Monday, 5 October 2015

The Fierce Reads Blog Tour: Q/A and Review

Today I'm helping Sam @ Cherry Blossoms & Maple Syrup kick off the first day and stop of the Fierce Reads Blog Tour. Between October 5th - 9th authors Emma Mills, Josephine Angelini, Leila Sales and Leigh Bardugo will be stopping by each blog for a short Q/A. Bloggers will also be sharing their thoughts on select Fierce Reads titles. To learn more about this season's Fierce Reads, be sure to stop by the official site. (

Fierce Authors
Emma Mills is a debut author better known to her subscribers as vlogger Elmify. She is also co-creator and co-host of the "life skills" channel How to Adult.
[Youtube] [Twitter] [Goodreads]

Josephine Angelini is the internationally bestselling author of Trial by Fire and the Starcrossed series. She is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. Originally from Massachusetts, Josie now lives in Los Angeles with her screenwriter husband, her daughter, Pia Marie, and three shelter cats. You can visit her on Facebook, her website, or follow her on Twitter @josieangelini.        
[Website] [Twitter] [Goodreads]

Leila Sales ( is the author of the novels This Song Will Save Your Life, Mostly Good Girls, and Past Perfect. This Song Will Save Your Life garnered two starred reviews, was included on the American Library Association's Best Fiction for Young Adults list, was one of Bank Street College of Education's Best Books of the Year, and was listed as one of the Best YA Books of 2013 by It has been published in ten foreign countries, and it has been optioned for stage and film development.  Leila grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Chicago. When she's not writing, she spends her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, chocolate, and how to get more of all of them. Leila lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in children's book publishing. Follow her @LeilaSalesBooks.
                                       [Website] [Twitter]

Leigh Bardugo is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Grisha Trilogy: Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and most recently, makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band. Her new book, Six of Crows, arrives fall 2015.
[Website] [Twitter] [Goodreads]

Fierce Reads
Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good. Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves. Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini!

Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she's tired of being loyal to people who don't appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom. Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him. During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was, either.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone... A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

Author Q/A

Q. The importance of a character's name. Common or unusual, a character's name can say a lot about their personality, and can even work to a reader's advantage in picturing the setting of your story. How did you pick your character's perfect name?

Emma Mills:
Naming characters is one of my favorite parts of the writing process! Sometimes names pop into my head right away and absolutely fit the character I have in mind, but other times it takes a few tries to get it right. For Devon in FIRST & THEN, the name just really sat right with me! I’ve always liked it.

Josephine Angelini:
Rowan trees were called “the sorcerer’s tree” because they were often found outside witch’s houses. Their bright red berries were said to ward off evil. Lillian and Lily were originally going to be named Lilith, after the biblical character who “would not lie down.” For convoluted personal reasons I had to change the name to Lillian. I regret that. I should have stuck with Lilith.

Leila Sales:
I never know exactly why I choose the names that I do for my characters. I just sort of sound it out until I find one that feels right. I think I named the main character of TONIGHT THE STREETS ARE OURS Arden because on some subconscious level it reminded me of the word “ardent.” And Arden is certainly ardent. Plus, it just sounds like who she is!

Leigh Bardugo:
I can't write a main character until I've found the right name. Sometimes they just arrive—Inej, Matthias, Nina, Wylan, Kaz—all fairly easy. Jesper began life as Heron Fahey because he's tall and gangly, built like a stork. But there were too many last names and place names that started with "H," so I started browsing through Nameberry and Behind the Name. "Jesper" jumped right out of me. It just fit. And I liked the meaning too, since Jesper is always short of cash. Of course, if it's just someone I'm going to kill off in a few pages, I put a placeholder in and come back to it. I spend quite a bit of time choosing those names too, but I don't let it slow my momentum when I'm drafting.


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
The Grisha Trilogy is an astonishing series by Leigh Bardugo that completely bewitched and captivated audiences both young and old. Readers fell in love with fierce protagonist Alina Starkov, the powerful and seductive Darkling, as well as the impressively diverse and unique universe of the Grisha. With the upcoming release of Six of Crows, I was happy to once again have the opportunity to step back into Leigh Bardugo's world with a fresh perspective. The promising premise instantly sold me and it's cast of unusual and exotic characters peeked my interest.

“Greed may do your bidding, but death serves no man.”

Step into Ketterdam: an energetic and exotic hub of international trade where the buyer can have anything they want as long as the price is right. Enter Kaz Brekker, a thief who's given a unique opportunity to pull off what many cannot - a heist. However, in order to pull off this epic heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams, he requires the aid of a dangerous crew of cunning outcasts. Told in alternating perspectives, Six of Crows pulls the reader into a high stakes thrill ride with a cast of the most un-forthcoming characters you'll ever read.

Six of Crows was unbelievably thrilling! With an Oceans 11 feel, Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows immediately pulled me back into the world of the Grisha where magic and weirdness reigns supreme, and not everything is as it seems. The refreshing cast of characters Leigh Bardugo introduces in Six of Crows are completely unlike any I've ever read. The band of thieves, each with their own interesting pasts and secretive agendas, were entirely adsorbing. Kaz, Jesper, Nina, Inej, each possessed their own unique narration that stirred my curiosity and tempted me further into their schemes, a feat that didn't quite sink me in until further into the novel but left me irrevocably satisfied in wait for the next installment.

Fans of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha trilogy will undoubtedly fall in love with the first novel in the Dreggs series.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
Leila Sales is an author who's been on my radar since the release of "Past Perfect" in 2011. It was a title that instantly gripped me and had me completely invested in it's characters. Although I've yet to read Leila's "This Song Will Save Your Life", I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to read and review her latest, "Tonight the Streets Are Ours".

"Love means sometimes sacrificing the things you want in order to make somebody else happy. It means being there for them, even when maybe you don't feel like it, because they need you."

In this funny and realistic title, readers meet seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley - a recklessly devoted teen girl who's always put the needs of others before her own. When Arden begins to feel under appreciated by her mother and clingy best friend, she stumbles upon a blog titled "Tonight the Streets Are Ours", a blog run by aspiring writer Peter from New York City. Through the experiences he shares on his blog, Arden begins to connect with him and resolves to take a road trip to meet Peter.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours was the most conflicting and emotionally compromising title I've read this year. For a long time I wasn't quite sure what to make of the characters, their impressively realistic conversations and the ridiculous choices that were made. I primarily concerned myself with Arden's resolve to track down a complete stranger she'd only learned about online. Although something I strongly advocate that teens and adults never do, I was impressed with how realistic Arden's thinking was for a teenager. Although not a character I initially enjoyed, she had a unique and interesting narrative that grew on me.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours was an unconventional coming of age tale disguised as an out of the ordinary love story. It brought characters together, challenged who they were, and questioned the inevitability of hurting others or eventually being hurt yourself. Readers looking for a quick read featuring realistic teens and conversations will be thrilled with Leila Sales' Tonight the Streets Are Ours.

Firewalker by Josephine Angelini
If my readers need any reminding about my thoughts on the first book in Josephine Angelini's Worldwalker trilogy, they'll be pleased to know that I loved Trial by Fire to pieces. Although Lily Proctor wasn't a character I instantly connected with or enjoyed. the world that Josephine Angelini created was completely unique and thrilling.

"Haven’t you learned yet? Someone has to be the villain so everyone else can stay alive."

Lily and Rowan return in this fast-paced companion novel to Trial by Fire. After it's gripping conclusion, Lily and Rowan find themselves back in the Salem Lily's always known - a safe Salem where witches, magic, and even Lillian are absent. Even so, Lillian continues to work tirelessly to bring Lily back into New Salem, and in doing so abandoning all her loved ones.

Although Lily Proctor wasn't a character I loved during Trial by Fire, I was pleased to see the progress she'd made in Firewalker. Now a fierce and cunning protagonist, Lily was a force not to be reckoned with. Her narrative voice was strong and her newly discovered identity and independence was a breath of fresh air. Furthermore, I loved the emotional twists and turns Firewalker had in store for readers. I never expected Firewalker to be such a thrilling and emotionally consuming ride, something Trial by Fire certainly wasn't.

Fans of Josephine Angelini will not be disappointed by Firewalker. Readers can expect a fiercer and more confident protagonist, a further look at the characters and their motives, and an exciting series of events that will leave you begging for the final novel in the series.

I want to take the time to thank Raincoast Books and Fierce Reads for organizing this incredible blog tour. I'd also like to thank Emma Mills, Leila Sales, Josephine Angelini, and Leigh Bardugo for participating and taking the time to answer our questions.

Be sure to check out what other bloggers will be posting for the blog tour! Follow @Raincoastbooks , @FierceReads, or check out the hashtag on Twitter #FierceReadsTakesTO . To learn more about the Fierce Reads event in Toronto, be sure to check out the Facebook event page.

Happy Reading,


  1. Thanks! This was fun!

  2. Thanks for stopping by! Great answers to the character name question and great reviews Wendy

  3. I've always been curious as to why authors pick certain names for characters. Looking forward to reading these.

  4. I guess I have some new books to shop for this week, now don't I? (wink wink)

    I've read wonderful things about Six of Crows, Firewalker, Tonight the Streets are ours, and First/Then, and hearing about how the authors picked their character names was interesting.

  5. Thank you for being part of the tour Wendy and for including so much on your post. I particularly liked your reviews and the questions/answers.

  6. Amazing job, Wendy! Loved your Q&A question and you've got me already more excited than I was to go to the Fierce Reads event in TO. Seriously, awesome work!

  7. Rockin' question! Mt favourite part of this tour is going to see everyone's Q&A. I love how creative everyone is. :D
    Happy reading!
    Brittany @ This is the Story of My(Reading) Life