Thursday, October 23, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Even in Paradise by Chelsea Philpot

Hi guys!

Today I'm lucky enough to be a part of the Canadian blog tour for Even in Paradise by Chelsea Philpot! Check out the absolutely gorgeous cover and description here:

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do... or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now

Sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to finish reading Even in Paradise in time for this post. My apologies to the blog organizers and Chelsea Philpot! Instead, I'm going to be talking about the two things I love to read: prologues and first lines. My mom always used to say, every book needs a good first line. Something to grab your attention and then a story to keep it. I look for a great first line in every book I read. 

So, how did Even in Paradise's first line measure up? Let's take a peak.

"The Buchanans' pull was as natural and strong as the moon on the tides, and when I was with them I was happy in the warmth of their reflected light" (pg. 1)

A lot of first lines go for the gut. They shock and scare and intrigue. Even in Paradise's first line instead is subtle and light, but captivating all the same. I'm usually skeptical about long opening lines, but I really like this one. It sets the tone of the novel as almost magical. We are introduced to the Buchanans' in a way that casts a spell around them. I love the wording and the metaphor and how visual it all is. I can perfectly picture an evening on a sandy beach, reflecting back to how things used to be. It's a picturesque opening, that also hints at some dark times to come.

Basically, it sure as heck captured my attention.

Now onto the prologue. Chelsea Philpot definitely backed up that first line with an intriguing opening prologue. I have a serious love of prologues (when they are done right) and Chelsea Philpot definitely does it right. As we all know, I'm a sucker for those broken, messed up characters and the Buchanan's definitely fall into that category. The prologue of Even in Paradise offers a glimpse of what's to come in the novel and, despite all the glamor and beauty, it doesn't look so pretty. I love the way Philpot describes the narrator's nostalgia. It's gripping, and kind of heart-breaking even though we don't know why just yet. It makes me want to be a part of the Great Buchanan's. To fall under the spell like the narrator clearly has. There's also this desire for more which appears between the lines of this prologue. The sense of wanting more, wanting to be more, that is wholly relatable. I cannot wait to get to diving into the rest of the pages and be enchanted by this family.

So, what do you guys think? Does that opening line grab your attention? Like the sounds of the prologue? Then go and pick yourself up a copy of Even in Paradise by Chelsea Philpot, in stores now!

Kaleidoscope Kid's Books (my local indie!)
River Run Bookstore (you can order signed copies here!)

Chelsey Philpot grew up on a farm in New Hampshire and now works as an editor and journalist. She's written for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Slate, and numerous other publications. Like her main character, Charlotte, Chelsey attended boarding school in New England. You can visit her online at or on Twitter @ChelseyPhilpot.
If you need more incentive to read Even in Paradise check out the rest of the Canadian Blog Tour!

October 13th: Kathy - A Glass Of Wine - Interview
October 14th: Siobhan - Conversations Of A Reading Addict - Review
October 15th: Emilie - Emilie’s Book World - Guest Post
October 16th: Ambur - Burning Impossibly Bright - Review
October 17th: Lily -  Lily’s Book Blog - Interview/Character Interview
October 20th: Shilpa - SukasaReads - Review
October 21st: Sabrina - Hiver et Café - Top 5 or 10
October 22nd: Meaghan -  Feeling A Little Bookish - Interview/Character Interview
October 23rd: Ciara - Lost At Midnight Reviews -  Review
October 24th: Jess - Read My Breath Away - Review
Happy reading! (And be sure to check the blog next week for my review of Even in Paradise!)
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Favourite Authors (1): Jodi Meadows

Hi, guys!

Today is a pretty exciting day on the blog! I'm launching my new feature called "My Favourite Authors." Every other Monday, I'll be featuring an author here that I LOVE and that I think you guys should all read! Sometimes it will just be my fan-girling, sometimes there will be author interviews, and maybe sometimes a giveaway! I get to recommend books to people a lot, either through blogging or being a bookseller. What I don't always get to do is recommend an author. There are some authors out there whose books I will buy without even reading the description because I KNOW it will be great. This feature is dedicated to those incredible talents.

And, first up, we have the spectacular Jodi Meadows author of the New Soul trilogy (Incarnate, Asunder, and Infinite) and the upcoming duology, The Orphan Queen! Here are some of the reason she is one of my favourite authors!

Jodi Meadows is, simply, a phenomenal writer. Her talent is incredible. When I was reading the New Soul trilogy, I wanted to soak up every single word on the page. They were elegant and powerful, heartbreaking and gut wrenching and they came together to make such a beautiful story. I found myself sitting back in awe at points cause, seriously, the writing was Just That Good. It brought the already incredible story to a whole other level. Jodi Meadows is, in my opinion, one of the best YA writers out there, and you need to read her books if you haven't already.

The story in the New Soul trilogy (and I'm sure the same goes for The Orphan Queen) is so well-crafted. I could imagine the world perfectly because the writing, and it was so unique. Her world-building was just spectacular. There were slyphs and dragons and souls and all kinds of other magical elements! Jodi created a world both familiar and so completely different that I was captivated by. I was terrified and horrified at parts of it, but also stunned at how beautiful it all was. Meadows is CRAFTY and TALENTED and knows how to create one heck of a story!

This is where I get to tell you a personal, non-bookish reason why Jodi Meadows is a great author. I run a teen book club at work. I love hosting it, I love the girls that attend, and I love how many authors have expressed their happiness about being featured. But, no one has done as much as Jodi has. When I tweeted about our club reading Incarnate, Jodi immediately asked if I wanted her to Skype into the meeting. I was overjoyed, and so were the girls. (Seriously, they talked about how cool it was for ages afterward). Jodi even sent bookmarks for the group! I mean, how amazing is that? We decided to read Infinite for our one-year anniversary meeting, threw a masquerade party and, again, Jodi offered to Skype in. I am so utterly grateful for the time she took to chat with us, and for being so responsive to us.

Okay, let's be real here, Jodi Meadows seriously won the cover lottery. Her books are GORGEOUS. Even her e-novella's are GORGEOUS! I mean, just take a peak at those bright, vibrant, striking covers! They enchant me every time I look at them. I usually don't like covers that have faces on them, it's actually one of my pet peeves (I like to picture the characters myself, without an image already in my head). But, these are covers perfect. The girls on the cover don't make me picture Ana a certain way, but rather feel the atmosphere of the book. Those colors are vivid and captivating and I love love love that each cover features elements of the story. The cover for The Orphan Queen is stunning as well! Another time I don't mind the face on the cover! I love how detailed and dark it is, and the font is STUNNING. I can't wait to get a finished copy on my shelf so I can stare at them all in awe.

And another reason she's awesome (seriously, though, I could name SO MANY OTHER REASONS)? She agreed to do a Q&A with me! Check it out!

Lost at Midnight Reviews:  We saw the New Soul trilogy come to an end with Infinite earlier this year. I know it was difficult for me to let go (there was a boat load of tears involved!), how did you handle finishing up your first series?

Jodi Meadows: Overall, I think I handled it pretty well. I was a mess when I finished the second first draft of INFINITE, because that felt pretty final, even though I would do a lot of revising and editing on it later. But for me, writing the first draft is usually the most emotional part, so that was the bit that really got me. After that, I still got pretty sniffly as I edited the book, but mostly I was fine. By the time I'd gone through all the editing and the book came out, I was well into writing and editing THE ORPHAN QUEEN, so I felt pretty distanced from it. Not in a bad way, but in a healthy moving-on-with-my-life way. 

LM: Your next series is a duology (the first book, The Orphan Queen is out March 10th, 2015!) How different was writing a duology instead of a trilogy? Did you have a different kind of world-building techniques?

JM: The biggest difference between writing a trilogy and duology was the structure. In a trilogy, each book has a beginning, middle, and end, and the entire story has a very clear beginning, middle, and end -- a book for each. Which does lead to some brain loops, like "I'm writing the end of the middle but it still has to feel like the end of this book." Or "I'm writing the beginning of the end but it still has to be the beginning of a book but also the ending of the entire series." It's a mess in my brain.

Writing a duology presents a trickier look at structure, at least for me. Each book, again, has to have a beginning, middle, and end. Each must have its own resolution. But the end of THE ORPHAN QUEEN (the first book) is the very middle of the story. (Presumably. Wordcount wise, not really, but let's not talk about that.) And if the middle of the story is where things start getting really bad, then the middle of the duology -- the end of the first book -- is where poo really hits the fan. 

And then the beginning of the second book must also be the middle of the story but the beginning of its own book. So really bad and tense, but not so much that it doesn't also look like the beginning of another book-length arc that needs to be resolved. 

Wow, that was a long, twisty answer. And I'm not done yet.

I didn't really have any different worldbuilding techniques for a duology. In fact, the worldbuilding in THE ORPHAN QUEEN might be more complex than the worldbuilding in INCARNATE. I know the plot and cast are definitely bigger. It was just the story structure that screamed to be a duology. The rest has no bearing on the size of the story. 

LM: We all know about the calligraphy research you did for The Orphan Queen (and if you don’t, get yourself over to Jodi’s Instagram page STAT. Her calligraphy artwork is gorgeous!) Was there any other type of research involved?

JM: Of course there was! I learned a ton about paper making, fighting, and even scorpion anatomy. I did lots of detailed research on the region where the story takes place, how long it takes to travel from one place to another, flora and fauna, and even looked at geology. 

LM: One thing I loved about the New Soul triogy was all the different themes expertly woven into the story and how much growth Ana experiences from start to finish. Can we expect the same thing in The Orphan Queen? Will we being seeing a lot of growth and self-discovery?

JM: Absolutely. Wilhelmina has a lot of growing up to do. She starts off as a very strong person, I think, but that's certainly not all there is in life. She has a lot to learn about becoming a good leader, as well as finding her own identity. (That seems to be a theme for me. Yum, books about identity.) 

LM: We all got to know Ana and her generous heart in the New Soul trilogy. What would you say is your favourite quality of hers? And Wil?

JM: I think my favorite aspect of Ana is her heart, definitely, and her optimism. After everything she's been through, she still expects the best from people. She still sees ways to survive and succeed after everyone else has given up. I think that's one of the things that makes her special.

As for Wil, I really admire her drive to be a strong leader, and do whatever it takes to make sure her people are safe. Plus, she's pretty handy with a dagger. I'd like to be that handy with a dagger. 

LM: Now for some fun final questions: what are the top three songs you just can’t get out of your head right now?
At this moment?? 

JM: Well, Hubs and I just watched SLEEPY HOLLOW, so I have the theme song stuck on repeat in my head. That makes it hard to sleep at night.

Some 80s hair band song my husband was listening to earlier. 

A pop song I heard on the radio last week. I don't even know what it is. 

Do I want any of these songs stuck in my head? No. Can I stop this weird loopy mix from happening? No. The only thing that might change the channel in my head is if I think of "Eye of the Tiger" because that is the ear-wormiest song that was ever written. 


Now I have "Eye of the Tiger" in my head. 


LM: And, since we’re talking about awesome authors, can you name a couple of your favourites?

Oh I have a lot of favorites. Do I have to limit myself? Really? 

JM: Okay, C.J. Redwine and her DEFIANCE series. Rae Carson and her GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS series. I'm also a huge fan of Sherry Thomas and THE BURNING SKY, and Robin LaFevers and her GRAVE MERCY series. And I'd be a fool not to mention Robin McKinley. Enormous fan of her books.
Thanks for stopping by, Jodi!
So, what about you guys? Do you love Jodi's books? Never read them? Let me know in the comments (and if you need even more convincing, check out my reviews of Incarnate and Asunder! And we sure to check back in two weeks for more author love!
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

P. S. Shout out to Emilie for making the graphics! YOU DA BEST.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Hello, everyone!

Today I'm excited to be a part of the Canadian blog tour for Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez! This book sounds intriguing and captivating, and I cannot wait to start reading it! Check out the description (and the STUNNING cover) here:

Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth. (Summary provided through blog tour)

Lost at Midnight Review: Welcome, Jessica! Thank you for stopping by my blog to talk about your new release, Kiss Kill Vanish! Can you describe Kiss Kill Vanish in three words?

Jessica Martinez: Is it cheating to say the title? Because those three words really do it best! How about I add three to that: Murder. Romance. Revenge.

LM: How would you describe your protagonist, Valentina?

JM: Valentina is wary of everything and everybody, which forces her to be extremely independent. She’s also reflective. She can’t stop examining the memories of her past for clues to the things she missed.

LM: I'm really intrigued by the plot line of Kiss Kill Vanish. I can't think of any book like it! What inspired you to write this kind of thriller? Was there any research involved?

JM: I have a friend who confessed to me that her family was a “crime” family back in the country she was born in, and that her father and uncles had spent time in jail while she was a teenager. It got me wondering what that would be like. When would somebody would find that out or would they always know? And if they were in the dark, what would that realization would be like?

I took research trips to both Montreal and Miami. I’d been to Montreal as a teenager, but that was a while ago, and I really wanted to get a feel for the setting. And I’ve lived in Miami as an adult, but I had to go back for the same reason. I have to wander around a place and look at it through my characters’ eyes to know how to write it.

LM: It seems like the romance between Emilio and Valentina is over at the start of the novel, but will we see any other romantic interest in the book? ;)

JM: Definitely! But that’s all I’m going to say…

LM: Finally, I gotta ask since it is so darn striking: how much do you love your cover? What's your favourite part?

JM: I did hit the cover jackpot, didn’t I? I love the plume of color, but my favourite part would have to be the silhouette—it’s just visible enough that you have to really focus to see the entire figure, but even then you’re not sure you’re seeing the whole thing.

LM: Thanks for taking your time out to answer my questions!

Jessica Martinez is the author of young adult novels Virtuosity, The Space Between Us, The Vow, and Kiss Kill Vanish. She was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. As a child she played the violin, read books, and climbed trees incessantly. She went on to study English and music at Brigham Young University, and since then has been an English teacher, a symphony violinist, and a mother. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and three children.
Are you guys excited to read this book? Have any of you already read it? Let me know in the comments! Be sure to check out all the other stops on the blog tour!

Thanks again to Jessica MArtinez for answering my questions, and thanks to Jess and Kathy for including me in the tour!

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

Find This Book: Amazon | Chapters | Goodreads | HarperCollins Website

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (68): All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, in which bloggers talk about the books they are most eager for!  

This Week's Pick: All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: April 14th, 2015
In her hardcover debut, from the author of Cracked Up To Be and This is Not a Test, comes a powerful new young adult novel. 

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous.But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now—but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

(I know technically I've already done All the Rage was a WoW pick, but it didn't have a cover AND the description has undergone major changes since then so I'm highlighting it again.)

Oh, guys. What do I even say? If you guys are regulars here (or follow my ridiculous thoughts on Twitter) you know Courtney Summers is my favourtie author. And you're going to be hearing me talk A LOT about All the Rage for the next seven-ish months. Because (besides the fact that it's my most anticipated release of 2015), I think it's important. This is going to be a tough novel to read, no doubt, but it's such an important subject to talk about. I think all of Courtney's books are so ridiculously important. They address subjects that are difficult to think about. Feature girls that are angry and hurt and strong and human. They break your heart with unflinching honesty and they are so utterly real. They're simply some of the best books I've ever read. I know All the Rage will be just as incredible.

Courtney Summers is also a super cool human and still speaks to me regularly despite my slight craziness about her books. I mean, seriously, the amount of fan-girl flails I have thrown in her direction the past few years is a bit insane but she seems totally cool with it. Which makes my tiny black heart very happy. (Also, that one time I met her and actually had a Mental Breakdown before saying 'hi' to her she was very sweet despite my, like, hyperventilation).

All the Rage is going to break me into tiny little fragile pieces but I absolutely cannot wait. Put this book on your TBR. You will not regret it.

What are you waiting on this week?

- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

P.S. I'm hoping to host another Read-Along (in the same of the Courtney Summers Read-Along I hosted last year) for All the Rage! It's going to depend on my exam schedule, but I think I can manage. Keep your eyes here in early March for the official announcement!