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Interview with Gwen C. Katz!

15231604Hey everyone! So a few months ago I was lucky enough to be granted an interview with a debut author whose book is coming out on October 3rd! Meet Gwen C. Katz, a writer, artist, game designer, and retired mad scientist easily identified by her crew cut and ability to cause trouble. Originally from Seattle, she now lives in Altadena, CA with her husband and a revolving door of transient mammals.

I asked her for an interview on Twitter, and when she agreed, I was very happy! Her book sounds incredibly interesting and original. Here’s all the basic info about it:

30122938Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz

384 pages

Coming October 3rd 2017 from HarperTeen

World War Two has shattered Valka’s homeland of Russia, and Valka is determined to help the effort. She knows her skills as a pilot rival the best of the men, so when an all-female aviation group forms, Valka is the first to sign up.

Flying has always meant freedom and exhilaration for Valka, but dropping bombs on German soldiers from a fragile canvas biplane is no joyride. The war is taking its toll on everyone, including the boy Valka grew up with, who is fighting for his life on the front lines.

As the war intensifies and those around her fall, Valka must decide how much she is willing to risk to defend the skies she once called home.

Inspired by the true story of the airwomen the Nazis called Night Witches, Gwen C. Katz weaves a tale of strength and sacrifice, learning to fight for yourself, and the perils of a world at war.


First of all, thank you so much for letting me interview you! You must be very busy with the process of publishing your first book, Among the Red Stars. How’s that going? Is it everything you’d hoped it would be?

It’s going great! My agent, Thao Le, and my editor, Emilia Rhodes, both connected so well with this story, and the crew at HarperTeen have done an amazing job making it into a finished book.
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Your book is YA Historical Fiction, and focuses about something that’s not widely discussed: the women the Nazis called Night Witches. Where did you first hear about these fascinating female pilots?

My father-in-law is a big aviation buff and he told me about them. (Now I get to share aviation facts with him!) The Night Witches are a topic that gets popular every year or two. A lot of people learned about them in 2013, when pilot Nadezhda Popova died and her obituary was in the New York Times. But somehow, they’ve never quite become common knowledge. Many people still don’t know that women served in World War II at all, let alone that they fought as tank drivers, machine gunners, and fighter aces. But they did.
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We know your main character Valka is a brave and strong, but who is she? What can you tell us about her? Why should we read her story?

I like this question. So often, especially in movies, female characters are “strong” and that’s it! Valka is a person who has a lot of heroes, but she feels like she’ll never have a chance to do anything like the amazing feats she hears about on the radio. If you’re the sort of person like me who reads about these cool historical figures on Mashable or Atlas Obscura—and then looks at your own life and feels like an underachiever—then I think you’ll not only enjoy Valka’s story, but you’ll connect with her, too.
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What is her Myers-Briggs personality type?

Oh man, I am such a Myers-Briggs disciple. It used to be the first thing I decided about a character! Valka is an ESTJ. She’s a go-getter.
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And out of curiosity, what is your Myers-Briggs personality type?

I’m an INTP. Not very common in the YA world, but it will surprise no one that I studied science in school.
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As a writer, you probably (I hope!) you like to read. What’s your favorite book? What about a book you’d recommend to YA readers?

Now there’s a challenging question! I grew up reading a lot of classics and books like Les Miserables are still among my favorites. On the YA front, the YA historical fiction subgenre is full of stunning talents like Stacey Lee, Sherri L. Smith, and Elizabeth Wein. I’m usually a tough audience, but these authors hit it out of the park every time.
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How would you sum up Among the Red Stars in a single sentence?

When World War II shatters the Soviet Union, a teen pilot enlists for adventure, but instead she and the boy she loves come face to face with the realities of war.

I hope you enjoyed this interview with the lovely Gwen C. Katz, because I sure did! I’ll definitely be getting Among the Red Stars, will you?

Find Gwen on her:
Find Among the Red Stars on:
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BLOG TOUR: The Truth About Happily Ever After – Excerpt + Giveaway

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Today I’m giving you the chance to read an excerpt of The Truth About Happily Ever After, a book by Karole Cozzo that releases today! There’s also a great giveaway waiting for you at the bottom of the page. This is part of the blog tour organized by Xpresso Book Tours, so you can go over to this page and check out the others’ reviews if you happen to like this! It looks amazing:

truthAboutThe Truth About Happily Ever After

Published by: Swoon Reads

Publication date: May 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

 

Chin up, Princess, or the crown will slip.

A theme park princess must put her life back together after her happily ever after falls apart in The Truth About Happily Ever After, a contemporary YA romance from Karole Cozzo, author of How to Keep Rolling After a Fall and How to Say I Love You Out Loud.

Everything was supposed to be perfect. Alyssa has a job she loves, working as Cinderella at her favorite theme park; a fantastic group of friends; and a boyfriend who will no longer be long distance. But as the summer progresses, her prince becomes less charming and more distant, and Alyssa’s perfect summer falls apart.

Forced to acknowledge that life is not always a fairy tale, Alyssa starts working to pull her herself back together. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to do it alone. With her friend Miller’s support, she’s determined to prove that she’s more than just a pretty princess. And with his help, maybe she’s finally ready for something better than dreams. Maybe she’s ready for something real.


This sounds promising! I’ll leave you with the excerpt I was assigned:

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I’m not really sure what possesses me to step into the boxing room at the gym. I don’t know what the room is really called, but that’s what I call it, the small exercise studio with red matted floors and retractable rows of long, narrow punching bags hanging from the ceiling. Maybe I’m driven by some lingering resentment from my run-in with Harper. Maybe I’ve been listening to too much angry rap music.

Whatever the reason, I find myself walking in, the room empty, its lights still off. My motion activates them, and the space is immediately bathed in bright light. I slowly turn in a circle, taking it all in—the mirrors, all that red and black equipment I’m unfamiliar with, the chains hanging from the ceiling. It feels like I’m in a room designed for torture more than anything else.

But I don’t leave. Because I’m overcome by my desire to punch one of those big bags. Hard.

Taking a quick look over my shoulder to make sure no one’s watching, I stride over to the bag at the end of the row. I curl my hand into a fist, thinking it’ll be just like the movies, satisfying and gratifying and effortless. My hand meets the bag with a dull thud, and I wince, the world ow forming silently on my lips. Yeah, it’s not like that at all. It’s like punching a brick wall, and it hurts. Pain vibrates through my fingers and into my wrist. And the damn thing doesn’t even budge.

I shake my hand out and try again. And again, and again, and again. There’s a burgeoning frustration in my gut that’s fueling my punches, despite the pain, but no matter how hard I hit it, the bag won’t move.

The frustration turns to anger. It’s making me mad, that I have no power or control over this stupid inanimate object, that no matter how hard I try I can’t make anything happen, and before I realize what’s happening, I’ve resorted to wrapping my arms around it, pressing my forehead against the foul-smelling rubber, and pounding the crap out of it in small little bursts from both fists while grunting and cursing.

He has to shout for me to hear him. “What the hell are you doing?”

I spin around, see Miller in the doorway, and lose my balance, collapsing against the bag, which is as unyielding as ever. My chest is heaving uncontrollably, and I bend over in a useless attempt to catch my breath. Eventually I manage to stand up. And make a face at him. “Do you have some sensor that allows you to catch me at my absolute most humiliating moments?” I have to ask.

“Actually,” he says, glancing over his shoulder, “this time it wasn’t just me. You were attracting quite the crowd, because a class is about to start across the hall. I scared them off, though.”

 

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If you enjoyed this and want to see more, you can click on one of these links and read more about it or buy the book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo

You can follow the rest of the tour if you’re curious! I encourage you to visit all the wonderful blogs listed below! You can easily get to them by clicking on their name 🙂


Tour Schedule

May 15th
blogs and coffee >> Guest post
Fic Central >> Review
Ammie’s Book Obsession >> Review
Kourtni Reads >> Review
Novels and Necklaces >> Review

May 16th
CBY Book Club >> Excerpt
Maya Hearts Books  >> Excerpt
The Avid Reader >> Interview
Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books! >> Excerpt
Only True Magic >> Review

May 17th
Daydreaming Books >> Review
Rebel Mommy Book Blog  >> Review
Eru Books and Recs >> Review
Writing Pearls >> Review

May 18th
Kindle and Me >> Guest post
Dandelions Inspired >> Review
The Candid Cover  >> Review
Wishful Endings >> Interview
To Be Read >> Review

May 19th
Blushing babes are up all night >> Review
Twirling Book Princess >> Excerpt
Girl vs Books >> Review
Feed Your Fiction Addiction >> Review


You can win a print copy of The Truth About Happily Ever After by clicking anywhere on this paragraph! This will take you to Rafflecopter. Good luck everyone 🙂

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BLOG TOUR: Meg & Linus – Excerpt + Giveaway

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Today I’m giving you the chance to read an excerpt of Meg and Linus, a book by Hannah Nowinski that released just two days ago, on April 18th. There’s also a great giveaway waiting for you at the bottom of the page. This is part of the blog tour organized by Xpresso Book Tours, so you can go over to this page and check out the others’ reviews if you happen to like this! It looks amazing:

Continue reading “BLOG TOUR: Meg & Linus – Excerpt + Giveaway”

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Hello March! – February Recap

Hey! I didn’t get to read as many books or post as many reviews as I hoped to do this month, but the books I did read were pretty awesome!

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  1. 33 Razones para volver a verte – My very first ever NA book! It was nothing special, but it was fun and easy to read… I’ll do a review in Booktalk form in just a few days!
  2. The Thousandth Floor – A book I’d been waiting to read for a while, and I finally sat down and read it, and it. Was. Awesome! If you want, you can check out my review.
  3. This Song Will Save Your Life – I’d heard so many good things about this book, and I wasn’t disappointed! A very emotional review is coming on Sunday.
  4. Future Leaders of Nowhere – I got an ARC of this beautiful, beautiful book and flew through it! It’s releasing on March 15th, and I’m publishing my review on March 13th, so stay tuned! I loved it.

February Blog Posts

Reviews:

Misc.

  • Discussion: Slut Shaming in YA – This post was pretty succesful and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you should totally join the conversation!
  • Book Personality Challenge – You have probably heard of the MBTI personality types, and in this post we’re talking about INFPs (me) and some fictional characters!
  • #WeAreTOG February: Dorian – In which I fangirl over Dorian Havilliard, discuss some quotes and put forward my fancasts.

My plans for March

I have a bunch of books I want to read this month, but I’m pretty sure I won’t have the time… I’m going on a trip to Germany at the end of the month! I started Winter last Saturday, but since it’s so big I didn’t get to finish it. Here’s my TBR for the month:

Not very ambitious, so I hope I’ll get to finish a couple of these books, at least!


What are your plans for this month? Did you particularly enjoy any of my February posts? Let’s talk!

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Hello February! – January Recap

Hey everyone!

January went by so quickly – and it was a great month in books! After my huge holiday haul, I have been super excited to get reading! That’s why I read a grand total of six books this month. I think that’s the most books I’ve ever read in one month since I was very little.

I read some pretty awesome books. Drum roll, please!

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  1. Six of Crows – My first book of 2017, and so far my favorite! Fangirl over it with me on my review.
  2. Crooked Kingdom – An epic conclusion, it was just AMAZING and so, so beautiful! I still haven’t written a review, but it’s coming!
  3. The Rest of Us Just Live Here – A Christmas present, and my first Patrick Ness book. I really liked it! You can read my 4 star review 🙂
  4. Cress – It was book three of the Lunar Chronicles, and it was a big improvement from the other ones. Here’s my review.
  5. All the Bright Places – I had some issues with this book, but you might still like it… My review is coming Friday, so you can chat with me about it then!
  6. The Sun Is Also a Star – I’m buddy reading it with Hannah @ The Book Thief Without Words, and I don’t know what I think about it yet. Review coming soon!

January Blog Posts

Reviews:

Top 5 Wednesday:

Down the TBR Hole:

Literally the most useful meme out there. I participated three times (and on Tuesdays because I’m spontaneous): 1 | 2 | 3

Misc.

My plans for February

I hope to have the time to read some more books this month! Here are the covers:

Three books is okay I think, considering Winter is 800+ pages haha. Have you read any of these? What did you think?


What are your plans for this month? Did you particularly enjoy any of my January posts? Let’s talk!

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Down the TBR Hole #3

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This fun weekly meme hosted by Lia @ Lost in a Story is very useful!

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

1. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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I kind of cheated. I also read a few reviews for this book, and while it sounds really good, they say it reads way too slow for a YA book.

But please. Look at that cover. I cannot let it go, it’s way too pretty.

Judgement: KEEP

 

 

 

2. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
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Yeah, uh… Sometimes when I discover new authors I add a bunch of their books to my TBR. Oops?

This doesn’t sound as good as Passenger (and for some reason it reminds me of Michael Grant’s Gone), so it’ll have to go.

Judgement: GO

 

 

 

3. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Uh, 23305614the synopsis didn’t tell me much so I ventured into the reviews again and I found Cait @ Paperfury’s. In her review she talks about how mental illnesses are basically portrayed as jokes. She says that as a person with social anxiety, she felt unhappy reading it.

So, yeah. I probably wouldn’t like this book.

Judgement: GO

 

 

4. The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

T13576132here was a time when I was extremely obsessed with YA dystopia, and since Goodreads sees all, it recommended this book.

Now those days have passed, and I’d much rather read a fantasy book than something like this. My tastes have changed *shrugs*.

Judgement: GO

 

 

5. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

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A good time travel story? Sign me up! This sounds like a hidden gem, and I’m pretty excited to get my hands on a copy.

Judgement: KEEP

 

 

 

 


What’s your opinion on this week’s books? Have you done a similar post this week? Let’s talk!

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Down the TBR Hole #2

meme banner template.pngI had fun participating in Lia @ Lost in a Story’s weekly meme last week, so I thought I’d try it again! Here’s all the info:

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

This week I have another set of five books ready! Les Mis and The Outsiders were in this, but I erased them because I’ve already started reading them, I just keep forgetting to continue! Now, for the actual post:

1. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

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I strongly dislike this cover. And this one time I started reading the first few chapters and it kind of bored me, so I don’t even know why this book is still here.

Judgement: GO

 

 

2. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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This does not look like my kind of book. But hey, neither did Since You’ve Been Gone, and I loved it, so for now-

Judgement: KEEP

3. Across the Universe by Beth Revis

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This sounds really interesting, and I still want to read it so, even though the cover seems too much like romance, it’s a keeper!

Judgement: KEEP

4. On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher

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I really love Carrie Hope Fletcher… And I enjoyed her other book (looky I reviewed it), but I have to let this one go. I’ll probably end up reading it, but for now, bye, Carrie. Sorry!

Judgement: GO

5. Unwind by Neal Shusterman

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I want to point out that this cover is not exactly pretty.

Done. Now, the blurb for this book seems really interesting and the other Neal Shusterman book I’ve read was very good so I still want to read this one.

Judgement: KEEP

 

 

 


Okay! This was pretty good! I let two books go, plus the two books I deleted because I already owned them, so it was a good week!

Have you read any of these books? What do you think of my choices? Do you take part in this meme? Let’s talk!