Month: October 2018

Ten Scary Books I’m Too Chicken to Read (But Want To)

Posted October 29, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 19 Comments

Tomorrow is Halloween, so of course that means it’s a creepy/Halloween freebie this week! I really love freebie weeks because I get to see your creativity and I get to stalk your lists for future TTT ideas! I’m a huge chicken, so I’m sharing books that I’d really like to read, but I’m worried they will be too scary for me. I’ve included the keywords from the synopsis that have me thinking I might not be able to handle it. lol. Maybe you can help talk me into some of them, or save me from books you know a chicken can’t handle!

1. The Family Plot by Cherie Priest

Cemetery. Corpse. Danger. Storm shuts down the only road to the property. Power goes out. MURDEROUS PHANTOM. Raising Hell.

2. Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough

Beware. Isolated village. Evil that has lain hidden for years. Horrifying truth.

3. The Shining by Stephen King

Stephen King. Atmospheric old hotel. Remote. Sinister. Strange and terrible forces. Stephen King.

4. There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Dark past. Mysterious outsider. Gruesome murders. Grotesque flair. Secrets.

5. Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Debilitating insomnia. Experimental new procedure. Malfunction. Dreamworld. Nightmares. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations. Tormented.

6. The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

Amish. Murderous. No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in.
(Note: I’m not afriad of Amish people. It’s the whole package.)

7. Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Screaming. Drenched in blood. Vanished. She doesn’t know who she is. Haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Bloody razor. Violent. She will never escape. Twisted secrets.

8. Between The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Devil. Eerie. Grim. Liar.

9. The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Three decades. Inferno. The girl of nowhere. Disturbed mind. Sinister. Alter ego. Dark, twisted magic.

10. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Jack the Ripper is back. Brutal murders. Rory spotted the man… The only one who can see him. His next target.

What are your Halloween plans? My students will be having a very fun-filled day at school (including a costume parade and class party). Knowing how insane it will be, and how tired I’ll be when I get home, my plans include watching Arsenic & Old Lace while eating caramel apples like an old person! 


Inspiring Coffee Shops by Jenny Hale | Author Guest Post

Posted October 29, 2018 by Jana in Guest Post / 3 Comments

I’m so happy to have Jenny Hale on the blog today to give us a small glimpse into where she writes all of her amazing books! I’m super excited to read her upcoming releases, Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses (out tomorrow!), as well, which you can read more about below!


Inspiring Coffee Shops by Jenny Hale

When I’m working, I like to be out of my house, usually at a coffee shop—different ones all the time. While I’m there, I’m eyes-on-the-screen, fingers moving at a clip, downing a latte. To any onlooker, I might seem like a caffeine-laden vagabond who avoids housework to spend long hours on my computer in isolation. But that would be far from the truth.

New surroundings supercharge my senses; they affect me more than any amount of caffeine could. While I won’t deny my love of lattes, (I’m one of those who rattles off eye-rolling requests like “skinny almond milk sugar-free caramel latte with no whip”) the lattes are but an added bonus, a ticket to get me a seat in this new location.

The swirl of cold air as the old oak door opens and shuts, the smell of roasting coffee beans tickling my nose, the gurgle of the espresso machines, the embrace as two people meet up and settle happily at a table nearby—while my fingers move, my brain is taking all that in.

Traveling is my way of reviving my mind, of filling it with little bits of new information that I store away and draw upon when the stories start to take shape. Each place is like a gift, and I unwrap it slowly, taking in every fold, every angle, every line of it. I might unwrap the gift and find someone’s laugh, or the way they inhale just before they speak. I might see a shadow on a table and note how it moves whenever someone passes by.

And then I write.

Sometimes the locations themselves find their way into my stories. The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia is one of them. I used to live in Richmond, and I have spent a few Christmases sipping drinks among the incredibly festive holiday decorations there. You can catch a glimpse of it in my novel Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses. I hope you get a chance to visit with my characters Abbey and Nick!


Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale
Published by Forever on October 30, 2018
Genres: Adult Fiction — Contemporary, Christmas, Romance
Add to Goodreads • Amazon

Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and she doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, she jumps at the chance when a friend recommends her for a small design job. How hard can it be?

Nick Sinclair needs his house decorated in time for his family’s festive visit-and money is no object. What he doesn’t need is to be distracted from his multimillion-dollar business-even if it is Christmas.

When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth. And when she meets the gorgeous, brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she’s in real trouble . . .

With the snow falling all around them, can Abbey make her dreams of being a designer come true? And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?


About Jenny Hale

When I graduated college, one of my friends said, “Look out for this one; she’s going to be an author one day.” Despite being an avid reader and a natural storyteller, it wasn’t until that very moment that the idea of writing novels occurred to me.

Sometimes our friends can see the things that we can’t.

While I didn’t start straight away, that comment sowed a seed and several years, two children, and hundreds of thousands of words later, I completed a novel that I felt was worthy of publication. The result was Coming Home for Christmas, a heart-warming story about friends, family, and the magic of love at Christmas.

The rest is history.

When I’m not writing, I’m a mother of two boys and a wife to a very supportive husband.

Author Website | Twitter


Return Once More by Trisha Leigh | Book Review

Posted October 24, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 4 Comments

Return Once More by Trisha Leigh | Book ReviewReturn Once More by Trisha Leigh
Series: The Historians #1
Published by Bloomsbury Spark on October 20, 2015
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Pages: 294
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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0.5 Stars

If you could learn the identity of your one true love—even though you will never meet— would you?

Years have passed since refugees from a ruined earth took to space, eventually settling a new system of planets. Science has not only made the leaps necessary to allow time travel, but the process engineered a strange side effect—predicting your one true love.

If you could save your one true love from an untimely death, would you be able to resist?

Sixteen-year-old Kaia Vespasian is an apprentice to the Historians—a group charged with using time travel to document the triumphs and failures of the past—and she can’t resist a peek at her long-dead soul mate in Ancient Egypt. Before she knows it, she’s broken every rule in the book, and the consequences of getting caught could destroy more than just her new romance.

Or would you have the strength to watch him die?

But when Kaia notices a fellow classmate snooping around in a time where he doesn’t belong, she suspects he has a secret of his own—and the conspiracy she uncovers could threaten the entire universe. If her experience has taught her anything, to changing history means facing the consequences. The Historians trained her to observe and record the past, but Kaia never guessed she might have to protect it— in a race across time to save her only chance at a future.

You’d think a book about a girl who travels back in time to learn what mankind did to make earth uninhabitable, and ends up meeting the love of her life in ancient Egypt would be right up my alley, but it SO wasn’t. I love history and learning about ancient times. I love time travel. I love the scientific explanations as to why time travel is possible. I love the excitement and mystery of time travel. So… what was my problem? Well, hold my drink.

1. Ok, so we’ve got these Historians who go back in time to analyze the great tragedies and mess-ups of humankind to ensure that these events do not repeat themselves. That sounds kind of cool, but ultimately we, as readers, only get to hear about the crap the world has gone through. One scene in particular about a fire in a factory really depressed me.

2. Something sciency has happened, and now people can find out who their ideal mate is. The problem is, their ideal mate could have been anyone since the beginning of human existence. This means that when these kids become of age they can get the name of their one true love who statistically isn’t even alive anymore. How demotivating is that?! If I found out that my one true love died in 15 B.C., then what’s the point of even trying to find love now? lol. This is what happens to Kaia. She finds out that her ideal match died during the time of Caesar. So… “Ok, here’s the name of the man of your dreams. He died thousands of years ago. You have the power to easily travel back in time to be with him, but DON’T because it could altar everything.” This is just so stupid! Of COURSE she’s going to go meet him. Of COURSE they’re going o fall in love. Of COURSE they are going to endanger practically everyone who has ever lived. Why would a society even do this to its people when it could easily destroy humanity!? Everything rests on lovestruck teenagers and whether or not they have the willpower to resist pushing a button that will take them to their greatest love story ever. *facepalm*

3. These Historians really aren’t supposed to change anything about the past because it could have detrimental effects on the future. But that doesn’t mean they don’t change EVERYTHING. They just secretly change things and go home, hoping the world and the people and the life they’ve always known still exist. Again, too much rests on a very flimsy system.

4. So… we know that too-stupid-to-live Kaia goes to visit her man, Oz, in Egypt. And of course she forces the instalove because science told her he’s The One. Oz is awkward and weird, and I don’t think that people in ancient Egypt talked like he talks in this book. They immediately fall in love because of some unseen reason, and he immediately understands and accepts that she’s a time traveler even though he’s never even heard of electricity, much less a time machine. It all just felt so wrong and forced.

5. I didn’t even care about the other characters. I just remember a lot of judging and moral grey areas.

6. You’ve got characters trying to play God, and I hate that. He’s doing fine on His own, thank you.

7. There is so much more that I hated about this book, but I’m getting tired of writing about it. You know how you hate something more the more you think about it? That’s me right now.

So… bottom line: don’t read this. lol. I just looked at Goodreads and saw how highly rated this book is and made that emoji face that has the big eyes and no mouth. I don’t feel like we read the same book. lol. There’s better options out there for time travel romance. This one was just depressing.

0.5 Stars

Top Ten Lovable Villains

Posted October 22, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 17 Comments

This week’s topic is getting us ready for Halloween next week! We’re highlighting bookish villains this week. Which villains do you absolutely hate? Which ones do you love? Which are the creepiest, the sweetest, the most evil, the most misunderstood, etc.? I can’t wait to see your lists!

1. The Darkling from The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
He’s dark and sexy and charming and dangerous, and people are just drawn to him for some mysterious reason.

2. Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
He was the villain in the beginning, but he captured al of our hearts.

3. Valek from Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Valek is a master assassin and trains Yelena in the art of poison. He makes her pretty miserable until…

4. Akiva from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.”

It didn’t start so well, considering Akiva attacked Karou at their first meeting. lol.

5. Bastien Toussaint from Black Ice by Anne Stuart
Bastien is a ruthless assassin, hired to take out Chloe for knowing too much about his illegal arms dealer employers, but he eventually decides to protect her instead.

6. Ty from Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher
I have no idea how Lucy Christopher got me to sympathize with the kidnapper, but she did!

7. Alexander Moncrieffe from What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long
Alex initially wanted to seduce his rival’s little sister as revenge. Making her fall in love and then breaking her heart is the perfect way to get back at Ian Eversea. He falls for her, though. Of course. So many swoons in this book!

8. Luke from Lament: The Faery Queen’s Deception by Maggie Stiefvater
Luke is an assassin who has been assigned to kill Deirdre. He shows up mysteriously and Dee is totally drawn to him. He’s in love with her, but do we trust him?

9. Beast from Hunted by Meagan Spooner
I love this guy for pretty much the same reason I love The Beast in Beauty and the Beast. He’s tortured, brooding and… beastly. He’s holding Yeva prisoner in his castle. But… then the swoons happen.

10. Joshua Templeman from The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Josh is the enemy. He’s Lucy’s nemesis. They hate each other, and are fighting for their place in the company they both work for. But there’s a very fine line between love and hate, and they don’t seem to know where it is.

Which villains did you highlight this week?

 


A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan | Book Review

Posted October 19, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 0 Comments

A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan | Book ReviewA Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan
Published by Blink on August 14, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Retelling
Pages: 313
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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5 Stars

King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.

Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?

I’ve always been fascinated by mythology, but I’ve read very few retellings of mythological stories. When I learned of this retelling of the story of King Midas from his daughter’s perspective I was immediately intrigued. In the original story of King Midas, the king is granted one wish from the god of wine, Dionysus. The king wished that everything he touched turned to gold, making him the wealthiest man in the world. Everything is fine at first, but then he tries to eat and can’t because his food turns to gold. His daughter, seeing his dismay, throws her arms around him to console him and turns to gold herself. Obviously the moral of the story is to not be greedy and to value family more than wealth.

A Touch of Gold picks up where the story of King Midas ends, so it’s not exactly a retelling. It’s close, though. In A Touch of Gold, King Midas’s daughter, Kora, survived the touch and is alive and human once again. However, she has suffered permanent side effects. Her skin has a gold sheen to it, and anything she touches turns to gold. She can also sense gold, and it calls to her constantly. This side effect in particular is kept a secret. The King has also suffered long-lasting side effects. He cannot be too far away from the remaining items that he turned to gold himself. They are stored in a room in his palace, but someone breaks in and steals them one night. The king begins to get very sick and slowly deteriorates. In an effort to save his life, Kora goes on a journey by ship to find and return the gold to her father before it gets so far away that he dies. A handsome duke offers to take her on his ship, and the adventure begins.

A Touch of Gold is filled with action, adventure, betrayal, and a bit of romance. I flew through it pretty quickly because it was such an entertaining story. Some other mythological stories and woven into the story of King Midas, and it was very interesting to see how the author chose to do that. I liked the characters, and the twists and turns that they were involved in.

I can definitely see room for a sequel or a companion novel, and I hope that Annie Sullivan writes more mythological stories to expand this world that she has created in A Touch of Gold. Her writing is lovely and flowing, and I really enjoyed my reading experience. I wholeheartedly recommend this story to those interested in mythology and adventures on the high seas. There’s strong characters and just a hint of romance, so I think there’s something in it for everyone.

5 Stars

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner | Book Review

Posted October 17, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 7 Comments

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner | Book ReviewThe Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Series: The Queen's Thief #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on December 27, 2005
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 280
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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2 Stars

The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

I’ve been hearing great things about Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series for years, but wasn’t ever really interested in The Thief because there’s no romance in it. I must have at least a little romance in my books or I start to go a little nuts! However, I quickly changed my mind when I found out that Steve West narrates these books because I’m basically in love with him. Honestly, his narration was pretty much the only reason I even finished it. I mean, it was ok. I was intrigued enough that I wanted to see how things ended. And I’d heard of an awesome twist that happens in The Thief, so I was curious about that as well. A word to the lovers of this series: don’t make it sound THAT amazing and filled with twists and action because I built it all up so much in my head that I’m not sure anything would have lived up to my anticipation. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. The bulk of this story takes place during a journey toward a mythical treasure. There’s a lot of walking. A LOT of walking and traveling and horseback riding and stopping for camp at night. Things were very uneventful for a long time. 

2. Gen complains a lot. Like, I wanted to slap him upside the head all the time but didn’t because he’s STEVE WEST so I refrained from getting too mad. I mean yes, his life is not so good. He’s been held prisoner and now he’s been let out to go steal a treasure for the magus so the magus can give it to the king and have all the credit and notoriety. That sucks. Gen is a prisoner during the entire journey. That’s not fun at all. But oh my gosh, does he have to be such a whiney baby!?

3. I found the mythology of this world to be rather interesting. While the characters walk and walk, they tell the stories of their belief system. We get to hear about the creation and their system of gods and goddesses. It was interesting for a while, but then I started to grow bored and wanted something else to happen.

4. The twist. As I mentioned before, when people build something up to be so unbelievably amazing and exciting I almost always end up being disappointed. I wish I hadn’t known a twist was coming. Maybe my imagination is just way too big, but I thought up a ton of possible twists that would have been more exciting to me. Yes, it’s a twist. Yes, it did kind of make me double-take and start analyzing everything up to that point to see why I hadn’t thought it up myself. But it was still not as grand as I had hoped. It did make me glad I finished the book, though, so I guess it still worked a little.

All in all, I enjoyed The Thief enough to immediately start The Queen of Attolia. I wanted to know where things would go next, and I wanted to listen to more of Steve West’s swoony voice!! But I ultimately DNFed it after about an hour into the audiobook, so I guess I reached the point where even Steve couldn’t keep me going anymore. And that makes me sad. I can see why people like these books, but I can also tell that they came out before YA fantasy really took off. I’ve just read much better.

2 Stars

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett | Book Review

Posted October 11, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 8 Comments

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett | Book ReviewThe Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Published by Feiwel and Friends on November 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Add to Goodreads
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Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive, and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in her family’s closet tear them apart?

I’ve become quite the Jenn Bennett fangirl this year (starting with Starry Eyes), so I’d been eager to read her oldest YA title, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, to see where it all began. One thing I really love about Jenn is that she comes up with unique story lines that don’t include the typical cookie cutter characters and the typical tropes and themes. She really thinks outside the box, and I appreciate that so much because I’ve been feeling lately that I’m losing interest in YA contemporary romance. It’s all so similar, and the stories have all been told over and over again. This one is different, though, and in a very wonderful way. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. Beatrix (Bex) is a medical artist. Basically, her dream is to draw extremely accurate drawings of bodies for medical publications. Interesting, right? Many teens sneak away at night to go to parties or movies, but Bex sneaks away to the hospital to draw cadavers. She’s doing this in the hopes of winning an art scholarship. I love slightly nerdy, unique heroines because they are so accepting and easy to relate to. Bex was so much fun to read about. She’s determined to get what she wants, and pushes back in the face of opposition.

2. Jack is the absolute cutest. He’s immediately interested in Bex, even though she’s not even interested in giving him the time of day. Puking in the bushes after drawing her first cadaver didn’t even chase him away. This is the kind of guy a girl needs. He’s one of San Francisco’s most wanted criminals, and he’s also the mayor’s son. Interesting, right!? He’s a very talented graffiti artist, and when you find out his motivation behind his art you’ll pretty much melt. He admires Bex’s creativity, and they bond over art, family troubles, and the excitement of being rebellious together. They are just way too cute.

3. There’s a lot of heavy themes in this story, that are nicely balanced by the silliness of two teens falling in love. Bex’s dad walked out on his family for another one. Now she and her mom and older brother live in a small place together. Bex’s room is in the dining room and her brother lives in the cement covered basement. They love each other, but have heir problems. Jack’s family has covered up mental illness to protect his dad’s image, and I love the sensitivity and realness of how mental illness is portrayed. Bex and Jack both struggle with life, and have both had to grow up quicker than many other teens. This made their relationship feel deeper to me. They have some of the best banter!

4. The romance is so sweet. In the very beginning neither of them knew much of anything about the other. Jack didn’t even know Bex’s name at first, and got to know her through her online portfolio. Then he stalked her on social media (in a cute, non-creepy way of course), and started strategically bumping into her. Things simmered for a while and built up to something really great. Their feelings felt so real and genuine to me. I love how relentlessly he pursued her.

All in all, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart is a swoony little package of happy. I love this bookish couple, the family dynamics, the unique subject matter, and the feelings. I highly recommend this sweet story to anyone who is looking for a little something different from their contemporary YA.


The Ten Longest Books I’ve Read

Posted October 8, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 45 Comments

This week you get to brag about the longest books you’ve ever read! This can be by page number, by hours and minutes in the audiobook, by days/weeks/months it took you to read it, etc. You choose how you measure “long”. For me, I’m going by page number! I’m not counting textbooks or religious texts in this list. I’m going strictly by the page numbers, and it’ll show up here even if I didn’t like it because I deserve the credit!!

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Cress by Marissa Meyer

What’s the longest book you’ve ever read?


Top Ten Authors I’d Love to Meet

Posted October 1, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 17 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week we get to gush and flail over the authors we’d love to meet! Did any of you have as hard a time narrowing his list down to ten as I did? I’m not even going to explain why I want to meet these authors, because I started to and it just kept coming out, “I LOVE HER!!” So basically, I love all these authors and their books! I want to hug them and get them to sign my copies of all their books!

1. Tracey Garvis-Graves
2. Sarah J. Maas
3. Sarah Morgan
4. Jenna Evans Welch
5. Stephanie Perkins
6. Jenn Bennett
7. Jodi Meadows
8. Tessa Dare
9. Kerri Maniscalco
10. Stephenie Meyer

Have you met any of these authors? Tell me about it!!
Which authors would you love to meet?


Author Interview with Jessica Brody, Author of The Geography of Lost Things

Posted October 1, 2018 by Jana in Author Interview / 5 Comments

I love Jessica Brody, and am so excited I got to interview her to celebrate the release of her newest book, The Geography of Lost Things!


Author Interview with Jessica Brody

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

1. Your bio says you knew you wanted to be a writer from a very young age. What advice would you like to give younger Jessica about life as an author?

Haha. I think I would tell her that inspiration is not a daily occurrence. So many young writers (myself included!) believe that writing is a magical job where you wake up every day feeling inspired and motivated to write. Not. So. Most of my life as a writer is forcing myself to sit down and write even when I’m not inspired. Inspiration is great when it comes but you can’t always rely on it or you’ll never finish anything. I like to say, “Inspiration gets you started. Discipline gets you finished.” So, heed my advice, 7-year-old Jessica! Your writing life isn’t going to be as easy and carefree as it was when you wrote “The Puppy and the Kitty.”

2. You’ve written books in multiple genres, spanning middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction. Which genre(s) is/are the most fun for you to write?

I always say my favorite genre to write is the genre I’m not currently writing. LOL! It’s a classic case of the grass is always greener. When I’m writing a complicated sci-fi epic with futuristic weapons and life or death battles, all I want to do is write a nice, cozy contemporary romance. When I’m writing a nice, cozy, contemporary romance with all sorts of complicated feelings and emotional stakes, all I want to do is write a fun, middle grade comedy where the characters are too young to feel those complicated teen emotions. And round and round it goes! Every story in every genre has its own set of challenges.

3. Which of your books do you see the most of yourself in?

I find a little of myself in all of my novels. I think my characters and I end up sharing a lot of the same fears, insecurities, and shortcomings. For instance, all of my characters, in some way, experience a life lesson of “acceptance.” Accepting things you can’t change, accepting things you have little control over, accepting that sometimes things happen differently than you expected them to. It’s not a coincidence. I’m dealing with that “life lesson” every single day.

4. What’s been your favorite read so far this year?

OOH! The toughest question of them all! I’ll have to go with The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. It’s been on my TBR list for years and I finally got around to it this summer. It’s just magnificent. Beautiful, poetic, charming, uplifting. The kind of book that makes you want to run around hugging strangers. (Just me? Okay, moving on.)

5. What are you up to when you’re not writing?

Mostly, hanging out with my doggies. I have three dogs at home—a golden retriever, a great pyrenees, and a chihuahua—and they are my life. I try to spend as much time with them as I can because I always feel like I’m neglecting them when I’m neck deep in a manuscript.

ABOUT THE BOOK

1. Describe your book in 5 words or less.

Road trip with an ex.

Yikes!

2. What’s your most prized possession?

Each and every one of my books. I’m so proud of all 17 of them! Yes, they’re all different and some gave me more grief than others but I still love them equally. I’ve heard some authors describe their books as their “babies” and it really is true. With every single one you feel like you birthed something into the world.

3. Do you collect any seemingly insignificant objects?

Coffee mugs! I buy one for every book I write and it becomes my “scared totem” for that book. Which is just like me, to have a sacred totem that is completely functional. Because, hey, I need to drink my coffee out of something!

4. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

That not everything is what it seems. People can surprise you. And rarely do you ever know or understand the full story. In short, don’t be so quick to judge. When you let people in, they can surprise the crap out of you.

5. Do you have any fun road trip experiences of your own that you’d like to share?

Fun? Well, this one might be a little more scary, but it ends well. One summer, my mom and I were driving my car home from college on the east coast, and we ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. There was no cell phone reception so we couldn’t call for help. We were completely stranded. Soon, a massive 18-wheeler truck pulled up behind us and a man got out. I could tell my mom was terrified but trying to hold it together for me. The driver asked if we needed help. When we told him we’d run out of gas, he offered to drive us to the nearest gas station to get gas. My mom, being the amazing super woman that she is, said very politely and kindly, “I very much appreciate the offer that but I honestly wouldn’t feel comfortable getting in the car with someone I don’t know.”

The guy could have easily left us stranded. But he didn’t. He smiled and said, “I totally get it. I have sisters and I wouldn’t want them getting into a truck with a strange man either. I’ll go get the gas for you.” He drove off and we were pretty convinced he wasn’t coming back. But then, 30 minutes alter, he pulled up behind us again. This time, he had a gas can full of gas for us. Funny, how I’ve been writing about the “kindness of strangers” for most of my adult life.


The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody
Published by Simon Pulse on October 2, 2018
Genres: Young Adult — Contemporary, Romance
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In this romantic road trip story perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson, a teen girl discovers the value of ordinary objects while learning to forgive her absent father.

After Ali’s father passes away, he leaves his one and only prized possession—a 1968 Firebird convertible—to his daughter. But Ali doesn’t plan on keeping it. Not when it reminds her too much of all her father’s unfulfilled promises. So when she finds a buyer three hundred miles up the Pacific coast willing to pay enough money for the car to save her childhood home, Ali can’t wait to get going. Except Ali has no idea how to drive a stick shift. But guess who does?

Ali’s ex-boyfriend, Nico. And Nico has other plans.

He persuades Ali that instead of selling the car, they should “trade up” the items they collect on their trip to eventually reach the monetary amount Ali needs. Agreeing with Nico’s crazy plan, Ali sets off on a unique adventure that is unlike anything she ever could have expected.

And it’s through Ali’s travels, through the strangers she meets and the things that they value—and why they value them—that Ali eventually comes to understand her father and how his life may not have been as easy and carefree as she previously thought. Because just like the seemingly insignificant objects Ali collects, not everything is exactly as it appears.


About Jessica Brody

Jessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self “publishing” her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples, and electrical tape.

After graduating from Smith College in 2001 where she double majored in Economics and French and minored in Japanese, Jessica later went on to work for MGM Studios as a Manager of Acquisitions and Business Development. In May of 2005, Jessica quit her job to follow her dream of becoming a published author.

Since then, Jessica has sold over fifteen novels for teens, tweens, and adults…

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