19 November 2014

Book Club Discussion: Dangerous Girls

DANGEROUS Girls
by Abigail Haas


Pages: 388 (paperback)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Publication Date: August 1st 2013 first published July 16th 2013)
ISBN: 9781471119149

Summary 

Elise is dead.
And someone must pay.

Anna, her boyfriend Tate, best friend Elise and a group of close friends set off on a debaucherous Spring Break trip to Aruba. But paradise soon turns into a living nightmare when Elise is brutally murdered.

Soon Anna finds herself trapped in a foreign country and fighting for her freedom. As she awaits the judge's decree, it becomes clear that everyone is questioning her innocence. To the rest of the world, Anna isn't just guilty, but dangerous. As the court case unfolds the truth is about to come out, and it's more shocking than you could ever imagine...


FOR SPOILER FREE REVIEW







Dangerous Girls
Book Club Discussion

**SPOILERS**


What were your first thoughts after finishing Dangerous Girls?

Mily: What that actual f**k!?!? How has this woman done this to me again!! Abby has this unsettling way of being able to change the WHOLE book in the last paragraph and it leaves me feeling confused and a little betrayed. Like the character has been lying to me the whole time. It’s brilliant, but it also leaves me so confused.

Emma: “Oooooh that was gooooood!” And, then the weirdness of that whole situation hit me! Ha! I think I didn’t realize it was even the end. I thought there was another chapter, or an epilogue, or something. In some ways it felt incomplete, but in other ways it was just right!

Mily: That’s exactly how it felt, incomplete… like there was an epilogue missing or something.  Although, as frustrating as it was, I kind of love the way Abby can change the whole book in a couple of sentences.

Emma: Me too, you never know where you’re going to end up!

Both of us read Dangerous Boys before this, do you think that affected the way you saw this book?

Mily: Yes. All I heard while reading Dangerous Boys was how much better Dangerous Girls was. I think it meant that I went into it was seriously high expectations. I adored the book, I did. However, for me I preferred Dangerous Boys. I felt the progression of Chloe’s character, however disturbing, at least changed and developed over time. Anna just seemed to flip at the very end.

Emma: Yes definitely. I read Dangerous Girls knowing there would be a twist, and I was trying to figure it out the whole way through. (I totally didn’t figure it out!)
I have to agree with Mily, though, that it didn’t feel as if Dangerous Girls lived up to the hype I’d heard about it after having read Dangerous Boys first. Dangerous Boys was an absolute non-stop thrill ride; Dangerous Girls was a slow build up to a climatic end. They felt really different, and I preferred the intensity of Dangerous Boys myself.

Mily: That was it, Dangerous Girls was very slow in places and however good it was I missed to intensity of Dangerous Boys. There was always something going on and a new side of the characters to see in Dangerous Boys and with this one it wasn’t until the end.

How did you feel towards the two main characters, Anna and Elsie, at the beginning of the book?

Mily: I felt really sorry for Anna. It was obvious from the start that Elsie and Trent were sleeping together. It was also pretty clear that Elsie was a really bad friend. So yeah, at the beginning of the book Anna had my sympathy.

Emma: It was weird for me – in Dangerous Boys I sympathized and supported Chloe the whole way through (oh how I was made to feel stupid about that!), but I never liked Anna or Elise. At the beginning of Dangerous Girls, I thought Anna was innocent, but I wasn’t rooting for her. I don’t even know why!

How did you feel towards the two main characters, Anna and Elsie, at the end of the book?

Mily: Anna’s a freaking psychopath! Elsie wasn’t exactly sane and their relationship was dark and disturbing to say the least, but Elsie didn’t deserve to be murdered. Also, if you can tell me why Anna did it that would be really handy because I don’t have a clue.

Emma: I felt really creeped out by them! I mean, let’s just imagine for a minute *that* scene. The whole f*cked-up-ness that is that. And what it lead to… Yeah…

Mily: Wait… is that why Anna did it? It’s been about 2 months since I read it and I still don’t’ have a clue!!

Emma: I’m only assuming! Haha – I took from it that there was jealousy and longing and betrayal and sudden realization of feelings Anna never knew or accepted before.  That last line; “how much do you love me”. I’m constructing an entire belief system on that haha

What was your least favorite part of the book?

Mily: The scene where Anna and Elsie are staring at each other while Elsie was cheating with Trent! That was when the book took on a whole new level of crazy for me. There was something about that moment that felt too twisted to even comprehend. As if all the dark desires these girls had up until that point wasn’t enough, adding this sense of dark sexual attraction to their relationship may have pushed it just that little bit too far for me.

Emma: Again, the beginning of this book was not very “me” – High School Summer Breaks and kitschy holidays – and I had to stick with it. I’m glad the court case interspersed the past to give the signals that this all gets very dark very unexpectedly!

Mily: I agree (slightly). The setting was a little on the cliché side. Although throughout the book it worked well.

Abigail has a unique writing style and this book was no different. Would you have liked a second point of view?

Mily: No. I think Anna’s was all that was needed with this one. Elsie’s might be interesting but I don’t have the need to read it the way I did with Oliver’s point of view in Dangerous Boys.

Emma: I think Chelsea’s viewpoint would have been really interesting! Someone outside that “bubble” who desperately wanted in. Perhaps she saw more than we did through Anna’s eyes. I mean, we never saw Anna in any way other than how she saw herself… 

Mily: I honestly hadn’t thought of that. I was certain Chelsea was the killer for about half of the book, so I think that you’re right. I would be really interested to read something from outside of that “bubble” and Chelsea would be a really good choice.

Emma: I suspected her too!

Do you think Anna’s character turned out the way she did through circumstance or nature?

Mily: I think there was a darkness inside her but maybe if it wasn’t for Elsie and circumstance she would never have known about it. Unlike in Dangerous Boys where Chloe’s dark side was always quite near the surface I think Anna’s was much further down.

Emma: I’m going to go with circumstance…! I’ve re-read the last chapter so many times, and I think there was a moment of true realization of herself in Anna, and it was scary for her, and overwhelming… and passionately physical. And it ended in a frenzy of all those things.

What was your favourite moment from Dangerous Girls?

Mily: My favourite and least favourite moment is the same. It’s that one scene. It portrays everything this book is about! A dangerous friendship that was built up on a foundation of delusions. It’s sexy and twisted and unpredictable.

Emma: I really loved the court case scenes! (How geeky!) I loved seeing how the evidence was manipulated. It brought a whole new game to the book!



  

16 November 2014

Book Tag!

Rainbow Spines Book Tag

What is it? 
It was created by a YouTuber called ArrictineReads and the goal of this tag is to go through your shelves and pick a book for each colour of the rainbow. That's seriously it. Simples! I was going to choose only books that I had read however I had to throw it a couple of books that have yet to be read as I couldn't quite match all the colours. As it turns out I read a lot of black books. Who knew?
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige 

I love this book so much guys you have no idea. I'm a girl that grew up with The Wizard of Oz and I was always clicking my heels and skipping down the paths dreaming of Oz. What Danielle does with this book is take our favourite glittery shoe wearing heroin and give her a much darker edge. It's a what happened next with a twist. Usually it takes me a while to come to terms with the changes authors make to beloved characters but I fell head first into this one. 

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I haven't read this one yet but I loved Anna and the French Kiss so much I'm still talking about it 6 months later. I can't wait to be able to get my teeth into this one as I love Stephanie's writing style. Ooo I'm getting all excited just thinking about it!






Boy21 by Matthew Quick

I was sent this to review from Headline and it is without a doubt one of the best written books I have ever read. It's a short read and there's no waffling. It gets straight to the point and it's a story that will pull at your heart strings. Not to mention the fact that the character's are divers and the depth within each one is mind blowing. A must read for pretty much anyone! 



Torn by Amanda Hocking

Torn is the second book in the Trylle Trilogy, a book series about trolls. Yes, trolls! I know what you're thinking and no I'm not talking troll dolls, these are sexy, confident trolls and the book has and enticing and intriguing story line that will have you hooked all the way through. 




Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This is the book that started my obsession with Rainbow Rowell! This book is told for Cath's point of view and Cath is a strong, naive nerd with a big heart, a stubborn nature and a tendency to throw emergency dance parties. She's amazing and reading her story was nothing but a joy!






Allegiant by Veronica Roth

This is the very last book in the Divergent Trilogy and it is AMAZING!! It's the perfect end to one of my favourite book series of all time and I'm seriously gutted that it's the end of Tris and Four's story. If for some bazaar reason you haven't read the Divergent books then what are you waiting for? 




Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson

Okay so this is another one I haven't actually read yet but I do have it sitting on my book shelf! This is the second Scarlett book, the first being suit Scarlett, by Maureen Johnson. Maureen is an phenomenal author who I have a major girl crush on. Her writing style is perfect for YA and her books are always a joy to read. Can't wait to get my teeth stuck into these two books. 



So that's all the colours and all the books... okay well it's not technically but it's all I got. And before you say it I know the cover isn't red on Dorothy Must Die but I was going on the spines of the book and that is most definitely red :)

Now, this is the point were I usually tag people and say 'You're it" but this time I think I'm just going to say it was a lot of fun and if you haven't had a go at the Rainbow tag yet then give it ago! I TAG YOU ALL!


13 November 2014

Q&A with Nikki Kelly

Lailah
by Nikki Kelly


Pages: 416, harback
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Publication Date: October 7th 2014


Summary
The girl knows she’s different. She doesn’t age. She has no family. She has visions of a past life, but no clear clues as to what she is, or where she comes from. But there is a face in her dreams – a light that breaks through the darkness. She knows his name is Gabriel.
On her way home from work, the girl encounters an injured stranger whose name is Jonah. Soon, she will understand that Jonah belongs to a generation of Vampires that serve even darker forces. Jonah and the few like him, are fighting with help from an unlikely Allie – a rogue Angel, named Gabriel.
In the crossfire between good and evil, love and hate, and life and death, the girl learns her name: Lailah. But when the lines between black and white begin to blur, where in the spectrum will she find her place? And with whom?
Gabriel and Jonah both want to protect her. But Lailah will have to fight her own battle to find out who she truly is.


Q&A 
with Nikki Kelly


What inspired you to write Lailah?

I had a dream about a girl assisting an injured Vampire in a derelict building. When she finally looked over her shoulder, her eyes flipped from a sapphire blue to a blazing red—that was the first time I met Lailah.

YA is such a massive genre right now, what made you want to write for a Young Adult audience?

Best advice I ever received: ‘write what you love and write what you know’—for me that was YA fantasy with a whole heap of swoon!

Random #1 Eric Northman turns up at your house. Do you invite him it?

Erm, hells yes! Look up the word YUM in the dictionary; I am sure you will see his face…



How did it feel to see Lailah on the shelves for the first time?

It was an amazing moment, one that I will never forget. I was actually a few days into the Fierce Reads Tour and was in the company of Marissa Meyer (Bestselling Lunar Chronicles). She took me to a Barnes and Noble, where they had our books at the front of the store on full display.

(Note: How much like Bridget Jones do I look in this photo?!)

Who was your favorite character to write and why?

That’s really hard, Lailah probably. The book is written in first person, therefore I feel closest to Lailah. That said, Gabriel and Jonah are both pretty fabulous to write, in fact writing Jonah’s short story from his POV for wattpad was a really thrilling experience!

How much research went into this book?

A fair bit! Lots of scientific research, in order to put a science to the myths… and also a lot of research on the locations, as I like to visit to get a sense of the place first hand.

Random #2 I know you love your tea, as any true Brit should. But what’s your favourite kind of tea?

Twinings English Breakfast, I share that love with Anastasia from Fifty shades!





If you could pick anyone, whom would you cast in a movie adaptation of Lailah?

Gabriella Wilde



Who was your least favourite character to write?

I loved writing all of them, I guess Hanora ticked me off a few times... but, again, I was writing from Lailah’s POV so naturally she would irk me!

What’s the most challenging part of the writing process for you?

I prefer writing swoon worthy scenes, action scenes, and world building scenes… I get bored easily describing settings, which is another reason I like to visit the locations first hand so I feel inspired!

Random #3 Vampires or Werewolves?

Vampires obvs! I do not care for the Werewolves… not one bit.

How did you go about creating a strong female protagonist?

Through an arduous, grueling journey! When we meet Lailah she lives a confusing existence, she’s wary of people, and is quite timid. As book1 goes along she finds her inner strength, but she gets saved a few times by the ‘guy’ in the first installment. Book2, she comes into her own much more, and by book3, well, she’s standing fully on her own two feet.

 Lastly, are you #TeamGabriel or #TeamJonah? Come you can tell us ;)


If I told you, I would have to kill you…





10 November 2014

Prisoner of Night and Fog Blog Tour

THE PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG
by Anne Blankman

Pages: 352, paperback
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: April 22nd 2014

Summary

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?




An Alternate First Scene 
 by Anne Blankman


If you've read my debut novel, Prisoner of Night and Fog, then you know the story is seen entirely from Gretchen Müller's perspective. But did you ever wonder what her love interest, eighteen-year-old reporter Daniel Cohen, thinks the first time he sees her? If you have, then you're in luck because today I'm going to share an alternate first scene from Daniel's POV. Without further ado, here it is...

            The first time Daniel Cohen saw the Nazi princess, she was nothing like he had expected. He stood on the edge of a pool of light cast by a streetlamp, straining to see through the dusk that had fallen across the Briennerstrasse. Farther down the street, a group of men in SA brown ducked into Café Heck. Daniel's heart raced. Hitler was in there. Only a few yards away, yet it might have been miles.
            He took a hesitant step forward. He could go inside the tearoom. Pretend to be an ordinary customer, enjoying his coffee and apple strudel, while all along he eavesdropped on Hitler entertaining his table companions with endless monologues. Maybe Hitler would let slip something incriminating, a crucial detail that could land Daniel the scoop he needed to launch his career—
            A girl's voice pierced the quiet. "Stop!"
            Each of Daniel's senses went on full alert. The cry had come from the alley. Even as he rushed toward the opening between the stone buildings, other passersby hurried there, too, eager to see what was happening.
            Thanks to his tall height, Daniel could easily see over the crowd. Within the alley, a massive teenage boy stood with his arms wrapped around a girl, murmuring in her ear. Their blonde hair gleamed in the dimness. They looked as though they were embracing, until Daniel saw how stiffly the girl held herself, like a stick of wood. She's scared, he realized.
            A man lay at the boy and girl's feet, groaning in pain. He was dressed in the black garb of a Hasidic Jew. Fury, quick and hot, surged through Daniel. Another one of his people, beaten in the street while most Müncheners did nothing. The girl had, though, he remembered. She had screamed at the boy to stop.
            As Daniel watched, the boy released the girl and she stumbled sideways, bracing a hand on the stone wall to steady herself. Then she glanced at the mouth of the alley, her eyes wide and dark, her face pale with fear.
            All the air seemed to rush from Daniel's lungs. He staggered back a step.
            No. It wasn't possible.
            Faintly, he head a policeman talking to the boy, ordering him to move along. The words buzzed in his ears.
            He recognized the girl's face. He'd seen it often enough in the Nazi Party papers, and in the month since he'd moved to Munich he'd heard her name dozens of times, uttered with reverence or disgust depending on whom was speaking.
            The girl was Gretchen Müller. The Nazi Party's golden girl, Hitler's special favorite, the seventeen-year-old daughter of the man who had died to protect him. A spoiled, mindless pet, Daniel had assumed, more of a doll than a person.
            But she had helped a Jew.
            Daniel stood motionless while the crowd broke up and trickled past him. As the blood thundered in his ears, he knew what he had to do, even if it signed his death warrant. It was worth the risk. Judging by what he had just seen, Fräulein Müller might be willing to talk to him, and if his suspicions about her father's death were correct, the ensuing scandal could break the Nazi Party apart. 
            He had to do it. He had to talk to the Nazi princess.  


This was just the first stop on the Prisoner of Night and Fog tour! Don't forget to check out the rest of the posts going up this week!!