Waiting On Wednesday – 89

Hello gentle reader,

Today I’m waiting on a much anticipated sequel: TRAITOR TO THE THRONE by my friend Alwyn Hamilton (expected publication: 2nd February 2017 by Faber & Faber in the UK and 7th March 7th 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers in the US). It’s the second book in the REBEL OF THE SANDS trilogy and I can’t wait to find out what’s next for Amani! And look at those beautiful covers:

(UK cover on the left – US cover on the right)

From Goodreads:

Mere months ago, gunslinger Amani al’Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.

When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about djinni and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In TRAITOR TO THE THRONE, the only certainty is that everything will change.

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you read REBEL OF THE SANDS? Is TRAITOR TO THE THRONE on your TBR list?

What are you waiting on this week?

Book of the Week – Fear the Drowning Deep

FearTheDrowningDeep

Hello gentle reader,

Today’s the day! FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP by my extremely talented friend and critique partner Sarah Glenn Marsh is finally out! I can only recommend you pick up this fantastic  YA Historical Fantasy set in 1913 on the Isle of Man, with witches, sea monsters and a swoony romance.

The blurb:

Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

If you want to find out more about Sarah and her writing process for her debut, do take a look at my interview with her.

And please feel free to add the book on Goodreads and to buy it on Amazon.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

A Writer in the Spotlight – Julie C. Dao

A Writer In The Spotlight Logo

Hello gentle reader,

Today I’m delighted to bring you another interview with a successful writer: Wattpad sensation Julie C. Dao, whose Upper MG Fantasy Pumpkin Patch Princess has been a Wattpad Featured Story and has reached the Top 50 on the Wattpad Teen Fiction Hot List. It’s a humorous fairy tale about a pumpkin farmer’s daughter searching for her own happily-ever-after. You can find out more about Julie and her writing here.

A Writer in the Spotlight – 35

My interview (19th September 2016)

juliedao

Can you explain where you got the inspiration for Pumpkin Patch Princess from? 

I wrote PPP back in 2010 as a tribute to all of the fairy tales I loved growing up: Cinderella, Snow White, the 12 Dancing Princesses, the Frog Prince. It was one of the first stories I wrote after deciding I wanted to try getting published for real. It was also my first foray into the middle-grade category, since it started out young adult until all of the agents I submitted to suggested it might appeal to a younger audience. I’ve learned so much from writing this story, namely the fact that I love MG and will continue writing it!

Did you write Pumpkin Patch Princess thinking you’d post it on Wattpad? 

PPP was the first book I very LIGHTLY queried (meaning I sent out about 10 letters total) as I was still getting my feet wet in the traditional publishing process. I always intended for it to get published, but everyone told me the market for middle-grade fairy tales was too crowded. I shelved the book and moved on to other manuscripts, but it always lingered at the back of my mind because I loved it so much and had such fun writing it. When I signed with my agent, I brought it up and we discussed my options for it. Self-publishing for middle-grade readers is still very tough, and e-books don’t typically do as well with that audience as they do with YA and adult, so I decided to post it for free on Wattpad. The decision turned out to be the right one because that’s where my target audience hangs out!

What was your experience with Wattpad before Pumpkin Patch Princess?

I had no experience with it. I had heard a lot about it, though, especially about the major book deals that have come out of people posting stories there.

Pumpkin Patch Princess has been a huge success on Wattpad: can you explain why (beside the fact that it’s an awesome story!)? 

First of all, I made sure I had a well-written synopsis with popular comp titles (ELLA ENCHANTED and THE PRINCESS DIARIES). Then, I made sure my cover was attractive and eye-catching. I posted on Twitter and Facebook occasionally whenever I updated the book.

I was lucky in that I didn’t have to do much to promote it! Wattpad HR got in touch with me and offered to add PPP to their Featured Books on the front page, which helped skyrocket its popularity. Then the story spread via word of mouth, with teens and tweens telling their friends to come read my story. I tried to maintain that momentum by responding to all comments and coming up with fun ideas for my readers, like contests and quizzes and extra materials like the PPP Diaries.

What’s next for Pumpkin Patch Princess? 

I don’t think PPP will be traditionally published, now that I’ve put it online, and I’m not actively trying or hoping for anything to happen with it. But never say never! I’m okay with it living on Wattpad, if that’s what ends up happening. I am a much stronger, better writer now than I was when I wrote it, so I have a lot of other projects occupying my time that I hope will be published. And I’m crossing my fingers that PPP helps drive sales to them one day!

Are you planning on posting more stories to Wattpad?

I don’t have any immediate plans to post more stories on Wattpad at the moment. My main goal has always been traditional publication and I’d like to focus on getting my other books onto shelves. One day, I may use Wattpad as a marketing tool for those stories since I’ve seen other authors successfully doing that!

Thanks for the interview, Julie!

Thanks for having me on your blog, Eve!!

pumpkin-patch-princess

Pumpkin Patch Princess by Julie C. Dao

A fun, magical fairy tale perfect for fans of THE PRINCESS DIARIES or ELLA ENCHANTED!

Noelle Simpkins is sick of working for her parents.

Sure, her dad runs a booming pumpkin business and her mom’s the greatest shoemaker in the land. But pumps and pumpkins get OLD after a while, and at 14, she’s ready to see more of the world.

When she hears about a fairy godmother internship in the city, she jumps on it. The goal? Make sure royal clients get happily-ever-afters — all while battling goblins, curing curses, and figuring out how to use a magic wand. Not to mention shutting down a rival godmother and avoiding Kit, a distractingly cute pie seller who keeps turning up.

But as exciting as the new gig is, Noelle begins to realize… she kind of misses making shoes and growing pumpkins.

Has she gotten closer to her own happily-ever-after, or farther away?

And when the (glass) shoe’s on the other foot, can she stay true to her own heart?

Waiting On Wednesday – 88

Hello gentle reader,

today I’m waiting on THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR by Katharine McGee (expected publication: 30th August 2016 by HarperCollins). This YA Sci-Fi debut is the first book in a planned series, which I’ve been looking forward to reading since it sold. And now its release date is finally around the corner!

The Thousandth Floor

From Goodreads:

New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall…

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard about this book? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?

Book of the Week – The Violinist of Venice

Hello gentle reader,

Violinist of Venice

Last winter I received an ARC of The Violinist of Venice by the lovely Alyssa Palombo, but I only recently found the time to read it. This Historical novel came out last December, and it’s Alyssa’s debut.

The story takes place over 30 years in 18th Century Venice, and follows the life of Adrianna D’Amato, a gifted violinist who falls in love with her tutor – the virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. This relationship is impossible in many ways – Adrianna’s father marries her off to another man, and Vivaldi himself is a priest – but their affair will impact both their lives long after it ends.

Although I did enjoy the plot, what really kept me reading this beautifully written book was the world building: Alyssa has seamlessly recreated 18th Century Venice and her descriptions make us feel as if we’re there with Adrianna. It’s also a very interesting portrait of the upper society of the time, where women had very few choices in life and even less freedom.

I recommend this book if you love Historical fiction, Italy and strong female characters. Here is the link to Goodreads if you want to add it.

What have you been reading this week? Feel free to leave me your recommendations below!

Victorian England on TV (part 2)

Hello gentle reader,

In 2013 I wrote a blogpost about TV shows set in Victorian England. Three years later, it seems that networks are still interested in producing such series, even if they don’t necessarily find their audience. Here are the three latest shows that caught my attention:

Jericho_ITV

Jericho

Historical drama set in the Yorkshire Dales. Inspired by the builders of the Ribblehead Viaduct in the 1870s, it follows a widow, Annie, who is left penniless after her husband’s death and decides to move to the shanty town of Jericho in search of work.

Dubbed “Britain’s first Western”, it boasts interesting characters (with a strong female lead and a diverse cast), as well as an impressive set. However I found the plot slightly predictable. ITV cancelled the show after its first series, but these 8 episodes are worth watching.

Photographer: Todd Antony

Photographer: Todd Antony

Dickensian

In the words of the BBC, it’s a “drama set within the fictional realms of Charles Dickens’ critically acclaimed novels, bringing together some of his most iconic characters as their lives intertwine in 19th-century London.” Bringing together characters from Bleak House, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and A Christmas Carol, among others, the 20-part mini series shows Inspector Bucket as he investigates the murder of Ebenezer Scrooge’s partner Jacob Marley.

I thoroughly enjoyed this series, which cleverly brought together various famous novels by Dickens. It was very well written and it gave a prominent role to female characters (the young Miss Havisham being a fantastic lead). Each episode mixed mystery, comedy and tragedy, and if you like Dickens’ books, I really recommend you watch this series.

The Living and the Dead

The Living and the Dead

Presented by the BBC as “a Victorian era supernatural drama series about a farm owner who yearns to prove the existence of the afterlife”, this series is the most recent of the three mentioned in this post. Starring Colin Morgan, the 6-part drama is about a pioneering psychologist who moves to his family estate after his wedding to a gifted photographer. As they try to keep the farm afloat, the young couple have to deal with strange and creepy events.

Each episode touches upon Victorian topics (child labour, occultism, etc.) and mixes supernatural and historical events very well. The main character’s slow descent into madness is incredibly well acted by Colin Morgan. And I loved the twist about the mysterious woman in red. I loved this series and I do hope a second one will soon follow.

Have you watched these Victorian TV shows? What did you think? Any other TV series set in Victorian England I should be aware of? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Waiting On Wednesday – 87

Hello gentle reader,

today I’m waiting on GILDED CAGE (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James (expected publication: 14th February 2017 by Del Rey Books). It’s a YA Fantasy set in an alternate modern-day England. I’ve wanted to read this book since the book deal was announced, and this is definitely one of my most anticipated 2017 releases…

Gilded Cage

From Goodreads:

For readers of Victoria Aveyard and Kiera Cass comes a darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule and commoners are doomed to serve.

NOT ALL ARE FREE.
NOT ALL ARE EQUAL.
NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED.

Our world belongs to the Equals aristocrats with magical gifts and all commoners must serve them for ten years.
But behind the gates of England s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

“A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.”

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of their noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty but will her heart pay the price?

“A boy dreams of revolution.”

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

“And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.”

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate or destroy?

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly event, hosted by book blogger Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.

Have you heard about this book? Is it on your TBR list? What are you waiting on this week?