Sunday, October 31, 2010

In My Mailbox (16) and What Are You Reading?

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Red Balloon Bookshop tote bag and gift card
For review:

Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure by Allan Richard Shickman
Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country by Allan Richard Shickman

Bright Young Things by Anna Godberson
The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson
Jane by April Lindner
The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories of Hans Christian Andersen
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (My review)
Need by Carrie Jones (This one was due at the library so I needed to finish it. Keep an eye out for my review later this week.)
Currently reading:
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket and Other, Simple Brilliant Things
by Neil Pasricha
What I plan to read:

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (As part of the read-a-long which Gail of Ticket to Anywhere is hosting.)
Contagion by Joanne Dahme
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken


Greetings, wonderful blog readers! I hope everyone is having a fantastic Halloween weekend! I'd like to bring a few things to your attention.

Recently, Gail of Ticket to Anywhere, Nicole of WORD for Teens, author Stefne Miller and myself were on Twitter discussing the North and South miniseries and the hotness that is randomness. And I had a confession to make, one which I will now make to you: I have never read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I know, I know. It's been in my TBR pile for a while. Gail, being the good friend that she is, scolded me and then took action to remedy the situation. So this November, she is hosting a North and South read-along. Click here to get more info and sign up!

My second announcement is that I'll be launching my Consume and Contemplate (named by Melina of Reading Vacation) feature on the blog this Monday. I want to use this feature to discuss frequently debated, discussed and contemplated features in the blogosphere. I hope everyone is excited about it!

That's all for now. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Review of Shadow Days by Andrea Cremer

Shadow Days: A Nightshade Novella (Nightshade Prequel)
I think a novella must be the toughest kind of book to write. How do you fit in more info than you would in a short story, but less than you would in a novel? Shadow Days definitely fell into the category of novella. At times it read a bit like promotional material, but otherwise I enjoyed delving back into the world Andrea Cremer created.

When I finished Nightshade, it took some deliberation, but I decided that I’m Team Shay. As Shadow Days is centered around Shay, it was great to learn more about him and how he came to be a part of Calla’s life. All of the descriptive passages did a nice job of showcasing Cremer’s descriptive writing style.

Shadow Days was like an appetizer that is satisfying, but is so delicious that it leaves you wanting more. I eagerly await the coming installments in Cremer’s series!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Review of Dust City by Robert Paul Weston

Dust City
Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?

His son, that's who.

Ever since his father's arrest for the murder of Little Red Riding Hood, teen wolf Henry Whelp has kept a low profile in a Home for Wayward Wolves . . . until a murder at the Home leads Henry to believe his father may have been framed.

Now, with the help of his kleptomaniac roommate, Jack, and a daring she-wolf named Fiona, Henry will have to venture deep into the heart of Dust City: a rundown, gritty metropolis where fairydust is craved by everyone and controlled by a dangerous mob of Water Nixies and their crime boss leader, Skinner.

Can Henry solve the mystery of his family's sinister past? Or, like his father before him, is he destined for life as a big bad wolf?

I will be totally honest with you and say that for most of Dust City, I wanted to swap it out for another book or take a nap (then again, I can fall asleep reading ANYTHING, so that really isn’t saying much). This novel definitely had a few entertaining moments, and by the end I thought the romance plot was cute. Overall, however, I was disappointed.

When it comes to fantasy, fairy tales, sci fi, paranormal, dystopian etc. I love to see good world building, because otherwise I feel like I sit through the novel with a vast array of unanswered questions, ultimately distracting me from the plot and whatnot. Unfortunately, I feel like Dust City threw me into the plot without sufficient explanations which I wanted. I think the gritty atmosphere didn’t work for me somehow. It just never drew me in.

Henry was a somewhat likable character. However, nothing about him really stood out to me. I felt like I had a hard time reaching to the heart of his motives. He was just meh.

I think much like people, books and readers have chemistry. A relationship won’t work unless there’s some kind of spark. Dust City and I just never clicked. Everyone has those books, and this is one of mine. I recommend giving this a try for yourself, though, as you might get into more easily than I did.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Release date:
March 22, 2011

Have you ever wondered what a human life is worth? That morning, my brother's was worth a pocket watch.

In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina is preparing for art school, first dates, and all that summer has to offer. But one night, the Soviet secret police barge violently into her home, deporting her along with her mother and younger brother. They are being sent to Siberia. Lina's father has been separated from the family and sentenced to death in a prison camp. All is lost.

Lina fights for her life, fearless, vowing that if she survives she will honor her family, and the thousands like hers, by documenting their experience in her art and writing. She risks everything to use her art as messages, hoping they will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive.

It is a long and harrowing journey, and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?

Between Shades of Gray is a riveting novel that steals your breath, captures your heart, and reveals the miraculous nature of the human spirit.

If you haven't already, I highly suggest taking the time to visit the Between Shades of Gray website and watching the author video. As soon as I watched it, I wanted a copy of the book right away. This definitely doesn't sound like an easy read, however, it sounds memorable and deeply moving.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review of Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Nevermore (Nevermore, #1)
Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

I was intrigued by Nevermore ever since I first heard about it. I’m a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe, so the idea of tying his work into YA fantasy-esque novel piqued my interest. While I had a few small problems with Nevermore, I definitely chose to read this creepy story at the right time of year.

The plot of this story is definitely original. Unfortunately, I thought that Creagh could have done a slightly better job of executing it. A lot of thought went into carefully putting this story together and tying in a good deal of foreshadowing. While that is something I appreciate, I almost felt like the build up slowed down the story a bit too much. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the writing ventured on being a bit too dramatic and repetitive at times.

Otherwise, Nevermore was a fantastic story. The characters were particularly likable, especially Varen. Some people might find Varen boring, but I liked that he was creative and had a side that was willing to stand up for himself. He had both a snarky edge and a romantic side, and I think Creagh nailed his character by not overdoing the sensitivity. I loved Isobel because it felt like she wasn’t just following the herd.

By the last one hundred pages, I was unable to put this book down. Nevermore had action, romance and a serious creep factor. Creagh left us hanging, so I will be eagerly awaiting future installments in this series.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spooky Swap Package

In case you haven't figured it out already, I love receiving mail. I love receiving a package, tearing it open, and ooohing and ahhhing over what's inside. I also really like giving gifts. I tend to think I'm fairly good at it, and I like puzzling over what someone will enjoy most. So when Travis of Inked Books and Jessica of A Fanatic's Book Blog came up with the idea for the Spooky Swap, wherein bloggers exchange packages of goodies to celebrate Halloween, I was very eager to join in. This past Friday, I received my package from Angela of Soap Box In My Mind.
I opened the box to find some fabulous Halloween tissue paper covering the goodies. The package included two books, If Looks Could Kill by Kate White and Murkmere by Patricia Elliott, along with two wonderful handmade bookmarks to put in them. I also got a card, a bag of candy corn yarn, stickers and four buttons. The butons say "Thank you for noticing. I am awesome.", "listen to your inner weeener" (this has a picture of a corn dog on it), "Do you want a piece of me?" (with a piece of cake on it) and another which says "Don't make me poison your food." I love my goodies.

I love everything I got and will probably start wearing most of the buttons 24/7! Angela, thanks so much for the fantastic package :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Top Ten Picks: Book Covers

Top Ten Picks is hosted by Jillian of Random Ramblings. I will be totally honest with you: some time I buy books based largely on the cover. Give me a positive review, a jaw dropping cover, and I want my own copy. I think we're all guilty of this at times. Right? While there are plenty of covers I love, here are some of my favorites, in no particular order. I haven't read all of these books, but I at least own most of them.

10.) The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
Some people have said that this cover is a bit too simplistic to be enjoyable. If you are in that camp, I disagree with you. I think the colors here are vibrant enough to jump off of any shelf. It's partially what compelled me to buy this book.

9.) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
This represents one of the more memorable scenes from Tolkien's fantastic novel. Furthermore, who doesn't want a giant pile of treasure to lounge upon?

8.) Soulless by Gail Carriger
I have to admit, the title alone was not enough to convince me to buy this books. However, this fantastic cover is enough to convince just about anyone remotely interested in Steampunk to check this book out. I haven't actually read it yet, but I can't wait!

7.) Orlando by Virginia Woolf
So I've seen an adaptation of this novel but not read it. This is another cover that's fairly simple, yet the dress and the way it fans out is gorgeous.

6.) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
I just ordered this gorgeous leatherbound classic from Barnes and Noble. I think the cover perfectly fits the feel of the series, moreso than others I've seen. If anyone needs me I'll be searching for the wardrobe.

5.) Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Another cover that pops right off the shelf. The different shades of blue and the one pink piece definitely pique my interest.

4.) Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
A fantastic cover ensconcing a great story. Ah, I love how purple it is! This novel just came out earlier this week, and I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy. You know you want that cover on your shelf.

3.) Across the Universe by Beth Revis
How awesome does this book sound? And with this cover? I hope to have my hands on it the day it releases.

2.) Sea by Heidi R. Kling
This cover perfectly fits the feel of this book. Emotional, light with darker areas. I bought this book because of the cover and the great reviews, and am so glad I did.

1.) Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
I may or may not have pre-ordered this one as soon as I saw the cover. And I have thus far failed to read it. I'm eager to discover what lies beneath.

And there you have it. Of course, this is just a small handful of covers that I love. What are some of your favorites?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Review of Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

I don’t think I have enough fingers and toes to count the number of people who have told me I should read Beautiful Creatures. The summary is quite cryptic, and doesn’t give much of an idea of what the book is about. However, once I saw the gorgeous book trailer made by Vania of VLC Productions, I knew that I needed to get my hands on a copy of this book.

If you told me to read this book, I confess now: you were right. The elaborate yet exceptionally well crafted plotline had me guessing with every turn of the page, unsure of where the authors were taking me next. When I was about 150 pages in, I was trying to explain the story to a friend who has asked me what I was reading, and I realized later that my explanation stunk because I had no idea where Garcia and Stohl were taking me. In retrospect, I think giving a more in depth summary besides the one I posted above would spoil the novel.

My favorite part of this novel was either the characters or the writing. To be honest, I’m having a hard time choosing between the two. I felt that the atmosphere of Gatlin had something of a Gothic undertone, which added infinitely to the intrigue of the story for me. Yet I adored the characters as well. Each character had his or her own distinct and quirky personality. I loved that the story was told from Ethan’s point of view, because I think YA literature could use more male narrators. Ethan felt believable to me because he wasn’t a perfect or idealized character.

Simply put, Beautiful Creatures is a fantastic read. On the one hand, I can’t believe I waited so long to read it, but I’m also excited about being able to get my hands on Beautiful Darkness right away. I can’t wait to see where this roller coaster of a story takes readers next.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Bookish Saturday

This past Saturday I had the good fortune to attend the Twin Cities Book Festival with my mother, which turned out to be a great event. We got there around 9:15, leaving us a few minutes before the festival actually began. This left us a chance to get coffee and explore a little bit before the event began.

I will be honest and say that attending the festival was actually my mother’s idea, because we had heard that Alexander McCall Smith, author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, among many other books, would be there, so meeting him was our first priority. We gradually made our way to the area where he would be signing and each bought a book. My mom mentioned that I’d been to Scotland and I elaborated that my brother and I drove around on the back country roads which were beautiful but eventually made me carsick (I have no idea what I was thinking in sharing this story, so let’s blame a lack of caffeine). Alexander said he hoped that this didn’t affect me view of his country too negatively (in retrospect, it hasn’t--I love Scotland!).

After that I wandered around a bit and eventually wound up ogling several books at the Flux table, where I ran into Alea of Pop Culture Junkie. I quickly picked up Other by Karen Kincy and A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler, because a panel called The Changing World of Publishing was about to start. The panelists, one of whom was Sheila from Book Journey, were all engaging and presented a variety of perspectives. About an hour after the panel I wound up going to lunch with my mother, Sheila, Ash of English Major's Junk Food, Joanne from Jo Jo Loves to Read, Reagan from Miss Remmers Review and Kim from Sophisticated Dorkiness. We had lots of fun discussing books, blogging and our looming TBR piles.

Instead of returning to the festival after lunch, my mother and I set off an entirely different adventure: to get tickets to see Prairie Home Companion Live, because Alexander McCall Smith was going to be part of the show. The show is held at the Fitzgerald Theater, so we wandered over to the box office to be told that they were sold out. However, two minutes later we were being chased down the street by the box office employee telling us that two tickets had become available, and that they were actually great seats.

When it came to the show, Alexander played the role of someone who wanted to start writing noir novels. There were a lot of jokes about how every time something is about to happen in one of his novels, someone has a cup of tea or a biscuit. In addition to a famous author being on the show, it was really enjoyable to watch it live and see how all of the sound effects are done live.

Overall, it was a great weekend for literature. I had so much fun getting a book signed and meeting lots of other awesome bloggers. I hope there are more literary festivals in my future!

Three Very Frightened Winners

Greetings, my wonderful blog readers! I have the winners of the Scare Your Pants Off Giveaway to announce. Without further ado, here they are.

The Zombie Prize Pack

The Unicorn Prize Pack
Nathalia of Track 3 Kid!

The Gaiman Prize Pack
Suzanne of Kiddo's Shenanigans!

Congratulations to all of the winners! I've sent you e-mails to let you know that you've won. If you didn't win this time, don't despair, because there will be plenty more giveaways in the future.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Prior to reading Nightshade, I suffered from a serious case of cover lust. However, I can now honestly say that the content behind the flowers and all of the pretty purple-ness is very enjoyable. I admit that when I first started reading, I was a bit wary. I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough world building, and that Calla would prove to stoic to be realistic for me. As often happens between the beginning and the end of a book, my pre-conceptions were proved wrong.

Nightshade is a quick and enthralling read, filled with romance, danger action and captivating characters. I thought the plots were wonderfully tied together and the story kept me guessing at every turn. I’ve never read a werewolf story of this variety before, and I think that it’s an intriguing way of tying themes of oppression and liberation into the story. Cremer also adds sex appeal to her story, and while I found it well done, it is something to consider if you don’t like that sort of material or aren’t sure if it’s appropriate for readers of a younger age. At other times the writing did border on going over the top, but by and large Cremer successfully avoided such territory. I think Cremer will have readers contemplating and guessing between each installment of this series, as she ended Nightshade on something of a cliffhanger!

As great as the story was, it took me a while to warm up to the characters. Ansel is easily my favorite. I was kind of apathetic about Calla until the end of the story, when I felt I understood her more. I loved that she questioned what was expected of her. As for Ren, I think he’ll be the talk of the blogosphere, because he had both a pushy and emotional side. I found his character more believable by the end of the novel, albeit not necessarily trustworthy. I ultimately preferred Shay, though, because his character felt much more genuine and realistic to me.

Despite a few small criticisms, this was an enjoyable and engrossing read. Nightshade is a well-executed debut which will have bloggers and readers discussing long after its release. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours. I'll be purchasing my own when I attend the release party!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Author Guest Post: Two Worlds, One Story

Today I have debut author Andrea Cremer here to discuss how her academic life inspired her novel Nightshade. Nightshade is a fantastic novel, and you'll get to see my review of it tomorrow. Until then, check out the synopsis of the novel and what Andrea has to say about how the story was born.

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

I started out as an English major, but amid a semester of learning poetry scansion I enrolled in a history course titled “Women in Medieval Europe.” The professor of this course was a fantastic woman and the readings penned by women some seven hundred years ago were completely absorbing. While I loved the literature in my English classes, I was frustrated by the emphasis on the mechanics of writing itself – I wanted to know why the author had written the piece, what it meant to the society it was produced in. In a meeting with the history professor who I found so inspiring, I confessed these disappointments. Her response: “If you’re a history major, you can do it all.”

That was the beginning of the next ten years of my life. After a B.A. I went on to receive an M.A. in history and then a Ph.D. I’m now an Assistant Professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Thinking my life was somehow settled after my first year of teaching, I decided to pursue the things I’d loved outside of work. My first idea was to get back into horseback riding, something I’d done constantly until I went to college. But my summer of riding and my foot were smashed in a riding accident the first day I went to the stable and I was banished to my couch with physician’s orders not to walk for the next twelve weeks.

Rendered lame, I returned to my idea of reclaiming things I loved and hit on the idea of writing a novel. I’d always dreamed of being a writer, but the pragmatist in me quelled that impulse – channeling my research and writing skills solely for academic purposes. But some part of me wasn’t satisfied with the scholarly writing required by my profession. It lacked the soul of storytelling that made me love books. I decided to give storytelling a shot. I began to write and I was hooked.

But history didn’t leave me alone. I wanted to write a story about a female character who wasn’t being pulled into a magical world – she was already in the middle of it, a leader and a warrior. The world of Nightshade came as I tried to figure out how someone like Calla, a girl who I knew was incredibly powerful, could be afraid and angry. What was controlling her? Why would she be fighting against her own destiny? I realized that she was facing off with something even more
powerful than herself. That’s where my background as a historian came in. I teach early modern history (1500-1800) – a period of immense, violent change in human societies. This is the time of witchhunts, religious warfare, colonization, the Inquistion; all types of cataclysmic social transformation that turned the lives across the globe upside down. The more I thought about Calla I thought about the ways in which wolf warriors and witches could have intertwined lives. The mythology in Nightshade is a blend of history and lore plus new twists I imagined along the way.

In the whirlwind of dreaming the story to becoming a published author with three more books on the way (and more to come!) I’ve realized that I’ll always be both a writer and a historian. It’s not just the story that matters to me, each word of Nightshade from the characters’ thoughts to the settings where the plot unfolds, is shaped by its context, by its history.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Andrea! Be sure to run out and grab yourself a copy of Nightshade. It hits shelves today!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In My Mailbox (15) and What Are You Reading?

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

For review:
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
The Lion and the Swastika by Anna Bruni Benson
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith
Other by Karen Kincy
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain (My review)
Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (My review)

Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
Currently reading:
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money In Your Pocket and Other Simple, Brilliant Things by Neil Pasricha
What I plan to read:

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Angelfire by C.A. Moulton
Need by Carrie Jones
Contagion by Joanne Dahme

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review of Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love

Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love
If you can possibly thirst for more mysterious metaphysical accounts of love, Trisha Telep has organized some of the greatest and most thrilling tales of paranormal paramours since The Eternal Kiss. She presents the acclaimed literary talent of thirteen unique authors, creating a collection of stories that will undoubtedly capture the imagination of every soul who dares to read them. Werewolves, ghosts, zombies, vampires, and fallen angels drive the plot of these riveting romances.Kiss Me Deadly includes the exceptional writings of several authors, including: - Sarah Rees Brennan (faeries) - Becca Fitzpatrick (angels) - Caitlin Kittredge (witches) - Karen Mahoney (vampires: sequel to story from The Eternal Kiss) - Daniel Marks (ghost kids) - Justine Musk (sorcerers) - Diana Peterfreund (unicorns) - Michelle Rowen (demons) - Carrie Ryan (zombies) - Maggie Stiefvater (werewolves) - Rachel Vincent (banshees) - Daniel Waters (zombies) - Michelle Zink (gothic ghosts)

If you are a fan of the paranormal genre, Kiss Me Deadly is a must read for you. I don’t know about you guys, but I constantly feel as though I am being consumed by my TBR pile. (Get it? Consumed? Okay, moving on.) This anthology was awesome because it allowed me to get a sampling of some authors who novels I’ve been wanting to read, such as Sarah Rees Brennan, Carrie Ryan, Rachel Vincent and Michelle Zink. Thankfully, this anthology has motivated me to take a look at these authors, as well as a few others.

Kiss Me Deadly was a thoroughly enjoyable read for me, and if you follow my blog regularly you know that I took my sweet time with it. I think the best way to approach an anthology of stories or poetry is to read one and then let it stew for a few days, as opposed to moving on right away. I will admit that after reading several stories, the plots began to look a little similar, and that by the end I was ready to put this book down. There were some stories where I felt like the author wasn’t giving me enough information, or the ending just kind of fell float.

Honestly, though, I’ll definitely re-read parts of this collection. There was more than enough awesome to make up for the stories that were lacking. Instead of continuing this review by being vague or harping excessively on the negative, I’m going to write a little bit about some of the stories I found particularly noteworthy.

“The Assassin’s Apprentice” by Michelle Zink
Kids, this is my idea of starting off an anthology right. This story had a great plot, a kick butt female heroine and an appealing male. Honestly, what’s not to love?

“Lost” by Justine Musk
This story had a fantastic balance between intriguing and haunting, making for an atmosphere that drew me in. On top of this, it has realistically relationships and a beautiful ending. This is quite possibly my favorite story from Kiss Me Deadly.

“Hare Moon” by Carrie Ryan
I confess: I have not read anything by Carrie Ryan, although I do have a copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth lying around. Now I realize I need to remedy this ASAP. Ryan’s writing was gorgeous and emotional. More zombies, please!

“Familiar” by Michelle Rowen
When I first started this story, I thought I’d really dislike it and that it would be far too bizarre for my taste. Instead, it turned out to be fun, adventure filled story. I wouldn’t mind winding up in a bizarre circumstance such as the one Brenda encounters with her familiar.

“Fearless” by Rachel Vincent
Of all of the stories in this anthology, “Fearless” has stuck with me the most. While I do wish Vincent had been a bit more specific at times, the concept of the story is terrifying. I am still wary of falling asleep at night, even though I read this two weeks ago.

This is only the tip of the iceberg of awesome that you’ll find within Kiss Me Deadly. If you love paranormal, I think you’ll definitely find a story or two here you’ll really enjoy. Thank you so much to those who helped provide me with a review copy!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review from the publicist.

Friday, October 15, 2010

An Evening with Alexandra Adornetto

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Alexandra Adornetto at a signing held at Red Balloon Bookshop. While I’ve heard mixed things about her U.S. debut, Halo, I’d also heard she was a fun author to see in person, so I braved the roads. I have yet to read my copy of Halo, but Alexandra was very cool and the event was fantastic!

Unlike a lot of other author events that I’ve been to lately, Alexandra had a small presentation to share with all of us. She was super cute, and it sounded like she’d really been enjoying her visit to the states. In her presentation, Alexandra talked about how she began writing and how Halo was born. Apparently she started writing because all of her friends got to go to the beach one summer while she had to stay home. She also discussed the fact that up until her senior year of high school, she went to an all girls’ school with a strict uniform policy, and how being thrown in with boys her senior year largely inspired the plot of Halo. Alexandra also took some questions, so I asked her how she came to be published in the U.S. versus just in Australia and how her parents reacted to her writing. She said that getting an agent made all the difference and that her parents were a bit concerned when she first shut herself away in her study, but have otherwise been very supportive.

After that it, it was time to sign some books!
Alexandra was very sweet, and we chatted a little about blogging. She also chatted about some of the books she’s been reading, and the fact that she might have to get a new suitcase to take home all the books she’s gotten in the states. This was a wonderful event, and I’m very glad I had the chance to go!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Near Witch Cover Reveal

Beauteous blog readers (yes, I'm looking at you), I have something very exciting to share with you today. By now, I'm sure that a handful of you have heard of The Near Witch and its lovely author, Victoria Schwab (click here to follow her on Twitter). Well, the video below contains the cover of

Although it's not out until August 2, 2011, The Near Witch is already available for pre-order on Amazon. In case you still aren't enticed by this gorgeous, cover, take a look at the synopsis. A huge congratulations to Victoria! I'm ridiculously excited to get my hands on this book, and I have a feeling you should be too.

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.
There are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review of Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

I was eager to read Revolution after loving Jennifer Donnelly’s A Northern Light, so when I saw this tour go up on Star Book Tours I jumped on board right away. Donnelly does not disappoint! I had some small issues that stopped this novel from making it into my pile of absolute favorites, but not big enough to stop me from feeling satisfied by this powerful story.

I don’t know about you guys, but I know of very few young adult novels set around the era of the French Revolution, so it was awesome to see such a unique premise here. The plot was really well executed and that it had a beautiful message behind it. The stories which Donnelly creates are intricately research, planned and tied together. I can see where some people would say that the ending feels infeasible and contrived, but as I was thinking back about the earlier details of the story it felt logical to me. I will say that at times, reading Alex’s diary got confusing in terms of the lack of punctuation, particularly where dialogue is considered. I’m more than willing to let this slide since I have no idea when the quotation mark was invented, and perhaps many diary writers are not as meticulous as I am in mine. At any rate, by the time the story was done, I wanted to go to modern day Paris, eat a baguette and fall in love.

Donnelly’s characterization is fabulous as well. I think she writes fantastic male characters. I particularly enjoyed Vijay and his mother Mrs. Gupta, because they kept me laughing throughout the story. I think Andi and her family could have easily been unrealistic, but somehow this wasn’t the case. At times Andi’s personality annoyed me, because it seemed like she got spastic really easily, or would sometimes do something that seemed like kind of an obvious social faux pas to me. I will say that while I have experienced grief, I’m not sure that I’ve ever grieved as deeply as Alex has, or known what’s it like to be on extreme drugs, which could be why I struggled with her character. However, I loved reading about her connections with music, and loved that Donnelly tied some smaller humorous moments into this aspect of the story.

This story does such a fantastic job of tying together the past and present that I would happily shove it at any reader who felt a bit wary about historical fiction. However, I think readers who are particularly interested France, have experienced grief or who have crazy parents might also enjoy this novel. Give this story a chance, or I may have to come after you with the force of Mrs. Gupta.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours, but I pre-ordered a copy which should be here soon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Read-A-Thon Wrap Up Post

Although this post is a bit late, here it is. I have to be honest and say I'm a little disappointed with myself in terms of my progress in this first readathon. I read for a total of 8 hours, got about 460 pages read. I managed to finish Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (which I loved) and read the first fifty pages of Dust City by Robert Paul Weston.

My time spent reading was spread out throughout the day. I got about an hour done early in the morning, but then had to attend a fundraiser for my local humane society. After that I came home and fit in a few more hours, but I was really restless and having a hard time sitting still, so I wound up cleaning my room (including rearranging my dresser and bookshelf) and going for a run. I was probably so restless because I had had a long week, but also because the past few days have been unseasonably gorgeous and warm where I am, and frankly it's been too nice not to get out and exercise.

In retrospect, my mistake may have been making my biggest goal of the day finishing a near 600 page book. However, I wound up loving Beautiful Creatures, so I'm glad I read it. Hopefully for the next read-a-thon I'll feel a bit more motivated.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In My Mailbox (14) and What Are You Reading?

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Writing and Selling the YA Novel by K.L. Going
For review:
The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Contagion by Joanne Dahme
Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto
Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson
Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Would I Lie To You by Cecily von Ziegesar
Don't You Forget About Me by Cecily von Ziegesar
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
Peace, Love and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
I Am A Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want To Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Seven Novels of Jane Austen
Bloggers and blogs mentioned:
Shanyn of Chick Loves Lit

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (My review)
Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires by Molly Roe (My review)
Kiss Me Deadly edited by Trisha Telep (Review to come.)
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Review to come.)
Currently reading:
Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket and Other Simple Brilliant Things by Neil Pasricha
What I plan to read:
Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Linger by Maggie Steifvater
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Angelfire by C.A. Moulton
Need by Carrie Jones

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Review of The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

The Replacement
Mackie Doyle seems like everyone else in the perfect little town of Gentry, but he is living with a fatal secret - he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now the creatures under the hill want him back, and Mackie must decide where he really belongs and what he really wants.

A month ago, Mackie might have told them to buzz off. But now, with a budding relationship with tough, wounded, beautiful Tate, Mackie has too much to lose. Will love finally make him worthy of the human world?

Upon seeing the cover of The Replacement, I expected a novel where creepiness is quietly omnipresent, which is definitely what I got. This book has gotten a lot of hype, being one of Penguin’s Breathless books. While I had a few small issues with this novel, Yovanoff’s writing is beautiful, and I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel.

The Replacement is the most unique book I’ve read all year. I’ve never heard of allergies like the type Mackie has. Yovanoff has also created a terrifying yet intriguing underground world. When combined with beautiful prose, it makes for a fast paced and engrossing read.

The characters were all very well fleshed out. Mackie’s parents were intriguing and I loved that their family dynamic had its imperfections. I really enjoyed reading about Mackie. He’s one of the most realistic boys I’ve seen in YA literature. I liked that he only felt different, and not that he was particularly talented at much, because as a teenager it took me a long time to realize that I had talents that made me different from everyone else. Also, it’s very refreshing to see a male narrator who openly admitted to checking out girls, because that is the type of thing which teenage boys actually think about.

The other character who really stood out to me was Tate, but that was because I found her really annoying. She only really seemed interested in Mackie when he was interested in solving her problems, but otherwise hated him. While I found her troubles in life to be sad, I found her too selfish to like her.

I wasn’t content to put The Replacement down until I had finished the whole thing. This has been one of the most original books I’ve read all year, but also one of the best. I’m thoroughly looking forward to seeing what Yovanoff brings readers next.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours, but I have every intention of purchasing my own copy.

The Read-a-Thon Is Coming!

Hey everyone! You guys might have already heard about this, but the Dewey 24 hour read-a-thon is this weekend, and I intend to participate. Here's the list of books I'll be working on.

I'll probably start by focusing on Beautiful Creatures, as I'm already 200 pages into that one and would really like to finish it. My goal is to read for 12 hours and see what I can get done. I've never participated in a read-a-thon before, so this should be fun. I'm eager to get started!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Meeting Patrick Ness

Last Saturday, I had the good fortune to meet Patrick Ness in person. I will make one confession clear now, which is that I haven’t read any of his books, even though I have heard several bloggers whose opinions I trust rave about how good his work is. I arrived at Red Balloon Bookshop, where the signing took place, a few minutes in advance. Jill of The O.W.L. Book Blog, who I met at the Michael Grant signing, was also there with her daughter and sister. We chatted for a few minutes, until we realized that we were in the wrong part of the store, at which point we moved so that we could actually meet Patrick.

My turn came to meet Patrick Ness and I think even he was impressed by the pile of books I had in tow. I bought myself the entire Chaos Walking trilogy in hardcover, but also got two copies of The Knife of Never Letting Go signed for giveaway. I confessed that I had only read the first chapter of The Knife of Never Letting Go, and Patrick Ness said he had seen my Tweets about how I was coming yet still needed to read his books. He gave me a bit of a hard time, but he said he was actually glad I came.
One of the first questions Patrick asked me was if I am a writer. I said that I’m beginning to delve into a manuscript but that I’d written plenty of papers as an English major in college. His advice was that I start calling myself a writer, as it would make it easier for myself and others to take me seriously. We also talked about dogs in his book, because I said that in the bit of The Knife of Never Letting Go I’d read I really enjoyed the voice of the dog. He said that his favorite types of dog are like the ones that are in the movie Up. After that Jill was kind enough to snap a few quick pictures of Patrick and I chatting. Thanks, Jill!

Patrick was very cool in person, and it was awesome to meet him. I’m looking forward to reading the Chaos Walking trilogy. You guys should use the comments to yell at me to read his books, and be on the lookout for the aforementioned giveaway.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Blog Tour: Call Me Kate by Molly Roe

Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires
Coming of age amidst the seething unrest of the Civil War era, feisty fourteen-year-old Katie McCafferty infiltrates the Molly Maguires, a secret Irish organization, to rescue a lifelong friend. Under the guise of Dominick, a draft resister, Katie volunteers for a dangerous mission in hopes of preventing bloodshed. Katie risks job, family, and ultimately her very life to intervene. A series of tragedies challenge Katie's strength and ingenuity, and she faces a crisis of conscience. Can she balance her sense of justice with the law? Call Me Kate is suitable for readers from eleven to adult. The story is dramatic and adventuresome, yet expressive of daily life in the patches of the hard coal region during the Civil War era. This novel will appeal to readers of the Dear America series, as well as more mature readers who will enjoy the story's rich context and drama.

If you’re a woman around my age, or have a sister, then you probably owned or knew someone who owned an American Girl doll. Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires by Molly Roe felt very reminiscent of an American Girl book to me. While I’m not the target audience for this book, I think young girls who read middle grade books would thoroughly enjoy this story.

At first, I really didn’t think I’d like Katie because initially, she was a bit of a goody two shoes, and that doesn’t make for a particular dynamic or interesting. However, it was also clear that she was passionate, and her personality quickly changed and became much more interesting. It was excellent to see a character stand up for what she believes in, and still see some lighter moments incorporated into this turn of events.

I thought the plot of this story was very well thought out. I’ve never seen a book that deals with Irish immigrants in America around the time of the Civil War, and I appreciated that originality. In the midst of this plotline, Call Me Kate was a book which successfully confronted bigotry and prejudice, and I applaud Roe for that.

Call Me Kate may have been a bit young for my taste, but it was nonetheless a swift and enjoyable read. It’s also fun because at the end of the book there are a few educational activities and a vocabulary list. With all of these elements combined, I wouldn’t hesitate to pass this book on to a young reader.

Look appealing? You can purchase Call me Kate from Amazon by clicking on this link. You can also follow Tribute Books on Facebook and Twitter if you'd like.

About the Author

Molly Roe is the pen name of Mary Garrity Slaby, a veteran language arts & reading teacher at Lake-Lehman Junior Senior High School. Mary holds a Ph.D. in education from Temple University, and Pennsylvania teaching certification in six areas. She has pursued the hobby of genealogy for the past decade. Mary was born in Philadelphia, raised in Schuylkill County, and currently lives in Dallas, Pennsylvania with her husband, John. They are parents of two grown children, Melissa and John Garrett, cover illustrator of Call Me Kate. Digging into the past has given Mary newfound respect for her ancestors and a better understanding of history. Call Me Kate is the first in the author’s trilogy of historical novels loosely based on the lives of the strong women who preceded her.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Harry Potter Extravaganza: Love In and For Harry Potter

By the time I was in sixth grade, the first three Harry Potter books were already out, and my middle school was abuzz with talk of how good they were. I refused to read them at first. I didn’t want to just do what everyone else was doing and, being a slightly snotty child, I doubted that I would enjoy something which everyone else seemed to love. Thankfully, a friend whose taste in books I trusted told me how good they were when our school’s book club picked them, so I decided to give Harry Potter a chance. I asked my parents to order me the first three books in hardback and when they came, stacked them neatly on my alto saxophone on the bus ride home as my classmates gawked at my nerdiness. Halfway through the first book I fell in love with the series.

To this day, my seven hardcover Harry Potter books might be the ones that are closest to my heart. I grew up with this series, attending midnight release parties for books four, five and six. I awaited each installment with bated breath, loving the series even more as each book released.

There’s so much to love about this series. To me, Hogwarts is the type of school with a cozy atmosphere, yet where this is always excitement to be had. Every time I read these books, I wish I could perform spells and taste all of the magical foods which Rowling describes in her novels. Of course, while a good atmosphere is a sure way to pull me in, most of my favorite books have characters which I find lovable, and the Harry Potter series most definitely delivers on this front. By the end of the series, I was very attached to Harry, Hermione and all of the Weasleys.

In her recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, Rowling talked about how one of the predominant themes in the series is the importance of love. As I turned the last few pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I definitely misted up. I was glad to see how this theme played a role in the outcomes of the characters, and I thought Rowling ended the series really well.

At the end of the day, however, if I ever have kids, I won’t just pass these books because reading about spells and learning to be a wizard is awesome. I want them to learn that love is a powerful and important thing. Maybe they won’t want to listen to me lecture about it, but perhaps I can give them their own Harry Potter books, in hopes that they take that very message away.

Waiting on Wednesday: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Release date: Januray 11, 2011

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone—one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship—tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now, Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Oh my goodness GORGEOUS COVER. This cover has lots of gorgeous purple and pink, plus it looks very sparkly, and I am easily drawn in by that. Otherwise, I love the sound of this book because it sounds like pure science fiction, and I feel like there isn't a lot of science fiction targeted at young adult readers. Sure, there's a lot of paranormal, dystopian, steam punk and fantasy YA literature out there, but I think the genre could use more hardcore science fiction, and it looks like Across the Universe will help fill this gap.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Author Interview: Stefne Miller

Today I have author Stefne Miller here for an interview. Stefne's debut novel, Salvaged, was released earlier this summer. Click here to read my review of it.

'My body was being torn apart, and my stomach felt as if it exploded. The pain was excruciating, and I was aware that I was dying... 'Mom?' My vision was murky, but I could see her face. It was bloody, and her eyes were large and full of fear. Her voice calmed. 'Get out of the car, Attie.' Her words sounded crisp and clear. I looked into the backseat in search of Melody and found her lying covered in blood in a twisted heap on the floor. I turned my attention back to my mother and out of the corner of my eye saw fire. 'Get out, Attie!' 'Mom?' Everything went dark.' Attie Reed should have died in the wreck that stole the lives of her mother and best friend. But her life was spared. Why? When Attie moves to Oklahoma to stay with the Bennetts for the summer, she hopes she has left her nightmares behind. But her battle is far from over, and Riley Bennett steps forward to help her fight the nighttime monsters. As the battle wears on, Riley begins fighting monsters of his own: his feelings for Attie. And Attie realizes she must begin to face the monsters of the night herself if she wants to conquer them for good. Can Attie's life be Salvaged?

Stefne Miller was born an "Army Brat" and having moved almost a dozen times before 18 years
old, lived in many states including: Oklahoma, Hawaii, Georgia, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Before trying her hand at writing, she held various jobs including working along side her husband in Children's Ministry; becoming the Director of Operations and later a Public Policy Specialist and Cabinet Liaison for then Governor of Oklahoma, Frank Keating; and later, a pharmaceutical representative for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

In 2008, while visiting a friend out of state, Stefne had a dream in which the Lord asked her to join him on a new journey. Upon waking, she wrote down the dream and Salvaged was born.

Stefne currently lives in Edmond, Oklahoma and has been married to Shaun, a realtor, since 1994. Shaun and Stefne have three sons - Jacob (13), Caleb (11) and Yohannes (10).

In your author biography, you talk about Salvaged coming to you in a dream. Can you tell us what your writing and publishing timeline was like after that?

For the first few weeks of writing the book, the story would continue to come to me in dreams. I would wake up, write down the gist of what I saw and then when I woke up in the mornings, I would type it into my computer. It was at that time that I would add the other details, settings, etc. Eventually, the story started flowing 24/7. I carried my notebook or laptop with me everywhere. I never thought the story completely through or outlined anything. As I wrote, the story unfolded. I believe that's why I wrote it as fast as I did (3 months). I too wanted to see what would happen next.
As far as the publishing portion, I put together a query and tried to get an agent but nobody was interested. I came to a point where I had to decide whether I wanted to put more time and energy into trying to go the traditional route or put that same time and energy into marketing. I chose to go with an indie publisher and devote my time and resources to marketing. The book was just different enough that mainstream publishers weren't interested but I felt like if it got into readers hands, they would like it. So, I went on a limb and went the non-traditional route. We'll see if it pays off. ;-)

What have you most enjoyed about being a published author?

Meeting people.Whether it be in person at speaking events and book signings or over the internet with bloggers and "fans", that is by far the best part. It's very hard to put yourself and something you've poured your heart and soul into, out into the world for people to judge. Not everyone will like what I've done and people aren't afraid to be brutally honest. So, while the negative can be very painful, when people do enjoy it and take the time to let me know, it's amazing! I love that being a writer opens me up to be a part of discussions about the publishing world and I'm extremely touched when I talk to people about how the book has impacted their life. Having the opportunity to get to know people and dialog with them about many different things is by far the best part!
Salvaged is a novel packed with emotional content. Did you find any characters or scenes particularly challenging to write?

The emotional scenes were actually the easiest for me to write because they were emotions that I've felt before. Many were emotions that I was feeling at the time of writing the story. The questions; the hurt - all of that has been real for me. So, although the exact circumstances were different in most instances, the pain is similar.
That's a lot of what I wanted to get across in this story. Life sucks. It can be painful due to circumstances that we've brought on ourselves and it can be brutal due to the choices that other people have made but we're left suffering with the consequences for. But, it's through the pain, crap and mire that we realize that it isn't those circumstances that define us but that we learn the most about ourselves. We also come to realize that everybody has problems and pain. Our circumstances might be different but we aren't alone.
Riley is a gentleman and a very respectful boyfriend. What inspired his character?

I was lucky enough to not only date a lot of great guys but I married one too. I also dated some major losers. Through it all, I realized that a girl teaches a guy how to treat her. When she expects more from someone, they give more and if a guy won't treat you the way you deserve - they aren't worth it. Good guys are out there; we just have to be willing to wait for them. It can take time, but sometimes we get so caught up in wanting someone that we'll settle on just about anyone and we'll put up with almost any type of behavior. I don't believe anyone should compromise their principles (whatever those principles are) for a guy or to be popular, etc. Women are powerful and we're alive in a time in history where anything and everything is open to us. We aren't limited by our gender so why let some guy limit us or worth? There are males out there that are respectful and who will respect the females they are with. Why not find one?
What books have had the strongest effect on you as a person and a writer?

As a writer - Stephen King's On Writing.
Others - To Kill a Mockingbird (the idea of fighting for what's right) , Pride and Prejudice (true love doesn't always come from the people we would choose or from the obvious choice); The Scarlet Letter (judgment of a group against a single person); The Federalist Papers (written by founding fathers of our country)

How do you spend your time when you aren’t writing? Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy?

I am a HUGE football fan (the Oklahoma Sooners specifically). If it's football season, I barely leave the television over the weekends. I also love to hang out with my kids and hubby and go to the movies with my girlfriends. I'm a very social person so I'll do just about anything if other people will be involved.
I understand that you’re working on a sequel to Salvaged, entitled Rise. Are you working on any other projects, and if so, can you tell us about them?

I'm playing with two other projects. I'm about 90 pages into both. They are both YA but one is more in the "fantasy" realm. No vampires, werewolves, pixie's etc, but I'm not tying myself to reality.
I've practically put my writing life on hold until I figure out if this is something that I'm good at and if it's something that I want to keep doing. Getting a book published is so much more than just writing. There's self-promotion, marketing, business, opening yourself up for rejection at every turn, etc. It certainly requires a willingness to put yourself out there and a thick skin. I'm still trying to figure out if my skin is thick enough or can at least get that way. I love writing - it's the rest that I've got to figure out.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Stefne! If you'd like to purchase an autographed copy of Salvaged, visit Stefne's website.


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