Mundie Moms

Thursday, October 13, 2016

BLACK WIDOW: RED VENGEANCE by Margaret Stohl / Blog Tour: Author Interview / Giveaway

Hello and welcome to today's BLACK WIDOW: READ VENGEANCE tour stop! I am so thrilled to spotlight the newest book in the Black Widow series by Margaret Stohl, as well as share my part of an over the phone interview I recently had with Margaret and host a giveaway! *Thank you to Marvel Press for sending me a copy (my review will be up soon), and for providing prizing for this post! Per FTC guidelines, I have teamed up with Marvel Press to feature today's post, as well as host a giveaway with prizes furnished by Marvel Press.


By: Margaret Stohl
Published by: Marvel Press / Disney
Released on: October 11th, 2016
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

Emotions are dangerous, which is why the graduates of Moscow’s famed spy school the Red Room are taught to keep their enemies close and their loved ones at a distance. Black Widow and Red Widow, also known as Natasha Romanoff and Ava Orlova, forgot that lesson once, and they won’t forget it again. 

But the Widows have inherited something else from their shared Moscow past: a relentless need for vengeance—Ivan Somodorov is dead, but his network of terror remains. 

While the Widows search South America in order to extinguish a smuggling operation with ties to their old nemesis, their own Red Room not only attempts to assassinate them both but also hacks their secure S.H.I.E.L.D. network. As a result, Ava and Natasha find themselves thrust into a trying mission of international intrigue that takes them throughout the world and back to New York City, where their friends Dante and Sana become unlikely targets as well. 

Once again, nothing is as it seems, no one can be trusted, and no one is safe—not unless the Widows can stop a conspiracy involving stolen nuclear warheads, mind-altering chemical weapons, and ultimately, betrayal by old friends and enemies alike. 


A week or so ago I had the privillage of being apart of a group interview with Margaret Stohl. Over the course of our phone interview the few invitees were able to ask two questions each. I loved hearing all the questions, and answers. Below I've included my two questions to Margaret, as well as her introduction to us at the beginning of the phone interview. 

Margaret Stohl: This is Margaret, hi, glad to be here!  My book is Black Widow: Red Vengeance, so it’s the sequel to Black Widow: Forever Red. And it’s a really closely connected response to the first book, where something tragic happens to both characters and this is the vendetta that follows. But in terms of the comic world, it is the equivalent of a separate issue where it really follows the specific sort of worldwide drama through four continents. There’s a lot of action, some big enemies and, of course, some emotional stuff as well.  
It’s more of an exploration of Ava, the younger protagonist, becoming the Red Widow and her own character with her own mission, goals, and personality, and clashing with Natasha, the Bla

Mundie Moms: I love the way you write strong characters. I think readers can relate to your books, and so my question is, what have you enjoyed discovering or developing with Natasha in the main story? Additionally, as a whole, I think your characters are inspiring women and I think too often women of Marvel get misunderstood. Can you speak to that?
Margaret Stohl: I am all about women of Marvel. Being on the Women in Marvel panel at Comic Con was one of the greatest “big first” moments of my career.
It was really exciting to get two Widows together in the second book. But it was super exciting this time to get Captain Marvel together with Carol Danvers, so Captain Marvel is Carol Danvers, together with Natasha Romanoff, Ava and Maria Hill, who runs Shield.
In some of those meetings, I have four kickass Marvel women together living in the world. I was like, oh my God, talk about the Bechdel test. Now it’s not even, “can you talk about a woman,” it’s, “can there be more than one woman prominently featured in a superhero story?” And the answer is yes. That is a goal of mine.  
Women are as interested in saving the world as men are. I think women heroes are as heroic as any hero. I also think that, like anybody, woman really thrive in a circle of friends. So I love putting together a group of empowered women who empower each other. Women not competing with each other is one of my favorite things in the world.
I use more and more of that, which you’ll see in Captain Marvel, too. It’s actually one of the first things you open up in the issues of my reboot. You’ll see that from literally page one. So that’s what I care about.  
Mundie Moms: I’m still freaking out over the fact that you are writing Marvel because that is just so freaking awesome.
Margaret Stohl: I know. It’ll be my first time in the Marvel Creative Summit next week, which is the first time a Young Adult writer, someone who grew up writing for teens for the last decade, will be in that room when they’re planning what’s going to happen for the next 18 months in Marvel universes.  
There was a woman in that room for the first time last year, G. Willow Wilson was in it. Now, on Monday, I’ll be in that room representing girls but also representing teens, so I think that’s a huge honor and I’m super excited.
Mundie Moms: It is. Can you take us with you?  
Margaret Stohl: I will take you all with me. I’ll turn my phone on secretly so you can all listen. Actually, I can’t, because federal law prohibits it. Something I didn’t know when Empire Strikes Back came out!
Mundie Moms: We all admire you right now. I am so excited about this. What was your favorite aspect of creating the Widow world? Because the world’s already been there and the characters have already been there, but it’s so much fun to read this exploration that you’ve taken us on, to go deeper into these amazing characters. What elements have you had the most fun creating?
Margaret Stohl: The most fun for me is definitely the world of characters, it’s the banter between characters, it’s the fighting and the love and the hate and the teasing each other. But I’m a character-driven person and writer, so I’ve loved that. I’ve loved having those characters in my life and getting to watch, getting to sit in the front row as they’re all squabbling together.  

Margaret Stohl is the #1 New York Times best-selling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures novels (also a major motion picture) and the author of the instant New York Times best seller Black Widow: Forever Red, as well as a contributor to multiple Marvel comics. Previously, Margaret was a veteran of the video game industry, working as a writer and designer before co-founding 7 Studios with Lewis Peterson. 

Find Margaret Stohl on Twitter and Instagram.

One (1) winner will receive an autographed copy of Black Widow: Red Vengeance. To enter, please fill out the form below. 
Giveaway open to US addresses only.
Prizing and samples provided by Marvel Press.

Thank you to Margaret Stohl, Marvel Press, and Big Hancho Media for making this post possible!

Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton / Book Review

By: Brodi Ashton
Published by: Balzar + Bray
Released on: September 6, 2016
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
Add it to goodreads
Rating: 3 stars - It was good
I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Aspiring reporter Piper Baird decides to write a scathing exposé on the overprivileged students at an elite Washington, DC, school, only for her life to change when she begins to fall for the story's main subject, in this new realistic contemporary romance from Brodi Ashton, the author of the Everneath trilogy.

Raucous parties, privileged attitudes, underage drinking, and diplomatic’s all part of student life on Embassy Row.

Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the country’s most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—and winning will ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.

Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the intense competition in the journalism program—and the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school. And Piper knows access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.

The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s chance to get the full scoop. But as they spend time together, Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it could destroy the boy she just might love?

I adore a story that features a Veronica Mars-ish main character. Piper is that girl. A girl whose family is experiencing potential bankruptcy. A girl whose dreams of becoming the next, award-winning, investigative reporter like Christiane Amanpour or Nellie Bly, may be shattered if she doesn't get into the exclusive Chiswick Academy and win their most prized journalism scholarship -- the Bennington scholarship. The plot thickens quickly when Piper decides to investigate the kids who are covered under diplomatic immunity.  While she has her eyes on that scholarship, what Piper doesn't expect is that Mr. Tall, Dark and OhSoWrong would be more than she first thought.

The story is sweet and reminiscent of Anna and the French Kiss, but it lacks a little something in its execution. I think it starts with Piper's character and the conveniently presented similarities of both Piper and Rafael having autistic brothers. While she is exactly the kind of character I love -- stubborn and determined -- her problems seem to resolve themselves too neatly. The two brothers bring Piper and Rafael closer and provide a common touchpoint they wouldn't otherwise have (or would take a while for it to develop). It just seemed too neat and in a contemporary story, I like a little bit of a mess before an inevitable conclusion.

The plot works itself out nicely. Many misunderstandings and prejudices are presented and resolved, including the biggest one of all -- can a girl on a scholarship end up with a diplomat's son? With our presidential election looming ahead of us, my mind does wander over to Washington D.C., and I do wonder what it would be like to be part of that elite group of teens who attend those posh schools. While they have protection detail and even immunity, the expectations of their parents are sky-high. Diplomatic Immunity gave me a glimpse into that world. A bit of a predictable glimpse, but nonetheless it made me want more than just a peek inside this world.