Interview with Cat Patrick

Hi friends, I’m sure you’ve already known that Cat Patrick has new series which first book, Court, was released on October 23rd. I posted my review and all about the book last week, November 12th. Now it’s time for the interview with the author! I’m so excited with this interview because I really like her answers and it looks like Ms. Patrick and I share the same favorite authors 🙂

-Who are your favorite authors, past and present?
I would like to have a dinner party with Ray Bradbury, J.K. Rowling, Gabrielle Zevin, Rainbow Rowell, Harper Lee, Stan Lee and Neil Gaiman.

-Writing mentors
I find inspiration from every good book I read. I’d recently finished Justin Cronin’s The Passage as I was getting going on Court, and it inspired me to be more thoughtful about description of landscapes, for example.

-Favorite books to movies
The Hunger Games series, The Fault in Our Stars and Perks of Being a Wallflower are some of my favorites. Non YA, I think the Gone Girl adaptation was one of the best I’ve seen.

-Tell us about your first book. What would readers find different about the first one and your most recent published work?

Forgotten, is about a girl who remembers the future instead of the past. It’s a romance and a mystery and I still love my first book baby. What’s different about Court is that it’s a bigger world told from more perspectives. Ultimately, though, no matter the scale of the world, the most important thing in my books is the depth of the characters and relationships between them. I hope readers will find that even though Court is urban fantasy and on a larger scale, it’s still very “me.”

-Advice for aspiring authors
From one of my six-year-old daughters: “Think of something that happened to you. Touch and tell across pages. Write a quick sketch so you don’t forget. Then write the words.”

I’m not kidding. She just said that.

For me, I think the most important thing is to just do it. I hear from people all the time: “I want to publish a book.” And they haven’t written the book yet. Also, unlike my kiddo, I purposely don’t write down book ideas—or sketch them. If I forget them before it’s time to write then you’ll forget them before it’s time to read.

What do you think? I love her six-year-old daughter answer about writing. I think I can take her advice for myself 🙂

And here’s to remind you again what Court is all about.

court_150[2]

For more than 300 years, a secret monarchy has survived and thrived within the borders of the US, hiding in plain sight as the state known as Wyoming. But when the king is shot and his seventeen-year-old son, Haakon McHale, is told he will take the throne, becoming the eleventh ruler of the Kingdom of Eurus, the community that’s survived for centuries is pushed to the limit. Told through four perspectives, Court transplants us to a world that looks like ours, but isn’t. Gwendolyn Rose, daughter of the Duke of Coal, is grudgingly betrothed to Haakon — and just wants a way out. Alexander Oxendine, son of the Duke of Wind and Haakon’s lifelong best friend, already grapples with internal struggles when he’s assigned to guard Haakon after the king dies. And commoner Mary Doyle finds whispers in the woods that may solve — or destroy — everything, depending on your bloodline.

 Money. Love. Power. Community. What’s your motivation?

Goodreads | Amazon

Review: Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan

20639274Blurb from Goodreads

When Bree Prescott arrives in the sleepy, lakeside town of Pelion, Maine, she hopes against hope that this is the place where she will finally find the peace she so desperately seeks. On her first day there, her life collides with Archer Hale, an isolated man who holds a secret agony of his own. A man no one else sees.

Archer’s Voice is the story of a woman chained to the memory of one horrifying night and the man whose love is the key to her freedom. It is the story of a silent man who lives with an excruciating wound and the woman who helps him find his voice. It is the story of suffering, fate, and the transformative power of love.

Kindle Edition, 345 pages
Published January 25th 2014
edition language: English
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
This is definitely my kind of NA contemporary romance book, character with disability and drama in the story. Hence I liked the story alright. But it’s so predictable I bet you can guess it since first few chapters. I also love the characters, can’t help not to fall in love with Archer. He’s kind, shy, quiet, and in a way naïve (but not in an annoying way, thank goodness). The way Archer reveals his past bit by bit, in each chapter kept me reading it. I’m so curious of what really happened with his family when he was just a boy which led him to his isolation. Basically he is the main reason I enjoyed reading this book. I really liked Bree too. She’s funny, smart, and kind. And I liked that she trusts and gives Archer a chance since the very first time they meet each other. They are sweet and perfect together. And I liked that there is character development in them.

And sometimes, that’s all it takes-one person who’s willing to listen to your heart, to the sound no one else has ever tried to hear.

description
However, just like my first Mia Sheridan book, Leo, I still didn’t quite like the writing. In first part of the story, especially in Bree’s POV, most of paragraphs and/or sentences begin with ‘I’. It’s just a teeny tiny thing but it’s kinda bothering me. And then the heroine describes everything in detail, much more detail than I think necessary. I love reading detail description but if it’s just some kind of info dump, I don’t think I like it. So here I get Bree keeps telling me that she likes curling her hair with iron curling. I know what tool I need for hair curling, so I don’t need her to tell me over and over. It’s like she assumes that I don’t have any idea what it is and how it works. And then she talks about smile too much for my taste. Maybe she and Archer loves to smile but it’s quite bothering reading she mentions their smile too many times. Out of my curiosity I count how many times she describes their smile. There are 22 ‘small smile’ and 4 ‘sweet smile’ not to mention other smiles that I didn’t count. Again, it’s just a little thing in the whole Archer and Bree story but it did bothering me.

While I really liked the characters and the story, I can easily connect with them, I didn’t quite like the writing and the way the story is told. It’s more than a good story, I think. And it’s just a matter of my preferences.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Review: The Headmaster by Tiffany Reisz

23267301Blurb from Goodreads

At the remote Marshall School, Gwen Ashby stumbles upon the job—and the man—of her dreams. Stern, enigmatic Edwin Yorke simmers with a heat Gwen longs to unleash. But Edwin knows all too well that forbidden love can end in tragedy….

ebook, 125 pages
Published October 6th 2014 by Harlequin e-Shivers
edition language: English
genre: Paranormal, Romance, Adult
My Thoughts
As my first Tiffany Reisz book, this book is nothing like I thought before. I know that she writes erotica stories and Goodreads put this book under erotica shelf. So basically I thought it’s a contemporary romance with lots of steamy scenes.

But first few chapters I’ve already completely forgot that I was reading an erotica. I even thought that Goodreads and other readers must put it in the wrong shelf because I didn’t feel like it’s an erotica book. Instead I sense that the story is kinda creepy, in a horror kind of way.

I knew and felt there is something happen with the main character, Gwen. Something bigger than she and the headmaster let me know. I couldn’t point it out exactly what I was scare of, but I could sense it. I don’t know if it makes any sense. I thought it was all about happily ever after romance but I got goose bump along the way I read it. That was what I felt mostly. At that point, I’m sure this isn’t an erotica it’s more a horror story, if you ask me, with steamy scenes. I don’t like horror story but I’ve watched some of horror movies that I want to forget I ever watched it since they are still haunting me to this day.

So I made my mind that this is like a particular horror movie that I watched years ago that strangely I was quite like it because it surprised me, in a good way. And I was thinking to stop reading it because it started freak me out. But at the same time it was so engaging I really wanted to know the ending for the characters.

At some point, my guesses were right. They didn’t surprise me at all, thanks to those movies, anyway. But it is definitely page-turner story that catch my attention. And Ms. Reisz is surely has something in her writing. She can make a predictable-ordinary story to an interesting-engaging story. I think for that just one point deserves my likeliness of this book. I’m gonna give her other books a try, for sure.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Review: Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward

22843341Blurb from Goodreads

You’re not supposed to want the one who torments you.

When my stepbrother, Elec, came to live with us my senior year, I wasn’t prepared for how much of a jerk he’d be.

I hated that he took it out on me because he didn’t want to be here.
I hated that he brought girls from our high school back to his room.
But what I hated the most was the unwanted way my body reacted to him.

At first, I thought all he had going for him were his rock-hard tattooed abs and chiseled face. Then, things started changing between us, and it all came to a head one night.

Just as quickly as he’d come into my life, he was gone back to California.

It had been years since I’d seen Elec.

When tragedy struck our family, I’d have to face him again.

And holy hell, the teenager who made me crazy was now a man that drove me insane.

I had a feeling my heart was about to get broken again.

Kindle Edition, 232 pages

Published September 28th 2014 (first published September 23rd 2014)

genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult

My Thoughts

So I picked this book up because the blurb interesting me. But at the same time I was kinda worry that it doesn’t as good as what I hope, because most of the things that attracted me seem like it’s just another same old NA contemporary romance book. I like reading NA but lately they are just less appealing for me since they feel more similar one and another.

When I read part one, I thought my doubt become reality. It was just a story when the main characters, Greta and Elec, have an insta-attraction, if not an insta-love, and are lusting each other since the first time they lay on each other eyes. Despite their status as step siblings, I know instantly that it’s just about it, keeping each other distant but can’t do it so they keep backing to square one. Oh, they have their moments I liked, but I felt like it doesn’t enough for me to connect with them. I liked their banter, it is funny made me smile and even laugh out loud. And in some part I felt sorry for Greta because Elec is such a jerk. I even loved one simple thing that Elec does randomly, telling scramble letters to Greta. His anagram to her can be sweet, funny and also annoying and hurting. I really liked it because I never ever think of those anagrams before. But they didn’t make it easy to love them as characters. I didn’t like how they keep going hot and cold toward each other and didn’t just accept their feeling. It was quite frustrating reading their banter, though I was enjoying it, and at the same time made me felt like I want to scream at them to just open up to each other.

And then part one end, left me with a feeling that I should keep reading it. Fortunately part two made very opposite impact on me, though in a way I also felt bored with the repetitive dialogues from Elec’s POV which is the same as from Greta’s. I grew to love Greta and Elec and can finally connect with them. Those frustrating and annoying things in part one slowly made sense in part two. The blurb says this story span in years, from their teenage life to their adult life. The best thing is they grow as characters and I can feel and see it.

While I read, both in part one and part two I kept thinking that the story is so predictable. In part one there isn’t anything that surprised me. It’s mostly the same as in other YA/NA contemporary romance. That predictable! But apparently the author still has something in her sleeve. I really liked the twist and surprise she throws me in part two. That predictable story turns out surprising me in a very good way. I just love it.

I also love that Greta and Elec has someone else in their adult life. Although they love each other, they keep trying to move on and have another life with someone else. And the fact that that someone else are good people, not some kind of bitchy girlfriend for Elec or an ass ex-boyfriend for Greta is really refreshing. I’m glad they don’t turn to be the same old classic pattern.

In the end I can say that I really liked and enjoyed reading Greta and Elec’s story. This was my first encounter to Ms. Ward books and surely won’t be the last.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars

Review: Off The Map #2, Sideswiped by Lia Riley

20762810Blurb from Goodreads

It was only meant to last the summer . . .

Talia Stolfi has seen more than her share of loss in her twenty-one years. But then fate brought her Bran Lockhart, and her dark world was suddenly and spectacularly illuminated. So if being with Bran means leaving her colorless NorCal life for rugged and wild Australia, then that’s what she’ll do. But as much as Talia longs to give herself over completely to a new beginning, the fears of her past are still lurking in the shadows.

Bran Lockhart knows that living without the beautiful girl who stole his heart will be torment, so he’ll take whatever time with her he can. But even though she has packed up her life in California and is back in his arms for the time being, she can’t stay forever. And the remaining time they have together is ticking by way too fast. Though fate seems determined to tear them apart, they won’t give up without a fight—because while time may have limits, their love is infinite . . .

ebook, 384 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Grand Central/Forever
edition language: English
series: Off The Map
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

After I read Upside Down, I thought I couldn’t love Talia and Bran more. But they proved me wrong. They are awesome I feel like I love them even more now.

“I’ll fight for you.” I press my lips to his damp cheek. “I’ll never stop fighting for you.”

Talia, she’s one tough-brave girl. When I read about her mental illness in first few chapters, I thought this sequel is all about it. I love reading about mental illness. Most of them teach me a lot of things, make me see and think differently. So yeah…I liked that both Talia and Bran finally pay more attention to it. At the same time I want it to be described more. I was kinda hope it has bigger part in the story, though it isn’t the main focus of their story. Maybe in next installment? I hope so. One thing I love from Talia is she knows what she wants and she sticks with it. She doesn’t let her love turn her priority. I don’t mean that she doesn’t love Bran enough. I just think that her choice needs guts and yet she stays with it. No one, not even Bran can change her mind. For that I admire her.

Bran, as sweet as he can be, to be honest, I didn’t quite like him. He’s too clingy and made the same mistake as in Upside Down, though I still understand his reasons. His fear in losing Talia makes him holds her tight, barely gives her room for herself. But strangely I also love him too. He feels different than other hero in most of NA books I’ve read. He lets me see his vulnerability without being too emo and mellow. And I just love how in love he is with Talia and his willingness to give everything for her. I guess my romantic side melted with his stubborn love 🙂

description
As for the story, I think it’s “deeper” than Upside Down. Talia and Bran’s relationship isn’t easy to deal with. There are so many things that seem keep them away from their happily ever after. From Talia’s visa (at first I thought it would be like Like Crazy movie) to their perspective about love. I liked that it’s told from Talia and Bran’s POV, equally. One chapter from Talia’s POV and then another from Bran’s. It continues like that till the last chapter, unlike in Upside Down which was told mostly from Talia’s POV. This way makes me more understand Bran, about his love and relationship with Talia and also about his family.

However, I also have things that I’m still unclear, undecided whether they are important to the story and have connection with it. And there are things that seem too easy for the characters I wonder whether it’s that easy in real life.

All in all, despite those undecided things, I really enjoyed reading this series. In fact, I couldn’t wait to read book 3, Inside Out which fortunately also will be released this year. So happy I don’t have to wait longer to read Talia and Bran’s journey.
Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Review: Off The Map #1, Upside Down by Lia Riley

18733288Blurb from Goodreads

If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she’ll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He’s never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.

Kindle Edition, 246 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Forever (first published January 1st 2014)
edition language: English
series: Off The Map
genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult

My Thoughts

I know most readers, well…at least most of my fellow bookworms don’t like angsty story. But I have different preference. If the author can mix it with many elements in the story well, with enough amount of it, it can be a perfect ingredient for the story. I think I can say it’s my guilty pleasure, especially in contemporary romance story. This book is the case. Upside Down has enough angst that made me keep reading it. But don’t worry for those who dislike it, other elements in this book also works well.

Bran’s not perfect. Neither am I. And maybe that’s fine. Maybe that’s better than fine. We’re perfect only for the other.

description

My favorite thing from Talia and Bran’s story is themselves. They have flaws. They aren’t perfect, have baggage that drag their life. Thus, they feel real. I liked the way Talia tells her story, though at first I felt like there was something off. She’s awkward, shy and witty and I loved her. I especially liked whenever she doesn’t understand and/or misunderstand Aussie phrases because I was kinda lost in translation too, reading those words. I also felt like she held everything back. But the more I read the more I liked her. I can connect to her easily, including to her anxiety and OCD. As for Bran, he’s a man with few words with a lot of anger to himself. I didn’t quite like he keeps his life’s story hidden from Talia while at the same time he seems to know most of her past life. I think it doesn’t fair for her, though I understand why he does it. But he’s also sweet and I can see that he care a lot about her. I mostly liked the way he pays attention to every single thing she does.

Although there’s an insta-attraction between the two of them, I didn’t think that they fall in an insta-love. They relationship happens slowly. They give time to know and understand each other. It’s the way I like, by the way.

However, I felt the end of the story was a bit rushed. As Talia’s time to fly back to the State approaches, I felt like the drama and angst in their story was forced so that they have something to argue or let’s say as their final obstacle in their relationship. I didn’t make me think less of this book, though. In fact, it seems I just couldn’t get enough of their story. I’m heading to book 2, Sideswiped now.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Review: The Giver Quartet #1, The Giver by Lois Lowry

8309278Blurb from Goodreads

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published April 26th 1993 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1993)
edition language: English
series: The Giver Quartet
genre: Dystopia, Children/Middle grade
My Thoughts
The community was so meticulously ordered, the choices so carefully made.To be honest, I read this book because I want to watch the movie version. Based on its trailer, I thought the book is a young adult book. So you can imagine how surprised I was when I know that it’s a children/middle-grade book. And Goodreads put it under dystopia list. Most of children books I read were fantasy. So this is the first one for me and let me tell you that it’s more frightening than any YA dystopian books I’ve ever read. Yes, it’s even scarier than The Hunger Games trilogy. I think what scared me the most in Jonas world is the rules. I’m not a rule-breaker kind of person, though I’m not an abiding rule person either, but the idea that my life is controlled by rules is really frightening. I don’t get a choice of who will be my husband, my children, my jobs, not even my bicycle. The rules in Jonas world, or community as he knows it, take to a new level.

Jonas lives in a community where everything is monitored and controlled by the rules. He got his own family by the age of one, had his “independence” and responsibilities when he was eight. By the time he was nine, he got his bicycle. His first hair cut was when he was ten. And he will assign for his job when he’s twelve. If he wants to have a spouse, he has to apply to the committee whom will choose his spouse, when he reaches his adult age. When they marry, they have to apply to get a child. And then their child will start the same circle.

I really liked the way it’s written. It’s slow-paced but that way I can see the difference between Jonas before the Assignment and after he receive his assignment. And he is so easy to connect. First part where he doesn’t know the truth feels like an ideal community. Everything and everyone live peacefully and in order. There are no differences, everything and everyone is the same. But I also feel like they aren’t real human. While in second part, where Jonas knows the truth feel like more real and colorful. It made me questioning the ideal community Jonas lives. Is it really an ideal community when the citizen doesn’t have a choice? And knowing that human can make mistakes with their choices, should they have it in the first place? I really liked the contradictory in it. Everything that Jonas chooses has consequences, even if he chooses nothing.

As I reach the final page, I can see that the movie trailer doesn’t look anything like the book. It is way different, not only in Jonas age but I also don’t recognize most of the scenes in the trailer. In the end, I don’t care whether it is children or YA book as I really enjoy reading it (with my adult eyes and mind). So I think I can see the movie and the book as different thing too.

Result: 4 out of 5 stars