Monday 15 September 2014

Lottie Biggs Is Not Mad by Hayley Long

ISBN: 9781447265542
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 230

My name is Lottie Biggs and in three weeks time, I will be fifteen years old. At school, most people call me Lottie Not-Very-Biggs. I've never found this particularly funny . . . My current hair colour is Melody Deep Plum which is not as nice as Melody Forest Flame but definitely better than the dodgy custard colour I tried last week.

And this is my book - it's about important things like boys and shoes and polo-neck knickers and rescuing giraffes and NOT fancying Gareth Stingecombe (even though he has manly thighs) and hanging-out with your best friend having A BLATANTLY FUNNY TIME. It is definitely not about sitting in wardrobes or having a mental disturbance of any kind!

I received Lottie Biggs Is Not Mad by Hayley Long for review from Pan Macmillan. 
Initially, I wasn't very keen on reading this book, mainly because of the cover. If I had seen Lottie Biggs Is Not Mad in a bookstore, it would probably have caught my eye but I wouldn't have picked it up as it looks to be more Middle Grade than Young Adult. 
Having said that, I really enjoyed reading Lottie Biggs Is Not Mad! I especially liked the pictures, different fonts and page layouts that were used to portray Lottie and her thoughts & feelings throughout the book. 
Hayley Long covers some quite difficult issues in a light hearted, but still respectful manner in Lottie Biggs Is Not Mad - whilst also still managing to make her book appeal to a younger audience.

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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Author Interview: Amy Ewing

Amy Ewing has written The Jewel.

1. What is your name and where do you call home?
Hi! I'm Amy Ewing and I live in New York City.

2. Do you have a pen name?
I do not - Amy Ewing is my real name.

3. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
My most recent book is called The Jewel. It’s my debut, which is super exciting. It’s about a city where young girls are auctioned off as surrogates to royal women.

4. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
The Jewel is the first in a trilogy, so there will be two more books to come!

5. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
I’ve always loved writing, but I never thought it would be my career. I always did it as a way to express myself in private, something for just me. But then, in 2008, I was laid off from my job and had all this time and so I used it to write a YA fantasy book (not The Jewel). That book got me into the graduate program at The New School, which is where I eventually wrote The Jewel.

6. Do you gift books to readers for book reviews?
I did do a Twitter giveaway recently, but that was just for fun. My publisher handles sending out copies for review.

7. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
An author has absolutely no say in what goes on their book cover. But I am so thrilled with mine! The design team at HarperCollins is incredible. Barbara Fitzsimmons and Cara Petrus worked on my cover.

8. Which is your favourite cover of all the books you have written?
Well, I only have one, so no competition yet!

9. Is there anything you would change about your book covers?
Not a thing.

10. Do you have a playlist in mind for any of your books?
My best friend always makes me playlists whenever I complete a project. She’s much better at it than I could ever be. 

11. Did you listen to any particular songs whilst writing your books?
I never listen to music while I write.

12. Would you have different book covers for different countries?
I do! I’ve only seen one other cover, the UK version. I love it too!

13. How did you come up with the title for your book?
I didn’t actually! It was my thesis advisor at grad school who came up with the title. I had originally planned to call it The Auction. I like The Jewel much better.

14. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks?
Hardcovers. I’m a sucker for a beautiful hardcover.

15. Are you a self-published / Indie author?

16. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?
I am a huge rereader of books. I’ve read Harry Potter more times than I can count. And anything by Roald Dahl. And The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’ll stop there, because the list goes on and on.

17. What is your opinion of novellas?
I love novellas! I just finished writing one for The Jewel, to be released in November, and I’ll be doing yet another one to be released before the second book publishes. I think they are such a fun way to explore more of the world of the story.

18. What is your favourite film based on a book?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Peter Jackson is a genius.

19. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
I’m just finishing a delightful middle grade novel called Evil Fairies Love Hair by Mary G. Thompson. She is a grad school friend and fellow author and the book is just as hilarious and fun as the title sounds!

20. If you could invite any four celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, Jon Stewart, and Tom Hiddleston.

21. Do you have any advice for other writers? And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
Don’t give up! This industry is all about trying and failing. I failed miserably with my first book. You never know which one is going to be “it.” So just keep writing.

22. Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to reading & writing?
I love to cook, and I play the guitar and write my own songs.

23. Where can your readers follow you?

Facebook page: Amy Ewing Author

Twitter: @amyewingbooks

Instagram: amyewing7

Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!

The Jewel by Amy Ewing

ISBN: 9780062235794
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 358

The Jewel is the first book in The Lone City series.

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty.

But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty - because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as Lot 197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

I absolutely loved reading The Jewel by Amy Ewing, which I received for review from HarperTeen via Edelweiss! 
The world building in this book was perfect! Not overly descriptive, and not too sparsely detailed either. The reader is left wanting to learn more, not just about the specific building, character or gown that was being illustrated, but also about the reasons and people behind it. How it was crafted and by whom? Is it on-trend with the latest futuristic fashion? 
At the beginning, The Jewel reminded me of The Selection by Kiera Cass and Wither by Lauren DeStefano, because of The Auction, The Lone City and the class system within, but as the story progressed it reminded me more of The Hunger Games as well.
Violet Lasting, also referred to as Lot 197, was one of my favourite characters because of her initial naivety, her stubbornness, and her utter determination. My other favourite character was Lucien, one of The Electess' staff and Violet's stylist for The Auction, because of his kindness, sympathy and understanding.
I really enjoyed reading about the three Auguries - which are Colour, Shape & Growth. Auguries are a bit like magic, but can only be used by people who genetically already have an affinity for them. I also enjoyed reading about the futuristic technology like the Arcanas, which are devices that look like tuning forks, but can be used to communicate privately over any distance!
I love both covers of The Jewel by Amy Ewing, as both represent the book equally, but I must admit that I do prefer the UK cover! I love the byline, "Today is my last day as Violet Lasting. Tomorrow I become Lot 197", as it, coupled with the cover image of Violet in her plain, purple dress on the day of The Auction, portray the main themes of loss and restriction that are present throughout The Jewel.

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Sunday 31 August 2014

Promotion: Those That Wake by Jesse Karp

Those That Wake
By Jesse Karp

New York City’s spirit has been crushed. People walk the streets with their heads down, withdrawing from one another and into the cold comfort of technology. Teenagers Mal and Laura have grown up in this reality. They’ve never met. Seemingly, they never will. 

But on the same day Mal learns his brother has disappeared, Laura discovers her parents have forgotten her. Both begin a search for their families that leads them to the same truth: someone or something has wiped the teens from the memories of every person they have ever known. Thrown together, Mal and Laura must find common ground as they attempt to reclaim their pasts.

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Sunday 24 August 2014

Promotion: Silver Moon by Cheree Alsop

Silver Moon
By Cheree Alsop

Silver Moon, the seventh book in the Silver Series, is about Jaze as he fights to hold onto the peace he has achieved for the werewolves. Tensions rise, ultimatums are made, and Jaze is forced to make a decision that will change everything for werewolves, hunters, and humans alike. Hearts are broken, lives are forfeit, and Jaze’s pack is called upon to save those who survive. 

Silver Moon is about sacrificing everything for love. With those he cares about on the line, Jaze’s courage, loyalty, and leadership are put to the ultimate test.

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Promotion: Hunter by Cheree Alsop

By Cheree Alsop

Hunter, the sixth book of the Silver Series, is about Dray, a werewolf who feels trapped and alone in his small farming town. He struggles to find his place and fit in despite his differences, then Dray’s world is shaken when a cute girl shows up the same time as a vengeful wild werewolf pack. With Jaze’s help, Dray fights to protect his town, but when Jaze is in trouble, Dray puts everything on the line to help the werewolves who changed his life.

Hunter is about finding the courage to step into the unknown. It is a story of risking life for love, and discovering the truth about one’s self in the heart of adversity.

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Promotion: Azure by Cheree Alsop

By Cheree Alsop

Azure, the fifth book of the Silver Series, is about an alpha werewolf who rescues a human from the vengeful grasp of his pack. Nora is the only person who is not afraid of Vance’s size or strength, and in return she gains his respect. When Vance is pushed to the edge of survival, his heart is torn between loving Nora and a werewolf who befriends him with the kindness that is greatly lacking in his life.

Azure is a story of strength beyond the endurance of the body. In a world turned upside down by violence, the choice between what the heart wants and the safest solution can be the most important decision of all.

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