Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: Terrapin by A.C. Troyer


Well, back to the grind after a long and lazy weekend. There was a lot of reading time to be had, happily, but of course that also meant that there's a lot to catch up on in "real adult life". Still, I had to carve out a piece of the day to get this wonderful book spotlight posted, and share it with all of you! I'm never too busy to promote books. Especially ones with stunning covers.

Terrapin
A.C. Troyer
(Nordic Airre, #1)
Publication date: May 30th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Eighteen-year-old Charlotte (Jinx), fights her past to chase her dream of becoming an Elite Nordic Airre pilot, yet her rebellious attitude hinders her hard-earned lead status. Overcoming a string of life-altering events and the unwanted advances of Ghost Allen, a smooth talking pilot, is one thing, evading death at the hands of two comrades is another.
When Jinx comes face-to-face with an unlikely ally, she is forced to trust him in order to escape the clutches of those who want to silence her. Can a once broken girl transform her past into an iron will, or will she ultimately crumble under the destruction?


“Hold still,” he said.

I froze. My thoughts instantly drew a large coiling snake at my feet, but then a gentle wipe of his thumb swept across my cheek. I jerked away in response. “What are you doing?” I covered his path with my hand, as if the man-germs burned me.

“Hold still. You made it worse. And don’t look at me like I’m your favorite dessert, it’s not helping the situation any.”

There was a tease in his tone. “What situation?” I asked. “And I’m not. Trust me.” I displayed the most repulsed expression I could. The hem of his shirt pulled up over his crossed arms and cleared his head. “Whoa.” My palms few up. “You’re reading the signs all wrong. Put your shirt back on,” I pleaded to him. My eyes widened, soaking up the definition of his stomach. Holy abs.

“You like what you see?” He laughed, waggling his eyebrows.

I gained my composure and mocked a laugh. “I was just thinking you’re almost as toned as I am. Close, but not quite there yet, big guy,” I said, patting his stomach.

His closed lipped dimpled smile awakened something inside of me. The same smile I saw the morning on Senders Rock, the one that sent tingles through my body. I wanted to pull my eyes away. But he was beautiful.


A.C. grew up climbing trees and spying on her siblings. When not writing, A.C. can be found cheering on her favorite girls at a softball field or sitting in her car reading at practices and eating her hidden stash of chocolate. She enjoys family time, traveling, random road trips, watching movies, decorating, and trying new cocktails. She lives in the mitten state with her husband, two daughters, and their furbabies. Terrapin is her first novel.




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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Book Review: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: This Monstrous Thing
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: Kindle; 384
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Source: Publisher / NetGalley
------------------------------------------------
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy reimaginings of classic stories, and love vivid characters.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

Fans of both Steampunk novels, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, are going to adore this book. I can tell you that right now. I would know, seeing as how I fit right into that category as well. While I knew this was a retelling, going in, I had no idea that there was also a Steampunk aspect attached to it. Needless to say, it was a rather pleasant surprise! That ended up being one of the many things I really enjoyed about this book.

This Monstrous Thing sets us in the middle 1818 Geneva. Alasdair, our protagonist, has grown up as a "Shadow Boy", or part of the group who help "repair" injured people through the use of clockwork. Which, as you might imagine, is rather frowned upon by the general public. Their work is seen as against God, and is therefore illegal. So, our young protagonist has to no choice but to operate in the shadows. Let me tell you, I fell in love with young Alasdair from page one. He's so smart, so inherently kind, and yet has the analytical mind of a scientist. I loved that he, buried in a sea of sheep, was the one who thought for himself.

What progresses from here is a story that skims along the edge of its source material. While This Monstrous Thing is a reimagining of Frankenstein, it happily takes off on its own course. There are some brilliant discussions of morality, of death, and even of the bonds between family members. Mary Shelley herself makes her debut, and the relationship between her and Alasdair was just perfection to me. In fact, I adored the fact that there was no romance front and center, to steal the stage. Having a protagonist who can meet a female character, and have a platonic relationship with her, is generally rather rare. I'm glad there wasn't any of that to muck up Alasdair's destiny.

This book is quick paced. It's vividly written, and easily the type of story that you won't want to set aside until it's over. The historical part of all of this meshes perfectly with the fictional side, creating a book that it just a treat to read! I'm impressed, and I'm genuinely hoping that there's more out there somewhere.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day Mini Read-A-Thon



Ah, the weekend is here and it's a long one! While everyone else plans parties, barbeques, and get togethers, I'm planning on what I'm going to read this weekend while I relax at home.

Seriously guys, this week ate my life. I got virtually nothing done that wasn't work (as is evidenced by my lack of posts), and I'm exhausted. I'm looking forward to a weekend filled with wine, books, and lots of me time.

Happily, all of my library reservations came in at the same time! So here's what I plan on reading this weekend.



The first book in this series was adorable! Plus I love Lauren Oliver to the ends of the Earth, and so I won't ever turn anything down that she's written. I'm about 40% through this book so far, and I can't wait to finish it up tonight!









This is the third in a series that I'm absolutely, positively, hooked on. Lockwood, George and Lucy are some of my all time favorite characters. They get up to all kinds of mischief, and they're so much braver than I could ever be around terrifying ghosts! I'm listening to this on audio, and loving every minute of it.







I've been eagerly waiting for my turn to borrow this book from the library. I love the cover, I love the premise, and the overall reception from the book community has been sensational! I can only hope that it won't let me down, because I have major excitement over reading this book.







So those are my lofty goals. I'll be extra happy if I can get through these, and also start on Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand. That's another library book that recently came through, and it's another super anticipated one as well. I'm just a happy bookworm.

Have you read any of these? Do you have a favorite? Let me know!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: Curse by Steven James


Good morning ladies and gents. Welcome to another book spotlight! Today started out completely insane, but things have finally calmed down and I can finally get this post into the wild! After all, I would want Steven James' Curse to miss your radar. Enjoy!


Curse
Steven James
(Blur Trilogy #3)
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: May 24th 2016
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Don’t miss this intriguing and climactic conclusion to the Blur Trilogy.
As Daniel Byers prepares to attend a basketball camp before his senior year of high school, the terrifying blurs that’ve plagued him for the last nine months return.
Dark images begin to haunt him—creatures crawling from the deepest pits of his nightmares, glimmers of chilling memories from his early childhood. But before he can unearth the meaning behind his mysterious hallucinations, Daniel must team up with two other extraordinary teens to save a young woman who has been abducted by a scientist obsessed with enacting his own warped form of justice.
This atmospheric mystery picks up where Fury left off and takes readers into the uncharted regions where reality and madness intertwine.
Dr. Waxford wound his way along the road, climbing higher into the Great Smoky Mountains.
He and his team had made great strides in the last couple of years, but the loss of the research facility in northern Wisconsin last December had slowed things down—that is, until they located this old hotel here in this remote part of eastern Tennessee.

Actually, the site was ideal. It was isolated and lay at the end of a one-lane road that had hardly been used in years.

Back in the 1950s when a new highway was built that wrapped around the other side of the mountain, it took the tourists and other businesses with it. The hotel owners went bankrupt and the property went into foreclosure.

Rumored to be haunted, the Estoria Inn had sat empty for decades and was being reclaimed by the forest when Adrian and his team started renovations. Most people, even those in the nearby towns, had forgotten that this place even existed.

And none of them knew what kind of research was happening there now.

Which was probably a good thing.

Fortuitously, the Estoria was also less than an hour drive for the hypnotherapist Adrian sometimes brought up to implant suggestions in the minds of his subjects after they’d been put into a deep trance.

When you pay a hypnotist enough, you can get him to implant any suggestions that you want.

Despair. Depression. Loneliness. They can all be the tools you use in the service of the
greater good.

Best known for his high-octane thrillers, Steven James is the award-winning author of eleven suspense novels. The Blur Trilogy is his first mystery series for teens. Steven has taught creative writing around the world and loves rock climbing, science fiction movies, and chicken fajitas. Find him at www.stevenjames.net.







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Monday, May 23, 2016

On Journaling


Yes, yes, my handwriting is a bit manic. But I guess since it's my journal, really only I have to be able to read it... right? 

Ah, Monday. Once again it has come around to a new week, and I'll tell you right now that I wasn't prepared for this. This weekend was lovely. It was lazy, and introspective. Filled with ample amounts of good food, lazing around, reading, and journaling. Which means being back to the grind this Monday morning is taking a little longer than I anticipated.

When I was younger, I used to drag a big pile of books, a bottle of water, a journal, a pen, and a blanket out onto the grass on sunny weekend days. I'd stay outside until it was too cold to go back in, because I just loved the way it felt to read and write outdoors. The swish of wind through the trees, the birdsong, and the feel of warm sun on my back all made for a content feeling. I did my best journaling outside, and was actually good at keeping up with it too! I have 8 journals, starting from when I was 7, and going up until I was about 17, all filled with musings. It's interesting to go back through them now, and see what young Jessica was thinking.

I guess that's why I keep a book blog now too. I love recording things for the future. I love sharing them. I'll still always have a soft spot in my heart for the good old fashioned journal though. Putting pen to paper, doodling, and just letting it all flow out. Having a space to put things I'm feeling, and being able to go back and see how things have changed, makes me feel complete. I used to dream that someday, a hundred years from now, someone would find my journals and see into my life in the past. It made me feel connected.

So, I still journal, albeit not as much as I used to. I'm trying to get back into the habit now, though. As an adult, I have so much more to share. I just need to get it down.

End rambling. Thanks for reading.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Book Review: Roses and Rot by Kat Howard



Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Roses and Rot
Author: Kat Howard
Publisher: Saga Press
Pages: Hardcover; 336
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Source: Publisher
--------------------------------------------
Genre: Fantasy / Contemporary
(This borders the line between YA and NA.)

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Everyone who loves fairy tales, especially the true life ones.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
Imogen and her sister Marin have escaped their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, be it art or love.

What would you sacrifice in the name of success? How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.

To me, the testament of a good story is how long it sticks with you after you finish. My favorite books are the ones that, no matter what else you might be doing, are always at the back of your mind. Wooing you. Reminding you that they exist. Begging for another read through. Kat Howard's Roses and Rot hasn't unleashed me from its magical confines yet. I finished it well over two days ago, and it just won't leave me be. I tell you, I'm not even upset. All I really want is a hardcover of this so I can lovingly read it over and over again.

I love fairy tales, with all of my being. To be more specific, I love the fairy tales that are a bit on the darker side. The ones where people might be changed forever, or even die. The ones were love only prevails after sacrifice. That's exactly how Howard's writing captured me. Imogen's story is equal parts heartbreaking and uplifting. It deals with the definition of love, with sisterhood, and with all the blood, sweat and tears that go into passionate art. Imogen's life is revealed in tandem. Both her present, and her past, play a part in the fairy tale that she is unknowingly being woven into. It's magical, and trust me when I say it's easy to get lost in.

Which brings me to my next two points. First of all, this is a very difficult book to read at times. It does deal with childhood abuse, both of the verbal and physical varieties. Like all good fairy tales, it also has its very sad portions, so be warned. My biggest warning though, is that this book is extremely hard to put down. Chances are high that you won't want to set it down at all. So this is me giving you a heads up, before you end up staying up well into the wee hours of the morning because you started this before bed. It's addictive.

I don't hand out five star reviews very easily. A book has to truly sweep me up, in order to make its way onto my list of favorite books. Roses and Rot did just that. I'm thrilled that I was able to read this, and saddened that it's over. I'll miss Melete, and all its magic. Another read through can't come soon enough.


FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: The Dream Protocol: Descent by Adara Flynn Quick


Good morning, my darling bookworms! A very happy Wednesday to you, as well. As you can tell from the uptick in posts, things are settling down at HDB headquarters, and we're gearing up to bring you a lot more amazing book spotlights, and wonderful book reviews.

Which brings me to this particular spotlight, and the fact that I may have a bit of a case of cover lust. The Dream Protocol: Descent has a cover that borders somewhere between steampunk and whimsical, which makes my heart happy. Add in a synopsis that sounds delicious, and you have a book that I think definitely needs a space on your TBR list.

The Dream Protocol: Descent
Adara Flynn Quick
Publication date: May 18th 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T GET OLD. In fiery young Deirdre Callaghan’s home of Skellig City, no one has dreamt their own dream in over a thousand years. Dreams are produced by the Dream Makers and sold by the Ministry, the tyrannical rulers of the city. In Skellig City, years of life are awarded equally and the ruined are cast away beneath the city on their 35th birthday.

Unbeknownst to the Ministry, Deirdre’s handsome friend Flynn Brennan is afflicted with a terrible disease – a disease that accelerates the aging process. Knowing his fate if the Ministry should ever discover his illness, Flynn has lived his whole life hiding from their watchful eyes. When Flynn’s secret is finally discovered, Deirdre is determined to free him from the Ministry’s grasp. But to save him, she will have to reveal herself to a shadowy enemy…one that none of them even knew existed.


EXCERPT:

Deirdre was falling from a great height. The air was cold and her hair blew up around her like a golden veil. Ice crystals collected in her curls and they turned rigid as she fell. And then she crashed headlong into a body of ice-cold water. The freezing temperature bit into her skin like a thousand pinpricks, and her eyes flew wide open. Above her was the light of the surface, but a powerful current was sucking her down, down, down into the dark. She flailed against the downward pull, kicking with her legs and reaching with her arms. She knew that the single breath of air in her lungs wouldn’t last much longer. At the last moment, just as she felt that she might open her mouth and drink down the dark water, the riptide from below released her. She kicked for the light, but soon the true horror of the ‘Mare became clear. The surface was sealed away with a thick layer of ice and frost. There would be no air for her lungs in this underwater prison. She beat her fists against the ice to no avail; the dark water wouldn’t let go. She was drowning with the surface just out of reach.

She tried to scream a curse at the Minister, but in this ‘Mare there was only silence. No sounds at all. She sucked down the freezing water and choked, over and over. Mercifully, she passed out. In that brief moment of unconsciousness, a hundred images flickered through her mind, each one like a photograph taken with a magnesium flash bulb. Images of Roenin, Flynn, and the red oak tree kept appearing. In the back of her mind her own voice formed a question: how does Roenin know about the Dream Protocol?

On the surface of the frost, something new came into the dream, something that the ‘Mare Makers would never have sequenced. The ice started to hiss and steam. A pattern wrote itself into the ice block; the five-circle symbol of the Makers. It burst into flame, melting the ice and cold all around the Maker’s daughter. Deirdre felt her body rising out of the water. In dream, she came Awake.


MEET THE AUTHOR:

Irish-American author, Adara Flynn Quick, is the writer of The Dream Protocol series. Early in her career, Adara was fascinated by dreams, the unconscious, and the healing stories of many cultures. As a contemporary author, she writes young adult literature that brings ancient myths and legends into futuristic worlds. She is an accomplished visual artist and uses her background as a psychotherapist to inspire the finest and darkest moments of her characters.

Driven to distraction by her computer, Adara writes all of her stories longhand. Pen and paper are two of her favorite things. The author tortures her husband with a passion for downtempo electronica and too many pillows. She is a firm believer that there are never enough pillows.


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Monday, May 16, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (5/16/16)

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I always want to start this post out with a "Happy Monday" title of some sort, but let's be honest with ourselves. Mondays are hard. I spent most of the weekend out at car shows with my husband which, while they were fun, didn't allow for much reading or relaxing time. Needless to say, I'm already looking forward to the weekend. On the bright side, I did finish some gems! So here's the lowdown.







I've actually been really good lately about finishing up books, before moving on to the next one. Mainly because I realized that my backlog was getting massive! Anyway, I listened to Wizard's First Rule on audio and absolutely loved it. I have the next book ready to go in hardcover, and I can't wait! Scarlet and Ivy: The Lost Twin was adorable. So fun to read, and definitely something to add to the TBR of your young reader! The Book of Storms was the only disappointment. It just didn't live up to its amazing cover.


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was holding on to Calamity for when I finished Goodkind's book. Happily, I'm almost 75% through Calamity already at this point! It's amazing, and I'm nervous for the ending. I'm also almost finished with Roses and Rot by Kat Howard. This book is gorgeous. You're going to want to add it to your TBR if you haven't already. Trust me.



I profess, loud and proud, that I'm a fan of Harper Price! Rachel Hawkins stole my heart with this series, and I can't wait to start this book and find out what happens next!


That's it for me! What are YOU reading this week? Don't forget to leave a link so I can go and visit you too!


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Book Review: Scarlet and Ivy: The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Scarlet and Ivy: The Lost Twin
   *Series: Scarlet and Ivy
Author: Sophie Cleverly
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Pages: Hardcover; 304
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Source: NetGalley / Publisher
-------------------------------------------------
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: All readers, of every age! This mystery definitely transcends the group it's written for.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | BookLikes
Ivy, I pray that it's you reading this. And if you are, well, I suppose you're the new me...

When shy Ivy's troublemaking twin Scarlet vanishes from Rookwood boarding school, Ivy is invited to "take her place." But when Ivy arrives, she discovers the school's true intention; she has to pretend to be Scarlet. She must think like Scarlet, act like Scarlet, become Scarlet. What on earth happened to the real Scarlet, and why is the school trying to keep it a secret?

Luckily for Ivy, Scarlet isn't about to disappear without a fight. She's left pieces of her journal carefully hidden all over the school for Ivy to find. Ivy's going to figure out what happened to Scarlet. She's got to.

But the staff of Rookwood is always watching, and they'll do anything to keep their secrets buried...

BRAVO! Truly, a around of applause is owed to Sophie Cleverly and The Lost Twin. I'm well out of the age range that this book is aimed at, but I absolutely adored every bit of it! I can only imagine how much excitement younger Jessica would have had, upon discovering this story. So many things I love are expertly wrapped up in here. Forbidding boarding schools, terrible headmistresses, brave girls, and tons of secrets. What more could a reader ask for?

If you've been following me for any length of time, you'll know that one of the biggest points in any book for me is character development. In MG fiction, that's even more important. A character needs to grow, to change, and to find themselves in situations that cause them to step outside the box. Cleverly has that down pat. Ivy's character was brilliant. Quiet, meek Ivy learned so much about herself while posing as her much more outgoing sister, Scarlet. I loved watching her come out of her shell, and face down the danger. All for the love of her sibling.

Oh, and the mystery! Pardon my overuse of the word brilliant, but it truly was brilliant! The highest compliment I can extend to this story, was that it made me think of my love of Nancy Drew, as a young reader. The clues. The chase. I was head over heels for all of it. The fact that Cleverly gave Ivy the perfect little sidekick, and best friend, was just the icing on the cake. I couldn't love this story more if I tried.

As you can tell, I am a big fan of this story. The ending was just pure perfection, and I am so eager for more! I'm smitten with Ivy, and so excited to meet her sister. This series and I are going to get along just fine.




FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book Spotlight + Giveaway: The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly

I sincerely hope so, because it's time for another book spotlight!

This time, our spotlight shines on a book that not only has an adorable cover, but also looks like a ton of fun to read. You all know that I have a soft spot in my heart for Middle Grade reads, and The Lost Twin looks like my kind of book!

Ivy, I pray that it’s you reading this. And if you are, well, I suppose you’re the new me…

When shy Ivy’s troublemaking twin Scarlet vanishes from Rookwood boarding school, Ivy is invited to “take her place.” But when Ivy arrives, she discovers the school’s true intention; she has to pretend to be Scarlet. She must think like Scarlet, act like Scarlet, become Scarlet. What on earth happened to the real Scarlet, and why is the school trying to keep it a secret?

Luckily for Ivy, Scarlet isn’t about to disappear without a fight. She’s left pieces of her journal carefully hidden all over the school for Ivy to find. Ivy’s going to figure out what happened to Scarlet. She’s got to.

But the staff of Rookwood is always watching, and they’ll do anything to keep their secrets buried…

I dare you to tell me that you're not intrigued by this book. This is the first in a series, and I can already tell that I'm going to be devouring this very soon. Look out for my review later this week, in fact! And, in case I've swayed you to add this to your reading pile, your links are below.


Now scroll forth and read a wonderful guest post by Sophie Cleverly, and then go fawn over her gorgeous author pic. Trust me, it's worth it. There's a giveaway down there too ;).

Creating atmosphere was a big focus for me when writing Scarlet and Ivy – The Lost Twin. When Ivy is forced to go to Rookwood School to hunt down the truth about her twin’s disappearance, it’s important that the reader feels what she’s feeling. At least part of that came from my own experiences of going from a pretty semi-rural school to a huge high school in the city. I remember feeling so small in front of that massive building – just like Rookwood, it looked like a cross between a castle and a prison.

I wanted Rookwood to be just as dark and imposing, but also to give you the sense that there are mysteries and adventures hidden away behind closed doors. Describing the building itself – what it looks like, just how old it is, the types of rooms and objects it contains – all helped to add to this. But I also wanted to use Ivy’s other senses to put you right in her shoes – the smell of the chalk dust from the clapped erasers, the taste of the horrible stew for dinner, the cold bath water on her skin, the sound of the distant shrieks of girls playing hockey and the silence of the empty classrooms. And then there’s the weather – since the books are set in Britain (where I live) and we have notoriously variable weather, I can play around with sun and rain and snow and storms to add to the mood of the place.

When it comes to creating characters, sometimes it feels less like a conscious choice and more like the characters have just walked into my brain. Certainly that was the case with the twins themselves. The idea for the book came to me during a writing exercise where we had to imagine someone returning to a room they hadn’t been in for a long time, and I imagined a room with twin beds – but only one girl entered. I quite quickly saw Ivy’s personality and knew that Scarlet would be her opposite in a lot of ways.

Other characters in the book developed a little more slowly, even though I do tend to get a good sense of them straight away. Often I know the type of character I want - a kind and funny new friend like Ariadne, or a terrifying teacher like Miss Fox, and I grow them from there. Some of my favourite kids’ book characters give me inspiration: Ariadne certainly has a bit of Hermione Granger in her, while Miss Fox was influenced by other scary headteachers like Miss Trunchbull and the Demon Headmaster. A lot of what makes a character is in how they act and react to what happens around them, but I also like to give them small details and quirks to make them stand out. Making character profiles is a great way to do this – even if you don’t include everything you know about the character, you can use it to infuse your writing.

Sophie Cleverly began writing Scarlet and Ivy in her second year at university, where she studied Creative Writing. She knew she had to finish telling the story, and when she heard that the university offered an MA in Writing For Young People she realized it was the perfect opportunity. She lives in Wiltshire, England. This is her debut. Visit hapfairy.co.uk.
Find Sophie: 






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