Archive for July, 2010

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: July 13, 2010
Other Books In Series: Shiver, Forever (coming 2011)
Pages: 368
ISBN #: 978-0545123280

**Be sure to keep reading past the review to the fantastic interview Maggie was kind enough to give, and the details of our contest where YOU can win a copy of Linger!**

Without skipping a beat, we are brought from the uncertain end of Shiver, back into the complex world of Mercy Falls. Shiver introduced us to Grace, Sam, and the local wolf pack, and left us holding our collective breath, hoping for their “happily ever after”. Linger begins with the result of the risky experiment to keep Sam human. I don’t think it’s giving away too much to say that it appears to have worked.

Sam finds himself reluctantly filling Beck’s role as the guide and leader of the new wolves during their human shift. Grace encourages him with this, and helps him find the confidence to start making plans for their future together. Unfortunately, while Sam is coming to terms with his new life, Grace is experiencing some problems that ring an alarmingly familiar bell.

Isabel becomes Grace’s confidant and “go-to” girl. She hasn’t changed much from her time in Shiver, and adds some much needed snarky commentary to the story. Nothing gets her snark going like Cole, one of the new wolves. Cole’s got a whole load of problems of his own and gives as good as he gets. The banter between these two is fantastic, even if it is based in sadness and pain.

One of the things I really loved about this story is that Grace and Sam are “Grace and Sam” and it’s NEVER questioned. Too often the lead romantic relationship is tested and manipulated throughout the story. I loved that them being together was simply a truth. That’s not to say they didn’t have problems, Grace’s parents proved to be a thorn in their side, but I never believed it would be enough to tear them apart.

Speaking of the parental units. This story is full of “too little, too late” when it comes to familial relationships. Both Grace and Isabel have parents that are so wrapped up in their own issues and lives that they leave their children to fend for themselves. Unfortunately, in both cases, when they decide to start acting the part, it’s unwelcome and ends up causing more harm than good. The exception to this trend was Sam and Beck. We get to see flashbacks of Beck’s attempt to be a father figure as Sam tries to take the reigns.

I really love the way Maggie writes this story. The flow of things is so natural, despite the unusual circumstances. The dialogue is easy and interesting, but it’s really the descriptions that draw you in. It’s the emotion that ties you to the wind rushing through the woods, the connection made between two pairs of eyes, the smell passed along through the slightest touch. These are the things that wrap you up and usher you along with Sam and Grace on their journey.

The same thing that I love about the story, however, is my biggest problem with it. The emotions are so encompassing, but there’s a constant feeling sadness and anxiety. There are plenty of really great one-liners. The main characters fall and STAY madly in love. There are some incredible things that happen that should have been cause for celebration. But there were very few times I laughed or smiled about things, simply because I couldn’t shake the feeling of impending doom.

Please, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the story, and I’m very interested in how it will all end. (Of course, this book has an even more powerful cliffhanger than the last one did.) I just hope that with the end in sight I will feel less “something unhappy just around the corner” and have more reasons to smile. (I think I’ll start making some of Sam’s cranes, I bet I can get to 1000 before Forever comes out next year!)

I’d like to thank Maggie for taking time out of her crazy busy schedule to answer these questions. I hope you all enjoy them as much as I did!

1) You’ve composed music for some of your storyline/characters. Is there a song that describes your life? If not, who would you want to write/compose one for you?

“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears. Without all the petty criminal angsty subtext in the lyrics. I’m not sure if it describes my life, but I think it’s a mission statement.

2) If you could spend one day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do all day?

I find this question very difficult to answer because I basically do spend every day with my characters, writing their days for them. So if I were to choose to spend a day with any of them, I guess it would have to be the characters from my Secret Novel that I’m working on when I get a spare moment, because I am deeply in love with it. Unfortunately I cannot tell you what they are doing. Or who they are. Or, basically answer this question. Am I being a difficult interviewee?

3) What’s you’re preferred writing atmosphere? (alone or with crit group, office or coffee shop, ect.)

Anywhere with my music on, and usually with a chat window for Tessa Gratton, one my critique partners, open, so I can suddenly chat at her: I <3 this book! or I hate this book! or WHY IS MY PLOT TRYING TO KILL ME?

4) What was your favorite Halloween costume (or other dress-up occasion/party costume)?

Morticia Addams. I identify strongly with her and Wednesday Addams.

5) What record would you like to set for the Guinness Book of World Records? (Remember… they recognize all sorts of interesting talents… Some world records include *fasted 100m sprint, barefoot, on ice = 17.35 secs… *fastest pumpkin carving of a face = 24.03 secs… *longest distance pogo stick jumping = 23.11 miles).

*longest time in print for a young adult book.

I’d like to write a classic. I don’t ask for much.

6) What is one thing you never get asked about, but would love your fans to know about you?

 Where does Maggie post free short fiction every month, along with her critique partners? www.merryfates.com.

You can find information about Maggie and her books in these places, as well:

SHIVER series site:
http://www.maggiestiefvater.com/shiver/

Maggie Stiefvater ’s blog:
http://m-stiefvater.livejournal.com/

Maggie’s Twitter:
http://twitter.com/mstiefvater

Maggie’s Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Maggie-Stiefvater-Really-its-me/412830324465?v=wall

Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger Book Trailer:

Scholastic.com official Shiver page
http://www.scholastic.com/shiver/

Now… if you haven’t read Shiver (first of all, this review was too spoilery for you… what were you thinking?? LOL) you need to do so BEFORE you read Linger. If you’d like to win a brand spankin’ new copy of Linger, with it’s pretty cover and green ink (that’s right, Shiver has blue ink, Linger has green… how cool is THAT??) just follow the directions in the video below to make an origami crane like Sam was doing in the book. It’s soooooo easy, it’ll just take a couple of minutes. Then write your name on the wing or somewhere so I know it’s YOUR crane, and either post the picture, or post the link to see the pic, along with your first name, last initial, and email address to reach you if you win. I can’t wait to see all the pretty paper memory keepers you all create, and maybe we’ll collect enough to make a wish on 🙂 Contest ends on Sunday, August 8th, at midnight eastern. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to my notification. GOOD LUCK!

Video Instructions From YouTube.com for Japanese Paper Crane

Thanks, again, to Maggie and her partners at Scholastic for including us on the blog tour, and for offering the copy of Linger that we’re giving away here!

4 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Author: Yasmine Galenorn
Release Date: June 29, 2010
Other Title In Series: Night Veil (coming June 2011)
Pages: 352
ISBN #: 978-0515148145

New Forest, Washington is home to humans, magic-born, shifters, vampires and fae. Each race fills a specific, well balanced role in the makeup of the town. Night Myst begins with the balance shifting dangerously by a new, dark entity, and a desperate call to the prodigal daughter to return home.

Cicely Waters is magic-born. Raised by a mother who ran from her own ability, Cicely had very little proper training, relying on street smarts and a strong survival instinct to hone her skills. She’s also been gifted with a Wind Elemental, Ulean, who is bonded to her. Together, they’ve stayed one step ahead of most threats, until now.

Cicely arrives home to find family members and friends missing, a dark fog suffocating the pure forest magics, and even the “top of the food chain” in town on edge. Aeons ago, an attempt by a member of the Crimson Court (vampire royalty) to enslave the dark fae backfired, creating a new, powerful enemy. Myst is the queen of the Indigo Court, the first turned, and the most deadly of the vampiric fae. She’s brought her army back to New Forest for revenge. A prophecy places Cicely in the precarious position of being both a catalyst and a weapon in the war between the Indigo Court, the Crimson Court, and the displaced Fae queen.

One of the things I loved about this book is the incredible world building. The histories, the characters, and the conflicts are all brought to life using the most fantastic imagery. Yasmine has a way of writing that makes it so easy to picture the scene in your head. I have to admit, as much as I enjoyed the attention to detail, it sometimes seemed a little overdone, but I think that’s a common problem for a “first in series” when trying to create the basis for an entire story.

The relationships in this story are incredible. There are clear cut, obvious relationships like Rhiannon and Leo, Cicely and Grieve (oh, Grieve *sigh*). But there are so many bonds running just under the surface of the story. Romantic and familial ties are both created and uncovered during the course of the story. I love how the characters interact, and the push and pull of what they feel versus what they’re “supposed” to feel. The main relationship, Cicely and Grieve, is filled with real emotion, and real conflict. Forced onto opposing sides, they share a history that makes them fight everything to be together. The power of what they feel for each other is evident in both the smallest touch, and their complete surrender to passion.

There is also an amazing amount of growth for each of the characters, again, a sign of an effective “first in series” book. They learn to test the strengths and limits of their powers, their allegiances, and their consciences. All making choices and dealing with the consequences. Cicely learns things about herself that make her stronger, but at the same time, make her question her foundations. The “bad guys” are ugly, and beautiful, and utterly terrifying. They’re also not always who you think they are.

I love that the secondary characters become increasingly more important throughout the story. They don’t stay on the sidelines, they emerse themselves in the fight and earn places among the hero and heroine. They all have their own endearing qualities and quirks that add both substance and entertainment to the story. (Although Kaylin seems to be overly concerned with his age, considering he mentions it what seems like once in every conversation. We get it, yummy Kaylin, you’re older than you seem, but not as old as others of your race, *noted*.)

The end of this book is most definitely a launching point for a dynamic shift in the power struggle. And the established relationships are on equally, unsteady footing. There is so much information, and so many things left open for the next installment. I can easily see 4 or 5 different storylines that will be carried through the series. I really can’t wait to find out how things unfold. I’m certain of two things, though. First, it WON’T happen the way I think it will, and second, I’ll love it anyway!

Yasmine has been incredibly gracious with her time for us. Not only has she answered the author questions, but she’s agreed to award a $10 Amazon.com gift certificate as a prize in our FIRST EVER CONTEST!!! Check after the Q&A below for how to enter!

1) When you write, do you prefer quiet, or do you listen to music? If you like music playing, what is your preferred genre? Do certain characters have their own personal “soundtrack”?  

About thirty percent of the time in silence, the rest of the time with music. Genre—varies but generally alternative. And each book has its own playlist—you can find them on my site under each book’s description and recently, I’ve started including them in the backs of the books.  

2) Where do you write? In an office, at the dining room table, at a local coffeeshop? Do you prefer to write alone or with a group? If you write with a group, do you also read/critique each other’s work?  

My office, primarily. Now and then I’ll work in the living room with my laptop or on the bed with my netbook, but I am most comfortable working in my office. And I’ve never been one comfortable writing around other people, I’ve always preferred solitude for my work.  

3) How do you prepare for release day? Are you calm and focused, or do you get stressed? Do you like to make promotional appearances or stay at home to watch lists and numbers?  

More like release month. I spend a month gearing up for a release and each one gets more nerve-wracking than the last. I do a lot of online promotion—a lot of guest blogs and interviews. Not too many in-person appearances (they really expend time and energy and usually aren’t a big draw), and I’m usually also working on another book at that time so I’m frazzled by the time release day hits and want nothing more than to hibernate.  

4) What was your favorite Halloween costume (or other costume party costume)?  

I don’t really have a favorite that I’ve worn…they’ve all pretty much been makeshift and not what I really wanted. But I love dressing up to go out with full makeup, etc. And I prefer low cut tops—not comfortable with anything around my neck, and everything goes better with cleavage. ~wicked grin~  

5) If you could go anywhere on vacation (and not interfere with your deadlines), where would you go, and what 3 items (besides food and clothes) would you bring with you?  

Hawai’i—Big Island, eastern side near Hilo. I’d take with me, besides food/clothing: camera, netbook, and my husband. *grins*  

6) What song best describes your life? If you can’t think of one, who would you want to write/perform a song just for you?  

That depends…I have more of a personal soundtrack that fits my persona, and the main artists on it: Gary Numan, Beck, Air, Ladytron, Nirvana, Bowie, Beck, Gorillaz.  

7) If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would be it and what would you do all day?  

Okay, Trillian, I think. I love his style, his blunt nature, his sexuality. He’s smart, he’s fascinating, he’s daring and passionate and likes fine dining and luxury, like I do. And he’s just downright gorgeous.  

8) What world record would you love to set for the Guinness Book of World Records? (Remember, they take ALL KINDS of interesting talents into account. Some world records include *fastest 100m sprint, barefoot, on ice = 17.35 secs… *fastest pumpkin carving of a face = 24.03 secs… *longest distance pogo stick jumping = 23.11 miles)  

Um…author to sell the highest number of books? LOL…other than that, if it could be anything? Person to advance from an out-of-shape state to a black belt in Kung Fu in the fastest amount of time. *koffs*  

9) If you could have one word removed from the English language, from all dictionaries and out of everyone’s vocabulary, what would it be, and why?  

I wouldn’t. Because censoring language and thought is anathema to my profession. When horrid thoughts cross into action, then we need to take down people who are hurting others—child molesters, rapists, murderers…but the thought of censoring word and thought makes me queasy. Now, when copyright is infringed upon, then I have no problem forcing the person to remove the offending work.  

10) What is one thing about you that your friends know and you would love your readers to know as well. Or… if you’re in a giving mood… what is one story that your friends LOVE to talk you into telling that you don’t generally volunteer?  

I think my readers know entirely too much about me, as it is, but let’s see. My love of makeup goes back to when I was a very young girl. When I was three (the same year I decided I wanted to ‘make books’) I wanted to smell all pretty like my mother. So I drank some of her perfume. Thank gods it tasted so bad I stopped after a few drops, and managed to spill a bunch on me, but I guess that’s how I thought perfume worked. I also painted one thumbnail with nail polish before she found me, along with most of my hand. So I’ve always been a gurly gurl, and have been a makeup junkie since before I was allowed to wear it. ~grins~

Big THANK YOU to Yasmine for taking time out of her hectic schedule to answer some questions. *hugs*

And now, CONTEST TIME!!

All you have to do to enter is comment below with which one of Yasmine’s characters you’d like to spend a day with, and what you’d do. You can choose someone from the Sister’s of the Moon series, like Yasmine did, or someone from her new Indigo Court series. If you haven’t read any of her books yet, you can simply enter with your name and email address as long as you remember to go put the books high up on your TBR list *grins*.

So, to enter, your comment must include:
1)Your name (first name and last initial).
2)Your email so I can let you know if you won (you’ll have 48 hours to respond).
3)Your choice of which one of Yasmine’s characters you’d like to spend the day with, and what you’d do. *OR* A promise to add her books to your TBR list 🙂 (Trust me, you’ll be happy you did!)

Winner will be chosen at random, notified, and their information will be passed along to Yasmine and her assistant to be awarded their prize. Prize is a $10 Amazan.com gift certificate. Contest ends at midnight, eastern, on July 23rd. Good luck, everyone!

 

 

3 Comments so far. Join the Conversation

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Release Date: March 2, 2010
Other Books In Series: Demonglass (coming March 2011), Hex Hall 3 (untitled)
Pages: 336
ISBN #: 978-1423121305

It was supposed to be an easy spell. Just give the crying girl in the bathroom her dream date for the prom. It ended up causing chaos at the dance, and Sophie packed off to her twentieth school.

This time around, though, young witch Sophia (Sophie) Mercer has been ordered to Hecate (aka Hex) Hall. It’s basically juvie for Prodigium, or supernatural beings (witches, faeries, shifters, vamps) that live in secret among humans. Here, she’s surrounded by other teens with histories of wreckless behavior. All brought together and sentenced to remain at the boarding school until their 18th birthday.

Sophie’s experiences before being sent to Hex Hall are both funny and sad. She’s a witch (something that came as a bit of a shock to her) being raised by her human mother, estranged from her warlock father. Her efforts to test her powers tend to come out on the wrong side of success. Something always happens, to be sure, but it usually ends in another move, another school, and more disappointment. 

As you can imagine, life at Hex Hall is NOT full of sunshine and roses. Within the first few days of attendence, Sophie learns some disturbing things about her family history, and the terrifying dangers the supernatural communites face outside the “safehaven” of the school. Unfortunately for Sophie, the safehaven doesn’t stay safe for long.

I really, really liked the way this story was presented. I have to admit, I saw “magic kid goes to magic school” and thought “here we go again”. However, Rachel uses a familiar formula to create a fun, interesting story with twists and turns along the way. The conflicts are both superficial (as superficial as you can get considering they all have a history of causing magical mayhem) and downright life-threatening. Students are under attack, being hurt and killed, and all fingers are pointed towards the resident vamps. Sophie has her hands full defending her friend, training with an unconventional and possibly dangerous tutor, and trying to keep herself from falling head over heels for the very hot, but very taken school hunk.

The balance between the typical teen drama, and the much more intense danger was just right. Both were represented, with healthy doses of snark and sarcasm to fill in the spaces. I would have liked a little more development with some of the characters, but I’m hoping that we’ll get to dive into a few more of them in the next two books. I really loved that I found myself rooting for some characters and against others, then by the end I was all upside down and wondering how I missed the clues along the way! Some things I had figured out, other things, not so much. 🙂 And the tears… at the window… nearly broke my heart! (read it, you’ll understand, I promise)

Sophie’s got a lot of information to process, and a lot of choices to make at the end of this book. I’m intrigued by some of the characters that came into the spotlight towards the end (I’m full of theories), and completely baffled by some of the events that were left to be dealt with in Demonglass (book #2, due next spring). This was a pretty quick read, and made for some fun book club discussions (our talking points are below if you want to contribute your thoughts). One thing is for sure, I can’t wait for March!

These are some of the things we touched on in our book club discussion. WARNING: A few of the questions are WAAAAYYYY SPOILERY!!! If you’ve read Hex Hall, I’d love to hear what you think. 🙂 There’ll be an astrik line after the questions if you want to skip past and just read the FANTASTIC AUTHOR INTERVIEW that Rachel was kind enough to do for us.

  • The theme of a school, or academy, for those with abilities is used often in YA paranormals. Do you think it’s OVERused, or do you think books benefit from a setting that’s familiar to the target audience?
  • Why do you think Justin, the werewolf, charged at Sophie when she arrived at the school? Is the idea of bringing kids who already display self-control issues with their supernatural ability into a school together a good, or bad idea?
  • What would be the pros and cons of Sophie joining Anna, Chaston, and Elodie’s coven? What effect do you think her demon blood would have had on the spells they tried to cast? (Remember, she felt power coming to her through the ground and her feet, rather than the sky and her hands, would this made a difference?)
  • What happened to Archer? Did he choose is apparent connection with The Eye? Was it forced on him? Was the school in any danger while he was attending?
  • What’s up with Cal? He’s obviously at the school for a reason, is it strictly Hex Hall related, or is he there for Sophie’s benefit?
  • Will Sophie go through with the removal?

********************************************************************************************************

********************************************************************************************************

THANK YOU to Rachel for taking time away from writing Hex Hall #3 to answer our author questions. Reading through the answers was a lot of fun! Hope you all enjoy 🙂

1) When you write, do you prefer quiet, or do you listen to music? If you like music playing, what is your preferred genre? Do certain characters have their own personal “soundtrack”?

Oh, I HAVE to have music! It’s my way of “closing the door” so to speak. I listen to pretty much anything when I write- classical, pop, hard rock…And yes, certain characters definitely have their own “songs.” Sophie’s personal theme is “Celebrity Skin” by Hole. “Luv” by Travis is Sophie and Archer’s “love theme,” and I like to listen to Fiona Apple when writing Jenna. 🙂

2) Where do you write? In an office, at the dining room table, at a local coffee-shop? Do you prefer to write alone or with a group? If you write with a group, do you also read/critique each other’s work?

I write alone, and I write EVERYWHERE, haha! Some days, I stay at home and work either in my office (really a converted dining room), or my bed. Other days demand caffeine, and so I head for Starbuck’s. I also like writing at the library.

3) How do you prepare for release day? Are you calm and focused, or do you get stressed? Do you like to make promotional appearances or stay at home to watch lists and numbers? 

Well, so far, I’ve only had one release day, and I spent it stuck at the Atlanta airport (Ah, spring in the South, with it’s bizarre-o weather!) I was lucky enough to get to go on tour for HEX HALL’s release, so that was a lot of fun. It also kept me from checking my Amazon ranking like a crazy person. 😉 There was definitely some stress involved, but mostly, I tried to stay calm and keep repeating, “It’s JUST A BOOK.”  

4) What was your favorite Halloween costume (or other costume party costume)?

I was a Gypsy like 3 years in a row as a little kid. For some reason, the bangle bracelets and colorful scarves, and foil-covered gumball machine (as a crystal ball, doncha know?) really appealed to me. Oh, and I once went as a Bond Girl for Halloween in college. That was pretty sweet, too, for a whole host of reasons. 😉

5) If you could go anywhere on vacation (and not interfere with your deadlines), where would you go, and what 3 items (besides food and clothes) would you bring with you?

Ooh, so many places to pick! London is my favorite city in the world, so I’d probably go there. And I’d definitely take my iPod, a journal, and a Justice of the Peace, so that when I finally found Ben Barnes, I could wrangle him into marriage ON THE SPOT. (What’s that? I’m already married? Pshaw. Minor detail.)

6) What song best describes your life? If you can’t think of one, who would you want to write/perform a song just for you?

I have a major crush on Jason Mraz, so I’d love for him to write something beautiful just for moi!  

7) If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would be it and what would you do all day?

I’d have to go with Sophie! And I’d take her to the spa. Lord knows, girlfriend could use some relaxation.  

8) What world record would you love to set for the Guinness Book of World Records? (Remember, they take ALL KINDS of interesting talents into account. Some world records include *fasted 100m sprint, barefoot, on ice = 17.35 secs… *fastest pumpkin carving of a face = 24.03 secs… *longest distance pogo stick jumping = 23.11 miles)

Ha! Let’s see….maybe, “Most Books Bought In One Hour at Barnes and Noble.” Seriously, I could ROCK that!

9) If you could have one word removed from the English language, from all dictionaries and out of everyone’s vocabulary, what would it be, and why?

“Hisself.” I know that’s not even an actual word, but I used to teach high school English, and I saw it on So. Many. Essays. And. Tests. “Macbeth decides to kill Ducan hisself.” “Beowulf uses hisself as bait.” GAAAAAH!

10) What is one thing about you that your friends know and you would love your readers to know as well. Or… if you’re in a giving mood… what is one story that your friends LOVE to talk you into telling that you don’t generally volunteer?

One of my friends LOVES to tell the story of how I was nearly arrested on New Year’s Eve 2000 for…you know what? We’ll just leave it at “nearly arrested.” I DO write for Disney, after all! 😉

1 Comment. Join the Conversation

Author: Dakota Cassidy
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Other Books In Series: Kiss & Hell
Pages: 336
ISBN #: 978-0425234433

Marcella Acosta got herself into a whole underworld of trouble in the first book in this series. By helping her best friend Delaney, a medium, wrestle a soul away from Lucifer, the reluctant demon earned a spot on the big guy’s “special place in hell for people like you” list. 

A self-proclaimed fashionista, Marcella revels not only in the singe of a well thrown fireball, but the rush of a one-day sale at Macy’s. Unfortunately, after going up against Lucifer, she finds herself tossed onto a plane-in-limbo. Not a mall or salon in sight, no ability to mosey back and forth between hell and earth, and no way for her get in touch with Delaney. At least she THINKS there’s no way, until good ole’ Darwin (the ghost of one of Delaney’s many dogs) reminds her of the one person she hasn’t tried to reach. Someone she mixed with like gasoline and firecrackers, despite her attraction to him. Delaney’s brother Kellan.

Dakota writes with equal parts snark and sincere emotion and it works so well for the story. These characters are up against some heavy-duty supernatural ugliness, but manage to hold their own for the sake of a young family friend with the “gift of sight”. There were also quite a few surprises tossed in, having to do with Marcella’s tightly guarded past. Just when you (and when I say you, I mean, I) think you (again, I mean, I) have it all figured out… think again. In the midst of all the craziness, the story of her demonic beginning will tug at your heart and maybe bring a tear to your eye (yeah, that would be me, again). The action between the many minions of hell and Marcella’s crew is full of both ass-kicking and snarky comment slinging. 

Now, back to Kellan. The yummilicious brother of Marcella’s best friend, who has “inherited” the ability to see ghosts. In Kiss & Hell, the banter between Kellan and Marcella was fun to read, and the attraction was clear. In this book, it’s obviously stepped up on both counts. The push and pull with these two is at the same time comical and endearing. Once they stop fighting and admit they want each other, they’re hot enough to give hell a run for it’s money.

The side characters in this story are just fantastic. Between the ghostly, smarth-mouthing of Darwin, who I absolutely adore, and the tough-but-tender-hearted demon Catalina, there are laughs and action aplenty.

My only issues with the book are minor. First, I have no problem with clowns, so what was supposed to be an important fight scene lost some of it’s punch. However, if you DO have a problem with clowns (and I know quite a few people with that phobia), it should have it’s intended impact. Second, and I’m being picky here, the overuse of the terms “hard planes” and “cupped” got on my nerves. I know, I know, it’s a silly thing to even notice, but I did, and it bothered me. I’m guessing most people will be fine with it, but I have an annoying part of my brain that picks up on repetition.

Overall, I really, liked the book. I had a feeling I would, and was not disappointed. I love Dakota’s storytelling style, I love her humor, and I love her characters. Do yourself a favor, take a day off, grab some snacks and your favorite summertime beverage and read this book (read Kiss & Hell first, if you haven’t already). It’ll be a day well spent.

The lovely and talented Ms. Cassidy was kind enough to answer our fun list of author questions (insert happy dance). I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did. And BIG THANK YOU to Dakota for doing it. 🙂

1) When you write, do you prefer quiet, or do you listen to music? If you like music playing, what is your preferred genre? Do certain characters have their own personal “soundtrack”?

It depends. In the beginning of a book, like the first 40K words, I usually don’t have any music on because that’s the toughest part of a book for me. Middle and end usually finds me listening to anything without lyrics to the song. I’m savant-like when it comes to lyrics to a song, so instead of writing, I’ll sing. LOL. I listen to Kenny G, lots of classical like Vivaldi. None of my characters have a soundtrack, but there are definitely songs that come to mind that remind me of their character traits. With Marcella in My Way To Hell, it was Spooky by Santana 🙂

2) Where do you write? In an office, at the dining room table, at a local coffee-shop? Do you prefer to write alone or with a group? If you write with a group, do you also read/critique each other’s work?

In my office, chained to a chair and an IV drip of coffee attached to my arm. LOLLOL. I prefer to write alone and I write from about 10-6 in the morning when the house is the quietest and telemarketers/girls/the senior center aren’t calling for the people in my house.

3) How do you prepare for release day? Are you calm and focused, or do you get stressed? Do you like to make promotional appearances or stay at home to watch lists and numbers?

I definitely don’t look at numbers ever. I don’t go to Amazon (though, usually someone sends me something from B&N’s list or Amazon), and I don’t watch any lists because I’ll never make one. LOLLOL. I’m usually so busy doing a blog or 12 like with the release of Accidentally Demonic, that I don’t have time to stress about it. I try to stay focused on the task which is spreading my virus and infecting everyone in parts near and far 🙂

4) What was your favorite Halloween costume (or other costume party costume)?

You know, I can’t remember. I’m not much into costumes and wasn’t even as a little kid. Though one year, as a gag, I dressed up as a baby–diaper and all. So I’d have to say that was prolly my fave 🙂

5) If you could go anywhere on vacation (and not interfere with your deadlines), where would you go, and what 3 items (besides food and clothes) would you bring with you?

Italy, Italy, Italy! Specifically Tuscany, and I’d bring smokes, a lighter (I know, I know. Don’t shoot!), and my favorite new 1/2 wig. which is curly and flirty, and fun. I’m crazy into these wigs as of late. Can’t believe I didn’t know they existed, but they’re like shoes–you can’t have just one!

6) What song best describes your life? If you can’t think of one, who would you want to write/perform a song just for you?

I made it through the rain, by the ultimate, Barry Manilow. It perfectly defines where I’ve been, who I was, and who I became as a result.

7) If you could spend a day with one of your characters, who would be it and what would you do all day?

Set people on fire? LOL. No, I’m kidding. Hmmmm, I guess I’d fly. Nina in Accidentally Dead can fly. That’d be awesome. Or maybe I’d spend a few hours with Delaney contacting dead celebrities. How cool would it be to talk to a Bee Gee?

8 ) What world record would you love to set for the Guinness Book of World Records? (Remember, they take ALL KINDS of interesting talents into account. Some world records include *fastest 100m sprint, barefoot, on ice = 17.35 secs… *fastest pumpkin carving of a face = 24.03 secs… *longest distance pogo stick jumping = 23.11 miles)

Song lyrics. I don’t know what we’d call the category, but all throughout my life, I’ve always been able to pick up and retain song lyrics. I usually only have to hear the song once, and I know the words. It’s a disease. Doesn’t matter what part of the song I come in on either, I just know what the words are and what part of the song is playing. My lips are forever moving wherever there’s music–so it’s no wonder people point and stare at me in Kroger when I shop and the muzac’s on 🙂

9) If you could have one word removed from the English language, from all dictionaries and out of everyone’s vocabulary, what would it be, and why?

Cruelty–to anyone or anything. I hate it, most especially in animals, the elderly and children. Though, sadly, if the word were eradicated, there are plenty more to define the act 🙁

10) What is one thing about you that your friends know and you would love your readers to know as well. Or… if you’re in a giving mood… what is one story that your friends LOVE to talk you into telling that you don’t generally volunteer?

That would have to be the Xanax story. I took a Xanax the night before my first ever book launch party, okay? And then I sang. With a lisp. Sunshine on my Shoulders. While my friends Renee George, Terri Smythe and Michele Bardsley video-taped it on a phone and mocked me 🙂 There. It’s out in the open. Fine. LOLLOL

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope this was something different, and that you had fun telling us a little more about yourself. I can assure you, we’re all anxious to see what you’ve shared!

Thank you, honey!

Be the first to comment

Editor: Alison Tyler  Authors: Nikki Magennis, Shanna Germain, Sommer Marsden, Kristina Lloyd, Donna George Storey, N T Morley, Erica DeQuaya, Allison Wonderland, Portia DaCosta, Lana Fox, Benjamin Eliot, A D R Forte, Bryn Haniver, T C Calligari, Andrea Dale, Sophia Valenti, Bella Dean, Jacqueline Applebee, Saskia Walker, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Tsaurah Litzky, Janine Ashbless, Heidi Champa, Thomas S Roche, Georgia E Jones, Alison Tyler, Elspeth Potter
Released: July 1, 2010
Pages: 416
ISBN # 978-0373605453

(review of eBook from NetGalley.com)

Take a bit of magic, a bit of folklore, a bit of darkness, a bit of humor, and quite a few bits of naughty and shake them all up. That’s what you get with Alison’s Wonderland. It caught my eye because I had just finished talking about how much I tend to like recreated fairy tales in the paranormal genre. This is my first “erotica” novel, but it’s not really a novel. It’s a collection of (very) short stories inspired by myths and fairy tales.

Now, I’ve read my fair share of romance novels (mostly paranormal, but not all) that include sex. Some authors, obviously, do it better than others. I discovered two things while reading this book. First, I’m much pickier about fairy tale retellings than I realized. I tended to like the stories that stayed closer to the original. Second, I need more time (generally speaking) with characters before I can really appreciate the sex scenes. Some just seemed too rushed and didn’t have nearly enough story to create a believable connection. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t like some of the more creative stories, or that I didn’t enjoy the hanky panky in some of the offerings. There are, of course, exceptions for just about everything.

Some of my favorites in the collection were:

  • Fool’s Gold by Shanna Germain – A surprisingly intense story about desire and trust. Very well written.
  • The Midas F*ck by Erica DeQuaya – I admit I almost wrote this one off at the title, but I would have missed out on a remarkably sweet story.
  • An Uphill Battle by Benjamin Eliot – One of the funniest stories in the book, also one of the longest. I loved  Zeke’s inner monologue during his many treks up flights of stairs. The ending was fairly predictable, but enjoyable, none-the-less.
  • The Broken Fiddle by Andrea Dale – The Irish in me got all happy while Finn was playing his fiddle and spinning tales by the lake. I would really loved for this to be retold as a full length novel.
  • Wolff’s Tavern by Bella Dean – This is the stuff that makes my paranormal romance heart go pitter patter.
  • Rings On My Fingers by Alison Tyler – Another of the longer stories in the group. I’m not sure what fairy tale this represented, but the character and chemistry building was fantastic.

There were others I liked, but didn’t love, in the book. And quite a few I didn’t care for at all. Some that seemed to just toss characters together whether they were ready for it or not. Again, that could all be chalked up to my apparent preference for more build-up before characters get all frisky. I’d rather think that than the alternative. That some of the authors were more interested in the wham-bam-thank-ya-ma’am than what got the characters to that point.

I’ve decided that I will probably not read any other erotic anthologies like this in the future. Not because I dislike erotica (I plan on checking out a few of the authors’ other works), but because I just couldn’t sit and read one encounter after another without story in between. It seemed too forced and too shallow to me. It took me almost a week to read this book, and that’s very rare for me.  Again, it’s (mostly) not the book’s fault. It’s not you, Alison’s Wonderland, it’s me. Really. Maybe.

1 Comment. Join the Conversation