Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Break Time!

Hey Everyone!

Just a quick post today to say I'M GOING ON VACATION! Well, it's a staycation really since my husband and I aren't actually going anywhere, just taking time off, but I couldn't be more excited. Normally when I take vacation time I still keep up with the blog, but for the first time in 6 years, I'm taking time off from everything. Except reading. I'm going to get some serious reading done and I can't wait! Please leave me lots of good recommendations in the comments, I want to know the best thing you guys have read recently!

Posts will resume as normal the week of July 11th:)

*bear hugs all of you*

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Making of a Book Blog Tour: The Creation of Compass South

http://macmillanchildrensbooks.tumblr.com/post/146305224747/the-making-of-a-book-the-creation-of-compass-south

Today I'm excited to be a part of a very special blog tour for Compass South, a MG adventure graphic novel by Hope Larson and illustrated by Rebecca Mock. Each stop on this tour is going to be sharing some behind-the-scenes info about what went into the making of Compass South, so be sure and follow along to get all the juicy details! I'm kicking things off today, so I'd like to extend a very warm Supernatural Snark welcome to Hope Larson!

I have always loved adventure stories. As a child, all my favorite books were fantasies and quests. I spent weekends traveling through Narnia, Prydain and Middle Earth. When I discovered comics, I traveled the world along with Tintin, and Europe with Astérix and Obélix. I loved quieter books, too, but I never tired of seeing a protagonist rise above humble beginnings to become a hero. For an introvert, it’s a great comfort to be told that one can become more than she is; that friends and guides will appear to help when they are needed; that there’s a happy ending on the way.

Still, it took me a long time to write a story like this. Compass South, my first adventure book, is my seventh graphic novel. There are several reasons for this: While adventure stories are the bread and butter of the comics industry, they are mainly confined to the mainstream comics industry–that is, superhero comics. No one would discount the importance of Bone or Amulet, but they remain exceptions in traditional publishing. It’s tricky to fit a big, rollicking story into 200 small pages, and equally tricky to make a publisher commit to more than one graphic novel at a go; comics are expensive and time-consuming to produce, and backing one is a significant financial risk.

Compass South would not have been possible without A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel. The success of that project enabled me to lobby for a bigger, bolder, more action-packed story, and it also showed me the important of such stories: because they appeal to reluctant readers. When Wrinkle came out, I heard from many parents who explained that my adaptation was the first book their son or daughter had read on their own. This touched me, and for the first time I was able to justify my work as a cartoonist. I love comics, but for years, when I was asked to explain the importance of the medium, I didn’t have a solid answer. Because that’s what I’m drawn to? Because I love words and pictures? Because it’s how I envision the stories I tell? Just . . . because? Now I could see that comics were a way for kids intimidated by walls of text to enjoy reading. That kids with learning disabilities or autism could pick up a comic and understand the characters’ emotions through pictures in a way that is impossible with words alone.

I started writing a story that would be big and fun, but not intimidating. I made my protagonists brother and sister, so the book wouldn’t feel gendered. I adopted the episodic, chapter-based structure of A Wrinkle in Time and broke the story into small chunks. I enlisted the help of illustrator Rebecca Mock to bring it all to life on the page, and found the sort of brilliant, passionate collaborator all comics writers dream of.

I am so proud to share Compass South with the world, because getting it out into the world has been its own adventure. The story began humbly, a few sentences scribbled down on a plane. It swelled into an outline, then a script. An artist and editor appeared to lend their aid, and the three of us had many adventures and endured many trials. We sacrificed sleep and evenings and weekends, but we knew it would be worthwhile–that, someday, there would be a book. I can’t think of a happier ending than that.

Thanks so much Hope!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

COMPASS SOUTH


It’s 1860 in New York City. When 12-year-old twins Alexander and Cleopatra’s father disappears, they join the Black Hook Gang and are caught by the police pulling off a heist. They agree to reveal the identity of the gang in exchange for tickets to New Orleans. But once there, Alex is shanghaied to work on a ship that is heading for San Francisco via Cape Horn. Cleo stows away on a steamer to New Granada where she hopes to catch a train to San Francisco to find her brother. Neither Alexander nor Cleo realizes the real danger they are in — they are being followed by pirates who think they hold the key to treasure. How they outwit the pirates and find each other makes for a fast-paced, breathtaking adventure.



• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

ABOUT THE AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR

Hope Larson adapted and illustrated A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel, for which she won an Eisner Award. She is also the author and illustrator of Salamander Dream, Gray Horses, Chiggers, and Mercury. She lives in Los Angeles.


Rebecca Mock is an illustrator and comics artist. Her work has appeared  in various publications, including theNew York Times and the New Yorker.  She is co-organizer of the Hana Doki Kira anthology. Compass South is  her first book


Be sure and check out all the stops on the tour for more peeks behind the book creation curtain!

June 27th — Supernatural Snark
June 28th — Love is not a Triangle
June 29th — Forever YA
June 30th — YA Bibliophile
July 1st — Sharpread
July 2nd — Watch. Connect. Read.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Season For Fireflies Blog Tour: Playlist + Giveaway!


Welcome to Day #5 of the A Season for Fireflies Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of A Season for Fireflies by Rebecca Maizel (6/28/16), blogs across the web are featuring exclusive content from Rebecca and 10 chances to win a copy of A Season for Fireflies, as well as a chance to win a Summer Reading Prize Pack in the Grand Prize Giveaway!


A Season for Fireflies Playlist by Rebecca Maizel
These are the songs I listened to while writing Fireflies:


Stop by A Dream Within A Dream on Monday for Day #6 of the tour!

Blog Tour Schedule:
June 20th – The Fandom
June 21st — Bookhounds
June 22nd — Daisy Chain Book Reviews
June 23rd  — Mundie Moms
June 24th — Supernatural Snark  
June 27th — A Dream Within A Dream
June 28th — The Book Cellar
June 29th — PageTurners
June 30th — Bookish
July 1st — Parajunkee

A SEASON FOR FIREFLIES

A captivating contemporary novel about first love, second chances, and the power of memory, by the author of Between Us and the Moon, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Katie Cotugno.
One year ago, Penny Berne was the star of her high school’s theater department, surrounded by a group of misfits and falling in love with her best friend, Wes.
Now her old friends won’t talk to her, her first love, Wes, ignores her, and her best friend is the most popular girl in school. Penny is revered—and hated.
But when a near-fatal lightning strike leaves Penny with no memory of the past year, or how she went from drama nerd to queen bee, Penny realizes she may have the second chance she never expected.… 


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

REBECCA MAIZEL 


Rebecca Maizel hails from Rhode Island, where she teaches high school literature at her alma mater the Wheeler School. She tries not to force her students to read her books, though. Rebecca is the author of several published novels for young adults, and recently achieved an MFA in Writing for Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She also enjoys Indian food, her dog Georgie, and running moderately long distances.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

GIVEAWAYS

There are two separate giveaways for this tour (WOO HOO!), so be sure and enter for a chance to win both! First up is a copy of A Season For Fireflies. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below, and then skip down to all the details on the Grand Prize Giveaway! Giveaway is open to US addresses only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Grand Prize Giveaway!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday Flourish: I'll Be Yours

Happy Friday Everyone!

I hope you guys are all having a great summer so far! Mine is flying by, I can't believe it's almost July already. Since the official first day of summer was this week, I thought I'd share a recent cover design that's perfect for your summer reading lists (even if technically football takes place in the fall ;-))!

As much as I love illustrated covers and effects-heavy designs for all that they teach me new and fun things in Photoshop, it's equally rewarding to work on projects that are a little more straightforward visually and focus on the simple gorgeousness of color, type or photography. Author Jenny B. Jones got in touch with me for one of her recent releases, a sports-themed contemporary YA romance, and I had an absolute blast bringing I'll Be Yours to life on the cover!

While I of course wanted this cover to feel like it fit with the genre, I also wanted to make it as unique as possible, incorporating the football element in a more subtle way. For the main image we focused on a specific lakeside scene from the book, but I knew I needed to bring the football element in as well since it played such a pivotal role. I could have gone with a university-style font consisting of large block letters that scream sports, but since that's been done and done well on a number of covers, I wanted to take us in a slightly different direction. I found a big, bold and rounded font with tons of personality that I knew I needed in my life immediately, and once I saw it in place, how to introduce the football element finally clicked for me. Since both football plays and romance can be expressed with x's and o's, I thought it would be cute to bounce them in and around the type, making the title treatment a strong visual statement against the colorful sunset sky.

I absolutely love how this one turned out, so I hope you guys do too! Plus, any cover with a dog on it is an automatic winner to me:)


She’s the coach’s brilliant daughter, clueless about love. He’s the dethroned football star, ready to teach Romance 101. When dark secrets and sparks collide, there’s no playbook for what happens next.

The day Andrew Levin arrives at Washington High, Harper O’Malley knows he’ll make the perfect starter boyfriend. The school’s newest band geek is totally in Harper’s league, yet completely out of this late-bloomer’s reach. Between fitting in with a new family, scoring the first chair in band, and rescuing dogs for the local animal shelter, Harper’s never had the opportunity to hone her dating skills. But even though Harper’s love life is far from perfect, she’s got the perfect plan.

Harper knows she’s insane to agree to tutor Ridley Estes, a notorious heartbreaker and the star of her high school’s football team—but in exchange, he’s offered to school her in the game of love. Just when she sees promise with her crush, a football scandal rocks her family, her town, and Ridley’s entire future. Harper suddenly has everything to lose—her family, friends, and even her heart. When the dust of the scandal settles, nothing will be the same. Including the girl who asked the most popular jock to teach her about love.

Find Jenny:


You can check out more of my design work at Seedlings Design Studio 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dad Reviews: America's First Daughter

Today I have a very special guest reviewer - my dad! *high five for family participation* As you guys know, I've been a bit behind lately on reviews as work is infringing on my reading time (boo!), and my dad was nice enough to step up (along with my mom and mother-in-law) to try his hand at reviewing. While I don't think I'll be able to convince him to read and review any YA or adult romance, it's nice to have a little genre variety here on the blog, so thank you Dad for helping me out!

AMERICA'S FIRST DAUGHTER
Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
Historical Fiction
William Morrow
624 pages
Available Now
Source: Bought

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.

Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father's reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.


DAD'S THOUGHTS
When reading this book, one has to remember that this is not a history book. It’s a novel. So it’s much more interesting to read because the characters come to life through dialog that is “creative license.”  But it is strongly based on history, and in fact, each chapter does open with a written record of something from Tom himself. (If you read this book, you can call him Tom. After 624 pages, you should be on a first name basis with anybody.)
 

So you won’t learn a lot that’s new to you about Tom himself unless you are really unfamiliar with him to begin with. You DO come to appreciate what a struggle it was to start up a country: the risks the founding fathers took with their lives, the relationships they had with each other – who they liked, who they didn’t – and the work it took to bring it all together even after the war was done.
 

But mostly, you gain real insight into how incredibly difficult it was to live 200 years ago in a society that ranged from moneyed plantation owners to regular farmers and tradesmen to slaves. Added to that mix are the views of men toward women and vice versa in a land where life was fragile and dangerous, and you and your family’s very survival depended upon each other. It was a complicated culture whose vestiges are still with us today even though we have shed many of the discomforts, dangers and distasteful doctrines of that time. 
 

It’s a heavy topic and a long read, but you come to know the characters quite well and wish the best for their future, even though you know how it ends. Because hey, It’s based on history. But served up much better than you remember in high school.

Find Stephanie:


Find Laura:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: Places No One Knows

PLACES NO ONE KNOWS
Brenna Yovanoff
Contemporary-ish Young Adult
384 pages
Delacorte Press
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Waverly Camdenmar spends her nights running until she can’t even think. Then the sun comes up, life goes on, and Waverly goes back to her perfectly hateful best friend, her perfectly dull classes, and the tiny, nagging suspicion that there’s more to life than student council and GPAs.

Marshall Holt is a loser. He drinks on school nights and gets stoned in the park. He is at risk of not graduating, he does not care, he is no one. He is not even close to being in Waverly’s world.

But then one night Waverly falls asleep and dreams herself into Marshall’s bedroom—and when the sun comes up, nothing in her life can ever be the same. In Waverly’s dreams, the rules have changed. But in her days, she’ll have to decide if it’s worth losing everything for a boy who barely exists.


MY THOUGHTS
Places No One Knows is one of those reads that feels effortless, one about everything and nothing at the same time that flows from one page to the next with such ease that we have little choice but to lose ourselves in the quick slice of life detailed for us in black and white.

Waverly is a puppet. Perfectly maintained and beautifully flawless, dancing on her strings to a tune set by her best friend and the expectations of her peers. She's not empty-headed or oblivious, instead she's aware of her strings and wears her perfection like a suit of armor, fully capable of wielding a pair of scissors and setting herself free, but so used to having them wrapped around her that her hands have forgotten how to make a cutting motion. There's something completely absorbing about watching as a quiet but impactful earthquake named Marshall and a frenzied delight of a hurricane named Autumn rattle her foundations, introducing a little change into the monotony of her high school existence.

Marshall is wrapped up every bit as tight as Waverly, but where her strings are pristine and unbroken, his are frayed and doused in alcohol. He gets through his days by drinking himself into feeling better, his home life an absolute mess and the main reason he seeks escape at the bottom of a bottle or the end of a lit cigarette. When Waverly starts showing up inexplicably in his room late at night however, he's forced to see his world through eyes that may or may not have trouble discerning what's real from what's not, and in doing so finds a direction he would never have found otherwise. His relationship with Waverly is fragile, existing in stolen nighttime moments and then disappearing with the rise of the sun, but not without leaving a few small remnants of the two of them behind.

Overall Places No One Knows is a beautiful story, defining and then redefining relationships and friendships as they ebb and flow, and leaving us with a smile on our faces as Waverly and Marshall find a way to bring the truths shared only at night into the light of day.

Rating: 4/5

Find Brenna:


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.