Exclusive Interview with Victoria Scott on Violet Grenade

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Release Date: May 16, 2017

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DOMINO: A girl with blue hair and a demon in her mind.

CAIN: A stone giant on the brink of exploding.

MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience.

WILSON: The one who will destroy them all.

When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam’s secrets, Domino decides to leave. It’ll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the person living inside Domino’s mind.

Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

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YABM: Violet Grenade is a little different than your other books, what inspired this story? 

Victoria: I kept thinking about girls who get attacked, and what it would look like if someone targeted a girl who was capable of killing a man. How glorious that scene would be to watch in a movie. This idea of a small girl with a deadly secret wouldn’t leave my mind until I put her on paper. 

YABM: How would you describe Violet Grenade to a reader in 3 or less sentences? 

Victoria: I’d simply say it’s a story about manipulation, revenge, damaged characters, and love found in unlikely places. Oh, and multiple personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder).

YABM: What do you want the reader to take away from Violet Grenade?

Victoria: Always, always…entertainment. I never seek to achieve anything besides giving readers an escape from reality. What they find outside of that is unique to their own journey and experiences.

YABM: Give me a brief rundown of Madam Karina’s Home for Burgeoning Entertainers? What is it like?


Victoria: The girls who live there are sorted by silk flowers they wear on their dresses or blouses. It ranks them, and signifies how much of their earnings they actually keep. Those flowers keep the girls competitive. And of course it’s symbolic of losing a certain something. *wink*

YABM: Is there any romance brewing between characters?

Victoria: Oh, yes. Domino and Cain have chemistry, but mostly they share past wounds.

YABM: Which character would be most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse?

Victoria: Cain. Those zombies wouldn’t stand a chance.

YABM: How do you balance home, life, and writing (and your adorable little girl)?

Victoria: With great difficulty! Even as I finish this interview I’m thinking how I didn’t get enough time with my little girl tonight. Le sigh.

YABM: What would you tell aspiring writers? What’s your best advice for completing that draft?

Victoria: To just power through! Trust me, we all think our first drafts stink. If you do too, then you just might be a published author one day. Ha!

authorVictoria Scott Author Photo copyWebsite/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Goodreads

Victoria Scott is the acclaimed author of eight books for young adults. Her most recent release, Titans, received two starred reviews, and Fire & Flood is a 2017 Spirit of Texas Reading Program book. Victoria’s novels are sold in fourteen different countries, and she loves receiving reader emails from across the world. You can find her online at VictoriaScott.com.

Check back closer to release date for my review. 

As always, happy reading!

Jordan

 

ARC Review: The Dead House-Dawn Kurtagich

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synOver two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of three teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy – only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace…

…until a diary is found hidden in the ruins.

But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn’t exist Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?

The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails. And the diary.

The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known.

review4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The Dead House is weird, bizarre, and disturbing in the best way. Full of police reports, diary entries, and interviews, The Dead House is a chilling, mixed media mystery that will leave you guessing until the bitter end. 

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You like crime fiction and horror.
  • You’re obsessed with films like Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister.
  • You can handle seriously disturbing images.

PROS:

  • There’s a twisted, Scottish form of voodoo mixed with paganism that is totally invented but so detailed it seems real. Creepy beyond measure, filled with ritual and magic, you’ll question whether demons truly exist or insanity is the true culprit. Some sections left me starring, shocked and nauseated, absolutely terrified of the events that occurred. Ouija boards (no matter what variation on them) are ALWAYS a poor choice. 
  • The style is unique. Kaitlyn’s diary entries read like poetry. The beautifully emotional and occasionally detached way she describes her situation is addictive and mesmerizing. Look at this: “We were superior creatures, up there in the darkness while everyone else slept, so when he put his hand on mine, I felt our purposes-our existences-united in that moment. That contact.”
  • Kaitlyn’s desolation and fear is heady. You can feel every bit of her panic and desperation. She wants to fit, tooth and nail for her sister, for herself but the darkness is overwhelming and all consuming. There’s a cloud of evil that hovers over the story, you feel it like a chill, like it’s alive and watching from a shadowed corner. 
  • The Dead House is TERRIFYING. The oozing blood, the decaying bodies, that horrific girl in the dress, holy hellfire and brimstone, get ready for nightmares. 
  • Some scenes are sharp, unexpected explosions of chaos. You won’t see it coming and not everyone makes it out unscathed. 
  • The relationship between Kaitlyn and Carly is not only unhealthy but catastrophic. You have to guess Carly’s feelings, inferring from post it notes and word of mouth. You won’t know whose side she’s on. 
  • Kaitlyn and Ari. They just fit. They’re perfect together. They’re quirky and weird but he gets her and the way she sees them is…SWOON.

CONS:

  • Carly is boring and it’s hard to feel a connection even close to the one shared with Kaitlyn. Her importance is significant, she functions and plays a huge role in the story and yet, her involvement and any semblance of a personality is barely mentioned or trumped by Kaitlyn.
  • Some secondary relationships were kind of typical, the scorned boy, the unhinged mystery guy, the jealousy. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Creepy reading,

Jordan

ARC Review: Both of Me-Jonathan Friesen

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“He bowed his head. ‘I’m scared. Are you ever frightened?.’ ‘No. Well, yes.’ ‘Frightened that you’ll be overcome by yourself? That a gentle monster inside of you might take over and never let go?'”

***

“‘Have you ever run from reality? Have you ever run because reality was too much, too suffocating, too…just too? And then you find fiction. And the fiction feels more real than the real ever did. Have you ever felt like that?'”

cooltext1790897456 copyElias Phinn has always been considered stupid, but that may be because no one knows his vacant exterior holds a gifted mind. A mind that has learned to focus on his created world of Warilia, through which Elias distills everything he sees in order to cope with the excruciating, actual world around him. But with each passing year, the detailed sketches and notebooks describing Warilia have not only taken over Elias’s time, they have become a world he must slip into in order to get through each day. Clara Tobias has been running from her own reality, leaving behind her fragile mother and two siblings in order to have the whirlwind life of travel and adventure she always wanted. She justifies she put in her time caring for others, and that the rest of her life is hers to use as she pleases. Even if guilt won’t leave her alone.

On a flight out of New York—Elias heading home for the summer, Clara on another trip to Somewhere—the two end up side by side. And when their carry-ons are mistakenly switched, Clara opens her bag to discover the histories of Warilia while Elias finds photographs and journals he uses to flesh out the mysterious girl who sat beside him, whom he sees as the beautiful daughter of a Warilian diplomat, making her and her mother an integral part of his entire world.

When Clara arrives at the Phinn’s boarding house for her luggage, she begs Elias to show her Warilia—and he does, taking her to locations that to him are not ordinary landscapes and buildings but epic mountains and massive skyscrapers. But as Clara finds herself further drawn to this intriguing boy, word comes her mother has died. When Elias becomes unable to deal with the death of his diplomat, he and Clara leave on a mission Elias claims will preserve Warilia forever. Though in the end it could be the one thing that allows Clara to piece her own world together.

cooltext1790896132 copy5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Blink

Sometimes you read a book and every other page all you can think is WOW. Just wow. Then you take a deep breath, take a step back and pause. Everything suddenly has a marvelous sort of calm and clarity. It’s brilliant, peaceful, the kind of elation that comes from being deeply satisfied and loved. Loved-because that’s what Both of Me is, an outpouring of love, understanding and self-discovery and definitely one of my top reads of 2014, if not ever.

Both of Me is an unconventional story that is part self-discovery, romance, mystery, and revelation. It’s at its heart, an adventure that unites two unlikely allies on a quest made of imagination and dark secrets.

From the first page, I was fascinated by Clara. Her role as a traveller following a map around the world through an elaborate system of blogging and funding from an internet scam simultaneously disgusted and intrigued me. Beneath her bravado was a scared little girl running from a past that she thought could be forgotten through redemption, through following her father’s path around the world. Clara is confused, bold, brilliant, she tackles things head on and has a nice British accent. At the same time, the need to know her sinister truth pulls the story forward as Clara’s unraveling comes to a head. Everything she’s been hiding threatens to bubble over and burst out into the open. Clara’s terrified and shamed. Her emotions are complex and raw as she questions her faith and what it means to love. Her guilt is sometimes overwhelming but complimented by a dramatic thirst for life.

Both of Me is breathtaking and beautifully written in its simplicity. Some of the most profound, moving sentences are casually strung together so that they linger. They don’t immediately hit you that simmer, a slow burn of longing and epiphany.

This book is special in that it deals with a subject that is difficult to capture let alone talk about-Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and autism. Jonathan Friesen doesn’t talk about DID as something crippling or wrong but as a puzzle with a bit of whimsy. Elias is the most unique, heartbreaking character I’ve ever read. He’s two parts of a whole. One side is a talented artist that breathes life into a fantasy world of his own creation, where a Lightkeeper must be found to combat the darkness in the world. The other half is a genius machinist with a bemused expression and big heart. These two pieces of Elias are easy to fall in love with. His switch happens in an instant and at first it’s intriguing. The determined Other One has a quest that rivals great epics and a giddy hope builds as Clara follows him on his journey for answers. When he slips into the main Elias, he has no memory and that happiness quickly turns to bleak sadness. He’s losing part of himself and can never get that back. It’s brutal, gut-wrenching, and almost paralyzes so that you don’t want to move forward out of fear.

My heart fractured and broke, only to be rebuilt as Clara and Elias’ relationship blossomed. 

Every character is quirky and has a fully developed personality. There’s not a small character that is not memorable. 

Elias and Clara, when they are together is sweet, charming, and uncertain but they fit. She wants to help him and he’s healing her wounds. 

The subplots are hilarious. Izzy’s insertion into the story and the underground railroad. It takes you to unexpected places that you’ll never see coming.

The ending. There are no words. 

If this is not made into a movie and/or best-seller I will be astounded. If you like John Green, I’ll Give You the Sun, or Belzhar get this, it’s your next favorite. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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