Penguin Teen On Tour

 

Where: Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
When: Monday, March 13
Who: Renee Ahdieh, Natalie C. Anderson, Alwyn Hamilton, Lesley Livingston

Thanks so much to Penguin Teen for allowing me to feature the fabulous ladies on the Spring 2017 Penguin Teen tour, or #Slaydies as they like to be referred to!

This event was definitely a highlight for me on a rainy and dreary North Carolina Monday.  It’s been about two years since I last visited Quail Ridge Books, and the last time I was there it was a much smaller place, and their new (to me) location is absolutely gorgeous with it’s red walls and spacious floor plan.  Also, I totally loved walking around prior to the arrival of the #Slaydies and discovering the goodies they have on their shelves. I totally found an original vinyl of LET IT BLEED by the Rolling Stones!  Seriously, if you are going to visit Raleigh, you need to make the North Hills Shopping Center and Quail Ridge Books one of your first stops.

Apparently this was the first official panel at Quail Ridge, according to Nancy, who was hosting!  So that made this even more special.  The floor was packed with the members of the Quail Ridge Teen Board, the lovely and large family of Natalie C. Anderson (who is a fellow NC Lady!), some fellow long distance drivers (*waves to Zoey!*), and some local readers.

Nancy started the event off with forty-five minutes of panel discussion with Alwyn, Renee, Natalie, and Lesley.  I think my favorite question of these was definitely how the main characters from their novels would get along and how they’d pull off a heist Ocean’s Eleven style.  Amani and Shazi, per Alwyn and Renee, respectively, would rush in guns blazing, as it were without a proper plan, whereas Tina would be judging them for not creating a proper plan, and Fallon would just be wanting to figure out when the fighting would take place.  I’d seriously watch this movie…maybe a crossover would be a fabulous idea?! *wishes*

After this the crowd was able to ask some questions and they were excellent!  First we had the “what kind of plate would you be” question, which, I think everyone would want to be a giant plate for ALL of the food, although I have to agree with Alwyn and say that I’d want to have one of those plates that are shaped like a book.  (They are REAL!)

I think everyone agreed on which character of theirs would survive the Hunger Games, most definitely the Celtic Gladiatrix, Fallon.

My personal favorite question was my own (I mean, Duh), which was: Since all four novels feature such fierce female characters, what would each be doing in light of the women’s movement today? See Video for all four answers!

The next question was what kind of advice they would give to aspiring authors and what they learned from the process.
Things we learned here:

-Alwyn wrote 6 full novels before even querying Rebel of the Sands
-Renee has almost 200 rejections to her name
-Natalie was given an office that looked like Hogwarts (so fancy)
-Lesley insisted to “not let the bastards get you down.”
-Three of the Four #Slaydies were published off of cold querying, so don’t give up!

After this we were able to get all of our books signed by the Slaydies and chances to chat with them all individually. If you haven’t picked up a copy of any of these ladies’ books, go grab copies now!

Thank you so much to Alwyn, Renee, Natalie, and Lesley for such a fabulous evening and to Penguin Teen for having me cover the event! Keep an eye out for my interview with Lesley Livingston about The Valiant and my 5 Bard review of the book as well!

MMSAI Tours Presents: The Third Twin by CJ Omololu

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You may have heard CJ’s story, she’s an amazing author with amazing friends who are supporting her as she battles Stage 4 colon cancer that has spread to her brain, hips, spinal cord, and several organs. Until recently we weren’t sure if CJ would make it to the release date of The Third Twin, but with the help of some modern medicine, and a whole lot of good thoughts and prayers – it looks like things are good to go for the big day.

I couldn’t be happier to be one of the bloggers on this tour, helping to support this book and the amazing strong woman who wrote it!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 THE THIRD TWIN
Author: CJ Omololu
Release Date: February 24th
Publisher: Delacorte

Identical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It’s Pretty Little Liarsmeets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.

When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia’s guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything. The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they’d never, ever be with in real life.

Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect: Alicia. The girl who doesn’t exist. As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer…or Alicia is real.

MY REVIEW: 

Holy crap on a cracker.  I started this book around 7 PM one evening and finished it within a few hours.  Omololu sure knows how to drive a plot forward by consistently raising the stakes, but let me start this again (with a little bit less ridiculous gushing).

This novel features identical twins, and I don’t know about you, but the existence of people who look so much alike that they are able to impersonate one another without anyone realizing it has always fascinated me.  Granted, The Third Twin turns it very quickly from fascination to freaked out.  I am really glad that the novel was told in the point of view of Lexi, because it is much easier for me, as a reader, to respect her voice and character development throughout the novel.  I absolutely adored how Omololu really showed how being caught in the middle of a conspiracy and the main suspect in a murder can really alter your perception of trust.  Kudos to you for that, Omololu, now I’m terrified of everyone!

Lexi was an extremely well developed character, and I’m honestly pleased with the somewhat shallow development of her twin, Ava, because it really fits in with her character’s personality.  Sure, Ava does start to become more filled out toward the end of the novel, but I prefer her being the shallow twin who really doesn’t seem to understand that keeping the Alicia thing going will just cause more problems.

Back to the plot: Omololu just does not waste time with needless words and descriptions, she gets right to the point and jumps right into the middle of the story.  I absolutely adore when authors do this.  There isn’t anything that turns me off of a book more than when an author starts to do what I call “Charles Dickens-ing” (Definition: using way too many words to get to a specific point, that could have been done just as effectively in less words).  Not only does it pick up, but the ball gets rolling almost immediately, and holy cow does it get rolling.  Like I mentioned at the beginning of the review, I started the book and before I knew it, it was over.  Brilliantly plotted and paced.

There is a bit of a romance in the story, but the main focus remains on Lexi, Ava, and Alicia.  Also, that twist toward the end I was not suspecting, and many candy canes and unicorns to Omololu for tricking me and keeping me on my toes.

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

BOOK LINKS

Amazon |B&N | Kobo | Goodreads

PRE-ORDER a SIGNED copy of THE THIRD TWIN from
A Great Good Place for Books
By calling: (510) 339-8210
Or
By E-mailing them at: books@ggpbooks.com

cynthia Photo Robin Mellom 2-24-11ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CJ OMOLOLU is the author of the ALA-YALSA Quick Pick Dirty Little Secrets and several other YA novels. She loved to read but never thought to write until she discovered that the voices in her head often have interesting things to say. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two sons. Visit her online at www.cjomololu.com and follow her on Twitter @cjomololu

 

GIVEAWAY

25 Prizes. 16 Winners. One Huge Giveaway filled with signed books, gift cards + more!

Must be 13 + To Enter. Shipping restrictions are listed after each prize in the form, All open to

US, some open INTL. | One entry per person, per household.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Click on the Banner at the top of this tour stop to see the other blogs involved on this tour!

 

 

MMSAI Tours Presents: Memory of Water by Emmi Itaränta

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A Midsummer Night’s Read is proud to be a (sudden) part of the Me, My Shelf and I’s blog tour for the award winning debut novel from HarperCollins, Memory of Water by Emmi Itaränta!

About the Novel: 

memoryofwater

The award-winning speculative debut novel, now in English for the first time!

In the far north of the Scandinavian Union, now occupied by the power state of New Qian, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio studies to become a tea master like her father. It is a position that holds great responsibility and a dangerous secret. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that once provided water for her whole village. When Noria’s father dies, the secret of the spring reaches the new military commander . . . and the power of the army is vast indeed. But the precious water reserve is not the only forbidden knowledge Noria possesses, and resistance is a fine line.

Threatened with imprisonment, and with her life at stake, Noria must make an excruciating, dangerous choice between knowledge and freedom.

Praise for Memory of Water: 

  • “Where Itäranta shines is in her rejection of conventional plots and in her understated but compelling characters. The work is a deceptively tranquil examination of a world of dust and ashes where the tenacious weed of hope still survives.”
    — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “Poetic and melancholy” –The Guardian, Best Science Fiction of 2014
  • “Memory of Water is a wonderful young adult novel that captures both the helplessness and hopefulness of youth, juxtaposed with the harsh realities of an all too plausible future. In a quirk, Itäranta wrote the same novel independently in Finnish and English rather than translating it.”—Tor.com (Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2014)

Today’s stop on the tour features an interview with the Author, Emmi Itaränta!

 

1) One of the main plot points of Memory of Water is Global Warming. How much research did you do before writing the novel? What new information did you learn from your research?

My research focused mainly on the impact of climate change on freshwater resources, which includes things like sea-level rise and changes in rainfall patterns. I had not realised, for instance, that sea-level rise would probably contaminate a lot of freshwater resources that are currently near the shores. I also now know more or less what the world would look like in the extreme scenario of sea levels rising by 50-60 meters – basically, a lot of the ground we now live on would be underwater – and I have a long list a drought-resistant crops somewhere.

2) What was the inspiration behind the tea master, an occupation that holds great value in Memory of Water?

The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura was a major source of inspiration. It discusses the Japanese chadō, or Way of Tea, which is a life-long path of learning the art of tea-making. Okakura’s book talks about tea masters, choosing the right water for the tea and the connections between Asian tea cultures, Zen Buddhism and Taoism. I created a fictional version of tea masters and the tea ceremony in order to emphasise the importance of water, but Okakura’s book provided some great insights into the subject.

3) Were any of the characters, settings and/or scenes in your book drawn from real-life experiences?

I’m worried that if I say yes, my friends and family will start looking for themselves in the book! So I’ll opt for saying that I think most authors use real-life material to some extent, sometimes unaware they are doing so. If any scenes in Memory of Water were inspired by real-life experiences, they appear in such highly fictionalised form that they may as well be a product of my imagination.

4) Do you think that the political aspect of Memory of Water, mainly China ruling over Europe, is possible in the future? What made you include this in your book?

I don’t know how probable it is, but I do think it’s possible. I wanted to create a fictional world that is fairly far in the future, yet credible. It made sense to me that cultures would have blended into something different from what we know today. Noria’s home village is a mixture of Nordic and Asian influences. This happened organically, because I envisioned a family of tea masters who relocated from Japan to northern Finland and did their best to retain their culture while inevitably also adapting to the new locale. In terms of world-building, everything in the book grew from the premise: if I had a tea master in northern Finland, then northern Finland must have some Asian influence, and if there was an Asian superpower, China – or some imaginary future version of it – was the most likely candidate.

5) What weird or quirky writing habits do you have? For example, you can’t write when the moon is full.

I’m not sure if this counts as quirky, but I usually want to write in complete silence. Any noise or music, even music I like, is a huge distraction.

6) Which of the characters in Memory of Water would you say is like you the most?

Noria. She spends a lot of time inside her head, is quite idealistic and seeks knowledge, which are things I recognise in myself. She is not intended as a self-portrait, but I had to get inside her skin while writing the book, and I think something of my own personality filtered into her.

RANDOM ROUND

1) Fictional boyfriend/girlfriend:

Can I pick one of each? Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks and Kaylee from Firefly.

2) Which country would you like to live in and why:

All of them, for a little while. I enjoy new languages and cultures, and there’s nothing like staying in a foreign country to give you perspective on your own background. Living in England for seven years has made me look at Finland in a different light, in good and bad both.

3) How you take your coffee:

I’m more of a tea person – green, no sugar.

4) Least favorite holiday jingle:

I could live without most of them, to be honest.

5) Last thing you read:

All The Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry, which I found original and gorgeously written.


Emmi Itaranta ap1_thumb[1]About the Author:

Emmi Itaränta leads a double life, working mornings in an office at the University of Kent in the UK, and spending her with fictional characters in imaginary worlds.
Web: www.emmiitaranta.com/
Twitter: @emmi_elina

And now…a Giveaway! 

1 Winner will get a copy of Memory of Water + a $25.00 Gift Card to the eTailor of their choice!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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