#TheShelfieHop

ShelfieHop

I am so excited to see all the shelves and book collections today! I had these lofty plans to reorganize and dust my shelves but that so did not happen. I’m posting picture though my books are in no particular order. I’m hoping seeing everyone else’s shelves will help motivate me to FINALLY organize.

Thank you Crystal for doing so much for the hop. You are the best.

Now to the tour…

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These shelves are in my bedroom

SideTable Photo2

My side table is always piled high with books I’m planning on reading or have started. The ones below are typically forgotten for the most part. Poor books. This other bookshelf is also in my room and is my newest addition. I’m still working on filling it completely. I’m thinking I’m going to need another bookcase soon.

LivingRoom

This bookcase is in my living room. The basket contains books I need to read but aren’t have to read right this instant.

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This bookcase is in our office and holds all the books I’m willing to get rid of at some point. Giveaways, trades and donations.

Now to some of my collections…

SarahMaasCollection

My Sarah J. Maas collection. It’s taken me a little while to get all of these and I’m so thrilled to have them all. Thank you to the folks that helped me get ahold of ToG and CoM

 

LeighBardugoCollection

My Leigh Bardugo Collection. I never though I’d own the S&B or S&S arcs but I do! These are my precious. Thank you dear friend that was so kind to trade with me.

SamanthaShannonCollection LainiTaylorCollection

MarieRutkoskiCollection TheseBrokenStarsCollection

Marie Rutkoski and Starbound Collections

KendareBlakeCollection

Kendare Blake Collection

MaggieCollection

Maggie Stiefvater Collection

Giveaway

For my giveaway I’m going to let you pick any book from my collection and I’ll order you a copy of your choice (sorry not giving away my books!). I’ll order from either Amazon or Book Depository based on your location.  If you choose a book that hasn’t released yet I will pre-order for you. If the book is out of print we’ll discuss a substitute book (some first editions have different covers etc). This is an international giveaway. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Participating Blogs

Now that you’ve seen my shelves be sure to visit everyone else’s! A HUGE thank you to all of you for your excitement and participation. It means so much to Crystal and I!

Interview with Mindy McGinnis + INT Giveaway

NotaDroptoDrink InaHandfulofDust AMadnessSoDiscreet

There is no other author I know that can wreck your heart and destroy your dreams of love as well as Mindy McGinnis. Her prior novels, Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust are gripping, raw and heartbreaking. With these companion novels, Mindy created a world lacking in water and characters that epitomized survival. These two novels were startling and terrifying because of the ease in which the reader can visualize and imagine our (not so distant) future without access to water.

Next month Mindy will be venturing into a new genre, a historical thriller, with her novel: A Madness So Discreet. I’m beyond excited to read this…check out this little tidbit from the summary on Goodreads:

“In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.”

Today I am honored to have Mindy here to answer questions about her books and give us some insight into what we can expect with A Madness So Discreet

Interview

I was incredibly impressed with the depth you went into with portraying how life would be in a world with little water in Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust. You explained water purifying techniques and dowsing for water as well as firing rifles and traveling miles over land. What type of research did you do to learn so much about these subjects and to approach them so realistically?
The honest answer is that a lot of those things were just part of my childhood. I live in an extremely rural area, and I grew up knowing how to handle firearms safely. When someone was getting ready to build a house, you called a dowser to see if there was a legitimate water source to tap into. It’s just how we live. The purifying techniques involved in both DRINK & DUST were definitely research based. I strive for realism. The method from DRINK involving plastic water bottles and exposure to the sun is called the SODIS method. You can read more about how it works in the paperback of DRINK, which has an essay from me in the extra content about the science behind it.

Did you experiment with any of the survival techniques you wrote about?
I do garden and can a lot of my own food, so that’s all speaking from experience. I also own a pond, but I’ve never drank from it, SODIS method or not. But if I HAD to – of course. And as a matter of principle I always inform people that I’ve never shot anyone. I think that’s an important baseline to establish.

From the summary your next novel looks to focus on mental illness and criminal psychology. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see you explore both of these topics. Can you tell us a bit more than the summary provides us about your story?
Sure! I’m very excited to get A MADNESS SO DISCREET out to my readers. My main character, Grace, has been a victim of abuse in her home, and is pregnant as a result. She’s from a wealthy, politically influential Boston family, so it has to be swept under the rug. In the Victorian era, inconvenient pregnancies were sometimes handled by sending the girl into an insane asylum until the delivery of the baby, explaining away their absence by saying they were abroad. This is Grace’s fate.

She’s been cursed with an eye for detail and infallible memory, along with a mother who won’t listen to the truth. When we meet Grace she’s a selective mute in the asylum, having given up on language after it failed her. Asylum conditions are… pretty horrible. Grace loses her child, finds her voice in a burst of violence that lands her in the darkest corners of the asylum, and there meets a young doctor who spots her talent, knowing it will be influential to him as he moves into a new career dabbling in criminal psychology (criminal profiling).

He helps her escape the asylum, and effectively removes her from the reach of her father. But faking insanity in order to live as an inmate at the Ohio asylum where the doctor works takes a toll, and she starts to question how much of her act is a farce. Combined with dark nights chasing killers – and one in particular who is targeting young women – Grace has to struggle with the fact that the life she’s escaped to isn’t exactly beautiful… and she kind of likes it that way.

Could you tell us a bit about the research you did about the asylum that helped inspire your setting, Athens Lunatic Asylum?
As an aside- you MUST check out Mindy’s Pintrest board here.
I researched for an entire year before writing a word of this book. There was much to learn – the beginnings of criminal psychology, the history of asylum medicine (both the good and the bad), and of course historical details in general. What kind of lighting would be in a room in 1890? What would an asylum inmate be wearing? I’m very particular, and there were days when I couldn’t finish a sentence without doing half an hour of research in order to make sure I got it (hopefully) right.

The specific setting – the Athens Lunatic Asylum in Ohio – has an amazing history. You can do a quick Google and learn about how it’s one of the most haunted places in the world and hear horror stories about the graveyard. And while I’m a fan of the supernatural, I’m also a fan of data. That type of history doesn’t interest me, because most of it quite frankly, just isn’t true.

The Athens asylum was actually an amazing model of humane treatment for the insane. If you were crazy (or just unlucky enough to be deemed so) in 1890, it was a good place to land. One of my best resources for the history of the asylum was Asylum On The Hill: History of A Healing Landscape, by Katherine Ziff. If you’d like to learn more about the actual history of the Athens Lunatic Asylum give it a shot.

I also toured the buildings, which are now part of the Ohio University campus. You can’t go into the patient wards for safety reasons (they are literally crumbling), but some parts of the building are currently in use as staff offices as well as an art gallery. The gallery is open to the public, and when you visit you can see original floors, staircases and woodwork from the insane asylum years. Definitely hit up my Pinterest board if you want to see some pics from my tour!

You can most definitely repost some of my pics from Pinterest, just make sure if you use any of the older ones that you use the attribution that I did, b/c some of those actually belong to University Archives.

Grace Mae, your main character, is battling with mental illness- did this make it more difficult to write her character?
Ha – no. It made her much, much easier to write than a person with no issues at all. Those people don’t exist.

Criminal psychology is a fascinating practice- how has it changed over the years and what resources did you use to incorporate it into your story?
What’s interesting is how some things have changed – and some really haven’t at all. Methods of crime can change, but motivations essentially don’t. We’re just as human now as we were in 1890. Some of the crime solving methods from back then were incredibly spot on even today, while others are just not. And just like today, people argued within their own fields about what was and was not accurate. Phrenology, for example is something that comes up in the book.

Do you listen to music while your write or for mood setting inspiration? If so what type of music did you listen to while plotting/writing A Madness So Discreet?
I usually don’t, although sometimes that can change from book to book while I’m writing. With MADNESS I definitely did not. I had to be very conscientious of every detail while writing this book. There was no “flow” with this one. It was work. Every word. No room for distractions.

You wrote your prior books in third person, is AMSD also in third person?
It is. I don’t plan my books at all, so I don’t walk into any book knowing how it will be narrated. I just let the first line happen, and that usually dictates person and tense.

Is A Madness So Discreet a standalone, series or will there perhaps be a companion novel?
As of right now it is a standalone. But I’m alarmingly ready to revisit this dark nasty world.

Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on next?
I do have a book coming from Katherine Tegen in 2016. It is a dark contemporary… and guess what? It’s a multiple POV in first person

About the Book

AMadnessSoDiscreetA Madness So Discreet
By: Mindy McGinnis
Release Date: October 6th 2015 
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books 

Summary:
Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

Giveaway

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Interview with Lauren DeStefano + Giveaway (INT)

New York Times best seller Lauren DeStefano excels in transporting her readers into creative worlds. Her novels are beautifully written with lyrical prose and characters that are questing for knowledge and self-discovery. Along with her two young adult series she has now embarked on a middle grade book that looks amazing.  I’m honored to have Lauren here to talk about her newest release, Burning Kingdoms and a bit about her other books.

PerfectRuin BurningKingdoms

Interview

About the Internment Chronicles:
In the Internment Chronicles series a group of people live on an island far up in the sky. What inspired this idea of a city in the clouds?
One of the main sources of inspiration was a game I used to play in my head when I was a kid. Whenever I had to go somewhere that frightened me, or do something I didn’t like, I used to imagine that my house was its own island and that nobody could enter or leave. Over time, all the “what ifs” of that scenario manifested into pieces of a story.

While reading I kept thinking of how claustrophobic it would be to know you’d never be able to approach the edge or leave. How were you able to harness this feeling so well and express it in your writing?
I think most people can relate to that feeling of restriction in one way or another. We all have reasons—emotional, physical or otherwise—that we feel held back on occasion. For me, I struggle with anxiety, and sometimes my own unreasonable worries restrict me from choices I’d like to make. The human mind is its own floating island.

Burning Kingdoms has your heroine, Morgan, experiencing life below on the ground and seeing incredible things that Internment didn’t have. You did a wonderful job conveying the wonder and fear your characters felt. Was this difficult to accomplish?
Yes and no. Many of the things that Morgan saw were mundane to me, like the idea of a round planet and the vastness of the ocean, but at the same time I’ve been awestruck by things, so I tried to find a balance and see though her eyes.

Speakeasies, two kingdoms at war—your world below has many intriguing elements that evoke the past though you throw in some unique aspects to make it obviously not our world. Could you talk about some of the inspirations for this world?
While a particular time period is never specified, I’m fascinated with the 1920s and that inspired a lot of the scenes. I wanted Morgan to arrive in this new world at a time when liberations and freedoms were being tested, especially for young women.

What was your favorite thing to have your characters experience on the ground?
The elegors.

In this series, one of my favorite aspects are the sibling relationships you’ve developed-Morgan and Lex plus in the Burning Kingdoms the Piper children. Are siblings interactions some of your favorite to write?
Definitely. Family dynamics have always interested me, maybe because my own family always felt very standard, and when I was growing up I wanted to know more about how families—especially large ones—interacted.

Could you give us any hints about the next and final book in the series?
People die.

About A Curious Tale of the In-Between and writing in general
You have just written your first middle grade book, A Curious Tale of the In-Between. When you began did you set out writing for a younger age group or did it develop in that direction?
I had no idea what this story was going to be, at all. It was a rare, wonderful experience to write without worry (I’d like to try that again sometime). I hadn’t seriously considered publishing it at first, but when I told the story to my little cousin, who was in second grade at the time, her excitement and interest really motivated me to write for younger readers.

Out of all the series you’ve worked on do you have a favorite or one that comes easier to write than the others?
A Curious Tale of the In-Between.

Have any of your characters taken on a life of their own and go off the original path you had set for them?
Only all of them.

Thank you so much Lauren!

About Burning Kingdoms

BurningKingdomsSummary:
Danger descends in the second book of The Internment Chronicles, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Chemical Garden trilogy.

After escaping Internment, Morgan and her fellow fugitives land on the ground to finally learn about the world beneath their floating island home.

The ground is a strange place where water falls from the sky as snow, and people watch moving pictures and visit speakeasies. A place where families can have as many children as they want, their dead are buried in vast gardens of bodies, and Internment is the feature of an amusement park.

It is also a land at war.

Everyone who fled Internment had their own reasons to escape their corrupt haven, but now they’re caught under the watchful eye of another king who wants to dominate his world. They may have made it to the ground, but have they dragged Internment with them?

Releases today, March 10, 2015

Giveaway

This is an international giveaway. The winner may choose either Perfect Ruin or Burning Kingdoms
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Interview + Giveaway- Melinda Salisbury Author of The Sin Eater’s Daughter

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I just finished The Sin Eater’s Daughter recently and was blown away with the scope of the story, pacing and the amount of anxiety I felt as the story progressed. This book delved so much darker than I expected and I loved it. Not only did it grip my heart it also introduced a world with wonderfully unique and vivid customs and traditions.  I’m thrilled to have the author, Melinda Salisbury, here on the blog today answering questions.

About the Book

22536448Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

Interview

One of my favorite aspects of your book was that you gave your fantasy world its own legends and myths. One of your characters tells the myth of The Sleeping Prince which seemed to draw upon The Pied Piper of Hamelin—could you talk a little about incorporating your own myths and drawing from our own?
I love myths and legends, especially the older, darker fairy stories. There‘s the old saying that in every fairytale there is a kernel of truth, and I love that, the uncertainty of it, because we can never be too sure what the truthful part is. We can speculate, but I think it’s subjective and that people find their own truths in fairytales. For some their truth will be that of the conquering hero, for some the rescue from a life they despise. Others will identify with rags to riches quests, and then there are those for whom it is the darkness, the beasts and the monsters. That was something I wanted to play with, and draw on in my writing, so I re-read a lot of my old favourites and drew on the themes that stood out for me. All worlds and cultures have stories, it’s how people made sense of the world around them before science and technology gave us solid explanations for things.

redridinghoodimagesBIOVM2LQ untitled

So in The Sin Eater’s Daughter, we have themes from Sleeping Beauty, and the idea of a kingdom allowed to stagnate and fester. We have the Pied Piper, and broken promises leading to disaster. The original concept of the story took a lot of the motifs of Little Red Riding Hood and moved them to a castle setting; dangerous, unknowable territory; an innocent young woman trying to navigate it. I plan to introduce more fairytales as the trilogy progresses, blurring the lines between their reality and fiction, in the way that it sometimes happens in our world, and absolutely does in Twylla’s.

Your main character, Twylla, can kill with a single touch. This adds such a powerful element and angst to your story. How did you get in the mind space to create a realistic depiction of how that might be for your MC?
I’d like to say it was hard, but it wasn’t. I think everyone has times when they feel alone, and isolated from everything around them. There are just some times when you can’t quite make the connection, when it feels as though you’re looking at life through a window. They were the feelings I tried to bring out when writing Twylla, that hopelessness and numbness of not quite being involved. It’s not nice, in fact it’s wretched, but it’s real and it happens, probably more often than people let on. To create Twylla’s mindset, I imagined those feelings, combined with a heavy, heavy guilt. She doesn’t want to be alone, but she feels it’s the only way she can be, for the sakes of everyone around her. And it suits the queen to have her feel this way, so she plays on it.

A major aspect of TSED is the religious duty some are called to perform. Your main character is one example as well as the Sin Eater. Where did you come up with the idea of a person eating the food representation of a person’s sins after their death?
Sin Eating was a real practice, carried out by men in the 18th and 19th century. In true Sin Eating, the food was a standard representation of sins in general, a hunk of bread and some ale. I wanted to elaborate on that and began to toy with the idea of the Sin Eater standing as judge over the deceased, not just as absolution. The idea of the family having to confess the sins of the dead using food was just too delicious to ignore. And the idea of the Sin Eater being able to read the character of a dead person from their sins was incredibly alluring too. I’d like to think it accounts somewhat for Twylla’s mother’s bitterness – her job is to take on board the very worst of humanity. Little wonder she is the way she is, or that Twylla rejected that life.

How did you assign which food would represent which sin?
I tried to match the food to the qualities that embody the sins. So, peppers were an obvious choice for anger, because of the heat – anger is a hot hot emotion, it burns and consumes, so I chose peppers to represent that. Strawberries have always been associated with love and lust and seduction, so that was an easy choice too. It was fun thinking about sins and trying to deconstruct them down to their roots, and then find a food that matched. Crow is the only one that didn’t work that way, for the sin of murder, crow was chosen as a play on ‘murder of crows’.

I’m always interested in the research that goes along with creating a world and writing a book. What was one of the strangest things you learned?
That Sin Eating was real. I first read about it a few years ago in a Margaret Atwood short story and the idea of it stayed with me, because it was just so awful to me; this literal pawning of a soul, of a person consuming and carrying sins they hasn’t committed, all to earn money. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I spent a lot of time looking it up, so when it came to Twylla wanting to leave a horrible life for a glorious one at the castle, I knew it had to be Sin Eating, because nothing else made me react quite so violently to it. I have repurposed a lot of the traditions though; so in my world it’s a female occupation, because of the way religion works in it. And food all has meaning, instead of being a token representation.

In reality, Sin Eaters were seen as outcasts, because of the nature of their role but I wanted to take it further than that, so I made the Sin Eater a woman of great power. Her role is revolting, and she knows it, but at the same time she has ultimate control over whether a soul sleeps peacefully in the afterworld and that’s a big thing.

My biggest surprise in reading The Sin Eater’s Daughter was how dark it went and how evil some of the characters were—what did you draw on for this darkness? Were any historical aspects brought in?
A lot of it is based in real medieval practices, particularly Twylla’s attitude and behavior. During medieval times, young women had almost no say over the paths their lives took, particularly noblewomen, they were brought up to not expect a say; it was indoctrinated in them. Where sons inherited titles and property, a daughter was only as good as the man she could be married off to, or if there were some other way she could be used for the good of the family. In those days, girls were chess pieces, to be played as strategically as possible. Worse, the people that designed their paths were the people closest to them, and yet the choices they made very rarely had the girls’ wishes at heart and for so many falling in love was a storybook dream, not a viable option. For me, I think the darkness comes from the fact this isn’t a historical problem, but one that millions of girls outside of the western world still face today. Girls are denied an education, bartered for marriage, are brutalized because of crimes committed against them. The darkness in the Sin Eater’s Daughter doesn’t come from the historical aspects, but the parts that aren’t history, the parts that are real and present and now. Where falling in love with the wrong man means death, or banishment. Where choice is a fairytale. Where a good girl does as she’s told. How evil are the queen’s actions, compared to some of the brutality and horror we live alongside in the real world?

I know some people will be puzzled by Twylla because she’s not as proactive or strong as some recent, and also much-needed, literary heroines and some people will find her a challenge to identify with, because her life will be so different to their own experiences. I think it’s worth remembering, though, that it’s not always possible for a person to speak their mind, or to fight. It takes great courage to be able to do it, great strength of character. And that’s not something Twylla has at the beginning of the story. It’s something she has to try and find in herself.

When beginning this series, did the characters or story come to you first?
The story came first, this idea of a young woman being plucked from one life and transplanted into another, a proper rags-to-riches story. I imagined a young woman being taken from a very dark life and thrust into one that was seemingly much more beautiful, only to find in many ways it was worse. Then Twylla came and I had a core idea of who she was from the moment I imagined her. I knew she was isolated, and that she felt it, because of her past and the future before her. I knew that she was a very inward-facing character, and that she’d stopped hoping, because every hope she’d had was dashed. I also knew that by the time the story ended she would have learned to hope, and to trust herself too. The rest of the characters came around her; the queen as her nemesis; the prince as her destiny. Lief, the guard came later, I had no idea he was going to end up being as important to Twylla as he was, until he was. Then he became the grenade in the mix, and the catalyst for Twylla facing up to her life, instead of shying away from it.

Do you think you’ll ever embark on writing a novella from another character’s point of view? I’d love to read from the queen’s perspective.
Interestingly, I have already written short stories set in this world, in which two other characters tell their tales, and I’m planning a third. I don’t know if they’ll ever see the light of day, but they were very useful for me to write to help expand on the mythology of the world. I don’t think I could handle writing from the queen’s point of view, she’s so poisonous and damaged. Though she’s my favourite character to write, if I wrote her from her point of view, I’d have to be a lot more sympathetic, because the villain is always the hero of their own story. And I know her backstory, she has very little reason for being as cruel as she is. I wish there was some tragic event in her past that turned her dark, but there isn’t. She’s just power-hungry and arrogant, a natural bad seed. It would make for a brutally interesting story, but I think it would make me sick to write it.

About Melinda

8152069Melinda Salisbury lives by the sea, somewhere in the south of England. As a child she genuinely thought Roald Dahl’s Matilda was her biography, in part helped byher grandfather often mistakenly calling her Matilda, and the local library having a pretty cavalier attitude to the books she borrowed. Sadly she never manifested telekinetic powers. She likes to travel, and have adventures. She also likes medieval castles, non-medieval aquariums, Richard III, and all things Scandinavian. The Sin Eater’s Daughter is her first novel, and will be published by Scholastic in 2015. She is represented by the amazing Claire Wilson at Rogers, Coleridge and White.

Find Melinda on her website and Twitter

The Sin Eater’s Daughter is available from Scholastic Press February 5th (UK) February 24th (US)

Giveaway

Enter to win a finished copy of The Sin Eater’s Daughter. The winner can choose to receive the paperback UK version or the hardcover US version. The Book Depository must deliver to your location.
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International Swag Giveaway

I think you probably know this- but I absolutely adore Susan Ee and her books, Angelfall and World After. If you’ve not read these books you must do so now. Today I’ve got some temporary tattoos (courtesy of Feral Dream) to give to one lucky reader. This is an international giveaway and the winner will receive three of each tattoo.

tattoos

Giveaway:
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