Review of Sharp Objects

WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.
 
I thought Gone Girl and Dark Places were amazing, so I knew that I needed to get my hands on Sharp Objects. There is no doubt in my mind that I will pre-order anything that Gillian Flynn writes, she has this dark, crazy, amazing mind. I cannot put her books down and cannot forget about them. The audiobook was read by Ann Marie Lee and was 9 hours, 37 minutes long.

  • Along with the rest of Gillian Flynn's work, each story has a dark, twisted, mysterious plot. You cannot put them down and NEED to figure out what is going on.
  • I felt like this one was much darker than the other stories. I tend to get so deep into books that they envelop me and this one definitely gave me a dark, brooding feeling. I am not saying that is a bad thing, I think it shows how amazing the writing really is.
  • There were times when I thought I knew who the killer was, and then I changed my mind, so the story definitely kept me thinking and on my toes.
  • I wasn't sure at the beginning where the title came from, but when it is finally explained, it is really interesting. I wanted to see and touch the main character. I know that sounds demented, but I was intrigued.
  • This book was much darker than Gone Girl and Dark Places, so it definitely was not a good read for everyone. There was a lot of sexual contact, violence, drugs and alcohol in the book. I just wanted to put this disclaimer out there before you pick up the book.
  • Camille was amazing, holy potatoes. Her story, her personality, her life. Uffda. I was just amazing by the world-building around her life in a small time.
  • Along with Camille was her crazy mother, Adora. Holy potatoes even more! I wanted more and more of that women, she was just so mind blowing! One of the most amazingly written characters in all of Gillian's books!

  • None, loved it!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/66559.Sharp_Objects




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Review of Kill Me Softly

Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday—and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems—the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end in happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.


I love fairy tale retellings, and even signed up to be part of a fairy tale re-telling challenge for 2015. I have been looking forward to Sarah Cross’s new book, “Tear you Apart,” so I thought I would give Kill Me Softly while I was waiting for it to come out. I listened to the audiobook. It was read by Kim Mai Guest and was 10 hours, 54 minutes long.

  • The take on fairy tales was really interesting. Regular humans were cursed or blessed by fairies and were put into fairy tale categories. They knew what their destinties were, just not really when it would happen or how. One girl knew that she was Snow White and knew that she was destined for her step-mother to try to kill her.
  • The town of Beau Riavge was a bit like Las Vegas, but in a beach town. It was a neat backdrop for the story. I always seem to be drawn toward books where the main characters like in a hotel. Weird, I know, but for some reason it is interesting to me.
  • Mira was your average MC. She was interesting enough, I am not sure I really connected to her. She trusted too easily, followed along to easily and was sometimes pretty stupid. But hey, we were all teenage girls once and didn’t always make the wises decisions. Heck – sometimes (or often times) I still don’t.
  • I loved finding out who each of the kids were, character-wise. It was interesting to see how they worked into the story – and their dramatic Grimm’s stories rather than the Disney, which I love. I know it is dark but I feel like they are just so much more realstic!

  • Insta-love to it’s MAX. I wanted to barf a few times and kept rolling my eyes. Like geez wiz!
  • Love triangle in this one too – more like a love square. It was a lot of people liking one girl. It was a bit much. I actually was rooting for the one that didn’t even stand a chance – but I was thinking he was the one that deserved her the most. He was left in the dust.
  • The story left a lot of holes. It is supposed to be a series, but Sarah has not written any other parts of the series, so it just kinda hanging out there. I don’t think this will put me off from reading any of her other books – just an observation.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12680998-kill-me-softly
 
 


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Blog Tour - The Sparks & Giveaway

 The Vapros, the Taurlum, and the Celerius: three dynasties bound by an ancient promise, and given superhuman abilities to protect the city of Altryon from the dangerous world beyond its walls. Centuries of fighting, however, have turned the families against each other. A powerful emperor now rules and each family has suffered heavy casualties in the feud.

Sixteen-year-old, Neil Vapros desperately wants to become an assassin in order to impress his overly critical father. Despite a failed mission, Neil learns that a new sinister threat has awakened. This mysterious new power will shatter the established order and threaten not only the very lives of these powerful families, but also the once great city of Altryon.

Everything can change with a single “Spark”...



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22638200-the-sparks?from_search=true



A Q&A with Kyle Prue, author of The Sparks,
Book One in the Feud trilogy

     1.          Where did you get the idea for the Feud series?

This is a coming of age story for young adults and I am a teen in that demographic. Everyone struggles to find their path in life and my characters are all struggling with not wanting to let people down and to find their way; forgiveness and hope is a part of that journey as well. One night, at the age of 15, I had terrible insomnia and I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about the different personalities of my siblings and myself and how we will all follow different paths. That gave me the idea to create three different families loosely based around our differing personalities. I decided it would be fun to take these families and place them in a fantasy world where the obstacles we all face could be magnified to a whole new level. I wrote out the plot for the three books that night.

     2.          What drew you to write YA Fantasy?

I wanted to write for me. Recently, I’ve hit an “in-between” zone where it’s harder for me to find books I want to read. I wanted to write something that I would want to read and that would appeal to other kids my age. I wanted to appeal to boys who have lost interest in reading and I also created strong female characters that girls will love.

     3.          When did you first start writing?

Like a lot of kids, I was bullied in middle school. I doubt you will ever find a kid that says, “I rocked 7th grade! That was the best time in my life.” I was short and fat and had a bowl haircut with braces. This was not a great time in my life. But I discovered I could come home and pick up a pen and create a whole fantasy world that I could control, when the rest of my life felt out of control. I learned that I loved to create characters because their potential is limitless.

I was lucky because I learned to use writing as an escape at an early age. I was in a multi-age program from 1st-3rd grade where I had the same teacher for three years. She had an experimental writing program where she gave us an hour a day to write in our journals. She told us to just write freely and not worry about punctuation or grammar, just let the creativity flow. So by the end of that program, I had a stack of notebooks filled with an adventure series. I also did a series called Three Rings that I wrote from the age of 12 to 14 when middle school was really rough. It was a 200-page manuscript. It wasn’t good, but it was good practice.


     4.          What are your other interests besides writing?

I love stand up comedy because like writing, it requires an ability to look at the world in a unique way and find the humor in that. I’m a varsity swimmer for my school. I’m involved with mock trial, I’m in a number of plays every year, I started an improv club at my school and I’m really involved with our film club—we spend our weekends writing scripts and filming. We are currently working on a web series called “Amockalypse” that I’m really excited about. I pretty much gave up on sleeping after middle school.

     5.          When do you find the time to write?

If you love something, you find the time. I write during any hour that I can get free. With extracurriculars, I don’t usually get home until around 7:00 p.m. or later, and then I have homework, so I may only write an hour or two during the week. I try to make time to write during the weekends and breaks—I get the most writing done in the summer. I started the second book in the trilogy, The Flames, this past summer and am working on editing it over this school year.

     6.          Where is your favorite place to write?

I’ve usually got a notebook or computer on hand so any time I feel even the slightest bit inspired I can write. I am a big fan of writing in bookstores—it’s an interesting feeling to be surrounded by the works of people who have achieved what you are trying to accomplish.

     7.          What is your family like?

My family is nothing like the families in the book, I better clarify that up front. My parents are incredibly supportive and have allowed me to follow my dreams. I have two siblings: a brother and a sister. They are great; we are very close. I am the youngest.

My brother and I used to fight a lot and that dynamic inspired my idea for the three feuding families in the books. We don’t fight anymore, as we’ve outgrown that phase, but it gave me plenty to write about.

     8.          What were you like as a child?

I lived in a fantasy world all the time—I was always inventing stories and reenacting them. I lived in costumes. I had a cat suit that I particularly loved. My mom would always get me a new costume for Halloween and inevitably I would end up back in my cat suit when it was time to go trick-or-treating. I wore that cat suit until the legs only came to my knees. It’s weird…for some reason when you dress like a cat all the time you don’t make a ton of friends. But anyway, that’s why my parents signed me up for acting classes. I started taking acting classes at the age of six. I loved it from the start.

     9.          I understand you still have the acting bug. What are you doing now?

Currently, my whole focus is on college auditions. I’m crazy enough to be applying for programs where thousands of kids audition and they literally accept only six boys. So it’s kind of like trying to win the lottery, but I’m giving it my best shot. As I mentioned, I’m writing, directing and acting in my web series and we are launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund that this week. I spent last fall in LA and I was so lucky to take acting classes and perform improv at LA Connection. It was like what I imagine grad school is like. I spent 40 hours a week in acting classes and seminars—and still had to keep up with schoolwork online. It was intense but amazing.

  10.          What's your favorite part of acting? Favorite thing about improv?

My favorite part of acting is initially stepping into the shoes of a character and just beginning to break them in: finding out what they want, how they talk, how they move, etc.

My favorite part of improv is when you are easing into a scene and the really good lines just start flowing, especially when you’re working with a talented partner.

  11.          Were you a big reader as a kid?

In 5th grade, I started at a new elementary school when I moved to Naples. They had a reading contest for whoever read the most books. I ended up reading like 200 books, which was a bit of overkill as the next highest kid read about 75 books, but apparently I’m more competitive than I realized. I just really wanted to beat this girl in my class who told me she was a better reader.

  12.          Were you drawn to a certain genre as a kid?

When I was younger, I really disliked reading. My mom would read me the books that my brother liked and I just never got into them. One day she was at the bookstore picking out books for us, and she mentioned to the owner that I didn’t seem interested in reading and he asked her about my personality and interests. He recommended that she try some fantasy books for me. She brought home a few of those books and from then on, all I did was read and write. I love young adult fantasy.

  13.          Were there certain authors that you really liked?

I’ve always loved Rick Riordan, and every kid in my generation loves JK Rowling. My mom started guarding the Harry Potter books and reading them aloud to us, because otherwise I would read one whole book in a night and then tell my siblings what happened. We would barely leave the house until we had finished each book. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series has been phenomenal.

  14.          How have those writers influenced your writing?

I think Rick Riordan introduces and writes characters very well, which is something I kept in mind, because I have a group dynamic with my book. But I really like the way JK Rowling set up the overall plot and carried it through, intertwining a lot of different elements. She knew how to set up a big, epic adventure and finished it beautifully. That is what I hope to do with this trilogy.

  15.          Do you work with an outline or do you just write? Do you ever get stuck?

Normally, I have a basic idea of where the story is going when I start writing a chapter. But there have been times when I am writing the chapter that I suddenly decide to take it in a new direction. Sometimes I struggle with writing a chapter or a character in the book, so to overcome that I’ll take a break and work on another project.

  16.          Do you have a favorite character in The Sparks?

It alternates a lot. In general, I’ve always been a fan of characters that are only around for one book and that are very big and eccentric. I really like Michael Taurlum because he’s kind of the epitome of what’s wrong with the Taurlum family and he’s just such a child. So it was really interesting to write about him and make him such an aggressive, haughty character.

  17.          If your book was made into a movie, which actors would be cast as the main characters?

I’ll try my best at this one. (Disclaimer: this would be one expensive movie . . . )

Neil: Brenton Thwaites (or Kyle Prue, if Brenton Thwaites is not available)
Saewulf: Michael Fassbender
Darius: Luke Bracey
Lilly: Alexandra Daddario or Emma Watson
Rhys: Dane DeHann
Jennifer and Victoria: Teresa Palmer
Bianca: Leven Rambin
Michael: Chris Hemsworth
Carlin: Mark Strong
The Emperor: Benedict Cumberbatch
Jonathan: Rico Rodriguez
Sir Vapros: Mads Mikkelsen
Quintus: Jonah Hill (Cameo Role)

  18.          Can you tell us a bit about the second book, The Flames?

One of the big themes of the second book is that no one should get to a point in their life when they should experience a complete absence of hope. Things will always get better. My best friend from childhood committed suicide this year and I really want other teens to understand that whatever seems so overwhelming in your life today, won’t be what’s important to you down the road. When my characters experience this loss of hope, that is when they gain their advanced powers. Something good can come out of something that in the moment seems so terrible.

The second book in the series focuses on the remaining family members (spoiler alert!) and their friends, as they begin to kindle the revolution. It’s a lot about personal growth for the characters, like Neil and Darius. Even Robert Tanner, who is a minor character in the first book, comes back and has a very big story arc. It is the book where we start to reach that giant conflict that the characters have been stepping toward in the storyline.

  19.          What was your favorite part or chapter to write in The Sparks?

I really, really enjoyed writing the fight between Darius and Jennifer. It’s interesting when you write characters separately, then give them a chance to interact together. Jennifer is one of my favorite characters. Neil describes her as the model assassin so it was really fun to write her in that type of setting.

  20.          How did you come up with the title?

The entire book is based on a family feud so that was the reason for the series name, Feud. But the individual titles are The Sparks, The Flames and The Ashes; these are symbolic of the Vapros family motto which is “Victory Lies Within the Ashes.” The Vapros turn a person to ash when they kill them. For them that is a macabre way of saying, “You have to bust a couple of heads to get what you want.” So the titles reveal that there is going to be a lot of bloodshed and a climax to this storyline, which we are building up to in the series.

  21.          How did you pick the names of the families?

I based the family names on Latin root words: Taurlum is based on the Latin word for bull, Celerius is the Latin word for swift and Vapros is smoke.

  22.          How did you get the idea for the three families?

In the first book, there are three main families and since I have a brother and a sister, I loosely based these families around the three of us—their mannerisms, their traits, resulting in a black-and-white version of us blended with a more honorable, respectable side and a more aggressive, audacious side. So the Taurlum are based off my brother, the Celerius off my sister and the Vapros off me, a little bit.

  23.          What can you tell us about the challenges of getting a book published?

I went to the New York Pitch Conference and Writer’s Workshop and got the opportunity to pitch my book to Random House, Penguin and McMillan Press. Each requested the manuscript (it was the most requested manuscript at the conference!), so I felt like I had a sound idea. The conference director advised me to use the publisher interest to try to get an agent. So, I began the process of sending query letters. I got some good advice from the agents I talked to. One advised me to hire a well-respected editor, as publishers expect manuscripts to be perfect, so I did that. Then another agent took the time to really ask me about my goals. I wanted the book to be read by as many people as possible and I wanted to get it published in a timely manner. She explained that—if I was lucky—the publishing process would take 3-5 years. She recommended that I meet with a small, independent publisher with a good reputation. They could meet my timing needs and I would have more input in the process, ensuring that I could retain some creative control of the final product. I met with the publisher she recommended (Barringer Publishing) and we hit it off immediately. So far, I’ve been thrilled with the process.

I’m hoping to publish Book 2, The Flames, in late summer 2015.

  24.          Do you have advice for other high school students wanting to write a book?

Yes, never stop writing. Write, and write and write, until you’ve got something that you like. Don’t be afraid to have a very rough copy of something. The editing process is terrible and long and arduous, but it’s something you have to do. What matters is getting something on paper and then really shaping it into what you are looking for.

  25.          Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. The series only gets better and more intense from here and I can’t wait to see what you guys think of it all.

  26.          Tell us where we can find your book and more information about you.

You can find more info on my website, www.kyleprue.com, Facebook www.facebook.com/kyleprue, Twitter @KylePrue and Instagram @KyleStevenPrue.




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Waiting on Wednesday with Bone Gap


Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

 I love a story like this that keeps you guessing and I am so intriuged by "a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are." Intense right?! The Bone Gap is due out March 3rd!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18806240-bone-gap?from_search=true

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Top Ten Tuesday with My Favorite YA Heroines

I love me a strong female lead! Here are my favorite strong Young Adult female heroines from my 2014 reads! (Click on image for the fan artist information)


http://throneofglass.wikia.com/wiki/Celaena_Sardothien
Celaena from Throne of Glass series
Hermione from Harry Potter
http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2012/296/5/6/shadow_and_bone__alina_by_mseregon-d5ir78u.jpg

Alina from The Grisha Series
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/f4/54/6d/f4546d53975edfebe5dd828f521f13ce.jpg
Scarlet from The Lunar Chronicles series

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdv44vCH3D1qemuiqo1_1280.jpg

Art3mis from Ready Player One

http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2011/341/8/9/scorpio_races___puck_and_sean_by_leabharlann-d4igxm2.jpg

Puck Connolly from The Scorpio Races

https://40.media.tumblr.com/baf7602c97cbeebc1d360b973e7235bf/tumblr_n7ed0aMNa01s6vjvqo1_500.jpg

Sophronia from Etiquette & Espionage 

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/a3/df/ea/a3dfeac884c360d6709ab53ba752444b.jpg

Veronica Mars from The Thousand Dollar Tan Lines

http://25.media.tumblr.com/5e22c5ed1c6044d28fa5b74aaaaf50f1/tumblr_mhq135aFRI1r02jobo1_1280.jpg

Blue from The Raven Boys


Claire Randall by Outlander


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Review of Wild

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER, SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE.
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone.
Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
"One of the Best Books of the Year": NPR, The Boston GlobeEntertainment Weekly, Vogue, St. Louis Dispatch 


The previews for Wild looked so good that I had to get my hands on the book and see what it is all about. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I was thinking that you would need all the insight from the book to fully appreciate the movie.


Cheryl was so honest. She didn't hide anything or try to sugar coat anything. She told her story, all the gory details and wanted the reader to truly understand and feel her.
I enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love and I felt like this was Cheryl's journey that helped her figure herself out. Instead of learning from other people, as Elizabeth Gilbert did, but Cheryl hiked the Pacific Crest Trail alone.
Paul, Cheryl's husband was amazing. He was my favorite person in her life. He definitely got a bad wrap in the whole outcome.
The sidekicks, the people on the trail, were really interesting. I wanted to hike the trail so badly after reading this book, meet the people and see the sights. I am not sure I could do the whole thing, but it would be fun to try!

There wasn't really anything to gripe about. If you enjoy good non-fiction works about the true struggle of being a broken, faulted human, than you will enjoy this!

I will make sure to write up a review once I see the movie! 


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12262741-wild





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Week Recap - Audiobooks


Another long week at work, but it does feel like there is an end in sight. I am finally getting back on top of the work instead of drowning below it! I did get some good reading done this week - or mostly some good listening! I seriously love audiobooks, they work so well for all situations! I have about a 20 minute drive and I can listen at work as long as I don't have to type something at the same time, lol!



This Week on A Flurry of Ponderings:
Monday - Review & Giveaway of The Intergalactic Adventures of Queen Bea
Tuesday - Top Ten Tuesday with Ten Book Related Problems I Have
Wednesday - Waiting on Wednesday with No Parking At the End Times
Friday - Review of The 5th Wave
Saturday - Review of Four

This Week I Read:





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