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Q & A with Mara Rutherford author of Luminous!

Friday, November 12, 2021

1) Where is your favorite place to write and what makes it special to you?

 My favorite place to write used to be a cafe (any one would do, as long as it was nonsmoking!), but covid has made that impossible. Last year I set up a cute little office in our guest room and have surrounded myself with special things like a portrait of my grandmother, pottery, and plants, and I really do enjoy writing there now.

2) Where do you find you draw most of your inspiration from? 

 Most of my recent ideas have come from nonfiction media, oddly enough! LUMINOUS was inspired by an article about Vantablack, the darkest substance on earth. And THE POISON SEASON was inspired in part by an island I read about in a NY Times article and a lake I heard about on YouTube.

3) What are three reasons we should run to the bookstore to get Luminous?

 I would say definitely get the hardcover ASAP, because the gold foil on the naked jacket is only on the first printing and it is STUNNING! Second, because it is a perfect spooky season read, with witches, monsters, and magic. And third, because the cover was created by artist and paper sculptor Marisa Aragon Ware, and you're going to want to have that beauty on your shelf - trust me! 

4) Who was your favorite character to write in Luminous?

 Mina, the main character's younger sister, was really fun to write. She's mischievous, a hopeless romantic, and provides the comic relief in the novel.

5) Who was the most difficult character to create in Luminous?

 I think Evran, the love interest, was probably the hardest, because he has a lot of secrets and pain he's holding onto. When a character has to be elusive in the book, it can make them harder to connect to on the page.

6) What was your favorite scene to write in Luminous?

 I loved writing the entire creepy scene in the middle of the book - I don't want to give too many spoilers, but you'll know it when you read it!

7) What is your favorite Halloween candy?

 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are my favorite candy, year-round, always and forever.

8) Do you have any upcoming books/projects you're creating currently?

THE POISON SEASON will be out next December, and I'm really excited to share it with the world. I also have a Masque of the Red Death retelling coming out the following year that I'll be revising in a few months, and I'm drafting a new fantasy that I really love and hope will be a real book some day! It's got what I think is a really unique magic system, plus an enemies to lovers romance that I'm so thrilled to finally be writing.






This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists.

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why--or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man's touch--and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he's determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather's last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.

Goodreads Summary

I came across this book at the perfect time - I was applying for residencies and it was the Fall. There's something about this season that meshes perfectly with this title. 

I loved Avery. She remained loyal to her sister, Libby, despite her sister's repetitive mistakes regarding an abusive boyfriend. She had a healthy level of suspicion regarding her new inheritance and the Hawthorne family. I thought that she stayed open to possible romance and mystery and rarely closed herself off from the reader. Each Hawthorne boy added further intrigue to the list of characters: mysterious Grayson, handsome and slightly depressed Jameson, playful Xander, and country-boy Nash. There was a bit of a love triangle between Avery, Jameson, and Grayson that the author juxtaposed with Jameson's, Grayson's, and Emily's doomed romance. 

The setting of the book was ornately described and the mysterious clues were interspersed throughout the book in a way that keeps the reader holding onto the book throughout the day. This is definitely a book I would have been reading when I should have been studying. I found it impossible to put down. Rags to riches is a fun concept to imagine for most readers and the author does this plot well. I loved everything from the fancy private school to the searching for clues in the Black Woods. I often wondered how the author kept everything straight in order to fully elaborate on the mystery and have it all come to a (bit) of a conclusion. The ending was a cliffhanger and I can't wait to pick up the next in the series!

5 Stars





This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Anticipated 2022 Read!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

A spell-binding retelling of The Nutcracker, filled with enchanted toys, decadent balls, fierce feminine friendships and a forbidden romance. For fans of The ToymakersCaraval and The Bear and the Nightingale.

There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms.

When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary.

But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.


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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber

Monday, June 24, 2019

A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time—only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…

Goodreads Summary

I was so excited when our library received this arc! I have loved the first two books in this series and regularly recommend this book to patrons from teens to adults. It's difficult to write a review without any accidental spoilers. I really enjoyed the world-building that Garber is so famous for. The scenery is vivid and the dialogue jumps off of the page. I was a little surprised that this book focused so much on Tella. I can't decide whether I prefer Tella's character over Scarlett's, but I was anticipating more of Scarlett's point of view. I would have preferred to see the sisters develop a deeper relationship throughout this book, but I was pretty happy with the relationships that continued to deepen. Tella and Legend are legendary in the book world (as far as relationships go) to me. Scarlett and Julian are an interesting twist. Donatella, who I regarded as a strong character, seemed to exist merely as part of a love triangle (which I admit to hating). 

The plot was fairly strong. I think I appreciated the first two books more, but I still enjoyed how fast-paced and easy it was to read through the lengthy novel. I had trouble putting this book down and even took it to the beach with me. I loved learning more about the Fates; they were such a dark and mysterious part of this trilogy for me and I finally felt more satisfied as this book was concluding. I wish the ending was a little more fleshed out. I have a lot of unanswered questions and I'm still hoping for a prequel or two.

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ