The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross + exclusive Q&A with author Leife Shallcross

Release Date: May 2018
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (Hachette, Australia)

“I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both. I am the Beast. The day I was cursed to this wretched existence was the day I was saved—although it did not feel so at the time. My redemption sprung from contemptible roots; I am not proud of what I did the day her father happened upon my crumbling, isolated chateau. But if loneliness breeds desperation then I was desperate indeed, and I did what I felt I must. My shameful behaviour was unjustly rewarded. My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart; she taught me how to be human again. And now I might lose her forever.”

Firstly, we would like to give our special thanks to Hachette Publishers: Date A Book Team for an Advanced Review Copy we received at their exclusive Blogger Nighte and to author Leife Shallcross for being part of our personal read along journey and taking part in our exclusive blog interview. Such an exciting experience as we engaged in a read along with 2 amazing bloggers “Sydney Editor 1” and “Tien’s Blurb” who are also dear friends of ours and the author, Leife Shallcross herself! (Now a dear friend to us all) A lot of fun as we communicated spoiler free updates to each other and Leife sharing her writing experience and inspirations with us as we read along.

Our Thoughts
This was so beautifully written, I felt like I was reading a classical, melodic, fairytale with all the feels that really came to life in my mind!!! An amazing story that developed beautifully, fantastically well-defined characters, the author did such a great job in reimagining the tale that’s old as time and really took us deep into the heart of the beast. This is a story no one has heard before and a must read now. Beautiful writing and language, amazing characters you grow to love and a beast who I just want to hug!  Oh.. the love.. the feels.. for a first time in a very long time, I found this to be a book I needed to take a moment of silence for right at the end, it was that beautiful.
– Annie

This book is so beautifully written, you’ll feel the magic, the intricate storytelling, the love, all the feels that you can expect from a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I love that it’s set around about the 17th-century era, the restraint, the language and politeness all add to the charming storytelling. I love the characters, my fav has to be Marie. I’m also totally in love the Beast too as you’ll see everything from his perspective! This is a wonderful, magical and a timeless book and retelling. I only wish it came in hard copy as I feel I would be re-reading this book anytime I need to escape reality. There are so many parts that hit me right in the heart.
– NJ

Exclusive Q&A with author Leife Shallcross

What is the title of your debut novel and what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always loved fairy tales (I use them a lot in my writing), and I particularly love Beauty and the Beast because the two protagonists actually get to spend time falling in love. But one of the big story problems for me was always the question of how you make a romantic hero out of a man who has done something so awful that someone was compelled to put him under a curse for 100 years. So I wanted to explore that. I also wanted to create a fairy tale world I could just sink into and lose myself. My novel is The Beast’s Heart, and will be published by Hodder & Stoughton (Hachette) in May 2018. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast from the Beast’s perspective.

What sort of research goes into writing a book like this and how did you come up with the characters for your story? Were you reading other books or going online to search how one may dress at a particular time?
I did a fair bit of research into the historical details. There were so many little bits and pieces that I had to tweak to make them accurate! For example, in France in the 17th Century, people were usually married on the steps of the church, rather than inside at the altar (I didn’t know that before I started!) I did a lot of my research online, but obviously this means I had to be a bit careful about using reliable sources. Contemporary paintings are a great resource for things like food, clothes and table settings, but I had to bear in mind these were usually painted to hang in the houses of the rich and convey a sense of their wealth. I used original sources where I could (like church registers for names – it’s surprising how many are available on the net). My characters are mostly the ones you find in the usual B&B fairy tale, but I have tried to give them their own personalities, motivations and story arcs. I’ve added a few extra ones of my own devising, though!

If your book became a film adaptation, who would you cast to play your characters?
Such a tricky question! Perhaps Aidan Turner for the Beast. Or Theo James. And maybe Maisie Williams or Lily Collins for my heroine. I think you’d need someone very striking to play the Fairy. Perhaps Tilda Swinton or Eva Green?

Are you a reader yourself? What is your favourite genre and your favourite book?
Of course! I read a lot of fantasy and sci fi, and predictably I particularly love fairy tale retellings. I subscribe to the belief that before you can be a good writer, you have to be a devoted reader. But how am I supposed to choose a favourite book???? Argh! All time favourites include Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne-Jones, Beauty, by Robin McKinley and Red As Blood by Tanith Lee. Recent faves are Uprooted by Naomi Novik and the Shades of Magic series by V E Schwab. I could go on forever…

If you had the chance to create a soundtrack for “The Beast’s Heart” what would the track list look like?
Here’s a few:
-Green, by Alex Lloyd
-1000 Oceans, by Tori Amos
-Heartlines, by Florence & the Machine
-Photograph, by Ed Sheeran
-If Time is All I Have, by James Blunt.

During your writing journey, what was the best piece of advice you were ever given?
Find your writing community (and it can’t just be any old writing community, it has to be the right one. Your writing community. Your tribe. People who are going to get what you’re trying to write.) Writing can be a very lonely business, and it’s not just about being a good writer. You have to know about the industry and how to be professional about your craft. I’ve learned so much invaluable stuff from the wonderful, generous people in my writing community (the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild). I don’t think I’d be here today without them.

Advertisements

Kidz Korner Round Up

With our passion for reading, we still engage in children’s books so we can continue to make book recommendations for parents and our younger audience. Here is a round up for our children’s reading recommendations!!!

Hugo Makes a Change by Scott Emmons and Mauro Gatti

Hugo the vampire craves red, juicy meat for every meal! But when his eating habits leave him feeling sluggish and bored, he goes on the prowl for something new. After trying fruits and vegetables for the first time, he discovers the joys of a more balanced diet. The story is told in rhymed verse accompanied by simple, charming, graphic illustrationsA fun read. Hugo learns what fun it is when you try eating new and exciting food produce. In his it was fruit and vegetables. Hugo also learnt not to judge certain foods by what they look like. I had fun going on the adventure with Hugo as he went exploring. A great read for those fussy little eaters!!! Suitable to readers under 5 years old. Special thanks to Walker Books Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Meredith

Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud by Katie Harnett
Everyone loves the warm sunshine—except the lonely raincloud. No one wants to be his friend! But one day, he stumbles across a grumpy little florist, could she be looking for a friend too? In this charming tale, a solitary raincloud finds a way to make a sad little girl happy again, by using the very thing that most people dislike about him—rain! This is a picture book about finding friends that are right for you. It shows that being with the right friends can make you happy. An important lesson to surround yourself with people who make you feel good. Suitable to readers 6 years old and up. Special thanks to Walker Book Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Amanda

Swan Lake by Anne Spudvilas
The iconic ballet Swan Lake, the tragic love story of a princess transformed into a swan by an evil sorcerer, has been revered for more than a century. In this atmospheric adaptation, the picture book reimagines the classic tale of passion, betrayal and heartbreak in the dramatic riverscape of the Murray-Darling. This is such a beautiful picture book illustrating the classical ballet, the art work is so well done, a book where charcoal art speaks a thousand words. Very beautiful and flows so well, a book you would want to read over and over again. Suitable to children and families and recommended as a family storytime book. Special thanks to Allen and Unwin Pubishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie

The Poesy Ring by Bob Graham
It’s 1830 in County Kerry, Ireland, and a gold ring is thrown into the wind by a young woman on a black horse. As the seasons pass, the little treasure finds itself on the most astonishing journey, finally settling at the bottom of a deep sea. Will the ring, inscribed with “love never dies”, ever fulfil its destiny, and find the finger of a woman truly loved? It doesn’t matter what form one might take, this book shows us that you can always have an adventure. Whether your adventure is sitting on top of a hill, in a field being plowed by a farmer, flying through the air with wings or even in the ocean – take your time and enjoy the adventure you are on. A wonderful read suitable for children ages 6 and up. Special thanks to Walker Book Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Meredith

Horses by Iris Volant and Jarom Vogel
The beautiful honrse has been part of us for centuries. These
iconic animals have been a part of human history–they’ve plowed our fields, pulled our carts, fought in our wars and been our beloved companions. Journey through the history of human and horse interaction in this beautifully illustrated book. A great and insightful history that captivates the attention of youngsters. Suitable for ages 5 years old and up. Special thanks to Walker Book Publishers for a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T Anderson

 

In a world where technology takes over and ATMs lead the charge!!!

An alien invasion story like no other!!!

When the vuvv first landed, it came as a surprise to aspiring artist Adam and the rest of planet Earth – but not necessarily an unwelcome one. But is it really an invasion when the vuvv generously offered free advanced technology and cures for every illness imaginable? Apparently… yes…

I found this to be a quick and very interesting read that takes a different turn on alien invasion stories!!! Normally when we read about sci-fi and alien invasions we think green monsters or intergalactic soldiers defending earth against the universe.. this however treats an alien invasion as a colonisation – and to be honest, I can’t see how different this story is from the real world!!! A world where robots will take over and ATMs will lead the charge to help the economy and automate literally everything!! So where does automation leave families? Following the main character, Adam who is an artist and is battling what he calls an embarrssing illness. He takes it upon himself to support his family in an age of high unemployment in light of this technological invasion and the only way to get ahead is to be part of this alien reality tv show. The plot was quite unique and the story was quite cleverly executed. I found this to be a very fast paced read, all the while thinking – actually, this is happening right now!! I recommend this to readers who enjoy contemporary with elements of sci-fi.

Many thanks to Walker Books Publishers for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie

 

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

First installment of the Knights of the Borrowed Dark Trilogy – A book you wont put down!!!

Denizen Hardwick is an orphan, and his life is normal. Sure, in storybooks orphans are rescued from drudgery when they discover they are a wizard or a warrior or a prophesied king. But this is real life—orphans are just kids without parents. At least that’s what Denizen thought…
One dark night, the gates of Crosscaper Orphanage open to a car that almost growls with power. The car and the man in it retrieve Denizen with the promise of introducing him to a long-lost aunt. But on the ride into the city, they are attacked. Denizen soon learns that monsters can grow out of the shadows. And there is an ancient order of knights who keep them at bay. Denizen has a unique connection to these knights, but everything they tell him feels like a half-truth. If Denizen joins the order, is he fulfilling his destiny, or turning his back on everything his family did to keep him alive

Once I started to read Knights of the Borrowed Dark, I couldn’t put it down. It dragged me right in. I found myself not caring that I have work tomorrow… I had to finish reading this book. I was not to move until I had finished it. Knights of the Borrowed Dark is well worth the read. I’m going to be tracking down the second book as soon as work finishes tomorrow!!!

Many thanks to Penguin Publishers Australia for sending me this review copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Meredith

Flying Through Clouds by Michelle Morgan

A wonderful Historical Fiction YA novel set in Sydney, Australia in the 1930’s!!!

It’s not easy being a teenage boy growing up in the tough neighbourhood of Glebe in the 1930s. It’s even harder when your dream is to become an aviator, your parents are dead against it, and your girlfriend’s father is the School Principal. But Joe has even bigger challenges he must face and obstacles to overcome if he wants to achieve his dream. He has a plan and won’t let anyone stand in his way…

First of all, I would like to sincerely thank the author, Michelle Morgan, for posting me a copy of her book in exchange for my review. This book really touched my heart as I have a personal connection to a lot of the references made in the story. This story was set in Sydney during the 1930’s and it follows the story of Joe who is a 14 year old Catholic boy living in Glebe who idolises Kingsford Smith and wants to be an aviator when he grows up. Not only was this story set in the same era as my catholic Grandfather and late Grand Uncle, Joe’s friend shares the same name as my late Grand Uncle – Pete. They both loved cricket and Sir Donald Bradman and even remember the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932!!! Can’t say anyone in my family wanted to be an aviator though… But still, I found a lot of references to the 30’s and Sydney in this story that my family was able to relate to which made it a bit more personal experience.

This story is so well written and easy to follow, I would recommend this to fans of YA and is suitable for readers 12 years and up. Such accurate historical referencing throughout the story, it would be an enjoyable history lesson for a young audience. A book that brought me happy tears, this is one of my 2017 favourites.
-Annie

 

It Came from the Deep by Maria Lewis: Exclusive Blog Tour

Best selling Australian Author, Maria Lewis – author of the Who’s Afraid? series is back with an epic novel “It Came from the Deep” due for release as an e-book by the end of October 2017!!!

“It Came From the Deep” Synopsis
An elderly professor is murdered, leaving a puzzling crime scene for police to unravel and a laboratory housing all kinds of marine life. But something is missing … something huge. Recent highschool graduate Kaia Craig has problems of her own, with her career as an ironwoman on the Gold Coast in jeopardy after a horrific accident. Yet someone wants to hold her accountable. After nearly drowning in Lake Pelutz and her attackers on the run, Kaia is left with more than just physical injuries. She’s convinced she saw something in the depths of the lake: something that choose to spare her. Uncertain whether she’s running towards the discovery of a friend or foe, Kaia begins digging into a mystery that may have bigger ramifications than she or any of her friends can fathom. It Came From The Deep is a thrilling combination of young adult and science fiction from the author of the critically acclaimed Who’s Afraid? series, Maria Lewis

Maria has also created a whole song list for “It Came From The Deep” Here is the playlist on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/1242659949/playlist/2vymlNzXCwFoOGjsvXoqI1

Exclusive Q&A with author Maria Lewis

What was your inspiration to write “It Came From the Deep?”
In the same way my first book Who’s Afraid? is a flip on the Universal movie monster classic The Wolf Man, I have always wanted to do a spin on the Creature From The Black Lagoon meets The Little Mermaid. That is to say, switching up the gender roles and having a woman discover a merman. The idea of a male ‘mermaid’ is always played for laughs (Zoolander, the upcoming Splash remake with Channing Tatum) so I was intrigued to see if I could do it as a proper sci-fi mystery targeted at a YA audience. I’ve never written a YA book before, but I’m a massive fan of the genre and wanted to see if I could contribute something.

How did you come up with the characters for this story?
For over a decade I was an iron woman competitor and raced in surf sports across events like board, surf ski, iron woman, surf race etc. It’s a world I spent a lot of time in and one that several of my close friends are still submerged in on a professional level. It’s such a classically Australian pastime, yet it’s also something that has a burgeoning global community. It just seemed like an interesting, untapped world to try and set a story within – especially a YA story. The characters are a product of that lifestyle and very different from the ones readers have met in my previous works. I’m keen to see how people respond to them, as I had a blast getting to live with Kaia Craig and her posse for as long as I have been.  

Did you apply the same writing process as you did for your “Who’s Afraid?” Series?
My process for Who’s Afraid? was all around building a world for the central protagonist – Tommi Grayson – as she’s what I had first. She very stubbornly wouldn’t jump out of my head until I gave her something to play with. Whereas It Came From The Deep was based an idea that I had, so in this case it was about fleshing out the concept and seeing if I could execute it. The latter rather than the former is usually how I work, as I have a clear idea or set of themes that I want to communicate going in to it. The stories are written in a way to facilitate that. 

While you were writing this story, did anything specific or crazy happen while you were writing that resonates with you as part of your writing journey experience? For example you’re hanging out with friends suddenly an idea hits you and you’re scrambling for a notepad til you bump into the waiter spilling the drinks?
Ha, no nothing like that happened – my life is not a Kate Hudson rom-com where I’m tripping over hunks while trying to chase my professional pursuits.

Will this be a stand alone or a series?
I’ve been getting asked that question a lot and I always intended It Came From The Deep to be a standalone story – just one novel. However, the more this question has come up the more ideas I’ve had for how the adventure can continue and where it might go. It honestly depends if people like what I’ve done first time round and whether there’s an audiences for it. 

Who’s Afraid? Is turning into a TV series (kudos) do you see this one hitting the screens?
Firstly, thank you! I’m super excited about the Who’s Afraid? TV series and we’ve been working really hard on it. As for an It Came From The Deep screen adaptation … I don’t know, that decision is honestly out of my hands. It all depends on who reads it and how they respond to the book. With Who’s Afraid? we were approached by some serious people very quickly who saw the potential for a television version, so it would all come down to whether someone with the power and the resources read It Came From The Deep and was like ‘heck yeah, I want to see that’. Hypothetically it would be a lot easier show or movie to shoot than Who’s Afraid? as it’s a much more self-contained story. But again, I guess we’ll see what happens.  

Connect with Maria Lewis!!!
Twitter: @MovieMazz
Email: maria@marialewis.com.au
Website: marialewis.com.au (for further info on obtaining your copy of “It Came From the Deep”)

Many thanks Maria for chatting to Read3r’z Re-Vu again, we love your work and always love catching up with you.. Also, congrats on the release of “It Came From The Deep” we are all looking forward to reading it!!!

-Watch this space.. review for “It Came From The Deep” to come-

Blog Tour post and Interview compiled by Annie

Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life. But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness. Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all. 

My Review
Violet and Chevy’s story brings to the fore front what most young teens probably think about what fuels the desire for some people to be in a gang.

There is the gang called the Riot who represent the typical corrupted money and power hungry who will do what ever it takes to get revenge and then there is the gang the Reign of Terror who represent being a non blood family who values respect, loyalty and who think they are protecting the ones they love but soon both Violet and Chevy learn that there is no safety and that the non blood family they love can’t protect them.

I really enjoyed how this book was written from two perspectives and how the chapters blended together easily, I also had no idea this book was actually book 3 in a series and that it was so well written that I honestly thought it was a stand alone book.

A beautiful story about breaking dependencies, making choices and forging ones own path in life.

Recomendation:
For teenagers about to embark on studies or life choices this book is a pleasant encouragement about life and making choices while also touching on the dangers of not making a choice or following the wrong crowd.

THIS BOOK HAS AN EASTER EGG!!!
There is a page at the very end with a song list to go with the chapters so give it a try while reading along for a little extra sensory experience.

Many thanks to Harlequin Publishers for supplying this book in exchange for my honest review.
– Crystal