The Raven Boys: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

The Raven Boys by Maggie StiefvaterBlue’s family trades in predictions that range from the non-specific to, for Blue, the very explicit warning that she will kill her first love.

That’s never been a problem since Blue doesn’t believe in love or much care for boys, particularly the so-called raven boys from the Anglionby school who walk around her small town like they own it.

As the only non-clairvoyant in her family, every year Blue takes down the names of souls she cannot see on the corpse road while her family watches them pass. Every year is the same.

Except this year Blue does see something.

There are only two reasons Blue would see a boy clearly enough on the corpse road to make out the Anglionby crest on his sweater; only two reasons he would tell her his name is Gansey: Blue is either his true love. Or she is going to kill him.

Gansey wears his raven boy persona easily, using his wealth and prestige to get what he wants–and needs–to search for something even his closest friends sometimes doubt is real.

Charming and determined, it’s as easy for Blue to become caught up in his world as it was for Gansey’s other friends: Adam, a scholarship student struggling to navigate Anglionby on his own terms; Ronan, sharp, bitter and determined to keep the world at arm’s length; and Noah, the quiet observer who sees a great many things but shares very little.

As Blue and these improbable raven boys find each other things start changing for them and their small town. Together they could unearth untold magic and power, as long as they can find it first–and control it–in The Raven Boys (2012) by Maggie Stiefvater.

Find it on Bookshop.

The Raven Boys is the first book in the four book Raven Cycle.

With such varied characters and a sweeping story, it’s hard to summarize or review a book like The Raven Boys. As she did in her Printz honor title The Scorpio Races, Stiefvater once again presents a new world with a fascinating take on mythology that is all its own.

Stiefvater creates a varied cast with characters ranging from calculating to naive, from prickly to endearing–often at the same time. With so many brilliantly dimensional characters it’s hard to pick a favorite, or even a star*, in The Raven Boys as Stiefvater expertly allows each character their chance in the spotlight.

Being the first book in a series there are, of course, unanswered questions at the end of The Raven Boys along with some tantalizing hints of things to come later in the series. While the lack of resolution is frustrating at times, Stiefvater’s characters and intricate writing guarantee readers will want to come back for the next installment in her Raven Cycle.

*That’s a lie. Blue and Gansey are definitely my favorites of all time–I want to be Blue and befriend Gansey. Though in all fairness I really do mean it when I say all of the characters have their moments in this fantastic ensemble cast.

Possible Pairings: Loop by Karen Akins, The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert, Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan, Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis, The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Clarity by Kim Harrington, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix, It Wasn’t Always Like This by Joy Preble, The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski, The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton, Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin, Pivot Point by Kasie West, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012*

Exclusive Bonus Content: In case you had any lingering doubts that Maggie is brilliant, be sure to check out the trailer she made for The Raven Boys. And by “made” I mean she did the art, animated it, wrote and performed the music and put the whole thing together.

In which I talk about my really good week

Readers! It has been very hard to find time of late to work on blog things as reality-based things take precedent. That said, I did want to take a moment to talk about some fun things that happened this week (in no particular order):

  • Many of my most highly anticipated books came out last week (on the same day) and I’m excited to see everyone’s thoughts on them.
  • I reviewed one of my most-anticipated 2012 titles (Because It Is My Blood) and I have a great interview to share with you from the author, Gabrielle Zevin who always sounds really smart. (It’s really hard to review a second book in a four-book series and it’s really hard to interview an author about a second book. That said, I’m really pleased with both and the process of setting them to upload here also reminded me why I love the series and talking about it. (Also I have a link to an excerpt from the audiobook in both posts thanks to Macmillan Audio!)
  • I got to see Maggie Stiefvater and David Levithan at a signing with a friend. It was a lot of fun and I was able to get some books signed (of course). (Side note: I think I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I’m a book hoarder.)
  • I’ve started making a lot of book sculptures (more on that later).
  • I created a new blog called Miss Print Book Club in the hopes of revamping my online book club. (If there is something I could do to make you an active book club member, let me know!) Obviously this is in early days, but it’s coming.
  • I discovered that WordPress has a reader feature which I can use to follow all of the blogs I read and, guys, it’s kind of life changing.
  • I can finally tell all of you that I am once again a Cybils Judge! I’ll be serving as a Round 2 judge for YA Science Fiction and Fantasy. While I loved taking part in the YA Fiction judging last year, I’m super excited to be back in the realms of fantasy and science fiction as fantasy will always have my heart. You can see the original announcement of all of the SFF judges (there are a lot of us!) on the Cybils blog. And, of course, I’m particularly excited to about my fellow round two judges because it means I get to find new bloggers and new people to talk to on twitter. (I’ll be posting more about the Cybils once nominations open October first.)
  • If you want to “meet” my fellow round 2 judges, they are:Zac Harding
    My Best Friends Are Books
    @zackidsKerry Millar
    Shelf Elf
    @Shelf_Elf

    Tasha Saecker
    Waking Brain Cells
    @tashrow

    Nicole Signoretta
    booked up

  • Finally, in the realm of really huge enormously exciting news: Miss Print topped 90,000 views this week!!!!!!!! I still can’t quite believe it and, of course, I’m elated. It’s such a wonderful milestone and it means the countdown to 100,000 views can start. I promised I am doing something exciting and marvelous once that happens, so stay tuned!

So, as you can see things have been exciting in the world of Miss Print. Hopefully soon we can talk about my re-entering the world of Pinterest, meeting an author at my place of employ, seeing one of my favorite authors and a regular interviewee at my bookstore, book sculpting, and maybe even what it’s like reading a 600+ page book.

Author Interview (#2): Gabrielle Zevin on Because It Is My Blood

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Gabrielle Zevin’s Birthright series. All These Things I’ve Done was one of my favorite books from 2011 and the second book in the series, Because It Is My Blood, was one of my most anticipated books for 2012 (and key to one of my favorite BEA 2012 moments).

I was lucky enough to interview Gabrielle Zevin about All These Things I’ve Done last year. After finishing Because It Is My Blood I saw there was still a lot to talk about where Anya and her story were concerned. Happily, Gabrielle is here to answer some of my questions about her latest novel Because It Is My Blood.

If you want more preliminary information about Gabrielle and the start of her Birthright series, you can also check out our earlier interview.

***Because this interview focuses on the second book in a series, it may have some minor spoilers for All These Things I’ve Done.***

Miss Print (MP): Because It Is My Blood is the second book in your Birthright series following All These Things I’ve Done. The last time we talked about All These Things I’ve Done this book’s working title was All The Kingdoms In The World. Can you tell us anything about why the title changed?

Gabrielle Zevin (GZ): While I liked ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD as a working title and on an intellectual level, I had always worried that it wasn’t expressive enough of Anya’s dilemma in the novel — that is to say, the extent to which she can’t escape her birthright no matter how far she tries to run from it.  But the main reason it changed is because I had a better concept for titling the whole series! I was talking to my editor about the title and I said to her, “Wouldn’t it be cool if all the titles of the series together formed a crazy run-on sentence synopsis of the book?” So you have half the sentence now: All these things I’ve done/because it is my blood… It’s spine poetry basically.

MP: Because It Is My Blood picks up soon after All These Things I’ve Done and continues some of the same plot threads as Anya continues to struggle with the disparity between who she is and who she would like to be. How did you keep this story unique while bringing up recurring themes from the first book in your Birthright series?

GZ: I had two major goals going into the second book. The first was that I wanted Anya to travel far from home. I wanted her to see a place other than America. I wanted her to get a sense of the life beyond New York City. I think it’s hard to find yourself when you are surrounded by the same people you’ve known your entire life. So, in a sense, everything — her hair, her boyfriend, her identity, and literally the clothes off her back — are stripped from her. The second was that I wanted Anya to have a Big Idea. This might seem like a small thing but I so often see female main characters in YA who never come up with anything. The girls are chosen; the girls have special skills (magic, beauty); the girls have friends that have big ideas. I wanted Anya to have an idea that came from her own unique set of experiences. I wanted Anya to use her brain creatively to try to improve her situation.

Another thing I think that makes the story feel different than the last one is that I wanted to write a protagonist who truly got older. Anya is seventeen in the second book. She quotes her father less. She is more questioning of her faith. By the third book, she is a full-fledged grown woman and her voice reflects that.

MP: Once again Anya makes her way through a New York City that is hauntingly familiar but also very different from the one we know today. Of the locations we’ve seen thus far in All These Things I’ve Done and this book, have you had a favorite to feature?

GZ: The Rose Reading Room at the NYPL’s main branch, of course! But it’s probably too much of a spoiler to say what happens to it. (I’m sure you can imagine how important this location is to book three.)

MP: Working off the last question, which location has been your favorite to reinvent in Anya’s New York?

GZ: Other than the NYPL and the Metropolitan Museum, I loved writing Liberty Children’s Reformatory, the former home of the Statue of Liberty. I had a lot of fun writing Anya’s… Um, let’s just say departure from Liberty.

MP: One of the interesting things about this series is the narrative structure. Although Anya narrates her own story, she does so at a remove with the benefit of hindsight and often retrospection in the form of parenthetical asides and comments directed to the reader. As a writer, how did you go about structuring Anya’s story? How did you decide when to share different details both of the story as it happened and as Anya reflects on her own story?

GZ: Anya Balanchine is not a reader and she does not come from a society that cares about reading. I had a sense that the only books she read were the ones her nana  or Imogen read, or the ones she had to read for school. Her idea of storytelling is a bit old-fashioned. In the third book, readers will find out where Anya is telling the story from and why she is telling it at all. As she gains in confidence as a writer however, Anya resorts to less formal trickery. By the third book, her writing will become more modern and more fluid. My idea had always been that the prose would mature with her.

In terms of structure? In a certain way, all narrators, not just Anya, tell their stories postmortem to the events of the story. In Birthright, the challenge has been to write a narrator who knows everything (who is definitely retrospective) but still has a voice that reflects her various ages throughout the story. This dilemma, along with the narrative asides and chapter titles, requires me to know everything about the story in advance. There is very little I’m discovering as I write in this story.

MP: While Anya does visit new places and meet new people in Because It Is My Blood, many familiar faces from book one also feature. With these returning characters we see many dramatic changes in circumstance and, in some cases, attitude and behavior. Can we expect as many surprises and upsets from the latter half of the series?

GZ: Yes. I think actually readers will be shocked about the story. A frustrating thing about writing a series is that people sometimes assume you are telling one type of story when you are really telling a different type of story. Book three will take us to even more foreign countries. (Japan and more!)  And we will see Anya in ways we have never seen her before. The only thing I would say is that this is ANYA’S STORY, not ANYA AND WIN’S STORY.

MP: Many of the characters in this series, including Anya herself, operate in grey areas with what Charles Delacroix calls a “flexible attitude toward the law.” As such it isn’t always easy to identify the heroes and villains of the story although it does make for some exciting characters. Which characters were the most fun to write this time around? Were any harder to write as Anya’s opinion of them changed?

GZ: Yes, you’re right to identify this. Anya is not an unreliable narrator, but she tells things and sees things from her point of view as we all do. I love writing villains because I don’t think of them as villains. No one ever thinks that they are truly a villain. Everyone has their reasons. I love writing Charles Delacroix. I love him more than his son. I love him because he is a good man who wants to do good things but he is operating in a system that is corrupt, which forces him to be corrupt. Anya will learn to appreciate his motivations even more as the series continues.

MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project? What’s in store for Anya in book three?

GZ: Book three Anya is a grown up as I mentioned before. Hers is not a love story or at least not the love story that people probably think it is. Starting on page one, important people will die and the body count only grows from there.

Thanks again to Gabrielle for taking the time to answer all of my questions so eloquently here.

For more information about Gabrielle and her writing you can also visit her website.

If you want to know more about Because It Is My Blood be sure to check out my review.

Thanks to Esther Bochner at Macmillan Audio I also have a clip to share from the audiobook of Because It Is My Blood: You can listen to the clip on my website.

Because It Is My Blood: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

**As the second in a series, this book (and the review) may contain spoilers for All These Things I’ve Done. You have been warned.**

Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle ZevinAnya Balanchine knows firsthand that being the presumptive heir to an illegal chocolate empire comes with its fair share of complications. After a turbulent year filled with futile attempts to move beyond her criminal reputation and date a truly ill-advised boy–all while caring for her brother and sister–Anya is hoping that the start of autumn and her release from Liberty Children’s Facility will bring with it calmer times.

Unfortunately, nothing about Anya’s life after Liberty is calm. Her criminal record makes attending (not to mention finishing) high school nearly impossible.

Her little sister Natty has grown up during Anya’s time away. Scarlet, her best friend, seems closer than ever to her odious boyfriend Gable. And Win? The boy who made Anya want to give up almost everything her family stood for seems to have a new love.

Anya isn’t sure where she fits into this world where everything and everyone has moved on without her except that she hopes it has nothing to do with her extended family. Or chocolate.

Unfortunately, as ever, Anya’s wants are overlooked as she is drawn back into the Balanchine’s world of crime, chocolate and intrigue. Taken away from the city and the people that she loves, Anya will have to decide what price she is willing to pay for safety and who she truly wants to be in Because It Is My Blood (2012) by Gabrielle Zevin.

Find it on Bookshop.

Because It Is My Blood is the second book in Gabrielle Zevin’s Birthright series which started with All These Things I’ve Done.

As exciting as Because It Is My Blood can be, this novel’s strength is in its focus on Anya. She is still impetuous and often acts rashly. But she is also circumspect and calculating–as is fitting of a mafiya princess, even a reluctant one.

While Anya struggles with familiar questions about her family and her identity, Zevin keeps the story original with her surprising turns and Anya’s wry, eloquent narration. Readers will also notice Anya’s continued growth as she moves out from her dead father’s shadow (and advice) to begin making her own decisions.

Zevin also continues to delicately build Anya’s world in Because It Is My Blood with some tantalizing hints of what readers can expect in the latter half of this series. As our heroine moves beyond the island of Manhattan, Zevin develops the politics of 2083 that surround a country where chocolate is illegal and many other items are in short supply.

Because It Is My Blood proves that Anya still has more to learn and even more tricks up her sleeve making this book another absorbing installment in an already gripping series.

Possible Pairings: White Cat by Holly Black, Strings Attached by Judy Blundell, Heist Society by Ally Carter, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman, Leverage (television series), White Collar (television series)

Thanks to Esther Bochner at Macmillan Audio I also have a clip to share from the audiobook of Because It Is My Blood: You can listen to the clip on my website.

You can also read my exclusive interview with Gabrielle Zevin!

Also be sure to check out the cool trailer.

*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2012

Unspoken: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Unspoken by Sarah Rees BrennanAccording to Kami Glass, every town in England has a story. Her town, Sorry-in-the-Vale, is no exception. The only problem is no one in town seems willing to tell that story to a daring girl reporter no matter how charming she is while asking pointed interview questions. Kami knows her town’s past is tied inextricably to the Lynburns, the town’s founders, even if their manor house has been empty for as long as Kami can remember.

If every town has a story, so does every resident. Kami’s own story has caused her a fair bit of trouble over the years and not a few friends. That’s what happens when your best friend seems to be an imaginary boy you talk to in your head. Luckily, Kami can handle the odd looks from neighbors and worried comments from her parents. Kami is nothing if not intrepid and she is more than prepared to keep everything under control.

All of that changes when the Lynburns come back to Sorry-in-the-Vale. Their return brings many questions, as well as something more sinister, forcing Kami to question everything she thought she knew about her town, her friends, and even herself in Unspoken (2012) by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Find it on Bookshop.

Unspoken is the first book in The Lynburn Legacy (which will be a trilogy).

No one writes families and friends quite like Sarah Rees Brennan. Unspoken is no exception. As Kami struggles to crack the secrets of Sorry-in-the-Vale’s past she assembles an unlikely band of misfits to help her investigation. Like Kami herself these characters are well-rounded and, above all, memorable. Along with the Glass family, they create an entertaining ensemble that adds much to the narrative.

Rees Brennan brings Kami’s world to life with her signature wit and charm. (If you have read the author’s blog or tweets you may agree that this book truly channels her voice in the writing.) Kami is an determined and capable heroine who is ready and willing to fight her own battles even as she is surrounded by friends and family who fiercely want to help in any way they can.

Patently eerie, Unspoken gives a nod to its gothic novel roots as the plot moves forward. Although a lot happens in the final hundred pages of Unspoken, the unusual pacing is balanced out with humor, banter, strong characters and many moments of page-turning suspense. Highly recommended for anyone who likes their mysteries with equal doses of plucky girl reporters, chills, adventure, and cute boys in distress.

Possible Pairings: Compulsion by Martina Boone, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst, Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, A Dark and Starless Forest by Sarah Hollowell, The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, Dreamology by Lucy Keating, The Devil and Winnie Flynn by Micol Ostow and David Ostow, Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter, It Wasn’t Always Like This by Joy Preble, Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt, A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan, Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff, Veronica Mars

Exclusive Bonus Content: I love, love, love the cover by the way. Jacket illustrator Beth White created absolutely beautiful artwork for Unspoken that also is very in keeping with the book. If you’re as excited about this book as I am, be sure to head over to Sarah Rees Brennan’s website to learn more about the characters and the world of Unspoken.

But wait! There’s more! Sarah Rees Brennan also wrote two short stories to accompany Unspoken.

You can read about (and download a pdf copy of) the first story, The Summer Before I Met You from Sarah’s blog here: http://sarahreesbrennan.com/2012/09/the-summer-before-i-met-you/ (The story is being hosted by Oblong Books–an indie store. Isn’t that awesome of them?)

Author Interview: Lynn Weingarten on The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers

Lynn Weingarten author photoLynn Weingarten’s clever fantasy The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers came out in 2011. This sly modern fantasy introduces readers to a very unique group of girls who use magic (and sometimes common sense) to break boy’s hearts. Today, Lynn is here to answer some questions about her book.

Miss Print (MP): Can you tell us a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?

Lynn Weingarten (LW): I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember. There was a writing program at my elementary school, which I was a part of, where kids wrote stories and submitted them to magazines. I ended up getting one published in a kids writing and art magazine called Stone Soup and I remember being SO EXCITED at the time. I got a free year’s subscription as payment, which was awesome.

I wrote a lot during high school and was part of the school’s literary magazine.  In college, I majored in English and did a concentration in creative writing. Shortly after I graduated, I got a job as an editorial assistant at Alloy Entertainment, which was an amazing job. I worked for and with fantastically smart and creative people from whom I learned a ton.

After about five years there, I left to write full-time.  Right after I left I sent an email to everyone I knew in publishing just letting everyone know what I was doing. Scholastic got in touch and said they were looking to do a book which would come with a little bag of clues, and so I came up with a plot to fit about a girl following clues to try and find her missing sister, and that ended up being Wherever Nina Lies (although by the time the book came out the bag of clues had been replaced with drawings). I signed with my first agent when it was time to negotiate a deal with Scholastic. I knew her because she’d represented a few of the authors I’d edited.

MP: What was the inspiration for The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers?

LW:A friend of mine was reading a non-fiction book targeted at men who wanted to become “pick-up artists”. I read the book too, just because I was curious. And then started thinking about how it would be fun if there were a group of girls who did a similar thing. The SSH grew out of that.

MP: Your debut novel, Wherever Nina Lies, was a mystery with quite a few surprising twists. The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers is a fantasy (which still has a few twists to keep readers on their toes). Did moving to a different genre change your writing process or how you approached the story?

LW:I started writing both books with a definite beginning and ending in mind, and knowing a few big plot beats that I wanted to put in the middle of each. With Wherever Nina Lies, I actually stopped writing about a third of the way through, and wrote out a chapter-by-chapter outline for the rest of it (since the twisty turny nature of the thing gave me a lot more to keep track of!). With Secret Sisterhood the process was a little bit looser because there weren’t as many loose ends to tie up (both because it’s not a mystery and because I knew there’d be a second book).

MP: One of my favorite things about this book is the opening. (“In the beginning, there was Lucy Wrenn, standing all alone out in front of her school on the first day of sophomore year, with a seductive little message written on her stomach in Sharpie marker.”) It really sets the tone for the story with the plot to come and also the fairytale quality of your narrative. Did you always know that this would be the opening sentence of the book?

LW:Thank you very much, I’m very glad you like it! I actually didn’t remember, so I poked around in my old emails, and this is what I found. When I first sent the chapters to my then agent, it opened a bit differently (I was planning to write the book in first person at the time):

“In the beginning, there was me.

Or, well, if we’re going to get TECHNICAL about it, before me there were a few thousand years

of other people and before that very hairy cave people who looked sort of like monkeys and before that

very hairy monkeys that looked sort of like people and before that a bunch off other stuff like other

types of monkeys and dinosaurs and whatever.”

And by the time it was on submission, the first sentence was very similar to what ended up in the book, but not identical (the main character was named Rachey, for one thing!).

“In the beginning, there she was, sweet little Rachey Wrenn, standing all alone out in front of her school on the first day of Sophomore year, with a seductive little message written on her stomach in Sharpie marker.”

MP: This story starts when Lucy’s heart is broken and, in trying to win back her ex-boyfriend, she is given the chance to become a Heartbreaker. If you had the chance to become a Heartbreaker in high school would you have taken it? What about now?

LW: Haha, no definitely not. The girls were fun to write about and, hopefully, fun to read about, but in real life, they’d be a terrible group to be a part of.

MP: Olivia, Liza and Gil are the beautiful, mysterious Heartbreakers who approach Lucy to join their sisterhood. Of the three, did you identify more with one Heartbreaker? Was one more fun to write than the others?

LW: I don’t think I identified with one more than the others, and while I enjoyed writing all of them, Liza’s sassiness made her extra fun.

MP: Olivia, Liza and Gil all help Lucy prepare to break her first heart. Part of their training involves magic. But a lot of their advice, such as wearing interesting accessories or never seeming too eager, is more prosaic and generally sound. How did you choose what tips and tricks the Heartbreakers would impart to Lucy throughout the story?

 LW: Some of the tips are just things I’ve noticed myself over the years and I also read a few books.

MP: When you started writing The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers did you know it would be the first in a series? Do you have a set arc in mind for Lucy’s story?

LW:I always knew there were going to be two books and I knew from the start how I wanted book two to end. While I knew the general shape of Lucy’s arc, I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to get there.

On a related note: From looking at some reviews online, I’ve realized a lot of readers don’t know that there is (and always was) meant to be a sequel. It makes sense of course, since there’s no explicit indication of that in the book (and certainly a certain kind of conclusion is reached at the end of book 1). But in retrospect I wish I’d put TO BE CONTINUED!!! Or something at the end. I think it becomes somewhat of a different book if you think that’s the entire story.

MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project? (Or just if we’ll be seeing more of Colin in the sequel!)

LW:There’s a bit more Colin and a lot more Tristan in book two. It’s called The Book of Love and will be out in Fall 2013. I’m currently working on a proposal for something new, but it’s too early to say anything because who knows what will happen with it!

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

LW: I know everyone has heard this a million times already, but write a lot and read a lot is pretty much the best writing advice I’ve ever heard. I’d suggest reading a lot in all genres, not just one in which you hope to write. If you’re only reading one genre, say YA books, it’s easy to get stuck writing in a “generic YA voice” or trying to imitate your favorite author without meaning to. And ultimately, writing in your own voice is how you’re going to do your best work. Also, as often as possible, remind yourself that this is fun, even if it doesn’t always feel like that every second. And oh, read Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, because it is amazing.

Thanks again to Lynn Weingarten for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find more information about her books on her website.

If you want to read more about The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers check out my review!

Lynn has also been kind enough to send me some temporary tattoos to give away in tandem with this interview. If you’d like to be entered to win leave a comment below by SEPTEMBER 17, 2012.

“My life is full.”

Talking to a coworker shortly after I finished a story time program:

Coworker: “How was story time.”

Miss Print: “It was great. A kind of hyper little boy came and he kept saying ‘Do this book next.’ and it was the next book. At the end of story time he said all of the stories made him very happy. Which made me very happy. And now we’re best friends.”

Coworker: “You have a lot of best friends.”

Miss Print: “It’s true. My life is full.”

Wuthering Heights: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

When Mr. Earnshaw, a man of means, brings a dark, ill-mannered foundling into his home he has no idea that his one good deed will alter the course of his family forever.

Taken into the Earnshaw home only to be cast out abruptly, Heathcliff is intent to avenge himself on those who have done him wrong through any means possible. Even his oldest friend and companion Catherine is not beyond reproach.

Lockwood knows nothing of the scandal and unrest that surrounds Wuthering Heights when he leases Thrushcross Grange from Heathcliff for a season. Scandalized by the residents of Wuthering Heights and shocked by the blatant disregard for common courtesy and propriety, he soon endeavors to unearth the whole story from his housekeeper, Nelly Dean.

The story Nelly reveals is one of unresolved passion, haunting obsession, and a connection that even death cannot deny in Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Brontë.

Wuthering Heights is Brontë’s only novel.

Groundbreaking for its time, Wuthering Heights is a divisive novel that is more often regarded with love or hate rather than indifference.

Some claim Brontë’s gothic novel is a sweeping romance that spans not just years but death itself. Written in the first person with a framing story around the main drama of Catherine and Heathcliff’s doomed relationship, Brontë creates an evocative story filled with Yorkshire dialect and harsh lanscapes.

At the same time, this book is a study in human cruelty. Catherine and Heathcliff are horrible people and, even while proving their love for one another, they do unspeakable things.

If you can get past the basic meanness of almost all of the characters, Wuthering Heights is an atmospheric story filled with chills and menace sure to linger after the last page is finished.

Possible Pairings: Frost by Marianna Baer, Plain Kate by Erin Bow, The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats, Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen, The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle, Swoon by Nina Malkin, Fury by Elizabeth Miles, Vicious by V. E. Schwab, Between by Jessica Warman, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Boy + Bot Giveaway Winner

My week-long giveaway for Boy + Bot has ended. Congratulations to the winner: Kelly Fernald

Blog Fifth Birthday Giveaway WINNERS!

With September upon us, Miss Print’s birthday month has officially come to a close. That also means it is time to announce the winners of my epic giveaway!

Without further ado, the winners are:

  • Prize Pack One: Middle Grade Madness – Danielle
  • Prize Pack Two: Dystopian Dreams – Lindsay
  • Prize Pack Three: Sassy Fantasies – Christi the Teen Librarian
  • Prize Pack Four: Nice Narrators Finish Last – Heather Z (AKA Writergirl)
  • Prize Pack Five: Cool Contemporaries – Jaime
  • Prize Pack Six: Miss Print’s Mysterious Picks – Anisha
  • Bonus Swag Pack: (For Librarians/Teachers/Bloggers) – Megan

Note: All winners have been notified via email. If I don’t hear from a winner before the week is out I will pick a new winner.