Five Books to Get You into the “Game of Thrones” Spirit

Game of Thrones is back for its final season! I am so excited (and terrified) to see what’s in store for my favorite characters this season, but I know that once the show is over, I’ll be in serious withdrawal. To mitigate this feeling, here are some fantasy series that bring all of the magic, intrigue, and romance that Game of Thrones is known for to your very own hands. Hopefully, you can find a new favorite to binge between episodes or after the finale.

I am proud to say An Ember in the Ashes is one of the first fantasy series after Percy Jackson and Harry Potter that I truly fell in love with. Tahir’s world-building is truly incredible (and has only gotten better three books in) and her diverse ensemble of female characters is admirable. If you loved the family relationships in Game of Thrones, particularly female relationships, I promise you’ll devour Tahir’s debut fantasy series.

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March Wrap Up

What I’m Up To

March was a full month for me! The first half of March I was on spring break, but I came back to school on the 19th, which coincidentally was also my birthday. School has been busy, but it’s great to be around friends and semi-warm weather.

What I’m Reading

I don’t normally read nonfiction, but I was given this book as a Christmas gift and I’m always excited to learn more about art history. So far, I’ve been loving Krysa’s vibrant profiles of female artists, which are each paired with an artistic prompt for the reader to explore individually.

What I Blogged About

Reflections on Turning 16: I turned 16 on March 19, so I took the chance to reflect on my growth as a person and Book Reviews by Ava’s growth as a blog.

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras: Contreras’ novel debut was incredible and her chronicle of two teenage girls during a time of intense civil conflict was both gripping and poignant.

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My interview with the amazing Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl From Everywhere

I knew this interview was going to go great as soon as Heidi Heilig suggested we meet at Doughnut Plant, a local Brooklyn eatery that boasts the best doughnuts in NYC. Now, I feel the need to stress, I did not suggest this meeting place. I repeat, I did not suggest this place. But! Heidi Heilig, who has great taste in doughnuts and a fantastic YA debut coming out this February, did. So thank you, Heidi. Now, lets get onto the interview.

What was it like growing up in Hawaii?

I spent high school hiking and going to the beach. Just like in the city [New York City] there are so many free things to do!

Tell me about the transition from paradise to the city that never sleeps…

I moved right before senior year to go to a performing arts school in Rockefeller Center and left behind so many friends. New York felt so much more cold and gritty. I fell in love with the city through walking. I would explore New York for hours on my feet, just walking.

You studied musical theatre and wrote for the stage… what motivated you to write Young Adult?

My theatre partner did music and I did the writing- I was not musically talented. When he went on tour in the Midwest, I had nothing to do. I had always loved YA and Fantasy, things like Game of Thrones. So, I just decided to give it a try myself.

You travel a lot. Do your travels inspire your characters or do you travel to research your characters?

I walk and explore to recharge. Those explorations really inspire my characters.

How do you choose a destination when you travel?

I have such a scattered brain… I’ll become obsessed with things and I just have to know more. I wanted to go to Morocco after I saw a lamp in a thrift store!

What drew your interest to the father daughter relationship, which is such an integral part of your book?

I didn’t think I would be able to have a kid and really wanted a relationship with kids. The parents in my book were really more like me, struggling with things such as addiction and bipolar disorder. I really wanted the father in particular to have a redemption arc.

Time travel is a big part of The Girl from Everywhere. Why did you focus on it?

I regret so many things. I think its good to regret, it means you tried. When I lived in Hawaii, I fell in love with a classmate, who is now my husband. I was so creepy! I bought a disposable camera one day and ran up to him, asking for his picture! I still have it. When I moved to New York, I really regretted never telling him how I felt and had this morbid fantasy that years into the future we would go to the same retirement home and fall in love there. Luckily, we met at a friend’s wedding a couple years later and reconnected then.

A lot of authors have playlists for the books they write… do you have one?

For The Girl from Everywhere, I listened to a lot of sea chanties, which are really wail-y and dark. I also listened to Marianas Trench’s Ever After.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the first new book in a three book series for Harper Collins.

Okay.. time for the lightning round! Say whatever comes to your mind first! It doesn’t have to be right.

Where do you want to travel to next?

China!

Do you have any pet?

A boy hognose snake! 

I have to ask… what’s your favorite doughnut?

Tres Leches.

What’s your takeout order?

Shrimp veggies with egg rolls.

Do you prefer the big city or a small town?

Big city!

What are you watching on Netflix?

I don’t watch TV when I’m writing, but I want to start Veronica Mars.

What book is on your beside table?

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate.

Thank you so much for the interview, Heidi! Heidi Heilig’s debut, The Girl from Everywhere comes out this February. Follow her on Tumblr and Twitter: @heidiheilig and Twitter

Trending Now….

As 2015 draws to a close and we’re  looking towards the horizon at books that are soon to be released, there are many patterns to be found… here’s just a few.

PIRATES

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman is not a swashbuckling sort of novel, but as it tells the story of a young Blackbeard, perhaps the most infamous pirate, I decided to include it. The next, in the middle, and my personal favorite, is The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig and on the far right is Truthwitch by Susan Dennard.

GIRLS IN BALLGOWNS STARING INTO THE HORIZON

Personally, as someone who has never worn a ball gown, I find this trend the most amusing. Starting off on the left is A Cold Legacy by Megan Sheperd. Next to that is The Siren by Kiera Cass, which although it’s technically being republished, I decided to include, because it was given a new cover. Finally, and my personal favorite cover, is The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi.

WORLD WAR II INSPIRED  FICTION

Definitely my favorite of the trio, Ruta Sepetys’s Salt to the Sea is on the left. Front Lines by Michael Grant is in the center, and on the right is Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin (which did come out late this year, but I included anyway).

TIME TRAVELING, NAUTICAL ADVENTURES

As a bonus, here are two, both very well written, novels coming out in 2016 that involve time traveling and nautical living. On the left is Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger and on the right is Heidi Heilig’s The Girl From Everywhere.

Have a happy new year!

Fall Favorites

Now that it’s almost (almost!) safe to say all of Fall’s YA books have been released, I’ve decided it’s more than a good time to tell you which books are most worth your money and which aren’t. Enjoy!

SPLURGE

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (here’s my review)

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (my review here)

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (my review here)

SAVE

George by Alex Gino (my review here)

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

92Y Book Event!

Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of going to The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige’s launch party. As well as Danielle, Soman Chainani, Christopher Healy, and Sara Benincasa attended the panel, moderated by Margot Wood of EpicReads.com and TheRealFauxtographer.com . The event took place at the 92 St. Y in New York and was a panel and signing (books courtesy of BooksofWonder.com. The panel itself was about “New Twists on Old Fairytales”, because all of the authors listed above had books based off of some classic story. Danielle’s series, Dorothy Must Die and The Wicked Will Rise was based off the classic world of Oz. Soman’s series, The School For Good and Evil is a school for fairytale characters, Christopher’s is all about Prince Charmings, and Sara’s is a modern and LGBTQ story modeled off of The Great Gatsby (to learn more about these authors and their books, click the links on their names!). Admittedly, I initially came to see Soman Chainani and Danielle Paige speak, but after the great panel, I’m definitely going to check out Sara Benincasa and Christopher Healy. At the panel I learned everything from Soman Chainani’s favorite Disney movie (Sleeping Beauty) to Danielle’s next project (a book called Stealing Snow, slated to hit the shelves in 2016) to the juicy details on Christopher Healy’s The Hero’s Guide to Saving His Kingdom’s movie deal! After the panel and meeting the wonderful authors (see the pictures below) I got to meet a fellow blogger, Gracie (here’s her blog) and got a chance to chat with Margot and other EpicReads staff (I can’t wait to see you at Yall West!).

To wrap the night up, everyone at the event was treated to an icecream sandwich courtesy of CoolHaus.Overall, I’d call this one of the best events ever! Extra shoutout to Jacqueline Kellachan from The Golden Notebook, an indie bookstore in Woodstock, NY, who accompanied me to the event!

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Some of the fabulous Epic Reads girls (above) and Soman Chainani (below)

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Christopher Healy signing my Epic Reads poster (thanks for making that, Margot!) (above) and Soman Chainani and me (below)

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With Danielle Paige (above) and with Sara Benincasa (below)

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Book swag and signed copies (ARCs courtesy of Epic Reads) (above and below)