my very first great review. It means so much, and I don't suspect I'll ever forget it.


Harrison Demchick

That came in September 26, 2012, in my first month of blogging. It was in response to my first ARC review. So you may not forget my review Mr. Demchick, and I'll never forget the day I realized bloggers make a difference.

Have you ever written a blog post that you later regretted?

Never a blog post, but I have regretted tweets. Blog posts take a lot of time to write and format, which has always given me the chance to step back. Tweets can be shot off without thought, and I have said thoughtless things in them.

(I did tell my husband I loved him for the first time in a blog post, but since that worked out, I'm not counting it.)

For how long have you been a blogger, and what inspired you to start blogging?

I've been book blogging for three years now, though I've been blogging in a lot of different iterations for more than a decade. (Reviews, creative writing, and personal blogs. Before Tumblr, before Blogger, before Livejournal and Xanga and Typepad, before Internet forums, we had a thing called Usenet that someone might, hypothetically post bad pre-teen poetry to. Please don't do the math.)

As for why blogging? Escapism, mostly, and a desire to feel heard. 

I faded out of the blogging world during/after college, but when my girlfriend went back to school, I was having trouble making new friends and I started spending a lot of time at the library. I missed talking about books with people. Then I read a book that was absolutely life changing(ly bad). I needed to tell someone, so I wrote 1400 words and stuck it up on Goodreads. Jessie, who's been with me since my Wheel of Time theory blog days, asked me to join her at Ageless Pages. It took me another 8 months before I was willing to jump in, but now I get to relax from my high stress job, make friends with whom I know I have something in common right off the bat, and talk about my absolute favorite thing with my favorite person.

Join the rest of the tour, and read everyone's answers, via these sites:

September 1- Reader of Fictions
September 3- Ticket to Anywhere
September 4- Alexa Loves Books
September 5- The Book Cellar
September 6- The Irish Banana
September 7- Adventures of a Book Junkie
September 8- Supernatural Snark
September 9- The Compulsive Reader
September 10- Miss Print
September 11- Book Rock Betty
September 12- Reading Teen
September 13- Ageless Pages Reviews
September 14- Perpetual Page Turner
September 15- Books and Whimsy
September 16- Fierce Reads

Tonight the Streets Are Ours

From the author of This Song Will Save Your Life comes a funny and relatable book about the hazards of falling for a person you haven’t met yet.

Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she’s tired of being loyal to people who don’t appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom.

Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called “Tonight the Streets Are Ours,” the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.

During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

Add it on Goodreads! Preorder it at Amazon, B&N, The Book Depository, or Books of Wonder.

Join in on social media with #TonightTheStreetsAreOurs.

Find Leila on her website or Twitter!

Plus, a challenge!

On Saturday, September 19, starting at sundown and going as late as you want, do something fun, make a record of it, and share it with the world. Using the hashtag #TonightTheStreetsAreOurs, instagram or tweet whatever happens in your night. If you’re going to a party, aimlessly driving around with friends, or watching a movie alone in your PJs, we want to hear about it.

Here’s why: We’re celebrating the launch of Leila Sales’s novel TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS, the story of a 17-year-old girl who goes on an epic all-night road trip to NYC with her best friend in pursuit of her favorite blogger. It’s the sort of night where anything can happen, and almost everything does.

Now it’s your turn. Whatever you’re doing with your night, wherever you live, however old you are: you’re invited. Leila will be livestreaming her own nighttime adventures so you can join her remotely HERE. Or just do your own thing and post it online. We are all in this together.  #TonightTheStreetsAreOurs.
As we gear up for the big night, invite your friends, and leave a comment below with a story about some amazing night when the streets were yours. One lucky commenter on this page and three people who participate in the event on September 19 will win signed copies of the book.

Together, we will own this night.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...