Author Interview: Monica Murphy

New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite with her husband and three children. She’s a workaholic who loves her job. When she’s not busy writing, she also loves to read and travel with her family. She writes new adult and contemporary romance and is published with Bantam and Avon. She also writes romance as USA Today bestselling author Karen Erickson, and is published with Samhain Publishing and Entangled Brazen and Bliss.
Q: Tell us about yourself. 
A: Well, my real name is Karen (I also write as Karen Erickson), I live in central California (below Yosemite) and I’m married with three children.
Q: What are the four words that best describe you? 
A: Wife, mom, workaholic, friend
Q: What about you shocks people most?
A: Ha, nothing. I’m pretty normal.
Q: Name one thing that few people know about you. 
A: In my day to day life, not very many people know I’m a romance writer.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: When my kids argue.
Q: What is your favorite novel? 
A: Too many to mention.
Q: Who are your top three musicians/bands? 
A: I don’t really have any! Though I have to mention Duran Duran who I loved, loved when I was young.
Q: What are your favorite pastimes? (Outside of reading and writing.) 
A: Traveling and spending time with my family. Cooking when I’m feeling ambitious (which hasn’t been often lately ha ha).
Q: What thought process first lead you to pen your first novel? 
A: I’d wanted to be a writer since I was a teen and found a stash of romance books my mom had in the hall closet. After I devoured them, I realized that was exactly what I wanted to be – a romance writer.
Q: Do you have any constants when writing? If so, what are they? (Things you always do when writing: drink coffee, listen to music, tap your head and rub your tummy…?)
A: I listen to music and I tend to drink a lot of diet Coke though I’ve recently decided to try and give it up. This will shock many who know me, I know. Eeep!
Q: Who is your biggest cheerleader? 
A: Without a doubt, my husband. He is my biggest support, my absolute rock. He’s the best.
Q: What do you most enjoy about writing? 
A: Getting lost in the story and the characters to the point that they feel real to me. I love that.
Q: What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?
A: Finish the book. It’s the same advice I dispense to everyone who asks for advice. Finish the book!
Q: What can readers expect to find in your novels? 
A: I hope they find a sexy, emotional love story between two messed up people who don’t work unless they’re with each other.
Q: What can we expect to see in Owning Violet
A: A dark, very sexy love story between two people who probably shouldn’t make sense together but somehow, they do. Ryder is mean, Violet is seemingly weak but as they story twists and turns, hopefully the reader realizes Violet is strong, Ryder has feelings for Violet and somehow, they need to make this work.
Q: What aspect of Owning Violet makes you most proud?
A: I’m proud of Violet. I think her growth in the book shows and I hope readers can cheer for her at the end.
Thank you Monica, for stopping by TiffanyLovesBooks! I wish you all the success in your new novel! 
Giveaway: Don’t forget that there are still a few days left to win a copy of Owning Violet.

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Book Tour: Book Review & Giveaway: Ruination by Amanda Thome

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ruinationTitle: Ruination (Worlds Apart)

Author: Amanda Thome

Buy Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Blurb: What if everything came down to a single test? If your life was defined at seventeen, could you handle it? Could you accept your fate leaving the ones you love, or would you risk it all and stay?

One test stands between Vanessa and Central. One chance to make the leap across the walls to a better life. At seventeen, Central considers Vanessa an adult. Her labor role, marriage, and housing divisions will be dictated by her performance on the leap.

Dedication and unfaltering friendship has bonded Vanessa to Garrett as they fight for their chance to leap into Central. But what happens when love overtakes reason? When defiance in the name of love creates an unintentional fracture in their nation.

Without warning Vanessa is at the mercy of the nation that’s supposed to protect her. Exiled and abandoned she must fight but she find’s she’s not alone. With her heart divided she seeks her revenge, but will her stand be enough?

My Review: As many of you know, I am a fan of dystopian novels, so this one was right up my alley. The setting/premise of the book is an interesting one. There are three sections that make up their country: Outer, Inner and Central. The standard of life significantly improves from Outer to Inner to Central. The idea is that you study from the age of 6 to the age of 16. When you are 17 you take your test. The best scoring boy and girl are offered a chance to leap. You leap into the next best section. Their culture and country revolve on this. All your life you are prepped for it and everyone’s main goal is to achieve the leap. You must leave your family and friends behind to never see again but you are promised a better job, a better life and a quality of life you’ve never had.

Ruination starts off with Nessa narrating and she’s about five years old. After that point the story is told in a series of present time and flashbacks from her point of view, Garrett: her best friend and Ty: a boy who made the leap to inner and has more in common with Nessa than she can ever imagine. While the POV’s do alternate, it is mostly told from Nessa’s perspective. Nessa’s smart and strong and has a profound love for her family. That being said, she’s determined to make the leap and have a better life. But she has a bit of a secret that no one knows: she has a gift that allows her to see flashes of the future. It doesn’t necessarily help nor hinder her progression in this novel, it is just a part of who she is.

There is a bit of Romance in this novel. First between Nessa and Garrett but then they are separated and with time something starts to develop between her and Ty. To me it is clear that some kind of love triangle is bound to happen at some point in the series… In this book the most there is, is that fact that she has feelings for them both. The romance was sweet and in both guys, you see why anyone would for them. They are both great.

For me, I found some similarities between this book and other dystopias I’ve read but it had more to do with their government and other factors in the premise of the book. But even with that Thome wrote a novel that was all her own. There were parts of the story that the pace slowed a bit and I was just waiting for the faster pace and excitement but Ruination still made for a good read.

The book is intriguing and it never went as I expected it to. There was always a plot twist waiting around the corner that made this book exciting. There were things that I sometimes expected to happen but somehow never went the way I thought it would… It was a good read that promises to be an interesting series. The book ended well, in a bit of a cliff hanger, that promises of things to come in the sequel. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys dystopias.

rating-4

*I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

About the Author: amanda thome Amanda Thome is the Author of Ruination, book one in the Worlds Apart dystopian trilogy. Amanda grew up in Maine and later moved to Pennsylvania where she obtained her bachelor’s degree from Ursinus College. She later received her doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from Columbia University. Amanda currently resides in San Antonio, TX with her husband Clint.

Some facts about Amanda:1. I love writing books but hate writing bio’s
2. I have a candy addiction. It’s a problem.
3. I manipulate/crack my toes and neck A LOT
4. I moved to Texas on a 3 month work contract, 3.5 years ago…
5. My favorite holiday is Halloween (I think it relates to fact #2)
6. I want to have a mini-pig. I plan to name it Maxwell
7. I have 2 dogs and 1 cat, all of which think they are alpha and I am somewhere around delta.
8. I am perpetually losing things. I wish my cell could call my car keys and vice versa.
9. It took me 24 years to pronounce pillow correctly. I used to say, ‘pello’ sort of like hello with a p.
10. My family thought I would grow up to be a comedian, I thought I would be a veterinarian. I ended up being a physical therapist that likes to write YA trilogies. Who knew…
Author LinksWebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

Blog Tour Organized by: YA Bound Book Tours

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Book Review + Giveaway: Owning Violet by Monica Murphy

Title: Owning Violet: A Novel (The Fowler Sisters Book 1)

Author: Monica Murphy

Blurb: New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy begins a sexy new contemporary romance series—perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Emma Chase—that introduces three sisters born to wealth, raised to succeed, ready to love, destined to make waves.

I’ve moved through life doing what’s expected of me. I’m the middle daughter, the dutiful daughter. The one who braved a vicious attack and survived. The one who devoted herself to her family’s business empire. The one who met an ambitious man and fell in love. We were going to run Fleur Cosmetics together, Zachary and I.

Until he got a promotion and left me in the dust. Maybe it’s for the best, between his disloyalty and his wandering eye. But another man was waiting for me. Wanting me. He too has an overwhelming thirst for success, just like Zachary—perhaps even more so. He’s also ruthless. And mysterious. I know nothing about Ryder McKay beyond that he makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

One stolen moment, a kiss, a touch . . . and I’m hooked. Ryder’s like a powerful drug, and I’m an addict who doesn’t want to be cured. He tells me his intentions aren’t pure, and I believe him. For once, I don’t care. I’m willing to risk everything just to be with him. Including my heart. My soul.

My everything.

My Review: The first paragraph into the book you’re reading all of the things Violet did to prepare for a big date. She all primped up and just sure that her boyfriend of nearly two years, Zachary, is going to pop the question. Except that it’s nowhere near what he has in mind… All in all, I was drawn in from the first page. Within a few chapters, I was absolutely hooked. I started reading the book on my way to work one day, and then I got in and clocked in and no matter what I did I was distracted by what might happen next. So I very discreetly tried to get to that scene while at my desk but it was no use, the book just got better and better. It got to the point where I really just could not at all concentrate on my work so I took an early lunch which I spent curled up on a couch reading this book. No food and an hour of steady reading and it was one of the best lunches…

The book is told from dual points of view: Violet, the heroine and Ryder. We’ll get to Ryder in a bit… Violet was a bit of a surprise for me. She’s in this relationship with Zachary and Zachary is the epitome of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He has the good looks, charm and ambition that makes him the ultimate catch on paper. However, that is only his shell. As a person he is a pig, has a wandering eye, has no respect for Violet and he’s inconsiderate, a dog and a total douche. Yet Violet, is playing a role and she thinks they are just perfect for each other, they will one day rule Fleur Cosmetics together (her family’s business) and she knows that he cheats and truly believes that all of that will change once they get married. But that dinner that she prepped for that she thinks he will propose is really his arena to tell her that he is taking a job overseas. She’s devastated.

In that same restaurant is Ryder. He is a Fleur Cosmetics employee that is making waves. He is bound for greatness and everyone but him appear to know it. He is also Zachary’s nemesis. As he watches her having dinner, he and his companion, Pilar, hash out a plan. Pilar is conniving and ambitious and for some reason hates Violet. Ryder is attracted to her and as an added bonus wants to hurt Zachary. They decide that while Pilar seduces Zachary, Ryder will seduce Violet and then he will break her heart and devastate her enough that she leaves Fleur Cosmetics wide open for them (mostly Pilar) to take her place.

That is the premise for the book and the very first two chapters. The book was a continual rollercoaster or twists and turns and never knowing what to expect. Everytime I thought I had something figured out I either had no idea or just a hint of what was coming. This book makes for a very sexy read and it is detailed and exciting. But the two things I absolutely loved about the book were the emotions and the characters. Murphy wrote three dimensional characters that really come to life on the pages. Their development is spectacular and they become so real to me. And the emotion OMG it rolled ofrf the pages in waves: The hate, the love, hope, kinship, respect, lust, excitment… All of it.

But back to the characters, Violet is fragile and appears to be meek and as the story progresses you see more and more of her backbone. We get to see her strength and her resolve and I enjoyed seeing her shed some of her layers and how vocal she was about what she wants. Ryder is a bit of a douche. He is using Violet and he makes no secret of it. He’s hot and he’s cold- he ultimately has no idea what to do with her and the emotions that she’s eliciting within him. As a reader you see him falling in love with her, but he doesn’t see it and that confusion makes him cold. Violet being the pampered rich girl that she is and Ryder being the street kid that came from nothing and is out to make a name for himself are from different worlds in nearly every aspect. However, they somehow make it work. At the end of the day, there is no doubt that they are made for each other.

All of that being said I do have a few complaints:

  • Pilar- Ryder feels a loyalty to her that I’m sure every reader will understand. But I don’t get why he struggled so much to cut the umbilical cord.The process takes longer than I would have liked.
  • Pilar- AGAIN. She is made out to be nefarious. I found that there was so much foreshadowing of what was to come that after a point I was looking for the drama in every page. What was she going to do to ruin what they have? I found that the build up was pointless because it didn’t really amount too much.
  • The Ending. It ending all fairytale like and I loved its happy ending. However, there was not enough of a resolution in many things. I know it’s a series and will continue to see many of these characters evolve but I think that some things were simply skimmed over instead of being resolved. The next book will not be Violet’s story but that of her sister. I would have liked to know how everything that was built up, directly affected Ryder and Violet.

That all being said, I absolutely loved the book. I have never read a book by Monica Murphy but I absolutely will look out for her books in the future. She is a story-teller and Owning Violet was well written. She knows how to keep her readers guessing and she made Owning Violet an extension of my hand until I read the last page. It’s a book I would recommend for a more mature audience because of the content but if you enjoy books with great character development, romance and a book that has that fairytale-ish kind of feel. This is for you. It is sexy and exciting and it will keep you reading until the very last page.

rating-5

 

*I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Giveaway: You can own a copy of Owning Violet by purchasing the novel by Clicking Here. Or you can enter below. Good Luck!

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Guess What?!

Twenty something years ago today, a woman walked into the birthing unit in an infamous hospital in NYC. They were understaffed that night and were trying to delay as much as possible as there weren’t enough doctors for the pregnant women there. As a doctor checked the women to see how dilated she was they told her “You’re not ready yet.” The woman who had become intimately familiar with the birthing process, having given life 8 times before argued that she was. The haggard doctor just walked away. The woman waited a little longer until instinct took over and she pushed the baby out with a hand extended in order to catch the child.

As the years went by on every birthday she regaled the child with the story of how she was born. It became like a super hero story to the child to hear of the baby that lived that night when a some died due to the circumstances of that night. AND THAT is my story because:

So Random things most people don’t know about me:

  1. I am the youngest of nine children..
  2. I have never had chicken pox.
  3. I like to think I can out eat just about any regular Joe.
  4. I love perfumes that smell sweet like candy.
  5. I have a lead foot.
  6. I am a big fan of scarves.
  7. Fall is my favorite season.
  8. My music tastes are eclectic.
  9. I wore braces as a teen.
  10. I’ve never been trunk before.

My goals this coming year:

  1. Figure out what it is I want for my future and start to make plans in order to get there.
  2. I am planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I don’t really consider myself to be a writer but I have scenes living in my head that I want to put on paper. And I want to take to a keyboard and see where it leads me. (I have no expectations that it will be good. But I love the idea of the outlet.)
  3.  I want to go on an amazing vacation to somewhere that requires a passport. :)
  4. I want to be a little more selfish and do a lot more for myself. Like take photography classes, visit more museums, dust of my guitar and finally take the time to learn to play it, travel more within the US, just to name a few.
  5. Read books, lots of books.

I am sharing the love this week by giving away a Mystery Book Box. I am not guaranteeing anything BUT you might find signatures and ARCS and Swag, but no one but the winner will know the awesomeness of the prize.

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Book Review: Keep Me Safe by Maya Banks

keep me safeTitle: Keep Me Safe

Author: Maya Banks

Blurb: A sizzling story of a woman who risks her life and her heart to find a wealthy man’s missing sister—the first novel in a sexy new romantic suspense series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks.

When Caleb Devereaux’s younger sister is kidnapped, this scion of a powerful and wealthy family turns to an unlikely source for help: a beautiful and sensitive woman with a gift for finding answers others cannot.

While Ramie can connect to victims and locate them by feeling their pain, her ability comes with a price. Every time she uses it, it costs her a piece of herself. Helping the infuriatingly attractive and impatient Caleb successfully find his sister nearly destroys her. Even though his sexual intensity draws her like a magnet, she needs to get as far away from him as she can.

Deeply remorseful for the pain he’s caused, Caleb is determined to make things right. But just when he thinks Ramie’s vanished forever, she reappears. She’s in trouble and she needs his help. Now, Caleb will risk everything to protect her—including his heart. . .

My Review: Did you read the blurb? I did and it was all I was expecting. However, it turns out that the blurb only covers about fifteen percent of the book- the rest is completely unexpected.

Ramie is a psychic who has the gift/curse of locating the missing. Only it comes at a cost to her. In order to locate the missing she is forced to go into the victim’s mind and endure all that they have endured. Can you imagine the effects it has on her to be brutally abused both physically and mentally time and time again? Because she is every time she locates a victim. Ramie is frail and pretty damaged. Her upbringing was cruel and her adult life has been painful and lonely.

When the story starts, Caleb is frantically searching for Ramie. His sister has been kidnapped and he needs Ramie to help him locate her. When he finally catches up to Ramie, who was in hiding, he forces her to touch his sisters scarf and by that simple touch, launches her into her tortured mind. He is repulsed in seeing her experience his little sister’s rape and with his guilt ridden mind he can’t say he wouldn’t do it again if it means his sister gets to live. And she does, because Ramie’s gifts are so exact that she is able to tell him the house number and specific location in the house where she is located. He goes back to Ramie’s cabin after his sister is in safe hands and he finds that she is gone and has left him no trail to follow. He returns home and he and his two brothers start a security firm. And there you have a synopsis of the first handful of chapters and a more detailed version of the blurb above. Because what happens next is pretty much unexpected.

The story picks back up a year later and you are automatically hooked. Dark, suspenseful and pretty creepy nail that first chapter. After this, you begin to get to know the characters. Ramie isn’t my usual cup of tea because I do love strong heroines… She is frail and mostly weak but her strength is seen in her survival instincts which I did enjoy. I could appreciate her frailty for what it is but I would have enjoyed seeing her character develop and see her grow to be strong. She is damaged goods and has a lot of baggage but somehow as she embarks on a relationship with Caleb they seem to work. In a romantic light I will say that he has enough strength and backbone for the both of them… However, even though his intentions always seem to be pure, his actions don’t always turn out that way. At times I felt that I was moving from one frustrating event to another…

Caleb and his brothers have the alpha male down pat. They were sexy in their own right. However, this is where my attraction to them ended. Caleb’s brothers and sisters were cruel to Ramie and initially I understood their point of views but eventually it just got to be annoying. I would have like to see more growth in all of the character’s which sadly, there was a lack of.  Also, although the story was mostly told in dual POV from Ramie and Caleb it at times did deviate to include a mad man (the villain in the story) and Caleb’s sister. So, the villain’s POV weren’t necessarily bad. It led me to see his perspective and life through his eyes. But when Caleb’s sister is narrating, she would share random details and truthfully I thought it was some pretty awesome foreshadowing (if I was looking into it correctly) but it didn’t develop into anything… And at the end of it all, I was left wondering why her POV was even shared. After finishing the novel I truly cannot say that she in any way added to the story.

That being said, the story was unexpected, funny at times, mildly suspenseful and pretty dark. I was not too convinced with the happily ever after of the ending- too much happened for them to just move on. But it was an entertaining short read and I can’t say that I hated it.

*I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

rating-3

Author Interview: Maya Banks

maya banks Maya Banks is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today and international bestselling author of over 50 novels. A wife and mother of three, she lives in Texas.

    1. What are three things most people do not know about you?

I’m a huge introvert. I’m very uncomfortable in social settings and “new environments” I’m very much a creature of habit and it’s hard for me to venture outside of my comfort zone.

Despite what I write, I’m actually quite conservative and “boring!” (IOW, NO I do not “live” my books and yes I DO get asked that…)

I am pop cultire illiterate. I don’t watch television VERY rarely and when I do, it’s always HGTV or the history channel. I have no clue whatsoever what the popular shows are on network television and I never base my characters on actors/actresses nor would I have a clue who’d I’d cast if one of my books were made into a movie. (Another VERY common question and one I don’t have an answer to!) My heroes especially, aren’t “pretty” and polished, fashion conscious guys like hollywood stars are. They’re rough, not afraid to get their hands dirty and are more comfortable in jeans (or combat gear haha) than anything else, though I HAVE written very wealthy heroes who indulge in expensive clothing, but even then they certainly aren’t patterned after ANYONE except who I create in my head. They’re each UNIQUE individuals that are born in my imagination. I consider it “cheating” to copy another personality or even “look” for one of my characters!

  1. What experience in life has most shaped the person you are today as a writer?

Without divulging “identity” someone instrumental in my “upbringing” did the most to shape who I am today but not in the way one might think. Typically when someone makes a statement like that, it’s in a positive light. In my case, I was determined to be the complete antithesis of the person in question.

  1. What was the defining point in your career that made you feel that you finally made it as an author?

When I hit #1 on the USA Today AND the NYT bestseller lists and then followed with a consecutive #1 with a different genre and different format, I realized that I’d really accomplished something special. That I wasn’t a one hit wonder. Even though I’d been consistently hitting bestseller lists with every single title since first hitting in 2010 I don’t think it really sank in that I was a “real author” and that I was actually a SUCCESSFUL author at that.

  1. What scenes do you tend to have the most fun writing?

I love dialogue. And I love banter. So some of my favorite scenes have been in the KGI series involving “brother banter” and team mate dialogue scenes. Well and I love the dark moment. I LOVE angst and emotion, the thicker and heavier the better! I always look forward to the dark moment in every single book!

  1. Do you research ideas before writing or do you just take your ideas to a keyboard and see where they lead you?

It absolutely depends on the story. I don’t have a set regimen I follow for every book. Each story is unique and has individual needs. If I’m intimately familiar with the details and plot of the story then I start immediately and then research what I DON’T know as I go.

  1. Of all of the characters you’ve shared with the world, which one is most like you? Why?

None! Purposelly lol. None of my characters OR stories are in any way autobiographical. The closest thing I’ll come to including any of “me” in my characters or stories is little quirks like not eating anything green. Or picking out all the orange M&Ms etc. Nothing remotely “personal” though. It’s too fun to get to explore people who AREN’T like me and I’m boring anyway lol.

  1. Do you ever experience a dislike for characters in your novels? If so, how do you deal with it?

I only dislike a character if they’re designed to be unlikable characters. I wouldn’t write a main character who I disliked because if I didn’t like them I couldn’t expect my READERS to like them either!

  1. It is known that countless things are used as inspiration. What would you consider to be one of the weirdest/unexpected things you have gained inspiration from?

I don’t have a “muse” nor do I put much stock in being “inspired” by certain objects. Writing and creating is a love but it’s also my JOB. And if you go to work and tell your boss that you have to wait to be “inspired” before you complete your task you’d get fired.

  1. How often do you shock yourself with your writing? Do you ever have ‘I can’t believe that just came out of my brain’ moments?

Every once in awhile something cool like that happens when I’m writing along and things just “happen.” Things I didn’t plan but fit so well. It’s always exciting for me and makes me eager to continue writing until all the pieces are together to form an awesome story.

  1. Do you celebrate or mourn when a series comes to an end?

I definitely don’t celebrate. There is a layer of sadness that accompanies the end simply because I know I won’t be revisiting the characters that have become real to me any longer.

  1. Do you focus on writing one novel at a time or do you keep your hand in multiple cookie jars?

I don’t ever write more than one story at a time. I won’t say that I don’t THINK about other stories. There are too many times that I have to put down what I’m working on because I have to provide back cover copy or an overview of a book that is three or four down the line. But as for actually writing, I write one book at a time every time.

  1. What can your readers expect to see in Safe at Last?

Ooohh Safe at Last is SUCH a special story. It, like Keep Me Safe, is a story that has lived in my head for many years, just WAITING for the day I finally get to put it down on paper. It’s emotional and angsty. It will break your heart and then mend it all over again. I absolutely adore it, and I hope readers will too.

 

Maya thank you so much for the fun interview! You guys can find my review of her new novel, Keep Me Safe on here tomorrow. :)

Interview & Excerpt: Beneath Scarlett Valley by Kerr-Ann Dempster

IMG_2321.JPGTitle: Beneath Scarlett Valley

Author: Kerr-Ann Dempster

Blurb: Death or Immortality … Cassidy chose death. Cassidy Daniels hates being a Furor. First, there is the hellish rage that storms through her veins, urging her to kill. Then there is the gnawing guilt, the nightmares, and the pretense. Unfortunately, her sister wants to be immortal. To do so, she needs Cassidy’s help to find the Source, an ancient pool hidden beneath Scarlett Valley. When they arrive in Scarlett, Cassidy intends to find the Source and get out, but then she meets Sebastian. Everything about him makes her rethink her choice. There is just one problem. The choice between death and immortality is no longer Cassidy’s to make. There are pretenders everywhere, with dark pasts and even darker plans.

Interview:
Q:What genres do you most enjoy reading in books?
A:I enjoy fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction novels with strong females and realistic romance.

Q:Are you equally a reader and a writer or do you spend more time imagining stories in your mind than reading one?
A:I spend more time writing than reading. However, I take a day off each week to read a book from my “to-read” list.

Q:When reading what makes a book great to you?
A:Three things: Tension, 3-Dimensional characters, and great dialogue.

  • I love when a novel is teeming with so much tension that I have to hold my breath while reading or skip bathroom breaks. “No, I can hold it. Just one more chapter.”
  • I also love 3-dimensional characters that climb out of the novel to befriend or haunt me. I want to think about them years after reading and wonder, where are they now?
  • Great dialogue can make or break a novel. I hate predictable dialogue. I also hate when all the characters sound alike. Give me distinctive, sharp dialogue that keeps me engage.

Q:What is your biggest turn off in books?
A:Repetition. I see the same characters and themes being written to death. As a reader, I like fresh ideas. I want to be surprised.

Q:What are your aspirations as an author?
A: To write young adult and middle-grade novels that will keep my readers up all night.

Q: Do you have an ultimate book boyfriend?
A: No, but I have an ultimate book BFF. I love Penryn from Angelfall. She is witty and brave, and I want to kick angel butt with her.

Q: What inspired Beneath Scarlett Valley?
A: Honestly, I am still trying to figure that out. I was visiting my sister in Florida and hanging out on the back porch when the final scene of Beneath Scarlett Valley unfolded in my head. I had no idea who Cassidy was at the time, but I could sense her anger and her pain. I wanted to promise her that everything would be okay, but then I saw this broken, bloodied figure at her feet. I had so many questions. I started writing at once so I could learn the answers.

Q: Is this your first full-length novel or do you have a closet full of stories?
A: Yes, but I do have a few short stories that I am fleshing out.

Q: Who is the first person you asked to read your novel once it was finished?
A: My sister. She is brutally honest and speaks her mind even when you wish she would shut up. Her critique was hard to swallow, but it challenged me to write a better story.

Q: In your opinion, what makes Beneath Scarlett Valley unique in comparison to other YA novels?
A: It features a new type of supernatural creature. My MC is a Furor and since Furors have never been done before, I get to define them. Furors are immortal creatures of rage, given to fits of uncontrollable anger. They don’t kill for food or for fun. They kill for relief from the hellish fire in their veins.

Book one gives the reader an intimate look at Furorism through the eyes of the MC. In book 2, the reader will get to explore it on a wider scale.

Q: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
A: I am currently working on the following projects:

  • The Hunted – January, 2015
    • You can read the first chapter here
    • Beneath Scarlett Valley (Book 2) – Fall, 2015
    • The Spooky Adventures of Mellow the Ghost – Winter, 2015

    Q: For us creepers, what are the best ways to stalk you? :)

  • You can find me on:
  • Excerpt:

      LIAM’S EYES WERE tight as he slipped into the booth across from me. “Have you been crying?”

      “Just exhausted from last night’s expedition,” I said with a shrug.

      “Is that why you snuck away from school?”

      “It’s one of the reasons.” I picked up the menu. “Tuesdays are two for one. What should we get?”

      “Today is Wednesday,” Liam said with a chuckle. “You really are exhausted.”

      I looked down at my reflection in the butter knife. Even its worn, scratchy surface could not hide the bags under my eyes.

      “We could share a pizza,” Liam said. “Plus a side of garlic bread and fries.”

      I looked around the tiny restaurant, checking the plates of the other customers. I smiled when I noticed a beefy trucker digging into a bowl of lasagna as though he was hunting for treasure.

      “I’m ordering the lasagna,” I said, “with a side of lasagna.”

      “Fine, I’ll have the pizza by myself. I was trying to be nice.”

      “Get the garlic bread and fries too. I’m paying.”

      “Damn right you’re paying,” Liam said.

      “When my aunt realizes I’m not in the bathroom, she’s going to scream her head off.”

      “She’s not going to give you detention, is she?”

      “Nope, just a lecture,” he said. “I’ll go put in our order.”

      He walked over to a square window booth and placed our orders. On his way back, he grabbed a coloring mat and a box of crayons from the play bin. He emptied the crayons on the table between us and handed me the blue one.

      As I colored in the sky, Liam cleared his throat. “Do you want to talk about it?”

      I kept my head down. “Nope, I’d rather talk about something fun.”

      “Like what?”

      I searched my mind for a safe topic, something that wouldn’t dredge up questions I couldn’t answer. After a minute, I found the perfect one. “Tell me about this hot-blooded girl of yours.”

      Liam sat back and smiled. “I’ll tell you one thing. She’s not a blowup doll.”

      “Then why haven’t I heard about her until now?”

      “Because you were off frolicking with Wick.”

      “Yeah, right—” I stopped talking as a waitress brought our meals to the table. My stomach growled as I stared down at my lasagna. I picked up my fork and dug in at once. The flavors were a thousand times more intense and delicious than the frozen ones.

      Liam shook his head. “Take it easy, Garfield.”

      “Who’s Garfield?”

      “The cat from the comic strip. You know, the one obsessed with lasagnas.”

      “Whatever,” I mumbled around a mouthful of food. “Tell me about the girl.”

      “She’s not just any girl, she’s my ex.”
      I sipped on my water, waiting for Liam to continue. Instead, he picked up a slice of pizza, finished it off, and then reached for another. When he picked up a third slice, I kicked his leg under the table.

      “Don’t leave me hanging,” I said. “I want to know everything about this mystery girl.”

      Liam sighed and dropped his pizza. “Have you ever loved someone, but hated them too? I mean, like really hate, to the point where you want to crush them.”

      I choked down my lasagna. “Are we still talking about the girl?”

      His eyes hardened. For a brief instance, I could see the hate gleaming in his black eyes. “Why do you hate her so much?” I asked.

      “She took something of mine without asking.”

      “What did she take?”

      Liam looked down at the forgotten coloring mat. “The crazy part is that I can’t stop thinking about her. We’ve been apart forever, and yet she’s the first person I think about each morning.”

      “But you hate her?”

      “Yes.”

      “And you love her too?”

      “Yes,” he said. “Insane, right?”

      “A little.”

      I had never felt about anyone the way Liam felt about his ex-girlfriend. Then again, I had never shared myself completely with someone else. I tried to imagine what it would be like, to love someone I hated. Or was it the other way around. Did it make a difference?

      I shook my head and looked at Liam. “I think you should give her a second chance. She might surprise you this time.”

      Liam smiled his usual smile. “You just want an invitation to the tea party, don’t you?”

      “Not unless you’re serving lasagna.”

      He grinned and picked up a garlic roll. “Twenty bucks says I can fit all these rolls in my mouth.”

      I counted the rolls on the table. There were a dozen. “Deal,” I said. “But you have to keep them down.”

      Liam grinned and shoved the roll into his mouth. Ten minutes and twelve rolls later, I handed him a twenty dollar bill. Liam chuckled and rubbed his stomach.

      “I don’t think I’ll ever eat again,” he said.

      “So is that a no to dessert?” I asked.

      Liam snorted. “Your idea of dessert is probably lasagna with whipped cream on top.”

      “Do you think they would do that?” I asked.

      “I hope not,” he said and pulled out his wallet. “I’ll tip the waitress. You pay.”

      I took our check to the window booth. When I knocked on the window, a jeweled hand opened the screen. Abi grinned at me from inside the booth.

      “Seat thief and a ditcher,” she said. “You really are from California.”

      I handed her the check and a fifty-dollar bill. “Keep the change.”

      “Wait, I’m not allowed to collect tips. The customer has to put it in the jar themselves.”

      I pursed my lips and waited as she counted my change. She worked slowly, looking past me to where Liam waited by the door.

      “Here you go,” she finally said. “Thank you for eating at Emilio’s.”

      I dropped the change in the tip-jar and hurried out. Liam turned up his shirt collar as we climbed into my car.

      Dazzling snow had covered everything in a thick layer, but once again, he wasn’t wearing a coat.

      “I told you to wear a coat,” I said.

      “I couldn’t take my coat to the bathroom. My aunt would have known I was sneaking off again.”

      “I’m sure she figured it out,” I said. “If not, you need a new tutor.”

      Liam grinned and turned on the radio. He played air drums as we drove along First Street. When I turned down Derby, I pulled over to the curb.

      “Are you sure you don’t need me to take you home?”

      “Positive,” he said and hopped out. “I have a shortcut.”

      “Okay, bye.”

      He winked and took off into the woods. When he was out of sight, I drove home. I expected Harper to come charging out the door when I pulled into the driveway, but she was nowhere in sight.

      Despite being worried about her, I was relieved. The exhaustion from my sleepless nights was becoming harder to ignore. I went straight to my bedroom and climbed into bed. Sleep arrived at once.

    All right guys, I hope you enjoyed this! In the near future I will be posting my review and we have a great Beneath Scarlett Valley giveaway coming your way. However if you want to get this book in your hands as soon as possible, it is available on Amazon and can be bought by Clicking Here or is free to read if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Book Review & Giveaway: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

afterworldsTitle: Afterworlds

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Blurb: Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she’s made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy’s novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the ‘Afterworld’ to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved – and terrifying – stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

My Review: Haunting and eerie are the best words to describe my first reaction to this novel. It starts off with Lizzie in an airport amid a terrorist attack and as bad as it may sound to talk well of any terrorist attack (even a fictional one) it is good!

The book is told fom dual POV. Darcy who is writing the story and Lizzie who is living it. At first the dual POV is a drag. The change of pace between the two was a serious take away for me. However as the story progressed it just got better and better and transition became easier to bear. At some points I wasn’t even sure who’s side of the story I wanted to see more of because they were both that good!

Darcy’s is a recent high school grad who wrote Afterworlds in a month her senior year. She sends her book out and gets an agent and a publishing deal. She moves to New York City on her own. She is riddled with self doubt and kind of fears that she will be considered a fraud. She’s so young and fears not being able to recreate what she did with Afterworlds. But we are taken through her writing processes and her experiences as an author. Which by the way were realistic and pretty darn cool to see the publishing process as it is portrayed here.

Lizzie I really liked. She can be impulsive and stupid sometimes but she is strong and brave and there is just something that is relatable about her. She is thirsty for knowledge and tries to deal with her situation to the best of her abilities. What situation you ask? Her ability to cross over into the Afterworlds and see ghosts. The interesting thing is that despite the paranormal theme and that crazy first chapter I didn’t expect the book to be as creepy as it was. While I will once again remind everyone that I am a scary cat, I was absolutely shivering in my boots during some pretty creepy scenes.

There is such a wide array of characters in this book, on both sides of the story and I really enjoyed getting to know them. All in all I really enjoyed the book. The book ended a little weirdly and I didn’t love it but there was a sense of resolution. Overall, an amazing read. I absolutely loved Lizzie’s story, it’s unexpected nature and how it continuously kept me on my feet. Darcy’s story is a little slower in pace and it takes a little warming up to get into but is good nonetheless. While there is no announced sequel it definitely ended with enough legroom for an Afterworlds #2 to be easily introduced.

This is my first Scott Westerfeld novel but he made a fan of me with Afterworlds. I would recommend this read and will be anxiously hoping for a sequel.

rating-4

Giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt & Review: Vision of Shadows by Vincent Morrone

vision of shadows

Title: Vision of Shadows (Vision #1)

Author: Vincent Morrone

Blurb: Is Bristol Blackburn about to meet the love of her life…or her killer?
Seventeen-year-old Bristol has never had a problem with the ghosts that float in and out of her life. It’s all the people with a pulse that confuse her.

After the death of her parents, Bristol’s life is thrown into chaos and she’s forced to move to Spirit, a small town where shadows are stirring. As she learns to navigate her new school and figures out how to keep her psychic abilities secret from her family, Bristol comes face to face with the boy who makes a regular appearance in her dreams: the gorgeous, possibly deadly, Payne McKnight. Soon she’ll find out if Payne will be the love of her life, or the end of it – and she has no idea which possibility scares her more.

And that’s not even the worst of it. Strange shadows are haunting her dreams, and they’re up to something that could put Bristol and the lives of everyone she loves in jeopardy.

Excerpt: -1-

 I had been here many times before. I stood in an abandoned house, a fire raging out of control, but it wasn’t the flames that had me terrified. I was looking into the eyes of someone who clearly wanted me dead. I was cornered. His eyes were ablaze with hatred and the promise of violence. He was going to kill me.

Yeah, been there, done that. But this time was different.

I now knew who I was facing. His name was Payne McKnight. Even here, I couldn’t help but notice how incredibly beautiful he was. His shirt was ripped, his hair messed, but he looked perfect. His dark hair fell over his deep blue eyes, but I could still see the rage within them.

I couldn’t run away. Where would I go? If he didn’t kill me soon himself, I’d burn to death. You would think that would worry him as well, but no. There was no fear in his eyes; just loathing, violence and more than a wee bit of insanity.

“Please,” I whispered. “Please don’t. If you ever loved me. Please.”  Payne responded to my plea by reaching out and grabbing my throat. “Of course I loved you. And that’s why you have to die.”

His hand tightened and the flames grew closer. I tried to scream, but nothing but a whimper escaped me.

-2-

“No,” he answered. “I’d never betray you. Did you think I would?”

“I didn’t want to,” I said. “But you disappeared. I had no idea what was happening. Then Jay said you’d told your family everything. After everything that’s happened, everything I dreamed…I don’t want to believe it.”

“Who the hell is Jay?” he asked. “How would he know what I did or

didn’t say, anyway? There’s no one in my family named Jay.”     “Yeah, that much I got,” I said.

“So who is he?” Payne asked again, not in the least bit amused.       “Jay? He’s just some guy I know,” I answered. “Not anyone you’ve ever met I’m sure.”

“Well, this Jay is a liar,” Payne said. “I would never do that. I didn’t do that. Grandpa questioned me over and over again. He’s not like your uncle. He didn’t just accept my story. Your uncle, he knew we weren’t telling him everything. But he didn’t push. He let you keep your secret.”

“What did he do?” I asked. “Did he hurt you?’

“No,” Payne said. “Grandpa wouldn’t do that, but he made me repeat the story over and over again. Kept asking how you fit into everything. He was trying to see if I was lying. I managed to tell him the story where I wasn’t lying. I just omitted a few details.”

“Not that I don’t appreciate the subtle difference,” I interjected. “But really that’s just semantics.”

Payne shrugged. “Yeah, I know it’s basically the same, but I think it worked. Forget about that. Who is this Jay? I thought I knew almost everyone in this cursed town.”

I sighed. “Jay is about our age. Tall, muscular. Blond. Very, very cute.”

“Cute?”

Very cute,” I affirmed and watched Payne squirm. “Jay has a way with words, too. Poetic. He calls me darling. And he’s been warning me that you’re nothing but trouble.”

Payne got right in my face. “Is that what you think I am? Trouble?”

I smirked. “Definitely.”

Payne returned the smirk, and I felt that hitch in my gut again.         “Jay wants me to run away with him,” I added. “Says he can protect me.”

“Is that what you want, Bristol?” Payne asked. “You want to be protected? Do I scare you?”

“I don’t know what you do to me,” I replied. “Payne, you drive me insane. I’m trying to figure it out, and it doesn’t help when Jay materializes out of nowhere and feeds my insecurities.”

“Materializes? Jay’s a freaking ghost?”

“As a matter of fact,” I said, “yes he is. He’s a completely adorable ghost that wants to run away with me.”

Payne blinked rapidly. “You’re talking about running away with a ghost? Bristol, do you have any idea how crazy that sounds?” He took a step closer to me.

“It was his idea,” I remarked, feeling a bit defensive now. “Besides, there might be a few advantages to being with a ghost.” I stepped back, trying to keep a little distance because the closer Payne got, the harder it was to think straight.

“A few advantages?” Payne repeated as he closed the distance between us again. “Like what? You don’t have to worry about him leaving the toilet seat up?”

“There’s that.” I nodded. “Then there’s the fact he’d be totally devoted to me. I wouldn’t have to share him with his friends and family. He gets me.” I felt my back press up against a tree and realized I hadn’t anywhere else to go.

Payne took another step forward. “I can be devoted to you. Beyond anything you can imagine, Bristol. I would like to share my family and friends with you. McKnights aren’t all bad,” he said, his face less than an inch from mine. “And there are a few things where a living, breathing person might have an advantage over him.”

Thoughts of Payne touching me swam in my mind as he closed in on me.

“Ghosts can’t hurt me,” I said in a whisper so soft he would never have heard me if he hadn’t been this close. “I’ve never been afraid of ghosts.”

“Do I scare you?” he asked again.

“Payne, I told you I don’t know how I feel,” I said. “I don’t know—”

“Bristol,” Payne interrupted. “Do. I. Scare. You?”

I nodded.

“Do you want me to go?”

I trembled. “No.”

“I know you’ve told me you’ve never been afraid of the dead,” Payne said. “And the living can be a lot scarier. But Bristol, you’re alive. It’s time to live.”

Before I could respond, his mouth crushed on mine, and his tongue gently explored the inside of my mouth. I felt the heat of his body against mine, and I could feel him react to the kiss.

Then the flash came, and my world shifted. Payne’s hands removing my clothes. Me, on top of him as I cried out in ecstasy. The two of us together after a night of love making, holding each other as we slowly fell asleep in each other’s arms.

When the kiss ended, he looked me in my eyes, and my legs turned into melted butter.

“Still scared of me?” he asked.

“Terrified,” I answered. Then I pulled his face to mine and kissed him again.

Sale Alert: Once upon a time I read and reviewed this book and fell in love. I gave it five stars and you can read my review below. Vision of Shadows has been re-released and the eBook is currently on sale for 99 cents on Amazon. Click here to check it out.

My Review: Bristol is a 16 year old teenager who has quite a few psychic abilities under her belt. The story starts with her having an experience with a ghost. As she interacts with this very friendly and emotional ghost at a sidewalk restaurant she sees her neglectful parents killed before her eyes. This is something that she never saw coming and it throws her world upside down.

Her becoming an orphan, means she has to leave her home in NYC and move with her uncle to Spirit, NY. This is something she is not too enthusiastic about, after all she does not know him at all. But I absolutely loved her uncle and the rest of her family for that matter. They are the complete opposite of her parents. They are caring, warm, sincere, accepting; the two are polar opposites of each other and the family dynamics are quite honest and beautiful.

Ok, well back to the storyline. It doesn’t take Bristol long to realize that there is more going on in Spirit than meets the eye. First, her family, the Blackburn’s, are one of Spirit’s co-founders along with the McKnight’s and these two don’t get along. Well, that’s putting it lightly.

Soon after arriving in Spirit, Bristol meets the boy of her dreams. Payne is everything her visions promised he would be and more. And the budding romance begins. The catch, he is a McKnight and therefore their relationship is heavily frowned upon. So they have a Romeo and Juliet kind of thing going on and it was very well done.

Payne is pretty great. He’s the sexy bad boy and has all these amazing characteristics. Yet Bristol’s my favorite character. She is strong, compassionate, funny, kind and truly a great heroine and narrator. She has the backbone to stand up for herself and others and to do what has to be done. I really came to respect her. One of her biggest flaws is her inability to believed she is lovable. Her parents kind of screwed her up a bit. They were neglectful and judgmental and how can any child believe they are worthy of love when not even their parents are capable of giving it to them? Needless to say, her new home is full of people who love and accept her and she’s not sure if she should trust it.

Bristol and Payne make a great couple. They were amazing and made me laugh. However, something I did not expect from this novel is just how dark it turned out to be. Bristol has been interacting with ghosts all her life and they are entertaining and harmless to her. But as the story progresses it becomes surprisingly and unexpectedly dark.

Vision of Shadows is truly a novel I enjoyed reading and a series I plan to see through. It is funny, heartwarming, suspenseful and well written. It is a novel that impressed me with it’s awesomeness and a book I recommend.

 *I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

rating-5

 

AuthorVincentAbout the Author:

Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, Vincent Morrone now resides in Upstate NY with his wife. (Although he can still speak fluent Brooklynese.) His twin daughters remain not only his biggest fans, but usually are the first to read all of his work. Their home is run and operated for the comfort and convenience of their dogs. Vincent has been writing fiction, poetry and song lyrics for as long as he can remember, most of which involve magical misfits, paranormal prodigies and even on occasion superheroes and their sidekicks. As they say in Brooklyn: Yo, you got something to say to Vincent? Check out vincentmorrone.com where you can learn about Vincent and leave him a comment.

You can find and contact Vincent Morrone here:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Interview: Sarah B. Larson

defyTitle: Defy

Author: Sara B Larson

Blurb: A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?

Not too long ago I read Defy by Sarah B. Larson and I just loved it. It is complex, and intriguing and I loved every second of it. About 3 quarters into the book, I emailed the author and in a total fan-girlish kind of way, I asked for an interview. And below are the fruits of my begging! LOL! I hope you enjoy!

You can read my review of Defy HERE.

Favorites
Color: The color of the Caribbean ocean. (Bluish-green? Teal?) As evidenced by half my wardrobe, ha ha! (Speaking of which, I’m going to have to buy some new clothes for when IGNITE comes out since the cover is purple…I don’t think I own any purple!)
Food: Mmm, this is hard. I love lots of food. Steak and mashed potatoes, and sushi, and Thai food, and my mom’s chicken piccata, and mangoes and sticky rice, and a warm brownie sundae…man I could just keep going.
Novel: Again, too hard to narrow down! But if I had to pick only one series I could read for the rest of my life, I’d pick Harry Potter.
Series: Uh, I think I just answered that.

Q: I know that you have always been a writer. Yet what are your feelings now that you’ve become an author?
A: It’s been everything I dreamed of and a lot more work than I realized. Not the writing part, but the business aspect. Trying to promote my books (without being overbearing) and to find that balance of work and family time can be tricky. It’s hard but so worth it!

Q: What do you hope someone picking up your book will gain from it?
A: First and foremost, I hope they will love it so much they can’t put it down. But after they finish I hope they come away feeling they too, like Alexa, can have the strength to never give up and to overcome whatever troubles they may have in their lives. And maybe they will also fall in love, at least a little bit with a certain character or two….

Q: Are you working on anything at the moment?
A: Yes! The sequel, IGNITE, comes out on Jan. 6, 2015, and I’m working on some new projects as well. I’m always busy writing something!

Q: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
A: The rest of Alexa’s story, and many more epic and exciting books! (I hope…)

Q: What can we expect to see in Defy #2?
A: Here’s the synopsis from the jacket flap:
In the kingdom of Antion, peace has at long last been restored. Now that King Hector’s reign of terror is over, the newly crowned King Damian, along with his most trusted guard, Alexa, must focus on rebuilding Antion and reclaiming the hope of their people. But the wounds of the past are no as easily mended as Alexa and Damian had hoped. And to further complicate matters, Alexa still harbors a secret love for Damian, a love she refuses to acknowledge for the sake of Antion, and for the sake of the king himself.
When new threats to the kingdom surface—including an assassination attempt on Damian—blame is cast on the once-friendly nation of Blevon. Alexa knows things are not what they seem, however, and once again the fate of her country hangs in the balance. Will Alexa be able to protect her king and find the true enemy before it’s too late?
Filled with romance and treachery, magic and violence, this stunning sequel to Defy whisks readers off on another thrilling adventure.

About Defy
Q: In your own words how would you describe your debut novel?
A: DEFY is an intense, action-packed, romantic, fantasy adventure about a girl who has to disguise herself as a boy and join the king’s army to protect herself from a horrific fate.

Q: What inspired this novel?
A: DEFY came from a very difficult period in my life, when I lost someone I loved. I was so upset by his death that I couldn’t write anything, but a friend of mine told me to stop trying to write a book and just write what I was feeling. So that’s exactly what I did. I sat down and wrote a scene, not intending for it to go anywhere…but then I got curious about the characters. This whole fascinating world unraveled itself and I realized Alexa had a very intriguing, difficult, but ultimately amazing story that needed to be told. I threw myself into that writing and from there the story took on its own life. It became a story of survival and moving forward, a story of what true courage and strength is, and a story about the many different kinds of love, and hope (even in the most desperate of situations) and risking everything for the chance of a better future.

Q: Prince Damian was I bit hard for me to figure out. He’s secretive, unpredictable, tortured and sweet all rolled into one. Although I liked him by the end of it, I spent most of the book unable to make up my mind about him. That being said, what is your overall feeling on him and did you intend for him to be such a complex character?
A: Damian was always very complex. In fact, even I had him pegged wrong when I first started writing DEFY. It wasn’t until I figured him out that the plot was able to fall into place so I could finish the book. I really loved getting to know him and writing his character, I must admit.

Q: Alexa was my favorite character. She does a great job walking the line between strong and vulnerable. And after pretending to be a boy for so long, she struggles to figure out who she really is. What inspired her character?
A: Thank you! I love Alexa, too. And honestly, she came to me how she is. I just had to write her story the way she told it to me.

Q: What is your favorite scene or aspect in Defy?
A: Oh, that’s tough – and spoilery. So I’m going to pick a scene that was really fun to write that isn’t too much of a spoiler. That would have to be the “tent scene” where Alexa finds herself in a very…interesting situation with both Rylan and Damian. I had a lot of fun with that one.

Q: Defy takes place in a different world. What influenced the setting in Defy?
A: I’ve always been fascinated by the jungle. Though I didn’t consciously set out to put a book there, it just happened to be where I started writing the first scene of DEFY and it stuck!

Q: Do you have anything you would like to say to readers who have yet to pick up your novel?
A: That I hope they’ll give it a try and that I hope they come to love Alexa as much as I do!

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