INTERVIEW with B.T. Gottfred, author of FOREVER FOR A YEAR + a GIVEAWAY!

I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Forever for a Year! I had the amazing chance to interview the author, B.T. Gottfred about his debut novel, and get some insight on the book! I’ve already reviewed the book on the blog here, so be sure to check that out after you’ve read this post to hear my thoughts!


INTERVIEW

First, congratulations on the release of your debut novel and thanks so much for being on the blog today! For those that have yet to read Forever for a Year, can you describe what the book is about and why they should pick it up?
Forever for a Year is about two freshmen – Carolina and Trevor – who meet on the first day of school and the amazing, crazy, terrifying chemical connection they feel almost at once. The book alternates between Carolina and Trevor chapters as they go from strangers to a couple to beyond. The book is for anyone who likes really, really intense character voices. It taps into every tiny thought both of them have. If you download the first twenty pages for free online, you’ll know if it’s a book for you almost right away. (And if it’s not, no worries. I’ll write another that hopefully you like better;)
Forever for a Year is a book about first experiences and being young. What inspired you to write about such an important and impressionable time in a person’s life?
Old people (i.e. anyone over 20;) might not all admit this, but your first love (and often the first sexual experiences that accompany first love) never, ever leaves you. They inform almost every future relationships and relationships inform all aspects of your life. So I think the better question is why did it take me so long to write about first love?;)

Were any of the events in the book based off of real ones from your life? And are any of the characters inspired by those that you knew and/or loved at that age?
Yes, I definitely pulled from the emotional adventures I had when I was first falling in love 100 years ago but I also had to turn the book over to Carolina and Trevor so that they could experience whatever they needed to experience authentically without me getting in the way. 

Forever for a Year is told from both Carolina and Trevor’s point of views. Whose perspective did you enjoy writing from the most, and who did you find more difficult to write?
I have just as balanced of a feminine side as I do a masculine side so neither one was easier than the other. But there were days or parts of the book that were harder. For instance, Carolina’s scenes with her father were sometimes very hard for me because he is such a complex guy and she has such a complex relationship with him. Same goes for Trevor and his mother. I also hated writing scenes where the characters were making TERRIBLE choices. I love them but sometimes you just have to let your characters do bad things so you can see how they grow (or don’t grow) from those choices.

I found the ending of Forever for a Year to be extremely bittersweet. What were you hoping readers would feel during and after they read the book?
This may sound strange but I don’t want my readers to feel anything in particular. Feel something, yes, but not one thing for all people. I just want to be loyal to what Carolina and Trevor’s story had to be. Every person is going to be reading this book with different things behind and ahead of them. So it could mean something differently to every person. All I really hope for is the reader to end the book feeling, “those characters felt real and their choices felt real.”

Thanks so much for being here on the blog today! Any last words to share with readers about Forever for a Year, and any advice to give readers who may being going through similar situations as Carolina and Trevor?
First off, thank you to everyone for (1) being a human being. It’s a tough job so I appreciate you sticking with it;) (2) being a human being with a passion for books.
I could give a bunch of bad advice – trust me, I have plenty – but the only good advice I can every give anyone is ‘listen to your gut and follow it… no one knows you better than you.’
good luck to everyone in everything — b.t.g.


About the Book

When Carolina and Trevor meet on their first day of school, something draws them to each other. They gradually share first kisses, first touches, first sexual experiences. When they’re together, nothing else matters. But one of them will make a choice, and the other a mistake, that will break what they thought was unbreakable. Both will wish that they could fall in love again for the first time . . . but first love, by definition, can’t happen twice.

Told in Carolina and Trevor’s alternating voices, this is an up-close-and-personal story of two teenagers falling in love for the first time, and discovering it might not last forever.


Giveaway!

The lovely publisher is offering up a copy of FOREVER FOR A YEAR for you to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


You can follow the rest of the tour HERE!xo

I’ll have some political intrigue with a side of sexual tension, please!

historical fiction and fantasy recs

I wanted to start out this post by noting that I recently finished Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman, which is the book that sparked the idea for me to write this post. After I finished it I realized that I read a lot of historical fiction and fantasy books, and a common thread in all of them that I just adore is political intrigue and romance with sexual tension. I’m pretty much a sucker for that combination. I really needed to gush about Legacy of Kings, but since it’s still a bit to early for me to post my full review (check back August 18th!) I wanted to write a recommendation post of sorts, with some of my favorite books that include this perfect combination!


Be sure to check back on August 18th for my full review of Legacy of Kings, and pick up your copy as soon as it’s released on AUGUST 25th! You won’t regret it!!

About the Book:

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.


9 Books to read while you wait for Legacy of Kings

1. Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Grave Mercy is set in France and is filled with not only tons of political intrigue and sexual tension, but also has lots of fantastical aspects that are amazing! I talk about this book all the time, and it’s one of my go-to recommendations for those seeking an incredible historical read. Like Legacy of Kings, Grave Mercy incorporates real historical figures into the mix, which is really cool too!

2. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
While this one isn’t a historical novel, it definitely reads like one. It’s filled with wonderful fantasy aspects, an amazing and unique female lead, and everything you could ever ask for in a high fantasy book!

3. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
For the amount that I talk about this book, you should already know about it and have read it (shame on you if you have not)! I feel like I’m always talking about this book, but The Winner’s Curse totally deserves every recommendation I make. It’s the epitome of a clever and ingenious book. Again, not really a historical but it reads just like one. [Read my review]

4. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Gosh, this book was awesome. Again, not historical (okay, maybe I should have thought of a different title for this post…) but it reads like one. The Kiss of Deception is the epitome of political intrigue AND the sexual tension. I couldn’t put this one down, despite for its size. [Read my review]

5. Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
Alternate history with salem witch trial reminiscent themes? I think yes! Such a cool and unique historical fantasy, but let’s not forget the loads of sexual tension with a totally hot and swoony love interest… [Read my review]

6. The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter
This one is adult, but I found it to read like a rich and beautifully written YA. I can’t say enough good things about this book. It’s definitely a less action, but great characters and storyline! [Read my review]

7. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
A no-brainer recommendation from me. I’m reading the second book in the series right now and I could see lots of similar and amazing characters traits that were in Celaena and the girls in Legacy of Kings. Start here! [Read my review]

8. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
I feel the same way as I do with Throne of Glass in regard to the same kind of tone as Legacy of Kings. There’s a similar mysterious aspect with magic, and you see the story from many character’s perspectives as well! [Read my review]

9. Rook by Sharon Cameron
SO MUCH POLITICAL INTRIGUE GOODNESS. That is all. 😛 [Read my review]

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Review: Forever for a Year by B.T. Gottfred

Before I get into the review, I wanted to mention that you should keep a look out on the blog later in July for my blog tour stop where I will be interviewing B.T. Gottfred and also have an awesome giveaway of Forever for a Year!

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date: July 7th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 432
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (part of blog tour)
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Carolina and Trevor meet on their first day of school, something draws them to each other. They gradually share first kisses, first touches, first sexual experiences. When they’re together, nothing else matters. But one of them will make a choice, and the other a mistake, that will break what they thought was unbreakable. Both will wish that they could fall in love again for the first time . . . but first love, by definition, can’t happen twice. Told in Carolina and Trevor’s alternating voices, this is an up-close-and-personal story of two teenagers falling in love for the first time, and discovering it might not last forever.

my rambles

Special thanks to Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) for providing me with a copy of the book for review!

Forever for a Year is a book that tells it like it is: the good, the bad, and the ugly included. When I first started reading this book is was unsure if I was going to like it. There’s a very distinct writing style for both Carolina and Trevor’s chapters. Both include their every detail and thought, as if they were talking to you as a friend, or to themselves in their own head.

Carolina and Trevor are young, and therefore their internal monologues could be seen as annoying, which I did feel at some points, but I really liked Gottfred’s integrity of keeping their thoughts realistic. Unfortunately, the two main characters were my least favorite part of Forever for a Year. Both seemed younger than their age, and their actions showed that, which was frustrating for me, being close in age to both of the characters. I pictured them as young teens who were attempting to fill the shoes of adults, but failing. (But if you think about, all teens do that at some point, thinking they’re adults, I mean.)

While the naïevety of the characters was something I had to overlook, the relationship between Carolina and Trevor was hard to, as it was the main storyline. That being said, after their relationship got past the insta-love, awkwardness, and silliness, I didn’t mind it that much. Their relationship was realistic of one happening in high school, and I really liked how Gottfred didn’t shy away from the serious topics.

While I was happy that Gottfred tells it like it is, there were some points where he included a little too much information for my liking. It made me kind of uncomfortable and grossed me out, which I wasn’t really expecting from this book.

At a whopping 432 pages, Forever for a Year was an extremely quick read for me. While the relationship between Carolina and Trevor wasn’t my favorite, I really loved the incorporation of the realistic and equally as difficult family dramas, friendship troubles, and high school problems such as popularity. No matter how cliché it may seem to you while reading, you know those are things that cross everyone’s mind at some point.

Overall, Forever for a Year is a difficult book for me to rate. There were certain parts that I just couldn’t fall in love with, while there were other parts that I respected for their realism. I wouldn’t recommend this for younger YA readers, but those with the maturity to handle more serious topics would certainly enjoy Forever for a Year by the pool or at the beach!

xo

ARC August Sign-Up!

I just discovered this challenge of sorts, and as soon as I saw it I knew that I had to participate. This summer I’ve got the most ARCs ever on my TBR, so I think it was meant to be that I sign up for ARC August!

For more about ARC August, visit Octavia’s post on Read. Sleep. Repeat. As the graphic said, this is the third year that the lovely Octavia has run this brilliant challenge, and I can’t wait to participate!

The Rules:

The rules are very simple

  • It may be a physical ARC or and eARC but it MUST be an ARC
  • Yes it can be an ARC that has released as long as it’s an ARC I’m not going to nit pick much
  • HAVE FUN WITH THIS! Feeling like you are being “forced” to read is the best way turn a fun event into a yucky obligation.
  • Update post! I personally will do a post for each Saturday in August but that’s just me. You can update once a week, every other week or once for the whole darn event. This update can be in the form of a blog or tumblr post, vlog, link to your “ARC August 2015″ shelf or even an instagram pic! I want to make this as easy and low pressure as possible for you.

Goals:

Without giving myself an actual number of books (because that stresses me out), my goal for the challenge is to complete all of my remaining August ARCs, September ARCs, and get a jump start on any ARCs that I happen to have in my possession with later releases also. I think that’s manageable for me!

The Books:

These are the books as of right now, but they’re bound to change when August finally arrives!

  • The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur (Aug.)
  • Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (Aug.)
  • Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith (Sept.)
  • Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt (Sept.)
  • The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore (Sept.)
  • These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly (Oct.)

Will you be participating in ARC August?

xo

Review: What We Knew by Barbara Stewart

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: July 14th, 2015
Series: N/A
Pages: 256
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Genre(s): Contemporary, Thriller
Synopsis from Goodreads:

When a local myth starts to seem like a dangerous reality, two girls are set on a path that could change their lives forever

“When I was little, I imagined a monster: Scaly hands. Pits for eyes…”

When Tracy and her best friend, Lisa, were kids, stories about a man—a creep who exposes himself to little girls—kept them out of the woods and in their own backyards. But Tracy and Lisa aren’t so little anymore, and the man in the woods is nothing but a stupid legend. Right?

But someone is in the woods. Someone is watching. And he knows all their secrets, secrets they can’t tell anyone—not even each other.

“Monsters don’t exist.”

Lisa’s just being paranoid. At least that’s what Tracy thinks. But when a disturbing “gift” confirms her worst fears, it sets the girls on a dangerous journey that takes them beyond the edge of the woods. But reality is more terrifying than the most chilling myth, and what they find will test the bonds of friendship, loyalty, and love.

“Once upon a time, two girls were lost in the woods.”

In Barbara’s Stewart’s What We Knew, Tracy and Lisa can’t destroy the evil they’ll face, but can they stop it from destroying each other?

my rambles

Special thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!

What We Knew was a thrilling page-turner that I devoured in practically one sitting. The synopsis hinted that this was going to be a dark book, and it was. There were lots of moments where I was chilled to the bone by the horrors that this book brought to light — the horrors of reality.

While What We Knew should definitely be classified as a thriller for the mysteriousness in the way that it was written, the content was that of a darker contemporary, and I thought that the story reflected that. The main characters are troubled and there is more going on than just the thrilling and scary aspects of the story, which I really liked.

My favorite aspect of the book had to be the emails that were interspersed throughout the chapters, written from the main character, Tracey to her brother, Scott. Those emails gave lots of insight to what happened to Tracey, her best friend Lisa, and Lisa’s sister Katie at the end of the novel. They created tons of suspense and curiosity to find out what the events described amounted to.

One part of the book was a bit confusing to me and seemed sort of unnecessary (I can’t say without spoiling), which is why I felt like I could only give this a 4.5 star rating.

There is a bit of romance (and I guess you could consider it a love triangle…), but it felt right for the story. It wasn’t overpowering and it made the whole story of a group of high school kids seem more realistic.

I mentioned before the darkness that this book has within its pages. Without spoiling too much, I wanted to warn that sexual abuse is a topic, and it’s handled well, but it’s definitely prevalent and a major part of the storyline.

Overall, What We Knew was chilling, realistic, and a suspenseful page-turner! If you’re into books with dark themes and thrilling stories, this is the book for you!

xo