Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Chasing Midnight by Courtney King Walker Blog Tour ~ Review + Author Interview


Today is all about the new YA romance novel I can't bear to put down...Chasing Midnight by Courtney King Walker!

On my blog's stop for the Chasing Midnight Blog Tour I've got a great line up for you all: my review of the book, an interview with its lovely author + a fantastic giveaway.

So let's get started!




About the book



WISH LIST
1. The biggest, fanciest house on Sea View Drive.
2. Nike Flyknits.
3. A ski-jump nose.
4. My own car. A new BMW.
5. Be a total pro at the piano.
6. James Odera to like me. Be James Odera’s girlfriend.
7. Get Spencer’s lungs fixed.

Mackenzie Love dreams of being a “lucky one”—someone who has the perfect life. Someone who doesn’t have to worry about money, a sick brother, or her high school status. So when a mysterious visitor offers to make all her wishes come true, Mackenzie jumps at the chance. 


But the royal lifestyle may cost more than Mackenzie is willing to pay in this modern twist on the classic Cinderella story.


Grab Chasing Midnight today: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble 





My Review


A big thank you to Jen Halligan PR and Courtney King Walker for the review copy of this book.


Although I was provided with a review copy by the author and/or publisher, all opinions expressed in the following review are purely my own. To find out more, please visit my disclaimer page.



Rating


Book cover: Not only do I love the title's Cinderella reference, but I am all kinds of in love with that electric-blue magical clock! It's the kind of clock that should be accompanied by dramatic background music (which is basically any piece of music produced by Two Steps from Hell!).


Is it a bird? Is it a plane? NO IT'S A MAGICAL FLYING CLOCK!


Thoughts: Chasing Midnight is the kind of YA book that makes you fall back in love with YA again.

Not that you've ever really fallen out of love with it (I mean, all I need to do is look up at my YA-filled bookshelf to see proof of that!) but sometimes you can feel a little disenchanted by it. It's like every YA book can be broken down into a series of cliches and recycled plot paths. 

But not Chasing Midnight

Funnily enough this book that is based on another tale - the tale of Cinderella - is far more original than some of the 'original' YA stories I've read. Its characters are beautifully flawed pancakes of awesomeness who have hopes, dreams, and insecurities like a normal human being. 

I think what I adored most about this book is that there were no villains. Courtney King Walker explores how every 'villain' - every 'queen bee', 'jock', or 'lucky one' - has insecurities at the end of the day. The face someone shows the world is not necessarily their true one. Its a defence mechanism, a way of escaping who they are and the troubles that come with the life they live.

But above all Chasing Midnight is a book that makes you grateful for the life you have and the people in it. Reminiscent of the movie You Wish! (2003), the book's heroine learns that even the smallest of choices or changes can have major impacts on your life. The fact that this book doesn't focus purely on lovey-dovey relationships - but also on the importance of relationships with family and friends - was a nice surprise and something that I hope becomes a trend with YA books in the future.

And nope, I didn't forget the adorable hot mess that is Cale! Cale is a YA male that is sure to cause both much swooning from readers + much frustration as you mentally beg Mackenzie to PLEASE JUST CHOOSE HIM AND HIS DORKY SHIRTS!! Honestly, I spent most of this book shipping these two so hard and nearly dying of frustration every time she got all dreamy-eyed over James (I Love Myself More Than I Love You) Odera.

The verdict? Read Chasing Midnight and always be careful what you wish for!


Favourite quote:
'His nonsense T-shirt looks back at me with its baloney message: WISH YOU. 
“Wish YOU what?” I say, pointing at his shirt, trying to get the focus off me for a second. He looks down and then back at me again, his long eyelashes fluttering against his skin. 
“It was supposed to say YOU WISH. It’s a mess-up.” 
“Oh. That makes sense. But I actually like the mess-up better.” 
“How so?” 
“YOU WISH sounds like something a jerk would say,” I explain (...). “But, WISH YOU—I don’t know . . . it sounds open-ended. Hopeful, even, like you’re waiting for an answer rather than giving one.” 
“Maybe I am.”




Author Interview


Booknut: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview today, Courtney! It is a pleasure to have you on the blog. 

Courtney: Thanks for having me. It’s always fun to make stops around the blogosphere and say hi! Thank you for taking the time to read Chasing Midnight and to help spread the word that it’s out!!


Booknut: Tell us a little about yourself. What inspired you to be an author? What is your favourite genre(s) to write?

Courtney: I’ve always liked making up stories. When I was five years old I wrote in my journal that I wanted to be a “writer” when I grew up. The first finished book I wrote was called “The Strange But Exciting Adventure,” about two mice and their journey from New York City to Australia. I even checked out some library books on Australia to make sure I knew what I was talking about. That’s when I learned what a platypus was. 

I did take a bit of a detour, however, in that I pursued music and art before coming back to writing in 2008. I have two published novels other than Chasing Midnight: On the Fringe, a YA ghost story, and Molly Pepper and the Night Train, a middle grade adventure.

I’ll always love writing for children, and it’s definitely a tie between middle grade and YA, although I think YA comes more naturally to me. YA contemporary with a hint of magical realism – whether it’s ghosts or monsters or fairy godmothers – is probably my sweet spot. 


Booknut: You’re the author of the wonderful Chasing Midnight. What was your inspiration for the book?

Courtney: The initial spark came from one of my favorite movies it seems most people haven’t seen, called “The Family Man,” starring Nicolas Cage. He’s this rich, selfish lawyer in New York who is granted a ‘glimpse’ of what his life would be like right now had he passed up a big job opportunity ten years ago and instead stayed home to marry his college sweetheart. At first I thought about telling the same basic story but then decided to flip it so my character wouldn’t just be a copy of something I’d already seen. 

In the end, however, I realized it is the same story no matter which way it’s told—that wanting what you don’t have is a flaw in all of us no matter who we are, where we are, or what we have. It was something I definitely wanted to explore because I, like Mackenzie, tend to wonder how much is enough and what will it take to stop wanting more?


Booknut: The title for your book is both imaginative and intriguing, as is the cover. Both capture the feel of the story and the reader’s attention all in one go! How did you come up with them?

Courtney: The title started out different. It was more of a play on Mackenzie’s last name, Love. But my publisher wanted a stronger tie in to Cinderella, which makes sense. Her last name wasn’t going to cut it. After much brainstorming I came up with Chasing Midnight, which is both a play on the clock in Cinderella as well as the runner in Mackenzie and her love for her Nike Flyknits. It seemed fitting.

As far as the cover – this is my third published novel but my first where I had absolutely zero input on the design, other than suggestions for inspiration and overall feel. My background is graphic design so I collect beautiful book covers in my head like a super design nerd. This cover blew me away! It was so perfect in every way – in the feel, the mood, the colors, the font, the graphics. Everything. I really lucked out and am very grateful to my fellow art nerds for getting it so right.


Booknut: How is Mackenzie different from other YA female characters? What makes her stand out?

Courtney: This is a hard question to answer by the one who created her; it’s like asking “What is your best quality?” in a job interview…which is a trick question! 

How do you answer that without sounding like you’re bragging? Without drawing attention to all the wrong things? Without having everyone rolling their eyes at you? I can tell you what I intended with Mackenzie, and hope that I came through:I wanted her to be vulnerable and flawed, I really did. I wanted her to be a true teenager who is hot and cold and mostly confused with this growing up thing, who wants so badly to make good choices but who can’t help but be selfish with the desire to be popular, pretty, and everything else she’s told she is shallow for wanting. 

She isn’t tough and courageous, though she wishes she were. She isn’t unaffected. I don’t think she’s shallow, either; her desire for acceptance and love is just a little misplaced at the moment. Yet, despite all that, she’s loyal and she’s a dreamer and she believes in magic and true love. And mostly, she adores her family and would do anything for them, including risking everything not once, but twice, to be with them.


Booknut: Wishes are tricky things, if Chasing Midnight teaches us anything. What are your thoughts on wishes - should they be realistic? Should they come from the heart? And do you believe wishes really can come true?

Courtney: I never realized until you asked this question how much I write about wishing. My middle-grade novel, Molly Pepper and the Night Train, is all about taking risks by wishing for things that might never come true, while Chasing Midnight is about finding ourselves in the kind of wishes we make. Maybe that’s just the evolution of a child growing into a young woman, and as we mature, so do our dreams and our wishes.

I DO believe wishes can really come true, but you have to be wishing for the right things. All the more reason for wishes to come from the heart.


Booknut: Which is more important - luck or love?

Courtney: Love, definitely. If you have the worst luck in the world, the best love can still make everything okay.


Booknut: What is your favourite line or quote from Chasing Midnight?

Courtney: “Can one person change you like that? Make such an impact on your life that their absence renders you an entirely different person? Like an equation missing one of its components and equaling a different solution? Were there certain people with whom we were meant to be close to because without them we’d miss out on something priceless?”


Booknut: What are you most excited for readers to experience in Chasing Midnight?

Courtney: I love how this story explores all of Mackenzie’s relationships, not just her romantic ones. I can’t wait for readers to see her grow throughout the book in her relationship with her best friend, her brothers and her parents. (And of course I can’t wait for them to see her fall in love, too).


Booknut: If you could tell readers one message or moral of the story to take away from Chasing Midnight, what would it be?

Courtney: There is always something to be grateful for and happiness to be found, even in the small things. Tender mercies are swimming all around us in our otherwise ordinary lives, if only we will open our eyes to find them.


♥  A big thank you to Courtney King Walker for taking the time to chat with me 






About the author



Courtney King Walker grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area building rocket ships and rafts out of cardboard, hoping to make it the moon or at least Niagara Falls. But a trip across the border to Tijuana was as exciting as it ever got, so she decided writing about adventure was the next best thing. 

She now lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and four children, and still dreams of flying to the moon. 


She is the author of the young adult novel, ON THE FRINGE, and middle grade novel MOLLY PEPPER AND THE NIGHT TRAIN. Her next YA novel, CHASING MIDNIGHT, was published January 12, 2016 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media.



Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads




Giveaway

Giveaway prize (US/Canada only): 
  • One winner will receive a signed copy of CHASING MIDNIGHT, a heart clock charm necklace (see image), and $25 gift card!




If you had a wish list like Mackenzie's what would be on it?

Let me know in the comments below!


2 comments:

  1. I adore your review and interview! Thank you so much for being part of Courtney's blog tour! I'm so happy you loved it as much as we do. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! And it was my pleasure <3

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