Thursday, March 22, 2018

It Wasn't Always Like This by Joy Preble-- 100 years is a long time to get good at something, right??

It Wasn't Always Like This

Emma O'Neill is a teenage private detective trying to solve the mystery of who is poisoning young girls-- girls that happen to look like her.  She doesn't need to ask why-- those answers are linked to the things that happened over 100 years ago....

You see Emma may be a teenager to look at, but she was actually frozen at 17 in the year 1916.  Back then her family, along with her boyfriend's family, were trying to find a cure for polio and accidentally stumbled onto the key to immortality.  But the local cult/church didn't take kindly to abominations like Emma and her clan, so they came after them with a vengeance, leading to death and ultimately Emma and Charlie splitting up.

Now, Emma knows The Church of Light is catching up to her--and she's determined to stop them from hurting more innocent people.  She's tracking them while they're tracking her-- who will find whom first??

I don't read a lot of books like this, so it was really entertaining for me.  I loved the idea of 100-year-old teenagers running around!!  I mean, living forever and not aging didn't seem all that great, but if you were gonna do it-- I don't think late teens would be a bad age to pick.

Hands down the best part of this book was the "love lost through time" storyline.  Emma and Charlie were soulmates separated by tragedy trying to make it back to one another without knowing if the other one was still alive.  I adored going through history with Charlie and seeing where the journey took him.  I wish there was more of that and a whole lot more of Emma's long life explained.

The thing about Emma was: She is a 100-year-old teenager, yet somehow is NOT wise.  I get that she still has 17-year-old hormones and all that, but she has 100 years of life experience!!!  She should've been way more knowledgeable and interesting than the 50-something cop she teamed up with, but that just wasn't the case.  I know she's been busy looking for Charlie & dodging the church, but you would think after 100 years she would be the bomb dot com at SOMETHING.  She was just existing.

The biggest problem with this book was the big bad guy.  It was a cult-like church that believed hunting down the "evil immortals" would somehow get them closer to Heaven-- and okay, so far so good.  But where it lost credibility was when it got passed down through generations.  At this point, The Church of Light have no idea what Charlie and Emma look like, so you have to believe that this church went around killing girls that they felt COULD be Emma based on ????  Basically, they were picking out teenage girls with brown hair who didn't have parents.  Do you know how many of those there are???  They would never find her that way.  Also, why was she going around using her real name if there are crazies after her??  Girl was not 100 years old, there's just no way.

Plausibility aside, this book was a fun read.  It's short and has a cool premise, and I just had to know if Emma and Charlie would ever find each other-- which says something because I don't like romancey stuff!!

OVERALL: A quick read that has a cool teenage immortality premise.  I loved the love lost through time & historical parts, but I wished Emma showed more of the 100-year-old soul she supposedly was living with.

Date Published: 5/17/2016
How I got this book: Library
Publisher: Soho Teen

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Character: Emma O'Neill
Book: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

  • I think Emma would like the twisty, dark mysteries.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Welcome Back to the FFBC: The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco

The Heart Forger

(The Bone Witch #2)
by Rin Chupeco
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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In The Bone Witch, Tea mastered resurrection―now she's after revenge...

No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life...and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge against the royals who wronged her―and took the life of her one true love.

But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea's dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can't kill someone who can never die...

War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.

The First Book in the Series

The Bone Witch (#1)

by Rin Chupeco
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

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The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer. 

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

Rin! We are so excited to have you back!!  We loved the first book in The Bone Witch series and can’t wait to catch back up with you and Tea!

A: Thank you! It’s fantastic to be back!

What 3 recent books would you recommend to our YA fans?

A: Holly Black’s Cruel Prince was amazing! Also grab Blood of a Thousand Stars by Rhoda Belleza because it’s a fantastic sci-fi read filled with all the political intrigue and action I love, and of course, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi!

What books/authors have most made an impact on you/inspired you to write?

A: I’m a huge fantasy book fan, and the two from that genre that inspired me the most growing up was David and Leah Eddings’ Belgariad/Mallorean series, and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. I have a soft spot for the Eddings, and my love for convoluted prophecies sort of stemmed from their works. Their books also taught me a lot about how to write (funny and snarky!) character interactions, which has some of the best I’d ever read.

Terry Pratchett taught me to think of ideas so completely outside the box that they’re in some weird dimension where boxes don’t even exist. I love how he takes common tropes and just twist them beyond recognition so he can present them as new ideas entirely. 

I also can’t finish this without mentioning Neil Gaiman, who I met a couple of times in the Philippines and who told me to that if I was a writer, then I should write, and that it was as simple as that. I don’t think I would have been one without that encouragement. 

 Could you tell our readers a little bit about THE HEART FORGER?

A: Tea has finally amassed all seven of her daeva, regained her lost love, and is out for revenge. Her target is the kingdom of Daanoris, where the Heartforger was last sighted, though her reasons for seeking him out remain unclear. But the kingdoms’ armies are on the move, with former friends believing her another renegade bone witch whose heartsglass has been corrupted by her runes. Marked for death and surrounded by enemies on all sides, Tea is poised to seize forbidden magic that could give her rulership of all the lands. But is Tea truly willing to go that far for absolute power, especially if it means sacrificing all eight kingdoms in the process?

Tell us your favorite quote from THE HEART FORGER.

A: “Some days will be better than others. Some days you will wake up crying, his name the first to fall from your lips. Some days, you will look up at the stars in the sky from a lonely beach and know none of them look down on him. That is the nature of grief. But to grieve means you have loved. To love opens up the possibility for grief. There cannot be one without the other.”

What 3 hashtags would you most associate with THE HEART FORGER? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of THE HEART FORGER or THE BONE WITCH series.)

A: #magicalgeisha #Iwantapetdaeva #lovehateromance

Can you tell our readers 3 things about the magical world in which the series is set?

A: 1. Magic in the Eight Kingdoms is considered “life” magic, which is why bone witches, who use necromancy and therefore “anti-life” magic, can’t use most of the other runic magic. Life magic gives, but death magic takes - from its user as well as from everyone else. 

2. Familiars (dead people resurrected by bone witches and tied to their lifeforces) are taboo and not considered real people in certain kingdoms, but not in others. Kion, in particular, has had a history of bone witches raising and marrying lost loves, albeit rarely. At least one royal marriage with a familiar has been documented. Unfortunately, familiars cannot sire children. 

3. The legend of Blade that Soars and Dancing Wind was slightly inspired by old Chinese myths and retellings of legendary lovers.  

If you could have one magical talent, what would it be?

A: Hands down, some sort of technopathy magic. For one thing, combining magic and tech always sounds like a cool idea to me. For another, maybe I can finally stop destroying my routers whenever they putter out on me every six months. 

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for THE HEART FORGER (or the series in general) – Which one would you pick?

A: Hozier has been a constant in my playlist for this series, and “Like Real People Do” really hits home. 

What’s next for you?

A: The Never Tilting World, my Mad Max-meets-Frozen/The-Last-Airbender series will be out in 2019! It has twin goddesses and extreme weather and elemental magic and really giant worms. 

Also, I’m working on a WIP tentatively called Firekeeper, which I hope will be out by 2020, about a Scottish-Filipino teen descended from the legendary Maria Makiling who is called to help an exiled prince regain his kingdom, Avalon, from the Snow Queen after his family’s most powerful weapon - a firebird - lands on her doorstep. 

Thanks so much Rin!!  We think technopathy magic sounds really cool & now we want to figure out all the powers that that could include!!  Also, OMG  THE NEVER TILTING WORLD sounds so cool!!  We'll definitely be on the lookout for it in 2019!!

Despite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of hummus  Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She’s been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living. The Girl from the Well was her debut novel. 

  • 3 winners in total
  • 1 winner will receive a signed copy of THE HEART FORGER (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco
  • 1 winner will receive a signed copy of THE BONE WITCH (#1) by Rin Chupeco
  • 1 winner will receive all 3 dolls pictured abover (Tea doll, Fox doll, & azi doll)
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Top Ten Tuesday-- 2018 Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (March 20th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

  • Otherwise known as my annual fail (I've only read 1.5 of the books on my Winter TBR).  But I like making lists, and I like being optimistic about what I can read, so...... here it is:

1.  In Her Skin by Kim Savage- I am SO excited for this book!!  I'm hosting a blog tour for it & sign-ups are still open HERE (I'd love you forever if you sign up!!).  After reading After the Woods & Beautiful Broken Girls, I can't wait to see what this author comes up with next!!

2.  White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig- I LOVE YA Mysteries and am always on the hunt for the good ones.  Last Seen Leaving was DEFINITELY one of the good ones, so I'm pumped to try Caleb's sophomore book!!

3.  Losing Leah by Tiffany King- A YA Mystery involving twins??  Yes, I am IN!

4.  Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett- This book sounds really cute and I liked Alex, Approximately last year, so I'm down to try this one.

5.  Munmun by Jesse Andrews- Dude, YESSSSSSS!!  I am so excited about this book!  Jesse Andrews is the hilarious mind behind Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and he's a Pittsburgh native, so YESSSSSSS I will be reading it!

6.  The Accidental Bad Girl by Maxine Kaplan- I've heard so much GOOD about this book and it sounds like a ME book!!

7.  The Window by Amelia Brunskill- Another YA Mystery featuring twins.  It will get me every time.

8.  Moonrise by Sarah Crossan- I was sent this book and after reading the back, I was very intrigued.  It's about a boy whose brother is on death row, and it's not clear if the brother is guilty or what, but he's about to be executed.

9.  Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler- I asked you guys last month which backlist book I should read-- and this is the one you picked!!  Thanks, and I'm excited for more Sarah Ockler!!

10.  More Than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost #2) by Brigid Kemmerer- I'm reading Letters to the Lost right now, so it makes sense that this book will be one I'll read soon.

What books made your 2018 Spring TBR??

Monday, March 19, 2018

Welcome to the FFBC: ANTIPODES by Michele Bacon-- Interview & Giveaway!!


by Michele Bacon
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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When Erin Cerise steps off her plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, she is focused intently on her mission: do something unique that will erase the mess she made of her life on her 17th birthday. She’s already lost her swim team captainship, her boyfriend Ben, and her reputation. Her mother is certain studying abroad will regain Erin’s chances of a good future. Once Erin sees her uninspiring host family and city, though, she’s not so sure.

Before Christchurch, Erin wasn’t always intense and focused. Years ago, a mission sounded like a fun adventure, and the only ivy she cared about was the stuff growing around her grandparents’ back porch at their peaceful Upper Peninsula home. When had her priorities gone upside down?

Now Erin balks at NZ’s itchy school uniforms, cold houses, and her hosts’ utter inability to pronounce her name correctly. Christchurch does boast amazing rock climbing, gorgeous scenery, and at least one guy who could make her forget Ben if she lets him. With months ahead of her, Erin slowly begins to draw on the years behind her, one step back into her memories at a time. As she rebuilds her life from the other side of the world, she finds that when life turns your world upside down and you’re far from home, every way you move takes you closer to where you came from. 

Hi Michele!!  We’re so excited to have your book in our FFBC Tours, and can’t wait to ask you a couple of questions about your book ANTIPODES!!

Thank you! I’m happy to be here. 


Let me preface ALL these questions with an admission that I’m fickle about favorites. If you sent the same query a week from now, I’d have all different answers (except my favorite TV show).

Favorite Book?

I cannot possibly choose just one. In nonfiction, I return again and again to Paul Auster’s I Thought My Father Was God, and Bill Bryson makes me laugh aloud. In fiction, I enjoy everything written by Michael Cunningham (adult), Laurie Frankel (adult), Jandy Nelson (YA), Kevin Wilson (adult), and Nicola Yoon (YA).

Favorite TV show?

The Amazing Race! I love travel and games, and The Amazing Race sits in the sweet spot where they overlap. My favorite scripted television is Sherlock. Or Elementary.  And I really loved the three original seasons of Arrested Development.

Favorite movie?

The Big Chill feels like home to me. I’ve always wanted long weekends (or whole weeks...or life) surrounded by friends in a big house—cooking for each other, swapping stories, and horsing around. I’m in for heist movies, detectives, and dramas, but generally loathe comedies.

Favorite Song?

My eclectic taste includes everything but heavy metal and hard rock. iTunes suggests my favorite is “Both Hands” by Ani Difranco, but I’m not sure that’s true. Favorites include Ani, yes, but also Beck, the Dixie Chicks, Ella Fitzgerald, Coleman Hawkins, the Indigo Girls, Keb’Mo, Queen, Paul Simon, James Taylor, and U2. I am keen to discover new music, but it never rises to the top of my to-do list.

Favorite Food?

Sushi! And baked goods. I’m a sucker for cakes and croissants.

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

Hogwarts (where I’d teach potions), Ach-To (where I’d meditate and read), or the ditto world of Kiln People (where I’d be far more productive).

What were your favorite books growing up?

I loved The Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, Sherlock Holmes, and Nancy Drew. I also liked early dystopian literature such as 1984 and Brave New World. I very much enjoyed sneaking books from adult shelves in our house. I distinctly remember reading Erich Segal’s Love Story in the third grade.

Favorite Quote?

“Not all those who wander are lost” –J.R.R. Tolkien

What are your fandoms?

Harry Potter, Nerdfighteria, Sherlock, young adult books, and board games. 

What recent book would you recommend to our YA fans?

Regardless of what other nonfiction you read, Martha Brockenbrough’s Hamilton, Revolutionary is not to be missed. In fiction, I loved E. Lockhart’s Genuine Fraud.


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about ANTIPODES?

Ambitious American teen, Erin Cerise, finds her life imploding around her seventeenth birthday. While studying abroad to improve her Ivy League prospects, Erin finds that when life turns her world upside down and she's far from home, every move takes her closer to where she came from.

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 ANTIPODES.)

#Carabiner #NationalChampion, and #SouthIsland

Besides reading, writing, and blogging, I love fashion!!  What would Erin wear on a typical weekend day?

In New Zealand, she’d wear shorts, tramping boots, a tank top, a hat, and sunblock. If she were going out, she’d wear a cute designer top, her favorite jeans, and chic sandals.

What are 3 cool things people who aren’t familiar with New Zealand should know about it?
  • It is densely gorgeous—mountains, oceans, beaches, boulders, rain forests, lakes—condensed into a country the size of Colorado under blue sky as far as the eye can see.
  • Hitchhiking is safe and commonplace.
  • Most places in New Zealand are very near the sea—the Pacific Ocean, the Tasman Sea, or Cook Strait—and the furthest inland spot is a mere 74.5 miles from saltwater.

Tell us your favorite quote from ANTIPODES.

Two unidentifiable girls sat, lip-locked, on the hall window seat, all arms and legs and hair and slurping.” 

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

Most of this book was fun to write. The rock climbing scenes were difficult for me, because I wanted to include eveyrthing. I love rock climbing, especially outside, so I had to curb my enthusiasm. I rewrote several rock climbing scenes and edited them down. Erin used to have far more rock climbing adventures.

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

No Mermaid” by SinĂ©ad Lohan

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

How is this answer not cake? The answer is always cake. For Antipodes, I’ll say cake and your passport, because you’re going to want to travel. Stat.

What’s next for you?

I have quite a few irons in the fire right now. I’m working on a contemporary YA manuscript about a girl who struggles with others’ perceptions of her being misaligned with her own self-image. I also am writing for younger children: a few picture books and an early chapter book series. I’m having more fun with writing than I’ve had in years!

Thanks so much for chatting with us!!

It has been wonderful. I’d love to chat any time. Connecting with readers and writers is my favorite aspect of author life!

ALSO: If you're in the Seattle area, Michele is having a launch party (with excellent cake) at Secret Garden Books on April 3rd-- Details are here:

Michele Bacon writes novel-length fiction for young adults and older adults. When she’s not writing, she’s skiing, playing tabletop games, traveling, or dreaming of travel. She lived in Christchurch, New Zealand for over a year, and is eager to return. Today, Michele lives in Seattle with her partner and three children. She is also the author of Life Before.

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