Sunday, February 19, 2017

New Releases 2.21.17

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Drifter by Christine Lennon

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Most Dangerous Place by James Grippando

Running by Cara Hoffman

A Cast of Vultures by Judith Flanders

The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Fatal Option by Chris Beakey

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

The Book of Mirrors by E. O. Chirovici

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

Kings of the Wild by Nicholas Eames

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

New on DVD:
Nocturnal Animals
Hacksaw Ridge
Manchester By the Sea

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pre Pub Book Buzz: The Ghost Line: The Titanic of the Stars by Andrew Neil Gray

Ooh, readers! Today's pre pub title is one that I'm super looking forward to this year!

It's no secret I've been a big fan of Tor.com's novellas. I've reviewed a number of them so far and have enjoyed each and every one immensely. I expect The Ghost Line: The Titanic of the Stars by Andrew Neil Gray will be no exception to that rule! 

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

The Martian Queen was the Titanic of the stars before it was decommissioned, set to drift back and forth between Earth and Mars on the off-chance that reclaiming it ever became profitable for the owners. For Saga and her husband Michel the cruise ship represents a massive payday. Hacking and stealing the ship could earn them enough to settle down, have children, and pay for the treatments to save Saga's mother's life.

But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel. Saga feels herself being drawn into a spider's web, and must navigate the traps and lures of an awakening intelligence if she wants to go home again.

But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel. Saga feels herself being drawn into a spider's web, and must navigate the traps and lures of an awakening intelligence if she wants to go home again.

Tell me you're not dying to read this one yourself now!!!

The Ghost Line is due out in July from Tor.com. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Dressmaker's Dowry by Meredith Jaeger

Happy Valentine's Day, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Meredith Jaeger's debut, The Dressmaker's Dowry.

Sarah Havensworth has stalled on her novel. Writers block is one thing, but this is to be the thesis for her MFA! As if that weren't bad enough, Sarah also feels guilty about the lack of progress considering she's quit her job and let her husband support her through the endeavor. Though his family has plenty, she's all too aware that she doesn't quite fit the Havensworth mold, something her father-in-law's displeased attitude reminds her of any time the family gets together. 

Fortunately, new inspiration strikes when Sarah stumbles upon a story of two missing dressmakers in nineteenth century San Francisco. Dumping the novel, Sarah returns to her journalist roots and decides to pen a narrative non fiction focused on the terrible working conditions in her city's past history, all the while telling the story of Hannelore Schaeffer and Margaret O'Brien, the two missing women. But as she investigates the century-plus old mystery, secrets new and old begin to threaten her marriage. 

The premise of The Dressmaker's Dowry is an intriguing one and I quite enjoyed Sarah's attempts to solve a hundred-year-old mystery. Chapters alternate between Sarah and Hanna, illustrating the events of 1876 alongside Sarah's investigation.

This was an easy one to get sucked into and I thought it was a lot of fun. That said, it was also a bit too easy. Details about Sarah and the other characters are conveniently placed, sometimes awkwardly so, and some pieces of the story definitely come together in a way that's not quite believable. None of the characters is very deeply developed, either, which was a shame because I quite liked both Hanna and (especially) Sarah and would have liked more out of both of them.

While the plot certainly could have benefitted from a bit more complexity, at the moment I must admit that easy breezy is kind of what I needed. I recognize the flaws in The Dressmaker's Dowry but it hit me at the right time and I quite enjoyed it in spite of that.

Historical fiction fans in search of something a bit on the light side will enjoy this first outing from Jaeger.

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Meredith Jaeger and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Monday, February 13, 2017

Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang + a Giveaway

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC blog tour for Janie Chang's latest, Dragon Springs Road. I am giving away a copy of Dragon Springs Road so be sure to read through to the end to enter.

Jialing and her mother lived together happily for years. Their home, the Western Residence of a larger estate, was their own and only Jialing's mother ventured out for the things they needed. And though her mother had left before, she always came back. 

That changes the year Jialing turns seven. This time, her mother leaves and never returns. As it turns out, the estate has been sold to a new family, one that, upon discovering the orphaned Jialing, agree to take her on as a bond servant. With the Yangs, Jialing has a home, food, and even a friend. But as the years pass and Jialing becomes older, she realizes that she won't be able to rely on the Yangs forever. And the prospects of any other Shanghai girl aren't necessarily open to Jialing. See, Jialing is zazhong - Eurasian. 

With the surprising guidance of a fox, Jialing comes into her own and decides the first thing to be done is to find her mother. But as hurdle after hurdle is thrown her way, the world around her becomes more tense. The government is overthrown, the economy suffers, and Jialing's future becomes more unclear. 

In Dragon Springs Road, Janie Chang once again combines history, culture, and lore in a story about  courage, friendship, and identity. The book is set between the years of 1908 and 1920, a great period of change and upheaval for China. And while that's not the main focus of the story, those changes affect Jialing even when she's too young to notice them.

Jialing has little interest in much of those happenings, especially in her early years. She's waiting for her mother to return. That she'll return is something young Jialing never doubts, but as she grows older it becomes clearer to her just how little she even knows about her mother. She knows the name of the man who owned the estate they lived on. She knows her mother was there with his blessing, likely as his mistress. And she knows when they left. Not much for a girl determined to track someone down to go on.

Honestly, the setting and Jialing's own mixed parentage provide a backdrop for a story that really could have been much darker for our heroine. Instead, Jialing, who is quite clever in her own right, finds a surprising ally in a fox spirit that resides on the estate. That spirit shows Jialing its own history while guiding her to opportunities and people that have great impact on the girl's life. The challenges she faces do make her stronger and, though there are dark threads throughout the tale, her story is ultimately a hopeful one.

I absolutely adore Janie Chang's writing. Her debut, Three Souls, was a definite favorite of mine and Dragon Springs Road easily joins ranks alongside its predecessor. Chang is a wonderful storyteller, weaving history and fiction together in such a way as to enhance the understanding of one and the enjoyment of the other without fail. Diving into her work is a truly wonderful experience!

And now for the giveaway! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, February 27. Open US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Janie Chang and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Sunday, February 12, 2017

New Releases 2/14/17

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan

The Shimmering Road by Hester Young

Among the Ruins by Ausmet Zehanat Khan

Winter of the Gods by Jordanna Max Brodsky

The Nearness of You by Amanda Eyre Ward

The Undesired by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir

The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky

The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell

All That's Left to Tell by Daniel Lowe

Gilded Cage by Vic James

The Last Night at Tremore Beach by Mikel Santiago

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

New on DVD:
The Arrival
The Edge of Seventeen
Bleed For This
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pre Pub Book Buzz: Among the Lesser Gods by Margo Catts

I have a confession about today's pre pub title - I've already read it (twice!). It was one of the very first manuscripts I read at the agency and it blew me away!

I know what you're thinking - that I'm biased because she's repped by the agency I work for. Nope. Not one bit. It's just a freaking good book. And you don't have to take my word for it - it's already earned great blurbs and five star reviews. It was also featured at this year's Winter Institute, so I expect booksellers will be chiming in with advance praise as well. So see, it's not just me :)

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads to whet your appetite:

Elena Alvarez is living a cursed life. From the deadly fire she accidentally set as a child, to her mother’s abandonment, and now to an unwanted pregnancy, she knows better than most that small actions can have terrible consequences. Driven to the high mountains surrounding Leadville, Colorado by her latest bad decision, she’s intent on putting off the future. Perhaps there she can just hide in her grandmother’s isolated cabin and wait for something—anything—to make her next choice for her.

Instead, she is confronted by reflections of her own troubles wherever she turns—the recent widower and his two children adrift in a changed world, Elena’s own mysterious family history, and the interwoven lives within the town itself. Bit by bit, Elena begins to question her understanding of cause and effect, reexamining the tragedies she’s held on to and the wounds she’s refused to let heal.

But when the children go missing, Elena’s fragile new peace is shattered. It’s only at the prospect of fresh loss and blame that she will discover the truth of the terrible burdens we take upon ourselves, the way tragedy and redemption are inevitably intertwined—and how curses can sometimes lead to blessings, however disguised.

This is the kind of book that really gets to you. The characters are wonderfully rendered, as is the setting. Which makes sense because Margo Catts is local to Colorado. It's also a super emotional read, so have your tissues ready!

Among the Lesser Gods hits shelves in May from the Arcade imprint of Skyhorse.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy

Good morning, readers! Today I'm kicking off the TLC blog tour for Sara Flannery Murphy's The Possessions.

For five years now, Edie has been employed by the Elysian Society. Here, workers called bodies offer themselves up to the dead and the living - playing host to the deceased and giving their family and loved ones a chance to reunite and work through their grief. No one stays as long as Edie, but she has her reasons. And it's really just a job: there are procedures and rules to keep everyone safe - no suicides, no touching - and of course only scheduled interactions. 

Edie never gets attached and never breaks the rules. Until now. A new client has brought out a new emotion in Edie. Desire. And whether that desire is Edie's or the client's dead wife's, Edie begins to act on it. But as Edie becomes more wrapped up in this couple and their story, she also finds that the wife's death isn't as clear cut as it may initially have seemed. The circumstances are mysterious, to say the least, and Edie has starts to have flashbacks that seem to be the woman's own memories. 

Wow! The Possessions is, regardless of how you feel about it overall in the end, an entrancing and intriguing read.

I thought it was fantastic. The idea that people like Edie offer themselves up as hosts to the spirits of the dead is a strange one to consider. Would you? Or would you be a client, meeting regularly with your channeled beloved? Edie is the body we really get to know, and again she does have her reasons for working at Elysian Society (which are part of the story as well). It's clearly a job that's not meant for everyone, though. Bodies come and go and no employee comes close to Edie's five years there.

There's a starkness to Sara Flannery Murphy's writing that I found incredibly intriguing. Edie is not one to wax poetic about anything. And as our narrator, she controls the story, sharing what she sees and knows with the reader. Don't get me wrong, she gives us plenty of detail about her job and her world, but she also keeps a lot to herself. For me, it added to the suspense of the tale.

And there is plenty of suspense. Not only is Edie's newest client potentially hiding something (yeah, he maybe could have murdered his wife!), there's another murder that's caught the attention of everyone around the Elysian Society. The body of a girl found in an abandoned house just before it was to be torn down is a story that winds its way through The Possessions. Again, as Edie catches pieces of the headlines and such. And they mystery of that death becomes a bigger part of Edie's story as the book progresses.

What's interesting, too, about The Possessions are the questions it brings up. Again, if this were a service that was offered would you partake? At one point, a character notes that Elysian Society doesn't allow suicides because they won't force those departed to come back when they so clearly wanted to leave. The comment is countered by the question as to whether any of the departed want to come back. And because Edie isn't present during the actual encounters, we don't really know what goes on between these deceased and the people paying to communicate with them...

Again, I thought The Possessions was fabulous! Really an amazing debut!

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the TLC tour page here.

For more on Sara Flannery Murphy and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Monday, February 6, 2017

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty + a Giveaway

Joni, Deb, Eden, and Trina have been taking an annual trip together for years. And Joni is determined to see the tradition survive.

The girls met when they were twelve - when their teacher announced that each of them, all C last names, also shared the same zodiac sign. That was when Joni knew it was meant to be. But as they've each grown, started careers and families, it seems their friendship has begun to wear. Recalling a pact they'd made to write letters to one another in a shared notebook, the women decide to do a one off on their latest trip: each is to write down one secret, anonymously, to be shared with the group.

But one of the women has a secret she regrets. A secret she tries to hide by swapping and destroying her original letter. Unfortunately, Joni finds the letter's remains and it's bad enough to potentially ruin everything. 

The Fifth Letter explores the friendship of four women. They've known each other since they were twelve - so now, in their mid thirties, over half their lives. I've been in need of some light escapism reading and The Fifth Letter most definitely fit the bill.

Deb is an insurance investigator, married with one kid. Eden is a performer who supplements her income with homes sales trends (Tupperware and such) and is married with two kids of her own. And Trina teaches PE and is married, with her own toddler. Joni, who writes for a popular website, fell behind a bit and has only been married for two years now. No kids.

When the story begins, Joni is sitting in a confessional booth ready to pour her heart out to the attending priest. And pour she does! She tells him all about her own woes as well as the friends' history, the trip, the letters, and her dilemma in finding the fifth letter. See, Joni isn't sure what to do. If she mentions it to any of the other women, it could very well be the woman who penned it in the first place. But she can't let it rest either, because for Joni, who is going through some things personally, the group and their friendships with one another are simply too important to throw away.

The letter in question is pretty damning and would literally ruin the bond the friends have shared. But as the friends each read one another's actual letters, the tensions between them begin to run high anyway.

Joni is our narrator, for the most part, so she is the one the reader is given the most chance to get to know and connect with. But I really thought that Moriarty did a wonderful job fleshing out the other three women through Joni's eyes as well. Joni is a true and fast friend and because she relies so heavily on the group and the friendship, she pays attention to the women around. Of course this doesn't mean that she isn't grossly wrong about which letter belongs to which woman. Her own issues color her perception just a bit...

The Fifth Letter is a mostly fun and light read. A book about friends growing older and growing apart, and, to an extent, realizing your dreams and finding your place in the world.

While The Fifth Letter isn't Nicola Moriarty's true debut, it is the first of her titles to be released here in the States, making her the third Moriarty sibling whose books have hit our shores. And I predict she'll be equally welcome and beloved as Liane and Jaclyn!

And now for the giveaway! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, February 20. Open US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 5, 2017

New Releases 2/7/17

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The Devil Crept In by Anna Ahlborn

The Lost Woman by Sara Blaedel

The Stolen Child by Lisa Carey

The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Desperation Road by Michael Farris Smith

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Under the Knife by Kelly Parsons

What You Break by Reed Farrel Coleman

The Young Widower's Handbook by Tom McAllister

What You Don't Know by Joann Chaney

A Separation by Katie Kitamura

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

The Burning World by Isaac Marion

Always by Sarah Jio

To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan

Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom

New on DVD:
The Take
Trolls
Loving
Desierto
The 9th Life of Louis Drax
Frank & Lola

New reviews at Bookbitch.com:
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Pre Pub Book Buzz: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Readers, I imagine a title like today's Pre Pub Book Buzz pick brings to mind a certain kind of read. I mean Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows... a title like that is going to draw your attention, that's for sure! 

It certainly grabbed my attention. As did the absolutely fabulous cover and the description, all of which earned it an immediate spot at the top of my must read list.

Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

Every woman has a secret life . . .

Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she's spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father's death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a "creative writing" course at the community center in the beating heart of London's close-knit Punjabi community.

Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected and exciting kind.

As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community's "moral police." But when the widows gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife a modern woman like Nikki and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.

This is not Balli Kaur Jaswal's debut, but it is the first of her titles to come to my attention and I think you'll agree that it sounds amazing! 

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows is out in the States in June from William Morrow and in the UK in March from HarperCollins UK. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

For years, Scarlett wrote to the infamous Caraval Master Legend in the hopes that he would bring his famed performers to the Isle of Trisda. Their mother had abandoned them, their father had turned cold, and it was their Nana's stories of the magical Caravel that kept Scarlett and her sister, Donatella, amused. Not only that, the tales allowed the girls to dream. 

Years passed, though, with no answer from Legend. Escape from Trisda is always on their minds, however, and it seems it will finally come to pass with Scarlett's betrothal. And it's this, that finally prompts a response from Legend. Now, Donatella has gone missing, part of Legend's twisted game, and it's up to Scarlett to follow the clues and find her. Her only hope for saving them both is winning the game, but this game and its players don't play fair or follow the rules. 

Oh, Caraval. Stephanie Garber's debut is probably one of the most anticipated of the new year. That anticipation, though, may have been my own downfall in the reading.

Scarlett and her sister have basically been held prisoner by their father since their mother left. And there's been no trace of Paloma in all that time. Their literal only hope for escape is Scarlett's marriage, and the girl is determined not to see it put at risk no matter what. And that includes being put at risk by the one other thing she's always hoped and dreamed for: attending Caraval.

But her stubborn sister has other ideas. So not only are they part of a game, Scarlett fears inevitable repercussions at the hands of her father and the very possible breaking of her betrothal as well. But Scarlett and Tella have only ever had each other, and that bond means that the sisters will do anything for one another.

Caraval is a magical and wonderful and, as Scarlett discovers, terrible place. Held on an island far from her home, the entire landscape is enchanted. The game is played at night and time passes much differently while in the game. Garber's imagery is amazing. The whimsy and sorcery of Caraval is beautifully and horrifically described, coming to life through Garber's narrative and is definitely a highlight of the tale.

Sadly, I wasn't as enchanted by Caraval as I'd expected to be. It's set up with a bit of a cliffhanger ending and some plot elements that aren't fully tied up - in particular, the tunnels that promise madness and the multiple incidents involving a woman in a gray dress that are never really explained - I assume these will be fodder for the next installment. There was also a general feeling while I read that the story dragged a little and should have ended earlier than it actually did.

Scarlett as a lead was enjoyable. Seeing her try to tease out the meaning of the various clues was definitely a highlight - as was her meeting of various side characters (I loved Aiko!). But  my biggest issue with the story was Tella. She was so infuriating! At no point did she win me over, unfortunately, and so there was a part of me that really wasn't rooting for Scarlett to win the game in the end!

So while the concept was wonderful and most of the execution fine, this debut was unfortunately missing just a bit of magic for me. The elements I liked in the tale were strong enough to keep me interested and invested. It was really only the end that lost me but I'll likely hop on board with the follow up nonetheless.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Q&A With Cecelia Galante + a Giveaway

This week marks the release of Cecelia Galante's latest, The Odds of You and Me. Thanks to the publisher I have a great Q&A with the author to share with you today - and I'm giving away a copy of Odds as well!

But first, here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

Thirteen days. That’s all Bernadette, “Bird,” Sincavage has left to go until she’s done with her probation and can be free again. Free from making payments to the supermarket she wrote bad checks to. Free from living at home with her overzealous mother who’s constantly nagging her about attending church again. Free to give her four-year-old son, Angus, the normal life he deserves. Her impending freedom and move to Moon Lake, where she’s plunked down a deposit on a brand new apartment, is so close she can almost taste it. What trouble could she possibly get into in just 13 days?

But trouble does follow in the form of James Rittenhouse—someone she worked with a few years ago. At first, Bird is stunned to see James make the evening news when he’s arrested for assaulting someone in a local bar. But that’s nothing compared to the shock she gets when she discovers James hiding out in an abandoned church choir loft. Somehow he escaped police custody, broke his leg, and got his hand on a gun, which he’s now pointing at her.

Although Bird doesn’t tell anyone she saw James, there’s no way she’s helping him. She can’t screw up her probation or her second chance for a new future. And she has her son’s welfare to think about. Still. If only she could stop thinking about the terrified look in James’ eyes and the fact that he’s hurt. If only she could forget that once, long ago, James helped her out, and she owes him a debt like no other.

Will Bird jeopardize her future for someone who helped her out in the past? A past that holds secrets she’s not quite sure she’s ready to face? Or will she turn a blind eye and learn to live with the consequences?

This one is currently topping my TBR and I can't wait to dive in!

And now for the Q&A:

Did you learn anything new or surprising while writing your latest book?

I did, actually. The most obvious were all the strange facts I researched for James’ Curious Facts and Data book. Sometimes research for a book can be tedious, but the incredible information I uncovered for this one, including how the human heart beats more than 100,000 times a day, and that there is an actual name for the metallic way the air smells after it rains, were so interesting that it never felt like work. It was just so much fun!
How would you say the landscape in which you grew up (i.e. the region, culture, family) has shaped you as a writer?

I always sigh a bit when I get this question because I know I’ll have to go into a lot of strange detail about my somewhat unusual background (born into and raised in a fanatically religious cult for the first fifteen years of my life in upstate New York) but I’ve also learned that sometimes it’s is not the physical place or the culture that shapes people who end up writing – it’s the books along the way. At least that was true for me. I’d be errant if I said that growing up without a solid relationship to my parents has influenced several storylines in my books, (including this most recent one) but I’m also pretty sure I became a writer because my eleventh-grade English teacher, who may have noticed that I was a little bit out of my element, having just moved from the cult into the “real world,” left a copy of The Catcher in the Rye on my desk.

I read the novel in a day, finishing the last chapter inside the school’s bathroom stall, weeping uncontrollably. In a world where almost nothing made any sense, here was someone who told the truth – no matter how ugly or scary or funny it was – without worrying whether or not others would stop loving him if he did. Was that how things worked out here? Were we really allowed to write and say things that might make us look weak or even downright crazy? Because if it was, I knew that day, that it was all I ever wanted to do with the rest of my life. And it still is.

What is the difference between a fleeting idea you have for a book, which you eventually forget or discard, and one that gets you putting pen to paper, so to speak? 

I’m not sure if there is a difference between the two. I’d say it’s more of a seed and soil analogy; almost all of my ideas that have eventually led me to the page have always started off as a fleeting thought of some sort. Sometimes it’s not even an idea; it’s just a character who has found herself in a ridiculously interesting situation. That might be the glimmer of the idea. The one that gets to the page is the one that keeps on glimmering, day after day, week after week, until it gets so bright you’ve got to put the damn thing down before you go blind.

Who or what inspires your characters? Do you have a particular type of character that fascinates you?

If I admitted to all the people I’ve known over the years who have influenced a character of mine in some way, I’d probably get in a lot of trouble! I’ve rarely based a character completely off someone I know; the process is more of an organic one, in which I start off thinking of someone and then watch as the character flourishes into someone in her own right. It happens like that all the time, and it always amazes me when it does, because the finished character is almost nothing like the original one I had in my head. The process is just incredible.

As for characters that fascinate me, I’d have to say the angry ones. Or more accurately, the ones that aren’t afraid to be angry or piss people off. I LOVE writing characters like that, probably because I am the polar opposite of them. It’s freeing to live vicariously through someone else for a while, even if it’s just on the page.

What is the best piece of advice you have received that has influenced you as an author?

Best advice I’ve ever received as a writer: Sit down and write. 

Best advice I’ve ever received as an author: Don’t take no for an answer.

What is the most important thing you want readers to take away from your book?

Probably what I discovered while writing it: that God and parents and everything that goes with them are nothing without love. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: CECILIA GALANTE, who received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Vermont, is the author of six young adult novels and a children’s chapter-book series. She has been the recipient of many awards, including an NAIBA Best Book of the Year, and an Oprah’s Teen Read Selection for her first novel, The Patron Saint of Butterflies.

She lives in Kingston, Pennsylvania with her three children.

Big thanks to the publisher for providing the Q&A today! The Odds of You and Me is out on shelves now!

And now for the giveaway! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, February 13. Open US only.