Saturday, October 6, 2018

Hispanic Heritage Month Interview - Zoraida Cordova


 For Hispanic Heritage Month, I wanted to include an interview, I had the opportunity the send Zoraida Cordova a few questions about it. Zoraida is known for being the author of Labyrinth Lost and Bruja Born, both of these are available now! 

1. Do you have any plans to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month? 

I generally don’t do anything special for it. Growing up I wasn’t aware that there was a Hispanic Heritage Month. Now, I try to become aware of the way that media picks up our stories and the books that are chosen. I boost Latinx authors as much as I can all year so it doesn’t change much. 

2. How important is it for you to include/incorporate your Hispanic background into your stories?

I don’t consider myself to have a Hispanic background. I used Ecuadorian first, and Latina of Latinx second. Most people don’t know the difference, especially outside of the cultural groups, so I don’t take offense of Hispanic, I just don’t have many historically positive association with it. 


3. What were some of the struggles you faced through your childhood due to your heritage?

My family immigrated to New York when I was six. Up until I was 11 I went to school with a mostly Latinx population so I never stood out. Junior High School came kids who made fun of me for speaking Spanish. The teacher always called on me and singled me out and so that put me on the spotlight. But that was born out of jealousy, since I got automatic good grades. Every school I attended before college was majority people of color, so I didn’t have to struggle with being Ecuadorian. 

4. Do you have any Hispanic authors you would recommend to someone that wants to know about the culture?

Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua and Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano.

5. Do you have any Hispanic traditions or customs that you continue to do with your family?
No, I think if we were in Ecuador we would celebrate national holidays. When I visit my mom on All Saints Day she makes a drink called “colada morada” which is an Andean drink. It’s very tasty.

6. How do you think your heritage affected your writing style?

The first novel I tried to sell was about a Latinx family. It probably will never see the light of day. I didn’t write Latinx characters truly until Labyrinth Lost. Being Ecuadorian is part of who I am, so it affects me in the same way all writers are affected by something in their lives. I think the true thing that influences my work is living in New York being surrounded by so many people. It makes me want to see the world more and try to leave something behind.

I want to thank Zoraida for giving me the opportunity send these questions and for taking time away from her day to do so as well. Check out her books, you won't regret it!

Monday, September 24, 2018

"They Both Die at the End" by Adam Silvera - Review

 

I loved the book from beginning to end! The story focuses on a gay Puerto Rican and bisexual Cuban character, Mateo and Rufus. The concept of the book is what made me want to read it. Deathcast is a company that calls people to inform them of their last day in order for them to say goodbye to their loved ones and live their day to the fullest and those affected are called Deckers. The company also has an app called Last Friends in which Deckers can connect with others to spend their last day together.

Mateo and Rufus have completely different lives, they connect through the Last Friend app without thinking they would have a great connection at the end. I liked having the perspective from other characters aside from Mateo and Rufus because it connects the story a lot more.

The story shows how aside from the pain and grief one will suffer due to death, there is also opportunities through life to connect with other individuals that have nothing in common with one another. Some Deckers realize how many adventures they want to have and how they want to make every opportunity count since they do not know how they'll die or when.

Mateo and Rufus get to know each other on a deep level through their journey. Mateo gets to realize how much he missed out since he was holding himself back and Rufus gained happiness from the moments they shared together. Rufus says, "That was no way for him to go out. Mateo should've gone out saving someone, because he was such a selfless person,. No, even if he didn't die a hero's death, he died a hero. Mateo Torrez definitely saved me." While Mateo shared a moment with Rufus, he was able to open himself in a way he hadn't before, "And you wouldn't have waited for me to be brave. Maybe  it's better to have gotten it right and been happy for one day instead of living a lifetime of wrongs." They both value their loved ones a lot more knowing it's their last day with them and they also learned from each other, something he didn't think would have happened when they met.

The story is an emotional one as it allows us to realize how we should enjoy every interaction with those we love. Also, to appreciate and give an opportunity to those people that may seem and are different from us as we get to learn from each other. As Rufus' friends the Plutos said, "Entire lives aren't lessons, but there are lessons in lives. You may be born into a family, but you walk into friendships. Some you'll discover you should put behind you. Others are worth every risk." As even Rufus said, "I know I helped Mateo live his life, but he helped me get mine back in shape. I wanna be remembered as who I am right now, not that dumbass mistake I made"

They Both Die at the End is worth reading, you'll get attached to the characters and see how their stories intertwine and also how much we can change or impact someone else's life.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

How My Reading Has Changed This Year

 
As most readers, I have a Goodreads account and I participate in the Reading Challenge. Last year, I wanted to read 10 books and I did but I wanted to motivate myself to read more than that. This year, I decided to change my reading challenge to 20 books. 
 
I found myself thinking I wouldn't be able to reach this goal since I'm not a very fast reader, I like to dive in and take my time to process the stories I am reading. 
 
However, I decided to seek advice from fellow readers. I've been a member of a few book clubs but I have failed to participate in discussions as well as groups reads. I asked them for ideas and tips to be able to read more often and read faster. Through their answers, I realized that participating in the groups reads, starting or joining buddy reads and listening to audiobooks were really great options.
I began to participate in group reads and create a few buddy reads that have motivated me to read more and discuss with fellow readers about our adventure through the story.
 
I also began to get audiobooks from the library through their app (pictured) Overdrive which has helped me read through my books a lot quicker especially those books that intimidated me. So far, I have read 12 books and I have nearly finished with another one while I also have an audiobook for another book. 
 
I have used social media as well, I have joined readathons and I have had the opportunity to document my progress while interacting with other members of the book community. 
 
Overall, being a part of book clubs, buddy reads and readathons have improved my reading while giving me opportunities to expand friendships and be a part of the book community that I enjoy and love so much. When it comes to reading, seek advice within the community, it has made a difference with me.
Astrid

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Cover Reveal of author Nicole French



COVER REVEAL
The Discreet Duet
Author: Nicole French
Publisher: Raglan Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Raglan Publishing
Photo: Eric McKinney, 6:12 Photography
Models: Roddy Hanson & Jenna Dallender

#1 Discreet – Release Date: October 4, 2018
Fitz Baker was the world’s biggest sex symbol. Until he disappeared.
Fed up with the trappings of fame, he traded his world of Hollywood for a quiet life on Newman
Lake. He was perfectly happy living as an island. Until he met her. 
Returning home with nothing but a failed music career, all Maggie Sharp wants is to rebuild her life.
A life that doesn’t involve the surly, arrogant stranger now living across the lake.
Still, there’s something about Will…Something familiar. Something Maggie can’t quite put her finger
on…
She only wanted the spotlight.
He gave up his life to escape it.
The real question is if they can remain discreet.

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40524221-discreet


#2 Indiscreet – Release Date: October 25, 2018
Sexiest man alive.
Playboy movie star.
Reckless actor.
Will Baker, better known as “Fitz,” is back, and the world has questions.
Where did he go?
Why is he back?
Who is Maggie Sharp, the girl who found him?

As Will and Maggie flee her family’s troubles, they return to a world most only dream of, where
privacy belongs to the highest bidders, and loving Will might cost Maggie everything she has.

Secrets mean betrayal, and Will’s are bigger than most.
As he returns to a life of wealth and excess, will he fall back into his old vices too? Or is loving
Maggie Sharp the one thing that will save him?

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40524232-indiscreet

AUTHOR BIO
Nicole French is an East Coast/West Coast hybrid creature, Springsteen fanatic, hopeless romantic,
and total bookworm. When not writing fiction or teaching writing classes, she is hanging out with
her family, playing soccer with the rest of the thirty-plus crowd in Seattle, or going on dates with her
husband. In her spare time, she likes to go running with her dog, Greta, or practice the piano, but
never seems to do either one of these things as much as she should.

AUTHOR LINKS
Website: http://www.nicolefrenchromance.com
Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z7i9b7
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authornicolefrench
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/clandnicromance
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authornicolefrench
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nfrenchauthor
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nfrenchauthor

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Author Spolight - Ava Dellaira - Ontario Teen Book Fest


Author Spotlight - Ava Dellaira - Ontario Teen Book Fest

I had the opportunity to send a few interview to Ava Dellaira, author of the book Love Letters to the Dead, I can't wait for the release of her new book In Search of Us which will be released in March.
 You can also find more details about Ava on he website: https://avadellaira.com/ 





Here are a few details about the Ontario Teen Book Fest

a) When: Saturday March3rd , 9 am to 5 pm
b. Where: Colony High School 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario,
CA 91761
c. The Ontario Teen Book Fest Website: http://www.ontariotbf.org/
d. It is a free and unticketed event. There is also a FREE lunch provided by
Panera Bread!
e. Use the hashtag #ontariotbf to join in on the fun!


The event is sponsored by Once Upon A Time. They will have
books available for purchase at the event. There will also be t-shirts
and posters available for purchase as well.
Their website: http://www.shoponceuponatime.com/


There are also a few stops on this blog tour, the rest of them are featured here:

ONTARIO TEEN BOOK FEST BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

FEB 19th
Spotlight on Jennifer Brody - What A Nerd Girl Says
Spotlight on Abdi Nazemian - Read Now Sleep Later
 

FEB 20th
Spotlight on Anthony Breznican - Starkiller Reads
Spotlight on Lilliam Rivera - Movies Shows and Books
 

FEB 21th
Spotlight on Jessica Cluess - The Readers Antidote
Spotlight on Cindy Pon - My Fangirl Chronicles
 

FEB 22th
Spotlight on Keynote Speaker Ellen Hopkins - Germ Magazine
 

FEB 23th
Spotlight on Aditi Khorana - Nite Lite Book Reviews
Spotlight on Mary Pearson - Adventures of a Book Junkie
 

FEB 24th
Spotlight on Emily Ziff Griffin - Nite Lite Book Reviews
Spotlight on Brandy Colbert - Read Now Sleep Later
 

FEB 25th
Spotlight on Keynote Speaker Josephine Angelini - The Readers Antidote
 

FEB 26th
Spotlight on Isabel Quintero -  What A Nerd Girl Says
Spotlight on Amy Spalding - My Fangirl Chronicles

FEB 27th
Spotlight on Jonathan Maberry - Seeking Bazinga
Spotlight on Keynote Speaker Jeff Garvin - Movies Shows n Books
 

FEB 28th:
Spotlight on Ava Dellaira - Book Lovers Book Reviews
Spotlight on Kim Turrisi - Starkiller Reads
 

MAR 1st:
Spotlight on Jessica Brody - Adventures of a Book Junkie
 

MAR 2nd:
Spotlight on Robin Benway - What A Nerd Girl Says
Spotlight on Lindsey Summers - Seeking Bazinga



1) What was your inspiration to write "Love Letters to the Dead?”

I had many different inspirations, but the most significant was the loss of my mother, who had died suddenly a few years before I began Love Letters. Just as Laurel’s letters helped her through her grieving process, writing the book did the same for me.

2) Did anyone in particular inspire the characters?

Many of the characters in Love Letters were inspired by my friends and family. For example, Aunt Amy was very close to my own aunt (who passed away when I was in 7th grade), and my best friend from high school (who is still my best friend!) is named Hannah… The book is fiction, of course, and the characters became their own people with significant differences from those that inspired them, but some of the people who are closest to me could certainly pick out bit and pieces of real life stories and memories!

3) If I could change one detail about the story, which would it be and why?

Though I'm sure I would make all kinds of changes and edits to the book now if I could, I know it was the best that I could do at that moment in time. I actually never read it again after I finished the very last draft, so that I couldn’t make myself crazy!

4) Which authors/writers have influenced your writing?

I’ve had so many influences, from a really wide range of writers. I feel like every time I read a book I really love, it influences who I am as a writer, too. To name a few who were important to me while I was writing Love Letters to the Dead or my new book, In Search Of Us—Stephen Chbosky, Laurie Halse-Anderson, Jennifer Egan, Junot Diaz, Jesmyn Ward, James Baldwin, Joan Didion.

5) What would you like to write about in the future?

I am just starting out on new book, but I’m still in the very early stages. I almost never feel ready to talk about a project until I feel like I’ve been with it long enough to discover what it wants to become.

6) What has been the best fan encounter you've had?
It’s impossible to pick just one! Getting to know readers both in the US and around the world has been one of the greatest gifts of becoming a writer. I have been humbled by the bravery, the heart, the grit and the grace of many readers I’ve had the opportunity to come into contact with, whether in person, or through, letters, messages or emails. There is nothing more rewarding or meaningful than to hear a reader tell you that your story has helped them in some way.

7) Any author/write you would like to collaborate with in the future?

Though there are of course many writers whom I admire deeply and would be beyond honored to work with, so far I’ve found that novel writing is such an interior and personal experience, I would have to learn new ways of working in order to collaborate on one.

8) What experience(s) from your life have influenced you writing or the book?

I think that all of my life experiences have influenced my writing! In terms of my new book, In Search of Us, it was influenced both by my relationship with my mom, as well as by my relationship with my now-husband, moving in together and starting to imagine having a child.

9) What did you enjoy the most about writing "In Search of Us?”

In Search of Us was a difficult book to write, but I learned a lot from it. The story goes back and forth in time between a mom and a daughter when they are each seventeen—Marilyn’s takes place in LA in the late 90s, and Angie’s now. I wrote the two narratives separately, and then cut them together at the end. I didn’t quite know if it would work, but I was almost surprised by how naturally they fit. I loved seeing the ways in which the past and present echoed each other in the story. This was important, because one of the themes of the book has do do with the (sometimes invisible) influences that the past has on the present, and the importance of bringing those to light.
Another one of the pleasures of writing the book was the music, which plays an important role in both stories. I had a lot of fun walking around Los Angeles with my headphones on, getting lost in the world of the novel. In the book, Marilyn’s boyfriend (and Angie’s father), James, makes Marilyn a mixed tape, which Angie later discovers. Listening to the 90s R&B music to create that tape was delightfully nostalgic.

10) What can your fans expect from the book?

There are a lot of different aspects of the book, so I think different readers will take away different things from it. It’s both a love story between two seventeen years olds, and a and a mother-daughter love story. It’s a book about identity, about legacy, about family, about falling in love, about trying to discover and understand one’s place in the world.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to send Ava these questions but also join in the bloggers on this tour as well as the rest of the authors involved. There is also a rafflecopter giveaway, the prize is an Ontario TBF poster signed by all the authors which can be found here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8952c82035

Thank you!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Author Spotlight - Sarah Glenn Marsh


1.      What was your inspiration to write "Reign of the Fallen?"

The idea for Reign of the Fallen was inspired by my grandmother’s stay in the hospital; thankfully, she’s fine now, but the situation got me thinking: how far would someone be willing to go to bring a loved one back from the dead? What sort of sacrifices would someone make in order to bring an important person back into their lives, and what consequences might that decision have? Those questions led me to the Greek mythical hero Orpheus, who attempts to rescue his wife from the underworld and is told by Hades that he can take her back to the living world as long as he doesn’t look at her until they’re both out of his realm.
Spoiler alert: he takes a peek and loses her forever. Drawing from that mythology and others, as well as researching various rituals surrounding death from all over the world, helped me to start building the world of Reign of the Fallen, where the Dead must wear shrouds in the living world or else become monsters; where change of even the smallest sort is outlawed because the Dead fear it; where entering the spirit world demands a painful sacrifice of any living person who dares to go there.
2. What was your influence for the characters in the book?
I tried not to let any real people influence the characters in Reign! However, I did draw from some of my own life experience and others’ to fill in certain details: one example of this is that at one point, Odessa recalls some injuries that her boyfriend Evander got from being a daredevil, like running down a hill with a sign that read “Danger: Do  Not Run.” That was inspired by my husband doing exactly that- running down a steep sand dune with a “don’t run” sign and breaking his arm.
3. What should readers expect from you and the book?
From me? Well, if they follow me on social media, they should expect kindness, emojis, and lots of animal photos (I have many pets!). I don’t tolerate meanness.
From the book, they should expect that the shiny pink cover does *not* match the dark contents within; Reign is a dark story of grief and addiction and loss. It doesn’t shy away from any topic. It has many uncomfortable moments, because it’s a book that deals with gray areas; within people, and within situations. You’ll find yourself perhaps agreeing with the villain’s motives at some point, even. But, while it isn’t a happy story, Reign’s message is ultimately one of hope. Readers can also expect some fun things within its pages, like found family, silliness, parties, and a kickass grizzly bear!
4. What influenced you to be a writer?
My husband. I’d been writing for fun (especially on Elendor, a Lord of the Rings written roleplaying game in real time) since I was a kid, but it was my husband who gave me the push to pursue publication, who really believed in me, and who wouldn’t let me give up (and there were plenty of times when that sounded appealing, trust me!). I’m lucky to have someone by my side who sees my dreams and who firmly believes I can make them a reality.
5. How do you feel knowing a lot of readers will be reading your book shortly?
Nervous, but also grateful. I’m excited that the story’s concept or cover will appeal to readers, and nervous to hear the inevitable mix of reactions—however, it’s all worth it in the end to reach even a few people with this story, and (as you’ll see in question #9!), I’ve been so fortunate in having already heard from some readers who connected with Odessa and her friends in Reign.
6. Can we expect a sequel to the book? Also, what are you hoping to include in it?
There is a sequel, and it has a title, although I can’t share that quite yet! It’s so hard to say much without spoilers, but here’s a little bit about it: You’ll see more of the world beyond Karthia; old faces along with new; struggles created from some of the choices and actions in book one; Kasmira using her power; more character growth from Odessa.
7. What authors or writers have influence you, your writing and your book? I tried not to let anyone else’s work influence Reign of the Fallen, but one of my favorite authors is Garth Nix, who writes some really amazing books about necromancy; therefore, I took extra care to make sure my system and mythology for raising the dead were very different from his.
I also grew up reading a lot of Patricia McKillip’s work, so I’ve no doubt she’s had an influence on my writing style; if you haven’t read her yet, I recommend starting with The Forgotten Beasts of Eld or Winter Rose to get a feel for the magic that is her writing.
8. If you had the opportunity to collaborate with another author, who would it be and why?
I’d say Kerri Maniscalco, author of Stalking Jack the Ripper, because she also writes things that tend toward the dark and dangerous. Plus, she’s a friend. I think we’d have a blast writing something spooky together.
9. What has been the best experience you've had as an author so far?
Hearing from readers who have connected with my books, definitely! Especially Reign of the Fallen, which is so close to my heart. I knew when I wrote it that there would be strong reactions- a love or hate type of situation- and I’m really pleased that some people have enjoyed the story + reached out to let me know that!
10. What is your usual writing process?
I tend to carry an idea around in my head for several months before developing it- just letting it stew, thinking about it from different angles, and that sort of thing. Then I write a query to make sure I have a basic, solid plot structure in place, and after that, I start my world building and outlining- the length of that process can vary, but I won’t actually start drafting until I know the beginning and ending of a story, plus a few major plot points from the middle.



Reign of the Fallen will be released on Jan 23, be sure to grab a copy!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

"Here I Stay" by Dominique Laura


"As many times as that one sentence floated around, I knew I needed to change it. I needed to escape it. And so, I made sure that a new phrase took its place. It was the same phrase with one less word and a whole lot of meaning - one stronger than the one before it. And there's another reason why you should stay."

I found myself connected to the main character Daysie as I understand why she is guarded towards bringing new people in her life. Due to her abusive father, absentee mother and her school bully, she has kept a closer relationship with her childhood friends but is hesitant to include and open herself to Bren when he decides to express himself to her.

She wants to take a chance but she is afraid of how having her in her life will affect her since she has already been negatively affected by her father's actions. Her friends have encouraged her to take the opportunity and experience something new and exciting and also a new relationship.

Bren's approach scares Daysie at first but she learns that he just wants the opportunity to know her. Bren and her friends also help her escape her abusive father and realize she deserves more than what she is getting in life. Bren loves her and also wants to help her deal with her life situation. After Daysie has been able to leave her parents behind, she leaves town wanting to experience life instead of what she has been through so far. In the new town, she finds a job at a local book store and learns about life from the owner as well as expressing herself through writing. The bookstore's owner assists Bren to reconnect with Daysie, making her realize her love for her and how he wants to be a part of life even when Daysie feels broken inside due to her past. Daysie realizes she does not need to escape any longer as Bren and her friends have helped her find joy and positive even through her past and experience.

"It was moments like these that made me happy that I stayed. It sucked sometimes, this life of mine, but it was worth everything I had gone through. I was stronger because of it, and I had people in my life who would always be there. That was a gift. Life was a gift, and I had a whole lot more of it to live. I had wasted enough time worrying about stuff that wouldn't matter days, weeks, months, or years from now, and I was learning to take each day as a it came - one day a time."

I could relate to Daysie as I went through situations that made me question life but just like that I decided to stay thinking of a better future and better, new experiences that I find memorable and have had a great effect on my life. Dominique's writing was so smooth, the characters were so raw and real. I recommend it to anyone reflecting on past experiences and wanting a better future for themselves so they can realize how having a great support system such as Daysie's friends and Bren as well.