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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Stolen Songs ~Review



*****Interview with the author below*****

"What about you, Kingsley? What are your dreams?"

He shrugs his shoulders. "I'm still in the process."
"Of what?"
"Dreaming."


One of the best books I've read this year. Period. End of Review. Talk to you alter.

Just kidding.... 
I do have things to say but first....


Back of The Book: 
Maddison is a survivor. An unstable childhood has taught her to depend on no one but herself, which is exactly how she’s gotten to where she is today. With a scholarship to one of the most prestigious schools in the country, she’s finally able to settle into one location until she graduates. But with foster parents hooked on drugs, Maddison is forced to steal to make ends meet, not only for herself but her foster siblings.


Kingsley is filthy rich. An only child, he lives with a mother who is dependent on alcohol, a father who doesn’t talk to him, and his chef, the only real family he has. His life changes when he overhears Maddison playing the cello. She’s snappy, hot, and wants nothing to do with him, and he’s obsessed. As they spend time together, she begins to lower her guard. She’s everything he needs, everything he wants, and for the first time, he’s able to tell someone about his past. Everything is perfect. Until he ruins it.


STOLEN SONGS is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story of letting go of your past when it means taking hold of your future, finding strength in your mistakes, and giving everything you’ve got to heal the ones you’ve broken.


*CONTENT WARNING: Contains profanity, sex, and drug abuse.
***
I have read my fair share of contemporary YA romances and honestly, I was expecting a lot of cliche tropes to be thrown in. I mean we have all seen the bad boy good girl, or bad girl good boy. It's not that original..... So not what this book was. It wasn't even close to my familiar YA contemporary romance. 
I really loved this book. It was so easy to understand and fly through. Literally.... fly through. When I sat down with this novel, I only anticipated reading a few pages before actually being productive for the day.....That didn't happen. I sat down and read the whole thing. Honestly, I even forgot I was reading. It felt like watching a movie. Which only the best books can do. 

The plot is captivating, the characters are personable and imperfect. (Which, imperfect character make the best characters. Who wants to read about perfect people with perfect lives? No one. ever.) There was a roller coaster of emotions throughout the entire novel, not gunna lie. I definitely shed a few tears throughout this story. Both happy and sad tears, depending on the situation. I loved the dual perspective, getting to read from Kingsley's perspective and Maddison's perspective. I always feel like I'm in on a secret when reading something our other character doesn't know. HAHA. Am I the only one that feels that way?

Armstrong made a very delightful twist to our popular, classical ya musician with a shady backstory genre, that was refreshing and dare I say, better than most novels with the character as a musician. She did very well with every music scene being different from the other. While music is at the heart of the book, there were so many other elements that were critical to the story. 

Yes, the music is a really important part, but there were so many other things that shaped the characters and drove the plot. Many of them I wasn't actually expecting. I'm really good at guessing the plot twists, really good. But this book..... I couldn't keep up and that's the way it should have been. I loved this story and cant wait till the sequel is released! 

This was Samantha Armstrong's debut novel and she couldn't have entered the stage with a bigger bang than this one. I would definitely recommend picking this one up if you are looking for something that's suck you in from the first page. 

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1. What started your interest in writing? 

You’ve probably heard this a million times, but I’ve always been an avid reader. My mom’s a bookaholic. Literally. But my earliest memory of reading was when I was about five or six. I would stay at my grandparent's house all the time, and one day my popa (Grandad) said to me I wasn’t allowed to stay at his house again until I learned how to read. Well, I think I stayed the night the next week! Since then I’ve always loved reading. I never knew I wanted to be a writer. I’m twenty-three now, and up until the age of twenty-one, I had no clue of what I wanted to do. I remember just after my twenty-first birthday I had an idea that I wanted to write a book. I told my boyfriend, and he told me to go for it. So I started writing, and I wasn’t able to stop. 

2. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I went through a bit of writing slump after publishing my debut. My head was all over the place focusing on promotion and watching the sales numbers. I'm glad that initial launch period is over now though and I'm back to writing around 2000 words a day. 


3. How did you come up with the plot for Stolen Songs? 

The first thing I came up with was a word, and that kicked started it all. Can you guess what word that was? Kingsley says it three times. ;) After that the rest was history. The plot just unfolded all by itself. None of it is relevant to my life whatsoever! I’m a complete nana, I don’t even drink, and rarely curse. Can you believe it?

4. Reading Stolen Songs, there were scenes that made me cry. What is the first book that made you cry?

I’ve actually never cried in a book before. Not even my own! However, I’m currently writing something that is going to make me cry soon because it is something very close to me. 

5. What is your writing Kryptonite?

Doubt. I get in writing slumps whenever I’m feeling down, and doubting my abilities as a writer. I’m my own worst critic.
Also, the summer doesn’t help. I love writing in winter when you can curl up by a fire, and it’s raining outside. In Summer, it’s too hot and much better to be outside than holed up inside. 

6. Who/what is your biggest inspiration when writing? 

My biggest inspiration is Colleen Hoover. I just love her. All of her stories move me so much, and I hope that one day I will be able to write stories just as powerful! But day by day, I would have to say my biggest inspiration is my boyfriend, his motivation and belief in me is what keeps me going. 

7. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Do not listen to everyone! Being a first-time writer, you always doubt yourself, I still do, but when you’re getting your work beta read or edited, you tend to listen to every single person. Everyone in the world has an opinion, and you can’t agree with them all. At the end of the day you have to go with your gut, and it’s okay to say no to suggestions. 

8. What advice do you have for aspiring authors? 

Listen to your gut, and do not give up. It is easy to get discouraged. I still do, but the key to being successful at anything is to never give up! Just continue to put words down day after day.

9. If there was one song to describe Maddison's personality, which would it be and why?

I immediately thought of this song, just because of Lindsey Stirling. In this video clip, she reminds me so much of Maddy, her style, her sass, and she just looks so tough. 


I also think the lyrics are quite true to Maddy, as in she’s radioactive. She’s so determined to make a better life for herself, I get the same feeling when I watch the video clip to this video. 


10. If there was one song to describe Kingsley's personality, which would it be and why?

This one was hard. Nothing came to me straight away, but as I looked at my playlist I thought the lyrics to this song were quite appropriate. 

11. How did you come up with the characters in Stolen Songs? What process did you go through to determine names and personalities?

Characters usually come to me before the plot when I’m writing a novel, and Maddison and Kingsley came so naturally. Their personalities are so bold, they were easy to create. To find names, I usually just search names on Google and read a bunch of them until one sticks out. When I came across Kingsley I instantly fell in love with it, but it didn’t feel like a first name, and that’s when I decided it for his last name, and nickname. 


12. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

I didn’t really know how to answer this question so I took a quiz online, and it says I’m a snake, so I guess I’ll go with that. :)

13. In Stolen Songs, the way you describe Maddison's love for music is so lyrical, do you yourself play any instruments? 

No, I wish I did! I actually really want to learn how to play the piano and cello, and I will! I put it on my goal list for the year but so far haven’t reached it yet. ;) But I’ve been surrounded with music my whole life. Many of my family members and friends are very talented at playing instruments and singing. That’s probably where the music side of it stemmed from. 


14. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Honestly, I think if you know your character well enough it should be easy. I didn’t really run into any troubles that I can remember. 

15. What did you edit out of this book?

Not anything significant. I had such a clear picture from the start, everything was kind of important so I didn’t cut out any big scenes. Thankfully. I’ve had to cut chapters in previous books and it’s like death!

16. Is your sequel also going to center around Maddison and Kingsley? Or will it center around other characters? 

Of course the sequel will center around M & K! I have to conclude their story, or I’m sure I’ll get a lot of hate. There a quite a few new characters, though. Which is fun! 


17. Without giving too many spoilers, what can we expect in the sequel? 

A lot more music. More boys. More drama. It’s too hard not to give spoilers, but let me leave you with one word from Kingsley: Fuck. 

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