Sunday, April 20, 2014

Book Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith


Title: The Geography of You and Me
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Headline
Publishing Date: April 15th 2014
Length: 352 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, friendship, travelling
Source: Netgalley

Owen lives in the basement. Lucy lives on the 24th floor. But when the power goes out in the midst of a New York heatwave, they find themselves together for the first time: stuck in a lift between the 10th and 11th floors. As they await help, they start talking...

The brief time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland they can't shake the memory of the time they shared. Postcards cross the globe when they themselves can't, as Owen and Lucy experience the joy - and pain - of first love.

And as they make their separate journeys in search of home, they discover that sometimes it is a person rather than a place that anchors you most in the world.


Summary by Goodreads






Whatever you paid for THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME, Jennifer E. Smith made sure you are getting it back in double the amount of smiles, melancholic sighs and happy tears. This beloved YA contemporary author's words are conjuring up all the feels!

New York City is dark. Lucy and Owen's is surely not the only elevator in the city that is stuck without any electricity. But theirs is the one to start their story. The one to start a great love story. So after the elevator, Lucy and Owen spent one night together (it's ordinary, but same parts magical). And then things come together and after only a few short days their ways part again. Lucy leaves New York for Europe and Owen goes on a road trip with his father.
So there will be chapters told from Lucy's perspective and others told from Owen's. Despite the distance between them they are never really separated from each other, still wondering what the other one is doing. And I'm still surprised that Lucy and Owen's story touched me so much because they have so few time they actually spend together. Distance makes the (reader's) heart grow fonder really applies here.

Their love story evolves with distance and each moment they spend in a new city, they learn how to find to themselves first before they can find to each other. Wandering, travelling and seeing the world is a big part of their story. Edinburgh, London, New York, Lake Tahoe. This is such a rewarding and rich story for everyone who loves to travel. I've seen a few of the places Lucy visits, and Owen's stops will all hop right onto my travel wishlist.

Just thinking about Lucy and Owen's story gives me this deep feeling of contentment. Life is uncertain, people go different ways and sometimes not fate, or a coincidence, but your own striving to find happiness brings you back together. It's a story of many contradictions, similarities, too. Of learning how to fit in, and how you sometimes need to fit only with the ones that you love. How a place can be an adventure, a home, or both.

It's hard to explain how Jennifer E. Smith writes her characters right into your heart after only a few chapters. Her stories always have that special feeling about uncertainty of the many ways of life and the miracles that can actually happen. There are chapters in THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME that left me stunned and they sometimes consisted of only a handful of words.

There are postcards, and ice cream, travelling, wonders of nature, bustling cities full of possibilities. Jennifer E. Smith just wrote some of my most favourite things in the world into one story, so it's easy to say this story had everything I need. Now you too should get ready for the marvels and miracles of this new Jennifer E. Smith book!






5/5 ***** THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME - Lucy and Owen's globe-spanning love story is one of a kind. This is the one book that should be shared with all your best friends!

Are you looking for a YA contemporary read that gets your skin tingling, your mind wandering and your heart soaring? Then Jennifer E. Smith's THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME is the perfect pick to get your daily dose of reading happiness. If you could wish for any book right now, this should be it!







"He considered this a moment. "Yup," he said finally.
"That pretty much sums up my feelings about New York."
Lucy nodded. "You would prefer not to," she said. "But that's just because it's new. Once you get to know it more, I have a feeling you'll like it here."
"Is this the part where you insist on taking me on a tour of the city, and we laugh and point at all the famous sights, and then I buy an INY T-shirt and live happily ever after?"
"The T-shirt is optional," she told him."" ― p. 10







THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME you might enjoy THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT also by Jennifer E. Smith. UNBREAK MY HEART by Melissa C. Walker and its sailboat love story is very cute and THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE by Leila Sales is for the music lovers and everyone who has felt left out at some point in life. 



  




* Have you read Jennifer E. Smith's THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT? It's the book that made me fall in love with her writing.

* Click here to read an excerpt of THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME.

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

* For more information about Jennifer E. Smith and her books visit www.jenniferesmith.com.

* Thanks to Frances and Headline for the chance to review THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares


Title: The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publishing Date: April 8th 2014
Length: 288 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, time travel, romance, action
Source: Netgalley

Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves. 


Summary by Goodreads






Ethan is your regular nice guy from the present and Prenna the girl from the future who is contained by her community of time travellers. Together they are reckless and ready to save the world. There's no possible future reading scenario in which you are not falling in love with these two!

You might have guessed by now that time travelling is involved in THE HERE AND NOW. I've been used to single individuals being able to travel through time under certain limitations. In this story it's a group of people from the future that comes to the present in order to save themselves, the old world and humankind's future. Like they are fugitives of time itself, awesome and complex concept!

Prenna and Ethan have their magic moments. Their moments that have been destined by fate. And they have their absolute ordinary teenager moments. You are going to love that their relationship is off to such a natural start because Ethan and Prenna have known each other for some time now. They go to school together and fall in love just like any other couple would.

Well, that doesn't say that there aren't tons of problems pre-programmed. A big conspiracy is brewing and Ethan and Prenna are determined to save the world. There are some dangerous leads Ethan and Prenna are following. The story could've used some additional explanations here and there, one or two chapters stealing time for Ethan and Prenna to actually be together, buying them time for some sweet romance.
Ann Brashares really did think up a horrible future scenario that is to be prevented at all costs. When you are not scared about it you are fascinated trying to puzzle over how it could all come to this future. THE HERE AND NOW is an intricately spun story about our world's future with all its possibilities and dangers. So you can expect big action scenarios, the bad guys being really corrupt and scary and more than a few conflicts between Prenna's desire to be with Ethan and her strict community standards. 






4/5 **** THE HERE AND NOW - Conspiracies, time travel and a timeless love story. What else do you need?

When I got a copy of THE HERE AND NOW I read it believing Ann Brashares a debut author. Well, she's only the author of the very famous THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS series. Ann's writing is practiced, love and suspense aren't battling for the reader's attention, they are complementing each other. I can easily count THE HERE AND NOW to my favourite time travel stories and new releases of 2014! So all we've got to do now is hope for a sequel!







"He closed his eyes for a time, and when he opened them again, the river was mostly in its banks, and the air went back to being invisible and the sunshine had reassemled itself. He sat up and gradually reoriented himself to basics like up and down. The storm produced a scoured, sparkling look through the trees, and it also produced a girl."― p.2-3







THE HERE AND NOW you might enjoy TEMPEST by Julie Cross, ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill and HOURGLASS by Myra McEntire. Be prepared for time travel grandiosity!








* Have you read SISTERHOOD EVERLASTING, the last book in Ann Brashares' SISTERHOOD series?

* Click here for an excerpt of THE HERE AND NOW.

* For more information about Ann and her books visit www.annbrashares.com.

* Thanks to Delacorte Press and Edelweiss for the chance to review THE HERE AND NOW!

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 ; )


Source
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