Mystery Twitter Theater

Guys. Something seriously twisted is going on. 

Somebody took out beloved blogger Ensconced in Lit yesterday. Like, took out took out. Yeah. And they found her body on Twitter. Crazy, right? This whole competitive blogger thing must really be getting out of hand.

But you know what's even crazier? They think I did it!!! Me! That's nuts! I think they're accusing me because it looks like a major Liars, Inc. prize pack was stolen and they know that I'm a big fangirl of Liars and Paula Stokes... but come on. There's no way it could have been me!

Actually... that's exactly it. There really is no way it could have been me. I totally have an alibi! I mean, no, I don't have anyone super legit who can vouch for me or anything, but I can account for all my time! I got off class at 4 EST and took the bus home, like I always do. There's probably a camera or something that saw me, right? Aren't there cameras everywhere these days? I don't know. Okay, so then I got home by 5 EST, which is 4 CST, which is when their window on Christina's death opens. I was already home! So I ate some food, and then I didn't leave my house again. I was at home watching Netflix all night. ALL. NIGHT. I'm sure I watched until at least 10 CST and then I crashed because I have class so early on Fridays. There. It's all true. There must be someone who can check my browser history or streaming log or something. Because I was just at home, chilling on Netflix. Also, do I seem like the kind of person who would just... do someone in like that? I think you know me better than that.

So I need your help. Will you help prove my innocence? Head over to Paula Stokes's blog for all the information about the crime. If you can figure out who the real killer is and how they did the deed, you'll clear my name and Paula is going to award YOU the super-epic LIARS, INC. prize pack, which includes a hand-painted tote, a signed book, a deluxe swag pack, and additional mystery prizes. Come to think of it, I might just have to do a little investigating myself. After all, that prize pack is kind of to die for.

Or should I say to kill for...

#LoyalLiar out.


Interview with Maya Rock, Author of Scripted

Today I'm excited to have Maya Rock joining me on the blog to chat a bit about her recent release, Scripted.

About the book:
Scripted by Maya Rock.

Published: February 5, 2015.
Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Reality TV has a dark future in this thought-provoking thriller

To the people suffering on the war-torn mainland, Bliss Island seems like an idyllic place. And it is: except for the fact that the island is a set, and the islanders’ lives are a performance. They’re the stars of a hit TV show, Blissful Days — Characters are adored by mainland viewers, yet in constant danger of being cut if their ratings dip too low. And no one really knows what happens to cut Characters.

Nettie Starling knows she’s been given the chance of a lifetime when a producer offers suggestions to help her improve her mediocre ratings—especially when those suggestions involve making a move on the boy she’s been in love with for years. But she'll soon have to decide how far she's willing to go to keep the cameras fixed on her. . . especially when she learns what could happen to her if she doesn't.

Jessica: Welcome, Maya! First, can you describe SCRIPTED in 5 words or less?
Maya: Sidekick tries to be a star.

J: What would you say is your main character Nettie's best quality? What is her worst? Would she agree with you on those?
M: Best: she pays close attention to what other people say.
Worst: she tries to avoid taking responsibility for her actions.
No, she would not agree. I think she’d say she was a loyal friend who cares about people (best). Her worst would be that she’s not assertive enough.

J: I think I'm a lot like Nettie thinks she is, so that'll be interesting for me to read! 
Which character (besides Nettie) are you most excited for readers to meet?
M: I know Nettie is the main character, but to me, Lia felt as much like the main character, so I’m excited for readers to meet her. Her motivations and actions were always clear to me, whereas Nettie’s were more opaque.

J: I'm looking forward to meeting her! 
What drew you to the extremes of reality TV as a subject?
M: I like watching it, and it seemed like a great metaphor for life.

J: It seems like Blissful Days, the reality TV show in SCRIPTED, serves as an important escape for the mainlanders watching it. Do you think that part of the North American obsession with reality TV comes from that idea of escape? Do you have any reality show guilty pleasures that provide that escape for you?
M: Yes; I think TV in general is an escape, but I think reality TV is a special kind of escape because the viewers often get to feel superior to the people they’re watching. And in fact the very act of watching these people (on TV) is exerting a tremendous control over their lives. But I also think there’s a wistfulness and envy that goes on with watching reality tv. And I think that reality can heighten some of these feelings of identification that happen. I don’t watch that much reality TV anymore, but lately I’ve been checking out Keeping up with the Kardashians, which I think is as scripted as Blissful Days is by the end of the book. Also, I find social media has some of the same guilty pleasure elements of reality tv. Everyone knows its crafted, but it provokes real emotions. I also think you can see how social media became more self-aware and crafted. It blows my mind how fussy they are about what pictures they’ll upload of themselves.

J: Do you think you would do well on a reality show? Any show in particular?
M: Definitely not a competitive reality show! I wither in the face of any competition. Oh, I guess I’m about to take that back—I did once apply for the Amazing Race, but it was only because I was going with my successfully competitive friend. I still wouldn’t mind doing that, because the tasks they do are so incredible. As far as the ones where you’re supposed to be scheming without having physical challenges . . . I don’t know. I just see myself in tears in all these situations.

J: I can only imagine how tough those are! I don't know if I could handle it either. 
Can you share a favourite line from the book?
M: When Scoop says “I derive no pleasure from derivatives.”

J: Thank you for joining me and answering all my questions, Maya!

Get out there and buy Scripted - I know I'm going to - and if you've read it, tell me what you thought about it. If you haven't, I'm curious about your thought on this concept. I love the idea of exploring reality TV in YA fiction (I know, I MUST read Something Real - I'm going to!) but what do you think about it?


Blog Tour Review: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

I'm very excited today to be part of the blog tour for Jodi Meadows' new fantasy (and the first in a new series), The Orphan Queen!

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows.

To be published: March 10, 2015.
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books.

Source: I received an ARC from HarperCollins Canada for the tour. This does not affect my review of the book. Thanks, HCC!

Goodreads Synopsis:
Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

My Review:

I'm definitely a fantasy fangirl but I always feel like I'm not reading enough of it, so when I heard about The Orphan Queen and found out that it combined fantasy with princesses and spies and magic and that the main character was all three, I knew I'd find a lot to like here. And like I did, absolutely. This is an exciting and mysterious fantasy that still manages to remain wholly satisfying... until the major cliffhanger of an ending! (Seriously, I think I need to have some words with Meadows about that ending. Something very important hangs in the balance and I won't know what happens until the next book!)

One of the best parts of The Orphan Queen for me was snappy and smart heroine Wil and, to a slightly lesser extent, the curious character that is Black Knife and their interactions. I was so glad to find Wil to be the kind of kick-butt but also headstrong heroine that I crave in fantasy. Not that fantasy always needs girls like that, but when someone like Wil comes along who can protect herself with both her fighting skills and with her strong will to do what's best for her and the people she cares about, I'm all about it. On the other side, though, I also appreciated that she had weaker moments to balance her out, which made her feel so much more real and genuine. I am undoubtedly #TeamWil for herself and maybe one day for her kingdom, too.

As for Black Knife and his storyline with Wil... I don't want to give too much away but I'll say this much: I was immediately drawn in by Black Knife and I actually thought I'd figured out who it was (with a little catch that I wasn't sure how Meadows would explain), so when I discovered where she took that character, I was both very excited and very intrigued regarding how that was all worked out in the background (I expect more info on this in the sequel!). From the start, though, watching Black Knife and Wil interact was such a great change from her interactions with her friend Melanie and with Patrick and the Ospreys, the last orphaned nobility left from her devastated kingdom. It was a refreshing change of pace and it brought out so much more in Wil that when they were together, it almost felt like an escape as much for me as for Wil herself.

I think my other favourite thing about the novel was the entire set-up of princess presumed dead becomes spy and infiltrates a rival kingdom's castle and court. Honestly, spy missions and court life are both like my kryptonite, so to combine them together and have a spy mission take place in a court by an imposter? I think I would have been happy no matter how that played out. I enjoyed so much of that storyline that I was actually kind of disappointed when Wil left the court, even though she did it for a V.I.A. (very important adventure). Thus, my only complaints about that whole section of the book was that I wanted the court intrigue to last longer and that I wish there had been a little more detail about the spying that went on. Other than that, Meadows delivered on the parts that I was looking forward to and also provided a punch of a unique adventure to follow it up as Wil learns more about the Wraith. While I still don't entirely understand everything that happened there and would have appreciated it to be a little more clear, I'm excited to get more detail about Wraith and everything that is coming along with it in the next installment.

All in all, Meadows has written an extremely enjoyable and quite uniquely executed fantasy that ticks some major boxes for me (fantastic heroine, spy shenanigans, castles and courts) and that gives magic a spin that I'm really looking to delving into more as the series continues. And as if that weren't enough reason for me to come back for the release of The Mirror King, the major cliffhanger would most certainly have done the trick all on its own. Jodi Meadows, I don't know how you identified so many of the things that make me a rabid reader, but brava.

Find the book: Amazon // Chapters/Indigo.

About Jodi:
Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen). Visit her at www.jodimeadows.com

Find Jodi:
Jodi's website - http://www.jodimeadows.com/