The Program (The Program #1) by Suzanne Young @suzanne_young

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The Program was one of my Beat the Backlist challenge books, since it’s been on my TBR list since 2014, and it really hit home for me, so it actually took me a while to finish the book even though I loved it.

The Program is set in the not-so-distant future in a world where suicide has become an epidemic. Those under the age of 18 are closely monitored for signs of “infection” (aka: depression) and if they are displaying the signs, they are taken to The Program, where their memories are erased and they are “cured”.

Seventeen year old Sloan lost her older brother to suicide, which makes her high risk herself. All Sloan wants is to make it to 18 so she doesn’t have to worry about The Program anymore – to her, losing her memories of her brother, friends, and boyfriend is a fate worse than death.

When Sloan ends up being sent in for treatment, she vows to fight every step of the way.

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Author Q&A: Doll House author John Hunt @johnhuntfiction @brwpublisher

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Today I was fortunate enough to chat with John Hunt, the author of Doll House, which I recently read and loved! Doll House tells the story of a young woman named Olivia who is kidnapped and tortured by two sadistic men during her freshman year in college. She manages to escape, only to realize that her nightmare is far from over.

Your book Doll House dives into the mind of both a sadistic killer and one of his victims. Where did you come up with the idea for Doll House?

The whole novel started with the Jen scene. I am very visual and see scenes play out in my head. I saw a traumatized woman struggling with reality and the whole story flowed from there. 

How easy or difficult was the process of writing multiple point of views, especially considering how different the characters were from each other? Was there one character you liked writing more than the others?

I always write with music playing. It helps me to zone out so when I’m writing about characters and their POV, I see it in my head. It is only afterwards, when editing, that I consider context and mind set and whether I’ve made them individuals. For the most part, the characters tell me what they are going to do. I don’t find it easy or hard, it just is. I like writing about Olivia the most. She was the most intriguing to me. Could she overcome such horror and if so, what would she be like on the other side? Yup. She was my favourite. 

How long did Doll House take you to write, start to finish?

Ok, when I have time, I write fairly quickly. So, just the writing portion was probably a month? Maybe more, maybe less. The editing process takes so much longer. Add a few months just for the editing. Ugh. I don’t like editing. It is tedious. All in all, maybe four months?

Are there any authors or books that influenced or inspired you when writing the book?

There are no authors or books that inspired me specifically to write the book. But I guess we are all an amalgamation of our experiences and since I read a lot, there is a bit of everyone who acted as inspiration. But hands down favourite authors: Stephen King and J.K Rowling. But it is so hard to choose amongst writers. Elmore Leonard, John Sandford, Richard Laymon, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, jeez, there are so many brilliant ones aren’t there? 

Did you always know you wanted to be an author? If not, what got you to decide you wanted to write a book?

I wanted to write since I was a teenager. My French teacher used to get mad at me for reading a book while she taught. I tried to hide it under the desk, but she saw it and rightfully gave me the gears. I didn’t actually try it until 2011. My job responsibilities and familial responsibilities took up a lot of time and I got overwhelmed thinking about it. But then I was like, just do it you wimp and so far, it’s been awesome. 

What are some of your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing and publishing process?

Writing is awesome. Love it. It’s what I think about most. My publisher has been very supportive so that has been a positive experience. The worst part, I don’t know if I mentioned this, is the editing. Yeah. Not a fan. 

Lastly, what are some of your favorite books to read when you’re not writing?

Wow. So I read everything and that’s a hard question. Bernard Cornwell, Naomi Novik, Charles Dickens, J.D. Salinger, Jack Ketchum, Ed Lee, Graham Masterton, Nick Cutter, Dean Koontz, Robert McGammon, George R.R. Martin, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Joe Hill and the list goes on and on. I really, really like the John Sandford VIRGIL FLOWERS series. Awesome read. Depending on work and family stuff going on, I typically read two to three books a week.

Thank you so much to John for taking the time to sit down with me and answer some questions!

Doll House is out now! Be sure to find it on Amazon and Goodreads!

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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Vicious was a book that was high on my Beat the Backlist challenge list, and it did not disappoint!

College friends, Victor and Eli set off to complete a science research project that will prove or disprove the existence of “EO’s” – ExtraOrdinarys. With the hypothesis that it takes a high-adrenaline near death experience to create someone with special abilities, they attempt to test it themselves. After the experiment works, Victor and Eli both are revived with special abilities, or “powers”, and after a short period of time, their friendship becomes strange. After a conflict that leads to them attempting to try and kill each other, Victor and Eli are separated and haven’t seen each other in ten years. Until now.

Told in alternating timelines and perspectives, we see both what led up to the experiments and subsequent fight between Victor and Eli ten years ago, and we also see both Eli and Victor’s perspectives in the present. Eli has decided that all EO’s are unnatural and is working his way through executing them all. Victor has plans to stop him.

This fast paced, dark, engaging story will not disappoint!

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Doll House by John Hunt

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College freshman, Olivia, is kidnapped on her very first day at her new university. Trapped in a pink cell and treated like a doll, Olivia is repeatedly raped and tortured by her two captors. After five years of this, Olivia manages to escape, and is reunited with her dad. She is constantly on edge, because while one captor died…the other, known as The Jackal, is still out there, and no one knows who he is. Told through two perspectives, Olivia’s and The Jackal’s, Hunt weaves a story about a dark, chilling, cat and mouse game.

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Friday Finds – February 17, 2017

Friday Finds is a weekly feature designed to show off the new books you’ve found and added to your TBR this week! As much as I’ve been trying to be selective about adding books to my TBR list so I can get it under control, I’ve still managed to add 6 books to my TBS list this week, and here they are!

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Beat the Backlist: backlist books I’m excited to read

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As you may remember, one of my 2017 goals was to make some progress on my backlist! I have a ridiculous amount of books that I own but haven’t read (like, it’s legit embarrassing – I have two full bookcases of books I haven’t read! Ahh!) and I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to read some of my backlist books every month! So far for 2017, I’ve read 11 books from my backlist.

Today I want to share some of the books I’m planning to read this year from my backlist! There are SO many I’m excited to finally read, but I’m going to limit myself to these ten.

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Blink by K.L.Slater

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Told in alternating timelines, Blink is the story of a five year old girl who is abducted while her mother is barely holding it together as it is. Blink alternates between the present time, where Evie is missing, and three years prior, which reflect the events leading up to the kidnapping.

What happened to Evie and who took her? Read to find out, and make sure to trust no one…

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