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Sue's Reading Corner

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July 2018

Blog Tour: Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi (Q&A)

Summary

Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram’s new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?

Sourced from Goodreads

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Hey, everyone! I’m back on a blog tour! This one is on the short story collection Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi, which btw I loved! If you want to see my full review, click here! But today’s post is dedicated to some amazing questions and answers! 😉

Q&A

  1. Out of all the characters in your novels, which one did you have the most fun writing about and who do you relate to the most personally? What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
  2. In the world of the Star – Touched Queen, I think the one who I related to the most was also the one that I had the most fun writing: Kamala! There’s just something about the demon horse that resonated a lot with me. I think it’s because she does everything that I would do in a fantasy story, which is frantically derail the plot and whine to her friends about how hungry she is all the time.
  3. What inspired you to create this fictional world? Were there anyRomo mythologies that particularly inspired you? I was really inspired by the childhood stories that my grandmother told me. To me, they were so rich with details and texture that it really shocked me how these worlds and mythologies were never explored in mainstream literature. I was particularly inspired by Greek and Hindu mythology.
  4. Why did you feel it was important to add Star-Touched Stories to this world you’ve created?  What do you want readers to gain from the stories? Do you think there are any more stories to tell from the Star-Touched world, and if so, who you most like to write about next? For me, this collection of stories is my farewell to the world that I created. It was extremely cathartic to write these three stories. I want readers to gain a sense of closure. I want readers to feel as much as I did when I with the stories. Who can say whether or not there are more stories left to tell in this world? 😉
  5. Will you miss writing this world and characters? Absolutely! They lived in my head for so long that I feel strangely weightless to be without them.
  6. What was your favorite scene to write from Star-Touched Stories, and what was your favorite scene to write from the whole series? Honestly, my favorite scene that I wrote was the last scene the last story. I think you’ll see why. As for my favorite scene that I wrote from the whole series, I think it would have to be the moment when Maya first enters the Night Bazaar.
  7. Is there a scene or character from one of your stories that you’ve had to cut which you really wish you could share with readers? There once was a speaking monkey character… But I had to let go of him. Maybe he’ll reappear some other time.
  8. How is writing short stories different than writing a full-length book? How different is it to write YA and MG? How has your writing evolved? Writing short stories is really different from writing a full-length book because you’re ultimately writing to a punchline in a shorter amount of space. There is less space to explore so the language must be very deliberate. I think my writing has evolved to become a lot more character focused than I once was. I still love gorgeous, decadent prose, but I believe that the best kind of language is that which is emotionally filtered through the feelings of a character.
  9. What is the best advice you would give to inspiring writers? Read often. I realize that sounds trite, but so many people retread the same path with stories out of comfort or nostalgia. I totally understand this and I’m one of those people who loves to reread my favorite books but I never found a sense of my own writing voice or writing style without reading a wide variety of works.
  10. What sort of music do you listen to when you write? I mostly listen to music to get me in the mood for writing rather than listening to music to get me through a scene. I think the only times I listen to music when I’m writing is if I’m in a third or fourth round of revisions. Otherwise I get distracted.
  11. If any of your books were given an adaptation, would you rather it be a movie, TV show, web series, or stage musical? For The Gilded Wolves, I would rather see that as a miniseries. For both books in the Star-Touched universe, I’d rather see those as movies.
  12. Favorite myth and how has it inspired your writing? What was your inspiration for these stories? I think my favorite myth is Hades and Persephone. I love the atmosphere, the goth undercurrent, the power dynamic. I love the movement of princess to Queen.
  13. Do you remember the first book that made you fall in love with reading? Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. That was the first fairytale retelling book I ever read and it shocked me because I didn’t realize you could do something like that! It opened my imagination to a whole new realm of narrative possibilities.

About the Author

Roshani Chokshi CREDIT Aman SharmaRoshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen and A CROWN OF WISHES. Her middle grade debut, ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME, released April 3, 2018 from Disney/Rick Riordan Presents. Her next young adult novel, THE GILDED WOLVES, is slated for Winter 2019. Chokshi’s work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. She was a finalist in the 2016 Andre Norton Award and the Locus Top Ten for Best First Novel. Her short story, “The Star Maiden,” was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

 

Author links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Thanks for reading, everyone! And remember, if you’re interested, Star-Touched Stories is available for purchase on August 7th, 2018!

Have a nice day!

–  Sumaya

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 41

Hi, everyone! It’s been a while, but I’m back with another post of “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?”, hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date. I didn’t get much reading done this past week, but I did get to finish Sadie by Courtney Summers, so I’ll consider that a win! Now, if only I could find some time to listen to its companion podcast…

What I’ve Read Recently:

sadie

What I’m Currently Reading: 

smothered

What I’m Planning to Read Next:

Well, that’s all for now! What are you reading this week?

Have a lovely day!

– Sumaya

Book Bargain: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

Hey, everyone! Just wanted to let you know that the eBook version of When It’s Real by Erin Watt is on sale for only $0.99 at Amazon! If you’re looking for a sweet contemporary,  then you should definitely check it out! 😉

–  Sumaya

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 40

Hey there, fellow readers! It’s Monday, and you know what that means: time for another post of “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?”, hosted by  Kathryn @ Book Date. While I didn’t read the books on my list last week, I did finally finish 101 Things I Learned in Advertising School. Plus, I got to read Mirage by Somaiya Daud (but I won’t be reviewing it till later)!

What I’ve Read Recently: 

What I’m Currently Reading: 

sadie.jpg

What I’m Planning to Read Next: 

Well, that’s all for this week’s post! Have a book you’re excited about? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments Section below!

Have a wonderful day!

–  Sumaya

Should I Stop Using Rating with My Reviews?

Hey, everyone! I hope you’ve all been great! I just wanted to open this discussion to anyone who has thoughts on it: reviews with ratings.

You see, at the beginning of every review I write, I give the book a star rating, showing how I liked reading it overall. It’s only once you read the review that you know exactly why I gave the book the rating that I did.

But are ratings unnecessary? Do I really need to rate a book good or bad and potentially affect other people’s experience of the book? Should I just explain why I like and/or didn’t like it, and let the review speak for itself? I don’t know… what are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!

Thanks for listening!

– Sumaya

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 39

Hi, everyone! Welcome back to another post of “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date. I got the chance to read some of the books I wanted to last week, but still haven’t finished 101 Things I Learned in Advertising School. Hopefully, if I don’t read anything else for the time being, I might actually finish it!

What I’ve Read Recently: 

What I’m Currently Reading: 

101 things

What I’m Planning to Read Next: 

Well, that’s all for now! Who knows if I’ll stick to it, though?

Also, if you’re reading anything really exciting at the moment, feel free to let me know in the Comments Section below!

– Sumaya

Review: Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez

Summary

Not you without me, not me without you.

Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what’s right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved.

Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen. For fans of Graceling and The Mists of Avalon, this is the first book of a lush fantasy trilogy about warring countries, family secrets, and forbidden romance.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

green25

Hi, there! I’m back with another review, this one being on Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez. I received this book via NetGalley by being one of the first few people to request the ARC and read it. Now, at the time, it did really seem intriguing, being a Tristan and Eseult retelling. I remember enjoying medieval romance a lot during my time at university. But then this book reminded me why I didn’t like Tristan and Eseult when studying it briefly in school and almost wish I didn’t request it.

Don’t get me wrong; I liked some elements of the book. For instance, the sisterly bond between Branwen and Eseult was one of the best things to come out of the novel, in my opinion. The way they cared for each other, even when Eseult was being self-centred or Branwen stoic, had me rooting for this femship. They’re each other’s balm and comfort, often referencing the hazelnut and honeysuckle tree that are entwined, neither being able to live without the other (from the original tale). Also, this book got me thinking about arguments and how even though Eseult had a point in that she’s being treated more as a symbol than a person, she seems to be in the wrong because a lot of the time, she acts like a petulant child. Meanwhile, everyone else acts calmly about the fact that she’s being married off to a person she didn’t choose, worse yet because their kingdoms are enemies. But everyone else sees this as an opportunity to stop the warring between the countries and don’t see it as a problem if she marries for duty rather than love.

A main reason I gave this novel a low rating though, wasn’t because of the writing style, but because by the time I figured out that the retelling included the love potion, I knew it was only a matter of time before it was administered. The only problem was that I didn’t know when. So afterwards, I couldn’t get into the story the same way as I did before. Maybe the sequels will add some more interesting twists…

Well, that’s all for now! If you’re interested in reading medieval retellings, I would suggest reading Sweet Black Waves, since the writing style is pretty engaging. If you have any comments or questions about this book, though, let me know in the Comments Section below.

Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Review: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Summary

Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are, and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible.

But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production. It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script.

Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story?

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

pink4

Hey there, fellow readers! Today, I’ll be reviewing  Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka. Now, I remember seeing this book on Goodreads last year and knew I had to read it! The premise just sounded so intriguing! And I loved the fact that it covered theatre, since I love reading about the performing arts. Luckily, this book didn’t get lost in my TBR pile!

One thing I could say about this book is that I really sympathized with the protagonist. Megan wants love, but at the same time, believes herself to be “the girl before”, never to fall in love herself, but help others fall in love. Even though this “curse” seemed a bit of a stretch for a contemporary novel (it could honestly be a legitimate thing in fantasy, though), I imagine that this sort of thinking might help her cope with the fact that she’s getting dumped for true love’s sake. At least, that’s what I saw in the case of her best friend, Madeleine, who got together with one of Megan’s exes. It kind of sucked that she didn’t stick up for herself until near the end of the novel; that she actually does deserve to be happy, whether in a romantic relationship or with her family ties. But this is where her core development lied, so it’s understandable.

Also, I liked that, for the most part, the novel portrayed positive relationships between Megan and her family members. In the beginning, she feels out of sorts with where she belongs, and throughout the novel, she tries to figure out her place in her ever-expanding family. But no one tries to shut her out or make her feel less important intentionally. In fact, it’s the opposite, which I felt was a nice change to some of the dynamics I’ve seen in the past when it came to divorce, family, new partners, and children.

Overall, this novel was a good read, although it did leave me with a few loose ends. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a sweet contemporary novel! And if you have any thoughts on Always Never Yours, I’d be happy to hear them!

Take care, everyone!

– Sumaya

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 38

Hi, everyone! It’s Monday and you know what that means: time for another post of “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?, hosted by Kathryn @ Book Date. I’ve recently read some great books and hope that this streak continues!

What I’ve Read Recently: 

What I’m Currently Reading:

What I’m Planning to Read Next:

Well, that’s all for now! What are you reading this week?

– Sumaya

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