Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh Blog Tour + Giveaway


Burning Midnight
Author: Will McIntosh
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press

For fans of The Maze Runner and The Fifth Wave, this debut YA novel from Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh pits four underprivileged teens against an evil billionaire in the race of a lifetime.
Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make the rent. No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement—and the more expensive the sphere.
When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them.
There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.

Guest Post- Dream Cast

My Dream Movie Cast for Burning Midnight

About a year ago we came this close (I’m holding my thumb and forefinger so close together you couldn’t jam a feather between them) to landing a film option deal for Burning Midnight with a Studio That Shall Not be Named, and I’m hopeful something will still happen. In the meantime, I can dream.

In the book, all four of the main characters are seventeen. Actors often play younger, but I figure I need actors who are no older than twenty-seven to make the cast believable as a group of teens. So here it is--my dream cast for the big-budget SF adventure film, Burning Midnight.

Hunter is a badass Latina woman. She’s all but homeless, and survives by hunting spheres in New York City. She’s searched in the sewers, in the rafters of abandoned factories, so she’s athletic. She wears jeans and sweatshirts, wouldn't be caught dead wearing lipstick. 

Bianca A. Santos. Known for her work in the TV show The Fosters, as well as films Ouija and The Duff, Ms. Santos is twenty-six. She was born in California, but speaks fluent Spanish, which is a huge plus because there’s a scene in the film where Hunter speaking fluent Spanish is crucial. I also think she has exactly the right look! I can picture her as a tough, sarcastic city dweller. 

David “Sully” Sullivan is your average suburban Irish-American guy, pleasant-looking but not drop-dead gorgeous. While writing Burning Midnight I pictured Jim from The Office, but John Krasinski is thirty-six years old, too old for the part. Instead, I’m going with:
Josh Hutcherson. AKA Peeta from The Hunger Games, Josh Hutcherson is twenty-four, and has that earnest, likeable, average-guy face.

Dom is a tough-looking Italian-American guy with kind eyes. He’s a body builder, so the actor would definitely have to be muscular. Dom is based on a high school buddy of mine, so it’s hard for me to look at actors and see Dom.

Never mind. I see him.

Keahu Kahuanui. I’m breaking my own rule, because Mr. Kahuanui is thirty, but he has the face and the body to be Dom. He plays Danny on the TV show Teen Wolf, and I’m guessing he speaks fluent German and some Mandarin, so I’m guessing he wouldn’t have much trouble with a New York Italian-American accent.

Mandy is a tall, gay Korean-American woman. She’s the only straight-A student in the gang, and she’s on the volleyball team. Finding a tall female Asian actor who looks like an athlete turned out to be a challenge. I’m going to go with:

Jenna Ushkowitz. She’s a Korean-born actor best know as Tina Cohen-Chang on Glee. She’s five foot four, so we’re going to have to do some rewrites because that’s not very tall, but I think she looks very much like I pictured Mandy.

And there they are. As soon as a producer, director, screenwriter, and major studio jump on board, we’re ready to film. This was more challenging than I thought it would be--I leave this task with new respect for casting directors.
About the Author
Will McIntosh’s debut novel, Soft Apocalypse, was a finalist for both a Locus award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He is a frequent contributor to Asimov’s, where his story “Bridesicle” won the 2010 Reader’s Award, as well as the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Short Story. His third novel, Love Minus Eighty (based on “Bridesicle”) was published by Orbit books in June, 2013, and was named best Science Fiction novel of the year by the American Library Association. His upcoming novel, Defenders has been optioned by Warner Brothers for a feature film. Will recently moved to Williamsburg, Virginia with his wife Alison and twins Hannah and Miles. He left his position as a psychology professor in Southeast Georgia to write full time, and still teaches as an adjunct, at the College of William and Mary. Will is represented by Seth Fishman at The Gernert Company. Follow him on Twitter @WillMcIntoshSF

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Top 10 Books I've Recently Added to my TBR List

These are the last 10-ish books I've added to my to be read list on goodreads! I like that there is a good mixture of books soon to be released and already out. I'm hoping to get my hands on all of these books sometime in 2016!

1 Moth Girls by Anne Cassidy
2 Places Know One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff
3 Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson

4 A World Without You by Beth Revis
5 Klickitat by Peter Roth
6 The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne
7 Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
8 Ascending the Boneyard by C.G. Watson

9 The Leaving by Tara Altebrando
10 With Malice by Eileen Cook

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Uninvited by Cat Winters

The Uninvited
Author: Cat Winters
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: August 11, 2015

In the Shadow of Blackbirds earned Cat Winters a place on my must read authors list. I love the way she can transport a reader back in time and really make her characters feel real.

The Uninvited takes place during World War I and the Spanish Influenza, the same as In the Shadow of Blackbirds, but in a different part of the country. Through this novel we got to see how the Spanish influenza increased tensions between Germans who had immigrated to the United States before, and during, the war and Midwesterners.

Ivy was a great main character who we got to see come out of her shell. She grew up seeing spirits of those recently deceased and has lived a largely indoor life. After her brother is killed in the war her father and brother kill a German man in town and Ivy knows she has to get out of the house. She leaves and becomes a boarder with a young war widow.

I don’t want to give anything away regarding the romance in this book but, suffice to say, it was more than satisfying. I really wanted everything to work out for Ivy and her beau but the times, flu, and war were all conspiring against them. It was that realistic struggle that I really enjoyed reading about.

I truly did enjoy this novel my only qualm is that this is the third book by Cat Winters set in the same time frame. I understand she may be under contract to write in this particular time period but I would really like to see something different from her. Cat is a brilliant storyteller and I want to see her try her hand at a different time period.

Overall, this was a really fabulous book. The setting and romance were beautifully told and this novel kept me up late reading. The ending was a tremendous surprise that I was glad I didn’t see coming!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't

So, before you read this list try not to judge! I really meant to get to these books but for one reason or another I just haven't. If you read and loved any of these books definitely tell me in the comments so I can move them up my TBR list!

1 Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
2 Simon vs. the Homo-Sapians Agenda by Becky Albertalli
3 Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

4 Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
5 The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

6 The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
7 Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
8 The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

9 Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith
10 The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Stacking the Shelves 155

The Important Stuff
Netgalley & Edelweiss
My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Night Speed by Chris Howard

Friday, January 8, 2016

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road
Author: Erin Bowman
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 1, 2015

This book was everything I wanted it to be. I am not one for Westerns, they’ve never really been my thing. I just can’t get behind the idea of a gun slinging cowboy, hell bent on revenge, riding off on his horse. Luckily, Vengeance Road read like a western light and the gun slinger was a badass girl so this was definitely a novel I could root for!

Vengeance Road begins with Kate’s father being murdered by a lawless band (the Rose Riders) and her house being burnt to the ground. This forces her to ride out for Vengeance and also puts her on the trail to a lost gold mine. These dual storylines made the novel fly by and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time! The pacing of this novel is just fantastic and if you’re in a bit of a reading slump this will definitely help you get out of it.

I adored Kate. She wasn’t friendly, or loveable, but she was always engaging. I often don’t think revenge is a strong enough motivation for a character. Revenge can only fuel a person for so long, but while that was Kate’s initial motive it wasn’t her motive for the entire story. I liked watching her grow throughout this novel.

I also really liked Jesse and his brother. They really lightened the story. A novel all about Kate would have been very dark, and rather dull. These brothers made Kate come out of her shell and added a great dimension to this novel.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and if helped me get out of a reading slump! If you’re weary of Westerns this is the perfect novel to dip your toe in and test the waters.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Return Once More by Trisha Leigh

Return Once More
Author: Trisha Leigh
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Publication Date: October 20, 2015

I started Return Once More on a whim. I forgot my kindle and in an act of desperation I started reading on my phone. This novel quickly sucked me in though and I ended up reading about half the novel in one sitting. Yes, it’s that kind of book!

Return Once More takes place in the future. The Earth has been abandoned and Kaia Vespasian is an apprentice historian. Historians travel back in time and observe the past so they can learn from it and better shape the future. A side effect from this traveling is that they are now able to tell you who your soul mate is. After Kaia learns who her soulmate is she can’t help visiting ancient Egypt to meet him. The problem is the teachers and classmates Kaia’s trusted might not be so trustworthy.

Kaia took me a little while to warm up to. I liked that she was a go getter but she rode the line between go-getter and just charging in to danger for no reason. By the end of the story though I was firmly on Kaia’s side and I couldn’t wait to learn more about her life!

One of my favorite aspects of this story is that the setting of this novel was constantly shifting. It was partially in ancient Egypt, early America, and the future. I like how Trisha Leigh seamlessly wove these settings together.

Overall, Return Once More was a really engaging and fun read. It sucked me in and the cliffhanger we were left on has me excited for the next installment in this series!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Before Goodbye by Mimi Cross Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Before Goodbye
Author: Mimi Cross
Publisher: Skyscape
Publication Date: January 1, 2016

Music means more than anything to high school student Cate Reese; it’s also what unites her with Cal Woods. Devoted classical guitar players, Cate and Cal are childhood friends newly smitten by love—until a devastating car accident rips Cal out of Cate’s life forever. Blaming herself for the horrific tragedy and struggling to surface from her despair, Cate spirals downhill in a desperate attempt to ease her pain.
Fellow student David Bennet might look like the school’s golden boy, but underneath the surface the popular athlete battles demons of his own. Racked with survivor’s guilt after his brother’s suicide, things get worse when tragedy darkens his world again—but connecting with Cate, his sister’s longtime babysitter, starts bringing the light back in.
As Cate and David grow closer, the two shattered teenagers learn to examine the pieces of their lives…and, together, find a way to be whole again
Amazon | Goodreads

What inspired you to write this novel?
The initial spark of inspiration came from a song by a friend of mine called Obvious. Patti sent the song to me right after I started my music blog, and I fell in love with it. The song is about a crush, the kind where you’re so smitten that you’re literally dumbstruck. Or at least, that’s how I interpreted the song.

After listening to it a few times, I started thinking about that kind of crush, because it feels so important, that kind of fascination, and yet you’re so infatuated that you can’t communicate. I started to imagine the person who might be experiencing this; started imagining the girl in the song, who, after a while, became a girl in my head. Over time, I began to realize that this girl’s problem wasn’t an ordinary case of awkwardness, of being tongue-tied, that she was really struggling to express herself, and not just to this guy. Finding the right words—that was the center of this girl’s story. The girl in my head became Cate, and her personal arc became about finding her voice, literally. 

I also wondered, what if Cate never got the chance to tell this guy how she felt? And, I wondered, what if she was confused about the way she felt? What if she was wrong? These ideas came into play as well as Cate’s story took shape and became Before Goodbye. 
How long did it take you to write this novel?
Before Goodbye actually began as a NaNoWriMo manuscript, so I guess you could say I wrote the first draft in a month! But that’s not accurate, because the story has changed so much since then. It really took a couple of years to get it where it was supposed to be. 

If your novel had a theme song what would it be?
The easy answer is “Hotel Vast Horizon” by Chris Whitley. The song was a huge inspiration for the book, eventually even more so than the song that my friend sent. For Cate, and then David, and also for David’s sister, the song’s title alone becomes a metaphor that’s integral to their stories. 

But the question is also a tough one to answer, because music is such a vital part of Before Goodbye. The playlist I compiled while writing the book has 50 songs on it, several of which aren’t actually songs, but pieces of composed music. At one point the list had over seventy songs/pieces! Plus, there are numerous songs and compositions mentioned throughout the book. Quite a few of them would work as the theme. 

Like “Paradise” by Coldplay. This live version especially, so big and emotional, with the crowd participation/entrainment, and the band working so hard, sweating . . . For me this is Cate, waking up to her life, to her feelings for David. But “Paradise” is also Cal, because he plays this song in Before Goodbye, although the version in the book doesn’t exist, as far as I know. It’s close to this one although in my imaginary version, Cal’s version, there would be a classical guitarist in place of one of the violinists. 

Imogen Heap’s song “Lifeline” was also really important to me while I was writing Before Goodbye. It’s weird, because tonight while answering these questions, I went to You Tube to find a link for it, and I see now that the song starts with a match striking. All this time, I thought that first sound in the song was someone dropping a needle on a record. The vocal is gorgeous, and I think of it as Cate’s voice, the one that finally makes it out of her head and onto the stage. “Lifeline” has an urgency that helped propel Cate’s story out of my head, and onto the page, in much the same way. 

What does your writing space look like? 
My current writing space has a lot of light. Sliding glass doors let in the outside. I can just see the ocean from out on the deck—it’s about a block away. I can hear the waves crashing . . .

 About the Author 
Mimi Cross was born in Toronto, Canada. She received an MA from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in music from Ithaca College. She has been a performer, a music educator, and a yoga instructor. During the course of her musical career, she’s shared the bill with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Sting. She resides in New Jersey by the beach.