Book Tour — Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards

blogtour

Today I’m VERY excited to have Natalie D. Richards stop by to promote her new release, Six Months Later.  Six Month Later is a young adult mystery/thriller (that will leave you on the edge of your seat!) that was released October 1, 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire.

About the Book

sixmonths

The Deets

Author: Natalie D. Richards
Pub Date: 10/1/13
Format: e-book, hardcover
Pages: 336 pages
Pub: Sourcebooks Fire
Read: August 16, 2013
Acquired: Netgalley
Book Pages: Amazon.com • Goodreads.com  •  Author’s Website  
Book Type: YA, mystery, thriller

Synopsis

Chloe didn’t think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can’t remember the last six months of her life. Before, she’d been a mediocre student. Now, she’s on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he’s her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won’t speak to her.

What happened to her?
And why can’t she remember? (From Goodreads.com)

My Thoughts

Why You Should Buy It

This creeptastic mystery will grab you by the lapels from the first word and won’t let go until the very end.  Six Months Later is everything to love in a great mystery thriller book.

*I received this e-book in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.*

There are some books that you have to get into to.  You have to push through the first few chapters before the rewards pay off.  And then there are those books that grab you from the first word.  Six Months Later happened to fall in the later category.  From the first moment I opened it, I was hooked.  I spent the entire book confused, stomach in knots, wondering what was going on.  This book was downright creepy!

The writing was great, but beyond that the story was so captivating.  I mean, pages into the story she is waking up six months in the future, so you spend most of the book wondering what happened to this poor girl.  The confusion, twists and turns were just enough to propel the story through to the end.

There is one other thing I want to mention about the book.  I LOVE how Chloe realizes that all the changes in her life that everyone seems to love are just not her.  She is a strong enough individual to understand that being things you aren’t just to please others is not what life is about.  And especially when she comes to the conclusion that the things she has to be to date a boy she liked aren’t who she is, we really get to see what a mature and intelligent character we are dealing with.

As a person who normally figures the plot out early in a book, I was pleasantly surprised to NOT know what was going on for most of the book.  I had all kinds of wild theories going on: pod people, aliens, mind control, comas, etc.  Trying to figure out what was going on was just as fun as reading the book.

And even when you find out what is going on, there still isn’t relief.  I was so nervous, so invested in Chloe that I couldn’t slow down until I knew she was safe.  And that, my friends, is why I enjoyed this book so much.  It was everything to love in a mystery thriller.

Rating

4_5stars

Inside the Author’s Head

Welcome to the blog!  Can you first tell readers where the idea came from for Six Months Later? 

Thank you so much, Jessica!  It’s lovely to be here — thank you for having me!

Six Months Later was actually born from a work nightmare I had. LOL!  In the dream, I’d dozed off at my desk and when I opened my eyes, it felt like only a few moments had passed, but outside it was a totally different season.  The dream was like a nanosecond long, but it left me so chilled.  And that question, “What if you fell asleep and woke up missing a huge chunk of time?” stayed with me, slowly unfolding into something much bigger.

This story was completely fascinating and terrifying.  What kind of research did you have to do to prepare yourself to write it?

Jessica, I’m going to cut this question out and keep it in my pocket for yucky days — how sweet of you!! I’ll be honest, creepy is right in my wheelhouse.  My friends don’t tend to ask me if I’m going to write something dark.  They ask “How Dark This Time?”  It’s actually sort of weird because I’m a total class clown who loves to laugh, so who knows why I’ve got this eerie streak running through me, but I obviously do!

It’s not really just about the fear for me, it’s more about what a character is going to do with that fear.  When things in life go horribly wrong, we all find out what we’re really made of.  So for my books, and especially Six Months Later, the most important research I did was on my characters.  I needed to really understand them. A lot of it happens in edits, to be honest.  I learn so much as I write characters that I have to go back and fix things in the beginning that don’t feel right now that I know them better.

How did your studies and experiences in life help shape who you are as a writer?

I’ve studied writing and literature since I was very young and in my career path, I’ve practiced technical, legal, and business writing.  I’ve also pursued several fiction writing classes and joined writing groups, which is enormously helpful.  That said, I’m still a firm believer that the best way to become a good writer is to read.  A Lot.  I think it’s a critical part of the job.  There are loads of classes and books that are helpful.  If asked for recommendations, I’d have to say Stephen King’s “On Writing” is at the top of the stack for me.

Okay, so I always like to see what authors read.  What are your top five favorite books and why?

Oh, man.  There’s just no way I can pick my top five.  And that’s really because I probably have a top 100.  I love books.  I mean, I love them so much I might have attachment issues I should discuss with a therapist!  But here’s five that have been in that top list for a long while.

1.  Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere (because the setting and concept are beyond words)
2.  Barbara Kingsolver – The Poisonwood Bible (killed my soul and gave me hope at the same time)
3.  Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games (her voice is magical and this book is simply amazing)
4.  Laurie Halse Anderson – Wintergirls (because her honesty is necessary and still beautiful)
5.  JK Rowling – Harry Potter (I think Harry Potter is bigger than any explanation I can offer – it’s brilliant from beginning to end in a thousand ways.)

Night owl or early bird?  How does it help with your writing process?

NIGHT OWL!  This would help much more with my writing process if my productive time actually peaked in the evening.  But mostly, I find myself on YouTube watching random trailers or on eBay trying to justify the purchase of a cotton candy maker (or something equally ridiculous.)

Did you always know you wanted to be an author?

Yes.  I think I wanted to be an author before I knew what they were called.

If you could live in one ‘book world’ which one would it be and why?

Wow, great question!  Love this! Hmm, off the top of my head I’d go with Rivendell from the Lord of the Rings because everything about it sounds gorgeous, serene, and magical.

What projects do you think you’ll work on next now that Six Months Later has been published?

I’ve already finished my next YA thriller, One Name a Week, which I’m super excited about.  I’m still in the edit/rewrites phase, so I can’t say too much, but I can tell you it’s about a girl who discovers some very dark things going on in her high school.  When she discovers a way to make things right, she goes for it, but it will cost her more than she’s willing to pay.  😉

I also have a few other things in the works including a middle grade adventure and a couple of other dark YA books, one with a little edge of sci-fi.

I hope those answers don’t scare anyone off!! J  Thanks again so much for having me — it’s been a blast to be here!!

About the Author

nataliedrichards

Natalie D. Richards won her first writing competition in the second grade with her short story about Barbara Frances Bizzlefishes (who wouldn’t dare do the dishes.)

Now she writes about awesome girls, broody boys, and all things dark and creepy. When she’s not writing or shopping her manuscripts, you can probably find her wading through the towers of dog-eared paperbacks that have taken over her bedroom.

Natalie lives in Ohio (Go Bucks!) with her techno-wiz husband, three amazing kids, and a seventy pound dust-mop who swears he’s the family dog.

Connect with Natalie

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Buy from Amazon:

Poor Little Dead Girls — Book Review

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The Deets

author: Lizzie Friend

released: December 18, 2013

format: e-book, hardcover, audiobook

pages: 288 pages

publisher: Merit Press

Read: August 12-14, 2013

Acquired: Netgalley

Book Pages: Amazon.com  • Goodreads.com  •  Author’s Website  

Book Type: YA, mystery, thriller

The Down-low

Is it a game? Or is it murder?

The first time she’s blindfolded and “kidnapped,” Sadie, a brand-new star athlete at a posh boarding school, is terrified. Luckily, it’s all a prank designed to induct her into a powerful secret society that her mom belonged to at Keating Hall. The circle has it all – incredible connections; fabulous parties; and, of course, an in with the brother society’s gorgeous pledges. The instant popularity is enough to make Sadie forget about the little marks on her arm, creepy black robes, and an unfortunate incident that befell a girl on the team years ago. So the next time Sadie is gagged and kidnapped, she’s only slightly annoyed – even though she should be extremely terrified of what’s to come. (From Goodreads.com)

Why You Should Buy It

Poor Little Dead Girls starts with a ‘normal’ teenager who is thrown into the life of the rich and famous when she attends boarding school.  Part Gossip Girl, part conspiracy and secret society, this story will leave you reeling when you finally uncover all the truth.

My Thoughts

*I received this e-book in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.*

This book was everything I was expecting and more.  Sadie is a normal, average teenager, who gets the opportunity to attend an elite boarding school on the East Coast.  Armed with a Lacrosse scholarship, Sadie is determined to use the experience to pave her way to college.  Like you would expect, Sadie is thrown into the world of the rich and famous, all while sitting in her jeans and messy hair ponytail.

I have to say on a personal note, I could never have the guts to go to a school like that.  Sadie knows she is going in as the ‘scholarship kid’, but she makes the best of it.  She has British royalty for roommates and rich, catty girls after her spot on the team.

Then, Sadie is tapped for a secret society.  The entire thing was obviously expected since it is in the synopsis, but the things that happen within the society are a bit shocking.  Having no frame of reference, I can’t say with all certainty that things were blown up for entertainment factor, but I can imagine things like this happening.

One thing that bothered me is the age group this book targets.  The material is dark and mature.  Now, I’m all about books with dark themes, but I think this could have happened in a college setting just as easily.  Do keep this in mind when shopping for your teenagers.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and it did keep me on my toes, wondering what was going to happen next.  I found it an enjoyable read and think anyone who likes murder mysteries, books about rich girls and boys who do devious things behind closed doors, conspiracies, or boarding schools should definitely check this one out.

Rating

4stars

The Naturals — Book Review

naturals

The Deets

author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

released: November 5, 2013

format: e-book, hardcover, audiobook

pages: 320 pages

publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Read: August 11, 2013

Acquired: Netgalley

Book Pages: Amazon.com • Goodreads.com  •  Author’s Website  

Book Type: YA, mystery, thriller

The Down-low

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive. (From Goodreads.com)

Why You Should Buy It

The Naturals is everything I love about mystery television in a YA package.  Criminal Minds meets Dexter meets Veronica Mars — this book will have you on the edge of the seat until the very end.

My Thoughts

*I received this e-book in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley.*

I was a criminal justice/criminal psychology minor in college.  I spent classes learning about serial killers, their patterns, behaviors, and profiling.  These things were completely fascinating to me (I know, I’m weird), and continue to be so now.  This is why I’m a mystery/thriller tv fanatic: Criminal Minds, Dexter, Law & Order: SVU… You get the picture.  So when I saw the premise of this book, I knew I had to pick it up.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  The idea of a 17 year old being groomed by the FBI is weird.  The fact that they don’t send these kids to school to learn is a bit far-fetched.  HOWEVER, if you can get passed this, the rest of the book is really great.

We go back and forth between the mind of a serial killer and our protagonist, 17 year old Cassie.  Cassie was taught from a young age to ‘profile’ people and when her mother died at the hands of a killer, she is sent to live with family.  Cassie never really felt like she belonged anywhere, so when she has the opportunity to be taught to hone her profiling skills by the FBI, she takes it.

The science behind profiling is really interesting to me, and the details Barnes  uses in this book are consistent with what I learned in college (albeit a very low level of training mind you!)  I think this really helped the authenticity of the book.

The story is fast-paced, well-written and will keep you guessing until the end.  Even when you think you know what is going on, Barnes manages to pull one over on you (and Cassie a time or two!)  There is a bit of a love triangle which really wasn’t completely necessary, but will probably cater to younger readers.

Speaking of younger readers — the subject matter in this book is obviously heavy.  Even though it is labeled as YA, I think older, mature teens may be the audience that can handle the book.  I wouldn’t recommend it for younger students.

I can’t wait to see where Cassie and the other Naturals go from here!

Rating

4stars