September 30, 2013

Author Interview: Kami Garcia

It’s almost YALLFest time, celebrating all things YA and authors and readers and everything in between. If you are in the area, you really should make this a part of your life. A lot of great authors, discussions, signings. You name it, it will be there. Including ghosts.

Which leads me to the wonderful Kami Garcia, the author I am excited to host on my blog today.

I had the pleasure to hear her speak as well as meet her last year at the Southern Book Festival. She is just as awesome in person as she seems. And the fact that she loves the paranormal and ghost-hunting make me love her even more.

What one thing do you need to have when you write?
I need three things: my laptop, my headphones, and Diet Coke.

Describe your book in 5 words
Paranormal. Ghost-hunting. Intense. Romance. Secret Societies.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
1. I don’t know how to ride a bike.
2. I used to be an artist (a painter).
3. I won’t fly without my huge charm necklace that I believe will keep the plane from crashing.
4. I believe in ghosts.
5. Every time I write a book, I worry that everyone will hate it.

What are you working on now?
I am working on the second book in the Legion Series, the sequel to Unbreakable. Like Unbreakable, the sequel is very intense and has plenty of paranormal elements. But I think it’s even more romantic and surprising than the first book.

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?
My favorite genre to write is definitely urban fantasy/paranormal romance. I love to read paranormal, but I am also a huge fan of horror, crime fiction, high fantasy, and science fiction.

this cover is fabulous
Click here to learn more about her new novel, ‘Unbreakable,’ on shelves tomorrow. Goodreads describes it as Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in this action-packed paranormal thriller, the first book in a new series from New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia.

I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

How awesome—and creepy—and fantastic does this sound? I have not had the privilege to read it early, but it is on my TBR list for the month of October, when I prefer to read creeptastically wonderful novels full of ghosts, vampires, witches…Oh MY!

To learn more about Kami Garcia, her writing, and/or where you can catch her on tour, visit her website.

She can also be found on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Happy Reading!

-                - The Hodgenator

September 27, 2013

Author Interview: Veronica Rossi

It’s almost YALLFest time, celebrating all things YA and authors and readers and everything in between. If you are in the area, you really should make this a part of your life. A lot of great authors, discussions, signings. You name it, it will be there. Except maybe unicorns.

Anyway, to help celebrate the upcoming awesomeness that will be YallFest, I am hosting author interviews. Today I welcome Veronica Rossi to the blog.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
Yeah, those. And all the ones in between!

Best writing tip you ever received?
$5. Just kidding. Um… tip… I think it’s probably to allow yourself to suck when writing early drafts. It takes away a lot of the fear of generating good material. It’s not easy to be creative when you’re judging your work.          

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
1.       In the past year, I discovered a deep love of Brussel sprouts
2.       I talk to myself. Heck. Sometimes I argue with myself.
3.       I’m arguing with myself about including that last point at this very moment.
4.       My favorite animals are elephants.
5.       Dresses with pockets make me happy.

Where's your favorite place to write?
I usually work in my home office, but I love working in hotel rooms. No distractions!

What are you working on now?
Something I’m very excited about! Can’t divulge any details yet, but it’s an idea I’ve been mulling over for years.
If you are a lover of dystopian novels but have not yet read ‘Under the Never Sky,’ you should make it a part of your reading life. Look at that cover—and the cover to the sequel. It is a great series with strong characters, solid pacing, and enough action to keep both male and female readers engaged.

And look at that cover for book #3, out January 28, 2014. You can click here to learn more about the plot, or to add it to your Goodreads shelf.

To learn more about Veronica Rossi, her writing, and/or where you can catch her on tour, visit her website.

She can also be found on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Happy Reading!

          - The Hodgenator

September 25, 2013

Author Interview: Ransom Riggs

It’s almost YALLFest time, celebrating all things YA and authors and readers and everything in between. To help celebrate, The Hodgenator is hosting author interviews.

The Hodgenator welcomes Ransom Riggs to the blog for today. Woot!

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Silence. My noise-cancelling headphones have become almost essential.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

The first. I rewrite and rewrite it a million times. The last comes easy.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

I’m six foot four. I lived on a working farm until I was five. I used to know how to cook Indian food but now I’ve forgotten. I love documentaries. One day I will conquer the moon.

What are you working on now?

A novel for Little, Brown the plot of which is SECRET! (Sort of, for now. But I’m really excited about it.)

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

Oh, definitely YA to write in. I read everything, lots of YA, lots of adult, nonfiction of all sorts. I even read poetry when I’m feeling ambitious. I think it’s crucial to have lots of different influences. If you only read in the genre you write in, your writing will sound like everything else that’s already out there.

Okay, may I just say that I absolutely love Ransom Riggs? Is that allowed? I know he is now married, but still…
For fans of ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,’ you might be interested to know that there is a sequel to this novel. Yes, you read that correctly, a sequel. It is due out January 14, 2014. SQUEE! Learn more about it here.

To learn more about Ransom Riggs, his writing, and/or where you can catch him on his ‘Miss Peregrine’ paperback tour, visit his blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Happy Reading!

- The Hodgenator

Waiting on Wednesday (15)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  It’s designed for readers to spotlight upcoming releases that they simply can’t wait to read, feature on their blog, or share with their students in their classroom.

This week's pick looks like it will be a bit of a tickler. Not only is that cover made of awesome, the plot looks like it will be a girl-power novel for second and third-grade readers. My son is in third grade, so I'm always looking for reads that help me get into his world because, let's face it, I'm pretty far removed.

Title: 'Don’t Wear Polka-Dot Underwear with White Pants’
Author: Allison Gutknecht
Publisher: Aladdin
Pages: 144
Release Date: 12 Nov. 2013

Summary (from Goodreads):

Eight-year-old Mandy Berr learns life lessons with patriotic pizazz in the first adventure of a new chapter book series.

Eight-year-old Mandy Berr has a lot going on. She has to share her parents’ attention with her newborn twin siblings, who are always crying, and her little brother, Timmy, who is constantly in her way. And she also has to find a way to deal with her nemesis, Dennis, who has a knack for getting under her skin.

At least Mandy has the upcoming Presidential Pageant to look forward to at school. She is determined to be President George Washington—she is perfect for the lead part, after all. But when Mandy’s teacher makes a surprising choice, it looks like Mandy will have to keep sharing the spotlight. Can she find her own way to shine?

Mandy has some valuable life lessons to learns in this adorable chapter book—including the fact that white pants and polka dot underwear are never a good combination

What are you waiting for this week?

Happy Reading!

     - The Hodgenator

September 24, 2013

Review: Witchstruck

When I saw this in the Netgalley catalog, I knew I had to read it—Elizabethan England AND witches?

I. Am. In. 

love this cover
Title: ‘Witchstruck’
Author: Victoria Lamb
Pages: 320 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Available: NOW at your local bookstore and library
Source: requested from Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

If she sink, she be no witch and shall be drowned. If she float, she be a witch and must be hanged.

Meg Lytton has always known she is different; that she bears a dark and powerful gift. But in 1554 England, in service at Woodstock Palace to the banished Tudor princess Elizabeth, it has never been more dangerous to practice witchcraft. Meg knows she must guard her secret carefully from the many suspicious eyes watching over the princess and her companions. One wrong move could mean her life, and the life of Elizabeth, rightful heir to the English throne. With witch finder Marcus Dent determined to have Meg's hand in marriage, and Meg's own family conspiring against the English queen, there isn't a single person Meg can trust. Certainly not the enigmatic young Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, despite her undeniable feelings. But when all the world turns against her, Meg must open her heart to a dangerous choice. The Secret Circle meets The Other Boleyn Girl in Witchstruck, the first book of the magical Tudor Witch trilogy

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. From the moment Meg appears on the page until the very end, Lamb had me hooked.

Elizabeth isn’t yet queen. She is under house arrest by order of her sister, and she has a witch living under her roof. A dangerous combination, especially since Lady Elizabeth is aware of Meg’s special “talent.” But can Elizabeth’s pull save Meg from the hands of witch finder Dent, a man who wants Meg for his wife?

The novel does contain an element of romance, sans Dent, but it is not the focus of the story. The focus is on friendship and how to stay true to one’s self when there are others who believe that witches should not live. This is not just a story of witch hunting, it is also a story of understanding the world Meg is living in, pre-Elizabethan England.

Meg is a fantastic character, even if being a “witch” is a death sentence. She has a good head on her shoulders, wanting to please those around her, especially Lady Elizabeth, but also wanting to be able to practice her craft without fear. She is young, eager, and ready to take on the world. This includes witch finder Marcus Dent, whose agenda seems to extend beyond simply wanting to find “witches.” He wants Meg for his wife, and she is not having it. This is brave because in this time, females did not object to marriage. They did as they were instructed, period. Lamb does not give readers a sparkplug with Meg but a firecracker who is looking to live her life—on her terms.

While Lady Elizabeth is in the novel, she is not the star. Nor does she steal the spotlight. It is held strong by Meg. What Elizabeth does bring to the story is suspense. It is dangerous for her to have Meg in her service. An accusation of witchcraft could lead Elizabeth to her death, but she stands tall and strong, and loyal.

I loved Meg and Elizabeth on the page. The two took quite a few chances with Meg’s fortune telling, but their on-page chemistry went beyond Lady and maid. It was a blooming friendship filled with trust, an allegiance of the ultimate kind. Lady Elizabeth needs as many people in her corner as she can, and so does Meg.

As a whole, I loved the plot and pacing of the novel. The plot is carefully maneuvered with political intrigue mixed with a bit of magic and a sprinkling of romance, giving the novel a smooth feel while reading. Does that make sense? It did not feel choppy and overly historical (which can happen in historical fiction) but was more of a tale of friendship, fear, and loyalty.

I think what I really enjoyed was that the book combined two elements that I really enjoy reading: Lady Elizabeth and witchcraft—both were treacherous for the time for very different reasons. Lamb weaved the two together seamlessly.

I recommend this novel to readers of historical fiction, witchy reads, and all things Queen Elizabeth I.

What historical novel have you read and enjoyed lately?

Comment below and let’s talk about books.

Happy Reading!

-      The Hodgenator