Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Interview and Review- Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst!

Hello, my darling readers. Today, I'm super excited to be interviewing author Sarah Beth Durst about her recent release entitled Chasing Power! This book was released into the wild yesterday, October 14th, and I highly recommend it. Read along with us as we talk about special powers, survival, and the writing process. Please be sure to leave a comment or a question below and thank her for being rad enough to talk with me.


Kayla, the main character of Chasing Power, uses her gifts in order to become an amazing thief. If you 100% knew that you would never get caught, what is the one thing that you would steal?

Ooh, what an interesting question... I actually dreamed last night that I stole a spaceship. But I'm guessing that would be a rather useless thing to steal unless I also stole the launch pad and all of Mission Control. Can I steal NASA? Probably a bad idea.

(Whoever is reading this interview, can you answer this in the comments? Really curious what people would pick...)

You heard the nice lady, readers. Comment below! Personally, I'd steal something cool and old, maybe a painting or a statue. I'd be torn between keeping it for bragging rights or selling it. I do have student loans to pay.... But I digress.

Daniel's gift, however, gives him the ability to teleport. If you had this power, where would you teleport to? What would you do there?

I'd visit my mom. Just pop in for lunch regularly, or just to say hi.

I'd also really love to see New Zealand. It looks so very beautiful from all the pictures (and epic fantasy movies) that I've seen.

I'd have to agree. New Zealand and Australia would be at the top of my list as well.

Let's pretend for a minute that we live in this society, where magic is a very real thing. What sort of gift or power would you most want? What would you do with that power?

Telekinesis. So much possibility!

In CHASING POWER, I give Kayla very, very limited telekinesis. She can only lift light things. But she's able to use that sliver of power in inventive ways.

Inventive is the perfect word for it. I loved her unique twist on this power. Now, you have to leave now to start kicking ass and saving lives. What three things MUST be in your bag?

Chapstick. A magic wand. And a snack. Not necessarily in that order. Also probably would be a good idea to have a phone so I can call for backup.

I think I'd have to have my phone, headphones (so I can musically narrate my battle sequences), and a Greek yogurt. That's the fuel of champions, in my humble opinion.

Chasing Power is a young adult book, but I know that you have written adult titles as well. Is it harder to write for one age group over another? Is there a genre or age group that you prefer to write? Is it difficult to switch?

It's difficult to switch from one book to another, regardless of audience or genre. Every book has its own voice, style, and world, and switching requires extracting yourself from one and immersing yourself in another. It really doesn't matter who the intended reader is. What matters is who the protagonist is and what his/her world is like -- that's what makes it challenging to switch. Fun, though. :)

Your mission has taken a grim turn, and it looks like you may not survive it this time. Given your pick, what would your last meal be?

Prosciutto and melon as an appetizer, followed by portobello mushroom soup from Artist Point in Disney World (seriously best soup in the world), then a butternut squash risotto, followed by a dessert that includes chocolate and raspberries. Lots of raspberries, and a cup of that raspberry sauce that restaurants drizzle onto dessert plates. And now I'm hungry...

A girl after my own heart. Chocolate-raspberry is quite possibly the best flavor combination on the planet.

A lot of people would argue that some people in our world DO have gifts, things like clairvoyance or past-life reads. Do you believe in fortune telling, or other gifts?

I'm going to plead the Fifth on this one, on the grounds that I could be wrong. :)

What was your favorite scene to write in Chasing Power? Which one gave you the most difficulty?

The scene in the swimming hole was the most difficult because it was so very important to get it right. I must have rewritten it at least a dozen times. More.

My favorite scene was in the catacombs. Also any scene with Selena.

You're getting yourself pumped up to go and work out or go fight some bad guys. What song is blasting in the background to get you fired up?

I'd probably blast a mix that includes "Firework," "Lose Yourself," "All or Nothing," and "Eye of the Tiger." And maybe "Neon Pegasus," because it's both awesome and hilarious.

Can you tell me about any other writing projects that you have in the works?

I'm working on a middle-grade novel called THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM. It's about a girl whose family owns a secret store where they buy, bottle, and sell dreams, but who can't have any of her own, and the adventure that she and her pet monster go on when someone starts kidnapping dreamers. It's coming out in fall 2015 from HMH/Clarion Books, and I'm really, really excited about it!

Thanks so much for interviewing me!

And thank you so much for being here!

About the Book

Lies, secrets, and magic — three things that define Kayla's life.

Sixteen-year-old Kayla plans to spend her summer hanging out on the beach in Santa Barbara and stealing whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Born with the ability to move things with her mind — things like credit cards, diamond rings, and buttons on cash registers — she has become a master shoplifter. She steals to build up a safety net, enough money for her and her mom to be able to flee if her dad finds them again. Well, that, and the thrill of using her secret talents.

But her summer plans change when she's caught stealing by a boy named Daniel — a boy who needs her help and is willing to blackmail her to get it. Daniel has a talent of his own. He can teleport, appearing anywhere in the world in an instant, but he lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on a quest to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel's kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family — and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive... or survive.

You can buy a copy for yourself by clicking here.

About the Author

Sarah Beth Durst is the author of nine fantasy novels for children, teens, and adults, including Conjured, Vessel, and Ice. Her most recent YA novel, Chasing Power, came out in October 2014 from Bloomsbury, and her most recent book for adults, The Lost, came out in June 2014 from Harlequin/Mira. She was awarded the 2013 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature and has been a finalist for SFWA's Andre Norton Award three times. She is a graduate of Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and children. For more information, visit her website.


Title: Chasing Power
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: August 14th 2014
Source: Author, via Netgalley.


I was so excited when author Sarah Beth Durst contacted me to review Chasing Power. I've read her works in the past and really enjoyed them, so I seized the chance to read another one of her creations. I'm happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

I'll start by talking about the cover. I actually really like it. It's simple but it's striking, and it kind of puts me in mind of the City of Ember cover. I especially like the coloring of the author's name on the top. It'd make me pick this book up at a store to learn more about what it's about.

And then of course, there's the actual contents of the story itself. It's been a quite a long time since I've read a book involving "super powers" that I've enjoyed. I'm really happy that this has broken my dry spell. The lead character, Kayla, has telekinesis. That said, she doesn't use it quite in the ways that I anticipated. I really liked that about this book. I also liked that neither Kayla or Daniel are given crazy powers. They're not some brilliantly talented super-creatures, just kids who can do some pretty cool stuff.

The characters were definitely a strong point for me in this book. I felt that Kayla was a very relatable, "normal" girl, magical powers aside of course. She made a lot of decisions that I feel that, even if I didn't necessarily like them, I would have made myself. I liked that Daniel was smart in some ways but slacking in others, and he added a nice counter-element to Kayla's power. Selena as annoying but that wasn't actually a bad thing. I think we all have that one friend who we love dearly but perhaps in small doses? That's how she felt to me. She was likable, but I'm glad she wasn't in every scene. My favorite character was probably Kayla's mother, Moonbeam, who is playing the role of "ditzy fake hippie" to protect the family. I thought that this mask was quirky and it added something to the setting of the novel.

All of the settings were really well described, from the fake artifacts scattered around Kayla's house to the brightly painted storefronts of the French Quarter, it definitely got my attention how well things were narrated. This is especially true of the New Orleans scenes. I lived in Louisiana for awhile and New Orleans is one of my absolute favorite places. Durst's writings totally conjured up images that I was familiar with and made me want to go back, despite the threats and curses and other nasties lurking in this story.

This book is well paced and I found that there was never really a dull moment. I was sucked into this story in the beginning from Kayla's intricate thieving abilities, and became totally enthralled when voo doo queens and magical stones got involved.

I recommend this book to any fans of YA urban fantasy or books involving magic. This wasn't my first experience reading Sarah Beth Durst's, and if she keeps pumping out stories like this one, I will just have to keep devouring them as they're released. Thank you to the author who provided me with a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my 100% honest review.

Now let's hear from you! If you knew you wouldn't get caught, what one thing would you steal? What three things would you take with you on an adventure? What would your last meal or super power be?


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  2. This book sounds great! I love the interview and the review is stellar, I'm so bummed that I didn't win a giveaway for it, I was (and still am) very interested in reading it. Thanks for this little insight into the mind of the author, I really enjoyed it. Also, if I knew I wasn't going to get caught, I think I'd steal the Crown Jewels. Is that too cliche of a thief answer?

  3. I like the magic mix in this book. And, curious about the swimming hole scene. Adding this to my tbr list!