Monday, November 20, 2017

Cover Reveal & Guest Post | Come From Away by Genevieve Graham | Giveaway

I was recently contacted by Genevieve Graham to be a part of the cover reveal for her upcoming release, Come From Away. It's releasing April 2018 and is a companion novel to Tides of Honour. She also has graciously written up a guest post in honour of the reveal! It's always a delight to work with Ms. Graham. THE COVER IS GORGEOUS, but you'll have to read her guest post before you can see the cover. Cheers!

The Story Behind the Cover

Throughout the months it takes me to write one of my novels, I try not to envision what the cover will look like. I’m not sure how many people know this, but in the traditional publishing process, authors have very little to no say on their cover art. As you can probably imagine, that’s pretty terrifying. After all, an author spends the better part of their days/weeks/months putting their soul into a book, but they have no idea how it will eventually appear when it sits on bookstore shelves. 

Well, when this cover appeared in my email, I cried.

Really, I shouldn’t have been surprised. My cover designer at Simon & Schuster Canada, Elizabeth Whitehead, is a creative genius. The first cover she designed for me was for “Tides of Honour”, and I fell in love with it. You see, I describe my novels as historical fiction brought to life through a love story, but they’re not what you would call typical “romance” novels. When I saw the cover for “Tides of Honour”, I saw a powerful love story threatened by dangerous times, turbulent emotions, and uncertainty—all of which are in the book. Then I wrote “Promises to Keep”, a heartbreaking, very real story of the Acadians, set over 150 years earlier, and incredibly, Elizabeth maintained the same beautiful level of creativity with that cover. Then I saw what she’d done for “Come From Away”, and I couldn’t wait to share. I think I love it best of all.

Think of the challenge presented to a cover designer. They have a single opportunity to encapsulate an entire story in one image or design. That image must rise to the top of a sea of books to attract a reader’s attention, and it must engage them to the point that they are curious enough to take the book off the shelf and open it to the first page. After that step, of course, it’s up to the author to reward the reader with a story they will—hopefully—love.

When you look at the young couple on the cover for “Come From Away”, you see so much. The 1940s is evident in their dress, the cold Atlantic looms before them, and the skulking shape in the water reminds us of the state of the world at that time. You also see the couple’s uncertain attraction to one another, and their trepidation. Something is keeping them apart, but you don’t yet know what it is. And there’s something else ... I don’t know about you, but something about this couple has me rooting for them before I even pick up the book.

Here’s the synopsis for “Come From Away”, which will be published in April 2018. It is the companion novel to “Tides of Honour”, but the two are standalone books. If you have read “Tides of Honour”, you will recognize some of the characters, but this is twenty-five years later, so a lot has changed. I hope you enjoy the story as much as I loved writing it. 

From the bestselling author of Tides of Honour and Promises to Keep comes a poignant novel about a young couple caught on opposite sides of the Second World War. 

In the fall of 1939, Grace Baker’s three brothers, sharp and proud in their uniforms, board Canadian ships headed for a faraway war. Grace stays behind, tending to the homefront and the general store that helps keep her small Nova Scotian community running. The war, everyone says, will be over before it starts. But three years later, the fighting rages on and rumours swirl about “wolf packs” of German U-Boats lurking in the deep waters along the shores of East Jeddore, a stone’s throw from Grace’s window. As the harsh realities of war come closer to home, Grace buries herself in her work at the store. 

Then, one day, a handsome stranger ventures into the store. He claims to be a trapper come from away, and as Grace gets to know him, she becomes enamoured by his gentle smile and thoughtful ways. But after several weeks, she discovers that Rudi, her mysterious visitor, is not the lonely outsider he appears to be. He is someone else entirely—someone not to be trusted. When a shocking truth about her family forces Grace to question everything she has so strongly believed, she realizes that she and Rudi have more in common than she had thought. And if Grace is to have a chance at love, she must not only choose a side, but take a stand. 

Come from Away is a mesmerizing story of love, shifting allegiances, and second chances, set against the tumultuous years of the Second World War.

Release Date: April 2018
Pages: 256
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada

And now the BONUS! The giveaway - a chance to WIN an ARC (advance reader copy) of Come From Away! Enter using the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:
Genevieve Graham graduated from the University of Toronto in 1986 with a Bachelor of Music in Performance (playing the oboe). While on a ski vacation in Alberta, she met her future husband in a chairlift lineup and subsequently moved to Calgary to be with him. They have recently settled in a small, peaceful town in Nova Scotia with their two beautiful daughters.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Top Ten Books I Want My Child to Read


I've decided to make this a list of books that I hope my daughter will one day read. I could easily have made it a list of board book or picture books for right now, but I feel like this list could be something I pass to her when she gets older so she can see what books her Momma loved.

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling - This is by far the most important series I've ever read and I've read it during different points in life already and I learn so much each time I read it. Different scenes and characters stand out when you read it again and again. 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee - One of the books I was required to read in high school and has always remained an important story to me.

The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern - An amazingly magical story that will have your imagination soaring.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - Especially the audio version read by Wil Wheaton. The book with the most pop culture references. One of my all time favourite books!

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - Hopefully I will have read this myself soon. This was her Grandma's favourite book and I want to pass along books that meant something to others as well.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai - Probably one of the more inspiring stories for young women. A true story of bravery and fighting for what is right.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding - Another book read in high school and I deem it worthy of passing along. Important to see what can happen when there are no rules or society gets out of control.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - A banned book that talks about rape culture. We need our children to have a voice and not be afraid to use it. 

Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield - The power of music that can bring back bittersweet memories, help you through a tough time or just plain bring a smile to your face. This book follows Rob's life with music, love and loss. Powerful!

The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle - A classic! And I've have her watch the animated movie too.

I'd also tell her that anything written by Rainbow Rowell is worth picking up (both YA and adult), that Grandma and Mommy loved reading historical romances by Bertrice Small (she can only read these when she is old enough - obviously), Shakespeare and many of the Classics are completely worth taking the time to read, read books like The Virgin Suicides and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, read everything written by John Green, The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, read magical realism as often as you can (Garden Spells, The Sparrow Sisters and The Weird Sisters to name a few) and pickup anything that tickles your fancy whether it be the title, the cover or the synopsis - every book with worth trying and reading is one of the most amazing ways to invest in yourself!

Enjoy these books my little love.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Joining The Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge!

I hadn't given much thought to what, if any, challenges I would sign up for in 2018, but I stumbled upon a post over at Sarah Reads Too Much for a challenge that I just know will help me tackle my TBR pile. 

The Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge is hosted by Roof Beam Reader and I'm making this post as my entry to the challenge. Check out the original post for all the details.

The goal of this challenge is to make a list of 12 books from your TBR pile/list that were printed prior to 1/1/2017. You can add 2 alternates in case you DNF a few. You stick to the list and read one per month. And you need to write a review of some sort for each book. Sounds easy right? But what 12 books to pick? Decisions, decisions. Print copies, ebooks, ARCs, wishlist books? I think I'm going with physical print copies on my actual shelves to help get through the piles.

1. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (2008)
2. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (2012)
3. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (2010)
4. Darkhouse by Karina Halle (2012)
5. A Million Suns by Beth Revis (2012)
6. Zombie Blondes by Brian James (2008)
7. Firelight by Sophie Jordan (2010)
8. Paris Letters by Janice Macleod (2014)
9. Innocence by Dean Koontz (2013)
10. Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves (2013)
11. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (2009)
12. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (2010)

1. Magnified World by Grace O'Connell (2012)
2. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce (2010)

Good luck to those who have signed up for the challenge.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Delirium Series by Lauren Oliver | Review

Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: February 1, 2011
Narrated: Sarah Drew
Received: won ARC via Goodreads years ago, finally listened to the audio in lieu
Find Online: Goodreads | Amazon

Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.

Pretty much this will be a summation of my thoughts on the entire Delirium series. I listened to them all back to back via Overdrive and read all of the novellas in ebook format. I'm currenty reading the enovella for The Book of SHHH. I'll try not to give any spoilers, but be warned this covers the series and not just the first book! Why I waited so long to get into the series is beyond me. I was seriously missing out.

“Now I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.”

Amor Deliria Nervosa - ever think that love could be considered a disease? Me neither. But in this world it is considered the most deadly of diseases because it has so many side effects. Crazy, right?

“Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That's what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.” 

I loved this world so much - it was so different from other dystopian novels I'd read and I felt like it was so well written. It's beautiful and quotable. 

“‎ will turn the whole world into something greater than itself.”

The history of how the deliria started and why they developed the cure was fascinating. I enjoyed seeing the difference between the cured and uncured, which made you think of mindless zombies sometimes as the cured seemed to lack emotion of any kind. Why someone would want to have that part of them shut off or deleted or altered is beyond me. I loved the idea of the resistance and the uncureds that were fighting for freedom and the right to love. Seriously... the right to love and to feel. WTF! RIGHT?

Lena starts off as a goody two shoes that follows the rules, who knew she had it in her to do an about face and leave everything behind for love? She gets "infected" when she meets Alex by chance and begins to have feelings that she didn't understand at first - wonderful feelings that she couldn't get enough of. Her life changes the day she decides to leave and run before she can be cured. But things don't go as planned and her entire life -changes in ways you cannot imagine. Her entire story is so full of heartache, ever changing emotions and strength! She is so much stronger than anyone ever gave her credit for. It's like her eyes are finally open when she lets herself understand and believe what is really going on around her. Her voice is strong and I adore her for it.

Lena's life changes so much from living within the walls of her city, to being on the run outside the walls and surviving alongside other uncureds. And finally becoming part of the resistance itself. So many people that were a part of her life come and go, but her determination to fight for what is right is always there and inspiring.

I also have to say that you cannot just stop after reading the first book, you need to read them all to really understand this world and the injustice that is happening. You'll be cheering on the resistance, holding your breath each time a plan doesn't go right and hoping beyond hopes that everything will be alright for your favourite characters. The emotions will get you, you'll get infected yourself with all the feels.

Sidenote: Reading the novelles for Raven (2.5), Hana (1.5), Annabel (0.5), and Alex (1.1) adds a lot more detail to each character and helps you understand them all. I think Hana is the most misunderstood of the three and I enjoyed the POV in her story. You'll think differently about Alex after reading this additional short piece about his life and Raven's story just rounds out why she is the way she is. Annabel's story is a great one to understand just how amor deliria nervosa works and why the cure is so terrible. They are extremely beneficial to read and I read them in the order they are numbered (in between each main book). 

Overall, if you love a good dystopian and are looking for a series to try, pick this one up. You won't be disappointed. And really give the audiobook versions a try - Sarah Drew (THE April Kepner from Grey's Anatomy) does an amazing job narrating this series and I knew her voice the minute I heard it (honestly, I never much paid attention to narrator names before this audiobook series). She will make you feel EVERYTHING! The despair, the pain, the anger and the love! So what are you waiting for? 

About the Author:
Lauren Oliver is the cofounder of content development company Paper Lantern Lit. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of the YA novels Replica, Vanishing Girls, Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages. The film rights to both Replica and Lauren's bestselling first novel, Before I Fall, were acquired by AwesomenessTV; a major motion picture adaptation of Before I Fall was announced by Open Road Films in 2016. Her novels for middle grade readers include The Spindlers, Liesl & Po, and the Curiosity House series, co-written with H. C. Chester. She has written one novel for adults, Rooms.

A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU's MFA program, Lauren Oliver divides her time between New York, Connecticut, and a variety of airport lounges.

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