Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blog Tour: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain Q&A + Giveaway


THE SHADOW PRINCE was released March 11th 2014 and here's your chance to win a signed copy if you haven't read it yet. Of course you can always make it a gift for a good friend if you have read it. Also you don't want to miss my Q&A with Bree Despain. Hope you enjoy it!

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Tour Schedule


Monday, March 31, 2014

Icey Books Guest Post + Giveaway
A Dream within a Dream — Review + Giveaway

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Karin's Book Nook Giveaway
Curling Up with a Good Book Q&A + Giveaway

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

GreenBeanTeenQueen Guest Post + Giveaway
Bookaholics Anonymous Review + Giveaway

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Book Briefs Review + Giveaway

Friday, April 04, 2014

Two Chicks on Books Guest Post + Giveaway
Cornucopia of Reviews Review + Giveaway

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Jenna Does Books Guest Post + Giveaway
Jean Book Nerd Q&A + Giveaway

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Fire and Ice Blog Guest Post + Giveaway
Live to Read Review + Giveaway

Monday, April 07, 2014

Buried in Books Review + Giveaway
Book Chic Club Q&A + Giveaway

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Book Swarm Review + Giveaway
The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia Guest Post + Giveaway

Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Miss Page-Turner's City of Books Q&A + Giveaway
Jump Into Books —  Review + Giveaway

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Cozy Reader Review + Giveaway
Mod Podge Books Guest Post + Giveaway


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Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.


Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, two young sons, and her beloved TiVo. The Dark Divine is Bree's debut novel.

Find Bree on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads


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 Q&A with Bree Despain 


1) Daphne Raines grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere... uh, Utah. Her mother sternly kept her from leaving town and then suddenly her rock star father shows up and takes her with him to California. A move is a change of location but often signifies an impulse for personal transformation as well. So what's going on inside Daphne's head and heart in the first few chapters of THE SHADOW PRINCE?

Leaving home is both exciting and unsettling for Daphne. She has dreamed of getting out of her tiny town all of her life, but once the opportunity presents itself, it almost terrifies her. I think that’s a natural impulse. Sometimes we dream about something for so long that when we finally get it, we don’t know how to react or even if we want it anymore. Then there is the issue of reality never quite being the same as the dream. It’s quite a jarring realization and takes some adjustment. Daphne has always longed for freedom and adventure, but she also comes to appreciate the love and safety that home has to offer.


2) Where Daphne struggles with her new situation in Olympus Hills, Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has to adapt to life on the surface in general. To fulfill his mission and get Daphne to follow him back to the Underworld, Haden only needs the girl to fall in love with him. His attempts at flirtation are hilarious and clumsy to say the least. Haden could've easily used a lesson in 21st century flirting and dating. Which character from any of your favourite YA reads could you see as his teacher?

Hmmm . . . Perhaps Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles? He’s roguish and dashing, though Haden might misconstrue any advice he got from him. He’d probably mistake being roguish for being rude.


3) Music is very important for our heroine Daphne, she has incredible talent and dreams of being a singer one day. Which song is currently playing on her iPod and how does it make her feel?

I’m currently obsessed with the song “A King and a Queen” by Okkervil River. I’ve been listening to it on a loop this morning. My favorite part of the song goes: “But the best thing for you would be queen, so be queen. You're all that I need. Though I know that it never can be, I'd be pleased to post your decrees, to fall at your knees, to name all your streets and to sit down and weep when you're carried back through them and set down to sleep, and to lie by your side for sublime centuries, until we crumble to dust when we're crushed by a single sunbeam.” If Daphne were listening to this song, she would be wondering if it were possible to love someone this much…and trying to convince herself not to think about Haden when she contemplates love. Here’s a link so you can listen to the song. (But be warned, you might become obsessed as well.)



4) Haden has a hellishly cute sidekick. His pocket-sized cat Brimstone. How would you describe their bond?

Brimstone is based on one of my cats, Ava. She’s small (but not pocket-sized), shy, kind of ornery, and doesn’t like to be touched. She disdains everyone in the family—except for my 11-year-old son (who has sensory issues and is kind of stand-off-ish at first). Ava loves my son. She waits for him to get home from school, follows him everywhere, and cries outside his door when he goes to bed at night. She won’t let anyone else touch her, but she’d snuggle all day long with my son if she were able to. My son, who doesn’t always have the easiest time socially, feels special because Ava fawns over him and nobody else. They’re like two peas in a pod, and perfect companions for each other. This is how Haden and Brimstone are. They have a lot in common, both having been rejected by the only family they have, and share a special bond because of it. I think of Brim as the older sister Haden always needed. She’s fiercely loyal, she scolds him, encourages him, and even tries to help him out with the ladies. But whatever you do, don’t get her angry!


5) THE SHADOW PRINCE is your fourth book, after the THE DARK DIVINE trilogy. In how far has your writing or the writing process changed from your debut novel to THE SHADOW PRINCE now? Or has it changed at all?

My writing process has been completely different for every book I have written. I almost feel like I’m reinventing how I write every sing time I write a book. What worked for one, never seems to work for the next. I wrote my first book over the space of 4 years, meandering around without any outline—just working toward a vague idea I had for an ending. With deadlines, I’ve had to learn to adjust my process to be timelier. THE SHADOW PRINCE was by far my most organized book. I outlined the book scene by scene, writing a detailed description of what happens in each scene on a notecard. Because I was writing the book using alternating POVs, this allowed me to write several scenes from one character’s POV at a time, and then go back and fill in the missing scenes from the other POV.


6) What can we expect from the sequel to THE SHADOW PRINCE? Will Haden be shirtless...at least once?

I can’t say a whole lot about the sequel, but can hint that it has a couple of big twists that will hopefully surprise the readers. I will be sure to make Haden shirtless for at least one scene (just for you).

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 Giveaway
  
Thanks to Egmont USA I'm giving away a signed copy of THE SHADOW PRINCE. The giveaway is open to US and Can residents only and ends April 30th 2014.


Hope enjoyed my Q&A with Bree and good luck for the giveaway! Now make sure to visit Jump Into Books for a review and another chance to win THE SHADOW PRINCE.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Divergent Movie Premiere in Berlin

Happy 4th of April! It's FourFour Day and so the perfect opportunity to talk about one of my favourite YA book boys.

 About a week ago, I found an email sitting in my inbox that made me laugh and scream. I had won two tickets for the German Divergent premiere in Berlin!! Theo James, Shailene Woodley and Neil Burger would be there, too and we were invited to walk the red (black) carpet. You can imagine how excited I was to attend.
I asked a friend who is just as enthusiastic about the Divergent trilogy as I am to come with me. We booked  a hotel and flight last minute and I went outfit hunting only one day before we left for Berlin. And then the hours passed in a blur, we arrived in Berlin, put the outfits and make-up on and left for the premiere.

Our hotel wasn't even that far from the event location. So we arrived in our faction themed outfits right on time. My friend went as Erudite and you can guess that I chose to be a Dauntless chick.


The event was held in beautiful Sony Center. There were so many fans and movie cameras, reporters and security teams, that it felt like such a big and exclusive event. But it only took us like ten seconds to walk over the actual carpet and enter the cinema.


The cinema was quite big and we could eat free mini snacks and drinks whenever we wanted. Wraps, donuts, quiche, frozen yoghurt. Yum!


When we entered the cinema we found that we got reserved front row seats, prepared with new snacks and energy drinks. Wow! Then we saw the Divergent trailer, followed by two music videos featuring Divergent soundtrack highlights. The first was Find You by Zedd, Featuring Matthew Koma, Featuring Miriam Bryan. Then followed Beating Heart. I was a fan of Ellie Goulding before. But seeing her newest music video with Divergent snippets on the big screen was such a goose-bump inducing experience that I'm now dying to hear her in concert. Ellie Goulding's Beating Heart is my current favourite song and I listen to it whenever I get the chance to. It's beautiful! 





If you want to get one Movie Sountrack, you want to get this one. I can't think of another movie soundtrack (not even the The Hunger Games songs) that fit so perfectly together with every single frame. It was like the movie was breathing the music and the music would fill the scenes with life and emotions and everything. Performers like Woodkid, Snow Patrol and Ellie Goulding should be reason enough to get your own copy of the sountrack. Even the artists I hadn't heard about before, were instant favourites, to name only one, M83 - I Need You. 

And then when the lights went back on again, it was time for Neil Burger to enter the stage. To be honest, I can't even remember what he talked about exactly, because I was so excited for Theo and Shailene to arrive. The press said they took so much time to take pictures with fans and write autographs (outside the theatre). I'm a bit jealous and would've died to take a selfie with Theo and Shailene, but we were already inside the theatre, waiting for them. Sigh... Here they pose on the black carpet.

Theo, Shailene and Neil 

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They were exactly like you imagine them to be. Theo is so charming and has a very strong presence just like Four has in the movie. He's funny and his voice is so deep and enticing I wouldn't have minded listening to him talk the whole evening. Shailene wore a stunning, long white dress and despite her looking so gorgeous she always appeared so humble and smart. It was their first time in Berlin and they were headed to a restaurant and a few bars as Theo said. And so their interview only lasted a few minutes and they were gone. The movie was about to start.

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So let's come to the Movie Review. I usually don't do movie reviews, but have to make an exception this time. Let me say this first: Divergent blew my mind!


I mean I was and still am a huge fan of Veronica Roth's book. It doesn't happen often that I'm happy with a movie, because directors and screen writers always tend to change or leave out parts of the book that I really loved. And then the story isn't quite the story anymore that I fell in love with before the movie came out. Divergent was different. From the opening scene on I was hooked. It was something as simple as camera movement that showed me that this movie was going to be epic.


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Costumes and Design

We only get to see all factions united in the very beginning of the movie and then we spent most time of the first book/movie in Dauntless quarters. A short visit to Erudite territory is included when Tris decides the visit her brother Caleb. The costumes were just the way they needed to be for the Dauntless to appear rough, punk and dangerous. Good job!


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Cast 

When I first heard about Theo James and Shailene Woodley being cast as Four and Tris, I was fine with the choices. Not too ecstatic about them, not disappointed either. The trailer showed me that they had potential and maybe they even could be a link to the versions of Tris and Four that I had in my head for a few years now. 139 minutes of Divergent on the big screen and I knew it, they were my new Tris and Four! Ashley Judd was a wise and loving mother to Tris. Ansel Elgort made a pretty cute Caleb. Not sure about Kate Winslet so far. And Jai Courtney as Eric, was my favourite character beside Tris and Four. Was Eric as cruel and coldhearted in the book, too? I wouldn't want to risk a fight against him.


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Fighting Scenes and Stunts

Divergent is an action-packed story and the movie is anything but boring. Tris' training to become a fearless Dauntless member and the fights against her fellow initiates and the enemies were fast and gripping. Complex stunts, combat training and shootings as the constant focus on heights make for a dangerous Dauntless experience. Divergent by Neil Burger in general is a brilliantly shot and editted movie!


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The Romance

Tris & Four Forever! I have five thousand favourite moments. Theo and Shailene are radiating such passion and chemistry in every single frame, sincerity about each other and what they want. They make a powerful couple that always brings 100 % emotion into a scene. Their first kiss is amazing!
The ferris wheel, one of my fave book scenes, wasn't among my favourite movie scenes though. This was one of the few that could've used a few more minutes in the movie, so it would've been as meaningful to the story and Tris' and Four's relationship as in the book. 


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Fear Landscapes

Tris and Four's fear landscapes are a big part of the first book. They have to face their fears and try to overcome them in these simulations. It was certain that the fear landscapes needed fantasy and skill to be convincing in the movie. Neil Burger found the perfect timing to move from one fear to the next. They were quick, expressive and realized and connected skilfully. 


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Four

Love! Um, just wanted to give you an excuse to look at that pretty face. He's gazing right into your soul! 


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Surprises & Verdict

There weren't any major surprises or unexpected changes to the story. And they weren't necessary. Neil Burger got me so involved in the movie and the way he interpreted Veronica Roth's story, slowly built the relationship between Tris and Four and then Tris' personal development, that I felt like I was hearing the story for the very first time. Towards the end of the movie, I was so excited and was desperately wishing for a happy end. Even though I knew what would happen, I was at the edge of my seat and still hoping for everything to work out in the end.

Now everyone go and watch the Divergent movie if you haven't already. I pre-ordered the Blu Ray as soon as I was back home. It's hard to decide but Divergent is probably my favourite book to movie adaptation now. My love for (Four, hehe) and Divergent is endless.

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When the movie ended everyone clapped, my friend and I just looked at each other and smiled and giggled. We then went out and treated ourselves to a late cocktail and Indian food and fell into bed exhausted and happy. The next day we had a few hours left to wander Berlin. We spotted a gigantic Lego giraffe, got frozen yoghurt for free again and spent some time in my favourite English book store in Berlin. They had beautiful classics editions and a big Divergent book selection, too. 




The whole Divergent evening, seeing Theo and Shailene on stage still feels so surreal and will sure be one of my all-time favourite experiences. Here's a last pic of Sony Center the next morning. The spot lights, reporters and carpet vanished, but the big Divergent banner remains, hopefully compelling many cinema goers to watch this brillaint brilliant movie!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Blog Tour: Jewel of the Thames by Angela Misri Q&A



Today I'm welcoming Angela Misri on the blog. I got to ask the author of JEWEL OF THE THAMES 11 questions for my stop of the Baker Street or Bust blog tour. Thanks to Colleen for organizing the blog tour and to Angela for answering all the questions I sent her way. It's been a while since I've read a few of Sherlock Holmes' adventures and so JEWEL OF THE THAMES was a welcome reminder of how fun detective stories can be. Portia Adams is the woman you should consult if you are looking for your next YA book!

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Tour Schedule 


March 17 Canlit for Little Canadians — Review
March 18 Canlit for Little Canadians — Q&A
March 19 Nayu’s Reading Corner — Review and Guest post
March 20 Escape Through the Pages — Review
March 20 Jalyn Ely — Review
March 21 Book Angel Booktopia — Spotlight Post
March 23 Glamorous Book Lounge — Review
March 24 The Tales Compendium — Review
March 25 Christine Plouvier, Novelist — Guest Post
March 26 Bookish Comforts — Review
March 26 The Fly Leaf Review — Review
March 27 Liberty Falls Down — Review
March 27 Miss Page Turner — Review
March 28 Miss Page Turner — Q&A
March 31 Rami Ungar The Writer — Q&A
April 2 L.S. Engler — Q&A
April 3 So Here’s Us — Guest Post
April 3 A Book Drunkard — Review
 
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There’s a new detective at 221 Baker Street

Set against the background of 1930s England, Jewel of the Thames introduces Portia Adams, a budding detective with an interesting — and somewhat mysterious — heritage.

Nineteen-year-old Portia Adams has always been inquisitive. There’s nothing she likes better than working her way through a mystery. When her mother dies, Portia puzzles over why she was left in the care of the extravagant Mrs. Jones but doesn’t have long to dwell on it before she is promptly whisked from Toronto to London by her new guardian. Once there Portia discovers that she has inherited 221 Baker Street — the former offices of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Portia settles into her new home and gets to know her downstairs tenants, including the handsome and charming Brian Dawes. She also finds herself entangled in three cases: the first involving stolen jewelry, the second a sick judge and the final case revolving around a kidnapped child. But the greatest mystery of all is her own. How did she come to inherit this townhouse? And why did her mother keep her heritage from her? Portia has a feeling Mrs. Jones knows more than she is letting on. In fact, she thinks her new guardian may be the biggest clue of all.


Angela Misri is a journalist, writer and mom based out of Toronto, Canada. Her first book Jewel of the Thames is due out March 25th, published by Fierce Ink Press. This is the first book in the series 'A Portia Adams Adventures' to be published, and Angela is hard at work editing books two and three right now!

Find Angela on Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook



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Q&A with Angela Misri 


1) Can you describe Jewel of the Thames in five words?

New Generation of Consulting Detective.


2) For how long has Portia been accompanying you now from first idea to published book?

Almost 20 years - since my senior thesis in undergrad till now. It’s not a coincidence that Portia’s nineteen I guess. It took this long for her to grow into the detective I write about!


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3) Jewel of the Thames is about nineteen-year-old Portia Adams who inherits 221 Baker Street and follows in the footsteps of the world's most famous detective duo when she solves her first cases. Have you always wanted to write about a young woman aspiring to become the next Sherlock Holmes or was there any other literary/historical character you could have imagined being your heroine's idol?

I have lots of stories in my head, but Portia was always going to be somehow related to Baker Street. Even in the first drafts she found herself at Baker Street and inspired by the detectives who lived there. It was probably in my thirties when I decided to make that relationship between she and the Baker Street duo explicit rather than implicit.


4) Which are your favourite book characters? Any famous detectives among them?

Other than Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, Hercule Poirot, Tempe Brennan are my favourite detectives. In terms of 'other' fictional book characters: Elizabeth Bennett, Lisbeth Salander, Roland Deschain, and Hermione Granger.


5) What did your 'Holmes' research look like? Did you read up on all of his cases?

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Oh Lord yes! My senior thesis was ‘A Psychoanalysis of Sherlock Holmes’ wherein I postulated that he was bi-polar. I read everything Conan-Doyle had written, including his books about the Boer war and his poetry. In my twenties I would say I was an expert in all things Holmes, including the fiction written by Stephen King and others on the Conan-Doyle characters. When Portia became more of a reality in my mind as opposed to a lingering thought, I reentered the world of Baker Street and re-read the full canon before starting a detailed timeline and deciding on some key timing for the first book I wrote. I also read extensively on the time periods, and got my hands on as many photo books as I could of London pre-war, between wars and post second world war.


6) How many characters from the original Sherlock Holmes cases do we meet in your Portia Adams novels?

Oooh, without spoiling things? At least three, including villains you thought long-gone (no, not Moriarty, I am not pulling a ‘Missed me!?’ on you guys!).


7) What inspires your writing process? Tv shows? Music?

Yes to both those things for sure, but real-life often inspires a scene or a crime sometimes. If you are talking to me and suddenly see me grin and look off into the distance, there’s a good chance I’ve had an idea!


8) What are the most important virtues an aspiring detective should possess?

Curiosity. I actually just wrote an article about how important it is for a great detective to be driven by curiosity above all else. High intelligence, the ability to grasp things quickly and make connections between disparate clues. I wish I could say a justice-complex, but I’m not sure I believe that.


9) If you could choose any fictional YA character to visit Portia in 20th century England, who would it be and why?

Hermione. I think Portia’s best friends have a lot of Hermione in them, and I would LOVE to see Portia’s cases imbued with a little witchcraft and wizardry ; )


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10) What can we expect from Portia's next cases? On www.aportiaadamsadventure.com we see that you already planned ten casebooks for Portia Adams with the first three cases included in your first book. Which out of all ten was most fun to write and when will the other seven be released?

Portia is coming out of Jewel of the Thames with some earth-shattering (at least to her world) revelations, so you can expect her to go through a period of mistrust, and adjustment to this new reality. At the same time, she has three successful cases under her belt now, so her confidence will grow, leading to more dangerous cases and situations. For the first time she has a man in her life, and he’s one hell of a man. With Brian’s friendship and the promise of more expect to see sparks, awkwardness, and lots of confusion (as is wont in our first male-female relationships). While she is trying to figure out this new family tree, her small friend group will expand to include Annie Coleson, who will be a significant character for at least the next few books.


11) Any tips for young 21st century women whose dream it is to become a detective like Portia, too?

Hmmm, I’d say like Portia, to trust in your abilities but supplement them with further education and experience. Portia sees someone with a skill, decides she needs it to be a better detective, and finds a way to be mentored by them whether that be a thief who can teach her to pick locks or an experienced lawyer who reads body language well, or an ex-boxer who can teach her to defend herself. She’s not a humble person, but she is ready to learn from anyone, a trait I think all of us should have.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Book Review: Jewel of the Thames by Angela Misri + Giveaway


Title: Jewel of the Thames: A Portia Adams Adventure
Author: Angela Misri
Publisher: Fierce Ink Press
Publishing Date: March 25th 2014
Length: 256 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, mystery, 1930s, England, Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes
Source: Publisher

There’s a new detective at 221 Baker Street

Set against the background of 1930s England, Jewel of the Thames introduces Portia Adams, a budding detective with an interesting — and somewhat mysterious — heritage.

Nineteen-year-old Portia Adams has always been inquisitive. There’s nothing she likes better than working her way through a mystery. When her mother dies, Portia puzzles over why she was left in the care of the extravagant Mrs. Jones but doesn’t have long to dwell on it before she is promptly whisked from Toronto to London by her new guardian. Once there Portia discovers that she has inherited 221 Baker Street — the former offices of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Portia settles into her new home and gets to know her downstairs tenants, including the handsome and charming Brian Dawes. She also finds herself entangled in three cases: the first involving stolen jewelry, the second a sick judge and the final case revolving around a kidnapped child. But the greatest mystery of all is her own. How did she come to inherit this townhouse? And why did her mother keep her heritage from her? Portia has a feeling Mrs. Jones knows more than she is letting on. In fact, she thinks her new guardian may be the biggest clue of all.


Summary by Goodreads 

 




Finally! We have a new detective investigating the YA scene. As soon as you read more about Portia Adams and the cases she's got to solve, you can't resist to get drawn into her story.
Portia Adams makes careful observations and isn't too fast with her verdicts and assumptions. When she presents her view on a case and explains her theory, it's with certainty and not only a vague guess. She's an incorruptible and bright private eye for her very young age. You'll like that about her! Holmes and Watson would be proud of her, too. Knowing that she's living in Baker Street 221 now and working on her cases like a professional. Portia will let you take part in her current investigation and show you new discoveries. While Portia's solving her cases you'll sure learn something useful and curious.

Doesn't Portia moving into the quarters of Baker Street 221 give Angela Misri's story an almost mythical touch? I mean, those two, Holmes and Watson, are probably the world's most famous detective duo and have experienced much approval and quite a fandom in popular culture through TV, movie adaptations and merchanise. This story wouldn't feel as strongly linked to the original Sherlock stories and their appeal if it wasn't for the local proximity to the place that once housed Sherlock's original aura of detective grandness.
 
Angela Misri writes Portia's story as one cohesive story with the same setting and characters but opens a new "casebook", when one case is solved and the next begins. In retrospect, all three cases were very intelligent and not always too easy to solve. You can test your intuition and follow Portia on her investigations and see how she prepares for new situations, absorbs new facts and material to broaden her horizons in various fields. 
Despite its shortness, the story's pace was what dampened my early enthusiam about it to some extent. Meetings with Portia's new mentor and the promising relationship with Brian, the young constable trainee who lives in another Baker Street 221 apartment, weren't as revelatory and progressive as they could've been. Still I accept that a 20th century gentleman needs to take his time before he makes serious advances on a woman he fancies. Let's see how things develop in the next Portia Adams novel.

Also of interest is how Angela Misri interprets her London setting of the 1930s and the history of two fictional characters themselves, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and makes it her own. Sherlock Holmes was originally invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 19th century. It is fascinating to observe how a character and a story idea that worked so many decades ago, still have the power to draw readers these days in its ban. 






3,5/5 ***/* JEWEL OF THE THAMES: A PORTIA ADAMS ADVENTURE - An atmospheric 20th century London setting, clever cases and a young woman with an unerring instinct for truth and justice.

It's been a while since I've read a Sherlock Holmes' adventure and so JEWEL OF THE THAMES was a welcome reminder of how fun detective stories can be. Portia Adams is the woman you should consult if you are looking for your next YA book!







"My brow furrowed and I opened my mouth to ask what assets those might be, but was surprised
into silence by an old hand that reached between our two chairs to grasp mine. I looked down at our now joined hands and then back up at the older woman, surprised to see tears in her eyes for the first time since meeting her." ― p. 8







JEWEL OF THE THAMES you might enjoy THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by no other than the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. CLARITY by Kim Harrington is a chilling murder mystery of the psychic kind. And THE THOUSAND DOLLAR TAN LINE by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham is about 21st century Tv culture's most famous private investigator teen, Veronica Mars and her cases.








* Be on the look-out for Angela's next Portia Adams Adventure instalments. Click here to find out what they are about.

* Click here to listen to an excerpt of JEWEL OF THE THAMES.

* Have a look at Angela's Pinterest board A Portia Adams Adventure!

* For further information about Angela and her books visit www.aportiaadamsadventure.com.

* Thanks to Fierce Ink Press and Colleen McKie for providing me with a digital review copy!


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Tour Schedule 


March 17 Canlit for Little Canadians — Review
March 18 Canlit for Little Canadians — Q&A
March 19 Nayu’s Reading Corner — Review and Guest post
March 20 Escape Through the Pages — Review
March 20 Jalyn Ely — Review
March 21 Book Angel Booktopia — Spotlight Post
March 23 Glamorous Book Lounge — Review
March 24 The Tales Compendium — Review
March 25 Christine Plouvier, Novelist — Guest Post
March 26 Bookish Comforts — Review
March 26 The Fly Leaf Review — Review
March 27 Liberty Falls Down — Review
March 27 Miss Page Turner — Review
March 28 Miss Page Turner — Q&A
March 31 Rami Ungar The Writer — Q&A
April 2 L.S. Engler — Q&A
April 3 So Here’s Us — Guest Post
April 3 A Book Drunkard — Review


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Giveaway

Thanks to Fierce Ink Press I'm giving away an eCopy of JEWEL OF THE THAMES. The giveaway is open internationally, excluding UK residents, and ends April 15th 2014.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Behind The Pages #3 - The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle


Welcome to Behind The Pages March post! You can find last month's post of this feature, with Trish Doller and her second novel Where the Stars Still Shine, here.
What is Behind The Pages all about? I asked some of my favourite authors and a bunch of promising 2014 debut authors to annotate a scene, page or more of one of their books. I see the feature as a chance to show readers what's behind a page. Authors can share their favourite writing memories, the music that influenced a certain scene or anything else that comes to their mind. We might get hints to what the characters were thinking and feeling that exact moment or other fun details about their story.Hope you enjoy Behind The Pages as much as I do. I'm intending this feature to be a monthly post here on the blog.

On March 18th one of my most anticipated books of 2014 was released. Of course I'm talking about THE EDGE OF FALLING by Rebecca Serle. And I'm so happy that Rebecca agreed to annotate not one but three pages for us. 

Thanks to all the fabulous authors who took the time to annotate a page or scene for us, your comments are always so insightful and fun to read. When readers can't get enough of a book and its characters it only shows how much the author's work means to them, to us. Thank you!  
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Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.


Source
About Rebecca Serle: "As you may know I am a writer-- always have been and barring some kind of Broadway-discovery-- always will be. I have loved writing since I could put words down on a page and that love took me through school at USC and eventually delivered me to NYC, my home and the scene of one of my novels, The Edge of Falling. I feel about New York the way I feel about writing-- pretty in love. That is not to say they both don't have their challenges (they do-- they are both so unruly and noisy!) but there is really no where else in the world I'd rather live, and nothing else in the world I'd rather do. I'm crazy lucky, but by far the best part of my job is interacting with you, the wonderful people, teens, hearts on the other side of this dialogue. So please reach out! Tweet me, visit me on Tumblr, talk to me about your favorite TV show (mine is The Vampire Diaries) and know that it is because of you that I am here." (Author bio found on www.rebeccaserle.com.)


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 The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

Rebecca: "This is one of my favorite passages in the book. It's really about Caggie and how she explores her city. One of the greatest things about New York is that everywhere is home, but it's so easy to get lost...in fact, when you let yourself get lost in familiar territory, you may find something new and fabulous you didn't expect!"




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This is only one of many NY pictures you can find on Rebecca Serle's Instagram page. This one was taken about a week ago and titled: "Caught between the moon and New York City." Find it here.

NY





Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy


Title: Side Effects May Vary
Author: Julie Murphy
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publishing Date: March 18th 2014
Length: 336 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, contemporary, leukemia, bucket list, romance, friendship
Source: Edelweiss

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?


Summary by Goodreads






'Alice' and 'Harvey', 'Then' and 'Now'. Two names and two tenses are all it needs to describe Julie Murphy's captivating writing arrangements. You know that an author did a fantastic job when you can't decide which chapters you are loving more and are more eager to get to. I wanted to read them all at the same time!
Alice and Harvey are friends in the 'Now'. In the 'Then' parts they aren't even talking to each other. So how did they become friends or maybe even more, recognizing how important their childhood friendship was when Alice has suddenly no time left? 

The way the childhood friends find back to each other and the chapters Alice and Harvey spend working on Alice's bucket list, clinging to life and to each other, that was exactly what I was looking forward to read when I picked up SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY. Good moments in bad times, tears, heartbreak, loss, hope. I was so invested in Alice and Harvey's relationship that I was screaming injustice when Harvey thought it was time to say Goodbye.

As you already know, Alice doesn't die. She goes into remission, the leukemia doesn't win. And from that point on, things aren't as easy as they were before.
SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is very much about loss, the joy to be alive and the fear of losing it all over again. No one can blame Alice for needing time to adjust to the new situation and to shed all her fears of the past months. Julie's approach at dealing with leukemia and surviving it is unique and totally got me thinking. I never thought about there being a fear of living after something like that happened to you, but clearely there can be.

Now that Alice has her whole life ahead of her, she gets difficult and very hard to like. Her attitude isn't anything you want to deal with in a story that could've been such a destined, easy and sweet love story. It was as if she didn't want to think about what her actions were doing to other people and especially Harvey. One is expected to feel sorry for Alice all the time and excuse her behaviour, no matter how wrong she's acting. But at some point I just couldn't bring myself to try to get into her head anymore.
Where Alice isn't always so darling, Harvey is the one readers will fall in love with. The quiet and caring boy, who's always been in love with the girl whose days had been counted. Harvey is such a sweet guy and there will be lots of swoon-worthy Harvey moments for all of us to make up for the sour Alice parts.






3,5/5 ***/* SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY – A pensive and sentimental story about the unfathomable, cruel and comic ways of life. 

The first half of Alice's story, and her relationship with Harvey, is simply awesome to read. Then after Alice's remission news everything seemed to go in the wrong direction. Still, SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY as a whole story is written with such beautiful skill that I just have to recommend it. To everyone who is looking for a YA contemporary read that isn't only dedicated to the sad outcomes of leukemia. A read that explores how ambivalent feelings about a new chance at life can be.







"About a month later, I got the big distraction I'd hoped for. I was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Cancer. I had fucking cancer." ― p. 13








SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY you might enjoy THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green, SECOND CHANCE SUMMER by Morgan Matson or NOW IS GOOD by Jenny Downham. Tissue box recommended, should you decide to read them.








* Yep, that's Julie Murphy on the left. 

* Julie Murphy's second book DUMPLIN' comes out in 2015. Add it on Goodreads!

* Click here for an excerpt of SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY!

* Want to meet Julie? Check out her event schedule.

* For information about Julie and her books visit www.juliemurphywrites.com.

* Thanks to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for the chance to review SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Book Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain


Title: The Shadow Prince (Into the Dark #1)
Author: Bree Despain
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publishing Date: March 11th 2014
Length: 512 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, fantasy, Greek mythology, romance, friendship
Source: Edelweiss

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.


Summary by Goodreads

 




THE SHADOW PRINCE was yet another first book in a trilogy influenced by Greek mythology that spiked my interest as soon as I'd noticed it had a set release date. This is Bree Despain's fourth book and you see that she knows exactly how to write engaging fiction with characters you can laugh with and relate to. So I think you should meet Daphne and Haden now.

Daphne is taken from her well-regulated life in a small town in Utah, where she's been living with her mother, to leave for California with her rock star Dad who she hasn't seen in ages. Before, she's been forbidden to leave town and therefore has never seen all the things she wanted to see and never got to realize her biggest dream of becoming a singer. When our very talented and humble protagonist is faced with such severe restrictions you just can't but feel for her, right?

Now that Daphne is attending Olympus Hills High in California she learns a lot, meets new people for the first time in her life and even investigates the strange happenings in her new home. Beside her testing the new bonds with her father, she's spending more and more time with the other new kid in town, Haden Lord. As you already know he is a prince from the underrealm and set out to take Daphne with him. So you can expect a few delusions and confusions along the way to them becoming an item. I promise you, it's a treat to see Haden adapt to all the human conventions and things a normal teenager noawdays would do. His inexperience and his bedazzlement, his confusion over receiving laughter at his genuine formal requests or clumsy attempts  to convince Daphne to go out with him are just so cute in their ridiculousness. Theirs is a romance forged by the powers of fate, the recognition of a related soul, and music.  

Haden's past is shaped by tragic and cruel fates which play a major role in his relationships to his mother, antagonistic father and brother. If you attempted a THE SHADOW PRINCE character study you would definitely need to put high importance on the complicated family bonds of both main characters. Besides that, music is relevant for the story and both characters, too, and plays an important role in their early courtship, as Haden would call it. 






4/5 **** THE SHADOW PRINCE - Haden and Daphne are the new hot couple in the YA mythology category!

Some parts of the story could've been more progressive and could've used some tightening up. Otherwise I've got no complaints.
Where Bree Despain's THE DARK DIVINE series is one that captivated me with its engaging characters and the desperate love story that is Grace and Daniel's, I see the strong suits of THE SHADOW PRINCE more in its generel story line, the mysterious city of Olympus Hills and the Greek mythology references that are so rich with possibilities that the sequel could head in any direction.






"I did the unforgivable the day my mother died, and for that I've been punished every moment of my life. 
He's too weak-minded. 
Impulsive.
He's too much like her.
He's too human. 
It has been ten years, and regardless of everything I've done to try to change their minds, the Court still speaks of me as if I am unworthy of my birthright. I try to lock away my doubtful thoughts as I watch the Oracle make her way up and down the ranks of Underlords." ―  p.1







THE SHADOW PRINCE you might enjoy Rick Riordan's THE LIGHTNING THIEF and all the other Percy Jackson adventures. If you haven't read these two so far, you could find out if THE GODDESS TEST by Aimée Carter and EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton are up your alley.








* Have yet to read Bree's THE DARK DIVINE trilogy? Get all three books now!

* Read an excerpt of THE SHADOW PRINCE. 

* Want to see Bree in person? Check out her event schedule!

* Visit www.breedespain.com for more information about Bree and her books.

* Thanks to Egmont USA and Edelweiss for prodiving me with an e-galley of THE SHADOW PRINCE!