Monday, August 22, 2016

Interview and Cover Reveal: Audrey Greathouse, author of THE NEVERLAND WARS

Today I'm doing something I haven't done in a while: hosting an interview!  I'm so happy to have the lovely Audrey Greathouse on the blog today.  She wrote THE NEVERLAND WARS, a retelling of PETER PAN, and its sequel, which you will hear about more below...


Welcome to Yearning to Read, Audrey!

1. To start off, can you give us five fun facts about yourself?
  1. I've done a polysomnogram before. 
  2. I got my start as an author dealing self-published books out of my high school locker.
  3. Aside from novels, I also write and host murder mystery parties for some of my oldest friends. This year will be our seventh annual party!
  4. I'm huge fan of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and used to be in a shadow cast.
  5. I organized my high school's senior prank—a frozen flash mob that had all seen the school's basilisk. We wore our graduation/WIZARDING robes, wrote on the bathroom mirrors, draped a stuffed snake over the stalls, and hid a recording of "moaning myrtle" that played on loop.

2. What are your favorite things about the original Peter Pan story?
Hands down, Peter and Wendy's friendship. They are incredibly sweet together, and in a beautiful way that I think often gets lost in relationships as we get older. They clearly share this tremendous bond and play father and mother to each other while they pretend the lost boys are their children, but it is all in this really platonic, friendly way. Too few people and stories put value on intimate friendships. Sometimes someone feels like your other half or the greatest emotional influence in your life even though you're “just” friends. That said, I'm a huge fan of fairies and flying. Swings were always my favorite at the playground, and lots of days I still daydream about flying away.
3. Every writer has a favorite part of the process: outlining, drafting, editing, procrastinating, etc. What's yours?
That's a tough question! Few things compete with drafting when you're in the zone, but outlining really is my favorite part...which is why I spend so much more time on it than anything else! I like to produce really clean first drafts, and mull over an idea for months or years before I even start writing it. Once the idea stops changing in my head, that's when I know I'm ready to put it on paper. I had the idea for The Neverland Wars and wrote out a broad outline for the series in the fall of 2010...I didn't start drafting it until three years later!
4. Who is your favorite character you've created? Who would you choose as a best friend?
Those are two very different questions! Lasiandra and the mermaids are my favorite characters, but I think they'd make pretty dangerous friends. I still don't know if I should trust them or not. If I had to pick a best friend, I'd want Jay. He's got a level head on his shoulders and is pretty laid back...something I've always looked for in a friend, because I'm so high-strung! Jay is a jack of all trades and very comfortable inhabiting middle grounds, unlike Gwen. I think that confidence and self-assured nature is an admirable trait, especially in young/new adults who have so much else going on in our heads.
5. I know from personal experience that writers pour themselves into their characters to make them come alive. How are you like your main character Gwen? Which character in THE NEVERLAND WARS are you most like?
Gwen and I share a lot of aesthetic similarities. I wore a lot of weird dresses I got from thrift stores as a teenager, and never bothered with make-up. I feel like there's a few girls who buck the trends and genuinely don't care at every school, so I wanted to write that as close to my own honest experience as I could, so those other girls would be able to connect with Gwen. I'm definitely more like Gwen than any other character in The Neverland Wars. Key differences include that I'm not nearly as good at oral storytelling, have a rowdy little brother instead of a sister, and am not nearly as conflicted.
6. Would you want to live forever in Neverland? Or would you want to stay on earth and live one lifetime?
I'd head to Neverland in an instant. A tropical paradise where time doesn't exist sounds like the perfect cure for the anxiety-blob that is adulthood. I was acutely aware of this even as a kid, and spent years leaving my window open at night, hoping Peter Pan might come for me. There's a lot to recommend adulthood and a lot of fun in it, but you have to work so much harder to stay present and survive in it. Sign me up for the next flight to the mermaid's lagoon. I love Gwen, but if she thinks she might want to grow up after all...I think she's nuts.
7. How has being published changed your life?
It's introduced a completely new type crushing existential doubt into my life, which I've been trying to fill by becoming a workaholic, hahahaha. Neverland is looking as nice as ever. I was twelve when I drafted my first book, and I've wanted to be a writer ever since. I didn't really expect it to manifest this soon, and now there's this strange sense of “what now?” After all, what do you do once you've reached your life goal? It's been hard figuring out how to balance the marketing/publishing aspects of my career and everything else in my life. It's funny... I didn't think being published was something I would have to learn how to enjoy! Now that I am learning, though, it really is the best feeling.
8. If James Barrie were alive.....is there anything you'd want to tell or ask him? Would you want him to read THE NEVERLAND WARS?
Oh goodness, I'd be way too embarrassed for him to read The Neverland Wars. The book focuses on teenage years instead of grade school years, and addresses so many issues I think are unique to modern life and the culture that has been born out of the technological advancements of this century. Not to mention that my writing is crumbs and crackers compared to his literary vision.
I really don't think I'd have anything to ask him, either. He left behind a beautiful story that in so many ways speaks for itself. I'd be curious to hear about the Davies boys, though, and just how much the real Peter, Michael, and George resembled the characters he created for his play and novel.
I don't know about you guys, but I absolutely adore Audrey's answers. Here are the cover and blurb for THE NEVERLAND WARS (book 1), which sounds totally awesome!  (I didn't have time to read it before the interview but it's at the very top of my list.)

Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That's what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.
However, Gwen doesn't know this. She's just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn't know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she'll discover she's in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.
She'll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won't be the only one. Peter Pan's constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she's going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she's going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.

If you want to read this (come on, you know you do!) it's available right now - for only 4 more days - for $.99!

You can find THE NEVERLAND WARS for purchase on Amazon and add it to your TBR here on Goodreads.  You can also join Audrey (and hopefully me!) on Twitter to discuss TNW and the sequel, THE PIPER'S PRICE...


Speaking of THE PIPER'S PRICE....are you guys ready to see this gorgeous cover??  I think you are.

Peter is plotting his retaliation against the latest bombing. Neverland needs an army, and Peter Pan is certain children will join him once they know what is at stake. The lost boys and girls are planning an invasion in suburbia to recruit, but in order to deliver their message, they will need the help of an old and dangerous associate—the infamous Pied Piper.
Hunting him down will require a spy in in the real world, and Gwen soon finds herself in charge of locating the Piper and cutting an uncertain deal with him. She isn't sure if Peter trusts her that much, or if he's just trying to keep her away from him in Neverland. Are they friends, or just allies? But Peter might not even matter now that she's nearly home and meeting with Jay again.
The Piper isn't the only one hiding from the adults' war on magic though, and when Gwen goes back to reality, she'll have to confront one of Peter's oldest friends… and one of his earliest enemies.


UM, HELLO THERE GORGEOUS.  I need this pretty purple in my life.  (The cover links to its Goodreads page.)  It releases in February of 2017.  I can't wait to read it already...

Thanks for stopping by and reading.  Give Audrey some comment love below and definitely follow her on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook while you're at it.  She's awesome!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry





This book is a little piece of home for me.

Which is funny, considering it takes place halfway across the country and doesn't really have much to do with my life.  After all, I haven't had visions of Grandmother every morning, when she tells me cryptic things and stories about creation and magic.

But books aren't beloved because they're all about what has happened to you.  They're beloved because soul.  Because that place inside of you that resonates so deeply with an idea or statement or Truth or kind of love, even if you haven't experienced the plot firsthand.  Even if you don't battle dragons (or ride them) or fall in love with the boy next door or go to school abroad.  You just...connect.

That's what TLTSTW is to me.

Of course, that being said, there were little things in it that relate to me and my life: I'm an INFJ and so is Nat, and her dad reminded me so much of my own dad.  These facts only made the book more dear to me.  And definitely added to what tethers my soul to this book.

And I'm serious when I say I loved everything about it.

  • First off: EMILY HENRY'S WRITING IS A GIFT FROM GOD.  That is all I can even say about it because ????? What are words, even???? 
  • The plot is glorious and complicated and crazy.  It blew my mind.  You might have to read the last pages two times but that's only because they're brilliant and a;lksdjf;laskdjf;lkasjdf *fangirling overload*
  • The story is incredible, about sacrifice and all kinds of love and magic in the little things and mystery in the big things and believing even when it's hard and living your life for love. DO YOU NEED ANY OTHER REASON TO READ THIS BOOK???
  • And the characters....oh they were delightful.  They were rich and easy to relate to, and there were so many realistic hardships woven into the magic that I couldn't help but feel for everyone, even when some people made terrible mistakes.
  • The romance went a little fast for me at first, but because of the magic and amazing character development, I was able to let it slide easily.  And their chemistry was SO STRONG.  Like, yes please.  Give me Beau.  I want him.  I love him.  LET ME LOVE HIM.

So, if you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend you do that.  Buy it at Barnes and Noble or Amazon or The Book Depository and cry over its perfection like I did.  If this review resonates with you, and you like magical realism and strange happenings and hot summer nostalgia, then you will love the book.  I promise.  And if you're not sold yet (or even if you are), go follow Emily on Twitter because she rocks and you will not regret her wit and humor.

SYNOPSIS

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves. 

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start... until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.
CONTENT

Some brief, strong language and kissing.  Recommended 15+

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab


Buckle up, you guys, because this review is about to get deep.  Why?  This Savage Song is deep.  Like.  THIS BOOK.  Oh wow, seriously, it is gorgeous.  I've loved Victoria Schwab for a while, liked her for even longer, and I'm so happy to be a part of pushing her books on everyone else, because they are just so beautiful.

Now, before I get to the good stuff, I did have a few issues.  The beginning, while entirely enjoyable, is a little confusing.  I'm not the only one who felt this way, either, according to a few of my friends who also read ARCs.  There was a lot going on but not a whole lot of information to fill in the gaps.  The characters, who were great independently, had choppy interactions with family members and friends.  A lot of things went unsaid that I felt needed to be said.  My biggest problem with this is that thought never changed.  Usually when an author withholds information from you, they're doing it for a really really excellent reason.  But I felt like all of these things could have at least been hinted at earlier in the novel to give some clarity, and then further discussed later.

EVEN SO

Once I got passed the 200 page mark, a lot of things fell into place.  And I loved what I read.  A 3-star beginning suddenly veered into a 5-star ending, and for me that's the difference between "forgettable" and "incredible".  Which is a big deal for me, personally.  But this book really caught me and MADE ME FEEL DEEPLY.  POWERFULLY.

There are so many themes in this book.  Love, loyalty, true friendship - among other things.  Oh, and THERE IS NO ROMANCE, which gives page time to all the other stuff we don't get as often as romance.  Not that romance isn't amazing - I'm obviously a sucker for all kinds of love stories and I obsess over book boyfriends - but it is nice to see the focus on things that are equally important.  Especially in a world of monsters.  Especially where your brother, sister, father, mother, sibling, best friend could turn on you, could become a thing, a creature, you don't recognize.

Everything happening led up to an epic ending, with so much running and fear and terrifying life-threatening encounters.  These characters were stripped down to their bare selves and forced to confront the ugly, and it was really really beautiful.  Harsh, like the dystopian world they live in, but wow.  It was what made me love the book as much as I did at the end.

And the involvement of music.  You guys.  My heart broke a little over how much I loved that.  August's character arc and his connection to music really dug deep for me.

So yes, I liked the action and adventure and world building and the monster system Schwab created and the politics.  It was all utterly fascinating.  But all that took a backseat when I really felt a powerful connection between the characters, and I felt their trials on a personal level.  Their hardships were mine; their scars were mine; their futures were mine.  And that's what makes this book so excellent and so very worthy of reading.

To conclude, if you haven't bought a copy yet, I recommend you do so immediately.  Read this book, and love it, and make sure you thank Victoria for writing it.  She deserves all the love.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | Wordery

SYNOPSIS

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
CONTENT

Some brief, strong language.  Recommended 13+

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mini Review: Also Known As by Robin Benway


It's been a while since I read this book, but I honestly keep thinking back to it and how cute it was!  I loved Maggie the whole time.  Her voice was so distinct and adorable and easy to relate to.  She was awkward and normal and I just adored that about her.  She was also smart....and smart girls in fiction are my kind of girls!

So there was mystery and intrigue, and it was all well done...but there was romance, too!  (And we all know I'm a romance lover.)  It was all so cute and happy and squeal-y.  I remember there was one scene were I kind of rolled my eyes (I don't even remember what it was at this point, so it must have been relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things) but for the most part I was swooning!

I genuinely enjoyed this book and the spy action it brought to my life, so I will definitely be continuing on to the second book, GOING ROGUE.  I also adore Robin.  I met her at a Sarah J Maas event two years ago and she was such a dream to talk to!  Very encouraging and lovely.  I highly recommend reading her books if you want something light and funny and sweet.
SYNOPSIS

Which is more dangerous: being an international spy... or surviving high school?

Maggie Silver has never minded her unusual life. Cracking safes for the world's premier spy organization and traveling the world with her insanely cool parents definitely beat high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. (If it's three digits, why bother locking it at all?)

But when Maggie and her parents are sent to New York City for her first solo assignment, her world is transformed. Suddenly, she's attending a private school with hundreds of "mean girl" wannabes, trying to avoid the temptation to hack the school's elementary security system, and working to befriend the aggravatingly cute son of a potential national security threat... all while trying not to blow her cover.

From the hilarious and poignant author of Audrey, Wait! comes a fast-paced caper that proves that even the world's greatest spies don't have a mission plan for love.
 
CONTENT

Totally clean!


Monday, February 15, 2016

CELEBRATE 500 GIVEAWAY (INT)

GUYS GUESS WHAT

YEARNING TO READ NOW HAS 500 GFC FOLLOWERS

AND 1,000 TWITTER FOLLOWERS

THIS IS SUCH EXCEPTIONAL NEWS AND I JUST

*FLAILS*

*RUNS AROUND*

*FLAILS SOME MORE*

So of course because I love you guys so much, I want to host a giveaway.  There will be two winners, and each will get to choose a 2016 release from Amazon or TBD.  Giveaway is INT!

Two rules:
1. You must be 13+ to enter
and
2.  You must follow Yearning to Read via GFC or email.  I will be checking so make sure to choose one or both of the options in the Rafflecopter form below!

Ready for this, dudes??  Look at all these books that you could possibly win (and even more than this)!!!  (These are just some of my favorite covers of the year so far.  Aren't they delicious??)


So go on, my pretties, and enter the lovely giveaway!  I love you all!!
XOXO

  a Rafflecopter giveaway