Sunday, October 31, 2010

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 16: Jordan Deen

It's the last day The Crossroads Blog Tour! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues. Don't forget to check the bottom of the post for all the information on the giveaway I'm hosting! The other bloggers on this tour will be hosting giveaways as well, so be sure to stop by their sites too. This tour has been a blast, a huge thank you to all the authors for participating and for all the fantastic people that stopped by to comment!

Today I'm excited to welcome Jordan Deen to the blog to answer a few questions so we can get to know her a little better!

When do most of your good ideas hit you? Are you a dreamer, or do they come in the middle of the day?

Hi Jenny! Thank you so much for hosting the authors of the Crossroads Tour!
I get ideas anywhere and anytime. I carry notebooks with me everywhere. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that I now have a mini laptop I carry with me and I’ve started writing everywhere I go.

What is your favorite aspect of the werewolf genre?

It’s not necessarily the werewolf genre I’m obsessed with- it’s more the “shifter” type of genre that I love. I love being able to write these unstoppable creatures that can go anywhere and do anything. It’s amazing.

Do you have a favorite scene in The Crescent, one that was particularly fun to write or one that you are most proud of?

The best scene for me personally, is the scene that Lacey leaves Alex half dressed and stumbles home drunk. She ends up falling over Grant, her oversized dog, on the sidewalk. I laughed my way through the whole scene. It was an awesome experience.

Can you give us one fun fact about you personally or about your approach to writing?

I seriously have conversations with my characters:) Yes, I know. But I do. I listen to them and let them play out their feelings in my head. There isn’t a moment in the day (while I’m working on a book) that I don’t have conversations, emotions, feelings, and situations going on in my head with my characters. It helps me connect with them and perfect their unique voices.

If writing about wolves were banned as subject matter, what would you choose to write about next?

Oooh, that’s terrible. Who in the heck would ban werewolves? Vampires? :) That would be really hard. I’ve wanted to write an angel novel for awhile, but there are so many great ones on the market right now, I’m not sure I could compete with them right now!

Thanks so much to Jordan for stopping by and answering all my questions! The second book in The Crescent trilogy, Half Moon, releases January 13, 2011 so be sure and add it to your to-be-read list! For more information on Jordan and her books, you can find her here:


THE CRESCENT (from Goodreads)

Becoming a werewolf is not an option for seventeen-year-old Lacey Quinn, but death can be a strong motivator. Lacey is so focused on her future that everyday life has passed her by. Counting down the days to her eighteenth birthday, Lacey is almost home free. But when she falls for the mysterious Alex Morris, she lands in the middle of an ancient war between two enemy wolf packs. Tempting dreams, tantalizing lies and a dangerous love triangle ensues leaving Lacey heartbroken and confused. Lacey's fate rests in the hands of Alex and Brandon, but both are pulling her strings for their own agendas. Even as she slips further into the dark world of werewolves, Lacey struggles to find the truth and save the only family she's ever know.


To conclude this fabulous tour, I have some really fun books and swag to give away. Signed copies of both The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade, and Freaksville by Kitty Keswick are up for grabs along with signed bookmarks, magnets and postcards from some of the authors on the tour. I also have a few pieces of jewelry and all sorts of other fun stuff. For this giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment and fill out the form with your name and email address so I can contact you if you win. The contest will run through Friday, November 5th and then the winner will be announced on the blog. Good luck everyone!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 15: Shannon Delany

It's day 15 of The Crossroads Blog Tour! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues!

Today I'd like to extend a warm welcome to Shannon Delany, she's popping in to answer some questions about her wonderful werewolf young adult series!

Do you find it more interesting to create individual characters or to build a paranormal world and mythology?

In the case of the 13 to Life series the paranormal world is very similar to our own world but with one important what if thrown in: What if more of the parapsychology-based experiments tried during (and before) the Cold War had worked? So the world is simple. Capturing the characters accurately definitely fascinated me much more.

Did drawing on your own personal loss make the novel easier to write or harder?

It definitely made writing the series (thus far) harder in some ways and kept me up at night thinking about what Jess’s struggle with loss was reflecting about my own issues.

What is your favorite aspect of writing for a young adult audience?

It allows me to reconnect with an age group I’ve always related closely to. Having been a teacher, I loved dealing with teens and all the angst and drama that came with them. Now I get to revisit those memories, tweak them out, give them some twists and write for that same age group although now it’s a different generation.

What was the most exciting moment of your 13 to Life experience: winning the Textnovel contest and getting a contract, finishing the current version, or release day?

Release day. I spoke (and read and signed) at Colgate Bookstore in Hamilton, NY. There was cake and soda and—it was just awesome!

Name one reason werewolves are more appealing to you than vampires, fae, or other paranormal entity.

Werewolves are more appealing to me than vampires (not knockin’ the fae—I adore them and have a story I wanna pursue including them in a big way) because I see the traditional forms of these creatures as polar opposites (other than the fact they’re both deadly!). Werewolves are warm, vamps are cold. Werewolves are wild and represent passion, vamps appear very controlled (to the point of being “stuck up”). Werewolves are symbolic of the transformation of man to his most primitive nature. Vampires...can’t get a tan or go to the beach with you. Well...maybe once. ;-)

Is there any scene you would re-write if you could, or any deleted scene you wish could be added back to the finished story?

13 to Life was kept pretty much intact by my editor—now Bargains and Betrayals?(book 3)—I sliced and diced that one.

A huge thank you to Shannon for taking the time to answer my questions! 13 to Life just released in June and the sequel, Secrets and Shadows, is set to release on February 15th, 2011 from St. Martin's Griffin so mark your calendars everyone! As she mentioned, there will be a book three and it's to release in the fall of 2011 though no specific day is set just yet. For more information on Shannon and her books, you can find her here:


13 TO LIFE (from Goodreads)

When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.

The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.

SECRETS AND SHADOWS (from Shannon's website)

The supernatural stakes are higher than ever now that more than just werewolves prowl the town of Junction--friendships will be formed, choices will be made and allies may become enemies...

Nothing's simple when you run with werewolves. Jess Gillmansen thinks she's seen it all but her eyes are about to be opened to even more danger and a reality far more paranormal than she's suspected.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 14: Judith Graves

Welcome to day 14 of The Crossroads Blog Tour! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues!

Today I'm thrilled to have Judith Graves on the blog! Not only is she a fabulous author, but she's also organized this entire fantastic tour, so a huge thank you to Judith and welcome to Supernatural Snark!

Eryn falls for the dark, brooding type in Under My Skin, did you have a similar crush when you were her age?

I did. I had a huge crush on Heathcliff from Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. In all the movie adaptations, I still swoon over Timothy Dalton in the 1970 version. Dare I say, Vampire Diaries’ Ian Somerhalder (Damon) shares some of the young Dalton’s features? Check out this clip:

It seems the grass is always greener on the other side – those characters with a life full of paranormal activity crave the “normal” existence, and those with a seemingly normal life often dream of something other. If both worlds existed, which would you want to be a part of, supernatural or everyday?

Very cool question and one I explore in my current work in progress, Witch’s Shadow. Beatrice is a young witch living in a pseudo-Salem town where Paranorms and Norms co-exist under an uneasy truce. Blending the world of magic and the world of man is challenging on numerous levels, and I love throwing these characters, with their different rules, prejudices, and expectations, together. I don’t think I could choose a side, both have value and are worthy of respect.

Do you find it harder to write the action scenes or the more tender, intimate moments?

Intimate moments, for sure. In my own life, I’m not a close talker. I avoid huggers and definitely have my “personal space.” For me, it’s far more challenging to write about EMOTION than pure MOTION.

When writing a love triangle, do you find yourself choosing one character over another, or do you remain impartial?

I do. But it’s always changing. When writing a scene with Alec, for example, I’m rooting for him all the way. Then when Wade enters the picture, I shift loyalties. No wonder Eryn is confused….lol…

Favorite werewolf tale (outside of Eryn’s)?

I’m currently enamoured with Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series, as well as Shannon Delany’s 13 to Life, and Secrets and Shadows…and there’s Kitty Keswick’s Freaksville and Furry & Freaked….sigh… There are so many to love!

Thank you so much Judith for taking the time to answer all my questions! The second book in the Skinned series, Second Skin, releases from Leap books in 2011 so be sure and keep an eye out for that one. The third book in the series will release in 2012. For more information on Judith and her books, you can find her here:


UNDER MY SKIN (from Goodreads)

All her parents wanted was for Eryn to live a normal life...

Redgrave had its share of monsters before Eryn moved to town. Mauled pets, missing children. The Delacroix family is taking the blame, but Eryn knows the truth. Something stalks the night. Wade, the police chief's son and Redgrave High's resident hottie, warns her the Delacroix are dangerous. But then so is Eryn--in fact, she's lethal.

But she can't help falling for one of the Delacroix boys, dark, brooding--human Alec. And then her world falls apart.

A normal life? Now that's the real fairytale.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review: The Ghost Hunter

Lori Brighton
Paranormal Romance
Available Now
Received from author

Ashley Hunter just inherited an enormous property in rural England with the passing of her aunt, and the opportunity to escape her life for a while couldn't have come at a better time. Told repeatedly by her mother and fiance she's mentally unstable for claiming to hear and see ghosts, she's hoping the change of scenery will provide a much-needed and welcome respite.

Poor Ashley. Peace and quiet are simply not in the cards for her as she learns that not only is her aunt's house overflowing with ghosts, but there's also just a little something off about the town in which it's located. Not to mention a gorgeous stranger named Cristian seems intent on stalking her with increasing persistence while extending multiple offers to buy the house. But Ashley can't sell, her father disappeared here and she's determined to learn his fate.

Soon, the ghosts Ashley has befriended in the house start vanishing one by one, and frightening nightmares of an evil in the basement plague her existence as she struggles with an attraction to Cristian she's certain will yield nothing but pain. Ashley senses there's more to Cristian than an interested buyer as he seems to know secrets and speaks in riddles, leaving her with an expansive list of questions she must answer in order to find her ghosts, her father, and her own sanity.

The Ghost Hunter is the perfect read for this time of year, shifting us from the comfort of our homes to the very epicenter of spectral activity, dropping us into residence at a haunted house overrun by restless, but not altogether unfriendly, spirits bent on avoiding Purgatory. Completing the discomforting picture is a dark and dank basement housing sinister secrets and containing a decadent evil that threatens the safety of the entire town. Ghost stories are certainly nothing new, but this one combines the familiar transparent haunts with a fallen angel mythology, creating a tale that piques curiosity and dares us to solve the mystery before the characters do if we find ourselves up for the challenge.

Though the plot moves quickly and seamlessly integrates disparate supernatural elements into a new and fascinating folklore all it's own, female protagonist Ashley makes it extremely difficult to take notice of these positive elements. She comes into the story with severe trust issues, baggage from a life spent in mental institutions at the insistence of her own mother, the result of which has left her with numerous invisible scars and an almost non-existent sense of self-confidence. Her wariness to trust Cristian and the other characters is understandable in this context, however, she proves herself to be more untrustworthy than any of those around her. She invades their privacy at every possible opportunity, snooping through their possessions in the hope of gleaning information that will allow her to lower her guard. Instead of being upfront and requesting their honesty, she engages in various forms of trickery and deception to soothe her own restless mind, but yet she is perpetually shocked whenever information is withheld from her despite the insurmountable proof that she herself is incapable of the veracity she demands of others. She feels entitled to the truth but does little to earn it, instead repeatedly behaving in a way that leaves us with little choice but to root against instead of for her.

Cristian, on the other hand, is a character with whom a connection comes easily. His roguish charm and brusque Scottish speech patterns and mannerisms create an instant affection between him and us as readers, his strength and protectiveness coming second to a beautiful and noble soul. Though he is attracted to Ashley, he refuses to let her perpetual mind games affect him and pushes her away when he senses her ulterior motives, proving himself to be a man capable of seeing clearly through a haze of lust. The brief history we are provided gives us enough insight into his personality that our understanding of his thoughts and actions extends far deeper than the superficial knowledge we have of Ashley, adding an extra dimension to him that she sorely lacks. Despite his questionable taste in women, Cristian is an enjoyable romantic hero, one whose fate is constantly at the forefront of our minds as we turn the pages.

Overall, The Ghost Hunter is a quick read with a quality ghost story and well-developed secondary characters, but as the protagonists for me determine the level of my emotional involvement in any piece of fiction, Ashley's frustrating personality proved to be a barrier I just couldn't find my way around.

Rating: 3/5

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 13: Tonya Hurley

It's day 13 of The Crossroads Blog Tour, only a few days left! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues!

I'm happy to welcome Tonya Hurley to the blog today to answer some questions about her Ghostgirl series!

Since you work both in literary fiction and film, do you have a preference for seeing a story play out in your imagination versus watching it come to life onscreen?

It really depends on the story and the storyteller.

Favorite book to movie adaptation? Why?

I’m not sure I have a favorite.

Do you have a favorite time of day to write, or a time you feel you are most creative?

Probably at night because everything is quiet and I love that feeling of being the only one awake in a sleeping world.

If you were a ghost for a day, whom would you choose to haunt?

My twin sister. I love seeing her terrified for some reason.

Favorite costume you’ve worn for Halloween? Have you ever seen anyone dress up as ghostgirl?

Yes, I love when I get pictures of girls dressed as ghostgirl! I post them on the ghostgirl facebook page – It’s surreal and I love seeing the different takes. I get lots of pictures of kids dressing up like their favorite characters – guys and girls. I think it’s so cool.

You have a “Dear Future Me” section on your website, what would your email to your future self say?

Stay strong. It will all work out eventually.

Thanks so much to Tonya for stopping by! Interested in learning more about her and the Ghostgirl series? You can find her here:

Ghostgirl Website

GHOSTGIRL (from Goodreads)

Charlotte Usher feels practically invisible at school, and then one day she really is invisible. Even worse: she's dead. And all because she choked on a gummy bear. But being dead doesn't stop Charlotte from wanting to be popular; it just makes her more creative about achieving her goal.

If you thought high school was a matter of life or death, wait till you see just how true that is. In this satirical, yet heartfelt novel, Hurley explores the invisibility we all feel at some times and the lengths we'll go to be seen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 12: Lucienne Diver

Welcome to day 12 of The Crossroads Blog Tour! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues!

Today I'm excited to have Lucienne Diver on the blog to answer a few questions about her young adult vampire series!

Are you typically drawn to the good-boy type or the bad-boy type? Is it easier to write one over the other?

It depends. I’m drawn to people with character in abundance, whether it’s the good boy with the sharp wit or the bad-boy with the gleam in his eye. My hero in the Vamped series is definitely in the white knight camp and totally gets under my heroine’s skin with his uncompromising caring. He really gets her, sees her and not just her fashions and façade. I think that’s tremendously sexy.

Why choose to write a humorous vampire tale over a dark, brooding and serious tale?

I’m just not the dark brooding type. Oh, I can appreciate it when I read it, but to live there the way I’d have to when I write…. I prefer to live with a very healthy sense of the absurd. Also, I don’t really choose my stories, so much as my characters begin talking in my head and choose me. My heroine, being kind of a diva, grabbed hold and dragged me along for the ride.

Favorite literary quote?

In THE CAT WHO WALKED THROUGH WALLS Robert A. Heinlein’s author-hero explains what the writing life is like to the heroine, who asks him, “If it hurts so much, why do you do it?” To which he responds, “Because it hurts more not to.” This is so, so true that it struck a chord with me. I’ve never forgotten it.

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be and why does their story appeal to you?

I wouldn’t mind being Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich’s series. Having the very smokin’ Morelli and Ranger fighting over me…yeah, I could live with that.

(I would just like to interject here and say a big ME TOO! Ranger *sigh*)

Do you consider yourself to be fashion forward or fashion backward?

If you’d asked in high school, I’d have said so backward that you wouldn’t know whether I was coming or going. Now, well, I think as I’ve gained confidence I’ve become less concerned with covering my body up and more concerned with dressing to please myself. I’m more of a fashionista now. Or at least a clothes horse!

Thanks so much to Lucienne for taking the time to answer my questions! The sequel to Vamped, ReVamped, just released in September, so if you haven't had a chance to read these two yet, run out now and pick them up! For more information on Lucienne, you can find her here:


VAMPED (from Goodreads)

Gina Covello's Perks and Pitfalls of Vamp Life

1. Hello?! Eternal youth and beauty!

2. Free. Designer. Clothes.

3. My hot new boyfriend Bobby went from chess dud to vamp stud.

4. No reflection! First order of business: turn my own stylist to stop the downward spiral from chic to eek.

5. Vampire vixen Mellisande has taken an interest in my boyfriend, and is now transforming the entire high school into her own personal vampire army. If anyone's going to start their own undead entourage it should be me.

I guess I'll just have to save everyone from fashion disasters and other fates worse than death.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 11: Amy Brecount-White

Welcome to day 11 of The Crossroads Blog Tour! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues!

Today I have Amy Brecount-White stopping by to answer a couple questions!

Since Forget Her Nots focuses on flowers, what is your personal favorite? Why?

I love just about any flowers, but especially gardenias. I think their scent is lovely, and they mean “ecstasy and transport” in the language of flowers.

Do you find it easier to write the beginning of the story with the character and world introduction, or the end with the action and eventual wrap-up?

The ending is definitely easier for me to write, because there should be something inevitable about it. Not predictable, but inevitable, if you know what I mean.

Hardback, paperback, or e-book? Why?

Hardback whenever I can afford it, especially if it’s by a writer friend, because I’d like to support that writer and have her/his book around for awhile.

What made you want to focus on the young adult audience, and why on the paranormal genre in particular?

I love the YA audience, because they’re so enthusiastic and open to new experiences. At that point in your life, lots of things are happening for the very first time. I think it’s a time of heightened awareness and sensitivity, which makes readers that age receptive and more fun to write for. Plus, the YA writer community is incredibly supportive.

I write paranormal, because I like to believe in the magic of life around us, especially the magic of the natural world. I think it’s incredibly cool that scientific studies are finding that the more we’re outside and active, the happier and healthier we are. So go garden.

Now that you’ve written about the language of flowers, do you find yourself analyzing every bouquet you see to see what that combination might mean?

Sometimes. I do a lot of tussie mussie demonstrations and show people how to make a symbolic bouquet to give someone. I have to bring the right flowers, rather than just some random ones. I’m very careful about what I buy now and about what I give to anyone …. Wouldn’t want to be misunderstood!

White bellflowers and orange crocuses for hosting me, Jenny!!

A huge thanks to Amy for stopping by the blog! If you're interested in learning about some of the meanings behind certain flowers, be sure and check out Amy's website, she's got a fantastic comprehensive list deciphering some of the language of flowers. You can find that information and more on Amy here:


FORGET-HER-NOTS (from Goodreads)

When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door, Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn't so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out. In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum. Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher. When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others. But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her. And her bouquets don't always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin. Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she's soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Review: The Iron Duke

THE IRON DUKE (A Novel of the Iron Seas #1)
Meljean Brook
Paranormal Romance
378 pages
Available Now

Nine years ago a pirate captain sailed his ship up the Thames and blew the headquarters of the Horde, the ruling power in London, to bits. With their destruction, London was freed of their ruthless control, one made effective through the surreptitious infection of all those living in London with nanoagents. These nanoagents, while harmless when dormant, could be activated through the use of a frequency known solely by the Horde. With it, those infected became mere puppets, either rendered immobile in their bodies or forced into an action dictated by those in power. But all that is over now thanks to the Iron Duke.

Mina remembers the time of Horde control all too well. As the biological result of one of their forced activities, she is a constant reminder to both her family and all of London of what they despise most. She looks Horde, therefore she must be ridiculed, abused, and punished for her resemblance. Such is her life, but she's risen above it and become Detective Inspector, her job now taking her to the doorstep of Rhys, the Iron Duke himself, as a body has been found on his property.

It quickly becomes clear her murder case is just one piece in a quickly expanding puzzle, and the Iron Duke begins to pose a threat to both her investigation and her heart as she finds herself unwittingly attracted to London's greatest hero. Everyone thinks the time of the Horde has passed, but Mina and the Duke come to learn that rebellious pockets still exist, and they represent as big of a threat as ever before.

The world of The Iron Duke is one so lush in detail and accomplished in its creativity the wheels in our minds are forced into overdrive in order to keep pace with the well-oiled gears of rapidly moving plot while our eyes attempt to adjust to the metallic brilliance of shiny new characters. The complexity of the gadgetry is astounding, with remarkable technological advances resulting in mechanical flesh and tiny nanoagents in the blood able to expedite the healing process being prevalent elements, ones responsible for ratcheting up our fascination and curiosity to a level previously thought to be unattainable. Entering this world is akin to being a child again, easily distracted by dazzling objects and utterly enthralled by how things work. We can't help but revel in the newness of it all, mouths hanging open in awe and a dreamy, faraway glaze in our eyes as we attempt to absorb every infinitesimal detail of the experience.

A striking world is thoroughly enhanced by strong characterization, heroine Mina being both compelling in her competence and intelligence while simultaneously captivating in her imperfections. She's emotionally damaged due to a savage history as an instrument of the Horde, but she refuses to let her past and present circumstances define or ruin her. Her backbone, though not made of iron like the Duke's, is forged of something equally and exceedingly strong, allowing her to walk down London's streets amidst jaw-clenching insults and well-aimed spit projectiles. Her budding relationship with Rhys doesn't weaken her fortitude or her dedication to her profession, his presence in her life instead creating a beautiful symbiosis between two characters that have never needed anything outside of protecting what's most important to them. Her reasons for being wary of a physical relationship with the Iron Duke are legitimate, and to watch as she struggles with feelings that have been brutally and forcibly suppressed by the Horde for years while weighing the full repercussions of her every action is emotionally draining but blissfully satisfying.

Rhys is arrogant, possessive, and presumptuous, expecting to be handed whatever he desires with exerting very little effort, but there's something about the way in which he's written that soothes the independent woman in us when she might take offense at his attitude, forcing her instead to stand down and smile begrudgingly at his brutish protectiveness as we secretly root for him to win Mina's affections. He's unabashedly himself, not hiding any aspect of his personality from Mina, and taking from her only what he's willing to return to her tenfold. Though he's intensely alpha male, he is never smothering, and fully backs off when he senses any fear or hesitation emanating from her. Though he is solid, he is also yielding, and despite his possessiveness, he does not simply wish to collect Mina for simple ownership purposes, seeking instead a partner to match him in intelligence and passion.

The only minor issue preventing this book from being utter perfection is every now and then the specifics of this new world are so intricately woven through the story they at times form a complicated web through which it can be difficult to navigate without getting tangled on an unfamiliar term or fragment of detailed history. This flaw is certainly not enough to significantly hinder the refreshing characters and beautifully distinct world though, and I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves a well-developed environment, and who enjoys characters of extraordinary individual power that become a frighteningly glorious romantic tempest when together.

Rating: 4.5/5

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 10: Angie Frazier

We're already on Day 10 of The Crossroads Blog Tour! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues!

I'm so pleased to welcome Angie Frazier to the blog today to answer some questions about her debut young adult novel!

Your story, Everlasting, is set in 1855. What do you find most appealing about a historical romance?

I think the appeal, for me, are the differences in dating and marriage. There were rules that could never ever be broken, and we all know that rules are made to be broken. It’s exciting to write and read about a romance that takes work and determination and a little bit of danger.

A lot of the story is set in the Australian wilderness, did you write those scenes based on personal experience having been to Australia or from research?

No, everything was from research. I would have loved to have visited Australia to do the research firsthand, but alas, needed to depend on books and other resources. Mostly travel accounts, maps, historical documents, other historical books based in Australia, and internet research sites.

If your family had a life-altering secret, do you think you would want to know, or would you be content with “ignorance is bliss”?

Ignorance really is bliss in some cases, but I am the kind of person who needs to know the truth, whether it’s pretty or not. I think knowing the truth gives a person a power over the situation that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Do you think it’s more fun to write the romantic tension between characters or write the scenes that help the mystery unfold?

For me, it’s definitely more fun to write the scenes that help the mystery unfold. Action scenes are my favorite, or scenes where there is a big reveal. The romantic scenes are torture! But once they are down, I do like reading them:)

What is the best way you’ve found to get yourself out of a creative rut?

The best way for me is to read, read, and read some more. I allow myself to take a break, but I’m still concentrating on writing—just other people’s words instead of my own.

Thanks so much to Angie for stopping by and answering my questions! The sequel to
Everlasting will release in June 2011, and for more information on Angie and her books, you can find her here:


EVERLASTING (from Goodreads)

Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty.

On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous—and alluring—magic.

The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness to find the enchanted stone. As she and Oscar elude murderous bushrangers and unravel Camille’s father’s lies, they come closer to making the ultimate decision of who—and what—matters most.

Beautifully written and feverishly paced, Everlasting is an unforgettable journey of passion, secrecy, and adventure.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 9: Rosemary Clement-Moore

Welcome to day 9 of The Crossroads Blog Tour! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues!

Today I have Rosemary Clement-Moore on the blog to answer a few questions to help us get to know her a little bit better!

When you have two love interests for your heroine, do you ever write two different versions of the story where she ends up with each of them? Or do you know who she’ll be with (or with neither) from the beginning?

So far, I’ve always known from the start who the heroine will end up with at the close of the book. I try and make both romantic interests intriguing in their own way, just to keep it interesting--and because it’s not much of a triangle if both guys aren’t worthy, in their own way, of the heroine’s affections. (I admit I’ve once tempted myself to change my mind, because I’ll fall a little in love with option B, too. But generally I know where I’m headed.)

Do you find it easier to write humorous, witty dialogue or more serious, tension-filled dialogue?

They both have their own challenges. I like writing humorous dialogue, but you always have to remember that even the jokes have to be there for a reason. They have to move the plot or develop the characters or relationships. I could write witty banter all day, but I have to make it mean something. My challenge with the serious, tension-filled stuff is making dramatic without making it melodramatic. In both cases, it’s about balance.

What do you think it is about the South that makes it such a perfect backdrop for romance?

I think some of it is the rich history, some of it is the landscape, which is just so LUSH. Plus you have these grand antebellum houses that seem to have their own personality and history. People are really connected to the past there, and an idea of gentility. We picture Scarlett O’hara in her picnic dress, or big beautiful hoops skirts and gallant Southern gentlemen. I may not be how things really were, but it’s a romanticized ideal.

Favorite place to write? Couch? Office? Outdoors?

My couch in my office. Music on, dogs keeping me company, pot of coffee at the ready.

If the storyline of your life could be summed up into a single genre, what would it be? Romance? Mystery?

Chick lit. Full of life’s ups and downs and discovering your potential after trying a whole lot of different things.

Thanks so much Rosemary for stopping by and for taking the time to answer my questions! Her next book, Texas Gothic, releases next June from Delacorte so mark your calendars. For more information on her and her books, you can find her here:


TEXAS GOTHIC (from Goodreads)

Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.

THE SPLENDOR FALLS (from Goodreads)

Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can’t dance. A broken leg ended her career, but Sylvie’s pain runs deeper. What broke her heart was her father’s death, and what’s breaking her spirit is her mother’s remarriage—a union that’s only driven an even deeper wedge into their already tenuous relationship.

Uprooting her from her Manhattan apartment and shipping her to Alabama is her mother’s solution for Sylvie’s unhappiness. Her father’s cousin is restoring a family home in a town rich with her family’s history. And that’s where things start to get shady. As it turns out, her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys that she can’t stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, seems to be perfect in every way. But Rhys—a handsome, mysterious foreign guest of her cousin’s—has a hold on her that she doesn’t quite understand.

Then she starts seeing things. Sylvie’s lost nearly everything—is she starting to lose her mind as well?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 8: Stacey Kade

We're already halfway through The Crossroads Blog Tour! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues!

Today I'm very excited to welcome Stacey Kade to the blog, she's popping in to answer some questions and was nice enough to provide a signed copy of The Ghost and The Goth to giveaway on the last day of the tour (October 31st) so be sure and check back for a chance to win!

Alona was the “it” girl in high school, were you?

Ha! Nope, I was kind of the awkward shy type. More like Will, minus the ghost-seeing ability.

Do you write your novels in sequence, or do you write events out of order like shooting a film?

Both, at times. It depends on how the book is going. In dual POV novel, like The Ghost and the Goth, if I was having trouble with an Alona chapter or a Will chapter, I could usually skip ahead to the next chapter without an issue. But I try to write in order. That being said, if I have an idea for a great scene later in the book, I definitely write down what I know about it so I have it for later and don’t lose/forget it. : )

Do you have a release day ritual?

Well, I’ve only had one release day so far, and that one was a bit unusual. That morning, I woke up in St. Louis--our last day of book tour--and flew home where I dropped off my luggage, picked up a cake and my mom, and headed down to my first event at my Barnes and Noble. If every release day is like that, it would be chaotic but awesome!

Now that your book is out, is there one thing about it you would change or revise?

Nope, I’m actually really happy with it!

Since it’s so close to Halloween, tell us the most memorable Halloween costume either you or a family member has worn.

I begged to be Spiderman when I was like four. There are pictures, unfortunately.

Thanks so much to Stacey for stopping by today! You don't want to miss The Ghost and The Goth so if you haven't added it to your to be read list yet, do so now! The second book in the series, Queen of the Dead, releases June 2011. For more information on Stacey and her books, you can find her here:


THE GHOST AND THE GOTH (from Goodreads)

After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck here in spirit form with no sign of the big, bright light coming to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser/outcast type who hates the social elite. He alone can see and hear her, but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.

Can they get over their mutual distrust—and this weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 7: Jackie Morse Kessler

It's day 7 of The Crossroads Blog Tour! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues!

I have Jackie Morse Kessler on the blog today answering a few questions, welcome Jackie!

You write both adult and young adult novels, do you have a preference for writing to one audience over the other?

Lately, I’m very into young adult and middle grade. But I also enjoy writing for adults. I guess it depends on what stories I want to tell.

Did you have any initial reservations about tackling controversial teen topics such as anorexia and self-mutilation?

I’ve wanted to write a story about an anorexic teenage girl who becomes the new Famine for a very long time—like, about 10 years. The only reservation I had was that no one would want to read it. My agent convinced me otherwise, and I’m so glad she did!

Did you ever get overwhelmed when writing either Hunger or Rage and have to take a step back?

For HUNGER, no—that book was very cathartic for me. But RAGE was the most difficult book I’ve ever written. There were times when I felt like I had to wrestle the words out, but maybe that’s appropriate when writing a book about a teenage self-injurer who becomes War.

If you had a choice, which of the four horsemen of the apocalypse would you be?

Oh man…none of them. Too overwhelming!!! To have to find the balance between destruction and creation, to witness the horrors people choose to inflict upon themselves, every day…no. Just no. Sorry, I’m not that strong!

However, I’d be happy to hang out with Death, because his perspective on things is pretty awesome and he’s rather funny (okay, and at times more than a little scary). And he looks and sounds exactly like Kurt Cobain, so bonus: there’d be music!

Name one book you’ve read over and over again yet still could read again tomorrow as though it was the first time.

Almost anything by Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, or Jim Butcher. And of course, Heather Brewer and Rachel Caine. My current favorite book is LAMB; I’m biting my nails to read Jim’s GHOST STORY when it comes out next year.

A huge thanks to Jackie for taking the time to stop by and answer my questions! Hunger just released this week, so if you haven't had a chance to read it yet, go out and pick it up! The second book in the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series, Rage, releases on April 18th and you can find a synopsis of it below. For more information on Jackie and this series you can find her here:


RAGE (from Goodreads)

Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a different kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power, and refuses to be defeated by the world.

Blog Hop October 22-25

This week's question: Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?

I'm a sofa girl. Every time I try to read in bed I end up falling asleep which is counterproductive. I'm able to read with the TV on, so I like to just sit on the couch, ignore whatever my husband is watching;) and get lost in my book!

Thanks as always to Crazy For Books for hosting the hop! If you get a moment, be sure and check out The Crossroads Blog Tour for your chance to win all sorts of fun books and swag. There are 16 blogs having giveaways at the end of the tour on the 31st so stop back and enter!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: Dead Beautiful

Yvonne Woon
Young Adult
455 pages
Available Now

Death has always been a part of Renee's life. Since she was little, she's stumbled upon dead insects and deceased wildlife, drawn to their final resting places by a sensation she can't really describe. It's not until she finds the bodies of her parents, dead according to a heart attack but surrounded by items of ritual significance, that death truly changes her life.

Renee is sent to Gottfried Academy, located in a remote town in Maine, by her grandfather and guardian in the hope she will find some semblance of peace being so far away from the scene of her parent's tragic end. Here, however, she encounters unusual school customs, an odd curriculum with an extreme focus on the study of Latin, and a beautiful and bizarre young man named Dante Berlin.

For Renee, death has always been in close proximity, but at Gottfried she'll be closer to it than ever before. Secrets abound, rumors of a curse haunt the school's history, and Dante seems to be withholding a very important piece of himself, leaving Renee alone to search for answers as death nips at her heels.

Dead Beautiful is shrouded in melancholy, fascinating in it's eeriness and grimly breathtaking in it's potential to weave a unique and original tale. The stones comprising the outer walls of Gottfried seem to hum with the confidences they are forced to keep, the campus itself dark, etched with reminders of a decidedly unpleasant history. The setting is beautifully depicted, enhancing a feeling of sorrow and providing a mysterious base upon which to build a captivating story. It does however, take a good bit of time to work through some rather superfluous verbiage and uncover the story beneath. We are initially bombarded with detailed descriptions of characters, landscapes, and architecture which, while exquisite in nature, make for a slow-moving introduction to the plot.

The relationship between Dante and Renee is unfortunately rather trite and common in the midst of a story brimming with a new and interesting folklore. Dante is your typical dark, brooding, and inhumanly beautiful loner who takes notice of no one until the arrival of our female protagonist. Upon meeting her, his previous aloofness melts away instantly as they are inexplicably drawn to one another, stealing forbidden moments alone and sharing intense, heated moments of innocent touching. Renee, for her part, fails to shed the starstruck teenage girl mold as she begins to live and breathe for her moments with Dante and never adds a new layer to the first love scenario though we continually hope for it.

As much as the beginning is slow in it's building of a cryptic and puzzling conflict, the ending seems unusually hurried and jumbled as events tumble from the pages in rapid succession, leaving us wishing for some semblance of the calm previously in place. Because this story does have ingenuity, the unconventional aspects of Ms. Woon's supernatural world need some additional explaining. It's not necessary for every facet to be wrapped up in a box of detailed explanations, but given the amount of information we are provided in the beginning of the story pertaining to items not intrinsic to the plot, a little more illumination of certain pertinent events toward the end would have been welcome.

Just as we come to learn the one element that begins to shift Renee and Dante's relationship from commonplace to something a little more atypical and thus infinitely more interesting, our connection to them is severed by an abrupt ending, leaving us confused and completely uncertain of the future. Some may appreciate the open-ended nature of the resolution, but a modicum of more absolute knowledge would have changed the ending from disconcerting to playfully teasing.

Overall, this story has a unique premise and two individuals with the potential to separate themselves from the masses of paranormal characters to become memorable, there are just a few complications in the story preventing that progression.

Rating: 3/5

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 6: Jeri Smith-Ready

We're already on day 6 The Crossroads Blog Tour! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues!

Today I'm very excited to welcome Jeri Smith-Ready to the blog! On a random side note, I just want to say that from a design perspective, the covers of her books make me very happy, I think they're absolutely stunning and eye-catching. Before I digress further, on to the questions...

How do you choose your character names? Do you name a character first, or do you create their overall personality and then come up with a fitting name?

I have to know the protagonist’s name before I can start writing. It usually hits me all of a sudden. For instance, Aura’s name …well, I'm sort of embarrassed to admit this, but I named Aura after the Saturn car. Okay, I didn't name her after the car, but when I saw a commercial for it, I said, "OMG, that's my main character's name!" The story idea had been percolating in the back of my mind for a couple of years but I hadn't started writing it. Having the name really jump-started the brainstorming process.

I feel like I should buy an Aura in gratitude. ;-p

Halloween – Dress up and go all out, or no?

Usually we go to our friends’ house, give out candy to trick or treaters, then watch cheesy horror movies and eat pizza and candy.

Name one thing you can’t get through your day without.

Caffeine! Usually coffee, but strong tea will do in a pinch, especially if it’s afternoon. There’s something about tea that just makes life better.

Can you tell us a little about writing a series? Do you have each book planned out, or do you see what happens as you start writing?

It really depends. I usually have a general idea where the series is going to end up, but how I get there unfolds as I write. And sometimes, the end of the series will evolve as I write each book, as I get to know the characters and the world better and better. It’s fun to go back and read my rough outlines for my series and compare the real result to what I imagined years ago. Usually I go, “What was I thinking?”

A big thanks to Jeri for taking the time to answer my questions! The next book in the Shade series, Shift, releases May 3, 2011 from Simon Pulse. For more information on Jeri and both her young adult and adult novels, you can find here here:


SHADE (from Goodreads)

Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.

Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.

It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding--and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.

As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 5: Karen Kincy

Welcome to day 5 of The Crossroads Blog Tour! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues!

Today I'm excited to have Karen Kincy on the blog, she's nice enough to stop in and answer a few questions for me!

Do you find it more difficult to write the initial story or to edit and refine the first draft?

First-drafting challenges me more, because all my ideas are in my head rather than on the page. After I’ve penned my initial thoughts, then I can start shaping and reshaping them during revisions, and actually see where the story’s going.

Since there are quite a few young adult novels that focus on shapeshifters and werewolves, did you think it would be difficult to differentiate your characters and make them stand out?

Actually, that’s what I set out to do: to write about shapeshifters that hadn’t been explored much before—such as the wily pooka—and create my own werewolf mythology that was rooted deeply in the idea that all paranormal people have been living in plain sight for years now, and this alternate America is different because of it. Different laws, different prejudices, different foods in the aisles of the grocery stores. Not to mention centaurs browsing in the produce…

Which character did you find was the most difficult to write? Easiest?

Gwen was the toughest, because point of view characters can’t see themselves from the outside. True, the reader gets to know narrators better by hearing all their thoughts, but they better be interesting ones! I’d say Tavian was the easiest to write, just because he’s a 5’ 4” Japanese fox-spirit with a tendency to be quirky.

When you are planning a novel, do you create an incredibly detailed outline, or do you just list main points and fill in the blanks as you go?

Both, actually. Other was fill in the blanks, Bloodborn had a complete synopsis, and the Super Secret Project I’m working on now has a detailed outline that I’m trying to make as twisty and exciting as possible before I start drafting.

What was the last book that kept you up too late because you couldn’t put it down?

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger—not paranormal like I usually read, but really, really good. You can read my review on my website

Thanks so much Karen! The next book in the Other series, Bloodborn, releases in Fall 2011 from Flux, mark it as to-read now! For more information on Karen and the Other series be sure check her out here:


BLOODBORN (from Goodreads)

Brock Koeman lost his older brother Chris to werewolves. Now he’s in danger of losing himself. Bitten by a werewolf at sixteen, Brock fights the transformation, taking the excruciating pain as a punishment for his mistakes. There are more like him, bloodborn werewolves and vampires, changed against their will when bitten by one of the Others. And then there are the naturalborn Others, many who look down on the bloodborn and consider them diseased outcasts.

Brock’s mother passed away when he was only eleven, leaving behind a withering rose garden and photographs he can’t stand to look at anymore. Now that Chris is also gone, Brock and his dad live alone in a farmhouse too big for two, on the dairy that’s been in their family for three generations, in the little town of Klikamuks, Washington. It’s not like Brock can help Dad out anymore; before it happened, the cows trusted Brock. Now they panic at the smell of him. They know what he is, what he’s becoming, even though Brock hasn’t yet given into the urge to transform into a werewolf. With the help of anti-lycanthropic medication, he’s managed to fight the change for two full moons. But he knows he can’t last much longer.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review: To Kill A Warlock

TO KILL A WARLOCK (Book #1 in the Dulcie O'Neal Series)
H.P. Mallory
Urban Fantasy
Available now
Received from the author for review

Dulcie O'Neal is a Regulator and a pretty good one at that. It's her job to keep all types of supernatural creatures on the correct side of the law, and to make sure those creatures that are supposed to be in the Netherworld actually stay there.

As a fairy herself, Dulcie is well equipped to handle a rogue demon, warlock, or vampire, but something new is making it's presence known in a very violent but strangely bloodless way. Dulcie's always relied on her innate fairy ability to identify any and all supernatural creatures that cross her path, but this new killer defies explanation, as does the beautiful stranger she sees just hours before one of the murders takes place.

Turns out this beautiful, undefinable stranger is Knight Vander, sent from the Netherworld itself to find the creature wreaking havoc in Dulcie's town. He's infuriatingly arrogant, frustratingly knowledgeable, and undeniably charming, making it clear that Dulcie is in way over her head in more ways than one. She and Knight team up to search for the enigmatic creature and find themselves waist deep in dark magic, deviant behavior, and smoldering attraction.

This novel has all the necessary elements for a fun and interesting romantic mystery. The story is sound in it's creativity, the digital pages chock-full of humorous and entertaining preternatural creatures framed in a believable world ripe with intrigue and riddled with the occult. We are continually encouraged to flip to the next page just to quell our curiosity as to what antics, mischief, and overall mayhem Dulcie will incite next.

Dulcie starts out as a cute, quirky, heroine with a witty sense of humor and an easy-going attitude, making her instantly personable and someone to whom it's easy to relate. However, when the romantic element of the story comes into play, she becomes increasingly frustrating. There are three possible love interests vying for Dulcie's affections, each with his own unique and delicious appeal, and she enters into a physical (though chaste) relationship with each of them only to pull from their embrace quickly and inexplicably each time. As a result we, much like her potential suitors, are left with the ache of a promise unfulfilled, grinding our teeth in frustration at her continual shift from hot to cold. Now, this is not a romance, so a steamy scene is neither necessary nor expected, however the sexual tension between Dulcie, Quill, Knight, and Bram is a prominent part of the story that unfortunately leads nowhere. We are teased, titillated, and ultimately left wanting.

There are also one or two small secondary plotlines occupying valuable page time better dedicated to the continuation of the main storyline, one in particular dealing with Dulcie's distaste for her characteristic pointy-tipped ears. This side story is meant to illustrate a vulnerability on Dulcie's part, perhaps to help us relate to her on a more fundamental level, but aside from some mild irritation at their shape, she really isn't plagued by an overwhelming sense of insecurity and quickly abandons her pursuit altogether after very little consideration. To make room for this detour, some of the more engaging scenes seem to be cut short when their extension would have added some additional depth to promising characters, increasing our connection and response to their emotional and physical conflicts.

Overall, this is a story with a great deal of potential, one where the pieces are all on the board, they just need to be moved ever so slightly and more strategically to create a greater impact on us as readers.

Rating: 2.5/5

CONTEST: Right now HP is hosting a really fantastic contest on her blog, giving one lucky winner the opportunity to be forever immortalized in fiction by winning a role in the sequel to Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble. She's going to build a character based around the winner, including their name, personality traits and physical description. Visit the website below for more information and be sure and enter for a chance to be a character in Toil and Trouble!

HP Mallory Website

Crossroads Blog Tour Day 4: Amanda Ashby

It's day 4 of The Crossroads Blog Tour! If you're not familiar with how the tour works, you can check out my kick off post here, and then be sure to visit The Crossroads Tour main page for a full list of participating authors and bloggers as well as details on prizes, giveaways, and collecting the mystery clues!

Amanda Ashby is popping in today and I'm excited to welcome her to the blog!

Your zombies become zombies via a virus, how exactly is it contracted?

Normally you would just be bitten by a zombie to catch the virus, but in Mia’s case she did a spell, which inflicted the virus onto people! Now, that’s unlucky!

You were just elected zombie prom queen; can you describe your winning ensemble?

Honestly, I would wear the dress that Mia is wearing on the cover of Zombie. I love it so much that I even wrote it into the book after I saw it!!!!!!

What made you continue your pursuit of a writing career after your initial rejection?

Stubbornness and ego!!!

Do you find it harder to come up with a concept for a novel or a catchy title?

I find concepts really easy to come up with and I have them all the time—ask my long suffering husband!!!! Ditto on titles. Unfortunately I find the whole sitting down and writing the book thing slightly harder!!!!!

Do you write the novel first and then come up with a title, or do you have a title in mind when you’re writing?

I’m either really great at titles or really bad!!!! With Zombie Queen of Newbury High, the title came first and I wrote the book around it (as in, I asked myself the question of how would one become a zombie queen!). Ditto with Fairy Bad Day—I sent my agent a proposal. She hated the story but loved the title so we brainstormed a new book. However, with my first book was originally called Heaven Bent (I know, awful!!!!) before my agent came up with You Had Me at Halo!

Can you write an acceptance speech for Mia if she’s elected prom queen?

I’d like to thank everyone for electing me and if any of you have noticed gravy stains on your clothing or hamburgers under your fingernails, please don’t blame me. Also, if you suddenly feel like you’ve eaten your body weight in steak and rissoles, again, totally not my fault. And finally, if I can give you all one piece of advice as your newly elected prom queen, don’t try doing love spells because they seriously don’t work!

Can you elaborate on your extreme hatred of bananas?

Hahahaha – seriously, this is the funniest question I’ve ever been asked!!!!! And no, I have no idea where the banana thing came from but my mother will assure you that it’s been with me all my life!! It used to drive her crazy that I wouldn’t eat them as a baby, since nothing is easier than mushing up a banana. But bleurgh. I hate everything about them. For a start they make a mushy sound when you bite them, then there is the whole smell thing. Honestly, I feel ill just thinking about them. Though weirdly, I can eat banana flavoured things, it’s just the actual fruit itself I can’t stand!!!!!

A huge thanks to Amanda for answering all my questions! Her next young adult novel, Fairy Bad Day, releases June 2011 from Puffin. For more information on this upcoming release and her other books, you can find tons of fun information here: