Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Body in The Woods Blog Tour

Today on the blog, I have April Henry with an interview about her new book, Body in The Woods. I read and reviewed The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die last year and it was a really interesting read. Today however we're focusing on The Body in the Woods, a new series about three teens on a Search and Rescue Squad while in high school, each teen has their own challenges to face while also facing those of the Squad. Haven't heard about it? Maybe you've seen the cover. Check it out below.

In this new series told from multiple perspectives, teen members of a search and rescue team discover a dead body in the woods.
Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear, and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.
This first book in April Henry’s Point Last Seen YA mystery series is full of riveting suspense, putting readers in the middle of harrowing rescues and crime scene investigations.

So without further ado, April Henry is here to answer a few questions about her writing process and her new series.

1. You have young adults in an emergency services role, did you participate in any such activities while you were in high school?

When I was a teen, I was either working to save money for college (my parents could not afford it), or I was reading.  I did have a brief stint as a candy striper at Rogue Valley  Hospital.  I recall my horror at being told we might have to record, not only how much patients drank, but how much they urinated.  (I still remember that five ounces equals 150 millimeters.) My other strong memory from that time was a boy a couple of years older than me who had been left a paraplegic by an accident.  His bed looked like a hamster's wheel. The nurses would turn it to different angles to minimize bedsores.  He had been an active guy.  I just remember how bored he was, tossing his corded phone into the air and catching it.  In a book, I would have become friends with him, but in real life I was intimidated by him being three years older. 

2. You write a lot of thrillers, do you find that you scare easy or are you made of steel when it comes to this?

I'm pretty good at not being frightened by research.  I have seen a lot of photos of horrible things.  Real things.  I try not to think about them very much.

I'm not sure how I would do if I was confronted by a killer.  Maybe that's why I explore it so often in books.  I've been playing around with an idea inspired by real life.  A guy in a van was recently stalking women in Portland, making notes about which ones he wanted to take.  He had already kidnapped one teen from Paradise Tan. She escaped by jumping from the moving van even though she was tied up with duct tape. He ultimately ended up engaging in a gun battle with police right outside my kung fu school, and he was killed.  But what if he had taken a student from our school?  Could a girl like that use her kung fu skills?

3. When you write your mysteries, how do you plot the story out?

I start by making lists of:
    all the things that might happen (she tries to fight back, but he uses a Taser).
    scenes that would be a natural consequence of earlier scenes (she wakes up at his house).
    things that would make it worse (he has already kidnapped another girl, so there are two of them).
    scenes that would be exciting to write. (she finally confronts the killer).

Then I combine them all into a logical order.  

4. You touch on mental illness in this book along with three troubled main characters, how was writing that?

I talked to an actual SAR member whose parent was biploar. That person was willing to share stories with me. I also read a lot about what it's like to have a biploar parent.  In books, I think we want to read about characters who have problems, who are struggling.  I'm not sure I could relate to - or care about - someone whose life was perfect.

5. You write books both for Young Adults and for Adults, how do you find the differences in the two?

I write pretty much the same way for adults and YA.  My YAs are usually shorter, and the characters are teens, but that's about it.  It's everything that happens afterward that's different.  Adult books are really only given 8-10 weeks to show success, whereas YA publishers know you might pick up a state award three years after publication.  Librarians are key to many to the success of many YAs, whereas they are not as vital in helping adults find great books.  Teens will love you and your books (or hate you and your books) to an extent you would never find with adults, who are always more dispassionate.

About April Henry:

I write mysteries and thrillers. I live in Portland, Oregon with my family.

If you've read one of my books, I would love to hear from you. Hearing from readers makes me eager to keep writing.

When I was 12, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children's magazine.

My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years are now thankfully a blur. Now I'm very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 13 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into six languages, been named to state reading lists, and short-listed for the Oregon Book Award.

I also review YA literature and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and have written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.

Want to find out more about this tour? Check out the list of hosts below!

Monday June 9

Tuesday June 10

Wednesday June 11

Thursday June 12

Friday June 13

Monday June 16

Tuesday June 17

Wednesday June 18

Thursday June 19

Friday June 20
Adventures of a Book Junkie

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (#1)

Really excited to start the first Top Ten Tuesday for Paperback Princess. I adore lists and have loved reading this meme in the past. If you don't know, TTT is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: I didn't know I wanted to read this until recently. I'm heading on a trip to Paris in a few weeks and I think this will be the perfect companion.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor : This book has been on my TBR list for a while but with work and school, I haven't had time to pick it up.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers: On a recent trip to Barnes and Noble, Co-Blogger Nicole urged me to read this. And by urged, I mean she forced it in my hands and told me I must read it. So I will.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman: If I Stay/Where She Went killed me. So I knew that I had to read Gayle Forman's second series. After I got it signed at Teen Author Carnival this year, I knew it was meant to be.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: The buzz for this is huge and I also feel obligated as a Bloomsbury intern to read this. But it also looks so good.

The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterLike If I StayThe Scorpio Races reduced me to a pile of tears and feels. I've heard great things about this series and cannot wait to read it.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin: I am in love with meta fiction. This Gabrielle Zevin novel seems to be a quintessential book lover's book. I can't wait to read it.

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner: The first book in this trilogy had me seeing stars. I adored it and literally made it my mission at BEA this year to get it. Thanks to the greatest Co-blogger in the world, I did.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: I would consider myself a horrible Bloomsbury intern and blogger if I didn't read this book. I'm twenty pages into it so far, though, and I love it. It shouldn't be a problem.

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson: This was my favorite surprise at BEA. Morgan Matson was so sweet and I'm in love with the cover.

Honorable Mention: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: I'm not a book snob. Not really. But I do like book lists and this book has made it on all of them. So I want to see what the fuss is about. I'm kind of already intrigued.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dead Beat (Dresden Files #7)

 Author: Jim Butcher
Goodreads Rating: 4.42
Pages: 448
Format: Audiobook

There's an entire world that exists alongside the everyday life of mankind. There are powers, nations, monsters, wars, feuds, alliances - everything. Wizards are part of it. So are a lot of other things you've heard about in stories, and even more you've never heard of...Vampires. Werewolves. Faeries. Demons. Monsters. It's all real.

Harry Dresden knows full well that such creatures exist. Paranormal investigations are his stock-in-trade, and Chicago is his beat as he tries to bring law and order to a world that exists on the edges of imagination. Luckily Harry's not alone in this struggle. And though most inhabitants of the Windy City don't believe in magic, there's a department that's been set up within the Chicago PD to deal with "strange" cases: the Special Investigations department.

Karrin Murphy is the head of SI and a good friend of Harry's. So when a deadly vampire threatens to destroy Murphy's reputation unless Harry helps her, he has no choice. The vampire wants the Word of Kemmler and all the power that comes with it - but first Harry has to determine what the Word of Kemmler is. Now Harry is in a race against time - and six necromancers - to find the Word before Chicago experiences a Halloween night to wake the dead.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Nick Lake Blog Tour Stop

Today I have a special treat in the form of a guest post from Nick Lake, while I haven't read anything by him yet, my friends at Bloomsbury have done a great job of pushing him and his book, Hostage Three which I got at BEA13, is next on my TBR pile. 

I've heard talk that he has a new title coming out in 2015, so I wanted to introduce him to you now. It's also really important to note that his 2012 title, In Darkness, won the Printz Award, so I would keep an eye out for his 2015 title, There Will Be Lies.

So without further adu, the fabulous Nick Lake:

I have a confession: when I write I am American.

And a girl.

This is not, I have to say, particularly a matter of choice. After In Darkness, I actually started writing a book with a British, male narrator. This boy would go on a round the world yacht trip, and get captured by Somali pirates. I already had a title for it – Hostage Three – and most of a plot, which had come to me in a dream. I gave the first few chapters to my wife to read. I asked her, after a few pages, what she thought of the character. “She’s really interesting,” she said.


So I made the character a girl. Amy. I wrote a first draft of Hostage Three, and gave it to my wife again, along with a couple of other readers, one of them American. “It’s good,” they said, and verily, I was pleased. “But she’s not British,” they said. “She’s American.”

I was displeased. I thought I’d have to re-write the book, change the voice.

But then I realized there was a lazy author solution: I simply made Amy half-American.

Then, when I wrote my next book, There Will be Lies (coming January 15 folks!)  I went for the path of least resistance and made the narrator a girl from Arizona, right from the bat.

What I don’t know is why this happens. But I do have a couple of theories:

Theory 1: My childhood. I grew up in Luxembourg, and ALL the TV I watched was American. So, this theory goes, when I write in third person I write in “British”. But then I write dialogue – having been raised on 90210 and MTV’s The Real World – I write in American.

Theory 2: Gender is a societal lie anyway, and fluid. I’m a boy but I love reading fiction, hate sports, and have more than a passing interest in art and fashion. So I feel more comfortable writing from a ‘female’ perspective. Which in itself is an arbitrary lie and our brains are all the same, really.

Theory 3: I just don’t like my own voice. There is some evidence for this. With my best and oldest friend, and with my wife, I speak almost exclusively in other accents, or in impersonations of celebrities. I go around the house talking in other people’s voices, scraps of gobbledegook, made-up songs. My three-year-old daughter recently said to me, “Daddy, why do you say such silly things all the time?”

Don’t ask me why this is. It’s tempting to psychoanalyze: again, I grew up in Luxembourg, speaking a generic European version of British RP pronunciation, while my parents spoke with very different accents from Lancashire, in the north of England (think the northerners in Game of Thrones). I was also half deaf, so maybe these two things combined to mean that I didn’t ‘sound’ like myself when I spoke.

Or I just like putting on voices, I don’t know. I mean, it’s not just me. My friend and my wife do it too, which is probably one reason they’re my friend and my wife.

One thing I do know, which makes it all the more complicated, is that Amy is… me. By which I mean: with the exception of the being-taken-hostage-by-pirates stuff, a lot of the things that happen to her in the book, or more accurately have happened to her, also happened to me. Her family is, in part, my family. It’s the most personal book I have written.

So my confession goes even deeper.

Amy in Hostage Three really is me.

Except American.

And a girl.

About Nick Lake:

 My name is Nick and I write and edit books for children and young adults. I wrote a vampire ninja trilogy called BLOOD NINJA but nowadays I mainly do what could perhaps be described as literary thrillers. The first of these, IN DARKNESS, was published by Bloomsbury in 2012. The second, HOSTAGE THREE, came out January 2013 in the UK and is coming October 2013 in the USA. The third, as yet untitled, will be released in 2014 and is about a girl who learns that everything she knows is a lie. To say it's a book with a twist in the story would be a massive understatement. There is also a talking coyote in it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Stepsister Scheme (Princess #1)

Author: Jim C. Hines
Goodreads Rating: 3.76
Pages: 344
Format: Final Copy
What would happen if an author went back to the darker themes of the original fairy tales for his plots, and then crossed the Disney princesses with "Charlie's Angels?" Hines delivers a new take on what happened to Cinderella and her prince after the wedding. Original.

You know how all those old fairy tales take you through lots of scary adventures till you finally reach that inevitable line: "And they lived happily ever after..." Guess what? It's not true. Life in never-never land isn't all sweetness and light. Cinderella - whose real name is Danielle Whiteshore (nee Danielle de Glas) - does marry Prince Armand. And (if you can ignore the pigeon incident) their wedding is a dream-come-true.

But not long after the "happily ever after," Danielle is attacked by her stepsister Charlotte, who suddenly has all sorts of magic to call upon. And though Talia - otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty - comes to the rescue (she's a martial arts master, and all those fairy blessings make her almost unbeatable), Charlotte gets away.

That's when Danielle discovers a number of disturbing facts: Armand has been kidnapped and taken to the realm of the Fairies; Danielle is pregnant with his child; and the Queen has her very own Secret Service that consists of Talia and Snow (White, of course). Snow is an expert at mirror magic and heavy-duty flirting.

Can three princesses track down Armand and extract both the prince and themselves from the clutches of some of fantasyland's most nefarious villains?


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