Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blog tour book review: Existence by Abbi Glines

Existence
What's a girl to do when Death literally comes looking for you?

As part of the Existence blog tour (courtesy of the lovely ladies from the Teen Book Scene), today's stop on my blog is an actual review of the book.

Be sure to check out the previous stop on my blog, where Abbi gave us a glimpse into the characters and what they'd say if they each had a twitter profile.

Existence by Abby Glines (Wild Child Publishing)
For as long as she can remember, 17-year old Pagan Moore has always been able to see lost and wondering ghostly souls.

Since most can't talk and because she's the only one that is able to see them, Pagan has pretty much been able to ignore them.
At least until the first day of school, that is.

When she steps out of her car and spots the brooding boy lounging against the picnic table and smirking at her, she doesn't think much of it. Until she realises that:

a) he just won't seem to leave her alone, and
b) he actually speaks.

Despite her initial fear of him, Pagan quickly becomes fascinated with the talking soul, who is not only incredibly smart, but also has some serious music skills to boot. 

What she doesn't realise is that the wicked beautiful soul she's quickly falling in love with is not a normal soul at all.

He goes by the name of Dank Walker and he is Death; which can only mean one thing: Pagan's appointed time to die is near.

But, as life goes, nothing is as clear-cut as it seems and Death is about to discover that he's willing to break more than a few rules to keep the living soul he's falling in love with, alive.

Review:


If anyone had to ask me what the first word is that comes to mind with regards to Existence, then the word I'd most likely use is: addictive.

There's something about a fast-paced novel that doesn't spend pages waffling through tedious descriptions that makes for a quick, easy and highly entertaining read.

Not that I mind descriptions (To be perfectly honest, I adore them), it's just that the sense of immediacy about Existence is what sucked me into the world Abbi Glines created within her book.

For those who have just about had enough about the vampire, werewolf and angel genre, Abbi brings a unique concept to the world of YA literature that is not only refreshing, but one that's quite intriguing too.

I don't necessarily think it's been fully explored just yet, but considering that Existence is the first book in a trilogy, I'd certainly like to see and understand more about Pagan's ability and the reason behind why her soul is so different from anyone else's.

For me, Pagan was a pretty interesting character for the most part. I often find that I get very annoyed if characters are too walk-the-straight-line perfect, but Pagan is a pretty flawed character whose actions will no doubt cause the reader to fluctuate between varying degrees of sympathy and annoyance.

Case in point: the messy love triangle situation she got herself in.

The supporting characters also made for a great addition to the book, although at times I did feel as if they were relegated to the background when Pagan went through some terrifyingly supernatural experiences. 

Of course, the character that was a favourite of mine is definitely Dank (Death). I've mentioned in a previous post of mine that I'm a sucker for fictional boys who are musically inclined and Dank definitely applies here. 

While not present throughout the entire novel, for me, there was a sense of omniscience surrounding him that had me aware of him, even during his absence.

He's definitely the ultimate broody bad boy sort and I'm looking forward to seeing more of him in the next instalment in the trilogy.

The one thing I'd like to see more of is things from his perspective. Existence had me questioning what he was thinking when he first saw her, just how and when he fell in love with her and basically just what was going on in his mind when he first decided to bend the rules for her.

Aside from the concept and interesting characters, for me the highlight of the novel would be towards the end of the novel.

There's a refreshing twist on the idea behind sacrificing that completely caught me by surprise and has me wondering just what else Abbi has up her sleeve for the next instalment in the trilogy.

It will be interesting to see how she can top that.

More than that I can't say for fear of giving too much away but suffice to say that Existence is certainly a read that will leave you waiting with bated breath for the next instalment in this trilogy. Especially with that cliff hanger of note.

On a final note: how creeptastic and awesome is that cover? The eerie green eyes is a nice touch, don't you think?


Monday, December 19, 2011

Existence Blog Tour: Character tweets

As part of the Existence blog tour, I'm happy to welcome the main characters from Existence. Today we'll be given a glimpse into what they'd be tweeting about if they were on Twitter - and I must say, that based on their tweets, they certainly sound like an intriguing trio don't they?

Before we kick off though, here's just a brief look at what the book is about. Be sure to check back in the next week or two, which is when I'll have an actual review up on my blog.

About the book:
What happens when you are stalked by Death? You fall in  love with him of course.

Pagan Moore doesn’t cheat Death, instead, she falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore, has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them.

If she didn’t let them know she could see them, they left her alone.

Until she steps out of her car on the first day of school and sees an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face.

Problem is, she knows he's dead.

Not only does he not go away, when she ignores him he does something none of the others have ever done; he speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul.

What Pagan doesn’t realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul.

He is Death and he is about to break all the rules.

And now, on to the tweet-fest. Meet Death, Pagan and Leif.


Death Dank Walker
I may be enrolling in high school soon. I’ve found some entertainment.

QBKing Leif Montgomery
Who knew tutors could be so hot?

JustPagan Pagan Moore
Some people you don’t expect to talk and when they do it changes everything.

Death Dank Walker
What’s the big deal about a guy that throws a football straight? Am I missing something?

QBKing Leif Montgomery
Speech is going to be my favorite subject this year.

JustPagan Pagan Moore
What have I got myself into? #whatwasIthinking

Death Dank Walker
She’s cute when she frowns.... did I just say cute?

QBKing Leif Montgomery
When you find someone you can tell your secrets to then you’ve found #theone

JustPagan Pagan Moore
Ouch. I was waaaay off. #judgementalmuch

Death Dank Walker
I can make my own damn rules. Screw this!

QBKing Leif Montgomery
I’ve screwed up. God I hope I can fix this. #I’manass

JustPagan Pagan Moore
Near death experiences change everything.

Death Dank Walker
Welcome to high school. Freaking hilarious.

QBKing Leif Montgomery
I’ll see my girl soon. @JustPagan I can’t wait to see your face back at school.

JustPagan Pagan Moore
@QBKing See you soon =)

Death Dank Walker
I really hate blonds. It’s just an aversion to the angelic appearance I have.

QBKing Leif Montgomery
@JustPagan I’m sitting in class wishing I were with you. I’ll meet you outside the door in 5 min.

JustPagan
Pagan Moore
He’s here. How is he here?

Special thanks goes out to the fabulous team over at The Teen Book Scene for allowing me to be part of this tour. Want to check out where to head on over to for the next stop? Click on the banner below.

Book review: Nightshade (The Poison Diaries Book 2)

Nightshade: The Poison Diaries
Dark, lush and seductively twisted, Nightshade, the second book in The Poison Diaries series, lures you into a Gothic world of poison, romance and cruel and deadly intention.

Nightshade: The Poison Diaries (HarperCollins)

Warning: Considering that this book is the second in the Poison Diaries series, this review may contain spoilers.

You might also want to check out my review of The Poison Diaries, before you read this review.


It's been some time since Jessamine has been healed from the poison she's been dealt, yet despite her recovery, she can't help but be heartbroken.

Weed, the boy she's fallen in love with has disappeared without a trace, and her stern and unyielding father has become increasingly remote; choosing to spend most of his days studying poisonous plants and tending to his deadly garden of poisonous plants.

What he doesn't know is that Jessamine, through her heartbreak, has become a lot more suspicious about his involvement regarding Weed's disappearance and has gained more knowledge and confidence in handling the dangerous plants that has always been a part of her life.

Upon stumbling across her father's secrets and learning that Weed is, in fact, alive and in danger, a new, darker and no-longer innocent Jessamine decides that she'll do whatever it takes to find her way back to him; including both killing whoever gets in her way and turning to a far darker, supernatural and poisonous source for help: Oleander, Prince of Poisons.

My thoughts:

The thing about book series or  trilogies is that one is often never sure if the second or third book in the series will live up to the expectations of the first.

Some books that are series should often be relegated to remaining standalones, while follow-ups to the first instalment in other books usually disappoint.

So you can imagine how wary I must have been when it came to reading Nightshade, the second book in The Poison Diaries series; especially considering that I had a few issues with book one (despite enjoying the read overall).

Needless to say, I was in for a fantastic surprise, because not only is Nightshade a fantastic and far superior follow-up to The Poison Diaries, but it's also the best sequel in a trilogy that I've read to date.

Everything about this book lures you in.

The beautiful writing, the Gothic and atmospheric settings, the personification of the plants and the depth, depravity and the twisted changes and growth we see in many of the characters; Jessamine in particular. 

The world Maryrose Wood has created is sinister and dangerous, but at the same time is also imbued with an alluring, menacing beauty that draws you into a world of romance, venomous plants and deadly intention.  

Back when we first met Jessamine, she was young, naive and very impressionable. Obedient and subservient to her father, she obeyed instruction without any question.

This time around, we see a darker, sultry and far more dangerous (and murderous) side to Jessamine.

For me, this was definitely one of the highlights of the novel.

I often love seeing how characters grow from novel to novel, and seeing how Jessamine changed, although in the most drastic and twisted manner possible, was beyond fascinating to me.

That Maryrose decided to opt for this new, wickedly provocative and no-longer innocent girl, for me, shows that she's an author that's not afraid to take her characters completely out of their and the reader's comfort zone.

And I, as weird as it may sound, was completely enthralled by Jessamine's drastic metamorphoses.

There's a new and deliberate suggestiveness to her actions that speaks of someone who is focused on doing whatever it takes to get what she wants.

She's bold, reckless, and very intense.

Most of her actions throughout the novel are certainly not something that we as readers would condone, and yet, for all that, she retains an innate inner goodness that still shines through and - at the end of the day - still had me rooting for her.

I have to say though, that as much as I love the sensitive and incredibly devoted Weed with his strange gift of talking to plants, the male character who really stole the show here, was Oleander, Prince of Poisons.

Perhaps the fact that I love this villain, speaks of my strange preference for seductive, broody characters with a bad-to-the-bone streak.

Whatever the case may be, Oleander's supernatural, mostly disembodied presence (Jessamine, for the most part, hears him in her mind), was a tangible, wickedly magnetic and deadly force that kept me captivated throughout the entire novel.

The influence he exerts over Jessamine is palpable and is a feeling that literally seeps into your own veins; making you feel as if you yourself were caught up in his lethal game.

It was case of her being the butterfly being trapped in the spider's web, and a case of me thinking: "... but oh, what a web to be trapped in.

(Ok, I have to say that at this point, I'm seriously beginning to worry that I like Oleander's character so much. Apparently my sense of self-preservation is non-existent) 

Ruler over deadly plants, his capacity to drive the now hopelessly lost Jessamine further and further into the depths of depravity, will have you either wishing Weed would rescue her, or have you willing Oleander to push her just a little further to see how far she can still go.

He's the puppet master holding all the strings, and she, fuelled by her desire to be reunited with Weed, is seduced into being a willing participant in his twisted game.

And herein lies the heart of this novel. It's not just an off-kilter story featuring murder, and romance, but it's a story that speaks of the very nature of humans and about what they are capable of doing when circumstances propel the person in question to act.

Often, when you see crime stories on TV, the murderer usually ends up being the neighbour who wouldn't dare hurt a fly. Nightshade doesn't outright express this sentiment, but it does show that the old adage, "never say never", definitely applies here.

My review wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention Weed and the plants.

His relationship with the plants have always fascinated me and what I really loved is that we really get a glimpse into his thoughts and the way he communicates with them from his perspective.

I complained that in The Poison Diaries, we weren't given much chance to get to know him, but Nightshade certainly made up for that in more than a few spades.

Weed is as dashing as he is honourable and I, while mostly caught up in Oleander's spell, couldn't help but love him too.
 
His devotion to Jessamine is incredible and the lengths which he goes to in order to try find and save her, will have every single reader wishing for a boyfriend like him.

And the talking plants?

That's something special you can only experience while reading the book. No amount of description can capture just how intriguing the plants are in their capacity to heal or kill given the right dosage and their ability to communicate with Weed, in a book review.

To sum it up:

Nightshade is a book of shadows and mystery, and one of murder and romance. It's a tangled weave of sweet and sinister, and a highly concentrated dose of venomous plants and sinful seduction.

If you love romance with a sinister plotline, then be prepared to be caught up in the darkly mesmerising spell of Nightshade. 

Oh, and the ending? Probably one of the best and most unexpected endings to a book I've read in a long time (although many will probably disagree with me).

Go out and get yourself a copy. It's definitely worth reading.

Better yet, why not enter the giveaway I'm hosting, here?

Disclaimer and a word of thanks: A huge, huge thank you goes out to Leanne and the Poison Diaries team for sending a review copy of Nightshade in exchange for an honest review! Please note that having received a free copy of this book, in no way affects my opinion of the book.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Of Light and Darkness blog tour: Character interview

As part of the Of Light and Darkness book blog tour today I'll be interviewing Valek the smouldering hot vamp and love interest of his human charge, Charlotte.

Before we get to the interview, here's a brief overview of what the book is about: 

About the book:
When one human stands before an army of impossible obstacles, the likelihood of overcoming them in this coming-of-age modern fairytale may result in war between light and darkness.

Abandoned as an infant in Prague, naive and strong-willed Charlotte Ruzikova was raised by one of the last Vampires left alive. 

As a human, she knows no other home than the one nestled deep in the woods of Eastern Europe, where Witches drew spells of enchantment, Phasers threw tea parties, and Elves are the closest in kin.

Charlotte has lived her life in the dark with her Guardian, content to having him to herself and reveling in his attention, until she's realizes she wants more...

Resident medical doctor and Vampire, Valek Ruzik fears the day his ward would come of age and blossom into a fine woman, and he is forced to confront his own motives as time is of the essence once his past catches up to him, and their lives become endangered...

As genocide and war threatens their secret society, the dictator in power is ready to wipe out Valek's race, but Charlotte will not allow that to happen. 

Fighting for the only one she's ever loved and truly believed in, she will do whatever it takes to save their love...before the sun comes up and light takes over.

Sounds fab, doesn't it?

On to the interview...

Welcome to The Book Fairy's Haven, Valek (I hope you don't eat book-loving fairies for breakfast).  

Chuckles darkly:: No, no. Fairy blood doesn't sit well with me, but thanks for asking. 

Beware of Mr. Trinozka, though. I never know where that spider is hiding and if he's hungry. Because, as you know, arachnids do eat flies. ::eyes Book Fairy deviantly:: Thank you for having me...

1. If we had to ask Charlotte to describe you in less than 10 words, what do you think she would say about you?

Well, Charlotte's vision of me is a little skewed. She'd probably come up with something like 'a selfless hero who is more human than monster.' However, I wish Charlotte would see me for what I actually am. I'm afraid she's lacking a reality check.

2. For those that haven't read your story yet, can you tell us a little about your Vampiric abilities. What makes you different to any other vampire out there?

I am greatly aware of the many vampires that exist in the universe. The ones that sparkle. The ones that...fang-bang ::shudders::

No, I'm afraid our kind reverts back to the original classics of Bram Stoker and even modern-classics like Anne Rice. We have fangs, we roam the night, the sun is lethal, we move without you seeing, stalk without you knowing, we infiltrate your thoughts - your dreams - your nightmares.

Once we choose you, there is no escaping, I'm afraid. We are lethal monsters that no human should ever in their right mind hang around. Luckily for me, Charlotte wasn't in her right mind since the day I found her...

3. What is it like living in a world filled with all sorts of wondrously strange and (sometimes) wicked creatures?


It's wonderful. I love that there is such diversity and so much culture between our races that live in our small, Occult city.

Of course, I could do without the Elves, but I do have my love of the fairies ;), the phasers, the ogres, the enchanted scarecrows, and sometimes, the witches. It is a fantastical atmosphere and a wonder to behold indeed.

4. You have one last day to spend with Charlotte. Where in Prague would you take her and how would you spend your final day with her?


One last day with Charlotte? Hmm...that's something I do not even wish to think about, but I'll play along.

If I had to spend one last day with Charlotte, in Prague, I would take her back to Hradcany, where I found her.

I would show her the exact spot where I first saw her when she was too little to remember. I would tell her of that night, and how it felt when I decided to keep her forever.

After that, we'd stroll along Charles Bridge, and listen to the folk musicians play for meager earnings in the night. We'd watch the water gleam under the lights that set Prague castle aglow every evening.

We'd watch the fireworks they set off over the Vltava to the West. We'd walk the castle gardens, completely alone, so I could spend those last moments telling her how much I absolutely adore the very make of her and how I will always be with her.

And then I'd wrap her in my arms, and we'd watch the sunrise together while I slowly disintegrate into ash for the final time, listening to her weep quietly next to me.

There! I've played your game! Happy? Now you've gotten me emotional...

5. If you could trade places with a supernatural being from another book for a day, who would you choose and why?


I think I'd like to be that water serpent from Beowulf for a day. That would be an interesting experience...

Special thanks to Valek for taking the time out to answer my questions. A huge thanks also goes out to the fabulous team over at the Teen Book Scene for allowing me to partake in this tour.

Want to meet Valek's maker?

You can follow Shayne Leighton on twitter here. Be sure to check out the rest of the tour stops, by clicking on the banner below.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Giveaway: Win a signed copy of Nightshade (The Poison Diaries book 2)

So, it's been a while since I've done a giveaway on the blog, hasn't it? Which is why I'm so excited about hosting the following competition on the blog.

The fabulous team from The Poison Diaries have given me the  chance to host this new giveaway in which you can win a signed copy of Nightshade, the second book in The Poison Diaries series.

The book is truly a phenomenal read and definitely counts amongst my favourites of 2011 so far. I would highly recommend that you enter this giveaway to stand a chance of reading this dark, twisted tale of murder and romance.

(While you're at it, you can check out my review of Book 1 here. I'll have a review up of Nightshade soon- but trust me, you'll want to read this series).

So, enough rambling from my part.  If you want to enter this giveaway, all you need to do is follow 3 simple steps below.

Step 1: Head on over to The Poison Diaries website and search for the plant: Arum Maculatum. Once you've found the plant, add it to your poison diary.


Step 2:  Follow The Poison Diaries team on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway and the plant that you've added to your poison diary. Make sure to include me on the tweet so that I can keep a track and tally up the entries. To make things easy for you, you can copy the tweet below:

@Tammy24_7 I've added the Arum Maculatum to my poison diary and want to win a signed copy of Nightshade from @poisondiaries.


Step 3: Like The Poison Diaries on Facebook and be sure to drop them a note and let them know what you think of The Poison Diaries books so far. And that's all there is to it.

Giveaway open to everyone and ends Monday.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: The Supernatural Edition

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine. The idea behind this meme is to highlight up and coming releases that we just can't wait to read.

It's been a while since I've done one of these, so to make up for it, I'll be featuring quite a few titles that I'm quite excited about.

First up is:

The Treachery of Beautiful Things
by Ruth Frances Long

Expected publication date: August 16th 2012 by Penguin Group USA

Summary from Goodreads:
The trees swallowed her brother whole. And Jenny was there to see it.

Years later, when she returns to the woods where Tom was taken to say good-bye at last, she finds herself lured into a world where stunning beauty masks the most treacherous of evils, and strange and dangerous creatures await—creatures who seem to consider her the threat.

Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with allegiances that shift as much as his moods.

Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack’s help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where nothing is what it seems, no one is who they say, and she’s faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice—and not just her own

Why I'm excited about this: Faeries... need I really say more?

Up next is:

Darkness Before Dawn
by J.A. London

Expected publication: Expected publication: May 29th 2012 by HarperTeen

Summary from Goodreads:
This electrifying new trilogy blends the best of paranormal and dystopian storytelling in a world where the war is over. And the vampires won.

Humans huddle in their walled cities, supplying blood in exchange for safety. But not even that is guaranteed.

Dawn has lost her entire family and now reluctantly serves as the delegate to Lord Valentine, the most powerful vampire for miles.

It isn’t until she meets Victor, Valentine’s son, that she realizes not all vampires are monsters....

Why I'm excited about this: I know I should be tired of vampires, but this book, set in a dystopian world, definitely seems like it could offer a fresh new take on a genre that seems to have been done to death. Also, how gorgeous is that cover?

Monstrous Beauty
by Elizabeth Fama

Expected publication: August 21st 2012 by Farrar Straus Giroux

Summary from Goodreads:

In 1872, mermaid Syrenka falls in love with a young naturalist.

When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

One hundred thirty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger and feels drawn to him in a way she can't explain or resist.

 For generations, love and death have been inextricably linked for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect...or a curse?

Hester's investigation of her family's strange, sad history leads her to the graveyard, the crypt, and the bottom of the ocean--but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of long ago.

Why I'm excited about this: Creepy mermaid story and an ancient curse? How awesome does this one sound. I can't wait. I'm loving the cover for this one too.

Innocent Darkness
by Suzanne Lazear

Expected publication: May 29th 2012 by HarperTeen

Summary from Goodreads:
Wish. Love. Desire. Live.

Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock's hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home.

On mid-summer's eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school.

A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.

Why I'm excited about this: More faeries. Except this time, it's one with a steampunk twist.  Colour me happy.

This is the first book in a series and I, for one, can't wait to see how this unfolds. And again, I'm totally fawning over the gorgeous cover.


And, that's it from me for this week. What's on your WoW list? Feel free to share your links below.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Book review: Passion

Note: This review was originally written for my blog, but first appeared on the women24 website (where I work as an online lifestyle journalist and write a monthly book newsletter), the (shortened version) of which you can find here.

Passion
Beautifully layered, complex and above all else, romantic, Lauren Kate's Passion manages to supersede both Fallen and Torment.

Passion by Lauren Kate (Doubleday)
Please note: This review contains spoilers for the previous books in the Fallen series.

Before they met, Luce and fallen angel Daniel have already lived thousands of lives. 

Luce has died for Daniel over and over again and Daniel has waited each and every time for a new cycle to start all over again; one that would mean her return and one that has ultimately, always ended in tragedy.

But this time, things are different, because Luce is still alive.

Determined to unlock and break the curse that dooms their love every time, she now finds herself visiting her past lives, in search of clues in order to try and understand why their love is so doomed, and to see if the love they have for each other is truly real.

As she journeys through different centuries and different times, she'll discover different clues in her different lives - each of which could bring her one step closer to the truth and mystery of just why Lucy is fated to die every time she gets too close to Daniel.

Unfortunately for her, stepping back in time doesn't come without its dangers and as the Outcasts, Luce's angel friends and a frantic Daniel desperately chase her through each century in order to prevent her from rewriting history, Luce will have to rely on her wits to not only find new answers, but to avoid being captured by the ever approaching evil threatening their very existence.

My thoughts:

What an incredible, exquisite read. 

I often find that book series don't necessarily get better with each new book that is released, but with Lauren Kate's Fallen series? 

I can honestly say that Passion is the best in the series so far.

I think one of Lauren Kate's key strengths is that she knows what kind of tone to set for each book that she writes. Fallen was a little slow to start with but the gloomy setting and descriptions certainly set the tone for a more angsty sequel in Torment.

With Passion, well, the title of the book really says it all. Both her writing and the book's tone are incredibly romantic, lush, evocative and beautifully descriptive.

If, by any chance you were disappointed with the previous books (I know a lot who were), Passion is the book that will change your entire opinion.

SPOILER ALERT
In Torment, we last saw Luce jumping into an Announcer, following a messy battle between the outcasts and the angels.

SPOILER ENDS


Her journey takes her to strange, exotic destinations that seem at once both foreign and familiar to her.

From war-torn, snow-blanketed Russia to gloomy Prussia, from London's famous Globe Theatre to Romantic Versailles (oh how magnificently she captures the panache of the fashion style of that era); Luce's journey takes her through a myriad of fantastic places.

Along the way, with the help of a strange little companion named Bill (who also has an important part to play), she views snapshots of each and every life that she's lived with Daniel, witnessing the joy, the terror and the tragedy of their union together.

What I loved about this book is that we get to see a real glimpse of the romantic and intense relationship between Daniel and Luce.

Their romance speaks of something ancient, precious, timeless and ageless; and what enhanced this even further, was the rich descriptions of the settings and the wonderfully detailed historical background relating to each place Luce visits.

If ever Luce needed to see proof of Daniel's love for her, each and every moment in her past life certainly surpasses her expectation, and for me, this was definitely one of my favourite aspects of reading Passion. 

I was swept up in a whirlwind of devotion, struck with wonder at the lengths Daniel would go to follow Lucy and left with the same sense of wonder that Lucy felt when she realised that Daniel really, really loves her.

It's clear that Lauren Kate knows her way around research, because all that effort showcases itself throughout the entire book and readers are especially in for a treat as we finally receive some major clues relating to the origin behind the curse.

The book sets itself up for an epic showdown, one of which I'm sure we'll get in Rapture, the final instalment in the series.

All in all, Passion is filled with all the ingredients a girl could want in a novel: Romance, History, Lyrical writing and characters who grow from strength-to-strength with each new book in the series.

Most of all, It's filled with the kind of grandeur that will have you sighing at every turn of the page.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book talk: Saving me from myself. Why I read YA.

Today I'm going to be talking about a subject that most bloggers have been defending over the last couple of months: Young Adult fiction.

My post though, or my story if you will, is probably not a unique one, but the feelings experienced are certainly real enough - so I hope you bear with me as I try to find the words to express just what it is that I'm feeling and just how it ties in with my post about YA literature.

Many of you may have noticed that I've been taking frequent breaks from blogging. 

My blogging pattern has, in the past few months, become decidedly irregular - with me posting anywhere between 1 - 5 posts per month, whereas in the past, I easily use to manage at least 15 posts per month.

The reason for this slow down is quite simple really. I'm suffering from depression.

Now for those of you who are in the same boat, or know someone that is, you'll know that depression is about more than just feeling sad.

It's more than just crying out of the blue for no apparent reason and it's about more than just lying in foetal position whole day, struggling to muster the will to get up.
 
It's a label that is so universal, yet each one experiences it very differently.

My experience?

So far, it's mostly been hell in a black pit for me. It's hell because I feel like I've lost my voice (my blogging voice included), it's agony because when I cry, I can't get the words that need to be said out of my system, and it's pure emotional torture because, on the days that I'm not crying, I'm filled with a seeping black void of numbness that renders me devoid of any feeling.
 
And because I feel so voiceless and devoid of joy, I often simply resort to going into automaton mode; going through the daily motions of everyday life and trying to keep it together, while inside, it feels like my soul is being ripped and shredded to parts.

Want to know what's worse? It's not necessarily those very, very bad days that makes everything feel so impossibly out of reach.

It's on the good days, when I have something akin to the feeling of hope,  that I convince myself I'm happy and feeling completely normal. And when I convince myself that nothing's wrong, well, my next crash is always worse than the previous one.

And then... then I'm back to where I started. Trapped in a never-ending cycle of self-loathing, hurt, self-pity and morbidity.

I have all these good intentions, but I just can't seem to follow through. I want to review, but can't bring myself to think beyond what I'm stretching myself to think in this bad space I'm in.

And I want to update, read and visit other blogs, but I don't seem to have all the energy for that lately.

In short, I can't bring myself to do anything beyond sleeping, getting up, going to work and coming home to curl up and read (the one thing that's kept me from completely going over the edge) and sleep.

But, believe it or not, my story is not one that is completely hopeless, because, besides getting professional help (gosh, I feel so shy admitting I'm on anti-depressants and seeing a psychiatrist), this is where YA fiction comes in.

Now as most of you know, over the past couple of months, there's been a plethora of raging debates surrounding teen fiction.

It seems that according to the "experts" (and as a young, online South African journalist, I use that word very loosely), fiction targeted for the youth is either too dark too depraved, too sexual or is guilty of romanticising domestic violence.

Any dark and negative connotation you can think of, it's probably been used to label and describe Young Adult fiction.

And for me, as a journalist who is an ardent supporter of YA fiction, it saddens me that people are so quick to criticise what they don't really understand.

I know I'm going to me making myself guilty of assumption, but I often get the feeling that the people who criticise this genre, have probably not read all that many teen reads. 

You know why? Because if they had, they wouldn't even begin to question the value that it has brought to so many young teens.

I may not be a teen, but without YA, I would have surely resorted to harming myself. Yes, I was suicidal for a long time, and yes, to many it seems impossible that a teen read has the power to save a life, but in truth, that's what it did for me.

For me, I've always seen the voices in YA novels as being incredibly brave.

Many of them have given me the opportunity to become the girl I've always wanted to be in my teen years. Strong, brave and courageous.

To be those things, you'd certainly have to go through your share of hell to build up that sort of character right?  And what many of these characters go through, are more than an echo of what's going on outside in the real world.

It's real and it's happening outside in the lives of teens and young adults alike. Which is why I can't understand all the condemnation around it. 

If the teens are experiencing this and you have people criticising this genre so severely, then how can you even hope to help the teen who so desperately needs saving?

Why do you think they're resorting to these wonderful reads?

These reads that offer them voices.

These reads that (and this applies to me as well) allow them to feel.

And mostly, these reads offer them hope and understanding in a world dominated by people who constantly criticise them and don't see that beyond many young boys and girls' reckless behaviour, there's a desperate plea for help.

On days when I couldn't even bring myself to speak, it was this genre that grounded me. It was this genre that brought out a tentative smile and it was this genre, that against all odds, brought out the bubble of laughter, that I had thought was long forgotten.

A dear blog friend of mine has said often said that people don't choose books, but that books have a way of finding and choosing you.

In my darkest times, the books that have always found me, is the Young Adult fiction genre.

Before you pass judgement on books that take on tough subjects like drugs, teen pregnancy, suicide, abuse and the big forbidden topic of all, teen sex (criticising the nature of the books won't change the fact that these things are happening), consider for a moment how many young girls and boys have started reading again.

It's not just for the romance, although there's plenty of that deliciousness to be found.

It's for the voices that offer hope and a sense of belonging; it's for the voices that don't offer judgement, and it's for the voices that above all else, relate to them and are an echo of their own souls.

There've been many of these reads that have saved my life and in the next few weeks, I'll share a few of them with you. For now, I thought I'd share my story with you in the hopes that someone finds hope in this in some way.

Because that #YAsaves hash tag on Twitter?  It's not just a hash tag.

I, as an almost 27 year old online journalist (with the heart and soul of a newly reborn 16-year old), can testify to this.

And you know what? After this post, I think I'm finally ready to start getting back into gear with my blogging again. You can expect lots of reviews and bookish ramblings a little more often now. 

To all the readers who are still reading this blog, I know that I've got a lot of catching up to do. I'm sorry I haven't been around, but now you know why. I'll be doing tons of catching up during the course of the week, so will probably post by the weekend again.

It feels good to be back.
Until next time,
xoxo
Tammy

 P.S. I know this post was long, rambly and not perfectly written, but to be quite honest, perfection wasn't what I was aiming for.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Forbidden blog tour: Q & A with Jana Oliver

As part of the Forbidden blog tour, allow me to welcome Jana Oliver, author of The Demon Trappers book series to my blog today.

In today's interview she introduces us to Forsaken, the first book in The Demon Trappers series and tells us a little more about the world-building process, her characters and why she chose to write about demons as opposed to other supernatural beings, so prominent in today's YA fiction.

Thank you so much for joining me on the blog and for taking the time to answer a few questions.

Set in the year 2018, Forsaken introduces 17-year old Riley Blackthorn, an apprentice demon trapper living in a world filled with demons and necromancy.
1. With vampires, mermaids, werewolves and fairies all currently being the rage in YA fiction, what was it that made you decide to write about demons?


I figured demons needed some love too. ::laughs::

Actually, I wanted to write about the endless struggle between Heaven and Hell and that meant there had to be demons and angels involved. 

Add in the complicated life of a young teen longing to follow in her father’s demon trapping footsteps and that where the story began. 

At present there’s a trend to make demons supernatural hotties. 

I wanted to return to the old hardline sort of Hellspawn, the ones that were smoking but only because of the brimstone. Angels, however, can be devastatingly hunky.

2. For those who haven't read any of your books in the Demon Trappers series yet, can you tell us a little more about the demons that we can expect to encounter?

Demons in my world are graded according to how smart they are and how dangerous.

They range from Grade Ones (Biblio-Fiends who tear up books and Klepto-Fiends who steal shiny objects) all the way to the Grade Five Geo-Fiends who can create windstorms, tornadoes and earthquakes. 

Those can level a city. Because Riley is an apprentice, she’s still learning how to trap the smaller fiends. As she gets better, she moves up the ranks of demons and the danger increases.

While the Biblio-Fiends are nasty, foul- mouthed little dudes, the Magpies (Klepto-Fiends) seem to be the most popular with my readers. Nicknamed Hell’s cat burglars by the trappers, they’re not nasty, just obsessed with bling. A lot like some folks I know (LOL).

3. Quick character question posed to Riley:
3.1  Riley, please describe yourself in less than 10 words?

Addicted to chocolate.

3.2  What do you love most about being a demon trapper?

It’s always different and I really have to keep my head in the game. Just because a demon is supposed to act in one particular way, that’s not always the case. 

And where I’m trapping the demon (in a house or an office or out in public) can make the job harder or easier. So I guess like the challenge of being a trapper because its never boring.

3.3  Let's talk about boys (Oh, don't pretend you didn't see this one coming). 

Since some readers haven't yet had a chance to read Forbidden or Forsaken yet, please tell us about Simon. We hear you have a bit of a crush on him?

I really do like him! He’s cute and he’s a really nice guy. I mean, he’s the kind of guy who opens car doors for you and is always polite even if you’re being a jerk. 

He’s really religious, which doesn’t bother me, but he’s so serious sometimes. I think I’m good for him because I can get him to laugh. I’m hoping this works out with us.

End character questions

4. The Demon Trapper series is set in the not-too distant future. For me, great characters and fantastic world building go hand-in-hand.

What would you says are the key ingredients to creating settings that not only draw the reader in, but are above all else, believable?
The key element to world building is to make it believable.

That world can be set on a star ten light years from here or in 1930’s London, but it has to have enough depth that the reader can immerse him/herself into that environment. 

For the Demon Trappers Series, 2018 Atlanta is much like the current version, only darker and grittier. I played a game of “What if?” 

I took some of the currently depressed economic system and took it one or two steps worse.

The school system is bankrupt so Riley and her friends are attending classes in abandoned buildings. Folks are finding new ways to make money, be it legal or illegal.

The city is raising taxes and cutting services. If, as the author, I’ve done my job correctly the reader will readily accept there are four-foot tall hairy demons running around Atlanta. Which they are. At least in my stories.

5. Can you tell us a little about how you approach and implement your research into your novels? How do you decide what works and what doesn't?
I start with basic research. In the case of the Demon Trappers Series I dug into the history and folklore of demons, angels and Lucifer’s fall from heaven. 

I read Christian, Muslim and Jewish texts to get a feel for how the major religions view Heaven and Hell. Once I had a feel for the subject, then I checked out Atlanta. 

Just because I live here doesn’t mean I know everything about the city. I went on photo tours of Oakland Cemetery (an 1850 Victorian cemetery on the east edge of the city) and trudged around the area of town called Five Points.

That portion of Atlanta became Demon Central, as the trappers call it. I took lots of pictures and notes because I have to stoke up my brain with information before I begin the actual writing process.

Not everything I’ve learned goes into the novels or they’d be huge. A goodly portion of what I’ve learned is for my benefit, not the readers’.

That’s the tricky part for authors: don’t include all the fiddly bits that you discovered during research. Herman Melville is a classic example: he knew a lot about whales and, by heaven, he was going to ensure his readers did as well.


6. What are some of your favourite scenes you've written in the Demon Trapper series so far?

I’m very fond of the Riley and Beck trapping scene in FORSAKEN where they go after a Pyro-Fiend in a parking garage.

Any scene that involves a snowball fight ranks high with me. I’m also partial to a particular scene in FORBIDDEN where Riley learns one of Beck’s deepest secrets over a meal of BBQ.

7. If you could have any character from any book, guest star in your books, who would it be and why?


I have two characters I’d love to do a walk-through in my series. 

The first would be Harry Dresden, Jim Butcher’s totally amazing wizard, and the other would be Kate Daniels, the kick butt heroine of Ilona Andrews’ urban fantasy series. Both would be so cool!

8. And finally… what do you hope readers take away with them after reading Forsaken and Forbidden?

Besides enjoying the books, I’m hoping my readers dig a little deeper into the questions that those stories pose. Riley, Beck (and some of the other characters) have difficult choices to make.

These are both life and world-altering choices. Nothing is truly black and white, good and evil. 

I’d love for my readers to search inside those the layers that even I might not know exist. Each reader brings his or her own personal history to my books and that partnership of author and reader is what brings added depth to any story.

Thanks to Jessica Dean and Macmillan UK for inviting me to be part of this tour.

For more about Jana you can:
Visit her website here:

Check out the Demon Trappers website here.
Follow her on twitter here.

To view the Forbidden blog tour schedule - head on over here.

Forbidden blog tour schedule : Jana Oliver

As part of the Forbidden blog tour, it's a huge pleasure to welcome Jana Oliver, author of Forbidden and Forsaken (The Demon Trappers series) to my blog today. Before I post the Q & A, here's a quick look at the tour schedule below. 

A special thanks to the publishers for inviting me to not only be a part of this tour, but to kick start the tour with the interview. I should have a review up on the blog sometime next week, so be sure to be on the look out for that too.

Update: Read my interview with Jana here.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Ocean worlds

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine. The idea behind this meme is to highlight up and coming releases that we just can't wait to read.

This week's I've decided to go with a sea theme. 

I've been looking for some reads that feature any read with a ocean setting and have stumbled upon Wrecked and Of Poseidon, both of which I think will make for some fabulous reading.

First up is:

Wrecked by Anna Davies
Expected publication date: May 1st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Summary from Goodreads:
Miranda has lived on Whym Island since the death of her parents.

She has taken comfort in its seclusion and in the folklore that claims a mysterious sea witch controls the fate of all on the island and its surrounding waters.

It's just been easier to believe that things are out of her control.

But when a terrible boating accident takes the lives of several of her friends, Miranda is rescued by a mysterious boy that haunts her dreams.

As the guilt of the accident consumes her, she finds refuge in her late night swims.

Then, she meets Christian, a boy who seems so familiar, but won't tell her where he is from and why they can only meet at the beach.

As Miranda falls for Christian and begins to put the accident behind her, she discovers that there are secrets that Christian is keeping to protect her that may only end up bringing her nothing but harm.

Admittedly not a huge fan of this cover, but how awesome does Wrecked sound? I can't wait for this one.

Up next is: 
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Expected publication:
May 22nd 2012 by Feiwel & Friends
Summary from Goodreads
:
Emma and her friend Chloe are spending vacation in Florida. When Emma (literally) runs into a hot guy named Galen on the beach, little does she know he’s a prince of the Syrena.

Galen and Emma both feel something strange – is it attraction? – and Galen suspects that Emma might well be the girl he’s heard of – a human who can communicate with fish.

What follows is a deadly scene with a shark in which Galen witnesses Emma’s gifts.

He must know more about her, and follows her back to New Jersey, and high school, to find out for sure if she’s the key to saving his kingdom.

Soon, Emma can’t deny her feelings for him, but can’t explain them, either – and both she and Galen must learn more about where she comes from and what her powers are before they can trust one another and their feelings.

I'm very curious about this one and would certainly be interested to see what gifts Emma, the protagonist of the novel has.

That's it from me for this week. What's on your WoW list this week? Feel free to share below.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Book talk: That book is still sitting on my shelf

Besides actively reading as often as I can, where I can and whenever I can, one of the things I most love doing, is buying new books. There's nothing that beats that feeling of adding a shiny new paperback to one's bookshelf and watching your collection of literature growing day by day, year after year.

Let's face it though. There are two sides of the coin to being an avid bibliophile, especially if you're a book glutton severely addicted to buying books (yeah, I think I've described every single book blogger. Cue major face palm moment).

Inevitably, the amount of books you've bought, become the books you still need to read.  And the books that you still need to read?

Well, that eventually outweighs the amount of books that you have read. And at the end of the day, those books become shelf gatherers - books you've bought months (maybe even years) ago, that you've had every intention of reading, but somehow STILL haven't gotten around to yet.

Oh don't look at me like you don’t know what I'm talking about. :) I'm pretty sure most of you can relate to this right?

I'm certainly one of those people who have many books sitting on my shelves. And having browsed through my shelves, I've once again become aware of just how many fabulous books that are still waiting to be read.

In no particular order, here's a list of books that I've bought, received or won, but that are still sitting, unread, on my shelves (and that I really am planning to read soon). 
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Yes, despite recently winning a copy of Forever, courtesy of the lovely Aisle B, I STILL haven't read Linger yet.

It's been sitting on my shelves for months and was one of those books that I've been incredibly keen to read.

I have to admit that my enthusiasm died a little when people hyped this book to the point where I just felt like I didn't wanted to hear about the book anymore, let alone read it.

Now though? I find that I've changed my mind and now feel ready to read this (Does that make sense?).
 
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I'm convinced that I must be one of the last remaining few souls who has yet to read this. Want to know what's weird?

I got Divergent long after I bought this and read through that first, while this book is STILL sitting, unread on my shelf (and has been for months already).

I am, however, moving this up my TBR pile because I want to read this before the movie is released.

  
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Um yes. Another biggie that has been hibernating on my shelves for a good couple of months.
I am actually dying to read this series, but can't for the life of me figure out why I just can't seem to find the time to read this one (Ok, actually I can, but let's not talk about my poor time management skills right now, ok?). 

Again, I feel like I'm one of the last few people on earth who hasn't met Rose and Dimitri yet... and I've heard so many fantastic things about them, the story and well, the entire series really.

And with Bloodlines, the spinoff series, that has just been released, let's just say that I've got some serious catching up to do.

Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor
I can't remember the first time I first heard about Laini Taylor, but when I stumbled across Lips Touch Three Times, a collection of 3 stories all revolving around the gift/power/curse of a kiss, I knew I had to get my hands on it. 

The book, which I took a sneak peak at, contains the most beautiful illustrations I've seen in a book yet. And the little I've seen of the writing so far? Lyrical, beautiful and vividly imaginative.

One thing is sure, I'm definitely going to be reading this before I get around to reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone (yet another book I'm excited about reading).

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
I love fairies. Anything fairy-related (especially literature)? I do everything in my power to get my hands on it.

So why The Iron King is still sitting, unread on my shelf, is a huge mystery to me.

Perhaps I was waiting for the rest of the books in the series to be released, or perhaps I was just distracted by other reads.

It's probably just as well, because when I do eventually get around to reading Iron King, at least I won't have to wait for the rest of the books.

The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
This book is at the top of the list of books I really need to read next. For one, he's an award-winning author whose Chaos Walking trilogy has been receiving accolade after accolade over the past couple of years, and two, he'll be in Cape Town for the Open Book fest.

It goes without would dearly love to get the chance to meet and interview him.

Somehow, with work commitments and other YA paranormal reads, this one has completely slipped under my radar, but no more. Over the next two weeks, I'm going to catch up and read this series.

And even though I may or may not get an opportunity to interview him, I'd at least love to meet him having actually read his books.

Of course, I have many other fabulous reads also still sitting on my shelves, but mentioning them all, would make transform this post into an actual novel.

I'm sure you all can relate to this.

I'd love to hear what books are still sitting on your shelves that you're dying to read, but just haven't gotten around to it. Feel free to share below.


P.S. Sorry I haven't been around all that much. It's been a busy month. I'll be catching up shortly. Also, Alyson Noel giveaway winners - stay tuned, winners have been contacted, but I will be doing a formal announcement shortly. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Giveaway: Alyson Noel goodies

It's been ages since I've done a giveaway, which is why I'm excited about doing this giveaway, along with the girls over at It's a book thing blog.

Here's what you can win:

2 Evermore t-shirts (Small)
2 Immortals series bookmarks
A few sample chapters of Evermore, book 1 in the Immortals series

I've actually been meaning to post this giveaway, along with the Alyson Noel interview, which I've done previously (and which you can find here), but since, Kelly, one of the fabulous half of the duo over at It's a book thing blog (the other fabulous half being Tarryn), is sponsoring most of the prizes (I'll be throwing in a little something of myself, I thought it would be a great idea if we hosted the actual giveaway form on her blog.

       So, rules of the giveaway are as follows:
  • 2 winners will each receive a t-shirt, a bookmark and a sample chapter of Evermore.
  • First prize will include a copy of any book in the Immortal series, which I'll then order via Book Depository and have it shipped it off to you.
  • Giveaway is open internationally and runs until the 25 August, upon whereby we'll announce the winners on both the blog and contact them via email.
     
    All you need to do now is:
Simply fill out the form here, and become a follower of It's a book thing's blog. You absolutely don't have to be a follower of mine, but it's always welcome and appreciated. Good luck!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

In my mailbox (20)

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Kristi from The Story Siren. In this meme, we highlight books we received, bought or took out from the library.

Haven't done one in ages, so I've built up quite a backlog of reads that I've recently received. Here are the most recently received (and bought) reads that I'm really looking forward to reading next.




Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

I've heard some incredible things about this book and first fell in love with the book when I stumbled across the trailer. The premise sounds so incredibly different and I love the cover. Can't wait to start reading this one.


 



Tiger's Quest by Colleen Houck

This is the second book in the series. Again, looks awesome, has an awesome cover and the world sounds like a world worth diving into. I think I'm pretty sure that I'll be starting these books next.

 



 
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Have had my eye on this book ever since I first saw it on goodreads. Love the premise and the rave reviews this one has been receiving has only further convinced me that I need to read this ASAP.

 


 
 Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Ah yes, I'm probably one of the last remaining few that hasn't read Nightshade yet, but must admit that I'm kind of glad I waited this long. With Wolfsbane out, it means I don't have to wait for the next instalment in the Nightshade saga.




 

 Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Another book that I've been dying to read for quite some time. Bought it not too long ago, but have yet to start reading it.
 
I must confess that I haven't read all that many werewolf books, so this was a major motivating factor when I decided to get myself a copy of this book.

 

I Heart You, You Haunt me

I'm very excited about reading this one. I haven't read a novel in verse form yet (yes, which means I've yet to read all of Ellen Hopkins's books) and have heard some great things about Lisa Schroeder.  

Also, I saw the trailer a couple of years back and fell in love with it (along with the title) back then, but kept on stalling for some or other reason.

Glad I got a copy now though as I took a sneak peak and what I've read so far, well, you can call it instant book love. Definitely looking forward to reading the rest.

What's in your IMM this week. Feel free to share your links below.

Author interview: Alyson Noel

I'm so excited for today's post. It's not every day one gets to interview a best-selling author of one of the most popular YA book series out there to date.

I'm sure many of you must have been following the recent blog tour stops that Alyson has been featuring on, but for those of you who haven't - well, I've been fortunate enough to get the opportunity to interview her.

Also, for those of you who are huge fans - watch out for a special giveaway which will be hosted by the lovely Kelly & Tarryn from It's a book thing blog. Kelly's been wonderful enough to send me some Immortals swag (2 t-shirts, bookmarks and Evermore book samples), so please make sure you head on over to her blog and look out for that giveaway (Don't worry, I'll be sure to post about the giveaway as soon as it's gone up on their blog).

In the meantime, here's the interview as promised:

Hi Alyson

Thanks for joining me and for taking the time out to answer some of my questions.
1. Everlasting is the sixth and final instalment in the Immortal series.

What were the most predominant thoughts and feelings that went through your mind when you wrote the very last word?


Writing the final scene in Everlasting was emotional in a way I didn’t expect.

I’d spent so much time with these characters over the last few years that they became very real to me, so the realization that our time together had come to an end was very bittersweet.

Though I’ve enjoyed watching Ever grow from a grief-stricken, insecure young girl into a confident young woman ready to embrace the destiny she was born for.

2. Did you know from the onset that there would be six books in the series?

When I was writing Evermore, I was so immersed in that particular story that I didn’t see it as the start of a series.

It was only when I’d reached the end that I realized it was really just the beginning, and I was about a third of the way through Blue Moon when I knew exactly how the series would end.

3. How did the writing experience differ for each book and which storyline did you find, was the most challenging to write?

Each book presented it’s own set of challenges, but Everlasting was probably the most challenging of all. Every event in the previous five books happened for a reason, nothing was random, it was all leading to the finale, and so the challenge was to make sure that all those events were addressed.

And though I’d kept notes along the way, I still did a quick read of the prior books just to make sure I got everything. That said, Everlasting was also the most fun to write, as I finally got to give Ever the ending she’d earned.

4. Ever and Damen have been on an emotionally and physically intense journey throughout the entire series. Can you give readers a little insight into what we can expect in Everlasting?

In an attempt to avoid spoilers, I’ll just say that in Everlasting, Ever not only learns the true origins of her relationship with Damen, but she also faces her biggest challenge yet—one that will put everything she knows and loves—including her future with Damen—at risk…

5. How do you feel now that Ever and Damen's story has come to an end?

I miss the characters, I miss their world—especially Summerland!—but I feel really good about the way it all came together in the end.

6. I've always thought that Ever is such an unusual name for a character.  Is there a story behind why and how you chose her name?

I love unusual names and I’ve been collecting them for years in a file called: The Unusual Names File, which is neither unusual nor original!

So each time I start a new book, I flip through the file in search of ones that will fit my new cast of characters, and while I don’t remember where I first heard the name Ever, I do know that it had been in the file for a while and I was thrilled to finally have the chance to use it.

7. For me, Damen is certainly one of fiction's most swoon-worthy crushes. Can you share some of your book character crushes with us?

Oh, I have a lot of old school literary crushes, namely Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, and Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre!

8. I was very excited to hear that The Immortal series has been optioned for film. If you could cast any roles for the characters of Ever and Damen, who would it be and why?

I’m just terrible at this question—I have no idea who I’d cast! I guess because I can see the characters so clearly in my head it makes it difficult for me to replace them with real people.

Though, if they need me to sit in on the casting call for Damen, Roman, and Jude, I would definitely clear my schedule to be there!

9. Over the last few weeks there has been raging debate about YA fiction becoming too dark. Foxnews.com has even condemned some YA fiction for romanticizing domestic violence. What are your thoughts on this?

I think the books we read tend to mirror the times that we’re in, and there’s no doubt that we’re living in some very dark times of war, financial crises, and increasing violence.

As one who went through a very difficult adolescence, I can honestly say that these so called “dark books” were a beacon of light for me.

Not only did they make me feel less alone in my struggles, they also provided me with the hope that things would one day get better. Banning books that deal with heavier subject matter only serves to keep them from the kids who need them the most.

10. There have been some great YA fiction that have been emerging throughout the years. What are some of your favourite books that you've read over the last couple of years?

I have so many favorites—it’s a great time to be a reader of YA!—a few I read this year were: Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann, Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs, and The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda, which will be out this fall.

11. What can readers expect from you in 2012? Are you working on any new books at the moment?

The Riley Bloom series—a spin-off of The Immortals series—will continue with Radiance, Shimmer, Dreamland, Whisper, and more.

And I’m currently working on a new paranormal YA series, Soul Seekers, set for a simultaneous debut in the US and UK in spring/summer 2012!

You can follow Alyson on Twitter: here
Visit her website: here
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Everlasting is available now. You can click here to buy your copy.