Comparing The Butterfly Novels by Denise Deegan

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Hello everyone, this is a slightly different ‘compare’ post from Luna and myself as we’re talking about a complete series of books not just one. The books in question are the Butterfly Novels by Denise Deegan. So let’s start:

LUNA: I read these books last year (thank you Luisa Plaja for recommending them) and was put through the emotional wringer. Since then I’ve been trying to get everyone I know to read them but be perfectly honest, when you first saw the books what did you think?
CHRISSI: I received them in a lovely package from yourself. I have to admit, I was put off by the covers. I thought they’d been really ‘young’ books with not much depth, when in fact, they are beautifully written books that I think readers from teenage to adult would enjoy.

LUNA: The paperbacks are only published by Hachette Ireland at the moment; so if you had seen them in a shop would you have picked them up?
CHRISSI: They wouldn’t have immediately drawn my eye. I think if I’d taken time to read the synopsis, then I may have picked them up.

What did you think of Alex, Sarah and Rachel? How did this change with each book?
CHRISSI: Alex was my favourite character. I really felt for her throughout all of the books. Rachel seemed a bit boring at first, but that changed when I got to read her story. I think the biggest transformation for me was Sarah. I really didn’t like her in the first book and didn’t think that would change at all. However, I think I felt the most emotionally for her out of all of the characters.

LUNA: I loved Alex from the first book and Rachel was nice (maybe a little boring) but Sarah was my least favourite that is until I read her story and now I adore her.

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E-book covers. Click on the images for my reviews.

CHRISSI: And For Your Information was both of our favourite books of the series. Why do you think this particular book resonated the most with us?
LUNA: I think it’s because Sarah is such a relatable character. She is friends with Alex and Rachel but feels like the third wheel, her family has fallen apart and Sarah feels abandoned and alone. Also the story in And For Your Information is so powerful. I read it last year and I still get all emotional when I think about it.

Best thing about the Butterfly Novels?
CHRISSI: The writing was absolutely amazing. I was so surprised I felt so much for these characters. Unfortunately it doesn’t often happen to the extent it did with the Butterfly Novels, but when it does I know a really good writer has completely captured my attention.

LUNA: Apart from the writing, the stories and amazing character development? Not to mention the emotional rollercoaster each books takes you on… I guess that each book surprised me by being so much more than I original expected.

Worst thing?
CHRISSI: As I mentioned, if I had seen the covers in a shop I wouldn’t have been immediately drawn to them. It’s such a shame because inside those covers are some AMAZING characters and powerful stories.
LUNA: The covers, well mostly the And For Your Information one. I was so glad Denise asked me to re-design them for the eBooks.

If you had to compare the Butterfly Novels to other contemporary reads, what would they be?
CHRISSI: Ooh, it’s hard. I can’t really pinpoint a specific author, but if you like emotional, well written reads then these will definitely be the books for you. I guess the closest comparison I can think of is Katie McGarry.

LUNA: I think anyone who liked/loved The Fault In Our Stars by John Green will adore And For Your Information. For And By The Way I’m tempted to say Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry works as comparison and for the last book in the series, And Actually, I think Cherokee Brown by Siobhan Curham.

CHRISSI: I loved Alex, Sarah and Rachel as characters, but I was also intrigued by their boyfriends. Would you have liked to have read something from their point of view?
LUNA: Yes, especially Louis. Maybe we can bride Denise Deegan with Jelly Tots…


Paperback covers, click for Luna’s reviews.

LUNA: What do you think of the new eBook covers & blurbs?
CHRISSI: I really like them. I think they’re definitely eye-catching and they’re better than the girls. Nothing against the girls, it just makes the books look quite ‘young’, when I think they appeal to a wider range of people!

Favourite character / moment?
CHRISSI: Why must I answer this question?! I really liked Alex and Sarah. But I guess I ended up feeling more for Sarah and that surprised me, because she certainly wasn’t a character I liked in the first book. Denise Deegan really made me change my mind about a character. That rarely happens to me.

LUNA: Sarah, while she really doesn’t make a great impression in the first book. She comes across as flakey and annoying but after the first chapter of And for Your Information Sarah made sense. Not only that but I sympathised with her so much that I spend most of the book blubbing. If I could have I would have crawled into the book to hug Sarah.

Would you recommend the Butterfly Novels?
CHRISSI: Without a doubt! I think they’re brilliant!

LUNA: YES!
Which is why I’ve been working my butt of trying to promote these, I need to say that I volunteered to all this work. Nobody came to me offering money – I want to do this because I think the Butterfly Novels are that good.

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If you’d like to see what all we’re talking about Denise Deegan’s short story Checkout Girl is currently free on Amazon this includes the first chapter of And By The Way.
There is also an eBook bundle of the series
AND if you’d like to win a signed copy of the paperback you can HERE.

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Click for your free copy!

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Interview with Denise Deegan, Author of The Butterfly Novels

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Today I am joined on the blog by the lovely Denise Deegan, author of The Butterfly Novels which I have reviewed over the last three days. If you haven’t read my reviews and want to, please click on the image of the book.

What inspired you to write The Butterfly Novels?

I hadn’t planned to write for teenagers. I had finished a two-book deal with Penguin for contemporary books for adults. An artist friend and I decided that we’d like to work together on a picture book for small children. We met in a coffee shop and brainstormed.  One of our ideas was for a book featuring a dad who would go abroad to work, come home and tell his little girl about the country he had visited. We both decided that it was too politically correct and boring. My friend went to the loo. While she was gone, this voice came into my head. It was a teenage girl giving out to her dad. She was so angry and sarcastic but underneath it all there was a huge vulnerability. I didn’t know where it would take me- whether it would be a short story, a novel or nothing at all. As I was not under contract and I wanted to have fun, I decided to listen to the voice and see where it took me.

It came to me that this girl’s name was Alex. The reason she was angry with her dad was because she had lost her mother to cancer six months previously and her father had not been there for her physically or emotionally. I realized then that the whole idea for the novel had come from my subconscious. It was reacting to the picture book idea and telling me that it’s not necessarily a good thing when a parent isn’t around. That scene is in the first chapter of And By The Way.

I am so glad I listened to Alex’s voice. The reaction to the Butterfly Novels has blown me away. Teenagers are so amazing. They get in contact with me every day through Facebook and twitter to let me know, not just how much they love the books, but how their lives have been affected by them in so many positive ways. I appreciate that so much.

Did you have the idea planned out for a trilogy, or did it naturally progress that way?

Initially, no, I did not plan a trilogy. After finishing the first book, And By The Way, I really wanted to write books from the points of view of Alex’s friends, Sarah and Rachel. When I was a teenager, I believed that everyone thought like I did. It was really only when I first fell in love, I realized that we are all so different. I wanted to show how different the same world can be from someone else’s point of view.

In the first book, And By The Way, Sarah is the least likable character. I knew that some people who had loved And By The Way would want the next book to be about Alex again. It was kind of brave and maybe a bit mad to chose Sarah but that’s what I wanted to do and, as a writer, you have to be true to yourself. It was the best thing I ever did. I came to love Sarah so much and so did Butterfly fans. For many, And For Your Information is their favourite book.

( I have to admit it’s my favourite! )

Do you identify with any of the characters?

Rachel. Of the three girls, Rachel is perhaps the most sensible and certainly the best friend. For me, she was the hardest to write because we are so alike. The third book, And Actually, was the most challenging for that reason. How can you write about someone who is so together? The answer, I found, was to take them apart. *cue evil laughter*

If the novels were to be made into a film (which they totally should 😉 ) who would you cast as Alex, Sarah and Rachel?

So many of my fans have asked me if the Butterfly Novels are going to be made into a movie. So what I would LOVE is for one of my fans to, one day, make the movie. I would also love for that person to ask their casting agent to hold open auditions so that any of my fans that wanted to could audition. That is what I would love.

(Excellent answer. If only I had the talent to make a movie 😉 )

The Butterfly Novels were an incredibly emotional series for me to read. I particularly felt moved by And For Your Information.. Is it hard to write such emotional pieces of work?

When I write, I become the main character, so for me, too, it’s emotional. And For Your Information broke my heart, more than once but I fell in love with Sarah who proved to herself, to me, and to Butterfly fans just what and amazing person was hiding inside. I feel very emotionally attached to The Butterfly Novels. I find it hard, for example, to pick a favourite because choosing one over the others would be like a mother choosing a favourite child.

Please tell me you’re writing something else! What’s next for you writing wise?

Yes, I am editing two books at the moment. The first is a love story set in the past. I love the two main characters, Maggie and Daniel. And I have loved dropping them into history to see what happened.

I am also editing a YA thriller which I am dying to get out there. I wish I could write faster.

What do you hope to achieve in 2014?

I would like to get both my historical love story and the YA thriller out into the world. I am very, very tempted to self-publish. I think it would be a whole new adventure.

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Quick fire questions:

  • Favourite author? Darren Shan
  • Book you wish you had written? The Book Thief
  • Favourite book character?  Can I pick more than one? ( Oh go on then… 😉 ) Rudy- The Book Thief, Zach-Goodnight Mister Tom,  Sarah-And For Your Information.
  • Favourite place to write?  That would be in Sardinia by a pool but *sigh* it is usually on my dining room table or in bed.
  • Favourite book character that you love to hate?  Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada.
  • Favourite book series? The Hunger Games
  • Hardest book to write in the Butterfly Novels series?  And Actually because I’m so like Rachel.

Thank you so much to Denise for taking the time to answer my questions. I’ve been fascinated by your answers.

I can’t recommend The Butterfly Novels enough. Go check them out!

As a celebration of the wonderful Butterfly Novels, UK readers can enter to win a signed copy of And By The Way. Sorry that it’s UK only, if you’re outside of the UK, I seriously recommend that you check out this series if you can. You won’t regret it.

Win a signed copy of And By The Way.. UK only

And Actually…

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How did I get it?:
From my lovely friend Luna at Luna’s Little Library!

Synopsis:

When I moved to Strandbrook College, I met Alex and Sarah. They treated me like I was normal. A human being. They actually liked me – though it took a while for me to trust that. I’ve never told them about my life before I met them. That shame can stay in the past. Weird thing is, they think I’m the strong one. The one with all the answers. The guru. When I’m offered a part on a TV show, they think it’s all my dreams come true. And it is. Except that it’ll bring me face-to-face with someone from my past – and memories I’ve kept buried. But I’ve changed. And I’m sure Rebecca has too. Whatever happens, there’s no way I’m going to let my past destroy my future.

Thoughts:

I have absolutely adored The Butterfly Novels, and I’m sad that this is the last book in the series. I have grown so attached to these characters, it’s hard to not learn more about them. I didn’t find And Actually.. as emotional as And For Your Information… but it is still a brilliant book nonetheless. I love how these books are dealing with everyday issues and particularly issues that most people experience at least once in their lives.

This book deals with Rachel’s story, but we still hear from Alex and Sarah (who I LOVE!). I didn’t really have much of an opinion on Rachel after reading the previous two books. I thought she was a nice girl, but didn’t know too much about her. I’m glad she had a chance to shine. Once again Denise Deegan has done a brilliant job at getting to the her reader’s hearts. I felt so sorry for Rachel. She had been cast in a popular TV series and came face to face with Rebecca, a girl that bullied her at her previous school and destroyed her self esteem. Rebecca seems to have changed, but cynical me, wasn’t sure that she really had changed…

I did thoroughly enjoy this book, but I found the previous books did pack more of an emotional punch. That isn’t to say that this book doesn’t deal with tough subjects.. It does. It’s just not as devastating. I did want things to turn out right for Rachel and for her to get justice. As Rachel confronts her past demons, her feelings and self-esteem take a battering and so does her friendships and her relationship with Mark.

I read And Actually so quickly. It was easy to read, well written and it truly feels like these characters are people I know. They’re incredibly relatable. I wish there were more Butterfly Novels.

Come back tomorrow to read my interview with the lovely author Denise Deegan!

And By The Way

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How did I get it?:
From the ever so lovely Luna from Luna’s Little Library

Synopsis:

At Strandbrook College, we are Kids Of. Kids of diplomats, media stars, musicians, artists, actors, oh, and wealthy people who aspire to all of that. I’m the kid of a rock star. Means nothing to me. When Mum died, six months ago, I didn’t just lose her, I lost my dad – to work. The only thing he does now is annoy me. He hires people like ‘The Stylist’ who wears bullets in her belt and makes him look like a hobo. Seriously. But ‘The Rockstar’ isn’t the only person who drives me mad. There’s David McFadden, a guy in my class who could have helped but didn’t. Now, it’s too late. I don’t want his help. Because I’m not going to trust anyone, love anyone, rely on anyone. That way I’ll never be hurt again.

If only I could solve the problem of Rachel, my best friend, who won’t let me pull back just like that. Even David McFadden won’t stay out of my face. But I’m not going to fall for his blue eyes, his windswept hair or the plaited leather on his wrist. And when he says he wants to help, I’m sure as hell not going to listen….

Thoughts:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was TOLD to read this series by Luna. Yes, I was told. Luckily I always listen to my friend’s recommendations, so I didn’t hesitate to begin. I have completed the series, and my reviews will be going out day by day, so come back if you’re interested!

I was absolutely blown away by this book. I thought it was going to be a cutesy romance, which it was, but it was also much more besides. I went through every emotion when I was reading it.

Denise Deegan’s writing is beautiful. She really gets inside the head of her characters. I thought she portrayed Alex’s grief was so heartfelt and real. Denise really made me feel for Alex. I grew so attached to her. It’s been a while since I loved a character so much. I didn’t want the book to end. I’m happy to hear from Luna, that I’ll read more about Alex in the future books. I can’t wait.

It wasn’t just Alex though that stood out for me. I really liked the other characters. They were so relatable. I wasn’t so keen on Sarah, but this might have changed with the next book… you’ll have to come back tomorrow and see! 😉