Friday, April 27, 2012

Apocalypsies Love! Book Review: Remarkable by Lizzie K Foley

Apocalypsies Love is all about me telling you what I loved about a 2012 debut book written by one of the amazing Apocalypsies. I also chat with the author to gain insight into their very favorite parts of their creation.

Today I'm featuring REMARKABLE, a sweet middle grade confection about an unremarkable girl named Jane in a town where nearly everyone else has a remarkable talent.

REMARKABLE is a remarkably fun read. It's written in a very exaggerated style that manages to be silly and utterly serious at the same time.  There were so many aspects I loved about the story, I don't even know where to begin.  So I'll make a list:

  • Jane can relate to Grandpa because both of them are constantly being forgotten.  They can't even get served at the ice cream parlor!  
  • Jane's brother's hapless courtship of a girl with perfect pitch.  The progression of this storyline is laugh out loud funny.
  • The pirates! There are fake pirates and real pirates and they all have such clever motivations.
  • The way all of the disparate elements come together perfectly at the end.  I adore when this happens - because you think "what could a dentist's aspirations possibly have to do with this story?" and then wham, bam, craft genius ma'am! 

So yeah, this'll be one of my go-to middle grade recommendations in the future, especially for fans of the whimsical. 

And now let's chat with Lizzie!

What is your favorite scene in the book?
My favorite scene is toward the end of the book, when the Grimlet twins (aged 10 and gifted at being criminal masterminds) are on their way to test out their "science fair project", and encounter the three members of the pirate crew who are searching for their missing captain. The pirates want the Grimlet twins to help them find the captain, and since the Grimlet twins never want to help anyone, they soon get into a dust-up which involves a lot of pirate swearing, some blackmail, a couple of lies, and everyone behaving very badly. It was very fun to write.

And so funny! What is your favorite line in the book?
My favorite line is "Sometimes when you don't follow your dreams, your dreams coming looking for you." It's written about Ms. Schnabel, Jane's teacher, who has turned away from her true gift because her parents don't approve of it. But she's miserable, and she really needs to get back to doing what she loves. And somehow, I just loved the idea that her destiny would come looking for her once it realized that she had chickened out on following it on her own.

What setting was most fun to write?
The absolute most fun setting for me to write was the Science Fair Dance. Science Fairs are not where I start when I think of romance, and there is (at least to me) something intrinsically funny about having a science fair that is taken so seriously that it gets it's own formal dance. When I started this scene, I thought the dance would end up being kind of grim and horrible, but somehow it didn't turn out that way. There are a lot of strangely beautiful and amazing things found in science. The double helix is really gorgeous. Models of the solar system have a lot of charm. There is something rather regal about the periodic table. And the Large Hadron Collider -- well, calling it "large" is an understatement, that thing is immense -- how much would you love to see that made out of ice? (okay, it would actually be very hard to make it out of ice in the proper proportions, but this is where suspension of disbelief comes in). Anyway, the setting came out weirdly romantic after all (with a heavy emphasis on weirdly).

Who is your favorite supporting character - one you could see getting a spin-off book - and why?
This is a tie between the Grimlet Twins and Ms. Schnabel. I would love to do a spin-off story about the Grimlet twins in Paris or London (perhaps after they mistakenly flee the country thinking they are about to be arrested for something). And I'd love to do a prequel about Ms. Schnabel's childhood, which took an unusual turn when she ran away from summer camp.

I would wholly support both of these books! What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
The BOOK PEOPLE!!!!! Seriously. I love hanging out with people who work in or near publishing. I love meeting other authors. I love editors, publishers, agents, publicists, book jacket designers, and the amazingly fun sales reps. I love book store owners and the people who work for them. I love librarians (okay, my mom is a librarian, so I've had a fondness for them for a long time). I love people who blog about books, talk about books, and enthusiastically read books. It's been really wonderful getting to know more and more of them.

Thank you Lizzie!

REMARKABLE is available now. Find out more about it at the author's website.

FTC disclosure: I was given a copy of the galley by a friend.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Meet the Apocalypsies at BEA!

WHAT: A Meet the Apocalypsies (Debut YA and MG Authors 2012) BEA Event

WHEN: Tuesday June 5, 2012 from 3-5 pm

WHERE: Javits Convention Center Room 1E04 - New York City (You'll need a BEA badge to get in)

WHO: 20+ Authors including:

Lizzie K. Foley REMARKABLE
Zoraida Cordova THE VICIOUS DEEP
Lenore Appelhans LEVEL 2
Tamara Ireland Stone TIME BETWEEN US
Gretchen McNeil POSSESSION and TEN
Hilary Weisman Graham REUNITED
Tiffany Schmidt SEND ME A SIGN
Gennifer Albin CREWEL
Gina Damico CROAK
Fiona Paul VENOM
Lauren Morrill MEANT TO BE

WHY: Take a break from the Javits floor to mix and mingle with us and learn more about our books. We're offering free cookies, tons of swag, and giveaways including signed books and ARCs, art, t-shirts, totes and more.

Hope to see you there!

Special thanks to Michelle and Shanyn at Literary Logistics for helping me organize this event.

Find out more about the Apocalypsies at our group blog.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Book Review: The Right & The Real by Joelle Anthony

Jaime is so into her new boyfriend Josh that she doesn't realize the danger his fanatical church poses until it's too late and her own father has joined their cult and disowned her. Jamie is only a few months from turning 18, but until then, she has to find a way to live on her own without raising the suspicions of her friends or the authorities who might send her off to live with her estranged mother in another state.

For some reason, I've always been drawn in by stories of people surviving cults, and I appreciated this different perspective. Jamie is not the one in the cult, but the consequences on her life are severe.  Josh can only see her in secret, and because her father has kicked her out & cut her off, she's homeless and has to get a job.

Jaime's situation is scary.  Because of her age and circumstances, she doesn't have a lot of choices.  She ends up in a seedy hotel and has to give up a lot just to keep going.  Anthony dramatizes this hopelessness well and makes a wise choice by portraying Jamie as relatable, adaptable and non-whiny.  I enjoyed the way the plot played out - even the last little sucker punch at the very end. Also - I loved the character of LaVon and how he became important to Jaime's life.

THE RIGHT & THE REAL comes out April 24th. Find out more about it at the author's website.

Also! Here's the trailer:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Book Review: Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber

When Perry's parents make him take their odd Lithuanian exchange student Gobi to prom, Perry is not pleased - he has a gig that night with his band in Manhattan. But Gobi is not at all who she seemed to be for the past nine months and Perry is in for the scariest, most exciting night of his life.

This novel is pure male adventure fantasy - with the car chases (in a Jaguar no less), a femme fatale, explosions, murders, thugs, torture, etc.  Perry has good reason to think Gobi is crazy and she has good reason to be the way she is.  Not that there's a huge amount of character development - it's very much about the high-octane thrills.  It's a fun, quick read with a really awesome title.

AU REVOIR, CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK is available now.  Find out more about it at the author's website.

FTC disclosure: I borrowed this from a friend.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Last Seven Books I Bought

Charlotte revealed the last seven books she purchased on her blog on Monday, and I thought I'd do it too.

So let's see.

My most recent purchase was today.  I ordered:

CRACKED by KM Walton as a gift for Kelly Jensen from Stacked. Because the book rocks and so does she. This is the third copy I've bought, so obviously I quite like it.

ZERO THE HERO by Joan Halub. Because Daniel wants it.

The Hunger Games: Official Illustrated Movie Companion. Uh... because I needed to order something more for the free shipping.

Let's see what else?

STARTERS by Lissa Price. In German. From the Children's Bookshop around the corner. To hang out with the US version I bought.

WHERE IS FRED? by Edward Hardy. Because I saw it reviewed on a blog and it looked super cute. (It is!)

WILDWOOD by Colin Meloy.  Because Daniel saw a write-up about it on Der Spiegel and asked "Why don't we have this?!"

A preorder of REUNITED by Hilary Graham. Because I read the galley, love it, and must have the hardcover for my shelf.

And those are my most recent book acquisitions! What are yours?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Return of Cat Tuesday (65)

Yes, I am aware that I missed the past two Cat Tuesdays. So to make up for it, I am offering three fab pictures today of kitties sleeping.

Lu sleeping

Kaia sleeping

Emmy sleeping

You're welcome ;)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Apocalypsies Love! Book Review: Scarlet by AC Gaughen

Apocalypsies Love is all about me telling you what I loved about a 2012 debut book written by one of the amazing Apocalypsies. I also chat with the author to gain insight into their very favorite parts of their creation.

Today I'm featuring SCARLET, a retelling of the Robin Hood legend told from the perspective of Scarlet, a very independent young woman posing as a boy.

SCARLET is a novel full of action and intrigue, but also a (very) slow-burning romance and lots of heart.  But my absolute favorite part of the novel is Scarlet herself. She is grumpy, bad-ass, and full of surprises - and I absolutely love her.

The sheriff is, of course, up to no good, and Scarlet does her best to help Robin and his gang keep the people of Nottingham out of harm's way. But then this horrible guy from her past, Gisbourne, shows up and complicates matters even more - because Scarlet has a deep dark secret (I love dark secrets and her's is wow).

After you meet Scarlet, you might be asking "Maid Marion who?"

Now, let's chat with AC!

What is your favorite scene in the book?
There's this scene when Scarlet is about to run off and try to prevent something bad from happening--mostly likely at great personal sacrifice--and Rob stops her. They start fighting, both physically and verbally, and they end up confessing their darkest secrets to each other. I *love* it!

What is your favorite line in the book?
Honestly I love the first line: "No one really knows about me." I'm big on first lines and I've never rewritten it from the very first draft.

What setting was most fun to write?
The forest scenes were a ball. Scarlet is kind of like a flying squirrel--she can leap from branch to branch and scurry across the top of the forest with fearless abandon. To write that felt like fantasy but also real enough because it got to the core of her character. And it was just plain fun to imagine.

Who is your favorite supporting character - one you could see getting a spin-off book - and why?
I would really like to write a spin off of all John's conquests forming a secret club or something like that. I actually love all his ladies!

What has been your favorite part of your publishing journey so far?
My twelve year old cousin talked to me for about an hour at a family party about how cool she thinks it is that I wrote a book and she detailed her extensive plans for the movie. I have a really big family, so feeling like the cool cousin is actually kind of amazing.

Thanks AC!

SCARLET is available now.  Find out more about it at the author's website.

FTC disclosure: I picked up a copy at the Frankfurt Book Fair.