Blog Tour: Black Wings Beating by Alex London – Interview

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Welcome to day 3 of the Black Wings Beating Blog Tour!

Today is release day which everyone should go out and buy Black Wings Beating if you haven’t preordered it already!

Black Wings Beating is the first in new fantasy falconer series by Alex London known as The Skybound Saga. I was fortunate enough to pick Alex’s brain about this action packed, high stakes novel which follows twins Brysen and Kylee’s journey through treacherous mountains in search of the elusive Ghost Eagle.

 

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What was the initially inspired you to write this story? We don’t see a lot of YA fantasy using birds of prey as their animal companion.

It began with falconry, and quickly became about so much more.

Falconry is an ancient practice that just about every culture on earth has invented at some point, where a person trains a killer bird to fly from their fist, hunt for them, and then, against all bird of prey instinct, surrender what they’ve killed. In early 2016, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It is the art of managing another being’s longing, keeping them just hungry enough to hunt for you.

To me, it was an apt metaphor for my first love.

A bird of prey isn’t like a dog; they can’t love a person the way a person can love them. Though a falcon learns to associate their tamer’s fist with food, they can and do turn on them at any time. They are alien minds with powerful talons and razor-sharp beaks, and as much time and care as a falconer pours into one, there comes this moment when they launch from the fist to the sky that the falconer simply has to trust that all will be okay. It isn’t always. Sometimes, that’s when the falcon leaves forever. A falconer can put years of care and thousands of dollars into the training of a falcon and have that falcon one day simply sky out, gone for reasons that they might never know or understand.

When I developed my first really intense crush on another guy–one of the lacrosse players at my high school–I found myself coming up with all sorts of excuses to be around him. I tried to be present without being noticed, lest he fly off like a nervous bird, or attack. This is just how a falconer gets a bird used to them. They try to be present but invisible. Like a captured wild hawk, my lax guy could have easily disappeared into the popular kids group if I made myself too visible. He also could have torn me limb from limb. The closer I got to him, the more dangerous it felt, but also the more thrilling. For a brief time, I felt like we’d really bonded, and I might’ve even gotten to nerve to tell him how I felt, but one day, he just pulled away, cut himself off from me, and was gone. No matter how much I longed to be around him, his desire was not my desire, and however well I thought I knew his mind, I had no idea what went on behind his eyes.

So for me, the idea of a falconer is the same as a crush, longing for a creature from a different sky, who might perch with you awhile, but can never belong to you.

I wanted to explore that, but, in doing research, discovered so much cool stuff about birds of prey and about the cultures of falconry, that it seemed wild to me no one had made falconry central to a fantasy world. I didn’t want to just write killer birds as a metaphor for longing. I wanted to write a kick-ass world filled with actual kick-ass killer birds, sacred, deadly, awe-inspiring predators.

 

When we met at BEA I briefly mentioned your cover reminded me of The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock, which I studied in college. Did the film play a part when writing Black Wings Beating?

It didn’t, but I think the film and the book came from a similar place, that primal human fascination we have with these creatures who soar above us, whose eyes hold an intelligence so unlike our own, and how they command the sky in a way we never will.

 

Can you talk about the research you did for this book? What was that like working with Master Falconer Mike Dupuy?

Well, because I’m a nerd, my research started in books. I read Helen Macdonald’s H is For Hawk and TH White’s The Goshawk. Then I got into more scientific books about birds of prey and more niche stuff about falconers and falconry. Eventually, I reached out to Mike Dupuy who let me come out to his farm, answered my endless questions, showed me his falconry gear, introduced me to his impressive cast of birds of prey …and then took me out to fly one of his birds (the tamest one…). My agent and I took turns tossing the hawk from our gloves into the sky, then calling it back to our fists again to let it from our hands. It was a sublime experience. Birds of prey are very skilled killers, very fast, but also so light and delicate and sensitive. No sudden movements around them or they could fly off. I love that about them: the only way to unleash their violence is through deep care, gentleness, and rapt attention. Deep care, gentleness, and rapt attention is also a pretty apt description of love.

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Black Wings Beating is the first book of yours I read. I hadn’t realized not only do you write YA, but you’ve also written several picture books, middle grade, and adult. How does your writing process differ for each age group?

It really doesn’t differ that much, except with picture books. They are an entirely different thing. I write what I hope is a compelling story and if the concerns, subject, and voice is authentic for a teen, then it will find its way to being a YA novel. The same is true for middle grade. The subjects and content and tone of what feels true and immediate and engaging for an 11 year old are going to be different than what compels a YA reader. Of course, in the revision process for middle grade, I think more about sentence structure, vocabulary, and context that they’ll bring to the story. I have to be mindful of that stuff, but any writer aware of their audience will be mindful of that stuff anyway.

 

As twins, Brysen and Kylee are complete opposites with very different views of what it means to do the right thing for the right reasons. Brysen does things for himself , whereas Kylee tries to shoulder everything for her family. How did you develop these characters and how do Brysen and Kylee reflect who you are?

They came to me quite whole. While the details of their lives could not be more different from my own, I drew much of their psychological makeup from myself. Brysen’s struggles with depression and anxiety are much like my own. His longing for approval and trying to measure up to some arbitrary standard are also, sadly, much my own issues too. Kylee, on the other hand, is waaaaaay more resourceful and generous of spirit than I am! But her feelings of responsibility, her sense that she has to be the one to solve everything all the time…I definitely have that instinct, though I don’t act on it quite as intensely as she does.

Mostly, I hope, these two characters are their own people though, with their own unique wants and flaws. It’s my job as the writer to press against those wants and those flaws and hope something exciting, honest, and powerful comes out of it. My own issues are more like logs thrown into the bonfire of these characters. If it catches, the flames are entirely their own.

 

Can you talk a bit about the Uztari, Altari, and, Kartami and their different beliefs about bird training and where that stems from?

The Uztari both revere birds of prey and use them as the basis for their culture and economy. They are, in the language I invented for them, “bound to the sky.” Everything in their world centers around or stems from the worship, training, or trading in birds of prey. The Altari—”mountain bound”—are exiles from the mountains, banned by their own faith and Uztari law from training birds of prey. They are excluded from the dominant culture and have invented systems for themselves that explain it. They loathe the Uztari who exile them, but of course, no faith is uniform, and there are Altari who make compromises. Lastly, the Kartami —“the shards”—are fanatics whose goal is eliminate the birds of prey, the falconers, and all who collaborate with them. They see themselves as the only true faith of the world in which this story is set, and they are merciless in enforcing their beliefs as they conquer territory. Of course, there is more going on with them than it might at first seem. The distinctions between the three groups are also not quite what they seem…

 

The cover reminds me of a specific scene in the novel in the woods. Also I didn’t notice all 4 character silhouettes until recently. Did you have any input in the cover process?

I’m obsessed with this cover! The designer, Elizabeth Clark, did an amazing job! They showed me drafts and I got to give a few notes but really, this was the creative team at Macmillan who took the book and flew with it. I love what they did and I get what to see what they come up with for the rest of the trilogy!

 

If you were a falconer in your own world, which bird of prey would you choose?

Oh, that’s a tough one! They’re like Pokemon—I wanna train them all! But, I guess I’d choose between an owl—because they fly silently!—or a goshawk, like Brysen’s. They have a reputation for being difficult, moody, and vicious, but I think they’re beautiful and intelligent and fascinating and I feel like I’d rather tame a complicated bird who can astonish me, than a more predictable one who will never give me any trouble. I suppose it’s a lot like romance that way too.


BWB_CVR_final.jpgBlack Wings Beating

The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.

Brysen strives to be a great falconer―while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She’s nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.

Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he’s long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother’s future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.

In this first young-adult fantasy novel in a trilogy, Alex London launches a soaring saga about the memories that haunt us, the histories that hunt us, and the bonds of blood between us.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Indigo | Book Depository


ALEXANDER LONDONAbout Alex

Alex London is the beloved author of the middle-grade series, Tides of War, Dog Tags, and The Wild Ones. His young-adult novel Proxy, was an ALA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers and was included in their 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults List, the Texas Lone Star Reading List, and the TAYSHAS Reading List selection, among many other state reading lists. He lives in Philadelphia.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr |  Goodreads


Many thanks to Morgan at Macmillan for organizing this and a big thank you to Alex for answering all my questions!

MelissaSig

 

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour:

9/23 Here’s to Happy Endings – Review
9/24 It’s Jane Lindsey – Review
9/24 Book Whit – Review
9/24 YA Biblophile – Review
9/25 Christine Manzari – Instagram Post
9/25 Live Love Read – Interview
9/26 One Way or an Author – Fan Art
9/26 Fiction Fare – Review
9/27 Arctic Books – Moodboard
9/27 The Adeventures of Cecelia Bedelia – Review
9/28 Bookish Connoisseur – Review
9/28 Reader Rewind – Review
9/29 thebumblegirl – Review

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Cover Reveal: Toxic by Lydia Kang

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*blows dust off blog* Hello fellow book nerds!

I’m excited to participate in another cover reveal! Coming this Fall is Lydia Kang’s latest novel Toxic!

*cue Britney*

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**JUST KIDDING!** This gif doesn’t match the book at all!


About Toxic by Lydia Kang

Genre: YA Scifi
Release date: November 6th 2018
Entangled Teen

Summary:

Cyclo, the first and largest biological ship of its kind, is dying. A small crew of mercenaries have handed over the rights to their life to document the death of the ship, but the abandoned ship is anything but abandoned—one girl has been left behind.

Hana has known nothing but the isolation of a single room and the secret that has kept her there for seventeen years. When she meets Fennec, the boy assigned to watch her, she realizes that there is a world she has yet to experience but she is doomed to never meet.

When crew members begin mysteriously dying, Hana and Fenn realize that they are racing against the death of the ship to find a way to survive—unless someone kills them even before Hana’s truly had a chance to live.

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So without further ado…

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What a sinister looking flower. Does it play a role in the book? Hmmm….

 

Be sure to add the book to Goodreads!!! You can find ome pre-Order links available HERE! As always I’m in support of Indie Bookstores, and if you are too pre-order from Indiebound.


lydiakangAbout the Lydia

Lydia Kang is an author of young adult fiction, poetry, and narrative non-fiction. She graduated from Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, completing her residency and chief residency at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She is a practicing physician who has gained a reputation for helping fellow writers achieve medical accuracy in fiction. Her poetry and non-fiction have been published in JAMA, The Annals of Internal Medicine, Canadian Medical Association Journal, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and Great Weather for Media. She believes in science and knocking on wood, and currently lives in Omaha with her husband and three children.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

 

Cover Reveal Organized By:

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COVER REVEAL: Imprison the Sky by A.C. Gaughen

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*blows dust off blog*

Happy Thursday everyone!

I’m thrilled to team up with Bloomsbury to reveal the cover to A.C. Gaughen’s next book in the Elementae series!  IMPRISON THE SKY is the sequel to REIGN THE EARTH (but it can also be read as a standalone!) and features Aspasia, a new inspiring female protagonist who is a rebel wind Elementa.

 

So without further ado….

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IMPRISON THE SKY
By A. C. Gaughen
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Ages 14 and up

Bloomsbury |Goodreads

Stolen from her family as a child, Aspasia has clawed her way up the ranks of Cyrus’s black market empire to captain her own trading vessel–and she risks it all every time she uses her powerful magic to free as many women, children, and Elementae from slavery as she can.

But Cyrus is close to uncovering her secrets–not only that Aspasia is a wind Elementa with the ability to sail her ship through the sky, but that she is also searching for her lost family. And if Aspasia can’t find her younger siblings before Cyrus does, she will never be able to break free.

Armed with her loyal crew full of Elementae and a new recruit who controls an intriguing power, Aspasia finds herself in the center of a brewing war that spans every inch of the ocean, and her power alone may not be enough to save her friends, family, and freedom.


Annie+Gaughen-0009.jpgA.C. Gaughen

Author of the Elementae series and of Scarlet, Lady Thief, and Lion Heart. She serves as the Director of Girls’ Leadership for the non-profit Boston GLOW, creating opportunities to encourage and engage teen girls in the Greater Boston area. She has a Master’s in Creative Writing from St. Andrews University in Scotland and a Master’s in Education from Harvard University.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

 

Thank you so much to Courtney & Emily at Bloomsbury for inviting me to participate! I cannot wait to get my hands on this book!

What do you think of the cover? Leave your comments down below!!

 

MelissaSig

REIGN THE EARTH Blog Tour

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WELCOME to the first stop on the Reign the Earth blog tour!

In case you didn’t already know, Reign the Earth is about Shaila, a daughter of the desert who is hoping to achieve peace for her people by becoming Queen of the Bonelands. Upon her arrival she comes into her powers over the Earth, which she must hide from her husband, Calix, who is determined to eliminate the Elementae, people who can control the elements.

We were asked “Which strong woman would you choose to help you REIGN THE EARTH?”  I decided to choose two literary characters, Alanna of Trebond and Zoya Nazyalensky.

We all have that one book that changed our life and for me it was Alanna by Tamora Pierce.  I guess you could say Alanna was my true introduction to YA before it was even YA.  I was about 12 years old when I read the book and I was in complete awe of Alanna’s determination and courage to become a knight regardless of her gender. I became more aware of what it meant to persevere and follow my dreams (though let’s be honest my dreams to be a veterinarian didn’t last long).  I know Alanna would make a great friend and ally with her skills as a mage and sword.

Even though Zoya Nazyalensky, a powerful Squaller, comes off arrogant, ambitious, and is a bitch to Alina in Shadow and Bone, she improves a lot throughout the series.  She proves herself to be loyal and trustworthy friend.  I love her even more when she makes an appearance in Crooked Kingdom! She is a force to be reckoned with and I would be lucky to have her on my side.


Giveaway

1 lucky winner will win a signed hardcover copy of Reign the Earth! (US/CAN only)

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

 

Be sure to visit the other blogs on the tour!

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JANE UNLIMITED Blog Tour

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Hello! Welcome to my stop on the Jane, Unlimited blog tour! I am so excited to be a part of this as I am a huge Kristin Cashore fan!!! In this “Choose Your Own Adventure” -esque book, there are 5 different scenarios and we get follow Jane on each path.  I’ve attempted to do my best in providing a mood board for each one.

THE MISSING MASTERPIECE

STORY 1

LIES WITHOUT BORDERS

story 2

IN WHICH SOMEONE LOSES A SOUL

story 3

JANE, UNLIMITED

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THE STRAYHOUND, THE GIRL AND THE PAINTING

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janecoverJANE, UNLIMITED

The highly anticipated standalone from the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the Graceling Realm series—a kaleidoscopic novel about grief, adventure, storytelling, and finding yourself in a world of seemingly infinite choices.

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Book Depository


kristinAbout Kristin

Kristin Cashore grew up in the northeast Pennsylvania countryside as the second of four daughters. She received a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a master’s from the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College, and she has worked as a dog runner, a packer in a candy factory, an editorial assistant, a legal assistant, and a freelance writer. She has lived in many places (including Sydney, New York City, Boston, London, Austin, and Jacksonville, Florida), and she currently lives in the Boston area. Her epic fantasy novels set in the Graceling Realm–GracelingFire, and Bitterblue–have won many awards and much high praise, including picks as ALA Best Books for Young Adults, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Booklist Editors Choice, and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. In addition, Graceling was shortlisted for the William C. Morris Debut Award and Fire is an Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Winner.

GIVEAWAY LEGAL

Enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) winners to receive a hardcover copy of Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. (ARV: $18.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on September 11, 2017 and 12:00 AM on October 9, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about October 11, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour!

SCHEDULE:
 
Week One:
September 11 – Alexa Loves Books – Bookish Style Files
September 11 – The Bookiemoji – Review
September 12 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Playlist
September 12 – Wandering Bark Books – Review
September 13 – Sarcasm & Lemons – Umbrellas Jane Would Make for YA Characters
September 13 – Arctic Books – Review
September 14 – Book Nerd Addicts – Review
September 14 – In Wonderland
September 15 – YA Book Central – Excerpt
September 15 – My Friends are Fiction – Promo
 
Week Two:
September 18 – YA Bibliophile – Review
September 18 – Across the Words – Umbrellas, A History
September 19 – The Eater of Books! – Mood Board
September 19 – NovelKnight
September 20 – Great Imaginations – Review
September 20 – The Wednesday Blog for Books – Review
September 21 – Icey BooksJane, Unlimited Quote Candy
September 21 – A Page With a View – Favorite Quotes
September 22 – A Thousand Books to Read – Review
September 22 – BookCrushin – Review
 
Week Three:
September 25 – Teen Librarian Toolbox
September 25 – The Young Folks – 10 Reasons to Read Jane, Unlimited
September 26 – Live Love Read – A Mood Board for Every Story
September 26 – No BS Book Reviews – Review
September 27Andi’s ABCs
September 27The Novel Hermit
September 28Paper Trail YA – Review
September 28Swoony Boys PodcastJane, Unlimited Fan Cast
September 29I Am A Reader
September 29Fiction Fare – Review
 
Week Four:
October 2Don’t Fold the Page
October 2Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile – Characters & Tea
October 3MuggleNet – Review
October 3Xpresso Reads – Top 10 Awesome Umbrellas
October 4The Book Wars – Review
October 4Once Upon a Twilight – Guess the Story in GIFs
October 5Mundie Moms – Review
October 5YA Romantics – Review & Quiz
October 6Bookworm Everlasting – Book Photography
October 6Here’s to Happy Endings – Bookish Style Board

 

WARCROSS Blog Tour: Event Recap & Dream Cast

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I’m so excited to be a part of the Warcross blog tour! I was so excited to find out Marie Lu was coming to Wellesley Books this month that I thought I’d do a recap of the book event I attended last night and a little dream casting.

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The one time I wish I owned Snapchat

I was thrilled to find out local author, Malinda Lo would be joining Marie Lu at Wellesley Books last night.  It was probably the first time I’d ever got to attend a book event where both authors were Chinese and I think that is what made it extra special.

Both Marie and Malinda’s latest books are so vastly different than their previous titles, it was fascinating to learn why they chose tell that particular story.  Marie stated amid writing The Rose Societ, which happens to be her darkest story written, she began to feel the effects of her story and wanted to write something happier.  Warcross was her “Happy Story”, which Malinda immediately questioned.  We learn right from the beginning Emika is still coping with a big loss in her life.

Malinda Lo decided to write A Line in the Dark after a conversation with her editor about reading The Secret Place (?) by Tana French.  It was then she thought about writing a mystery. Marie and Malinda came up with the comp “Gone Girl meets Mean Girls”.

When asked about setting the book in Tokyo, Marie explained she did visit Tokoyo last year to do some “research” and eat her way through Japan with fellow author Amie Kaufman. Originally Marie wrote Warcross from the perspective of a girl who was from Tokyo, but felt she wasn’t qualified to write it that way.  Instead Marie chose to write Emika’s experience going from New York to Tokoyo as a tourist, just like she had.

Both ladies have different approaches to drafting a new book.  For Malinda, she often starts off not knowing what she’s doing, but after working with the idea, she eventually figures it out.  Marie on the other hand is a pantser and wants to be an outliner, so she tries to write an outline for every book. However she always gets off track, but not so much because she still follows the major plot points.

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For Marie and Malinda, Warcross and A Line in the Dark is the first time either of them feature a Chinese American main character.  Throughout their careers both women have been inching forward to put Asian characters in their books.  Though why did it take so long to write a Chinese American character?

They began to explain that many years ago, in the industry publishers would could only pick 1 story featuring a POC and 1 LGBTQ story.  So at the beginning Marie felt that she had to make a choice between getting her career off the ground with no POCs or risk not getting a book deal if she had an Asian MC.  At the time when she made this decision not to feature a POC, it was a way of protecting herself. She did wish she were a little braver and took the risk.

As for Malinda, she wrote all of her books for herself, so all of her characters were queer women. However she also chose not to feature a POC because she felt like she couldn’t add more her queer characters. Although she didn’t want to narrow her audience by making Ash queer and Asian, in Malinda’s mind Ash was Asian it just wasn’t on the page. As for Huntress, with the story inspired by Asian culture, Malinda wove in details that hinted to the characters being Asian, but doesn’t explicitly say it.

 

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I am so glad I was able to attended the amazing event at Wellesley books!! Both Marie and Malinda are so inspirational! I need more events like theirs honestly.


Dreamcast

Switching gears for a little dream casting! The only reason why I started to agonize for HOURS deciding who would portray Emika and Hideo was the fact I had an actor in mind as I read about Emika’s father… OF ALL PEOPLE!  I also came up with an actor for Asher and then I realized it’s super late and I need to go to bed.

 

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Ellen Wong as Emika
Lucas Till as Asher
Jun Matsumoto as Hideo
Godfrey Gao as Emika’s Dad


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Warcross by Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 12, 2017

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


223095_lu_marie(1)About Marie Lu

Marie Lu is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Young Elites, as well as the blockbuster bestselling Legend series. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry as an artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing games, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with one husband, one Chihuahua mix, and one Pembroke Welsh corgi.


Giveaway

Thanks to Penguin Random House, you can enter for a chance to be one (1) of three (3) grand prize winners of a WARCROSS prize set (including hardcover of Warcross, shirt, keychain, and postcard). (ARV: $18.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on September 4, 2017 and 12:00 AM on September 29, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about October 2, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

ENTER HERE!

 

 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour!

September 4 – The Reading Nook Reviews – Review
September 5 – Bookiemoji – Book Photography
September 6 – Fiction Fare – Review
September 7 – BookCrushin – Review
September 8 – The Fandom – Author Q&A
September 11 – Lost in Lit – Book Photography
September 12 – Alexa Loves Books – Author Guest Post | Marie’s Favorite Video Games
September 13 – Little Lillie Reads – Review
September 14 – YA Wednesdays
September 15 – Live Love Read
September 18 – Adventures of a Book Junkie – 5 Reasons to Read Warcross
September 19 – The Young Folks – Review
September 20 – Once Upon a Twilight – Guess the Story in GIFs
September 21 – Arctic Books – Warcross Mood Board
September 22 – Book Nerd Addicts – Author Q&A
September 25 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Author Q&A + Event Recap
September 26 –Mundie Moms – Favorite Quotes
September 27 – YA Bibliophile – Review
September 28 – Icey Books – Warcross Quote Candy
September 29 – Super Space Chick – Review & Favorite Video Games

 

MelissaSig

Zodiac Books: Black Moon

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Only TWO more weeks until Thirteen Rising is released!! Has everyone been following along with the #ZodiacBooks ReReadathon?  Today I’ll be doing a fun post for the third book in the series Black Moon!

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One final secret stands between Rho and the enemy. But will the devastating truth destroy her first?

Rho, the courageous visionary from House Cancer, lost nearly everything when she exposed and fought against the Marad, a mysterious terrorist group bent on destroying balance in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now the Marad has disappeared without a trace, and an uneasy peace has been declared.

But Rho is suspicious. She believes the Master is still out there in some other form. And looming over all are the eerie visions of her mother, who died many years ago but is now appearing to Rho in the stars.

When news of a stylish new political party supported by her best friend, Nishi, sends Rho on another journey across the Galaxy, she uses it as an opportunity to hunt the hidden master and seek out information about her mother. And what she uncovers sheds light on the truth—but casts darkness upon the entire Zodiac world.


I was planning to do a cover outfit, but I could not decide on a dress. There are so many fantastic choices I thought I’d let readers decide for me.  We’ll be have a “dress off”!

Zuhair Murad – Fall 2015 Couture Collection

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First up we have this stunning galaxy dress by Zuhair Murad. I love how the sequins make waves along the skirt reminiscent of House Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.

 

Marchesa 2011

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Next up is this gorgeous black ball gown with gold sequence worn by Olivia Wilde at the Golden Globes. It kinda looks like a has star exploded.

 

Elie Saab Fall 2015

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Here we have a more subtle navy gown by Elie Saab that has POCKETS! All hail Elie Saab!

 

So now do you guys see how this is so freaking hard to choose? I’d like you to cast your votes on the dress you think works for the cover. Feel free to link to some other choices in the comments below!

 

BONUS

Dresses for the Zodiac signs shown on the cover of Black Moon!

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This Zuhair Murad Fall 2015 was made for House Pisces! The bodice reminds me of fish scales or fish nets and there’s a lot of silver sequence which is the house color.

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This gown designed by Fausto Sarli for his Spring/Summer 2011 collection is definitely  House Aquarius who’s color is aqua. Though an air element, I chose this oceanic dress because Aquarius is the water carrier.


GIVEAWAY LEGAL COPY: 


Enter for a chance to win either one (1) grand prize set of Romina Russell’s Zodiac Series in paperback, including Zodiac, Wandering Star, and Black Moon (32.97) or to be one (1) of five (5) second place winners to receive a copy of Zodiac by Romina Russell (ARV: $10.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on August 7, 2017 and 12:00 AM on August 28, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about September 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

ENTER GIVEAWAY

ARC Review: Miles Morales

32793053 Title: Miles Morales
Author: Jason Reynolds
Publisher: Marvel Press
Pages: 272
Release Date: 8/1/2017
Rating: 5 Stars

Summary: “Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you’re on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins.”

Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He’s even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man.

But lately, Miles’s spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad’s advice and focus on saving himself.

As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can’t shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher’s lectures on the historical “benefits” of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk.

It’s time for Miles to suit up.


I will be honest, when they announced a novelization about Black Widow, I didn’t jump on the bandwagon and read it.  Not that I don’t love Black Widow, but I just didn’t see the appeal.  We already had great films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, why do we need books?  Apparently this is a thing that’s been happening for years. Anyway it wasn’t until publishers announced Wonder Woman did I become interested because it was going to be written by favorite author. I hadn’t even heard about Spider-Man becoming a book until Mashable revealed the cover and holy cow! What a cover! My immediate thought was, “Who the hell is Miles Morales?”

I am not into comics whatsoever, so my only exposure is through the films, and then I go look it up like most non-comic people.  So of course I looked up how Miles took over as Spider-Man. Let’s just say I was very very happy.

I was lucky enough to snag an early copy at BookExpo from Disney. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I never read a book by Jason Reynolds, but I know of his books, especially Ghost, since I gifted it one year to a family friend who loves sports novels.  All I let myself know about Miles was that he is a half black, half Puerto Rican high school kid living in New York, and why he took over for Peter Parker. I didn’t read too much about Miles because I didn’t want to ruin the first time experience.

It’s so refreshing to learn about another Spider-Man!!! I really got fed up with Hollywood “rebooting” Spider-Man three times.  I haven’t seen Spider-Man Homecoming, I wasn’t a fan of the character in Captain American Civil War.

What I liked about this book was how Miles portrayed as a “regular” kid. He’s trying to discover who he is, balance school and come to grips with his newly found powers. I also loved seeing the relationship between Miles and his best friend Ganke, who is Asian. HI. YES! POCs front and center! I also appreciated reading about the relationship between Miles and his parents. [Yay YA parents who are Alive!]  One thing that surprised me was Miles’ web shooters. Since I don’t know a ton about him, I’ll probably have to look it up. Not gonna lie, I feel like it’s a better origin story than Peter Parker.  Sorry guys!

The one thing that didn’t click with me was the villain of the story. Not so much what it represented and the significance of it, but more the white cat part of it. I can’t explain why the white cat bothers me without spoilers. Maybe I am just weird or I need to re-read it again. Or I could find Jason at the Boston Teen Author Festival and ask…. Anyway the other thing I disliked was IT NEEDED TO BE LONGER!!!!! I feel like Jason barely scratched the surface and I hope there will be a sequel or two.

Anyway if you haven’t read Miles Morales, you need to add it to your ever growing TBR pile NOW!

5-stars

MelissaSig

#PlayWarcross + GIVEAWAY

9780399547966.jpgFor the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Play Warcross | Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Book Depository


Want a chance to play?

You can by building your own WARCROSS team.
WARCROSS teams are made up of five members:
  • Team Captain
  • The Architect
  • The Thief
  • The Shield
  • The Fighter
Build your own teams from your favorite YA characters or other fictional characters and then Tag 5 friends to play along too! Be sure to use #PlayWarcross when you share your post!!

Team Captain

I think Nikolai Lanstov from the Grisha trilogy would make for a good team captain. He does play well with others.

The Architect

Without a doubt this job is for Annabeth Chase from the Percy Jackson series. Though I think Nikolai will bug Annabeth, since he can be so much like Percy. Maybe worse.

The Thief

I feel like everyone is going to pick this character but for thief I am going with my girl Inej Ghafa from Six of Crows.

The Shield

I am picking Vida from The Darkest Minds who uses telekinesis. She would be able to deflect things coming toward her.


(Art by Taratjah)

The Fighter

There are so many good fighters to choose from, but I am going to have to go with Aeduan from Truthwitch series! Nikolai would probably also piss Aeduan off from time to time.

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(Artwork by Victoria Quezada)

 

TAGGING: MC @ Blame it on the Books | Karina @ A Reader Under the Sea | Jen @ Library of a Book Witch| Dana @ DanaSquare | Kelly @ See Kelly Tse


The Game Begins:

September 12, 2017

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Don’t miss your chance to receive this exclusive short story!!

How to Enter

1. Pre-order your copy of WARCROSS from any store
2. Snap a photo or screenshot of your receipt
3. Fill out the form and upload your receipt

223095_lu_marie(1)About Marie Lu

Marie Lu is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Legend trilogy and The Young Elites trilogy. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry, working for Disney Interactive Studios as a Flash artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing Assassin’s Creed, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California (see above: traffic), with one husband, one Chihuahua mix, and two Pembroke Welsh corgis.

GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY LEGAL:
Enter for a chance to be one (1) of five (5) grand prize winners of a WARCROSS Galley set (including galley, shirt, keychain, and postcard) or to be one (1) of ten (10) second place prize winners of a WARCROSS Galley (ARV: $0.00 each).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on July 31th, 2017 and 12:00 AM on August 28, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about August 5, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

 

Thanks to Chelsea Fought and Penguin Young Readers for putting this together!!

MelissaSig

Musings of Nic Stone

eternaldreamers

Get Out Of The Way
By Nic Stone

I didn’t think I could write fiction.

“I’m not creative or imaginative enough,” I said. “To come up with a whole story? What would I even write about? There’s just no way.”

The truth is I was scared. People who looked like me didn’t populate bestseller or required reading lists. They weren’t even in the books I read. Not in a way I could identify with at least. I wasn’t an escaped slave or a person deemed stupid because I spoke broken English or a guy falsely accused of a horrible crime (and then killed for it).

I was a book-loving black girl with a thirst for adventure who loved to tromp through the woods. That girl didn’t exist in books. So I didn’t think she could.

And since the story I knew best was my own, but my own clearly wasn’t what anyone wanted to read, I didn’t think I could write fiction. I couldn’t imagine being a little white kid slaying a dragon and saving the world–so I wasn’t imaginative enough. I couldn’t create a world where people like me didn’t actually exist–so I wasn’t creative enough.

But then something happened: the more I read, the emptier I felt. I could no longer ignore the lack of people who looked and lived like ME in the stuff I was reading.

And there WAS a story building in my bones, itching to get out. About a brown girl saving the day. I tried to ignore it, but the plot points and dialogue kept coming and coming. The story wouldn’t leave me alone.

So I decided to give it a shot. Put words, ideas, mental images to paper. Turns out I’d been wrong about myself. I COULD write fiction. I WAS– AM–imaginative enough, creative enough.

I just needed to get out of my own way.

Maybe you do, too.


13525503About Nic Stone

Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.

You can find her goofing off and/or fangirling over her husband and sons on most social media platforms

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


24974996.jpgDear Martin

Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.

Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Book Depository


Huge THANK YOU to Nic for getting this post in to us while on deadline! Your experience and encouragement to other writers is inspiring. We have all felt like we could not do something, when in actuality we can if we have more faith in ourselves.

As always, thank you to everyone who has participated in this feature! Your words and advice are always appreciated and we love you all for helping us.

We hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week!

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