Thursday, April 24, 2014

Candace Reviews The Taking by @KimberlyDerting

The Taking by Kimberly Derting Series: The Taking #1
Published by Harper on April 29th, 2014 
Genres: sci-fi, young adult
Pages: 368 
Format: ARC 
Source: Amazon Vine
A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.
When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.
Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.
Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

This review was first posted at Candace's Book Blog.
The Taking delivered something new to the YA genre (to me anyway- I certainly haven’t read everything out there) and was exactly the kind of book I was craving, even if I didn’t know it.

Characters~ Kyra was a normal girl one minute, playing softball, fighting with her dad and then POOF, she wakes up behind a garbage bin at a gas station and when she goes home she discovers she’s been gone for 5 years. Can you imagine? Waking up in the same clothes, with the same bruises on your body, etc? And everyone is saying you’ve been gone 5 years? Her family is different, her boyfriend and best friend have moved on. Her parents are ecstatic to see her, but they are different. Everyone is different. And this is hard for Kyra. I had to keep reminding myself that it was just YESTERDAY that she was experiencing a much different life. So when she threw tantrums (sort of) it was frustrating, but somewhat understandable. I would have been screaming at people because her whole life is different. She in a way has no one. But she does, her boyfriends (ex-boyfriend now) brother is all grown up and is the only one who listens to her and seems to understand her and what she’s going through.

Tyler is such a sweet guy! I loved that he listened to her and never doubted her word. He did all these big gestures and it was so sweet! I felt like I shouldn’t like him so much, but I really did.

Kyra’s dad was actually pretty great and I liked that he went to such lengths to find Kyra and was open minded. Though Kyra wasn’t as open minded as him and totally denied things, I liked that her father was willing to do so much. It’s clear that her father is going to be important in the future. Her mother was a bit frustrating and not as present. She seems to have a harder time with things, but that’s also understandable.

Romance~ Tyler is Kyra’s ex-boyfriends brother and he was young when she had seen him before she disappeared. So it seems like it would be weird for them to have something, Kyra thinks it’s weird and fights it, but Tyler doesn’t. He does all these amazing big gestures for her and listens to her. In the end he’s the most important person to her, at least that knows her situation. Things seem insta-lovey at first, and things do progress fast, but it was okay with me because of the crazy situation. It maybe went fast, but I didn’t mind that too much.

Plot~ I wouldn’t say this has a huge mystery. For me it was clear what had happened to Kyra. I don’t think it was even suppose to really be a mystery. Of course I want to know MORE and hopefully that comes. But for now that’s not important. While I had a good idea of where she went, I didn’t know all the extras. How she’s changed and now can do things. How there’s a bad side effect, etc. Learning all this was fascinating and I’m anxious for more. This is the kind of plot I’ve been wanting to read in a YA and it was so great!

I really enjoyed this book and devoured it in less than a day. Once I started reading I needed to know more. While there were some things I had figured out, there was way more that surprised me. I’m super anxious for more as this one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. It’s a positive note one though, and has me hopeful for many things. So excited for more from this series!

Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes, all opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.

Candace is a wife and mother to two. She’s blogged at Candace’s Book Blog since November 2008. She enjoys a variety of genres including anything and everything young adult, some adult urban fantasy, a little bit of adult paranormal romance, some historical fiction and reads lots of childrens books. You can find her on her blog at, twitter @candacemom2two and on goodreads.

Kimberly Derting is the author of the BODY FINDER series (HarperCollins), which are as much coming-of-age romance as they are paranormal thrillers, as well as the dystopic-fantasy THE PLEDGE trilogy (Simon & Schuster). She lives in the Pacific Northwest where the gloomy weather is ideal for writing anything dark and creepy. Her three beautiful (and often mouthy) children serve as an endless source of inspiration, and often find the things they say buried in the pages of their mother’s books.

Find Kimberly on...
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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Weaving a Story by Katherine Kirkpatrick @ReadKirkpatrick

Weaving a Story

by Katherine Kirkpatrick, 

Author of 'Between Two Worlds' (novel, ages 14 and up)

Between Two Worlds, copyright © 2014 by Sam Weber

Katherine Paterson wrote: “There are magical moments in writing historical fiction when the woof of one’s invention moving through the warp of history suddenly seems to make sense. The pattern begins to merge, filling the writer with surprise and joy” (from the essay “In Search of a Story: The Setting as Source”).

Like Paterson, I love those aha moments when the fact gathering gives way to something larger, when the story takes on a life of its own. This experience happened to me as I was writing my young adult novel Between Two Worlds, set in the Greenland Arctic in 1900-1901. The novel tells of a real-life 16-year-old Inuk woman, Eqariusaq, also known as Billy Bah, on board explorer Robert E. Peary’s ice-locked ship Windward.

Caption: Billy Bah, age 16, by Clarence Wyckoff, 1901. Sam Weber, the jacket artist for Between Two Worlds, used this photo to help him depict the main character’s face. Copyright © Kim Fairley and Silas Hibbard Ayer III

Happily, after amassing pages of unrelated facts about Inuit life, I began to envision my characters in scenes. For example, as I was reading descriptions of how an Inuk woman uses her ulu (curved utility knife) to trim hides before sewing, I pictured a group of women on a ship. They bickered over who would take the largest and best strips of seal furs for her garments. In finding the action, I’d created the start of a scene: the women were not just sewing, they were arguing.

In writing this scene, I imagined sensory details: the luxurious feeling of the furs, their pungent smell, and how tired the women’s jaws must have been after softening hides with their teeth. I asked myself questions to compose my scenes. How did Inuit women resolve who gets what in terms of choice supplies? How did mothers occupy young children when they worked? How long did it take to sew together two pelts? Research involves thinking through logistics, as much as it is about gathering facts.

In some ways researching Between Two Worlds was easy, because I’d already written The Snow Baby, which also features explorer Peary’s family in the Arctic. But this time I chose to tell the story from an Inuk girl’s point of view. For inspiration, I often flipped through the pages of a beautiful book called Boreal Ties: Photographs and Two Diaries of the 1901 Peary Relief Expedition, edited by Kim Fairley Gillis and Silas Hibbard Ayer III. This book features two New York businessmen, Clarence Wyckoff and Louis Bement, who journeyed to the Arctic as what we would call today “adventure tourists.” Unlike the illiterate sailors from poor families who served as crew on Peary’s ships, Wyckoff and Bement traveled with pens, journals, and the latest camera equipment. After their voyage, the men pasted copies of each other’s photographs in their scrapbooks while often not identifying which man took which shot.

To my delight I found most of my characters within this treasure trove of images. Impish eight-year-old Marie Peary, obviously the little darling of the Windward’s crew, prances about on deck, clad in furs from head to toe. One photograph shows her at the ship’s wheel pretending to steer. Another shot depicts a group of Inuit girls and women teaching her to sew. Another image shows Marie and an Inuk who I feel sure is Billy Bah posed in front of a tupik (leather tent), having their photograph taken.

Only one photo is tagged with her name, a stunning portrait, “Billy Bah, girl of 16.” She looks straight at the viewer, half smiling, seemingly pleased. The photo helped many other images in my mind to coalesce with known historical facts. No author can reach into history with 100 percent accuracy. But through fact gathering, questioning, guesswork, and intuitively weaving imaginative scenarios into the rich fabric of actual events, I came to tell a story, my story of Billy Bah. I hope you enjoy Between Two Worlds.

We are so appreciative for Katherine to stop by our blog and tell us more about 'Between Two Worlds'.  Thanks Katherine!  You should totally stop by and check out Katherine's website!  Find her on Twitter.  Don't forget to add 'Between Two World's' to your Goodreads To Read List.

Between Two Worlds by Katherine Kirkpatrick @ReadKirkpatrick

Happy Book Birthday to 'Between Two World's' by Katherine Kirkpatrick

Published by Wendy Lamb Books/ Random House on April 8, 2014

On the treeless shores of Itta, Greenland, as far north as humans can settle, 16-year-old Inuit Billy Bah spots a ship far out among the icebergs on the bay—a sight both welcome and feared. Explorers have already left their indelible mark on her land and its people, and a ship full of white men can mean trouble.

The ship carries provisions for Robert E. Peary, who is making an expedition to the North Pole. As a child, Billy Bah spent a year in America with Peary’s family. When her parents went to America years later, they died tragically. Now, Peary’s wife, daughter, and crew are in Itta to bring him supplies. Winter comes on fast, and when the ship gets caught in the ice, Billy Bah sets out to find Peary. The journey will imperil her life, and that of the man she loves.

By turns lyrical and gripping, Between Two Worlds is an impassioned coming-of-age novel set in a land of breathtaking beauty and danger, where nature and love are powerful and unpredictable forces.

Check out the full blog tour at the links below!

Monday, April 7, 2014 – New post “Boreal Ties: Part I” in KK’s blog, about research

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 – review in Live to Read

Thursday, April 10, 2014 - guest post by KK and giveaway in The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club
post features the unconventional love story in the book

Friday, April 11, 2014 – review in Bumbles and Fairy Tales

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 – guest post by KK, “Talking to Billy Bah,” in Random House Kids 
post especially for beginning or student writers

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 – review in Rather Be Reading YA

Thursday, April 24, 2014 – Interview with KK in Pandora’s Books

Visit Katherine at:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Myth Matters by @maureenmcquerry

Myth Matters

If someone were to ask me what my books have in common, I might say this: they end up wandering into the mythic woods. Beyond the Door and the paperback of The Peculiars share the same birthday, March 18, 2014. And while I didn’t plan for this double birth, I can’t help looking to see what features the two share.

Beyond the Door starts in a normal home, on a normal day, but normal doesn’t last for long. One of the central characters is the Greenman. Half-man, half-tree, his shape shifts with the seasons. In our front yard we have seventy year old Carolina poplars. I can see them from my writing window. Their bark is rough and ridged, and if you look carefully you can see faces in knot holes. But I first met the Greenman when I was visiting Oxford. In an old church, I looked up and there was a face looking down at me, a face with leaves for hair and vines coming out of his nose. 

The Greenman isn’t the only shapeshifter in my book. There’s Balor the one eyed and Gwydon the wolf who was once a story teller. Shapeshifting involves risk. It’s crossing a boundary, and there is no promise of return. Shapeshifters are always marked. Think of Merlin teaching the young Arthur. In T.H. White’s Once and Future King, Arthur learns about the world by becoming various animals. And it changes him. He’s more insightful. But insight can open us to pain. He’s able to identify in ways he never could before. Think of a selkie, seal-woman. She can reclaim her skin and return to the sea, but she leaves part of her heart on shore. Forever. The werewolf, knows the loneliness of night. He fears who he becomes. Split between two worlds, between two natures he wonders which is his. It’s the question we never escape, who am I? 
At times, we are afraid to learn the answer.

In The Peculiars, Lena embarks on a journey to discover if her long fingers and inflexible feet mean that she’s different on the inside as well. And there are rumors of goblins. Her father may have been one. One of the questions rattling around in my head when I wrote Peculiars was: do we become our parents? Sometimes that’s a good thing, but if our parents are goblins it may not be. And we all have goblins in our family tree.

You see, myth adds subtext to a story. It leads the reader into primal woods where others have traveled before. The writer and reader join a conversation that has been whispered for centuries: where did we come from? Where are we going? Is the world a safe place? This is the territory of writers. The deep place we must be willing to travel with each of our characters. How do we know when we’ve entered the territory of myth?

Author Robin McKinley says: “But myth, to some extent, is where you find it; and you know when you've found it by the way it goes right through you -- like the first heavenly, shocking mouthful of ice cream on a hot day, or falling in love. Whew. Zowie. I always want my stories to be cracking good stories; but I always hope that for some readers there's a resonant depth to them too.”

And Neil Gaiman adds to the conversation with “…sometimes the best way to show people true things is from a direction that they had not imagined the truth coming.”

So what does myth whisper to me? I’ve made a list of some of things I’ve learned from writers like Neil Gaiman, Susan Cooper, Jane Yolen, Lewis and Tolkien:

The inside is often so much larger than the outside

Like Bilbo Baggins, we are all more than meets the eye

There is no easy way out of the maze

We can fight dragons and win

The world isn’t tame

The things we fear are often the wrong things

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

What truths have you learned from myth?

Want to learn more about The Peculiars and Beyond the Door? Stop by Maureen's site. To order The Peculiars and Beyond the Door!