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Murder Mysteries

Author Interview- Lucy Christopher

August 21, 2014 | Monica | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

LucyChristopher_hi r#297ADEThis week, I had the opportunity to interview the author of the book that kicked off my summer book list, The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher. I heard about this book at a publisher’s presentation, and instantly, I was intrigued. Having been a huge fan of her book Stolen, I knew I was in for a treat, and this book definitely did not disappoint.  

If you haven’t read it yet, definitely check it out!

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Let's see. I was born in Cardiff, in South Wales, but moved to Australia (for the first time!) when I was only ten months old. I then spent some time living in Papua New Guinea, South Wales, Australia (again), South Africa, before finally returning to Bath in England to persue my dream of becoming a writer. Therefore, I don't really see myself as having a nationality, not completely anyway. I identify with being both Australian and British, my family live in six different countries around the world, and my boyfriend is Canadian. I also have an amazing dog called Larch and ride a grumpy chestnut mare called Topaz. My favourite thing to do is read books in the sunshine. 

2. What book(s) are you currently reading?

I am reading The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan (an amazing Australian author), and I'm absolutely loving it.   

3. What, in your opinion, is the hardest thing about writing?

Finding the enormous time it takes to write anything decent and, also, having the courage and persistence to see it through to the end.  

4. The Killing Woods has a fantastic book trailer. What do you think of “trailers” for books? Did you have any input in the creation of the trailer?

I love trailers for books!  Yes, Killing Woods does have a wonderful trailer.  It was made by film students at the university where I teach at in Bath, but no, I did not have any input in its creation. There are also some amazing trailers that have been made for Stolen out there on Youtube.  One reader even made one completely from scratch - hiring her friends as actors, hiring another friend to write music for it, getting someone to do makeup.  I am so very touched when stuff like that happens.  

5.  What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Be brave and just do it.  I think it really just comes down to that.  

6. If you could suggest one book for a teen to read this summer, what would it be? 

Can I say mine? ;-)   Or to pick up one of Margo Lanagan's books and be astonished with what authors can achieve within YA fiction right now.

A big thank you to Ms. Christopher for answering our questions! A special thank you to Ms. Kritikos at Scholastic and our very own HD for setting this up!

Author Interview: Eliot Schrefer

August 14, 2014 | Monica | Comments (6) Facebook Twitter More...

UntitledToday I have a very exciting blog post for you all. I recently had the opportunity to interview the wonderfully talented Mr. Eliot Schrefer, author of The Deadly Sister.

The Deadly Sister is a tale of two sisters, one murder, and the lengths one will go to, to protect their loved ones.

This page turning thriller will have you guessing till the very end.  

I took this opportunity to ask Mr. Schrefer about the wonderful world of writing, how he got into it, and what advice he has for all you young writers out there.

Tell us a little about EliotAuthorPhoto_cre#297AEE
yourself and
your background.

First of all: great to meet you! I’ve written a number of books for young adults from my home in New York City. The first two, The School for Dangerous Girls and The Deadly Sister, are suspense novels about young women in deep trouble. More recently I’ve been writing adventure stories about great apes. Endangered and Threatened. I suppose I like writing suspenseful stories about people who manage to get themselves into deep trouble.

Do you have a favourite YA author? Why is he/she your favourite?

My favorite YA author would have to be Rebecca Stead. Her works are quiet—no apocalypses there!—but very powerful at the same time. She tells stories about kids who feel like they’re really alive, that you could go out and meet them after you finish the book. But her novels also include elements of the supernatural, too. Really great reads.

What do you love most about being a writer/author?

I won’t lie—one great thing about being a writer is that I can only write for about four hours a day before I’m tapped out, which means I have an unusually large amount of the day free to play video games. But the real main reason I love it so much is that I get a chance to express things that I’d find it hard to express in everyday conversation. Telling stories allows me to feel like I’m accessing all parts of my personality.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I have a side job—I do standardized test tutoring to help kids get into college. My first year after college I was living in Harlem and paying off my college debt but working with upper class kids on Fifth Avenue New York. The contrast was so great that I felt like I had to put it down on paper. That was my first novel, for adults. (Glamorous Disasters)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

You need to be really kind to yourself when you’re writing a first draft. No published writer I know can get it right on the first try. Just let yourself write, and move forward, and remember that you have all the time in the world to go back later and improve what you’ve written.

If you could suggest one book for a teen to read this summer, what would it be?

Have you read The Winners Curse, by Marie Rutkoski? Deeply romantic, full of swordplay and adventure, and very elegantly written. Check it out!


A big thank you to Mr. Schrefer for taking the time to do this interview, Ms. Kritikos at Scholastic and our very own HD for setting this up and giving us this amazing opportunity.

Don't forget to check out The Deady Sister on my booklist here (


Reel Life vs. Real Life

August 7, 2014 | Monica | Comments (4) Facebook Twitter More...

Nature vs jpgSince my booklist is all about murder mysteries, and due to all the violence that takes place in the world  on a daily basis, I want to know how you guys, the youth of the city, feel about life imitating art. The debate on whether violent video games increase the probability of violence in the player in real life has been raging for years, but how does this extend to books? Television? Movies?

Do you think books and movies have an impact on real life violence? I have always been on the fence about this one. Personally, I really enjoy a good murder mystery, but I am not a violent person. My first response is never to fight, and honestly, I can’t wrap my head around why people do. For me, it doesn’t seem to ever resolve anything, so why waste all that time and energy? Then there is the issue of violence against innocent people. For example, the movie theatre shooting in Colorado, or the numerous shootings that take place at schools, colleges and universities.

On the flip side, do you think this extends to positive behaviours as well? Would watching something positive on the screen, or reading about something positive, evoke feelings of positivity in the person? If you were to see someone do a good deed, or read about it, would you be more inclined to do good as well? Or, does it all come down to individual personality, where some individuals are more likely to behave in a negative manner, while others will be positive, regardless of what is going on around them? Is it nature (behavior is innate) or nurture (behavior is learned)?

What are your feelings on the topic? Do you think behavior is learned, or is it something inside of a person that determines whether they will behave in a certain way, regardless of their surroundings?

Learn to Write Scary with Joel Sutherland

August 2, 2014 | Thomas Krzyzanowski | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

Clarke-TellTaleHeartHorror and mystery author Joel Sutherland will be stopping by the Palmerston Library later this summer to share some tips and tricks on writing great horror and suspense fiction.

Come to the library for a chance to meet this awesome author and pick his brains (NOT LITERALLY) on writing that truly gruesome short story you've been working on...

Space is limited. Please call 416-393-7680 to register or for more info. Or you can always just stop by the branch!

Joel Sutherland is the author of "Frozen Blood" (nominated for the Bram Stoker Award), "Be a Writing Superstar" and his upcoming book "Haunted Canada 4: More True Tales of Terror". His short fiction has been published in books and magazines alongside the likes of Kelley Armstrong, Neil Gaiman and Stephen King.

Palmerston-library-01Palmerston Library
560 Palmerston Avenue
Tuesday August 12, 2:00 PM
Visit the branch or call 416-393-7680 to register


Image by Harry Clarke [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

"Make Way for the Bad Guy"

July 31, 2014 | Monica | Comments (14) Facebook Twitter More...

Damon-SalvatoreWhether it be in books, movies, or on TV, there is always a character that you don’t know what to make of. Instead, you have this weird mix of feelings for them. You like them, you hate them, you want them to change, but then again, you don’t. Sometimes you can’t stand them, and yet you want to read/see more of them, and above all, you want to find redeeming qualities, so that you can justify why you have this draw towards them. For me, one of my favourite current baddies is Damon Salvatore from the Vampire Diaries. Unfortunately, the books lost their appeal for me after the third installment, but I think the TV show is just fantastic and Ian Somerhalder is the perfect baddie, who you just don’t want to hate (or you can’t hate? Not sure which one it is!). Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape were another two that I had a love/hate relationship with. With Draco, the love/hate feelings weren’t as strong for the book character, but they were with the actor that played him in the movie (Tom Felton did a great job). There was something about the blonde hair and smirk that was comical and likeable for me. Plus he was a coward, so I think I felt a little bad for him too.

Here are my top 5 Baddies that I love to hate:

1. Damon from Vampire Diaries
2. Catwoman
3. Gollum from The Lord of the Rings
4. Loki from Thor
5. Tony Montana from Scarface

Let me know which bad guys (or gals) you love to hate.

Ripper by Stefan Petrucha

July 27, 2014 | Naomi | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Cross posted on TPL Teens. 


 I loved this book for a number of reasons:

1. It is about Jack the Ripper, the world's first serial killer and the Pinkerton Detective Agency (I love Historical Fiction)

2. It features impossible gadgets & underground subways

3. It had many short chapters so I could fit them into my busy life easily. 

Carver Young is an orphan who is about to be turned out into the street, so when a crochety but famous Pinkerton detective takes him in, Carver is excited at the prospect of becoming a detective himself. But Jack the Ripper has arrived in New York and soon their lives will collide.  This is a fast paced exciting ride through the New York city of the 19th century.  Check out the book trailer for a taste of this page turning mystery.  


On to the Small Screen...

July 24, 2014 | Monica | Comments (8) Facebook Twitter More...

BreakingBadLast week I spoke about movies, so this week I thought I’d bring my blog to the small screen, and discuss my favourite crime thrillers with you. Now, they are not all murder mysteries, but characters do die, and there is always a struggle between the good and the bad. The funny thing is, sometimes a character comes by that you don’t always hate because he/she is one of the bad ones. In fact, you almost feel sorry for them because you know they are in over their heads, and shouldn’t be. For me, this was Jesse Pinkman, in the Breaking Bad Series (and to a certain extent, Walter White as well). I just finished watching the last season a few weeks ago (you can get all of them through the library), and I have to admit that I was hooked from the first few episodes. Again, I was a little late to jump on this bandwagon, but the upside was I got to watch it from beginning to end, all in one shot. I was pleasantly shocked at the character development in this show, especially when it came to the main lead, Walter White. It was amusing and sad to see the rise and fall of the straight laced, high school chemistry teacher, who, initially, just wanted to be able to take of his family financially. At the end, it wasn’t even about the money anymore, but instead, he wanted the notoriety of having the best product on the market.

I’m always amazed when the creative forces behind these shows can create characters with so much depth, and make them so real. For all I know, there may be a ‘Walter White’ type of character around me and I would be none the wiser. I think these are the shows that really catch my interest because you sympathize with characters, root for them, love them, and hate them, all at the same time.

Another show that I think is fantastic is Criminal Minds. To be in a line of work, where you have to put yourself in the shoes of the criminal, and think like him/her, so that you can protect others, is (for me) both scary and exhilarating. I couldn’t imagine doing it, and salute all those brave men and women that work to make the world a safer place for us all.

The last show I want to mention is Motive, which is based in Vancouver (Yay Canada!). Now this show is very different from the rest, as it tells the viewer who the killer is (as well as the victim) right at the beginning. Now, you may be wondering how is this a thriller, when you know who’s the culprit? Well, this is exactly why I like the show. It’s not about finding the criminal, but rather finding out why he/she committed the crime. As the title states, it’s all about the motive, which I find just as thrilling. After all, the why’s of a case are just as important as the who’s.

Which shows have you watched, either recently or in the past, that have made you really appreciate the storyline and character development? It doesn’t have to be a murder based show, or even a crime thriller. I would be very interested to see what you guys are watching and enjoying, so that I can get ideas on what to watch next

Tonight at the Movies

July 17, 2014 | Monica | Comments (9) Facebook Twitter More...

Large_5emaTTGS8rnLgZrBS98zqv1XWqEIn addition to reading my lot of murder mysteries this summer, I decided to expand my entertainment in the genre by watching movies that I hadn’t already seen. The most recent was American Psycho with Christian Bale (yes, I know, I’m extremely late on this one). First of all, I have to say that his performance was absolutely amazing, and so different from everything else he has done. He truly is a very versatile actor, although I should admit that I may be a bit on the biased side (… he is my most favourite Batman ever and I absolutely love the Dark Knight Trilogy!!). As amazing as his depiction of the character was, it was a little weird watching him as a psychopath as I am so used to associating him with the Caped Crusader. And to be honest, the characters are complete polar opposites. One fights for justice and doesn’t want to kill even the bad guys, while the other has no regard for human life. I also watched Silence of the Lambs (Sir Anthony Hopkins is such an intense actor), and Rear Window by Hitchcock (lots of TV shows make reference to this, so I thought it was about time I watched it). All were great movies and definitely delivered on the entertainment factor. So, as I look for more titles, I turn to you, and ask for your recommendations and input. As with the previous post, you can give me your top 5 (or top 4, or 3, or 2, or just your top choice).

Here are my top 5 murder mysteries/thrillers that have entertained us on the big screen:

1. Psycho
2. Memento
3. Se7en
4. The Usual Suspects
5. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Your Top 5 Knocked Off Characters

July 10, 2014 | Monica | Comments (14) Facebook Twitter More...

Good morning!! Dobby

First of all, I want to thank everyone for all the comments and discussions that were started in my previous post. It was great reading your opinions and ideas, and I loved that you interacted with one another… KEEP IT GOING! After all, that’s what Word Out is all about; sharing your thoughts and ideas with your peers and not reading alone!

Your posts got me wondering about all the characters that have died in the books I have read, and morbid old me, started ranking them. I think the saddest for me where the deaths in the Harry Potter series, as those are some of my all time favourite books and movies. As I mentioned in my previous post, Dobby’s death made me really sad, both in the book and the movie. I pose two questions for you, the first, how does a death of a character differ for you depending on whether you are reading about it, or watching it on a screen. The second, which characters top your list of the saddest/most unexpected deaths? These could be good or bad characters, although I would be more interested in the good.

I also want to mention the book Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. There was a death in there that caught me completely off guard. Not sure if any of you have read this one, but this books takes on a subject that is considered very taboo. It got really mixed reviews, which is the very reason I picked it up. If any of you have read it, I would love to get your opinions on it. I, for one, really liked the book, and even though the subject matter was considered taboo, I have to hand it to Ms. Suzuma for writing it and writing it so beautifully!

Now, to start the list… here are my top 5 character deaths (movie or book)

    1. Dobby from Harry Potter
    2. Dumbledore from Harry Potter
    3. Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web
    4. Mufasa from the Lion King (love that movie!)
    5. Character from Forbidden (was not expecting that to happen!)

Who are yours?

Death and Dying

July 3, 2014 | Monica | Comments (26) Facebook Twitter More...

The-fault-in-our-stars-book-cover1Venturing out of my genre this summer, I recently read the blockbuster The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Now this was definitely a title out of my element, as I tend to go for the gruesome, morbid, and suspenseful. It was a great book, and to my surprise, I was emotionally invested. Now, I am definitely not one for love stories, but something about this book sucked me in, and I was rooting for the characters till the very end, even though I knew what to expect. This got me thinking about the way the books on my booklist made me feel. Although I enjoyed reading them a whole lot and was sucked into the plot lines, I didn’t feel for/connect with the characters to the same degree. Although there is death in other books as well, especially in the ‘Sick-Lit’ genre, the approach the author takes in a murder mystery is quite different, which means that emotionally, they have different effects on you. Perhaps the reason for this is that the character that gets knocked off isn’t usually as well developed and we tend to meet him/her early on, so we don’t really form any sort of attachment. Personally, I found that The Fault in Out Stars evoked this weird mix of feelings… I was sad, upset, angry, happy, and overall, content with the way the story unfolded. With the murder mysteries, I find that I am usually preoccupied trying to figure out what will happen next, who I think the perpetrator is, and what I think should happen to him/her when he/she gets caught! In addition, I also started thinking about the emotional toll the death of a character has on a reader. Whether it be a murder, suicide, or sickness. This, in return, got me wondering about how you, the readers, feel when you read books that deal with death. What sort of emotions do you go through when a character dies? Does the manner in which the character dies affect the way you feel?