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Friday, 21 April 2017

Interview with MPA Hanson - Author of the Soul Merge Saga

When I met MPA Hanson, author of the Soul Merge Saga, I was impressed by her dry wit and top notch sarcasm. A really lovely lady and great to have a laugh with! Here she talks about the finished saga as a whole and shares a few intimate scenes with us.

My speech is in bold.
MPA Hanson's is plain text.

Describe the Soul Merge Saga in three words or less:
Graphic torture scenes
Okay there's a bit where she slices off a few eyelids but apart from that…
Okay any other thoughts?
You don't need eyelids - she sticks them back on in the end.
No not that!
I think it has good characters and it's funny in places and sad in others.
That's not three worlds but… What is the best part of finishing your first series?
Well the worst part is constantly wanting to go back and relive them and write more in that world. I can understand why people do 15 book series now!
What about the best part?
The best part of writing the book is losing yourself in the world and the characters and not having to think. There's this head space where it just flows.
What's your personal favourite part of the series?
When Asha is a child and just her growing up and the way Silver changes.
What is it about Silver and Asha's evolution that interests you?
It's a classic case of somebody having to step up and change because of a responsibility they didn’t necessarily ask for.
My grammar-Nazi is killing you in my head.
(I'm speed typing to keep up so spelling has been compromised)
Please continue J
You've run out of questions.
Ah yes - Favourite book in the series?
Third one - Silver's Redemption - even though it doesn’t have my favourite part in it.
In the first two Silver is almost an afterthought and Romana was quite goody-two-shoes. I liked the sharp contrast Silver provided. It's refreshing to write the antihero.
In a disturbing way writing from her point of view is addictive.
Why should I read these books?
Because they are my heart babies and the realisation of a dream.
Anything else to add?
I haven't even gotten to the bit where she inserts a thin blade into the arm pit to dislocate the shoulder and skinned the little bits between the fingers and toes and pinned them to give webbed feet.
Don't put that in there! And stop spelling badly!
How old were you when you started writing?
There was a project in year two when I rewrote my own version of five on a treasure island… But with torture and eyelids.
That is the most twisted version of my words ever
How old were you when you started writing these novels?
First draft was when I was 12.
I thought this was supposed to help me with my image!
I am - you come across as humorous and bloodthirsty - Perfect.
A QUOTE - "Screams rent the night asunder as blood flowed freely from his eyes. His uncontrollable urge to blink forced the wound to mix with his tears. […] She deftly pinched the second eyelid and replaced the knife by his face, running the sharp edge along the skin she touched, gently, mockingly.In another second the skin was gone, and in each hand she pinched a piece of skin with thin little eyelashes still attached."
MPA 's boyfriend: There's a torture scene? I thought this wasn’t a sex book?
It's not a sexy torture it’s a rip off your eyelids torture!
Thank you MPA Hanson for this enlightening interview about the Soul Merge Saga books.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Nevernight - Jay Kristoff

A many facetted novel, Nevernight flits between protagonist Mia's past and present with interspersed notes and tales from a darkly humorous narrator. Mia is a murderer, and though bloodthirsty and fearless, she is also an empathic person that I found it very easy to connect with. She and the other acolytes at the Red Church are competing for the chance to be a Blade of the Lady of Blessed Murder (a weird name choice for a deity but it fits!). The story follows Mia's initiation into the Red Church in the present and the story behind her need for revenge in the past.

The relationship between acolytes and teachers are cleverly done. Each is believable and intricate. Between each acolyte there is the pressure of the competition, as well as the realisation that any of them could die, but there is also the slow blossoming and much denied love Mia ignores for fellow acolyte Tric. Their histories are fully fleshed out and each of their personalities matches what they've been through. All of the acolytes are killers, but many are so much more than that.
A winding and enchanting story that kept me guessing till the very end. I look forward to the next in the series 'Godsgrave'.

The Infinite Loop - Pierrick Colinet & Elsa Charretier (Illustrator)

The infinite loop is a beautiful book. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the art is beautiful. I loved the concept of times and the way all the different versions of the main character, Teddy, were represented and the way that differences in their timelines had shaped them. The romance between her and Ano, the anomaly that Teddy is supposed to destroy, really hooked me. This graphic novel portrays so many diverse and interesting people in such a realistic way so that, instead of becoming a melting pot of odd characters, Pierrick & Elsa turn them into a fabulously detailed mosaic.

I really enjoyed this book and I thank the publishers for the reading copy they sent me.

Info-graphic: 5 Confessions of a Book Blogger

Sunday, 16 April 2017

April 2017 Monthly Motif Challenge: The Girl of Ink and Stars - Kiran Millwood Hargrave

This story focuses on the daughter of a cartographer, who, like her father, is a versed navigator and map-maker. Unlike her father, Isabella doesn't just dream of sailing the world and creating beautiful maps, she also dreams of mapping her island, and the central region their governor has forbidden to explore. At the death of one of her classmates, Isabella realizes something must be done to catch the culprits, but the governor seems adamant not to search the forests. When the governor's own daughter goes missing in the forest, a search party ensues, and disguised as her twin brother Gabo, Isabella sets out to find her friend and to prevent the destruction of her island by a mythical Fire God. Easy to follow and very emotive, especially towards the end. This book won Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2017, as did one of my all time favorites Half Bad back in 2015. Another lovely read!

Why I March - Abrams Books

A really beautiful collection of the faces and messages from the men and women who embarked on the Women's March on Washington. The protest sparked movements in all 7 continents and a particular favourite of mine was the Antarctica sign 'Penguins march for peace'. I'm also a sucker for the free pencils and balloons the publishers sent me with them!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Snotgirl - Leslie Hung

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"Green Hair Don't Care"

Lottie is a stuck up fashion blogger with allergies. The subject matter is very shallow but I liked the relationships between characters, especially 'cool-girl' and her ex-intern. The fact that the main character couldn't be bothered to learn her friends names wasn't great and it was confusing when she called characters 'norm-girl' and 'cute-girl' which I thought just reduced them to even more 2D versions of themselves and made me unable to connect with them. That being said, the art is beautiful. I love the style of the drawings and I love the character's green hair. Allergies is a much rarer flaw for a comic book character than it is in real life and I appreciate the creativity that went into designing her flaws and making her more than a mary-jane.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

She is Not Invisible - Marcus Sedgwick

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This is the story of a 16 year old girl, who abducts her younger brother Benjamin, to travel to New York on a mission to find their father. Her viewpoint is so complex. She's completely blind and has been since birth, so colour and sight mean nothing to her. She navigates an airport and a hunt around New York for her novelist father without ever being able to see. The way she relies on Benjamin to guide her is interesting and all the way through she's reminding herself to trust him more, to trust their father more, and to trust the love in her family, though she has her doubts more than once. Laureth is an incredibly human main character, as is her errant father, and I enjoyed this book almost as much as the last Marcus Sedgwick novel I read 'My Sword hand is Singing'. The only things I would say I didn't like as much are that I would have recommended it to slightly younger readers, say 9 - 12 year olds, based solely on the language and the parent-focused plot, than to teenagers, but still a really good read.