Monday, June 26, 2017

Welcome to the FFBC: The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

The Disappearances

by Emily Bain Murphy
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magical Realism
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Synopsis:

What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared? Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home--and the place where Juliet grew up. Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish every seven years. No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible--and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind. As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone's secrets for long before it starts giving them up.





Hello Emily! We are super excited for THE DISAPPEARANCES and to have you in our FFBC tours. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Favorite Book?

Growing up, it was probably The Secret Garden. Recent favorites are anything by Leigh Bardugo, Sabaa Tahir, and Rainbow Rowell. 


Favorite TV show?

Parks and Recreation


Favorite movie?

Pride and Prejudice in almost any iteration


Favorite Song?

I’m in Here by Sia; O’ Lord by Lauren Daigle


Favorite Food?

French macarons, strawberries, chocolate chip cookies, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, Nutella crepes, salmon nigiri. (I’m sorry, was this supposed to be a singular answer?) 


Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.

Stars Hollow, Pemberley, Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.


What were your favorite books growing up? (I was a Fear Street girl!)

The first series I ever fell in love with was either The Boxcar Children or The Babysitters Club. I also loved The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, Homecoming, Harriet the Spy, Little Women, The Chronicles of Narnia, Redwall, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, The Westing Game, Matilda, The BFG, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. 


 Favorite Quote?

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.” – Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl


What are your fandoms?

I love the Dregs, Anne Shirley, Alias, the entire ensemble cast of Parks and Rec, Jane the Virgin, Gilmore Girls, and Arrested Development. I’m an Emberling, Austenite, Potterhead, wannabe Inkling, Marshmallow, and new Whovian. 


Who is your favorite fictional boyfriend (or girlfriend)?

Mr. Knightley, Nikolai Lantsov, or Gilbert Blythe



ABOUT THE BOOK:



Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about THE DISAPPEARANCES?

THE DISAPPEARANCES is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Aila Quinn who loves her mother, Juliet, but doesn’t understand why Juliet keeps her secrets so guarded. When Juliet dies rather suddenly in the midst of WWII, Aila and her younger brother are sent to live in Sterling, the small farm town where their mother grew up.

But Sterling has its own mysteries. Once every seven years, the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish.

No one knows why these “Disappearances” happen, or what they’ll lose next. But Sterling always suspected that Aila’s mother might somehow be responsible--and Aila is determined to solve the mystery and clear her mother’s name as she follows a chain of literary clues her mother left behind in an old Shakespeare book. 

At the end of the day, I see THE DISAPPEARANCES as basically a love letter—from a girl to her complicated, late mother and also to the world, in all of its pain, difficulties, and its magical beauty. 


Are there any other towns or places in your favorite movies/TV shows that remind you of Sterling (maybe even in small ways)?

Stars Hollow! I’d say Sterling is like a cross between Stars Hollow, Avonlea and Bedford Falls from IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE in terms of its small-town feel, with a pinch of the historical coziness and romance of THE NOTEBOOK. 


What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of THE DISAPPEARANCES)

#findbeautyeverywhere
#everydaymagic
#thefinishingword


How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?

I started writing the story when I was blogging and doing volunteer work with a nonprofit that deals with child trafficking and exploitation, and I think in order to cope I really had to purposefully look for every little bit of magic and beauty I could find in the world. Even things as simple as flowers and the stars. And then I started to think—what if those things began to disappear one by one? How would people react? What would they be willing to pay to get them back?  And the story kept spinning from there. 

Also, Shakespeare and his works are a big theme featured and woven throughout the story. I’m so interested in the ways Shakespeare still inspires so many things in current life, from our phrases to retellings to references in novels still being published today. I grew up watching Baz Luhrman’s R+J, Ten Things I Hate About You, and Much Ado About Nothing. I distinctly remember my school in Japan putting on A Midsummer Night’s Dream as our middle school play, and experiencing the interactive production of Sleep No More several years ago in Boston. I love the idea of the classics and the “current” sort of braiding together to tell new stories—so that definitely influenced my writing, both in the overall feel of it and the plot itself. 


Tell us your favorite quote from THE DISAPPEARANCES.

“It looks like any other sleepy farm town, but this is the one where my mother grew up. Maybe something of her is still here for me to find, like sunlight catching a handprint on glass."

And:

“Hope uses darkness to make itself stronger.”


Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?  Or which part was the most difficult to get through?

There are a couple of romantic scenes that were really fun to write. There was one ending to a romance-related chapter that I was smiling as I wrote, because it was turning out just the way I wanted—and I knew it was going to be good when my husband got to it and did a little “whoop” noise. 


If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for THE DISAPPEARANCES– Which one would you pick?

Everything’s Magic by Angels and Airwaves, The Call by Regina Spektor, Bird Set Free by Sia, This is Not the End by Gungor


Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read THE DISAPPEARANCES (specific music, snacks…)? 

Maybe listen to something from the 40’s, curl up in a cozy spot with a warm drink, and read when you’re in the mood for something immersive and atmospheric. (I have plenty of recommendations if you are in the mood for an action thriller! But The Disappearances is definitely more of an eerie, literary, slow burn-sort of book.) One to read when you’re sitting in a garden or in front of a fire with rain pattering outside the window—or simply want to feel like you are.  


What’s next for you? 

A move from San Francisco to the St. Louis area with my family! And a new YA novel I’m working on, that is going to be a similar feel and tone to The Disappearances—and I hope a lot of fun. 


Thank you so much for everything, Emily!


Thank YOU, so much, for hosting me and THE DISAPPEARANCES. I’m thrilled and very grateful for the opportunity! 




Emily Bain Murphy grew up in Indiana, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, and has also called Massachusetts and Connecticut home. She loves books, Japanese karaoke, exploring new cities, and anything with Nutella. Her debut YA fantasy, THE DISAPPEARANCES, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017. Murphy currently lives in San Francisco with her family and is at work on her second novel.






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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Possible by Tara Altebrando-- Podcasting + Telekinesis Got Me Hooked

The Possible
Kaylee's past has been left behind and moved on from-- until a podcast producer shows up asking questions about it.  Suddenly, Kaylee feels like she needs answers to questions she didn't even know she'd been asking.

When Kaylee was 4, her bio-mom murdered her baby brother.  The thing is, before all that, her bio-mom was sort of infamous for being telekinetic-- or pulling a telekinetic hoax??  Now with Liana looking into both the murder and the telekinetic events, Kaylee feels like this is the opportunity she's been waiting for to find out if telekinetic powers run in the family.














The Possible was an interesting book that intrigued me because of that maybe supernatural element.  Was Crystal (Kaylee's bio mom) able to move things with her mind?  Was it all fake??  I love reading a whole book not knowing if it's going to be something other.

While I really liked the story and just HAD to know what was going to happen-- the characters??  Not so much.  Kaylee was harsh.  She doesn't know if she inherited powers from her bio-mom or not, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that she inherited sociopathic traits from her.  Not to say that Kaylee is evil, but she definitely doesn't have a lot of empathy or thoughts about how things will effect other people.

The other characters weren't much better.  There are the 2 best friends (Chiara and Aiden), a love interest (Bennett), and the podcast woman (Liana)-- and literally NONE of them are the type of characters that you root for.  As soon as I thought one of them was going to be that person-- BAM, they did something callous and indifferent that made me be like: NOPE.

In spite of that, I still really liked this book.  It reminded me a lot of The Leaving, which I read last year.  It was full of characters that I was just NOT feeling, but the story was compelling enough to keep me reading and wanting to know.

The ending was interesting-- but I definitely thought it could have been better.  Like with The Leaving, I was a tad underwhelmed.  Some of it was a bit far-fetched, but getting there was a fun and page-turning ride.

The best part-- I loved all the text, script, and news article elements.  I'm a huge sucker for epistolary elements in books.

The worst part-- OMG Tara Altebrando totally dissed Pittsburgh (my hometown city).  Kaylee flies to Pittsburgh for a brief visit, and she makes it sound like it's a place people go to fail.  I'm just going to leave this link HERE for Ms. Altebrando to let her know that people indeed do travel to Pittsburgh.

OVERALL:  The story, not the characters, drove this book.  I got really invested in the MAYBE supernatural elements-- and the sort of murder/mystery.  I didn't vibe with any of the people in this book, but I didn't really need to??

Date Published: 6/6/2017
How I got this book: Thanks to Bloomsbury for providing me a copy to read and honestly review
Publisher: Bloomsbury


Add it to your to-read list!!

My Rating: 4/5







Character: Kaylee Novell
Book: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

  • I guess I think the characters and the messed-upness would appeal to Kaylee.  Plus, there's the adoption in this book and the family secrets.







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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Boldly Bookish Blog Tour & Giveaway: THE POSSIBLE by Tara Altebrando


When the people at Bloomsbury asked me to be on the BOLDLY BOOKISH TOUR, and I saw THE POSSIBLE was one of the books that was part of the tour, I said a big, giant YES!!  I've been eagerly awaiting THE POSSIBLE.  It's about a podcast that's looking into a murder-- plus there's the possibility of telekinesis involved!!

So speaking of podcasts-- I HAVE ONE!!  It's called WE KNOW WHAT YOU DID ON FEAR STREET.... and it's about (you guessed it) FEAR STREET.



Me, Mia, and Cassi are reading our way through the infamous 90's horror series and discussing anything and everything about it.  I didn't know if I could do it (I honestly hate the way my voice sounds on recordings), but it's been a lot of fun, and it's kind of an addicting thing to do.  So far we have 3 episodes out, and you can go HERE to listen on iTunes (or HERE for Soundcloud).



Now that I got that whole self-promotion out of the way..... I asked Tara Altebrando what type of podcast she would make if she could do any topic, and here's what she had to say:

If I had a podcast...

I've always thought it would be cool to do a podcast that introduces listeners to my awesome friends. Each episode would just be me talking with a friend about their work and life--and also how we met and stuff? Like, favorite memories?

It probably sounds really boring--and maybe it would be--but I feel like I know a lot of interesting people and I don't get to hang out with them enough. Travel writers, food editors, graphic designers, musicians, midwives, special ed teachers. Friends who emigrated from Albania. Artists. Friends whose lives were impacted by crazy fluke tragedies. Oh, and other writers, of course.

I don't know. I just feel like all of these friends of mine probably have really cool stories that I've never heard. Maybe this idea really just means I should get out more?

As a podcast listener, I gravitate toward true crime type things. Serial. S-Town. My Favorite Murder. In the Dark. The fictional podcast in The Possible definitely shares that space but I don't think it's something I'd want to do in real life, or maybe it just feels like I don't quite have the right skill set for that?

S-Town seriously blew my mind. I listened to it over the course of two days and found myself gasping and feeling sort of ill and crying. It was just such a gripping and unexpected listening experience. It made me think a lot about how limited my experience on the planet has been.

I was joking with friends yesterday that I should really do a podcast called T-Town. With the "T" standing for 'tantrum." And it would be just me and my six-year-old, talking through her latest core meltdown. What do you think?



Thanks Tara!!  I would love to listen to you and your awesome friends talk (especially AUTHOR FRIENDS!!).  I love anything true crime and would LOVE to listen the podcasts you listed up there.  I'm definitely going to check them out!






The Possible

by Tara Altebrando
Release Date: 6/6/2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's

Summary:


Some storms rage from within.

What if…a teenage girl could move objects with her mind?

What if…someone turns up at her door asking questions she doesn’t want to answer?

Kaylee lives a normal life with her adoptive parents, and almost never thinks of her birth mother, Crystal, who is serving a life sentence in prison. But the woman at the front door is producing a podcast about Crystal that is about to blow Kaylee’s forgotten past wide open.

What if strange things have been happening Kaylee’s entire life, things she could not explain? What if she’s more like her mother than she ever imagined?

What if the podcast is about to put her on a collision course with Crystal—and her darkest self?

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Book Depository








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Top Ten Tuesday-- Series Shame

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (June 20th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start But Haven't



  • I'm not a big series reader, which is probably because I read a lot of Contemporary.  But there's something about SERIES that when I'm not reading any, I miss them.  I miss the cliffhangers and imagining what's going to happen next.  The excitement (or torture) of waiting for the next book to be released.  The being able to enjoy the characters and plot lines for more than just one book.  I also like that series seem to be a little more popular, so there are usually tons of people to talk about them with.  I haven't read one single series book this year yet-- that really surprises me and makes me think I need to start one!!  Here's the ones I've been interested in:




1.  Delirium by Lauren Oliver- I love Lauren Oliver, so I gotta read this series.

2.  Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly- Do you see the cute tights on the cover??  That + witches + I own the book = I need to read it.

3.  Shade Me (Nikki Kill series) by Jennifer Brown- I'm not really THAT into the synopsis of this book-- but I SUPER love Jennifer Brown and have never read a book from her that I didn't love.

4.  The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron- I've heard good things about this first book (which I own), plus the COVER!

5.  The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard- I LOVE Sara Shepard series and need more of them in my life.



6.  Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis- Now that I know what Mindy McGinnis is capable of (I was OBSESSED with Female of the Species), I need to read more from her).

7.  The Liar Society series by Lisa Roecker & Laura Roecker- This is an older series, but I'm a sucker for plaid skirts, and I've heard that this series was really good.

8.  A Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket- I bought the first book the other day & plan to read it with my son very soon.

9.  Jessica Darling's It List (Middle Grade series) by Megan McCafferty- I LOVED the original Jessica Darling series and I really want to read the MG spin-off.

10.  Hundred Oaks series by Miranda Kenneally- I've been meaning to read this series since forevs.  Defending Taylor really sounded like something I'd love, so I might start with that one (although I do own Breathe, Annie, Breathe).  Do you have any recs on which book to start with?





What series have you been meaning to read?

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Welcome to the FFBC: Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls

by Riley Sager
Publisher: Dutton Press
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
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Synopsis:

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet. Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancĂ©, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past. That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.





Hi Riley!!  We’re so excited about FINAL GIRLS, and we’re so happy that we’ve been given the opportunity to tour the book.  Thanks so much for answering our questions about FINAL GIRLS!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Favorite Book?

This is like asking a mother of ten to choose her favorite child! I can’t pick just one. So I’m going to cheat and give you several. The first is CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl. I read it when I was ten, which is the PERFECT age to read it. It was the first time a book had completely swept me up into another place and time, and I loved it. To me, that’s the mark of a great book—if I tumble so deep into its world that I block out everything else. Others that have done the same thing are THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tartt, THE ALIENIST by Caleb Carr, THE GREEN MILE by Stephen King and BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter.


Favorite TV show?

Again, I refuse to pick just one. So let’s just say it’s a tie between Veronica Mars and Parks and Recreation.


Favorite movie?

Rear Window. Or Jaws. But most likely Mary Poppins.


Favorite Song?

By now you can see that I’m terrible at picking absolute favorites. Yet Blank Space by Taylor Swift comes pretty close.


Favorite Food?

Coffee counts as a food, right? If not, I’ll say any variety of pizza. Bread + cheese + tomato sauce = YUM!


Name 3 fictional places you would move to in a heartbeat.

The Shire, Porto Vergogna from BEAUTIFUL RUINS and 17 Cherry Tree Lane.


What were your favorite books growing up? (I was a Fear Street girl!)

I graduated fairly quickly from middle-grade books to Agatha Christie mysteries. But my mother had the complete set of Trixie Belden mysteries, and during one long, lazy summer I read them all.




ABOUT THE BOOK:


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about FINAL GIRLS?

FINAL GIRLS is about three women who survived horror-movie style massacres—Lisa, Samantha and Quincy. The book is narrated by Quincy, the most recent member of this club no one wants to join. Unlike the others, she can’t remember much about the night ten years ago when all her friends were murdered at a remote cabin. Now she runs a successful baking blog, lives in a fabulous apartment and has a handsome, devoted fiancĂ©. She’s put the past behind her—or so she thinks. But when Lisa is found dead and reclusive Sam suddenly appears on her doorstep, Quincy’s carefully constructed world starts to crumble. And that past she thought she was done with? Well, it’s not done with her.


What are your fave horror/slasher movies from the 80’s and 90’s?

Scream. I was obsessed with those movies. I saw Scream and Scream 2 three times — in theaters. I also love the original Halloween and, for some weird reason, its horribly titled 20-years-later sequel, Halloween: H20.


If you could reimagine any movie or TV show with a horror twist, which ones would you love to see?

Without a doubt, it would be The Parent Trap. While on the surface it’s a light-hearted Disney romp, it’s pretty disturbing when you think about it. Twin sisters whose divorced parents kept from each other until they accidentally meet at summer camp? Who thinks of that? Honestly, it’s a hair’s breadth away from a YA thriller. Which is exactly where I’d love to see it go.


Who is your favorite “final girl”?

Sidney Prescott from the Scream movies. She has a combination of toughness, vulnerability, humor and intelligence. To me, that makes her the quintessential final girl. 


What’s your number one horror movie rule?

Don’t answer the phone. Because we all know that call is coming from inside the house.


If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for FINAL GIRLS– Which one would you pick? 

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult. Not only is it a classic rock masterpiece, but it’s been on the soundtrack of almost every great horror movie of the past forty years.


Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read FINAL GIRLS (specific music, snacks…)? 

Since the character of Quincy runs a baking blog, any form of baked good would pair perfectly with the book. As for music, I did create a FINAL GIRLS playlist on Spotify. (It can be found here: http://spoti.fi/2r4pyzj.) Readers can definitely have it playing in the background as they dive into the book. 


What’s next for you? 

I’m in the process of finishing up my next book. Once again, I’m going back to a cabin in the woods, but with very different results. This time, I was greatly inspired by Picnic at Hanging Rock, so if you’ve seen the movie or read the book, you’ll have a little hint of what to expect.


Thanks so much Riley!!

All I can think of when I hear Don't Fear the Reaper is MORE COWBELL!!  I love your FINAL GIRLS Playlist-- any list with Doll Parts on it is a giant YES in my book.  And Sidney Prescott is totally my fave final girl too-- she's **GASP** not a virgin, she gets help from friends and adults, AND she punched Gail in the face.



Riley Sager is a pseudonym for an author who has been previously published under another name. A native of Pennsylvania, Riley is a writer, editor and graphic designer who now lives in Princeton, New Jersey. ​ Riley's first novel, FINAL GIRLS (called "The first great thriller of 2017" by Stephen King), will be published in 2017 in the United States, the United Kingdom and more than a dozen countries around the world.





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