Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Interview with Alicia Leppert

Today is my big day! The day I get to interview Alicia Leppert, author of Emerald City. And when I've mentioned in past posts that she's awesome it was a gross understatement. She's amazing. The most down to Earth author I've had the pleasure to speak with.

If we had been face to face, this is how I imagine our interview would have went.

But alas, we were on opposite sides of a computer screen, or in my case, my iphone.

So here it is! My first author interview!

How long did it take you to write Emerald City?
It took me about three years to write, but for the first two or more years I was writing very sporadically. There would be months at a time that I wouldn't write at all. It wasn't until four or five months before my deadline that I began seriously writing daily.
What gave you the idea for Emerald City?
There wasn't really one thing that gave me the idea. Once I decided I was going to start writing a book, like- really doing it- I knew right away that I wanted to write about a girl who struggled with depression, and I wanted to write a love story. I tried several attempts just with those two ideas, and they all bombed spectacularly. Then one night I got really frustrated and sat brainstorming ideas. For the first time I started thinking about incorporating a fantasy element into my story, since lately that's what I had been reading, and that's when I had my light bulb moment. I knew what I was going to write my book about, and after that it just sort of unfolded.
Totally good to know. I myself have been sitting on the same book for almost a year.  A years worth of planning, a month worth of writing (for NANO) and now, it's just collecting dust on my hard drive. *Sigh* I'll get to it.

What was your query process like?
Uh...I actually had no query process. I was already in contact with someone at Cedar Fort when I began writing Emerald City. She read the first chapter and fell in love with it, and when I was halfway through writing it, they signed me. I was incredibly fortunate to not have to go through the dreaded query process.
I'd say. It makes me sick to think about sending letters out. Then again, I'm not going to be sending anything if I don't sweep my story. You know, because of the dust bunnies.

Any advice you'd give aspiring authors?
Actually, I was told this by the aforementioned contact at Cedar Fort. She said the biggest thing for aspiring authors, when trying to get published, is to know the guidelines laid out by the publishers they are sending their queries to. If it's apparent they haven't taken the time to check the website and see what the publishers want, they won't bother reading their manuscript.
Good to know. And great advice!

Edward or Jacob?
I love Jacob, but Edward will always hold a special place in my heart. (Yes, I totally just admitted that.)
It's okay. I'm Team Edward all the way. But...I'll have to say, Carlisle does it for me too.

Bill or Eric?
Feel free to laugh, but I had to Google those names to see who they were! I have never seen True Blood, and I've never read The Vampire Diaries (or watched the show) either. To be honest, after Twilight, I couldn't bring myself to get into any other vampir sagas. Twilight was it for this girl.
GASP! I'm totally team Eric. Bill is...whiney. Like you, I've never watched nor read, The Vampire Diaries. But if I could recommend another vampire series with a leading man, that in my opinion, gives Edward a run for his money, it would be The Chicagoland Vampire series. Ethan...yummy!

And that's it ladies and gentlemen. I could have asked her a million in one questions, and maybe another time I will. If, of course, Alicia agrees.

Thank you a million times over to Alicia for taking the time to sit down with me and answer a few questions. And for also including me in my first ever blog tour. Thank you to Cedar Fort for allowing me to read Emerald City via NetGalley. It was truly an honor.

If you'd like to read my review of Emerald City, you can find it here. If you'd like to follow Alicia's blog tour, you can check out the other great blogs talking with her, here. And don't forget, pick up your copy of Emerald City either from Amazon or Barnes and Noble on April 10th.

In the meantime, here are a few other links for you to check out. Don't forget, you can follow me on twitter at @hollygeauxlitly

Monday, March 12, 2012

Things Sex and the City taught me

Inspiration comes in all shapes and forms. From different areas of your life or maybe from a song. It strikes in the most unlikely places. My latest bout of inspiration comes from a show I watched every single Sunday night. Sex and the City. Not the TBS reruns that cut out the 'sex' part of the show, but the raw, gritty, HBO version.

I was such a fan that I even had a poster hanging in the living room. Thankfully my roommates were fans too so they didn't mind.

I was a Charlotte but that doesn't mean that I didn't learn a few things from the other ladies. Here are just a few things that Sex and the City taught me.

And those are just a few. Honestly, the show was about so much more than "sex and the city". It was about friendships and love and really good clothes. It was a calling for all women in the early 2000's.

I have a notebook I carry around with me everywhere. Small enough to fit in my purse so it doesn't bulk things up. In this notebook I keep all of my notes on plots that over take my brain. Currently, I have four plots brewing. This weekend I added a fifth. And what, you ask, does this have to do with what Sex and the City taught me? Everything. My latest plot is something Carrie Bradshaw said on the show that I found so profound, and so very, very true. What is it? Well now that I can't tell you. It would totally give away what I want to write. But needless to say, it's something that she said that has stuck with me- something that over time, has taken on a whole other meaning for me.

Like Diego, I keep my handy dandy notebook close by to write down bouts of inspiration and this latest idea is already taking up several pages. I'm excited about this story. It's in the early stages and it'll probably be six more months before I actually sit down to write anything that resembles a story, but it's there. Of course, the unedited story currently on my laptop, waiting patiently to be worked on, still hasn't been touched. But it will. I mean, if an erotic fanfiction story can generate a seven figure payout, who's to say I can't generate at least my name in print?

And one last thing. Although, Sex and the City with all of it's Carrie Bradshawisms were profound and full of depth for a single woman, the most important thing I think we all learned from the show was that it's never okay to break up with someone via a post it. Ever.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Anew (The Archers of Avalon #1) by Chelsea Fine

4 of 5 stars

I came across this book via another friend adding it to her "to be read" list on Goodreads. Once I read the blurb-

Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery...until she met a boy with a familiar voice.

Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet's determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he's kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer.

Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet's world becomes even more muddled. While she's instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she's impossibly drawn to Tristan--and confused out of her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past...might just be the death of her.

I wanted to read it. Then said friend, Michelle, sent me a message saying, "Hi Holly, If you go to the authors blog today only you can request a free copy for review:"

Um...duh. Like I'm going to pass up a free book. So I went to the website and requested a copy of the book. Let me say that authors that do this are pretty extrordinary. I mean, you're giving me a copy of your book to read? How awesome is that! And not only that, Chelsea is soooo sweet! She emailed me a copy with in like twenty minutes of requesting one, and she was so friendly that I instantly wanted to be friends with her. That's normal right? I hope so.

Here's the inital review I gave Anew on Goodreads.

What?! It ends there!!!! A better review to come after I've picked my jaw up from the floor.

Once I was able to put into words what I thought about the jaw dropping ending, this is what I said.

There's Scarlett. She has no memory of her life except for the last two years. Weird, right? Then there is Scarlett's best friend, Heather. Heather is your typical BFF. She's a girls girl. The story starts off at the annual kissing festival in their hometown of Avalon, Georgia. Here the girls meet Gabriel. A fine speciman of a man. Instant attraction between him and Scarlett and before you know it, BAM! they're a couple. It's really cute how they are and how Heather is convinced he's into all sorts of trouble, like he's a mobster. Unknown to the girls, who they're actually seeing is Tristan; Gabriel's twin brother. DUN DUN DUN

Tristan from the get go puts on this front like he can't stand Scarlett. But really, it pains him to be near her and away from her. All because of a curse. A curse meant to kill Scarlett but Tristan took the arrow for her (kind of) and now, all three of them are cursed. Oh yeah, I didn't mention that in previous lives they all know each other? Maybe I shouldn't say too much more on that.

Although, to cure them all, they must find the fountain of youth. The pure water from the fountain is the only thing, short of Tristan dying, that can save the trio. Problem? Where's the fountain?

A quirky cast of friends and brothers leave you asking so many more questions when you're done with the book, and after you've picked your jaw up from the floor. Yes, Ms. Fine does an outstanding job of leaving one hell of a cliffhanger. But like I said, I'm left wondering so much. What really was the connection between Tristan and Scarlett? What happened in her previous life for their connection to be so much stronger this go round? And why, or HOW does she "know"? And Chelsea, I think you know what I mean when I ask that.

If you're looking for the start of an exciting new series, one that in the first book leaves you bugged eyed, then pick up Anew. Not only because the author is a super gal, but because the book is pretty good.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Talking Books with Liz...Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

I have this friend. Her name is Liz. We both love books. A lot of the times we love, or hate, the same books. But without fail, if we've read the same book, we always discuss them. Always. So today, in the middle of one of our chats about, what else, books I had an idea. What if we talked about the books on my blog? Like a reoccuring segment, so to speak. Liz is irresistable to my southern charm (she lives in New Jersey) so of course she said yes.

Most of the time, this is how our chats begin.

(days before Holly has finished whatever book we're both reading at the same time)
Liz jumps on gchat- "I'm done with so and so book."
Holly- "I still have like 200 pages to go."
Liz- "I don't like how it ended."
Holly- "Well, so and so better show up but I'm thinking (insert weird twist my mind comes up with."
Liz- "I won't spoil it for you.
        Hurry up."

And like that, I'm on a mission to finish whatever book so that I can either A) share Liz's opinion or B) gush about how much I loved how it turned out and how I'm on pins and needles for the next one.

The scenario I just played out for you is pretty much exactly how our conversation regarding Pandemonium, the second in the Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver, went.

Before I can talk about Pandemonium, I feel I must give a little back story into Delirium. Here is the blurb that will tell you more on it.

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.
Before I give you my take on this, yes, this is a dystopian society book. Dystopian meaning it deals with a "what if" type of situation. What if this happened in the future. Much like The Hunger Games.

My review- 5 stars
Dystopian books are hit or miss with me. I loved Divergent, I wasn't that keen on Matched. I decided to give Delirium a go anyways. I'm really glad I did. This was a great read. Maybe it was because this "society" seemed more real to me, the characters seemed more real. Unlike in Matched where they were told everything they could or couldn't do, down to what time they ate, what they ate, and how they dressed, Delirium still gives you that sense that these kids have freedom (and that's said loosly) before they are cured.

My first thought, upon reading the first page of this book was the old saying, "Love conquers all". Well, by the end of the book I was still thinking that. Not only that, but "love makes the world go round" or how about another- "All you need is love".

Being able to have a front row seat and watch Lena and Alex get to know one another, learn about the so called order of the world around them and ultimately fall in love was wonderful. Lauren Oliver captured so many great moments and feelings within this book that with the end of each chapter I was on the edge of my seat, just knowing that their time would be up and they would be caught. Of course, the last 10 pages or so fall into that category of- no one in the house talk to me, this is too good for me to put down.

When I got to the end, my heart was aching but at the same time, I wanted to rejoice. There is no doubt in my mind, that by the time this series is over with, Lena will find her true happiness with all that she is searching for and most importantly, her true love.
Liz's review- 5 stars (no review)

Now that you know a little more regarding what the series is about, let's dive into Pandemonium.

Summary via Goodreads-

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.
And here is my official review via Goodreads-
3 1/2 stars but since Goodreads doesn't allow for 1/2 stars, I gave it 4.
I'll admit, I was a little lost at first. The whole now vs then alternating chapters threw me at first. But then...I liked them. I liked that it didn't pick up right where Delirum left off. You get what Lena's doing now, with what has happened to her thrown in.

Alex. Oh Alex. Where is he? Do we find out? I'll admit, I accepted his fate from the get go. I went the whole book reassuring myself that it was okay if he died. He carried Lena to freedom. That was the point. Of course, they were supposed to go into the Wilds together, but eh, sometimes love sucks.

Where the first book was about embracing love and realizing that it's not a disease, this second book is more about acepting others, in my opinion. Between Lena accepting what has happened and who has been behind everything, to Julian (our new love interest) accepting that maybe everything he has been told has been a lie and that there is life outside of the borders. A life that isn't so bad.

Yes, there is a new love interest and it's easy to fall in love with Julian. Much like Lena from Delirium, he is learning to love. He even quoted a song from "before" as he called it that I used in my review of Delirium; "All you need is love." Yes Julian, I still firmly believe that but with love comes heartache and sorrow. Something I'm sure someone will be seeing in book three.

There were parts I liked, and things I didn't feel added up. There were routes I wished Lauren Oliver would have taken rather than the ones she did. Requim is the final instament in the trilogy and the only thing I can say is that it ought to be interesting given the cliffhanger we were left with.
Now that you have that, let's pick it apart with Liz.

Liz's review- 3 1/2 stars but again since Goodreads has this no 1/2 stars thing, she gave it 3.


As soon as I finished Pandemonium I paged Liz via twitter where we moved our conversation to Gchat.

Liz-  soooooooo
Holly- I had a feeling Alex would show up. Book three ought to be interesting.
Liz- Yeah, you knew he was coming back. First impressions? TOTALLY disappointed in the love triangle. And I so knew that lady was her mother.
Holly- What I don't get is why he says, don't believe her, after Julian asks her to stay with him forever. It's not Lena's fault she thought he was dead. And as for the love triangle, I really hoped it wouldn't be there. Maybe have her do the resistance in his honor or something. And ditto about her mom.
Liz- my feeling? book 3 will be her trying to make it up to Alex, feeling mega guilty and Julian dying of cancer/seizures at the end BOOM - HEA, the end.
Holly- LOL True.
Liz- I didn't like Lena at all, for this super tough resistance fighter she was woefully stupid at times.
Holly- Julian will feel like the third wheel when he realizes who Alex is. So Edward, Bella & Jacob .
Liz-  I mean she NEVER had the gun in her hand when she needed it - ugh and the rescue was like REALLY? I can totally suspend belief at times but that was crazy.
Holly- There were times I didn't like Raven either but she redeemed herself at the end.
Liz- I can see why she'd hook onto Julian but really? she didn't even try and find out what happened to Alex.
Holly- I agree. And I think that's going to be his issue in book 3.
Liz- Of course I'll read Requiem though. Alex should be pissed.
Holly- What kills me is how fast raven & tack got to her at the end. It took her over 6 hours on foot. What did they do get some sleep & then hop in the truck to rescue them?
Liz- Yes! Exactly, they waltzed in, they waltzed right back out. I mean come on! The whole ending was just no no no no.
You know the thing about her introducing Julian, I don't even mind that because I could totally see how Lena would fall for him, she's young and scared and the world is in chaos but then to bring back Alex just for a plot device?
Holly- I totally agree. I had already accepted thd fact that he had died. A whole book to think on it and then bam! He's back. It would have been fine without Julian but now I want her to help him. I want him to help lead the resistance. And you know her mom will be back. And I'm hoping she runs into the cured Hana. I'd like to see that interaction.
Liz- Make him bitter and all, at least twist it so maybe he had the procedure or memory loss of something.
Holly- Yes. If he had to come back I was hoping he'd be cured & she'd have to work to break him of it.
Liz- Yeah, or they messed up his cure and she has to cure him, SOMETHING! I hate how she'll have to justify her actions and being with Julian.
Holly- Yup.
Liz- I thought Alex was Julian's brother for a little bit and then I thought maybe her mom was in there somewhere with the 'cureds' undercover.
Holly- I did too but after he told the ages I knew it didn't add up. Then whenRraven showed up & shot Mr. Fineman I thought maybe she knew them personally.
Liz- Exactly. Did you read the Hana short story?
Holly- No. I had forgotten too much with Delirium. Lol I had to reread my review before I started this one.
All we can hope for is that Insurgent doesn't follow with a sophomore slump. I'd hate for anything to happen to Four.
Liz- OMG! I would cry!
Holly- I'm really excited for Chicagoland. Eeep!! I know there will be issues with the "new" Ethan but I'm prepared for them.
Liz- all i can say is she better give us some hot, sweaty makeup sex in the next one or I am FLOUNCIN! I'm talking about Merit/Ethan btw..although I'd go for her and Jonah too, just saying.
Holly- Noooooo!!! Lol
Liz- :) :) :) I lurve Jonah.
Holly- And don't forget Sookie In may :/
Liz- meh, I want Lover Reborn!!!!!!!!!!!
Holly- Omg. I know but a part of me wants him to stay single for Welsie. Of course that's not possible lol.
Liz- Lots of Lassiter in this one too. I like!
Holly- That is true! I love him!
Liz-  I want him to mate - knock him on his smarmy ass. Oh and loads of John Matthew too!
Holly- Sigh. John Matthew. I read that she might not reveal that he is Darius.
Liz- And eeesh..No'One..I don't know.
Holly- I feel the same way.

As you can see, Liz and I get off track very easily. Then again, lots of new books coming out this year to look forward to.

Now, do you agree with Liz and I's assesment? Were we too harsh? Too opinionated? We really don't mean to be ugly, and honestly, Lauren Oliver should take it as a huge compliment that we invest this much into her characters. Although, we both agree that other avenues could have been taken to really throw the reader off its rocker. Of course, Liz and I aren't best selling authors so what do we know?

I'm hoping Liz will join me on a regular basis to talk books. I'm currently reading Everneath by Brodi Ashton and Liz has already read it. Look for our next review together soon. Until then...would you like to see Liz review books? While we have similar tastes in books, she does have her own niche that she likes.

Emerald City Blog Tour

As most of you know, I myself am an aspiring author. So when someone like me has the opportunity to participate on a blog tour for another author it's a pretty big deal!

You may have seen several posts back that I received a book through NetGalley called, Emerald City. Well it just so happens that the author, Alicia Leppert, is a really awesome person. So awesome in fact that she asked me to be one of the blogs on her blog tour! Cue the excitement!

Don't know what I blog tour is? Don't worry, I didn't either. Thankfully, Awesome Alicia (that's how I refer to her in my head) explained it all to me. It goes pretty much like this; for an entire month, the author and her book are featured on a different blog every day. Whether it's an author interview or a guest post, the author talks to all these different blogs about the release of her upcoming book.

I'm excited (if you haven't already noticed) that I will be talking, or letting Alicia do all the talking, on March 14th. Again...SO EXCITED!

Here is the link to the calendar that tells you which blogs will be on what days.

If you'd like to learn more about Alicia before she graces the pages of my little ol' blog, check out her website-

Seriously, she's super sweet and well, awesome!