Showing posts with label Angelica Banks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Angelica Banks. Show all posts

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Week Without Tuesday Blog Tour Review, Interview, & Giveaway

Today marks the beginning of the A Week Without Tuesday blog tour. So, welcome to my stop! There are a number of reasons why I'm excited about this post. One, I finally get to share my interview with Angelica Banks. Two, I can, at last, talk about the book. And three, there is a giveaway from the publisher, so you, the readers, can enter for a chance to win A Week Without Tuesday. But first, more about the book before I get to the good stuff...

25332036Author: Angelica Banks

Release Date: February 2, 2016

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Something is broken in the land of story. Real and imaginary worlds are colliding—putting everything and everyone in grave peril. Tuesday and Baxterr, at the request of the Librarian, and with the help of Vivienne Small, venture to find the Gardener—the one person who can stop this catastrophe. On their way, they'll meet friends and foes, and discover strengths they didn't know they had. Will they be able to save the land of story?
I got the chance to read the continuation of Tuesday McGillycuddy’s story, A Week Without Tuesday, early. The series so far has been consistently good. The concept alone is cool and handled incredibly well. I mean, writers drifting off to visit their own characters in their own fictional worlds? Yes please! There’s a lot of charming details that I absolutely adore about this series. Finding Serendipity was one of my favorite books of 2015, and thankfully, A Week Without Tuesday was no different.

It's safe to say that I loved this book. But I can't just end my review there, I have to talk a little more about the book. So, here goes nothing.

This story picks up after the end of Finding Serendipity. Tuesday has taken up writing, just like her mother. Only, there’s trouble afoot. In the land where stories come from, fictional worlds are colliding in the worst way possible. This inevitably causes chaos that’s begun to affect Tuesday’s world, making it impossible to write safely. The rapidly evolving—and worsening—situation created some much needed tension, and set up situations that directly affected the characters. Their reaction to the situations were interesting since there was no easy solution.

The setting, as always, was highly imaginative once Tuesday steps into the land where stories come from. The method on how to get there—by thread—was still cool. And the Library was just as amazing as last time, even in a state of disarray.

Many of my favorite characters from Finding Serendipity made another appearance. Tuesday along with her trusty dog, Baxterr, are caught up in the trouble that's plagued the land where stories come from. Some of my favorite parts included Tuesday's reactions. She was a good main character. Their adventures are always a joy to read. Vivienne Small was also back, and I liked her and Tuesday's interactions—those were some of my favorite parts. Blake, the Librarian, and a few new writers were introduced. All of them were wonderful in their own ways, which is why the characters are one of my favorite aspects of the book.

This was one book that was right up my alley. The different aspects worked really well together. As such, A Week Without Tuesday was a ridiculously good book. In light of that, all I can really say is that I’m looking forward to Angelica Bank’s next book.
This copy of the book was provided by the publisher for this review, thank you!

Angelica Banks is the author of the Tuesday McGillycuddy series for middle grade readers. The first book in the series is Finding Serendipity (published by Henry Holt in the USA in 2015) and the sequel – A Week Without Tuesday – is published in February. The third book will be published in 2017. What you may not know is that Angelica Banks is the pen-name of the writing duo of Heather Rose and Danielle Wood who live on the isolated island of Tasmania off the south coast of Australia. Here’s an insight into their friendship, collaboration and writing...
What were a couple of your favorite young adult or middle grade novels that you read in 2015?

Danielle: I love a good list, and a while ago I looked up a list of the 50 best young adult novels ever, and I've been slowly working my way through it. This has taken me back to amazing books that I might have missed, such as Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. I Capture the Castle is, like our Tuesday McGillycuddy books, something of a love letter to the business of writing, and the voice of the main character - Cassandra - is completely fresh and lovely. A Wrinkle in Time is a fantastical romp through time and space - it plunges you into a bizarre series of events, but the book is so well written, and so much fun, that you can accept these events with very little in the way of explanation.

Heather: I have a fifteen year old so she often helps me discover new YA books. In 2015 the books that really stood out were the The Apothecary by Maile Meloy and The Minnow by Australian author Diana Sweeney. The Minnow is a heart-breaking yet luminous novel. And I absolutely loved discovering Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind series – I devoured those. Brilliant world creation.

What was it like working in collaboration with each other to write Finding Serendipity?

Heather and I have been friends for years, and we already knew each other very well when we started writing together. But, wow, do we know each other well NOW! Now I know just how much she dislikes semi-colons (while I love them) and words ending with ly (I also like those). To write with someone else is an amazing exercise in trust and sharing, and I feel like it’s taught me a huge amount about writing. We don’t argue; (tee hee - a semi-colon!) we just keep working on things, and trying new approaches, until both of us are totally happy with the outcome.

Heather: When we embarked on this journey there was a friendship at risk. And of course our own egos – would we live up to each other’s expectations, and would we be able to communicate and compromise successfully? As time has gone on, our collaboration has become more and more miraculous to me. It has enriched my life beyond measure. Danielle is a fastidious scientist of language and plot. She has helped corral my wild imaginings into books that we could never have created alone, and yet are somehow beyond both of us too. It’s a perfect collaboration of minds, hearts and our mutual love of literature – and children! We spend an enormous amount of time laughing.

Finding Serendipity is a book that I think would appeal to a lot of people for many reasons. So, what inspired you to sit down and write this story?

We wanted to write a book for children while our own children were still young enough to enjoy it. Also, we love children’s books ourselves. We loved children’s books when we were children, and then we had the opportunity to share our favourite classics (and a heap of wonderful new books) with our children. Each of us is a mother of three children, so as you can imagine, we’ve read thousands of books for young readers.

Heather: I have always had enormous respect for Danielle as a writer and a person. One day she invited me over for a cup of tea and a chat. Danielle said she thought we should write a children’s book together. She also said she knew there was a character called Tuesday McGillycuddy. Somehow as soon as she said that, I knew that Tuesday’s mother was called Serendipity and she was the most famous writer in the world. Danielle knew Tuesday had a dog and I knew his name was Baxterr with a double rr - but at that stage I didn't know why. It was as if this series had split itself into two and half was living in Danielle’s head and half was living in mine. It took Danielle making tea and suggesting we write together for the whole thing to begin unfurling. I suspect a lot of magical things have happened over cups of tea…

What are your favorite aspects of the Tuesday McGillycuddy series?

For me, one of the best things is the character of Baxterr. I have been lucky enough to have wonderful canine companions all through my life, and they are a great source of companionship, safety and love. Tuesday has a truly magnificent dog in Baxterr, and he has been an absolute joy to write.

Heather: My three children are mostly grown up now, so I have spent a lot of years visiting classrooms and talking to children. And it was really apparent to me that creative children often lack guidance about the creative process – particularly budding writers. And they also sometimes lack a wise friend in times of challenge. So for all that our books are funny and full of wonderful characters and wild adventure, they also have some really important information for young creative minds to take counsel and courage from. When we do school visits it’s extraordinary how much the books have inspired so much writing and art – and that makes it feel immensely worthwhile. We’re planting seeds and we have no idea what will grow.

Do you have any daily goals or sources of inspiration that keep you motivated?

My goal is always to do at least SOME writing every day. With three young children and all the busy-ness that goes with them, this isn’t always easy, but I’m a much nicer person when I manage it. When I start thinking that writing is really hard, or that I’ll never be as good as I hope to be, I remind myself that every single thing ever written was just something that somebody once sat down and wrote. That’s obvious, of course, but it seems to help me get over my stage fright.

Heather: I think a lot of us go through life saying ‘No’ to our creativity. No because there’s a schedule, there’s demands, there’s competing forces in our lives that keep us away from the desk or the canvas etc. I know this so well being a mother of three, a wife, and for years working full-time running a business etc. So now, like Danielle, I try to be available every day for writing. I’m at my desk at 9am (earlier when I can) and I’m ready to work. I always have a number of writing projects on the go, but that also helps. I have a great note-taking App on my phone (Captio) and I always have a pen and a notebook with me wherever I go. So I’m available when ideas come. Elizabeth Gilbert has captured all this beautifully in her new book Big Magic. I highly recommend it. I also have a quote by Pablo Picasso stuck on my desk. It says ‘“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

Where are some of your favorite places to write?

I write in a gypsy caravan in my garden. Through the window, I can see the Derwent River that divides our city of Hobart in two. In my caravan, I have a pin-board covered in images that inspire my writing. At the moment, there are lots of pictures of the Russian witch, Baba Yaga.

Heather: I am inspired by a house with only me in it, and a view of nature. The solitude is really important, and the removal of potential and actual interruptions. I also find a walk on a beach or in a forest really gets my characters talking. In the busier times in life when business demands and the school schedule precluded such things, I would write deep into the night once my family was asleep. And I try to schedule in at least two weeks where I escape each year to pour a lot of words onto the page and work with structuring. I find those long stretches of time are essential once the word count gets over 25000 words.

What’s next for you?

Angelica Banks is working on the finishing touches of the third Tuesday McGillycuddy book, which is called Blueberry Pancakes Forever, and which will be out in the USA in 2017.

Heather: Yes, we have the launch of A Week Without Tuesday (Book 2) in the US in February. It’s going to be a wonderful year for Tuesday, Vivienne and Baxterr! And I have my next adult novel coming out in Australia in September. It’s called The Museum of Modern Love. I hope Angelica Banks will also do lots of school visits to talk about writing and creativity. Those are the true highlights for me.
I hope you enjoyed the interview as much as I did. Those are some fantastic answers, and I'm definitely looking forward to Blueberry Pancakes Forever. Now, onto the giveaway. Below, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of A Week Without Tuesday. This giveaway is US ONLY.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the blog tour...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

ARC Review: Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks

Finding SerendipityTitle: Finding Serendipity 
Author: Angelica Banks
Source/Format: Won, ARC
More Details: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Henry Holt and Co., February 3, 2015

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Summary from Goodreads...

When Tuesday McGillycuddy and her beloved dog, Baxterr, discover that Tuesday’s mother—the famous author Serendipity Smith—has gone missing, they set out on a magical adventure. In their quest to find Serendipity, they discover the mysterious and unpredictable place that stories come from. Here, Tuesday befriends the fearless Vivienne Small, learns to sail an enchanted boat, tangles with an evil pirate, and discovers the truth about her remarkable dog. Along the way, she learns what it means to be a writer and how difficult it can sometimes be to get all the way to The End.
It took me a couple of days to finally just sit down and write this review. Not because I didn’t like this book, but for the simple fact that I had to figure out what I wanted to say without spoiling it for everyone else. When I first read the synopsis for this book I was excited to read it. It just seemed like my kind of story. And I have to say that it not only reached my expectations but exceeded them. Finding Serendipity is a gorgeously spun tale about a place where stories can live and breathe, and the adventures of a girl who sets out to find her mother, Serendipity Smith.

I loved this book. The concept of it was just awesome and done so well that I had a hard time putting this book down. The setting, wow, I loved everything about it—the idea behind it clearly had some thought to it and the execution of the details made it easy to get immersed in the story.

As far as characters go, I really liked Tuesday McGillycuddy. On the day that she thinks Serendipity will finally be able to take some time off she finds that her mother has mysteriously gone missing. And she was worried, which was entirely understandable. So, one thing led to another and Tuesday ends up in a place where she thinks she’ll find her mother. The way she got there was just…I don’t even know what to say about it besides that it was definitely something I haven’t read before, and entirely entertaining to watch unfold. It was one of the numerous aspects that I liked about Finding Serendipity. Ok, now I’m going to talk about the dog, Baxterr. I loved Baxterr! He was faithful and helpful to Tuesday and he was just such a nice addition to the story. I could go on and on about all of the various characters but that would kind of be a spoiler so I’m just going to stop now. I’ll just leave it at the fact that they were all great!

All in all, Finding Serendipity was an entirely enjoyable book, and while it might be considered middle grade, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read it. The only thing I really have to say that could even remotely be considered a complaint is that I wish there was a sequel, because I would totally read it.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Musing Mondays (19)

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, that asks you to muse about something book related each week.

My Musings for the Week...
Finding Serendipity
This week I'm going to share a bit about the book I'm currently reading. I literally just started an ARC of Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks. This is a middle grade novel that was released on February 3, 2015.

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

More about the book (Summary from Goodreads)...

When Tuesday McGillycuddy and her beloved dog, Baxterr, discover that Tuesday’s mother—the famous author Serendipity Smith—has gone missing, they set out on a magical adventure. In their quest to find Serendipity, they discover the mysterious and unpredictable place that stories come from. Here, Tuesday befriends the fearless Vivienne Small, learns to sail an enchanted boat, tangles with an evil pirate, and discovers the truth about her remarkable dog. Along the way, she learns what it means to be a writer and how difficult it can sometimes be to get all the way to The End...

What are you reading this week?
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