Sunday, April 29, 2018

Author Spotlight: Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny + Interview

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Alisha Sevigny holds a degree in Professional Writing and Sociology from the University of Victoria, is a film school graduate, former literary agent and hot yoga lover. A shameless romantic, Alisha and her husband have travelled the world together. On a trip to Panama she fell in love with the country, culture, and their national emblem, the Golden Frog and was inspired to write her first Young Adult novel, KISSING FROGS.
Her second book, SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS is about a young woman fighting to save her family campground while trying not to fall in love, comes out May 1, 2018 with KCP Loft.
Born and raised in Kitimat, British Columbia, Alisha has always had a strong connection to the environment and conservationist spirit. She now lives in Toronto with her family.
Title: Summer Constellations
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Author: Alisha Sevigny
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication: May 1st 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Provided ARC

I am OBSESSED with all things galaxy/star related. I have recently fallen in love with a lot of Sci-Fi books when I used to stay away from them before. So, while I know this book isn't Sci-Fi, I just had to request Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny. Can you figure out why? Ha!

Julia is our main character. Right now she is at a point in her life where things should be looking up. Her little brother is finally recovering from a really bad illness, it's summer time, and she is excited to spend her summer at the campground her family owns, a campground that Julia and her family call home. Then, everything gets turned upside down because someone wants to buy the campground from her parents. Her parents that happen to be in mountains of debt and on the verge of filing bankruptsy from all the medical bills her brothers treatments have caused. Life SHOULD be looking up, not spiraling further down.

Enter Nick. Julia is out enjoying the stars one night and Nick happens to be the person she meets that night. He seems like a good guy who likes playing guitar. Too bad this good guy with a guitar happens to be the son of the man who wants to buy her families campground and turn it into a crappy casino. Too bas, as well, Julia doesn't know who he is when she meets him. She opens up to him about everything going on and she definitely would not have done that had she known who he was. I did not trust Nick the minute we were introduced to his character, for obvious reasons. My trust for him did end up changing when he proved himself a bit. I was definitely weary as to whether he would help Julia or make her life worse. Together, they come up with ideas to help the campground and hopefully one of them will be enough to save Julia's home.

This book is such an amazing story. It definitely isn't your every day summer contemporary. There are real problems and nothing about this story is perfect or ideal. But there is a really great romance and a lot of hope that you can just feel radiating from both of the main characters. I think this is the perfect book to read when you are looking for a summer read with more depth. There is a little bit of insta-love but I don't think it takes away from the story at all. It seems like more of a natural insta-love, in my opinion.

In the end, this book really took me by surprise. I am not HUGE into contemporaries. They all seem like a regurgitation of a previous contemporary with some name changes. But not this book. I found the authors writing to be a breath of fresh air and the story, while ordinary, was still extraordinary. If you are building a Summer reading list then please make sure this book is on it!

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

1) Where did you get the inspiration for Summer Constellations?
Lots of different places! The campground setting is taken from my childhood growing up in BC - we camped a lot - as well as my husband's family cottage in northern Ontario. I was going through a bit of an existential crises about the universe when writing this, something that can happen when you contemplate the night sky and our place in it. Like, what does it all mean and what are we doing here? The reader sees Julia struggle with some of these big universal questions as well. Despite all of that sounding a little intense, it's actually a fun and breezy read. ;)

2) Do you have any hobbies?
I love reading of course, and hot yoga, which makes an appearance in the novel - Julia's mother is a hot yoga teacher instructor and there's a steamy (literally) scene with Nick and Julia doing a hot yoga class. (I was doing my own teacher training at the time of writing the novel).  One of the great things about being a writer is all the research you get to do for your projects! I also got really into astronomy when writing this book. My latest interest is tarot reading, which plays a key part in my current work in progress.
3) How long did it take you to write Summer Constellations? 
It's difficult to say. At least a few years. I remember working on it when I was on mat leave with my son and it's just coming out. My son will be 4 in July. Of course not all that time is spent writing! There's a lot of waiting in the traditional publishing process. But this ensures you have a great product when your book baby is finally born. 

4) Have you ever had 'writers block'? If yes, what are some methods you found that helped you to get passed it?
I get writers block A LOT. Most of the time it's more like writers' resistance. Resistance to getting words down on the page, to committing to something that might suck. A lot of it stems from fear of failing, which can be crippling to anyone, not just writers. You just have to push through it. Some methods that help me are having awesome writer friends that motivate me to keep going, as well as the aforementioned hot yoga. It helps me get out of head (where I spend a lot of time ;) and back into my body, and reminds me to be present.

5) Are you currently working on any new books?
Yes! My next YA project is about a palm reader and her tarot reading psychic mother. It's contemporary, not fantasy, and has been fun to research (see tarot reading above ;). I also have an exciting middle grade project I will be announcing soon, once everything is signed, sealed and delivered, contract-wise ;) Stay tuned!

REVIEW: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware - Paige

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Genre: Mystery
Recommended Age: 17+ (lies, deceit, language, and confusion)
Pages: 370

On a cool June morning, a woman is walking her dog in the idyllic coastal village of Salten along a tidal estuary known as the Reach. Before she can stop him, the dog charges into the water to retrieve what first appears to be a wayward stick, but to her horror, turns out to be something much more sinister…

The next morning, three women in and around London—Fatima, Thea, and Isabel—receive the text they had always hoped would NEVER come, from the fourth in their formerly inseparable clique, Kate, that says only, “I need you.”

The four girls were best friends at Salten, a second-rate boarding school set near the cliffs of the English Channel. Each different in their own way, the four became inseparable and were notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies at every turn to both fellow boarders and faculty, with varying states of serious and flippant nature that were disturbing enough to ensure that everyone steered clear of them. The myriad and complicated rules of the game are strict: no lying to each other—ever. Bail on the lie when it becomes clear it is about to be found out. But their little game had consequences, and the girls were all expelled in their final year of school under mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of the school’s eccentric art teacher, Ambrose (who also happens to be Kate’s father).

This is the month where I don’t like mysteries for some reason. This one is from what Amazon dubs the “Agatha Christie” of our time (which already isn’t good for Ruth Ware since I just DNF-ed Murder on the Orient Express this month). So as always I’ll start with the good, which will be short. I thought the plot was intriguing and the pacing, overall, was good.

However, I had a lot of negatives about this book. I thought the character development was poor and the whole story confusing and very boring. The story that was told felt very unrealistic and it was slightly contradicting. Finally, the ending was very unsatisfying for me.

Verdict: If you like slow burners, this might be the one for you.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

REVIEW: Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu - Paige

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Genre: YA… uhhh… Superhero Retelling?
Recommended Age: 14+ (violence, slight sexual content)
Pages: 252


Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city's elites are being executed as their mansions' security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family's fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he's forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city's most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce's only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah BATMAN!!!!!!

I LOVE Batman. I used to stay up late every night when I was little and watch the animated series on TV when I was supposed to be asleep. I grew up with Batman and now I want to know how Batman grew up, so I thought this would be an amazing book to start with in my journey to knowing Batman. This book focuses on newly 18 Bruce Wayne and his misadventures and need for justice. I felt that this book had a really interesting plot and storyline. The love interest was in true Batman fashion (ala evil villain), and the pacing was perfection as well. Also, it’s Batman. That has to make up for some of the bad things in this next paragraph right? RIGHT???

*sigh* This was not Batman. Well, this was not MY Batman. I would have been absolutely fine if Marie Lu made a new Batman, God knows how many times and alternate universes Batman has been apart of, but she didn’t and the end result came out poorly researched and unauthentic. Batman in the lore actual traveled the world and trained with a detective and Lucius, this Batman is just a typical teen without any good backstory. Bruce and Harvey were also not old schoolmates, so the inclusion of him felt odd. Aside from one part in the book, this Harvey did not act like the Harvey I know. Bruce, as a character, was also very uninteresting. He was not developed at all and the author relied on us previously knowing the Batman origin story to fully know what was going on. A lot of people who will read this book may not know Batman’s origin story (or even who he is).

Verdict: The Batman in this story doesn’t feel like the Batman of the lore and a lot of things that go on in this book contradict the lore. However, it was an action packed adventure and if you ignore that this is Batman this book is a lot better.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Author Spotlight: Missing at 17 by Christine Conradt + Interview

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As a YA author, Christine’s first thriller novel in the ‘at 17’ series, Missing at 17, will hit bookshelves on May 1, 2018. Her second book, Pregnant at 17 will be available on June 5, 2018. And her third, Murdered at 17 will be available July 3, 2018. All three books are novelizations of the popular ‘at 17’ franchise on Lifetime Network. The series is published by HarperCollins.

Title: Missing at 17
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Author: Christine Conradt
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: May 1st 2018
Cover Rating: 4/5
Reading format: Provided ARC

Missing at 17 by Christine Conradt is the story of Candace and Toby. This book is a novelization of a Lifetime TV show. By the title, I was expecting a mystery/thriller book. While there were some mysterious things in this book, it wasn't as thrilling as I was hoping. The book was definitely not bad, just not was I was expecting.

Candace is at school in class when her teacher says something that changed her life. Parents with X and X eyes cannot have a child with Y eyes. This confused Candace so much that she raced home to confront her mother. It turns out that her mother has been "lying" to her for her entire life. This leads Candace to flee from her home and straight into the arms of a stranger... Toby.

Toby was a wild card and distraction for Candace while she was in a very vulnerable state. This leads to a lot of bad decisions and illegal activity. Toby doesn't exactly lead the most legal lifestyle to begin with. I can't say that I hated Toby but he wasn't a very good person. Yes, he was trying to figure out who he is while dealing with some crappy circumstances but he did kind of cause a lot of this on his own.

Together, Candace and Toby make a really unlikely and volatile pair. Both trying to figure out who they are while fighting to be together when they really shouldn't be together at all. But soon enough Candace finds out who she can really trust out of all of this.

In the end, reading this book made me really want to hunt down the Lifetime TV show. The book was really good, I was just expecting a little bit more mystery than there was. Especially with the title "Missing" at 17. If you like Pretty Little Liars or other teenage thriller dramas then you would probably enjoy this book very much! I can't wait to read the other books in the series.

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.

1) Have you always wanted to be an author?
As long as I can remember. You know how some people freak out when they don't have their phone? That's how I feel when I don't have a pen. I usually carry about three in my purse just in case I lose one. I just need to be ready to write down an idea whenever that may come, and they come at the strangest times. 

I wrote my first novel when I was 9 (it was more like a short story but I thought it was a novel). It was written in blue marker which was perfect because it was about a dolphin. Writing in blue marker actually helped me feel the blues in the story-- the color of the dolphin and the water and sky.  And then I won my first writing competition when I was in elementary school. I've won several since, but that was the first time I realized that my writing was good enough for other people to read. In my spare time I would read a ton of books and was always writing poems and short stories. Back then, I gravitated to horror books. I was a huge Stephen King fan. It wasn't until I was a junior in high school that I found out some universities actually give degrees in screenwriting and that was when I shifted my focus to writing movies. I applied to the University of Southern California and got in. For a long time after that I wrote only screenplays and didn't get back into writing prose until a few years ago.

2) If you had to pitch Missing at 17 to a potential buyer at a bookstore and the buying didn't know you were the author what would you say?
I'd say, 'Missing at 17 is about a teen girl named Candance who finds out she's adopted. Upset that her parents never told her, she decides to run away from home, just get into her car and drive, and she ends up meeting an attractive bad-boy at a gas station. Throwing caution to the wind, she goes home with him and they both realize they're each others' soulmate. But the guy, Toby, has some pretty dark secrets. He's trying to change his life for the better, and Candace inspires him, but he gets sucked back into a dangerous lifestyle and winds up taking Candace with him. The book has danger and romance and it's a fast read. It's perfect for busy teens because they can read it in a day.

3) Where did the inspiration for Missing at 17 come from?
I was a lot like Candace when I was 17. I wasn't adopted, but I was pretty angst-ridden and always searching for something else. I was drawn to bad-boy types who didn't follow the rules. I think a lot of teen girls will be able to relate to her. She's at a crossroads in her life, wanting to know who she is because she thinks it'll help her figure out why she's so unhappy. She believes that by finding her biological mother, she'll shake that feeling that she doesn't belong and everythign will fall into place. But like we all eventually realize, it doesn't work like that. You have to look within to figure out who you are and what you want. When she falls in love with Toby, she's able to start doing that.

4) If you could only eat 1 food for the rest of your life what would you pick and why?
Sushi! First of all, it's freaking amazing. If you've never had a great rainbow roll, you're missing out. I actually crave it if I go for more than a week without it. And it's healthy. I tend to, for the most part, try to stay on a Paleo diet and raw fish fits into that. 

5) Are you currently working on and new books?
I am. I'm working on a thriller for the adult market and another one for the teen market. In addition, I have a few TV movies coming out later this year. Hallmark and Lifetime. So it's pretty busy right now.

REVIEW: Orphan, Monster, Spy by Matt Killeen - Erin

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Orphan Monster Spy
Orphan Monster Spy
by Matt Killeen
Hardcover, 432 pages
Expected publication: March 20th 2018 by Viking Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780451478733

A Jewish girl-turned-spy must infiltrate an elite Nazi boarding school in this highly commercial, relentlessly nail-biting World War II drama!

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah--blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish--finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can't attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she's ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined. (Goodreads)


This book was pegged as being a historical thriller/mean girls story. The beginning of the book started out exciting, but by the time our main character, Sarah, gets to the school the spy thrill kind of putters out. Yes at school there is a “mean girl” element, but it’s weird. It’s like the author tried too hard to add to much to the story and overshot the mark making the book unbelievable. 

I could get behind a teen spy. I could even get behind the get the invite to the German girl’s house to steal information (sounds like a typical spy book). But I couldn’t get behind all of the “mean girl” elements. I get that there’s a group of girls “ruling” the school. But the fact that they can physically hurt other girls who are supposed to be rich or belong to high ranking Nazi families seemed a little much. 

Then there’s the creepy music teacher. I see how he comes into play at the end, but I feel like he was just an added weirdo thrown in to give the story a twist. 

Then when Sarah finally gets the invite and makes it to the house, the creepiness of the Father is just yuck! That part was especially too much.(I don’t want to go into detail and spoil anything for anyone so I’m just going to leave it at yuck).  

The spy part of this story is where it gets points. Sarah is a decent spy and I really wonder how she would have fared throughout the rest of the war. The un-needed flash backs that could have just been the start of the book instead, hurt the book in my opinion. The creepy grownups… just because they were Nazis doesn’t mean they were all heartless and rapists… also hurt it. The mean girl aspect was a little much. Overall, just a meh historical fiction story. I you have older teens who are really into historical WWII fiction and are willing to expend belief a bit they might like this one.

Image result for mean girls quote

*To see more of Erin's reviews please click her signature to go to her blog

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Author Spotlight: Whisper by Lynette Noni

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Lynette Noni studied journalism and academic writing at university before completing a degree in human behavior. She lives on the Sunshine Coast in Australia and can be found baking cupcakes, singing along to animated movies, or daydreaming about being swept away to a fantasy world. Some days, she can even do all three at once — and still find the time to sneak in a nap afterwards.

Title: Whisper
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Author: Lynette Noni
Publisher: KCP Loft/Pantera Press
Publication: May 1st 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Provided Paperback

Whisper by Lynette Noni is an amazing sci-fi story about a girl. This girl has no name so she has been dubbed 'Jane Doe'. This girl doesn’t talk but there is something about her that has people inside a top secret government facility very interested in studying her. 

Jane Doe checked herself into a mental hospital. Lengard, a top secret government facility, checked her out. Ever since then she has been kept as a prisoner of sorts so that she might be monitored and studied. For what, you might be asking? Well, that’s top secret.

Since her admittance into Lengard, Jane hasn’t exactly been performing up to standards. She has been there for over two years and has not spoken a single word. This leaves the leader of Lengard, Rick Falon, with no other choice but to switch gears up and give her an ultimatum. He will change her schedule around, start treating her as an actual human being in exchange for her cooperating with her doctors or she will be eliminated from the program. Elimination means death when you are part of a top secret program.

So Jane is introduced to Landon Ward. He makes her heart beat faster. He makes her walls come down. He makes her want to talk. But there is a reason Jane doesn’t utter a word. A very deadly reason. And getting her to talk might just be the last thing these people will ever do.

In the end, I extremely enjoyed this book. If you have read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mari then you will devour this book. I fell for most of the characters and the beautiful story this author wove. It is books like this that make me pick up lesser-known publishers books. You never know what kind of gems you are missing if you just stick to over-hyped titles.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

REVIEW: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare - Valeria

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments


Goodreads Description:
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

I'm back to book 2! 

When I reviewed book 1 I talked about my previous experience with Cassandra Clare and The Mortal Instruments and just how I ended up finally getting my hands on The Infernal Devices

Okay so Tessa is starting to get less soft about the family situation but getting more confused about her feelings for Jem and Will and personally, I like her and Jem better and looooorrrrddddd Cookie !
 That ONE scene, you know which one im talking about... YEAH that one xD 
I was as red as humanly possible xD
THAT is what a scene is supposed to be in those situations! TAKE NOTES E.L.JAMES! 

I love Will, I do, I FREAKING LOVE WILL! But personally its hard for me to get over his douchery, sure he had a good reason for which I should be swooning about what he did and stuff but I cant.
Like... I dont know how to properly express myself with that because ... Its Will... Of course  feelings will be complicated.
Towards the end though I just could not help but feel so bad for him, like my heart felt for him, I was getting frustrated because if things had gone they way he wanted them to then I wouldve been even MORE heartbroke but hey, I know the ending so I cant feel too bad.

Jeeeeemmm, I love Jem to the moon and back, my love for Jem will never ever ever cease to be, he is just the best there is and if anyone has anything bad to say about Jem I will cut them.

I mean this book was slightly more intense than the last one, the betrayal got to me because of Charlotte and Henry, I never did like that person much but it still got to me.
I also get the feeling that it is not the last one and that we will see more of other characters in the last book. 
Recommend it?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Blog Tour: Author Spotlight - Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

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Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.

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Instagram: @adrienneyoungbooks
Twitter: @adriennebooks

Title: Sky in the Deep
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Author: Adrienne Young
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication: April 24th 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Provided eARC

Adrienne Young's debut novel Sky in the Deep is one of my favorite books of this year. She captures the Viking life so well that I daresay she must be a Viking shield maiden reincarnated. (Are you, Adrienne?) The world-building is clear, the writing style harkens to everything I love about Medieval European storytelling, and her characters are both staunch in their mental and physical strength AND extraordinarily vulnerable in their beliefs. It is a book overflowing with complexities that I enjoyed exploring.

I do want to say early on that this book may not be for you if you aren't into constant action, gore, or fast pacing. From the start, you are dropped into a battle between the Aska and Riki, clans that have been enemies for as long as can be remembered. For both peoples, their lives are motivated by survival and hate of the other group. Five years before the opening battle scene, Eelyn lost her brother during one of the clashes. But plot twist: she sees him fighting alongside the Riki during that opening scene, helping who should be his forever sworn enemy. From that point on--very quickly, since the story just zooms on--everything that Eelyn had known comes into question. How is he alive? Why is he with them? What has been going on for the past five years? How could he choose to be with them and not come home to family? So on and so on. 

Note on the pacing: Sky in the Deep is fast-paced and the action is constant. A great comparison is Kincaid's The Diabolic and The Empress. Though vastly different in terms of genre and story, they are like each other in the movement of the story. If you like the feel of the persistent action and rapid flow, I suggest giving this book a go. I wasn't sure I would be into the book due to these reasons, but I ended up swept away and there for the long haul. I am glad I did. (I repeat: Sky in the Deep is one of my favorite books of 2018. *wink wink*)

One of my favorite aspects of this book is the exploration of identity. Eelyn, our protagonist, goes through identity crises and struggles the balancing of her identity. In the beginning, she is firmly rooted in knowing herself and where she stands in the world. Discovering her brother lives starts the crumbling of her certainty, and through the events that follow she understands that the world is not as black and white as "Aska good, Riki bad." She is nudged into an internal evolution, one that leads to a better understanding that the Aska and Riki aren't as different as she had thought.

Also, I can't really dig into explaining this due to spoilers, but this book brings a whole new meaning to "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." As you read, I would keep that thought on the periphery.

As for another favorite part of Sky in the Deep that I loved, enter the romance. The slow burn love that builds between Eelyn and a mystery man is so gosh darn good. The man in question is so good and pure, on par with lovable Lazlo (Strange the Dreamer) and Edmund (A Death-Struck Year), and I can't get enough of them. Eelyn's man, in particular, is especially appealing, because he had the same identity challenges and connects with her on even deeper levels thanks to their kindred enlightenment. But another reason I was excitedly squirming was the intensity of their romance's slow burn. It is forbidden due to the prejudices instilled by each clan, yet as Eelyn realizes the injustice of that kind of thinking and the common ground between their peoples, it feels so right. It is through her evolution of identity that their relationship becomes realistically possible, and I'm just over here screaming, "YAAAAAAAS!" And even with the differences between their people (pfft, or lack of differences), Eelyn is upfront with him regarding where her priorities lie, and he echoes the same sentiments. But even with them constantly reminding each other that they will protect their own no matter the circumstances, neither can resist the other or deny the sprout of love that has grown between them. Despite all odds, despite everything forbidden, despite the atrocities they must endure, they know they are fated for each other--even if it means working through difficult situations to be with each other. 

And on that note where I am yet again breaking down from the purity of their love, recalling the tummy tingles I felt as their love manifested, I must leave you with my rating of 5 out of 5 bitchin' stars. I could probably talk about this book for hours and hours, but I would rather talk about it with you, so get yourself to a bookstore on 4/24/2018 and pick up a copy of Sky in the Deep on its release day! 

1. What inspired SKY IN THE DEEP? How did the idea and Eelyn come to you? Do you have any favorite Viking stories?
The sibling betrayal was definitely the first inspiration for this story. I was driving in the pouring rain on this country road and that first scene just hit me - Eelyn, seeing her brother on the battlefield after thinking that he was dead for five years. I pulled over on the side of the road and scribbled a million notes on an old envelope. I was immediately hooked to the idea and I wanted to know what had happened. I started writing that first chapter and I just never stopped.

2. What type of research did you do for your characters and world-building? What languages did you study to implement the languages that the Aska and the Riki speak? What was the strangest thing you had to research for this book?
I did a ton of research for this story. I actually really love to research things so it was a lot of fun. A lot of it was stuff like clothing, landscape, weapons, food, etc. But I did a lot of research into Norse mythology as well to build a foundation for this world. The language used is Old Norse, but it’s a dead language so studying it was really difficult. There is a lot of controversy about it among scholars and there’s no real way to fully understand it, so I just did my best based on my own investigation. I’m definitely not an expert! The weirdest thing I had to research was how to tear out someone’s eyeball. Yuck.

3. What was your writing process like for SKY IN THE DEEP?
Complete and utter obsession. When I draft, I get really buried in the world and I don’t really come up for air until I get to the end. I write as much as I can and limit my intake of other influencers that could mess with my mindset. I don’t watch TV or movies or listen to music that’s not on my playlist, and I kind of don’t have a social life until it’s done.

4. What was your hardest scene to write? What was the easiest?
I really didn’t struggle to get this story on the page the way I have with other books so I really don’t  know what the hardest scene to write was. But the easiest was the first chapter. I wrote it so fast and it just clicked in so perfectly.

5. Which of your characters are you the most like? Who was your favorite to write?
Eelyn! We have so much in common and she really inspires me. But I think Halvard was the most fun to write. I really, really love him.

6. Do you have a soundtrack for SKY IN THE DEEP? Can you share a couple songs? What would Eelyn’s favorite song be?
Yes! Music plays a HUGE role in my writing process and I have a playlist for every project. The ones I probably listened to the most while drafting SKY are To the Hills by Laurel, Bare by Wildes, and Rise Up – Reprise by Foxes. But a link to the whole playlist is on my site!

7. What books have inspired you to write? What books are you looking forward to reading this year?
The ones that inspired me to write are nothing like my books. One of the most influential ones for me was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, because the human element is so beautiful and the author explores so many things in that book that really took my breath away. I wanted to write stories that went deep like that, but I love fantasy so I try to it within that realm.

8. Any advice on querying? Or writing advice for aspiring writers?
Querying – do not just sign with any agent who will take you. Make a dream agent list of qualified agents who have good reputations and make consistent sales. Query them. If they don’t bite, then write another book that they might want. Believe me when I say it is worth waiting for the right agent!

9. Any details about the companion novel?
I can’t say anything about the companion novel yet! But I’m hoping that we can start talking about it soon because I am really excited about it!

10. If Sky in the Deep was to become a movie who would you cast as the lead characters?
So many people ask me this question and I just feel like no one would ever live up to Eelyn in my mind. I have yet to think of someone who I think could do her justice.

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