Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Blog Tour - Umberland by Wendy Spinale

I am thrilled to be part of the tour for Umberland. The amazing sequel to the equally amazing Everland by Wendy Spinale. Everland is a fantastic Peter Pan retelling, and if you haven't checked it out I highly recommend that you do!

Author: Wendy Spinale
Pub. Date: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Forget the story of Peter Pan you know. Because in Everland, the only way to grow up is to survive.

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders -- the German Army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England's borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a mysterious boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook? 

Be sure to stop by the other tour stops on this amazing tour for more reviews, interviews, excerpts, and more. Be sure to enter the contest at the end of this post for a chance to win a copy of your own!

Here is the full tour schedule:

Week One:

5/1/2017- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderInterview
5/2/2017- A Glass Of Wine BlogReview
5/3/2017- Margie's Must ReadsExcerpt
5/4/2017- Swoony Boys PodcastReview
5/5/2017- Brittany's Book RamblesGuest Post

Week Two:

5/8/2017- BookHounds YAReview
5/9/2017- Two Chicks on BooksInterview
5/11/2017- YA Books CentralInterview
5/12/2017- Emily Reads Everything- Review

Author: Wendy Spinale
Pub. Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 288
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Rating: 4/5 stars


Here is the Goodreads synopsis

What began with a reimagining of Peter Pan and Wendy now twists into a stunning version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass!

Gwen, Pete, and the others have escaped from Everland. But the safe haven they hoped to find at Alnwick Castle doesn't exist. With the Queen of England on her deathbed, Duchess Alyssa has stepped in to lead, but things have gotten worse as the cure Doc created for the Horologia virus has mutated, accelerating the disease. The only possible solution he can think of is to go back to the virus's origin: an extinct poisonous apple.

Legend has it a tree bearing the apple might be found at the center of a deadly labyrinth hidden deep within Germany. A place that no one in their right mind enters. Leaving Pete in charge of the survivors, Alyssa sets out with only her sword, her wits, and the help of Maddox Hadder, a wild boy who oversees the castle gardens. To get to the center of the maze, she'll be forced to battle monsters more terrifying than her darkest nightmares.
But can anyone truly survive the madness of the maze? And what if there's no apple to be found there? 
A misbehaving Prince, a reality television show, and some royal drama. What more could you want? These all combine to create an enjoyable and romantic read that perfectly continues Emma Chase's Royally series.
I always appreciate imaginative takes on retellings. I was charmed by Wendy Spinale's Everland and could not wait to read the sequel. Umberland asks you to follow it down the rabbit hole, and rewards you with a fresh feeling take on an often retold classic. 

Alice in Wonderland is probably the classic tale I know least about. This novel, to my knowledge, seems to also incorporate details from Through The Looking Glass along with details from the original, which was a fun twist. The little nods to Alice's adventures in the whimsical Wonderland are smart, and do not feel forced. They happen organically to push the story forward. The blending of steam punk into the tale was something that stood out about Everland, and that is the case again here. I did not anticipate steam punk working in this retelling, but it does. It makes sense plot wise, and feels plausible within the world that has been created. 

The world is perhaps my favourite part of this series. It is so richly developed that you feel transported into this harrowing, rapidly worsening, illness ridden world. It is not a place you would want to live, but it is so actualized that you feel swept way into it. It's the type of world that remains with you long after you've finished the story and one that you'll remember vividly. There are stakes that feel legitimate which only adds another texture to this already engrossing world. 

The fact that this is a sequel to a Peter Pan inspired story is awe inspiring. They blend together incredibly well with this story expanding upon the world that was created in Everland believably. You immediately believe that these two stories could exist in the same world and that the events of Everland naturally lead to the events in this story.  

After following Gwen and Pete's story in Everland, I was concerned when I heard that they would move to a more background role for the sequel. This is Alyssa and Maddox's story, but the characters you love from Everland are ever present. You'll come to care for Alyssa and all of the new characters, just as much as you do those from Everland. They story retains the series' heart and tone and that helps you ease into this sequel that sometimes reads as a companion novel. 

While this is a sequel to Everland it also reads as a complete story on its own. You could, I feel, read this without having read Everland if you really wanted to, and follow the story without too much trouble (even if you would be missing some of the context). This, for me, is what makes a good series. If the story can stand on its own outside of the series while still building upon the overall story being told. 

Those looking for a unique take on familiar tales will not be disappointed by checking out the Everland series. Umberland offers a purely delightful take on Alice's journey down the rabbit hole. This will please those who adore retelling, and is different enough to appeal to those who may be tired of them.


I must admit, I have lived an extraordinary life and will forever be grateful for the opportunities I have had.

I was the middle of three kids, my older brother being deaf for as far back as I can remember. At the time, I didn't realize how much that would later impact my life. I was a sign language interpreter for a short time (although I'm extremely rusty now), taught my kids to sign as infants, and now am using that experience in my current manuscript.

During college I was living in southern California working for Disneyland as a Cast Member in the Entertainment Department. I met my husband there who was also a performer. After four incredible years working with the Mouse, we moved to his hometown in the Bay Area.

I eventually got my Bachelor's in Kinesiology and worked in the fitness industry for ten years before a knee injury ended my career. Not sure what to do with my time, I applied to job posting to be an online journalist. I loved writing, but had no experience. I didn't hear back so I wrote up a review about a local restaurant and sent it to them to prove I could do the job. Twenty-four hours later, I was a journalist with AOL Media/Pleasanton Patch.

I spent three great years with them before cut backs forced me without a job again. That's when I started writing my first novel, which went nowhere. Dozens of rejection letters later. I started a second book. A year later I was offered representation by Thao Le from Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and within another six months I was offered a book deal. EVERLAND (Scholastic) is scheduled to debut Summer of 2016!

Today I live in the Bay Area with my husband and three sons who are my biggest fans. While they're off at work and school, I bounce ideas off my four-legged, furry family members, Odie and Sammy.

Hopefully you now want to win a copy of your very own. 3 winners will win a finished copy of Umberland. The contest is US ONLY and can be entered by using the Rafflecopter below. Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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