Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Importance of Timing Part II

You guys...YOU GUYS. You all KNOW how much I LOVE all of Jojo Moyes books, right?! So imagine my surprise (more like utter shock) when the amazing Jaime over at Fiction Fare made me aware of a signing that was taking place no more than 20 minutes from where I'm living in San Diego. OH MY GOSH LET THE FREAK OUT BEGIN. Never in my life did I think I would ever have the opportunity to meet her because she is legit one of my all-time favorite authors. Her books touch me on a level that is always personal in some way no matter what the story is. Her stories are magic and she weaves the ordinary into the extraordinary and I cannot ever get enough of her books. 

SO! I wanted to do a fun recap of the event at Warwick's Bookstore in La Jolla, California and give a quick and dirty break down of some of the fun facts I learned about Jojo Moyes. Oh, and in case you were wondering...her accent is absolutely lovely and she is so kind in real life. Really. 

Fun Facts I Learned About Jojo Moyes

Why did she write ONE PLUS ONE? 
Reason 1: She wanted to write a story about a good mother. She said literature has too many bad examples or they treat mothers horribly. Such as fairy tales (The Moms are always dead), Harry Potter (Harry's Mom is dead), The Goldfinch (The Mom is dead), and Pride and Prejudice (the Mom in meddling). 

Reason 2: She also wanted to write a "dirty, sexy, funny, great road trip story." Direct quote. I absolutely loved this because the words dirty and sexy to describe a road trip makes the story sound illicit...then you realize they have two children and a big, dirty dog with them...maybe THAT'S why dirty was an adjective...

She Listens To Input From Her Fans
MILD SPOILER ALERT FOR ONE PLUS ONE
When debating the fate of Norman, she tweeted wondering if she should kill the dog and the overwhelming response from Twitter the next morning was NO…she found it ironic that nobody cares when she kills a human (save one human) but they all care about the dogs. In fact, she once got an email from a reader stating she would never read her books again for the demise of a dog in SHIP OF BRIDES (she promises that isn't a spoiler) 

Her Inspiration For ME BEFORE YOU?
She has personal experience with the question of quality of life thus pushing her to write ME BEFORE YOU and a young athlete recently had befallen a life-changing injury and opted for physician-assisted suicide.

How did she write MBY?
She said ME BEFORE YOU was the easiest book she ever wrote. 
I love that.

Will (see what I did there?) there be more MBY?
Yes, kinda! It's going to be a movie!!! AND it had a female director AND producer AND A-list actors reading for the role of Will...EEP!

Where Did the Story for THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND Came From
The Girl You Left Behind was inspired by a true story of an American reporter who was asked to watch over  a warehouse that contained 1/3 of Europe's stolen art during the liberation of Dachau. So that part in the book? True story.


The Ending of an Era?
She wanted to write The Last Letter To Your Lover because a younger friend or family member (can't remember) never received a love letter and she thought her generation might be the last of the receiver of love letters 


True Life Inspiration...
Jojo says she gets up at 6 am to write every morning...her husband wakes up at 5:55 am every morning to make her coffee, prop her head behind a pillow, and plop her computer on her lap…if that isn’t true love…no wonder she writes such great love stories. 


My favorite fact of the night AND the reason why I absolutely love all her books?
She could get a novel out of any human being she talked for a short amount of time. She says that we all have a story to tell...isn't that just lovely? Ordinary into extraordinary, what did I say?


Seriously though, this was one of the best nights ever and such an amazing event. It was well-organized and just such a great signing. I'm not lying when I say Jojo Moyes is such a nice person to meet and it was an amazing experience to tell her in person how much her books mean to me...even if I was spazzing...just a little. Thank you so incredibly much to Warwick's the event and I can't wait to come back for some more books :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Importance of Timing Part I

"I had felt out of place for so long...and then Anthony was there.
And I had this feeling.
That I was home.
That it was him."
--Jojo Moyes, The Last Letter From Your Lover


Genre: Adult Historical Fiction and Contemporary
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 416
Publication Date: June 26th, 2014
Source: Bought
Other Books By This Author: Me Before You & One Plus One & The Girl You Left Behind
Goodreads Description

A heartbreaking, stay-up-all-night novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You and One Plus One

A Brief Encounter for our time, The Last Letter from Your Lover is a sophisticated, spellbinding double love story that spans decades and thrillingly evokes a bygone era. In 1960, Jennifer Stirling wakes in the hospital and remembers nothing—not the car accident that put her there, not her wealthy husband, not even her own name. Searching for clues, she finds an impassioned letter, signed simply "B," from a man for whom she seemed willing to risk everything. In 2003, journalist Ellie Haworth stumbles upon the letter and becomes obsessed with learning the unknown lovers’ fate—hoping it will inspire her own happy ending. Remarkably moving, this is a novel for romantics of every age.

The Feels Jojo Moyes has yet to disappoint in the realm of emotional attachment to her characters. I know I say this with every book I read of hers but I'm not lying when I say the feelings I had for Jennifer and 'B' were palpable. I could feel it in my chest and it ached so badly for things to work out in the way I knew they wouldn't. I mean, the book opens up with her car crash and I'm still wishing, hoping, and praying that it doesn't happen later on in the book. Pathetic much? NO! I just have a lot of feelings! The sense of longing and desperation and hope are visceral in this novel and I cannot verbalize how emotional I was for them. I was rooting so hard I earned my own VIP suite in the stadium.

The Characters Like I said above, the characters suck you in. Make you care about them. Make you look past the objectively black and white situation of cheating on your spouse and open up your eyes to the gray area. Jennifer is just a typical woman of the 1960's and a victim of circumstance of the time. She is not extraordinary. She is not unique. But she is loved. She is loved in the sense of extraordinary measure that defies all things ordinary and THAT is what I will always find and love in Jojo Moyes' stories. The love that occurs between two normal human beings is what turns their story from ordinary to extraordinary. It gives the reader a sense that your own amazing and extraordinary story is right around the corner. You just have to be open to it.

The Growth What I loved about the two main heroines were the revelations and growth they both go through. Jennifer especially because I hated that she saw so little value in herself based on society's expectations of women at the time. It was the norm for the time but I still loved seeing her go through a metamorphosis after meeting B. I loved that he was able to show her how much more she can be and all that comes after...no spoilers :) Ellie, too, starts to see herself as more than what she originally thought because of somebody she meets. I think it is a beautiful type of story when love helps to transform people into who they are capable to being. I love the situation where another person comes along and shows the other person how amazing they can be but the lack the kind of self-reflection of being able to see it themselves...does that make sense? It does in my head I just don't know if I'm saying it right.

The Angst OH MY GOSH THE ANGST! My review of Silver Bay will be up shortly and in it I say that SB has the most angst of any Jojo book yet...lies. All lies. Ignore that sentence because THIS book has so many feels and it is not a bad thing at all. I love how the story plays out and everything is necessary...but it still hurt my freakin' heart. So much. The pain was palpable at points and overwhelming because I was internally fighting so hard for these characters. How does it all turn out? Read the freakin' book already. 
VIP
Jojo Moyes has yet to disappoint me in any way, shape, or form. Add to that I finally (OH MY GOSH I CAN'T BELIEVE IT) got to meet her in real life and let me tell you, she is just as lovely as her writing...see tomorrow's post for all the dirty details. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Karma or Cosmic Intervention?

"Hateful words had a way of worming beneath the skin,
until they became the unbearable echo in your head.
But I wasn't listening anymore."
--Ann Aguirre, Mortal Danger


Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 372
Publication Date: August 5th, 2014
Source: ARC provided via publisher in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: First book in series
Goodreads Description

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

In Ann Aguirre's Mortal Danger, Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She’s not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he’s impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly . . . bad things are happening. It’s a head rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil’s bargains, she isn’t sure who—or what—she can trust. Not even her own mind.
The Theme I love books that strike me on a personal level and this book was just what I needed when I read it. The discussion of inner beauty vs outer beauty and the way the world perceives it was fascinating. Ann Aguirre hit the nail on the head with Edie's point of view and her thoughts. There are good and bad sides to everything and being seen as good-looking or not-so-good-looking is definitely one of those. Watching Edie's transformation and the differences between being one or the other was amazing. Some things come easier to the so-called "beautiful" people but there are cons on the other side of that coin as well. More below...

The Development Edie and the other characters development was gradual and surprising in the best way. People are never one-dimensional and Aguirre digs into this kind of snap judgments on both ends of the bully spectrum. Edie was treated horribly...I mean, to the extent that she plans to end it. Her character growth and insight was lovely to read and I'm really looking forward to future books and where she will go from here.

The Lore I can't delve too much into the paranormal workings of this world but I will say I loved how this are is born. We don't get a ton of info but what we do get sets a pretty good foundation for the rest of the series.


The Romance I loved the humble beginnings of our hero and heroine and the idea that these two broken souls found their way to each other but it was a little too insta-lovey for me. Where the characters end up I was really happy with but I felt like it could have been a little more gradual in the beginning.

The X-Factor I liked this story. It was a quick read and I was invested into wanting to know what happens next but it didn't blow me away. It was good just not amazing. There wasn't anything super unique or particular that made me want to flail about the book. It was good but it just didn't wow me.

General Admission
I loved what this book represented and how bullying and self-worth was discussed. I think this book will work for people and they will get that intention or they won't and not enjoy it as much. It struck a personal chord for me at the right time so it agreed with me. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Kiss of Deception Blog Tour


Hey y'all! Welcome to the final stop on the blog tour for THE KISS OF DECEPTION by Mary E. Pearson. So my blog tour stop is actually the Google Hangout which will take place TONIGHT 9pmEST/6pm West Coast Time. I hope you all are able to make it to ask Mary the questions you've been wondering! It is going to be freakin' awesome because Mary is awesome! The link to join is HERE!


I had the amazing opportunity to be able to go to the book launch for THE KISS OF DECEPTION last week at Mysterious Galaxy books in San Diego. Another point in favor of moving to this city for the time being, holla! It was such a fantastic evening! Mary talked about the book, her inspiration, and the story behind the dedication and the romance. I will definitely be asking her to inform all of you guys tonight because those were some of my favorite parts of the evening. 



So it's still early to think of questions! Join me and Mary E. Pearson tonight at 9pm EST/6pm West Coast Time. I hope you see you all there!!

And don't forget to check out my VIP review of THE KISS OF DECEPTION!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Book Pushin' with Laura S. Andersen

Let me tell you how freakin' excited I was when Laura S. Andersen agreed to let me interview her for my Book Pushin' posts on her series The Boleyn King. Ermagosh, I freaked out! I had SO many burning questions I wanted to ask her and, you guys, she has the BEST answers ever. I was grinning from ear to ear when reading through them. So without further ado, I give you Laura S. Andersen...


Kelly: So...first and foremost, the premise of this story is amazing to me. So I have to ask the most boring and cliche question first because I actually am dying to know...What inspired you to write this story?

Laura: All the way back in 2003, while reading a biography of Anne Boleyn, I was struck by the sadness and irony of her miscarriage in January 1536, on the very day of Catherine of Aragon’s funeral. Just four months later, Anne was executed and Henry VIII had married Jane Seymour in his search for a living son. What if, I wondered at the time, Anne had not miscarried? How might history have altered?

That question lay dormant for a year until my second visit to London, where I was seized upon by several characters wanting to tell me their story. At both Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London, I had the nearest thing to a creative vision I’ve ever had—William, Dominic, and Minuette were born in those moments. I began writing their story within six weeks of returning from London.


Kelly: Oh, I love that! Those are my absolute two favorite places in London so it is so amazing to see that those places inspired you! Now, this is completely obvious but I'll say it again anyways. I am an avid fan of Anne Boleyn so when I first saw The Boleyn King on NetGalley I freaked out…A LOT. Do you think history has treated her unfairly and did this play any part in your creative process of starting this story?

Laura: YES! Look, it’s unlikely that those of us five hundred years after Anne are going to make the most accurate judgments. Frankly, I’m not certain I can accurately judge the people who live in my own house. Was Anne imperfect? No more than any human. Was she proud, insecure, arrogant, and impatient? No doubt. But what is a spirited, intelligent woman to do when a king (who has already been to bed with your sister and then married her off elsewhere) fixes his eye on you? Follow Mary Boleyn’s path, or forge her own? Resist the will of a king who has shown himself ready to meet personal grudges with violence? In the end, I think my opinion of Anne is summed up in a line I gave to Elizabeth in The Boleyn King, when Minuette asks if she believes Anne loved Henry: “I think she loved him as well as she was able, considering she had no choice in the matter.”

Kelly: I am totally in love with that. And how you say she forged her own path because that's what I love about her, too! With how detailed and vividly you write these infamous people of history, if you could spend the day with one historical figure from the Tudor era, who would it be and why?

Laura: Frankly, the Tudors scare the hell out of me. I’m not clever enough for Elizabeth, not brave enough for Henry, not male enough for Anne (who does not seem to have possessed many female friends) . . . I think I would like to spend a day with Jane Grey. And perhaps persuade her to defy her father and Northumberland and refuse to allow herself to be proclaimed queen. Jane was a woman who should have been allowed to live a quiet, useful life, not to be executed for trying to please the men around her.

Kelly: GREAT answer! I love Jane Grey and wish her story had turned out differently as well. I would love to see her defy her horrible parents...possibly another book in your future?..:)

This is an understatement but I was both enthralled and shocked by some of the things that happened in the final book. Did you always know how the story would end when you started The Boleyn King or did it evolve as you wrote?

Laura: A trick question! Originally, back in 2004/2005, The Boleyn King was one (very long) manuscript. I split the story at my agent’s suggestion some years later and thus the trilogy was born. Without giving spoilers, I will say that the original ending had more death. Hmmm, maybe not more death . . . it had different deaths. Once The Boleyn Reckoning has been out for a time, I’ll probably talk about this on my blog and share some of the details of the original version. There was, however, one very critical event that did not change. In fact, it was an outcome that I considered inevitable long before I began actually writing the story.

Kelly: Ooh, I cannot WAIT to find out those answer!! I found the deaths of certain prominent historical figures both ironic and shocking depending on whose it was. Did you map out how you were going to eliminate the major players and in what context?

Laura: Perhaps the aspect I most enjoy about writing alternate history is twisting historical facts (such as time and manner of death) to fit into a new story. Without spoiling too much for The Boleyn Deceit and The Boleyn Reckoning, consider the case of John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. History records his execution in 1553 for having maneuvered to put Jane Grey on the throne in place of Mary Tudor. Since Mary Tudor doesn’t take the throne in my world, I had to figure out what to do with Northumberland. The trick is to remember that, though I have changed circumstances and situations, I haven’t changed the essence of who people were. Northumberland was ambitious, proud, and devoted to his family. All I had to do was find a different trigger for him to dig himself a mighty big hole in opposition to the royals.

Some of the details I include with the actual historical characters are almost like Easter Eggs—I like to think that those who know their Tudor history (and there are multitudes who know it far better than I do!) will appreciate the allusions and nods to the actual timeline.


Kelly: That is very prevalent I think in your story and I really liked. You didn't change the people, just the situation which is why I found the different deaths SO interesting! Obviously the Boleyn King series has quite the love story, epic in my humble opinion. What are some of your favorite love stories? Fictional or historical, either or both.

Laura: I adore love stories! I remember as a very young girl devouring The Little House on the Prairie books and being mightily impressed with Almanzo Wilder and his beautiful horses.

As an adult reader, hmmm, how about the first three love stories that come to mind today?

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier: historical fantasy set in early-Christian Ireland, a fairy tale re-telling of the six brothers turned into swans by an evil stepmother and the sister who must save them.

Here be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman: the story of Llewellyn the Great of Wales and his wife, Joanna—illegitimate daughter of the hated English King John—is epic and swoony and if that isn’t how things really happened between them, then it’s what should have happened.

The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett: a six-volume series set in Tudor times centered on the brilliant, enigmatic, infuriating Scotsman Francis Crawford of Lymond. There are plenty of women in those six volumes, but only one who can truly match Lymond in the end.


Kelly: Aaaand you've just made me add  A TON of book to my TBR pile...yay! SPEAKING of loves, let’s play Kiss, Marry, Cliff. You can kiss one, marry one, and throw the last off a cliff. Which would you do to whom between Dom, William, and Robert Dudley?

Laura: Perhaps it should be Kiss, Marry, Behead :)

Marry is easy. As my daughter said recently to my husband, “Dad, don’t you realize you ARE Dominic?”

Kiss . . . let’s just say that I still think the kiss between Will and Minuette after Anne Boleyn dies is one of the most erotic scenes I’ve ever written. That boy knows how to kiss.

And Robert Dudley reminds me of Captain Jack in Dr. Who—sometimes I’m charmed and sometimes I’d gladly push him off that cliff.


Kelly: OMG I LOVE THAT!! Kiss, Marry, Behead is totally perfect! I also totally would pick the same answers. That Dominic...does your husband have any single brothers?... :)

Thank you so, so, SO much for stopping by Belle of the Literati and giving this uh-may-zing interview!! I already cannot wait to re-read this series and I hope you all have added this to your TBR pile! 

Don't forget to check out my initial Book Pushin' post 
OR my Lit in Lyrics playlist!!






Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lit in Lyrics--The Boleyn King Series


 Book Pushin' continues with a playlist inspired by The Boleyn King series. Some books come into play later on and make more sense soooo that just means you have to read the books!!



Umbrella by Rihanna ft Jay-Z (YouTube)--The friendship between four main characters and their consistency in always being there for each other.

When the sun shines, we'll shine together
Told you I'd be here forever
Said I'll always be a friend
Took an oath I'ma stick it out 'til the end
Now that it's raining more than ever
Know that we'll still have each other
You can stand under my umbrella

Love Story by Taylor Swift (YouTube)--The progression of love starts from an early age with these characters...before they even knew it themselves.

We were both young when I first saw you.
I close my eyes and the flashback starts:
I'm standing there on a balcony in summer air.

See the lights, see the party, the ball gowns.
See you make your way through the crowd
And say, "Hello, "
Little did I know...

This I Swear by Nick Lachey (YouTube)--I love this song. I think it is so romantic and I totally think of this to represent the love between two characters I cannot divulge :)

You're there by my side 
In every way 
I know that you would not forsake me 
I give you my life 
Would not think twice 
Your love is all I need believe me

My Songs Know What You Did in The Dark by Fall Out Boy (YouTube)--The series definitely takes a turn for the dark and I think this song gives us a look at how you can't hide the bad things you do.


B-B-B-Be careful making wishes in the dark, dark
Can't be sure when they've hit their mark
And besides in the mean, mean time
I'm just dreaming of tearing you apart

I'm in the de-details with the devil
So now the world can never get me on my level
I just gotta get you off the cage
I'm a young lover's rage
Gonna need a spark to ignite

My songs know what you did in the dark


Rolling in the Deep by Adele (YouTube)--Things get a little ugly and this I see this as one character's feelings for another...I'll let you read the books :)


There's a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch, it's bringing me out the dark
Finally I can see you crystal clear
[Clean version:] Go 'head and sell me out and I'll lay your ship bare
[Explicit version:] Go 'head and sell me out and I'll lay your shit bare
See how I leave with every piece of you
Don't underestimate the things that I will do

There's a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch
And it's bringing me out the dark

The scars of your love remind me of us
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless
I can't help feeling
We could have had it all
(You're gonna wish you never had met me)

Single Ladies by Beyonce (YouTube)--Because...Elizabeth

Don't treat me to these things of the world
I'm not that kind of girl
Your love is what I prefer, what I deserve
Is a man that makes me then takes me
And delivers me to a destiny, to infinity and beyond
Pull me into your arms
Say I'm the one you want
If you don't, you'll be alone


Have you read The Boleyn King?
Do you think these books do it justice?
Or does it make you want to read it?! 

Don't forget to check out my initial Book Pushin' post 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Character Couture--The Boleyn King Series




Ok, so clearly this edition of Character Couture for The Boleyn King series by Laura S. Andersen is going to be a little more fun than usual for me. Why? Obvi because these women wore gowns every day of the year SO for this post, I had SO MUCH FUN finding high fashion couture evening gowns that I think our characters would wear. This was so freaking awesome and I loved looking at all the fabulous gowns and deciding what I think Minuette and Elizabeth would wear today. I decided to go through the most recent collections of two of my favorite red carpet high fashion designers Diane Von Furstenburg and OF COURSE Marchesa :)

Minuette

For Minuette I went with stylish yet still simple. She was raised with royalty yet is not of royal blood. This is a tricky place to be as to not dress above your place yet still need to be seen as somebody important.

The black lace dress I chose, mostly, because it was my most favorite dress I came across in Marchesa's most recent lines and it is just so badass that I needed to pick it. It is sexy and fierce just like Minuette...well, more fierce than sexy for her personality but I don't care, she gets to wear the most fabulous dress I found.

The Diane Von Furstenburg maxi dress I can see her wearing for the daytime. It is elegant yet understated. So very Minuette.


I think the royal blue number is PERFECT for Minuette. Again, simple elegance, classy yet eye-catching. Same goes with this nude number. It is just so beautiful but not over the top. I think these dresses are amazing and gorgeous and just the right amount of amazing for somebody of her standing.

Elizabeth

For Elizabeth, I definitely let myself go a little more on the wild side. Elizabeth will be Queen, she sets the standard and she is the one in the room that needs to be noticed above anyone. I love this white number because of the gold accents and I think it is totally something a Queen would wear.

The magenta number is pure fun. Risky and trendy, this is totally something a Queen or future Queen could wear and turn heads while doing so.



Hello, ball gown. The royal purple is completely significant of royalty and the second I saw this I knew this would be perfect for a Queen. The dramatic skirt, the form-fitting bodice. It screams regal while still being fashionable.

The blue number? Because every Queen needs a train...I mean, LOOK AT IT! How f'ing amazing is this silhouette?!

What do you guys think?
Do these gowns do these fabulous women justice?

Don't forget to check out my Book Pushin' video post AND my Boleyn King Series Playlist!