A Dream Come True: Kate Morton Visits BOSTON!!

I know I’m a bit late on telling you about this BUT:

December 2015 was an epic month because….THE KATE MORTON BOOK SIGNING IN BOSTON!!

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Can you believe that at the end of last year I heard Kate Morton speak, spoke to her, and had four of my books signed!?!?!

It was an epic evening—Kate’s last North American tour stop just happened to be in Boston so you can bet I cleared my schedule in order to arrive at Brookline Booksmith early in order to secure a good seat for the talk.

I hadn’t been able to unpack all of my Kate Morton books in time for the big evening, but I bought a paperback of The Forgotten Garden at the store that night and skipped in with my hardbacks of The Lake House and The Secret Keeper and my paperback of The House at Riverton.

I was on pins and needles as we waited quietly for Kate to show up. At around 4:30pm I heard an accented female voice on the stairs and was certain that Kate was descending. Sure enough, I turned around to see a smiling Kate making her way down the stairs with several other people and soon they disappeared into a back room until the 5pm show.

That first sighting of Kate had me feeling like this:

amazed

It seemed as if I was so close to a life complete…hearing and meeting in person one of my favorite authors of all time….

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Then…5pm was upon us, and the person responsible for the bookstore’s events took the microphone to introduce the one and only Kate Morton. Kate stood just behind our row until it was time for her to step up and introduce herself.

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All I have to say: She is an amazing speaker, and her talk was interesting, engaging, and inspiring! She is definitely a kindred spirit, and the kind of person that would be a dear friend, I am certain. She shared an interesting and engaging talk about her writing process, her books, her inspiration, and the kind of books she grew up reading. One really interesting thing she talked about was the fact that she read British children’s literature growing up in Australia and when she traveled to England for the first time, she felt like she had been there before. It’s almost as if the books you read as a child become a part of your life geography, and I could completely relate because I had this same experience. I grew up reading a lot of British children’s literature, so that when I first journeyed to London as a college undergraduate to study abroad, I felt as if I had already been there….

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Kate also shared snippets from her tour in the UK, including a journey on a train down to Cornwall (where The Lake House is set!) that gave her an idea for another story. She read a passage from The Lake House, a chapter set in the perspective of Theo, and it was absolutely wonderful to hear the story read aloud from the author herself.

Then, a handful of questions came from the crowd, and they were all graciously answered by Kate. I was a bit star-struck, to be honest. Not only was my favorite author an amazing and creative writer, but she seemed like one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet!

At the end of the Q&A, we queued up for book signing, and we all happily and patiently waited while people chatted with Kate and had books signed. Kate is such a cheery and kind person–she took the time to talk with each person and it was delightful.

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Then my turn arrived! Here’s what we talked about–I told Kate I adored her books and that we have a fan club of hers (Morton Ladies) on Twitter. She said to say hello to all the gals in that club–Lindsey, Laura, Jess, and Morgan! I also told Kate I had studied for my M.A. in Children’s Literature in London and that I had read TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN and THE CHILDREN OF GREEN KNOWE for the first time during that adventure. We chatted about those books and it was wonderful! She even listened to me share a little about my master’s thesis on the spirituality of children’s fantasy. Then of course I had a picture with Kate, and the evening was complete…

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What more could I ask for in the way of a wonderful December bookish event?!? Absolutely nothing!!

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What Katie Read

#TopTenTuesday: Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR

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After my jaunt to ALA Midwinter here in Boston, you can imagine I acquired quite a few books publishing in Spring. In other words: I have a rich variety of books to read this spring…but that doesn’t mean I’m not reading backlist titles.

Without further ado, here is a shot of my Top Ten Reads for Spring 2016! This is not counting books I’m about to pick up imminently, such as THE MIRROR KING (Thanks, Andi, for loaning me your ARC!) and SUMMERLOST by Ally Condie.

top ten 2016 spring

THE WILD ROBOT

STARS ABOVE

THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL

WHEN WE COLLIDED

CUCKOO SONG

THE LIE TREE

MY LADY JANE

OUTRUN THE MOON

THIS SAVAGE SONG

THE BONE SEASON

So what’s on your Top Ten List for Spring 2016?! Are any of my books also on your TBR?

What Katie Read

Portals of History: ONCE WAS A TIME (2016) by Leila Sales

Portals of History: ONCE WAS A TIME (2016) by Leila SalesOnce Was a Time by Leila Sales
Published by Chronicle Books on April 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
Pages: 272
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
three-half-stars

In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty's fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.

Time travel! England during WWII! Tea! A British protagonist! Two bosom friends…all these elements and more are what drew me to read Leila Sales’ new Middle Grade book, ONCE WAS A TIME.

The Book:

Charlotte and Kitty are the two friends we focus on in the opening pages of the narrative, and it’s Charlotte’s father who is actually researching time travel. Charlotte is aware of the importance of her father’s work and is curious about what the ability to time travel might mean, but she is not prepared for the dangerous situation into which she, Kitty, and her father are thrust. Lives are at stake, and Charlotte has to make a split decision about whether to stay with Kitty or to leave. In other words, the opportunity for time travel presents itself, and Charlotte has to decide whether to make the leap…or not.

What I Loved:

Awhile back, I read one of Leila’s Young Adult books, and when I heard that she wrote a time travel middle grade, I was intrigued, especially since it featured a British protagonist and opened in the great country of England during WWII. If you keep up with me on Goodreads or even this blog, you’ll know that I am especially fond of children’s and young adult literature set during the WWII period—historical fiction is one of my favorite genres—in the world of children’s, young adult, and adult books. So it’s no surprise that I snatched this one up on Netgalley as soon as it was available!

Readers with a passion for children’s literature in general might appreciate the many references to different children’s books and even the large role that a library plays in the story. Spoiler: Charlotte does travel through time, but it’s forwards, and not backwards.

Charlotte’s friendship with a librarian is a highlight of the story, and the notion of libraries closing due to lack of funding is brought up, bringing in a real life (and sad!) connection. If you were an avid reader as a young person (or if you are now), you will be delighted at the many books referenced in the story due to Charlotte’s great appetite for reading as many volumes in the library as possible.

The celebration of friendship and its capacity to be enduring and weather trials is strong in this story, and readers certainly have room to discuss the nature of authentic relationship and connection. I loved the connection between Charlotte and Kitty–especially in the last part of the book, but I wanted to read even more with them on center stage!

Finally, I love that cover! Well-done Chronicle books for a unique and intriguing design!

What I Didn’t Expect:

If you glanced at my Goodreads review, you would have seen that I made a comment about this story was not quite what I expected. While I assumed certain characters would take center stage in the narrative, that was not actually the case.

Also, I was surprised at the direction of travel that the transporting took place! I won’t give anything away here, but there was an interesting twist with who traveled where, and for how long they stayed in that time period. There might be some readers who are a little incredulous at the way the story is resolved, but I didn’t have too many issues with the ending, due to the readership and the scope and length of the book.

Are you planning to read ONCE WAS A TIME when it is released in April? What are your thoughts on time travel in Middle Grade titles? Other favorites to share?

three-half-stars
What Katie Read
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