Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blog Tour: Q & A with author Chelsey Philpot (Even in Paradise)

Today I am lucky enough to participate in the Even in Paradise blog tour. This is a novel by Chelsey Philpot which I enjoyed very much. (Keep your eyes peeled tomorrow for my review.)

To start here is a summary of the novel from Goodreads.

Charlotte certainly never expects she'll be Julia's friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger-than-life new girl's world- a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia's handsome older brother, Sebastian. But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden... until now. 
When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne's at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator's daughter. Most people do... or they think they do. 

During this blog tour you will see reviews, interviews, guest posts and top ten lists. Fortunately I got to interview the author. Chelsey has a very kind heart and helped me out a jam when my naughty puppy knocked my friend's signed ARC into the bathtub. Did I mention it was signed? I was super impressed. Anyhow if you'd like to know a little more than that here is her bio:

Chelsey Philpot grew up on a farm in New Hampshire and now works as an editor and journalist. She's written for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Slate, and numerous other publications. Like her main character, Charlotte, Chelsey attended boarding school in New England. You can visit her online at or on Twitter @ChelseyPhilpot

Now, without further ado, here is my interview with this wonderfully kind writer of incredible things.

1. What inspired you to write this story?
The long answer to this question is a series of rambling thoughts that I may never fuse into a cohesive whole. The short answer is this: EIP was inspired by Great Gatsby, Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, and the realization that it’s possible to fall in love with an entire family.

2. Which character do you relate to most?
I would have to say that I relate most to Julia and Charlie both. Like Julia, I can be impulsive (I recently went skydiving on a Tuesday morning just because I’d never been), but like Charlie I am a listener, an observer, a solver of problems. Charlie could look at what most people would call a mess of junk and imagine how it could be turned into art. I look at a mess of thoughts, fragments, images, and ideas and imagine how they could become a story.

3. What are some of your favourite books/authors?
Growing up, I adored Roald Dahl to the point of obsession. Today, I admire and am inspired by too many authors to mention. However, I can say that Ralph Waldo Emerson has been a constant love.
In high school, I carried a hardcover collection of his essay on a backpacking trip through Maine’s 100 Hundred Mile Wilderness, and in college I wrote my senior thesis on how Emerson’s philosophy has been appropriated and falsely interpreted by self-help books. I worked as a waitress the summer before my senior year, and I’d bring a self-help title in to research during slow shifts. I’m pretty sure my coworkers were worried that I was secretly unhinged because I had a new book every few days.

4. When you're not writing what do you love doing?
I have always had a hard time being still (quite the predicament for someone whose career requires her to be at a desk much of the time), so when I’m not writing I need to be moving. I walk everywhere. Swim from May to October. I love mucking about on my parents’ farm, visiting the latest collection of animals. I hike. I travel. And I go out dancing whenever I can. I figure, that if I’m very good in this life, maybe I’ll come back as a ballerina in the next one.

5. What is your bookish pet peeve?
Censorship. I was lucky to grow up reading what I wanted to read. If a book was too mature for me, well then most of the content went over my head. That I had the option to read freely and widely is why I am who I am today. Books help us develop imaginations.

I love these answers! A HUGE thank you to Chelsey for answering them. I really appreciate it.

Even in Paradise was out last week on the 14th of October. Go out and pick up a copy today.
You can also buy a signed copy through River Run Bookstore.

Also, don't forget to check out the rest of the blogs on the tour:

October 13th: Kathy - A Glass Of Wine - Interview
October 14th: Siobhan - Conversations Of A Reading Addict - Review
October 15th: Emilie - Emilie’s Book World - Guest Post
October 16th: Ambur - Burning Impossibly Bright - Review
October 17th: Lily -  Lily’s Book Blog - Interview/Character Interview
October 20th: Shilpa - SukasaReads - Review
October 21st: Sabrina - Hiver et Café - Top 5 or 10
October 22nd: Meaghan -  Feeling A Little Bookish - Interview/Character Interview
October 23rd: Ciara - Lost At Midnight Reviews -  Review
October 24th: Jess - Read My Breath Away - Review

Happy Reading!

Waiting on Wednesday: Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.  Here is my pick this week:

Publisher: The Dial Press
Publishing Date: October 21st, 2014
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Pages: 400 pgs
ISBN: 9780812993868

Summary from Goodreads:
Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) has stars in her eyes. She and her daughter, Minnie, have joined husband Luke in LA—city of herbal smoothies, multimillion-dollar yoga retreats, and the lure of celebrity. Luke is there to help manage the career of famous actress Sage Seymour—and Becky is convinced she is destined to be Sage’s personal stylist, and go from there to every A-list celebrity in Hollywood! But things become complicated when Becky joins the team of Sage’s archrival. How will charming and supportive Luke deal with this conflict? Is it possible that what Becky wants most will end up hurting those she loves most? Shopaholic fans old and new will devour Sophie Kinsella’s newest adventure!

I'm happy to see a new Shopaholic book. While I like her stand alone novels better, there's just something hilariously refreshing about Becky Bloomwood-Brandon.

Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.  Here is my pick this week:

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publishing Date: October 21st, 2014
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 416 pgs
ISBN: 9780545424967

Summary from Goodreads:
The third installment in the mesmerizing series from the irrepressible, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

This is my favourite YA series to date. Stiefvater is a genius and if you haven't started this series yet please do! This is the third in the series. 

Happy Reading! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.  Here is my pick this week:

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publishing Date: October 14th, 2014
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Pages: 416 pgs
ISBN: 9780345544926

Summary from Goodreads:
Throughout her blockbuster career, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult has seamlessly blended nuanced characters, riveting plots, and rich prose, brilliantly creating stories that “not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us” (The Boston Globe). Now, in her highly anticipated new book, she has delivered her most affecting novel yet—and one unlike anything she’s written before.

For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe that she would be abandoned as a young child, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts.

Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons—only to later doubt her gifts. The second is Virgil Stanhope, a jaded private detective who originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers.

As Jenna’s memories dovetail with the events in her mother’s journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.
Jodi Picoult is an auto-buy for me. I know some people don't like her writing style but I have no complaints. 

Happy Reading! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My October TBR- a little late

Well I decided to try my hand at an October TBR and it's a vlog to boot. Let me know what you think!

Happy Reading.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

ARC Review: Beauty of the Broken by Tawni Waters

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: September 30th, 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 368 pgs
ISBN: 9781481407090
Source: Received for an honest review from the publisher

Summary from Goodreads:
In this lyrical, heartwrenching story about a forbidden first love, a teen seeks the courage to care for another girl despite her small town’s bigotry and her father’s violent threats.

Growing up in conservative small-town New Mexico, fifteen-year-old Mara was never given the choice to be different. Her parents—an abusive, close-minded father and a detached alcoholic mother—raised Mara to be like all the other girls in Barnaby: God-fearing, churchgoing, and straight. Mara wants nothing to do with any of it. She feels most at home with her best friend and older brother, Iggy, but Iggy hasn’t been the same since their father beat him and put him in the hospital with a concussion.

As Mara’s mother feeds her denial with bourbon and Iggy struggles with his own demons, Mara finds an escape with her classmate Xylia. A San Francisco transplant, Xylia is everything Mara dreams of being: free-spirited, open, wild. The closer Mara and Xylia become, the more Mara feels for her—even though their growing relationship is very much forbidden in Barnaby. Just as Mara begins to live a life she’s only imagined, the girls’ secret is threatened with exposure and Mara’s world is thrown into chaos.

Mara knows she can't live without Xylia, but can she live with an entire town who believes she is an abomination worse than the gravest sin?

My Review: 

I remember being excited to read this book. I haven't written my review for quite some time because I'm conflicted about it. The premise of this story is a girl who lives with an alcoholic abusive father. He has seriously hurt her brother to the point where he has an acquired brain injury. During all this the protagonist is dealing with the fact that she is attracted to women.
This storyline was guaranteed to be a win for me. As depressing as it may be, I really like reading abuse stories and I also love LGBT stories. Well I have to say that the book was a win for me for most of the story. I felt so much for Mara and her brother and I hated the parents for so many reasons. I felt outraged by the way the mother cowered to her husband, allowing abuse to take place. I wanted to smack the father upside the head for the way he treated his children. I wished I could have taken Mara and her brother in and take care of them.
I liked reading about Mara exploring her sexuality and really trying to come into her own in an oppressive setting. Her struggle is real and many people have to face it, unfortunately.
All of these positives were slightly ruined by the ending. I don't want to spoil anything so if you don't want to know then don't read this part....

*** SPOILER ****

.... but the end of was so depressing! Nothing was cleared up and I just felt a sense of doom over the whole thing. I would much prefer a struggle that leads to something positive. I know that the world is not all rainbows and unicorns but I'd like to think that hope should have been alive a bit.
Blah! End rant.


So as you can see I am torn in how I feel about it. I liked most of the book so does the part that I didn't like cancel out the good? Have you ever read a book like that? If so, which ones? I'm curious. I don't even want to say whether or not I'd recommend it; I'm too on the fence about the whole thing.
Try at your own risk is what I guess I'd say.  


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it is a weekly feature where bloggers share what they are excited to read next.  Here is my pick this week:

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publishing Date: October 7th, 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary, GLBT theme
Pages: 304 pgs
ISBN: 9781616202842

Summary from Goodreads:
High-school junior Leila has made it most of the way through Armstead Academy without having a crush on anyone, which is something of a relief. Her Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates; if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a sophisticated, beautiful new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual. Struggling to sort out her growing feelings and Saskia's confusing signals, Leila confides in her old friend, Lisa, and grows closer to her fellow drama tech-crew members, especially Tomas, whose comments about his own sexuality are frank, funny, wise, and sometimes painful. Gradually, Leila begins to see that almost all her classmates are more complicated than they first appear to be, and many are keeping fascinating secrets of their own.
I still have If You Could Be Mine on my TBR shelf but I plan to rectify that ASAP. This book sounds awesome. Can't wait! 

Happy Reading!