Thursday, September 18, 2014

Out Sick: Be Back Soon


Hello everyone!

I'm currently feeling not-so-great, and I decided to take a few days off blogging. I'll hopefully be back very soon and will catch up on commenting then. 

As a side note, I have two giveaways for fabulous books in progress, so check them out!


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Giveaway & Interview: Kiersten White

Thanks to Rosanne at HarperCollins, I had the opportunity to ask Kiersten White some questions (and receive some very wonderfully amusing answers) about herself and her latest novel, ILLUSIONS OF FATE


QUICK! Describe ILLUSIONS OF FATE in 7 words or less!

Rectangular! Containing paper and ink! Book! Wait, no, I did this wrong, didn’t I. How about: Magic! Romance! Tea! Birds!

I kind of love both answers! Both are accurate....Do you have any favorite teaser lines from ILLUSIONS OF FATE that you can share?

“Clearly he does not know me if he thinks I am ever in a condition where arguing is not possible.”

What makes Jessamin unique from the main characters of your previous novels? What do you admire most about her?

I always like exploring what it means to be an outsider and how we find ourselves. With most of my main characters, their big arc is discovering themselves. Jessamin, however, knows exactly who she is--and values herself. The society around her tries to tell her what she is (lesser), but she fights against it. I love this about her. It would be very hard to hold onto that sense of self-worth when everything around you tells you not to. Fortunately, Jessamin is very stubborn.

What steps did you take to build the world and setting of ILLUSIONS OF FATE?

Since I was dealing with magic and fantasy, I wanted to layer it onto a very familiar world setting. I based Albion on late Victorian/Edwardian England, and Jessamin’s home on the Polynesian islands. I think it was Laini Taylor who said the more you ground your story in the familiar, the more liberties you can take with the fantastical, and I think that’s very true. Everything I needed was already in place: post-colonialism, a strict and archaic gentry system, and magic, because everyone knows England is just a bit magic already.

If you could spend 24 hours in any fictional world (book, film, TV), where would you go and which two people (real or not real) would you take with you?

Iceland, because everyone knows Iceland is too magical to be real. I would go with Stephanie Perkins and my husband, both of whom are too delightful to be real, and we would watch the Northern Lights, which are too beautiful to be real.

Do you ever leave any calling cards or Easter eggs (literary references or signature characteristics, such as reoccurring themes, symbols, names, style, etc.) in your books?

Oh, so many. As far as reoccurring themes, someday I will write a literary analysis of my books and tell you exactly the ideas I seem to fixate on (identity, the nature of mortality, responsibility to self versus responsibility to others are just a few). Eleanor’s last name, which I think is maybe never even mentioned in the book, is Wynne, after Diana Wynne Jones, author of Howl’s Moving Castle. And she lives on Fitzwilliam Lane, after a certain Fitzwilliam Darcy. Other than that, I like to think my work is subversively dark beneath the humor and magic. Much like myself.

What type of story are you working on next?

I’m working on an epic historical fiction series about Vlad the Impaler, a brutal Romanian prince whom I am turning into Lada the Impaler, a brutal Romanian princess, her brother, Radu the Handsome, and their contemporary, the brilliant young Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror.

Thanks to Rosanne from HarperCollins and Kiersten for the interview!

ILLUSIONS OF FATE


ILLUSIONS OF FATE
Available Now
Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

GIVEAWAY


I received a finished copy of ILLUSIONS OF FATE from HarperCollins, and I want to pass it along to one of my readers! US only (sorry!), enter using the rafflecopter below. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

CONNECT WITH KIERSTEN WHITE

Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS by Leigh Ann Kopans

Title: First World Problems
Author: Leigh Ann Kopans
Published: September 2nd, 2014
Genre: YA / NA contemporary
POV: 1st person
Pages: 300
Publisher: Self-published
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf

Sofia's had a really rough year - busted for cheating at prep school, dumped for the first time ever, and her new non-profit working stepmother is turning out to be an uppity bitch.

She deserves to treat herself. But when she throws herself a birthday party with 20 of her closest friends in Paris and (accidentally!) maxes out her dad's credit card in the process, he’s had enough of her attitude. As punishment, he switches her planned gap year touring Europe to one doing community service work with the evil stepmother’s relief organization in Guyana.

The rural village of Dabu needs help in every area from education to getting safe drinking water. But Sofia’s more concerned about her roommate Callum, the gardening expert, who calls Sofia "Princess" and scoffs at her distaste for sweaty, muddy, iguana-eating, outhouse-using life in Guyana.

Eventually, life on the equator, her work in the village, and especially Callum - with his brooding eyes and bewitching New Zealand accent - start to grow on Sofia. Life is rough in Guyana, but it’s roughest on the girls, whose families are too poor to send only the most promising boys in school. They’re trapped in a cycle that will keep them from ever making a better life for themselves, or for the village. Worse, Callum doesn’t seem to think any of the changes Sofia envisions are actually necessary.

Determined to change the girls’ futures, she comes up with a strategy to help them and, ultimately, the village. But what starts out as a plan to convince Callum and her father that she’s fallen in love with Guyana, turns into the realization that maybe she’s falling for Callum, too. And that by changing these girls’ lives, she might also be changing her own.

Sofia is the girl who has it all - or that's at least what she wants everyone to think. After her father misses her birthday and she spends a ridiculous some of money on an even more ridiculous party, Sofia finds herself being shipped off to Guyana to give back through community service. From sleeping in a hammock to completing unpleasant tasks, Sofia has a lot to do to convince her parents that she's truly changed so she can go home....Charming and hilarious, First World Problems is a wonderfully entertaining story to read.

It's obvious from page one that Sofia isn't the type of girl most people would like, and Kopans doesn't shy away from revealing all of Sofia's flaws and putting them on display. She's privileged, knows it, and doesn't hesitate to do whatever it takes to get what she wants. But, somehow, Sofia grows into a character you want to root for. And, I eventually found myself appreciating her brand of humor, intelligence, and newly acquired outlook on life. The lush, descriptive Guyana setting and variety of characters make First World Problems an engaging story. The story builds at a slow pace, but there's never a dull moment. A humorous novel with a wonderful message, First World Problems is entertaining from start to finish. 

Highlights: Sofia's development is gradual, realistic, and in the end, she becomes a better version of herself. This story is about coming of age, learning to appreciate what you have, and giving back, and Kopans portrays every theme perfectly. The romance is very slowly developed into something sweet, but there are a few realistic bumps in the road. The setting is incredibly easy to visualize, and Kopans brings the village and its inhabitants to life with every word. The side characters are fantastic, I only wish a few had been featured more. While the storyline is easy to predict, the characters and setting make this novel unique and a pleasure to read. 

Lowlights: A bit predictable, with few overly dramatic moments (but I think the latter is to be expected with a character like Sofia).

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (low 4 out of 5)First World Problems is great and worth reading, and it earns a spot on the bottom shelves of the royal library. I enjoyed it enough to want to read it more than once, but I do have some issues with the story that I cannot ignore. Regardless, a vivid setting, diverse characters, and fun writing make First World Problems an incredibly enjoyable read. 


I received an advanced copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review. 
This is no way affected my opinion of this novel.