Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Author Interview with Jessica Prather

I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to interview Jessica Prather, author of The Traitor's Crux, for my blog! Be sure to add The Traitor's Crux on Goodreads here! I am so excited to pick it up soon and review it for you guys! The book is release this November so keep an eye out for it!

1.What made you want to become an author/have you always known you wanted to write stories?

I’ve always loved writing, but I never really thought that I’d go anywhere with it. Being an author was something I dreamed about, but I knew how hard it was to make it. I still have all these notebooks from the first grade where I’d write (super embarrassing) stories, just for fun. I think I was 20 when I thought up the idea of TTC, and it was like a “why not” type of moment. I sort of decided to go for it, to write and see where it takes me. I know this is really cliche, but it comes to show that with enough hard work and dedication, anyone can make it. You’ve got to follow those dreams! :) 

2. Where did you come up for the idea for The Traitor's Crux/what inspired the story?

 The Traitor’s Crux is inspired by many things… I’ve always had a thing for magic. I think it’s so cool. It probably stems from my disappointment from not ever getting into Hogwarts. I wanted to create a story with magic of my own, but add a unique twist. I’m a sucker for history, so a lot of the world-building and the idea of President Reed stemmed from World War 2 and various events throughout history. 

3. Kenadee finds out she has magic powers in the book and I was wondering if you could have any magical ability what would you choose?

Oh, man! There are so many I’d choose! Kenadee’s powers are unique, to say the least. She can do lots of cool things. I think if I had to choose one power, it’d be something like invisibility or mind control. 

4. Did you base Kanadee off any people you know in real life or is she completely made up?

Kenadee is completely made up. It’s funny because I moved from Colorado, where I’d never seen that name before in my life, to Utah, where LOTS of girls have the name Kenadee. It makes me nerd out a little, haha! 

5. What was the biggest challenge of writing a novel for you? Drafting? Editing?

I used to think writing was the hardest part of the novel, but I was SO wrong. The first draft is by far the easiest part of the process. For me, the hardest thing is editing. It’s sort of a mentally and physically draining thing. There are so many highs and lows in the process- there are days where I feel really good about my work, then days where I feel like the crappiest writer alive. It’s something I think every creative person has to go through- we just have to keep our chins up and not let those negative thoughts get us down. 

6.  What are some of your favourite books?

 I could read The Book Thief and The Great Gatsby a million times over and never get sick of them. They both have such breathtaking prose, which I just love. A few other favorites: The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, Harry Potter series (because who doesn’t love Harry Potter?), The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and East of  Eden by Steinbeck. I’m also currently reading Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas and I’m definitely a fan. 

I want to say a big thank you to Jessica for answering my questions and to OfTomes Publishing for setting the interview up!
Thanks for reading,
A :)

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3

Publication:May 2nd 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Description:
Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

My Thoughts:
Always and Forever Lara Jean is Jenny Han's best work. I absolutely loved it to pieces. I was such a giddy mess from page one. These books make me so happy it's a bit ridiculous! I was smiling so much while reading Always and Forever my mouth hurt!  I had so much fun reading the last instalment of what is one of my all time favourite series. 

Lara Jean goes on such a journey over the course of the series and in this book alone she does some tremendous growing up. A big part of the book focuses on college and Lara Jean making big decisions about where she wants to go. I loved the college aspect of the book because we don't have the same system here in Ireland so it was interesting reading about how in America they do applications and find out where they are going to college before they even graduate high school. What Lara Jean is going through in this book is very relatable and anyone who is in their final years of school would definitely see themselves in Lara Jean. I am already in college and could still relate to her though. There is even more baking in Always and Forever which I loved! I love reading about characters who have hobbies and actually get to see them doing it; same goes for her scrapbooking!

Lara Jean and Peter K are everything. I have been a hardcore Peter K supporter since book 1 and I don't want to spoil it for people (I know a lot of people love John) but there is so much Peter K in this book I loved it. Lara Jean and Peter are just so freaking adorable I can't. I love rounded Peter is; his character has been fleshed out so well over the course of the three books and I loved getting to know him. 

While this series is known for having a cute romance it is also known for it's strong emphasis on family and that is no different in Always and Forever. In this book we have all three Song sisters together since Margot is home, and I loved seeing how they all interacted with each other and how her being home changed the  dynamics we are sued to between Kiity and Lara Jean. I also liked how we got to see how Margot was dealing with her dad and Ms Rothschild getting married and how that effected the rest of the family.

I am so sad this series is over; these books are so special to me and I don't want to say goodbye; I want to read about Lara Jean and Peter forever. Jenny Han wrapped everything up nicely but I wouldn't say no to more! 

My Rating: 5 stars
Thanks for reading,
A :)

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Publication:April 11th 2017 by Balzer + Bray

Goodreads Description:
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. 

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

My thoughts:
I absolutely loved Becky Albertalli's book, Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, so when I saw she had a new book coming out I was over the book and then it started getting so much positive reviews I knew I had to read it ASAP. Unfortunatly The Upside of Unrequited didn't live up to all the hype for me. I think I went into it with too high expectations that left me disappointed. I was expecting to be funny and cute and have charming characters I couldnt help but fall in love with like Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda and that is not what I gof. The Upside of Unrequited fell flat for me; I wouldn't say it is a bad book, it was okay and I liked it and it was a super quick and easy read but I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. 

I did not like Molly for starters. I went into the book assuming I would relate to her a lot and I did a tiny bit but not enough to really connect with her. I felt awkward reading some of her thoughts. She was just too obsessed with certain things and it annoyed me how childish she was. She felt very underdeveloped which was jarring to me because Simon was so developed in SVsHSA. I felt like the only thing Molly cared about was her crushes; I wanted to get to know her more.

Onto the plot...there wasn't really one and there usually isn't anything major in contemporaries but I can usually get behind the relationship or character to be interested in the story but I wasn't engaged while reading The Upside of Unrequited. I found it a bit boring and I was just waiting for something interesting to happen. It's literally a story about a girl who hasn't been kissed finding a guy and kissing him and that isn't interesting to me; I wanted more of a character driven arc where the characters grow and are challenged. 

I feel like I read a different book in regards to the romance. I felt no romantic chemistry between Molly and her love interest and I didn't find their story to be swoon worthy and cutesy like so many other readers did. I felt like their relationship was written as a friendship.

I will say that The Upside of Unrequited does have lots of diversity in terms of race, sexuality, gender identity, religion and body size which was nice to see.

The Upside of Unrequited is definitely a quick easy read but it is nothing special (to me anyway). Overall I think my expectations were too high; I loved Simon so I am going to give Becky Albertalli's books another go; I just think this one wasn't for me. 

My rating: 3 stars

Thanks for reading,
A :)

*Check out my review of Becky Albertalli's other book, Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda here!

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Series: Strange the Dreamer, #1

Publication: March 28th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Description:
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

My Thoughts:
One of my favourite reads this year, Strange the Dreamer is absolutely phenomenal. I loved everything about it. I went into it not knowing anything and I'd highly recommend doing that.

I knew Laini Taylor's writing style was fantastic as I read her other series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, a few years ago but she has improved even more in the three years since her last publication. Her writing style is so pretty and flows really well. It reads like a fairytale and is absolutely stunning. I was blown away to say the least.

Strange the Dreamer is captivating and engaging from beginning to end; when I wasn't reading I was thinking about the story all the time. The plot was a bit slow but I didn't mind at all because I was so intrigued by whole set up I couldn't stop reading.

The main character, Lazlo, is not your typical YA male protagonist, he's a librarian! I really liked how he was into research and books and stuff. While he sounds like a ravenclaw he's actually more of a hufflepuff! I hardly even come across hufflepuff main characters so it was refreshing to read! It did take me a while to really warm up to him but by the end of the story I loved him just as much as some of the other characters that I fell head over heals in love with. These other characters are super complex and interesting and I loved one particular girl to pieces but I don't want to say more about her because it's way better for readers to get to know her as she unfolds on the page!

The world building is done really well. I felt so immersed in this mystical land Laini Taylor created and never felt like I was having information dumped on me in big chunks. She really created something unique and it was so interesting learning about it.

Strange the Dreamer brings up different themes such as race and war and also addresses the messages of how we are not defined by our ancestors actions and how people can change.

I was a little bit disappointed about how I guessed what was going to happen at the end. I think the execution of the ending could have been better but I still really enjoyed it.

Overall Strange the Dreamer is an incredible story with fantastic prose and complex characters and world that I would highly recommend. 

I am beyond excited for book 2, The Muse of Nightmares!!

My rating: 4.5 

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Struggle by Jennifer L Armentrout

Series: Titan, #3

Publication: Published March 20th 2017 by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Goodreads Description:
A bloody path has been chosen… 

The war against the Titans continues, and they remain determined to wreak havoc on the world, but Seth has become something all gods fear. Now the most dangerous, most absolute power no longer resides in those who have been freed from their tombs. 

The Great War fought by the few is coming… 

All may doubt and fear what Seth has become. All except the one woman who might be his final chance at redemption. Josie will do anything to prove that Seth is on their side, but fate has a nasty way of changing lives, of changing people. 

In the end, the sun will fall… 

The only way they can save the future and save themselves is by facing the unknown together. It will take more than trust and faith. It will take love and the kind of strength not easily broken. No matter what, their lives will never be the same. 

For what the gods have feared has come to pass. The end of the old is here and the beginning of the new has been ushered in...

My thoughts:
The Struggle was a really good addition to the Titan series. I read it in one sitting. I find it so easy to fall into Jennifer L Armentrout's books and The Struggle was no different.

I felt like there was not as much action in this one compared to the first two books in the series but I was still engaged the whole time, as I said above I flew through the story.

I also felt like it was missing some of the usual humour that is in Jennifer L Armentrout's books. I don't know if it just wasn't funny to me but usually I find multiple laugh out loud lines in her books and I didn't in this one but I still had fun reading.

I loved how we got to spend lots of time with characters from the previous series like Alex. Any time she had page time I loved it. She's such a fun character to read. I also loved how we got a good bit of Alex and Josie bonding and becoming friends.

I love Seth but I found him a bit annoying in the beginning of The Struggle. He was a smidge but overprotective and I was getting frustrated at him a lot because of how he was treating Josie but he did pull back a bit later in the book. His character arc actually ended up being one of my favourite aspects of the book. He starts to mature in this one and I'm excited to see where his character goes in the next book.

I found The Struggle to be a little bit predictable in places but i didn't mind because I only read JlA books solely for entertainment and drama with characters I love and not really for amazing plots. I felt like nothing major happened in terms of the series' overall plot until near the end.

In true Jennifer L Armentrout style The Struggle ends with a cliffhanger so I am very excited for the next book in the series!

My rating: 4 stars

Thanks for reading,