Week in Review: August 30

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

I’m still hosting a big giveaway for my blog’s eighth birthday too!

I’m kind of over August at this point. The last half has been loooooong. This week was super busy with work stuff and rather bittersweet as it was time to say goodbye to my teen volunteers who really grew on me. It was so fun working with them and I learned a lot.

This week I started reading Walk on Earth a Stranger. Enjoying it so far.

I also got a new refillable notebook that I love:

That’s about it. Just lots of organizing and cleaning and being introspective about things I can’t blog about.

If you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my August Reading Tracker.

How was your week?

Author Interview: Erin Bowman on Vengeance Road

Erin Bowman is here today to talk about her latest novel Vengeance Road–a historical Western about lost gold, murder, and one girl’s quest for revenge.

Miss Print (MP): What was the inspiration for Vengeance Road?

Erin Bowman (EB): Vengeance Road is inspired by the legend of the Lost Dutchman, which is a gold mine supposedly hidden in the Superstition Mountains, east of Phoenix, Arizona. My husband (who has family in the area) was telling me about the legend one night and my muse exploded. I saw a girl out for revenge; so driven and stubborn in her need for vengeance that she willingly entangles herself in a gang’s quest for gold. (And yes, you guessed it: that gold lies deep within the Superstitions.)

MP: This book is set in 1877 in the Arizona territory. How did you choose this historical era? How did you find historical details and choose which ones to include in your story?

EB: Much of Lost Dutchman lore is tied to Jacob Waltz, a German immigrant who died in 1891 and supposedly provided maps to the mine to his caregiver. After his passing, knowledge of the mine became more public and the number of people entering the Superstitions in search of it increased. I wanted to set Kate’s story prior to this, mainly so that I could have her cross paths with Waltz, and in turn, become another “what if” piece of the Lost Dutchman legend.

I did a lot of research for this book, reading everything from books on cowboy culture and mining, to scouring historical atlases. Online archives available through museums, historical societies, and the US Historical Archives were also extremely helpful. As for what made it into Vengeance Road? Simply put, only the details that needed to be there and felt natural to Kate’s story. In a lot of ways, I think writing historical fiction is like writing fantasy. The writer needs to know All The Details in order to be sure the world makes sense and is fully realized, but if all those details went on the page, the reader would be bored and overwhelmed.

MP: Working off the last question, Vengeance Road features a mix of real and imagined (or no longer existing) locations as Kate tries to track down the men who murdered her father. Did any real locations help you envision Kate’s journey and the places she encounters along the way?

EB: Yes! I actually took a trip to Arizona and did some hiking in the Superstitions. I wanted to make sure I was really capturing the ferocity of the land. I had a notebook with me, and spent a lot of the hike jotting down notes about the flora and fauna, the sounds and smells, the oppressive heat, etc.

MP: Did you have a favorite character to write in Vengeance Road? Is there any character you are particularly excited for readers to meet?

EB: I always feel like I’m cheating when I answer questions like this with my main character, but I’m going to do it again! Kate is my favorite. She is so brave and independent (sometimes to a fault), and her character was so much fun to write. I especially love that while she’s just as tough at the end of the novel, she also emerges with a softer side, too. I’m really excited for readers to meet her.

MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project? Will we be seeing more historical fiction from you?

EB: I hope so! I’m currently playing around with an idea for a Vengeance Road companion novel. It’s set ten years after VR, but features new main characters and a different storyline. Nothing’s official yet, but fingers crossed! And I have a bunch of other WIPs on my computer as well, ranging from contemporary to sci-fi!

MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?

EB: Dissect everything you read and watch. What do you love? What do you hate? Apply that to your own writing. And then, of course, the age-old advice: Read a lot and write a lot and don’t give up. Every writer faced his/her share of “no”s before getting published, and it only takes one “yes.”

Thanks again to Erin for taking time from her busy schedule to participate in this interview.

You can see more about Erin and her books on her website.

You can also read my review of Vengeance Road here on the blog.

Vengeance Road: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“If you think you can’t do something, you won’t. If you believe you can, it’s only a matter of time before you will.”

Vengeance Road by Erin BowmanKate Thompson’s father is killed by the treacherous Rose Riders for a journal that reveals the location of a hidden gold mine. Desperate for justice and her own share of revenge, Kate sets out after her father’s murderers.

But the Arizona territory is not hospitable to strangers in 1877, or eighteen-year-old girls, so Kate disguises herself as a boy before following the Rose Riders’ trail. On the road to vengeance she finds deception, betrayal and two brothers she who refuse to let her finish her ride alone.

As Kate gets closer to the Rose Riders and the truth about her father’s murder, she will have to decide if getting her revenge is worth losing herself in Vengeance Road (2015) by Erin Bowman.

Vengeance Road is a fast-paced western adventure that follows Kate as she struggles to get revenge. The novel is written in Kate’s dialect as she narrates the story. Her voice has a twang and verve that immediately brings the old west landscape to life.

Bowman provides evocative descriptions of mining towns, saloons and riding on through the plains to help bring Kate’s journey to vivid life. The addition of real historical figures and an author’s note detailing the inspiration for certain aspects of the story help to flesh out the story even further.

Kate is a tough-talking, no-nonsense heroine. Her singular focus on revenge ensures that Vengeance Road is an action-heavy story with a clear destination. While there is a romance subplot, it is very much secondary to Kate’s quest for justice.

Throughout the novel, Kate spends a lot of time on her. Although she is not the most introspective character, this solitude does give Kate the opportunity to contemplate what getting revenge will entail and what it might cost her in the end.

Unexpected twists and surprising reveals in the final act of this novel make Vengeance Road a page-turning adventure. Kate’s quiet and unique voice make Vengeance Road a novel to ponder and savor.

Possible Pairings: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson, Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen, No Surrender Solider by Christine Kohler, Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee, Twist of Gold by Michael Morpurgo, Daugther of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan, Montmorency by Eleanor Updale

*A copy this book was acquired from the publisher for review consideration at BEA 2015*

Boys of Summer Featuring Miss Print

missprint:

I have a guest post over at Nicole the Book Bandit’s blog today. Check it out to see some of my favorite summery fantasy reads.

Originally posted on The BookBandit Blog:

BoysOfSummer

(The above image was created by me via PicMonkey for the purpose of these posts)

Hello Readers!

I know, I know …. it’s been some time since I posted a Boys of Summer post. Somehow summer got away from me – I do apologize.

But I’m finishing off the summer with a bang (I promise). Today I’m featuring, not only a fellow blogger, but also my real life BFF Emma, aka Miss Print (who, let’s be honest is no stranger to the BookBandit Blog!)

Emma has put together a great post, and I’m super excited for all of you to read it. It’s definitely a list for all of your fantasy loving hearts!

***

Romantic Fantasies to Read this Summer

Everyone loves a romantic story. Here are ten of my favorite fantasy ones (and a couple of sci-fi stories too) to help you kick back this summer and get in…

View original 1,017 more words

The Shadow Behind the Stars: A Review

The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca HahnChloe is the youngest of the three sisters who spin the world. Her fingers choose the wool, spin the thread, and begin each life. Motherly Serena guides the thread and marks the end. Xinot, the oldest, slices each thread with a snap of her shears.

When a girl appears at their door asking to understand her disastrous fate, the sisters have nothing to say. Serena casts a spell meant to ease the girl’s pain before sending her away. Instead, the spell begins a series of events that will bring about the end of the world in The Shadow Behind the Stars (2015) by Rebecca Hahn.

This sophomore novel from Hahn takes readers on a strange and wondrous course through questions of fate and free will as the narrator and her sisters embark on a journey with the potential to change the very foundation of existence.

Written in second person as Chloe tells her story to us mere mortals, this evocative and descriptive novel is timeless beyond the assumed ancient Greek setting (although all of the characters have names with Greek origins, Hahn avoids delving into retelling any familiar myths instead giving these characters entirely new plots).

A unique voice and mythology-tinged writing give this quiet book some punch and offer a few surprising revelations for the three sisters. Hahn expertly tackles the power of belief and choice in this thoughtful and introspective work. Strong characters and intricate prose help to mitigate a plot that is often slow and narrowly focused (with insights about the human condition that may seem obvious to older readers).

The Shadow Behind the Stars is a unique and often literary tale that will appeal to those interested in mythology, fate, and philosophy.

Possible Pairings: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow, Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers,, Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little, All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry, Soundless by Richelle Mead, Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

*A more condensed version of this review appeared in the July 2015 issue of School Library Journal from which it can be seen on various sites online as a Starred Review*

Week in Review: August 23

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

I’m still hosting a big giveaway for my blog’s eight birthday too!

I spent this weekend baking so this post is a little late going up.

This week was good. I’m wrapping up stuff with my teen volunteers this coming week so I’ve been ironing out details for that (the baking is for their farewell party). Not much else to report.

I’ve made a remarkable dent in my BEA books but I still have a big stack of September releases that I’m not going to get to before they’re out. Oh well. I have been prioritizing ARCs this month but really need to start rotating types of reads again to get more review titles and committee titles done.

If you want to see how my month in reading is shaking out be sure to check out my August Reading Tracker.

How was your week?

Let’s Talk: When do YOU read reviews?

A lot of times I read books well before the publication date because they are ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) or well after because I do what I want. Sometimes even when I am at a launch party for a book, it’s either something I read before the event or something I won’t get to for months (or ever depending on the book–I know, I’m the worst).

Anyway, that wasn’t the case with P. S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han. Nicole and I went to the launch party for this book (I am a superfan of this series) but because BEA started the next day, I didn’t get to reading it until a couple of weeks later.

During that gap between my getting the book and my reading it, I noticed something interesting. I didn’t want to read reviews of it. I knew I would be reading the book in the very near future so when a blog I read posted a review, I would make note and save it for later. I did same the same thing while reading the book.

Once the book was finished and my review was written, I went on a commenting blitz finally reading all of those reviews and generally flailing about John Ambrose McClaren the book.

So my basic question here for readers/bloggers is When do you read reviews? Do you read reviews of books you know you will be reading soon? Do you read reviews before or after you have written your own review of the book?

For me, I’ll read reviews before I read (which is why spoiler warnings matter!) or after. I will read reviews while writing my own review or before or once it’s written. The only deterrent I recently discovered is that I don’t want to read a review of a book while I’m reading it or when I will be starting it in the next few days (unless I’m reluctant to read it and then I’ll read them to pre-game).

So, let’s talk in the comments: When do you read reviews?