Friday, 20 April 2018

Q & A with T.E. CARTER author of I STOP SOMEWHERE

Published yesterday by Simon & Schuster is a powerful debut novel by T.E. Carter, I Stop Somewhere. 
I'm currently reading this book and I have to say it's no easy book. It's harrowing, it's raw, it's real also. This girl's story is from personal experience and it warrants you're full attention. 

Today I'm extremely honoured to have T.E. Carter on my blog answering some questions that played on my mind since beginning this book. But before that here is a little bit more on the book. 

Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished. 

Tormented throughout middle school, she begins her freshman year with new clothes, new hair, and a plan: she doesn’t need to be popular, she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

It’s a lonely existence, but at least no one’s tripping her in the halls. In fact, no one notices her at all. Until Caleb Breward, tells her she’s beautiful and makes her believe it.

Ellie loves Caleb, but sometimes she doesn’t like him that much - his awkward smile, the possessive way he touches her, the tone he uses, how he ignores her one minute and can't get enough the next. And on one black night, she discovers the monster her boyfriend really is. Ellie wasn’t the first victim, but now, trapped, she has to watch it happen again and again. She tries to hold onto her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

But no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place. 

The Lovely Bones meets Asking For It - this is the searing, heartbreaking story of a lost teenager, and the town she leaves behind.

Q & A with T.E. Carter 

What was the idea behind I Stop Somewhere!? 

         To be honest, much of it stems from personal experience and the things I’ve spent a lifetime not being able to say. The catalyst for writing it, though, came with yet another girl going missing in a neighboring town. I wish I could say that her story ended differently, but just after I sold the novel, they found her body. It’s now been years and no one was ever held accountable for what happened to her.

Did you feel there was a lot of pressure when writing Ellie’s story, to do her story justice?

         From the outside, not really, as I put enough pressure on myself. From a personal perspective, though, yes, it was – and is – an immense amount of pressure. Because it’s so closely tied to my own experiences, I do struggle with putting the story out there in general. I have to admit I feel somewhat uncomfortable about its existence, because it’s like opening a wound I’ve tried for years to keep from reopening.

What was your writing journey like when creating your debut novel?

         I get in the zone so much I don’t really remember much about the process itself. I tend to be the kind of writer who writes for hours every day when the story is swirling around in my head, and then I take months off to find the threads of another one.

This is a harrowing story and I felt that I had to read it in my own comfort zone, I.e. in my bed with lots of cups of tea! I’m curious when you were writing this did you find you needed to escape, take a step back from the book?

         Because I was so focused on the writing, I didn’t really feel it until after, but after was very hard. It’s still very hard. The process moved quickly. I wrote and rewrote and edited before querying, but once I sent out that first query, I had an agent offer within a few days and a book deal three weeks after my agent submitted the manuscript. As a result, I don’t know that I ever had time to really process what I was doing, and I am still reeling from it. The writing was far easier than the publication. I needed to get these things out of my head, as they’d been stuck in there for so long, and it was cathartic. That said, I’m still not fully sure I wanted them to be out of my head and into the universe, which was something I hadn’t truly considered at the time. Now I feel overwhelmed because I have to go back to those feelings and thoughts when I think about the novel, and I am so closely tied to the story that it’s exceedingly challenging not to find myself in a pretty dark place when I think too much on it.

What would be your advice if girls of Ellie’s age, or anyone going through the topics in your book?

         I tried to address this in my author’s note at the end of the novel, but I would say that it’s important to remember that these things don’t define you. The world can be a dark place and it’s excruciating to go through, especially if, like Ellie, you are alone or nearly alone in facing it. However, every single person counts and even if they don’t see it, even if they can’t feel that they matter, they are shaping the world around them every single day by living in it. No one deserves to be put through situations like this, but you will survive it. No matter how much it feels like you may not, and sometimes it may feel like you’d rather not, you will survive. And someday, as you start to find your way again, hopefully you can see that even in the darkest places, there is always light.

Do you have any writing advice for budding authors?

         I believe it’s important to stick with it, even when it feels pointless. I would also recommend that if you come to a point where you don’t love it, it’s a good idea to take a break. Most likely, you will rediscover that spark and, if you don’t, maybe that’s okay. Maybe there will be another outlet, but don’t force it. If you don’t enjoy it, give yourself permission to walk away.

What books would you recommend/do you have a current favourite YA read?

         I always recommend the books of Gillian Flynn, and I also really love the classics still. They’re definitely not perfect, but in those moments when life becomes tough, there’s comfort into returning to a world and story you’ve visited hundreds of times. I find myself doing that a lot, because books were my best friends growing up and when I feel down or alone, I like remembering those old friends.

Thank you to T.E. Carter for taking the time to answer my questions... If I'm honest it really resonates with the book and just makes how it important it is to tell these stories as well as how brave this woman really is.

Image result for t.e. carter
About T.E. Carter

I was born in New England and have pretty much lived in New England for my entire life (minus a few years in high school).
Throughout my career, I’ve done a lot of things, although I always loved to read and I still love stories in any medium (books, movies, video games, etc.).
When I’m not writing, I can generally be found reading classic literature, obsessing over Game of Thrones (100% Team Lannister), playing Xbox, organizing my comic collection, or binge-watching baking competitions.
I continue to live in New England with my husband and our two cats.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

πŸ“š REVIEW - THE WITCH’S BLOOD by Katherine and Elizabeth Corr

The Witch’s Blood (The Witch’s Kiss #3)
by Katherine and Elizabeth Corr
Publisher - HarperCollins Children’s Books
Release Date - March 8th 2018
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Just who can you trust when no one around you is who they seem?

The final spell-binding book in THE WITCH’S KISS trilogy by authors and sisters, Katharine and Elizabeth Corr.

Life as a teenage witch just got harder for Merry when her brother, Leo is captured and taken into an alternative reality by evil witch Ronan. Determined to get him back, Merry needs to use blood magic to outwit her arch-rival and get Leo back. Merry is more powerful than ever now, but she is also more dangerous and within the coven, loyalties are split on her use of the magic. In trying to save Leo, Merry will have to confront evil from her past and present and risk the lives of everyone she’s ever loved. Given the chaos she’s created, just what will she sacrifice to make things right?
Please find reviews for the rest of the series - The Witch's Kiss & The Witch's Tears

*Potential Spoilers ahead - read carefully*

A magical tale of family and magic... 

I finished this book at the beginning of March and I'm finally giving it the review that this book, this series and these Sister Author's so deserves. 

Merry would fight through covens, dark magic and shadow realms to get her brother back even if it rips a gateway, a point of intersection between their world and the shadow realm where Ronan resides. But Merry’s power is getting stronger, by breaking the boundaries she believes that it’s her fault. So this is what it has come to, the final battle between the original fairy-tale and those who want to control it once and for all. Will their finally be a happily ever after? Merry's family has transformed from Book 1 to this final book. There have been ups and downs, with Merry’s family oath, Leo’s kidnapping and then finishing it together as it always should have been. It brought pain, fear, tears but also moments of such joy, contentment and happiness and that’s what The Witch’s Kiss Trilogy is all about.

From start to finish, it’s doesn’t seem possible by how much these characters have grown in such a short amount of time considering it’s been 3 years for the reader and 6 months for Merry and Leo. Merry and Leo have been these focal points in time of the book, when one moves the other reacts - they are more alike that even they would know. Their feelings for each other as brother and sister is captivating and emotional to say the least. Merry literally breaks the fragment in time and put the world into tremendous danger to bring her brother back, if that's not sacrificial, brave and courageous, I don't know what is.  

The final battle was epic to say the least - It comes down to this book, this moment and it was magnificent. As story shapes up in The Witch's Kiss to the steady build up in The Witch's Tears, the final battle was everything a reader and the characters deserved. It reminds me of Charmed in the final episode where they brought together her past and present to save the future. In The Witch's Blood the final battle combines all of that defines the love, the unlikely friendships, and magical relations that have been discovered in this story. Kate and Liz create such vivid, intense and powerful descriptions, take this quote that I marked in this book, it just oozes realism and sends shivers down your spine. 

"...the world from which Merry had just returned - was bulging through the fracture like blood oozing from a wound." 

The Witch’s Kiss trilogy is right up there with Twilight and The Hunger Games. It’s a series that feeds on your fantasies, favourite fairy-tales, romance, realism and most of family! It’s addictive, joyous, compelling and one of my favourite series to date. I haven’t read a series like this in a long time. I’m sad it’s ended, but I’m excited by the prospect by how it’s ended too. 

Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Thank you to HarperCollins Children's Books for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018


Not If I Save You First 
by Ally Carter
Publisher - Orchard Books
Release Date - March 27th 2018
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Dear Logan,Someday I'm going to write a book: How Not to Die in Alaska - A Girl's Guide to Fashionable Survival.

I bet you don't know that a hair pin can make an excellent fishing hook. You may think you can use just any kind of mud for mud masks, but trust me, you CAN'T! In a pinch, nothing starts a fire like nail polish remover. Alaska is tough. You might know this, if you ever replied to my letters.

After Maddie's Secret Service dad takes a bullet for the president, he takes Maddie somewhere he thinks they'll be safe - far away from the White House and the president's son, Logan.

But when Logan comes to Alaska, so does the danger.

If there's one thing Alaska has taught Maddie, it's how to survive. And now her best friend's life depends on it ...

This book took me back - Ally Carter was the highlight of my teen years with The Gallagher Girls series and then All Fall Down a good few years later. Carter likes a good mystery and/or conspiracy especially within the the famous White House, and it doesn't disappoint in her latest conquest.

Her latest novels takes of the shape from a dual perspective, the President's son and his best friend; Logan and Maddie. They are inseparable, always finding new tunnels or secrets doors to explore, whilst running rings around their security. That's just what you do when you live in the White House. Maddie's dad is the President's secret detail, the guy that will stop a bullet and protect the the most sort out family in the United States. That's exactly what happens, the Russian's nearly kidnap the First Lady and her dad gets shot, to protect him, his family Maddie had to move away, to furthest, most secluded place in the world, Alaska. Logan and Maddie were inseparable, now they've been apart for 6 years, until Logan comes to stay, to stay out of trouble, trouble soon finds them once again.

If you want a book full of girl power, you've come to the right place. You can't get anymore than that. Maddie is the epitome of badassary, girl power, flare, feisty and she is not afraid of being more than just a teenage girl. She's had to become strong, a survivor of the fittest, she has learnt the hard way by growing and shying away from the 10 year old girl raised in DC that she used to be. Alaska isn't for the faint of heart, it's hard, it's cold, it's rough, full of predators both animals and humans and totally devoid of all technology. It's only the letters that she sends to Logan that even have some semblance of the life she used to have.

What I loved behind all of Carter's books is the premise of friendship and danger all-in-one. Logan and Maddie had something special once, but one day destroyed all of that. Maddie wanted to hang on to it, Logan dismissed it, he felt that he didn't deserve to have a friend when it was his family that sent her away. Logan was a tricky character for me to like, he'd changed so much and then when they finally found each other again, Logan and Maddie whilst a tense beginning seem to unravel and find a mutual ground where they both knew each other but also getting to know each other once again.

Ally always knows a way to a girls/readers heart, her characters and stories are always fashionable, relatable, funny and for me a breath of fresh air. It's one of those books that is just a guilty please reliving my teen years all over again. πŸ“š

Rating - 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Thank you to Orchard Books for providing a proof copy in exchange for an honest review.