Blog Tour: Grunge Gods and Graveyards by Kimberly G. Giarratano (Author Interview)

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of Kimberly G. Giarratano’s blog tour for her novel, Grunge Gods and Graveyards (May 2014, Red Adept Publishing, LLC)! For my blog tour stop, I have an interview with Kimberly. First, here’s some more information about Grunge Gods and Graveyards:

GrungeGods CoverParted by death. Tethered by love.

Lainey Bloom’s high school senior year is a complete disaster. The popular clique, led by mean girl Wynter Woods, bullies her constantly. The principal threatens not to let her graduate with the class of 1997 unless she completes a major research project. And everyone blames her for the death of Wynter’s boyfriend, Danny Obregon.

Danny, a gorgeous musician, stole Lainey’s heart when he stole a kiss at a concert. But a week later, he was run down on a dangerous stretch of road. When he dies in her arms, she fears she’ll never know if he really would have broken up with Wynter to be with her.

Then his ghost shows up, begging her to solve his murder. Horrified by the dismal fate that awaits him if he never crosses over, Lainey seeks the dark truth amidst small town secrets, family strife, and divided loyalties. But every step she takes toward discovering what really happened the night Danny died pulls her further away from the beautiful boy she can never touch again.

Goodreads | Amazon

Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

And now here’s the interview! Hope you guys enjoy it!

Question: Describe your book, using no more than three adjectives. Go!
Answer: Suspenseful, haunting, angsty

Question: Why the 90s? In what ways does the time period aid the story?
Answer: I picked the 90s for two main reasons: 1) I was a teenager in the 90s. Technically, I’m the same age as Lainey, my protagonist. I was in the mood to relive my youth a bit and 2) I really wanted to have my characters talk about 90s alternative music – Readiohead, Bjork, Tori Amos – when the bands were most relevant. Setting a novel in the 90s also means I can move away from modern technological conventions that, in my opinion, weaken plot. Why doesn’t the friend just text Lainey to warn her about the bad guy? That doesn’t make for much suspense.

Question: GRUNGE GODS AND GRAVEYARDS is a very unique, catchy title. Who thought of it? How accurately does it describe the plot of the book?
Answer: I’m gonna pat myself on the back because I thought up the title. I might’ve thought up the title before I created the plot. I do that sometimes. I think it describes the plot fairly accurately, although historically Grunge music was on its way out in 1996. But Alterna-Gods and Graveyards doesn’t quite sound as good. In addition, the word ‘grunge’ has a double meaning as well. It’s the nickname of the old roadhouse that’s also the scene of the crime.

Question: Did you hear a lot of ghost stories growing up? Do you have a favorite?
Answer: I did not hear a lot of ghost stories as a kid, although my dad was the first to tell me the ‘hook’ story everyone knows so well. I love ghost stories told to me by friends and acquaintances. When someone tells you they saw a ghost, it’s impossible not to believe them. It gives me chills. My favorite touristy activity is to visit old cities and go on their haunted ghost tours. I did this in Rome and Key West. In fact, my work-in-progress has a subplot where the main character works for one of those haunted tour companies. There is just something so haunting about taking a walk at night, gazing up at historic homes and hearing about the dead.

Question: What other supernatural/paranormal creatures do you love? Of those, which would you consider writing a story about?
Answer: I love witches. One of my favorite 80s movies is Teen Witch. I always wanted to have magical powers. Of course, now I just wish I could magically clean my house with the swoop of a magic wand. Piles of laundry? No more! Dirty toilets? Clean within seconds! My whole life would open up. To fully answer your question, I would totally write a story about witches. But I’d make them bad ass. Like rock chick witches. Oh, I guess like in the movie, The Craft.

Question: Would you ever consider writing other genres, such as contemporary? Or are you sticking with YA Paranormal romance/mystery?
Answer: I have two WIPs right now. One is a YA historical mystery and the other is a ghost story/mystery. If I decide to write a contemporary, a mystery will have to be its core.

Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: Hmm… I googled Fantasy Fest for my Key West mystery. Lots of naked people. That ended that subplot quickly.

Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: Excellent question. Since I’m also a YA librarian, I find recommending books is the next best thing to writing them. If you love Grunge Gods, I suggest you read In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. It’s a historical paranormal mystery set during the outbreak of the Spanish Influenza in 1918. It’s haunting and romantic and amazing. It has a mystery at its core too. If you want a straight up YA historical mystery, read The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni. Set in the aftermath of the Civil War, this book is an awesome who-dunnit with a little early forensic science. If you just love the 90s, then I suggest The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler.

Question: What are three must-have items when you sit down to write?
Answer: Ideally: strawberry shoestring licorice, iced coffee and monastery-like silence (meaning my kids are somewhere else)

Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: I am! I get so excited talking about new projects. I’m working on the first draft of a YA ghost story/mystery titled Dead and Breakfast. Set in present day Key West, it’s the story of two 17-year-olds who discover that the ghost haunting the old hotel is out for revenge against the boy she thinks murdered her 50 years ago. And my second project is a YA historical mystery set in 1955. An Argentine immigrant discovers the dead body of her soon-to-be stepfather. When everyone she loves is accused of the murder, she sets out to find the killer only to discover her stepfather was not who she thought he was.

Kim - HeadshotAbout Kim:
Kimberly G. Giarratano, a forever Jersey girl, now lives in the woods of northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and small children. A former teacher and YA librarian, Kimberly adores Etsy, Jon Stewart, The Afghan Whigs, ’90s nostalgia, and (of course) everything YA. She also speaks Spanish, but is woefully out of practice.

Kimberly always dreamed of being a published author. Her other dream is to live in Key West, Florida where she can write in a small studio, just like Hemingway.


Goodreads | Red Adept Publishing Profile

And now for the epic giveaway! Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Summer at Paradise Ranch by R. Barri Flowers (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Summer at Paradise Ranch banner
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Summer at Paradise Ranch Blog Tour! Today, I’m pleased to share an excerpt from the book with you. First, here’s the cover and synopsis:

Summer at Paradise Ranch CoverFrom R. Barri Flowers, author of the bestselling teen novels, COUNT DRACULA’S TEENAGE DAUGHTER, TEEN GHOST AT DEAD LAKE, and OUT FOR BLOOD, come the start of an exciting new young adult adventure series, SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH.

Four months shy of turning sixteen, Lexi Montoya was still trying to come to terms with her parents’ divorce and her mom’s remarriage to a man she met online, relocating to Maui, Hawaii.

Choosing to remain with her dad in Seattle, Lexi had planned to spend her first summer since the divorce hanging out with her boyfriend, Matt, and best friend, Robin. But her dad had other plans, insisting she spend the summer visiting her mom and stepdad at his ranch called Paradise Ranch in Wailuku, in west Maui.

Lexi went there with an attitude. Then she meets a cute Hawaiian guy named Mitsuo, is thrown into a love triangle, become friends with a teen girl living on a ranch next door, April; rides her first horse– an Arabian mare named Poppy– learns to hula dance and surf, and finds herself embroiled in a dangerous rescue mission when Poppy and another horse named Casper go missing from her stepfather’s ranch.

By the time her tropical summer adventure comes to an end, Lexi hates to leave Maui and say goodbye to Mitsuo. But can she stay when Matt is waiting for her back at home to pick up where they left off? Or will he lose her to a summer romance?

SUMMER AT PARADISE RANCH is a great coming of age adventure with young romance and mystery in paradise. Now in eBook, print, and audio.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

And here’s the excerpt:


It was the last day of school before summer break and Lexi Montoya was leaning against her locker facing her boyfriend, Matt Holloway. Next to Lexi was her best friend, Robin Forrester, who was facing her boyfriend, Dirk Watson. Just four months shy of her sixteenth birthday, Lexi hated the thought that instead of spending summer vacation in Seattle, where she lived and had her friends to hang out with, she was being forced by her dad to go visit her mother in Hawaii.

The same mother who had abandoned her nearly a year ago, divorced her dad, and married a man she’d met on the Internet. In Lexi’s way of thinking, she was in no hurry to see her mother again—certainly not anytime soon. But her father had other ideas, believing it would be good for her to try to repair the relationship with her mother. Lexi suspected that he had an ulterior motive for sending her packing to Maui. Her dad had a new girlfriend, whom she believed he wanted to spend more time with—minus the presence of a teenage daughter to mess things up.

The notion of being an ocean way from Matt for an entire summer annoyed Lexi. But she had no choice in the matter.

It didn’t set well with Matt either. “That sucks!” he complained as she broke the news to him, gazing down at her with deep blue eyes.

“I know, right,” Lexi told him, flipping her long brown hair over her shoulder.

“What am I going to do without my best friend?” Robin complained, her forehead creasing above thin brows.

Dirk rolled his eyes. “Are you kidding me? Who wouldn’t want to go to Hawaii for an all-expense paid trip to paradise?”

“Uh me,” Lexi said. “Especially when my life is right here.”

“And it’ll be here when you get back,” he said. “But going to Maui…wow. Maybe my mom should try to hook up with someone there. My dad probably wouldn’t care too much, since she’s always complaining that he never pays attention to her anyway.”

Robin frowned. “That’s not very nice.”

Dirk shrugged. “Hey, I’m just saying.”

“Maybe I should give you the ticket then,” Lexi suggested. “You can go in my place and I’ll stay at your house, with my dad totally clueless.”

Dirk laughed. “I think Matt would probably have a problem with that.”

Matt ran a hand through his thick brown hair. “I’d have more of a problem if she met some surfer dude in Hawaii and decided to kick me to the curb and never come back.”

Lexi met his eyes in earnest. “That’s not going to happen,” she promised. “No surfer dude could ever take your place with me.”
“You sure about that?”

“Positive. I’ll just be going through the motions and putting up with my mom until the summer ends and then I’m back here where I belong.”

That seemed to pacify him. “Cool,” he said, grinning, before giving her a kiss.

Lexi was only too happy to kiss him back, loving the feel of his lips on hers. Besides, she wanted the kiss to be enough for both of them to last through the entire summer.

“Get a room,” Robin joked.

Blushing, Lexi broke the lip lock. “We’ll pick it up later,” she promised Matt.

“Sounds good to me,” he said.

“I just hope that in between all that fun in the sun you find the time to text your best friend and boyfriend—like every day!” Robin said.

“Definitely,” Lexi promised, even though the last thing she expected was much fun while on the island, where she was headed against her wishes.

* * *

That evening, Lexi was packing and wishing she didn’t have to, when her father came into her room.

“Can I help with anything?” he asked.

She faced him and frowned. “Yes, you can tell me I can stay home for the summer.”

“We’ve already been through this, Lexi,” he said. “You need to spend some time with your mother.”

“Why should I?” she challenged him. “She walked out on us.”

“I know and I’m not excusing that. But she’s still your mother.”

“I wish she wasn’t!”

Lowell Montoya stepped closer to his daughter, his brow furrowed. “You don’t mean that.”

“Yes, I do,” Lexi insisted, or at least she did on some level. “How can you just pretend what she did to you when she ran off to be with another man is okay?”

“It’s not okay,” he said. “What she did was unforgivable. Except, at some point, you have to forgive, if not forget, and move on.”

“You mean move on to Rebecca?” Lexi shot him a cold stare. “Isn’t that really what this is about—shoving me aside so you can pretend I don’t exist, just like mom did?”

“No, honey, that’s not what this is about. I would never shove you aside for anyone, and I don’t think that’s what your mother was doing—not intentionally anyway.” He paused. “This will always be your home. My relationship with Rebecca has nothing to do with how I feel about you as my only child and someone I love dearly. You’ve always told me I need to get a life. So now I’m trying to take you up on that and see where it goes.”

“Yeah, well I’d like to do the same thing with my relationship with Matt,” she said.

“And you will have plenty of time for that,” he assured her. “Your mother’s not perfect and neither am I. She’s reached out to you. Just give her a chance.”

Lexi fixed him with teary eyes. “And what if I hate it there?”

“Then you can come home. But I’m pretty sure that, in spite of your beef with your mother and desire to stay in Seattle, there will be plenty of things in Maui to keep you occupied.”

“I hope so,” Lexi muttered, though all she could really think about at the moment was being forced to face the mother who had turned her back on her.

He wrapped his arms around her and Lexi rested her head against his chest. I know I have to do this, she told herself reluctantly. Otherwise, she might never find out why her parents’ marriage failed when she hadn’t seen it coming. Or would her mother not even bother to tell her side of the story?


The following morning, Lexi was on the long flight to Maui reading a novel. Or at least she was trying to. She had trouble concentrating, as she found herself thinking about Matt, whom she was already starting to miss. Also weighing on her mind was what to say to her mother. Very little had been said when she just up and left for Hawaii to start a new life, minus her husband and daughter. Lexi wondered how she could get past that now that her mom was hoping to reconnect with this visit.

I can never forgive her for what she did, Lexi thought, even if her dad seemed to have done just that now that someone else had come into his life. But if she was going to get through this summer, she just needed to keep her cool somehow and deal with it until it was time to go back home.

The plane touched down at Kahului Airport right on time. After grabbing her bag, Lexi made her way into the terminal, before spotting the familiar face.

Lexi was approached by her mother, who looked like her, with long brown hair and blue eyes, but was a little taller and a lot tanner. Standing beside her was a tall Hawaiian man in his late thirties with black hair in a short ponytail and a mustache.

“Hello, Lexi,” her mother said.

She did not respond while her mom gave her a brief hug.

“This is my husband, Ernesto Estrella.”

Lexi gazed up at him as he said, “Aloha, Lexi.”

“Hi,” she said tonelessly.

“How was your flight?” he asked.

“It was okay.”

Joyce Estrella smiled weakly at her daughter. “I’m sure you must be tired and hungry.”

“Kind of,” she admitted.

“Well, we’ll take care of that,” her mother said. “Let’s go get the rest of your bags and get out of here.”

Lexi, still in no mood to be too hospitable, rolled her eyes and said, “Whatever.”

When she stepped outside, the warm, muggy air hit her face and Lexi took a moment to survey the surroundings. She saw some palm trees and other Hawaiian scenery. She couldn’t believe she was in Hawaii on the island of Maui, which made her the envy of many of her friends. Then she came back down to earth when she remembered she was there under protest.

The drive in Ernesto’s Ford Bronco was mostly silent other than a few words by Ernesto, seemingly for effect. That was fine with her. Since she really didn’t have anything nice to say, she figured it was best not to say anything.

Soon she saw them pass by the sign to Wailuku, the place in west Maui, located in Maui County, where her mother and Ernesto lived. It was there that Ernesto operated a working ranch. Lexi had seen livestock at the State Fair and zoo, but never on an actual ranch. But she was more interested in going to the beach and swimming while in Hawaii.

They passed by a red-haired girl around Lexi’s age, who was riding a horse in a meadow. Lexi felt a little envious, since she had never been on a horse before. Maybe she would get the chance during this trip.

“Welcome to Paradise Ranch,” Ernesto announced, as they drove up a winding road and through some gates onto the property.
Once out of the car, Lexi took in the ranch with its rolling hills, grazing horses, goats, ducks, chickens, and more.
Ernesto chuckled. “It’s probably not what you’re used to back in Seattle.”

“No, not quite,” she admitted, carrying one of her bags.

“Don’t worry,” he said, holding her other bags. “You’ll feel at home in no time at all.”

Lexi wasn’t so sure about that, but gave him a tiny smile anyway. It left her when she looked at her mother.

A couple of men walked up to them in full cowboy attire.

“Well, who do have we here?” said the darker skinned lanky one with black hair.

“This is Lexi,” Ernesto said, “Joyce’s daughter. Yoshito is one of our ranch hands.”

“Aloha,” he said, tipping his hat.

“And that’s Doug, our ranch foreman.”

“Howdy,” he said with a nod.

“Hi,” Lexi told them, noting that the ranch foreman was shorter and older than the other one and had gray hair.

“Why don’t we go inside and show you around,” Ernesto said.

She nodded at the man who was now her stepfather, something that would take a lot of getting used to.

They headed for the main house, which was surrounded by swaying palm trees. It was huge with lots of windows and a wraparound lanai. Inside, it looked just as spectacular with high ceilings, hardwood floors, and nice furnishings. Lexi noted that the windows in the Great Room had amazing ocean views.

“This is your room,” Ernesto said on the second floor, as she followed him and her mother into it.

It was spacious, bright, and had a ceiling fan in motion.

Ernesto put her bags down. “I’ll leave you two alone and whip up something to eat,” he said, and gave Lexi’s mom a kiss on the mouth.

“We’ll be down soon,” she told him. When they were by themselves, her mother said, “I’m glad you came.”

Lexi curled her lip at the corner. “As if I had a choice.”

Joyce frowned. “Look, I know you’re angry, but I want to try to make it up to you, if you’ll let me.”

“I don’t see how you can,” Lexi told her honestly. “You left dad and you left me so you could hook up with a man you met on the Internet.”

“It wasn’t like that,” she said.

“So what was it like, Mom?” Lexi demanded. “What was so wrong with the life you had that you gave it all up for this?”
Joyce sucked in a deep breath. “It’s a long story.”

Lexi pursed her lips. “Yeah, right. You can’t possibly justify what you did. And forcing me to come here won’t make up for it.”

“Look, whether you like it or not, I’m still your mother.”

“No—you stopped being my mother the moment you abandoned me,” Lexi retorted.

Joyce sighed. “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

“Just leave me alone.”

She glared at her mother and watched as she left the room.

Lexi took a moment to calm down, while wondering if she had reacted too strongly without really giving her mother a chance to explain.

How did she expect me to act? Lexi asked herself, having had months for her feelings to fester.

She took out her cell phone and texted her dad, Matt, and Robin to let them know she had arrived safe and sound.

* * *

Lexi sat at a long dining room table eating Hawaiian barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, and pineapple coleslaw. She admitted to herself that it was good, while remaining silent as her mother and Ernesto chatted as if they were one big, happy family.

“So I’m sure you don’t know too much about me,” her stepfather said.

“Not really,” Lexi said, trying to remember the few things her mother had offered to share about the man she had married.

“Well, maybe I can fill in the blanks,” he said. “I lost my first wife nine years ago in a tragic accident. Back then, we had both hoped to run this ranch and have a family. Once Gloria was gone, I thought I’d never meet anyone to share my life with again. Then your mother stepped into it and, what do you know, we turned out to be a perfect fit. I couldn’t be happier, especially now that I’ve been given the opportunity to meet her beautiful daughter.”

“We’re not a family,” Lexi blurted out, even if she appreciated the compliment. “You’re not my father and she’s barely my mother.” She shot her mom a cold stare and stood up from the table.

“Sit back down right now, young lady!” Joyce ordered her.

“I need to get some air,” Lexi snapped back, and stormed off. She heard her mother say, “I’ll talk to her.”

Ernesto responded, “Let her go. Give her some time to cool off and adjust.”

Lexi didn’t know if either was possible. Why had her father made her come here anyway? Did he seriously believe that seeing her mother and another man play house and pretend everything was all right would make it so?

She went outside and saw the red-haired girl she noticed riding earlier approaching the house.

“You must be Lexi,” she said. “I’m April Ashbrook. I live next door, even though the houses around here are pretty spread out.”

Lexi walked up to her. They were about the same height and slender build. April’s hair was long, with bangs and was pulled back into a ponytail. She had aquamarine eyes.

“Hi,” Lexi said. “How did you know?”

“Your mom has practically been singing about her daughter coming to spend the summer,” April said.

Lexi cocked a brow. “Seriously?”

April smiled. “She and my mom have become good friends since your mother moved in with Ernesto. Joyce talks about you all the time, and how much she misses you. Does that surprise you?”

“Uh, yeah,” admitted Lexi. “My mom and I aren’t exactly on the best of terms right now.”

“Oh.” April eyed her. “Want to take a walk with me?”

Since Lexi wasn’t eager to go back into the house yet, this was a no brainer. “Okay.”

“So you’re from Seattle?”


“Cool. I was there once a long time ago, but I can’t remember much about it.”

“It’s a nice place to live,” Lexi said, proud to be from the Pacific Northwest.

“That’s great,” April told her. “Hawaii is pretty nice to call home, too.”

Lexi smiled as she thought about all the things Hawaii had to offer. “So how long have you lived in Maui?”

April grinned. “Pretty much my entire life. My dad is a retired member of the U.S. Coast Guard. He was stationed in Maui at Maalaea Harbor just a year after I was born and remained with the Coast Guard until five years ago.”

“So he’s now a farmer?”

April chuckled. “Actually, he’s a rancher, like Ernesto.”

“Is there really a difference?” Lexi asked.

“Not always. Farmers mostly cultivate land to produce food. Ranchers raise livestock, like cattle and horses. Some people are ranchers and farmers.”

Lexi blushed. “Thanks for the lesson for a city girl.”

April smiled. “Anytime.” She paused. “So what’s with you and your mom, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Actually, she did mind, since she barely even knew her. But she also felt comfortable around April, as though they were longtime friends.

“My mom met Ernesto online while she was still married to my dad.”

“Ouch!” April made a face. “I can see how that might piss you off.”


“Still, there are usually two sides to every story,” April said.


“Meaning that maybe she had a good reason for doing what she did.”

Lexi frowned. “Hey, my dad never cheated on my mom and he wasn’t abusive or like a mass murderer or anything.”

April chuckled. “That’s good to know—especially on those last two points. Neither was mine. But that didn’t stop my parents from separating for a while, before deciding to get back together. It’s been cool since then, but it doesn’t always work out that way for every married couple.”

“Yeah, I suppose you’re right,” Lexi conceded, and thought about Matt’s parents getting a divorce. It had taken him time to accept it, but it seemed like he had. Maybe she should too, since it was pretty obvious her parents weren’t ever getting back together. “It still hurts, though,” she told April.

“I know,” she said. “Maybe now that you’ll be spending the summer with your mom, you can get past that.”

Lexi nodded thoughtfully, while keeping her options open. “I saw you riding a horse when we drove in.”

“Yeah, I love riding horses,” April said. “I’ve been riding since I was nine. Do you ride?”

“Not yet,” Lexi admitted. “But I plan to learn.”

“It’s easy as pie. We should go riding together sometime.”

“Cool,” Lexi said, though preferring she had a little practice first, so she could keep up without falling on her butt.

“Well, I better get back home,” April said. “I have to feed the chickens.”

“Wow,” Lexi said. “Sounds like fun.”

April laughed. “Not really, but I like helping out around the ranch, especially during summer break. You’re welcome to join me anytime you want, though I’m guessing that your mom and Ernesto will probably be putting you to work at Paradise Ranch before you know it.”

Lexi chuckled uneasily. “Maybe. Right now, I just want to see how things go between me and my mom.” And Ernesto too, she thought, realizing he was part of the picture, whether she liked it or not.

R Barri FlowersAbout R. Barri Flowers:
R. Barri Flowers is the bestselling author of young adult novels, including OUT FOR BLOOD, COUNT DRACULA’S TEENAGE DAUGHTER, TEEN GHOST AT DEAD LAKE, GHOST GIRL IN SHADOW BAY, DANGER IN TIME, andCHRISTMAS WISHES: Laura’s Story. His novels can be found in print, eBook, and audio. In addition to bookstores, many of the titles can be found at public libraries across the country.

The author has also written a number of bestselling teen and young adult related nonfiction books as well, including RUNAWAY KIDS AND TEENAGE PROSTITUTION, KIDS WHO COMMIT ADULT CRIMES, and CHILDREN AND CRIMINALITY.

Follow R. Barri Flowers on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest Goodreads, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, LibraryThing,Flickr,and And learn more about the author in Wikipedia.

Website | Twitter

Facebook | MySpace

And now, here’s an epic giveaway you can enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: The Other Tree by DK Mok (Author Interview)

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of DK Mok’s blog tour for her novel, The Other Tree (January 2014, Spence City)! For my blog tour stop, I have an interview with DK. First, here’s some more information about The Other Tree:

The Other Tree

Family. Truth. Immortality.

Choose one.

It’s been four years since Chris Arlin graduated with a degree that most people think she made up, and she’s still no closer to scraping up funding for her research into rare plants. Instead, she’s stacking shelves at the campus library, until a suspiciously well-dressed man offers her a lucrative position on a scientific expedition.

For Chris, the problem isn’t the fact that they’re searching for the Biblical Tree of Life. Nor is it the fact that most of the individuals on the expedition seem to be fashionably lethal mercenaries. The problem is that the mission is being backed by SinaCorp, the corporation responsible for a similar, failed expedition on which her mother died eleven years ago.

However, when Chris’s father is unexpectedly diagnosed with inoperable cancer, Chris sees only one solution. Vowing to find the Tree of Life before SinaCorp’s mercenaries, Chris recruits Luke, an antisocial campus priest undergoing a crisis of faith. Together, they embark on a desperate race to find Eden. However, as the hunt intensifies, Chris discovers growing evidence of her mother’s strange behaviour before her death, and she begins to realise that SinaCorp isn’t the only one with secrets they want to stay buried.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

And now here’s the interview! Hope you guys enjoy it!

Question: Describe your book in ten words or less. Go!
Answer: Outcast botanist searches for Tree of Life in fantastical adventure.

Question: What scene do you most regret having to cut?
Answer: Thankfully, none of the scenes I loved ended up on the cutting room floor. If possible, I would have liked to fill the story with even more fascinating and improbable plants, but then it would have turned into a mythical botanical compendium.

Question: On the flip side, what was your favorite scene that got added during edits?
Answer: There’s a scene near the beginning that I was originally going to adjust to make the point-of-view transitions smoother. I ended up adding a chunk of new material, which had some really nice character moments, plus I squeezed in a Loki reference.

Question: Why the Tree of Life? Why Eden?
Answer: It was actually my sister who gave me the idea. She’s an avid reader, as well as an author herself, and she mentioned one day that she’d love to read a story about someone searching for the Tree of Life. I’ve always been intrigued by the themes in Genesis: mortality, knowledge, free will, and the choices we make. I’m also fascinated by botany, archaeology and ancient civilizations. Writing this story seemed like a great opportunity to fuse those things together in a sprawling adventure. And I couldn’t resist writing a novel with a botanist hero.

Question: Was it difficult balancing real Biblical events with the fictional parts of the story?
Answer: It’s always a challenge balancing different aspects of a novel – trying to remain authentic and accurate, while giving yourself artistic license to tell a particular story. For me, the most important things are being respectful to my readers, and writing the story I’m trying to tell.

Question: If you were to write another Biblical story, which Biblical event would you select and why?
Answer: I’m not sure if I’d write another story with Biblical elements. The Other Tree was such a particular story for me, about these specific characters and their individual journeys. I tend to be guided by which story is calling to me the strongest, so I just have to see where my writing takes me.

Question: After reading The Other Tree, what’s one thing you hope your readers come away with, or one lesson you want them to have learned?
Answer: One of my main goals as a writer is to create stories that are entertaining and heartfelt. Books have always been a great source of comfort and inspiration for me, and I’ve always loved stories that take me to amazing places, plunge me into thrilling escapades, and introduce me to people I can’t bear to let go of when the last page turns. I hope my readers finish the book feeling like they’ve just been on a fantastic adventure with good friends.

Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: I don’t know if I can pick the craziest, but there are certainly plenty of fascinating things I’ve learned. One of the fun and challenging things I had to research for The Other Tree was figuring out if it was biologically possible to create plants that can run around at human speed…

Question: Biggest writing quirk?
Answer: Notepads and pens. Everywhere. I always have them on hand in case I have an idea. If I don’t write it down straight away, I’m liable to forget.

Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: I’m very much inspired by Terry Pratchett’s books. I love the way he blends quirky humour with meaningful themes, and creates such imaginative fantasy worlds, while ensuring that his characters are grounded in empathetic and believable situations. I strive to strike the same kind of balance between fun, fantastical stories, and thoughtful, emotional journeys.

Question: What are three must-have items when you sit down to write?
Answer: Thesaurus. Silence. Snacks. Lots of snacks.

Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: I’m very excited to be in the editing stages of my next novel, an epic fantasy standalone called Hunt for Valamon. It’s another fun adventure, but just a touch darker. It’s being released by Spence City in February 2015.


About DK MOK:
DK Mok lives in Sydney, Australia, and writes fantasy, science fiction and urban fantasy novels and short stories. DK’s debut urban fantasy novel, The Other Tree, was released in 2014 by Spence City (an imprint of Spencer Hill Press), and her short story ‘Morning Star’ (One Small Step, FableCroft) was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award.

DK grew up in libraries, immersed in lost cities and fantastic worlds, populated by quirky bandits and giant squid. She graduated from UNSW with a degree in Psychology, pursuing her interest in both social justice and scientist humour.

She’s fond of cephalopods, androids, global politics, rugged horizons, science and technology podcasts, and she wishes someone would build a labyrinthine library garden so she can hang out there. Her favourite fossil deposit is the Burgess Shale.


Twitter | Goodreads

Review: Uncaged by John Sandford & Michele Cook (Blog Tour)

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Uncaged by John Sandford & Michele Cook (Blog Tour)Uncaged by John Sandford, Michele Cook
Series: The Singular Menace #1
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on July 8, 2014
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

#1 New York Times bestselling Prey author John Sandford and Michele Cook debut a high-octane young adult thriller series.

Shay Remby arrives in Hollywood with $58 and a handmade knife, searching for her brother, Odin.

Odin’s a brilliant hacker but a bit of a loose cannon. He and a group of radical animal-rights activists hit a Singular Corp. research lab in Eugene, Oregon. The raid was a disaster, but Odin escaped with a set of highly encrypted flash drives and a post-surgical dog.

When Shay gets a frantic 3 a.m. phone call from Odin—talking about evidence of unspeakable experiments, and a ruthless corporation, and how he must hide—she’s concerned. When she gets a menacing visit from Singular’s security team, she knows: her brother’s a dead man walking.

What Singular doesn’t know—yet—is that 16-year-old Shay is every bit as ruthless as their security force, and she will burn Singular to the ground, if that’s what it takes to save her brother.

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Uncaged blog tour! Today, I’m sharing with you my 4-star review of this epic young adult thriller. Enjoy!

Uncaged is unlike anything I’ve ever read and it’s definitely not a genre I usually gravitate towards. However, I enjoyed every single second of this thriller; it was a fast-paced read that kept me on my toes, dying to know what happened next. I would sit down, intending to only read a handful of chapters and I would end up reading a huge chunk of the book in a single sitting – I just couldn’t put it down!

At first, I really didn’t connect with Shay, the main character. However, I liked her right from the beginning – does that make sense? Normally, when I can’t connect with a character, it ruins the story for me. But I had nothing against Shay, so I still enjoyed getting to know her and seeing her story and her journey. She was never weak or defenseless. She was always strong and able to take care of herself, but I definitely still saw a lot of character growth in her from beginning to end. She starts out as more of a loner, in desperate need to find her brother. From there, she really opens up and begins to trust the people she has come to consider friends. And before that, trust was definitely not something Shay gave easily to anyone besides her brother.

Odin was interesting… From the synopsis, it seems like Uncaged is his story, but it’s really not. His actions get the story going, but it’s really Shay’s story. Odin is more in the background. Shay had to go looking for him and he’s the reason Singular goes after Shay. Without Odin doing what he did, Shay never would have gone to California and never would have met Twist, Cade, Cruz, Emily, etc. So, as I said, his actions get the story going, but this is truly Shay’s story.

I loved, loved, LOVED Twist. When we were first introduced to him, I was completely confused and uninterested. I mean, Shay describes him as looking like the Cat in the Hat and below is one of the first interactions we have with him:

“‘Assault on me is an insult to Dum and Dee,’ the Cat in the Hat said.”

I mean… What?? But as time went on, I pretty much adored him and everything about him. Clearly, this book is some kind of take on Oliver Twist. The hacking, the group home, the leader (Twist) – and obviously his name alone incites comparisons. To be honest, my first thought was “This book reminds me of Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes… And that was a loose take on Oliver Twist. So if that’s the case, this must be a take on Oliver Twist, too!”

I loved West. I don’t think I was supposed to.. I mean, technically, he’s not one of the good guys – at least in the beginning. But there was just something about him from very early on that made me adore him. I can’t explain it beyond that without risking spoilers. I will say, though, that the way his story ended in Uncaged… It broke my heart!

I loved the secondary characters in this book, as well. Cade, Cruz, Emily – and yes, X, especially! They, along with Twist and Shay, were like a family. Maybe not in the beginning, but they came to be. They always had each other’s backs.

Despite how much I enjoyed Uncaged, I did have a few problems with it, as well. The plot and timeline were not straight-forward. We’d have two chapters in a row that were from Shay’s story. Then, we’d skip to Odin’s story and it was something that took place hours (sometimes days) prior to Shay’s chapters. It was really confusing. Also, there were too many characters and too many plots and I just couldn’t keep track of what was going on and who was who most of the time. I still can’t sort out who half the Singular characters are… However, over time, I did get used to the writing style and it became easier to understand what was happening.

There was also a lot of technical jargon that I didn’t understand and I had to stumble my way through it. It wasn’t so confusing that it ruined the story for me; however, the story would have been MUCH better if I’d understand it.

Finally, I’m a HUGE animal lover. Going into this book, I knew it dealt with animal experimentation and lab experimentation and I tried to look past it because the overall plot sounded epic, but certain scenes just absolutely broke my heart, so that was difficult.

But then that ending.. WOW! That ending was insane, action-packed, crazy… I could go on and on. My heart was in my throat for much of the ending. Several things happened that I didn’t expect. I love the set-up for book two, though, and I’m really, really excited to see what happens next!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had an interesting plot and intriguing characters. Plus, it’s not something I normally read and it was nice to discover a new genre. I definitely recommend this book to fans of Oliver Twist, as well as to fans of books that feature computer hacking and Oliver Twist-like plots, such as Remember Me by Romily Bernard, Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes and Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon.


Blog Tour: Blood for the Sun by Errick Nunnally (Excerpt)

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Blood for the Sun (Spencer Hill Press, July 1, 2014) Blog Tour. Today, I’m pleased to share with you an excerpt from the book. But first, here’s the book’s cover and synopsis. Hope you enjoy!

Blood for Sun
After more than one hundred and forty years, Alexander Smith is suffering from memory loss that plagues him like a supernatural Alzheimer’s. He has lasted longer than most by clinging to the love he has for his adopted daughter, the vampire Ana, and puzzling out cases of missing or murdered children. Without them, he wouldn’t be able to ignore the ghost of a child from his guilty past or fight the whispers goading him to kill. On his latest job, he’s stumbled upon a vampire conspiracy that has left a trail of child murders up and down the East Coast-a conspiracy that promises inoculation against the sun. If true, the conspirators’ success would mean a bloody conflict, altering the balance between humans and the supernatural forever. Losing more of his mind every day, Alexander has two impossible tasks ahead of him if the world is to survive: stop the vampire coven and reconnect with his humanity.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble


And here’s the excerpt! Enjoy!

“Damn the world, I’m hungry. My mouth was watering and I was only somewhat ashamed to admit that the thought wasted meat kept crossing my mind. Children are a guilty pleasure–even an addiction.

I swore them off a lifetime ago.

Standing outside, I could smell the death of her. The number 1329, stenciled on the facade, identified the building from its indistinguishable brothers and sisters. It was near dawn in the Peter O’Neil projects, and a dead black girl lay upstairs in a building that looked as if the bricks had been molded with clotted blood.

Two City of Boston detectives met me here. These were the right people to care, but there were never enough of them. The forensics team hadn’t arrived yet. Delayed, I presumed, by the unusually high rate of murder this year or some clever words from one of the detectives.

The cops were concerned because, over time, they’ve developed two necessary survival skills: one, the ability to detect a predator, and two, the wherewithal not to ignore that information. My attendance was always a bizarre problem, a discussion no one wants to have–even with themselves.”

NunnallyAbout Errick:
Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, Errick A. Nunnally served one tour in the Marine Corps before deciding art school would be a safer–and more natural–pursuit. He remains distracted by art, comics, and genre novels. A designer by trade, he is a black belt in Krav Maga with Muay Thai kickboxing mixed in. His work has appeared in eFiction’s inaugural SciFi issue and in the anthologies Doorways to Extra Time, Wicked Seasons, Inner Demons Out, A Dark World of Spirits and The Fey, After the Fall, and In Vein. Errick’s novel Blood For The Sun is available from Spence City.


Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour: Quantum Spirit – Apocalypse by Sallie Haws (Book Promo + Book Trailor)

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the Quantum Spirit – Apocalypse Blog Tour! Today, I’m pleased to share the brand new book trailer with you. First, here’s the cover and synopsis:

Quantum Spirit cover‘She’s gone!’ Katrina’s eyes were big as saucers.

I guess she didn’t really believe that I would disappear because the color had drained from her face as she stared wide-eyed and slack jawed at the center of the circle. The others opened their eyes in awe. I felt the strength of the circle fluctuate with the drop in energy, and the vibrancy of the colors dimmed as the group’s anxiety increased causing the contraction of their auras.

Then I noticed the woman . . . ‘Hello, Salena,’ she greeted me with a smile.
‘My name is Amalya Gaian. Welcome to the Fifth Dimension.’

Salena Hawthorne is coming of age in more ways than one. And, the changes she is experiencing go way beyond simple hormonal overload. When her “family gift” comes on with a vengeance, Salena has to learn how to channel her developing psychic abilities to stop a pandemic from wiping out millions of lives.

Her newfound gifts of reading auras and inter-dimensional travel give Salena more trouble than she is ready to handle. With the weight of several worlds on her shoulders, Salena will need to call on her family, the Society of the Silver Moon, her Spirit Guide, and a few other unexpected allies to take on the supernatural enemies that threaten their very existence.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Indigo | iBooks

And here’s the book trailer! Enjoy!!


Sallie Haws Author picAbout Sallie Haws: 
As the great-granddaughter of the inventor of the drinking fountain and founder of Haws Corporation, Sallie Haws put her UC Santa Barbara bachelor’s degree in organizational psychology to work to make a positive impact on her family’s business. Sallie held numerous jobs in the company over her 26-year tenure from file clerk to President and CEO.

At a young age, Sallie’s passion for writing was fed by taking creative writing classes in high school and college. It was nursed along throughout her adult years by a voracious reading habit of paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy novels.

After selling the family business in 2011, Sallie finally had the time and inspiration to write.

“Quantum Spirit – Apocalypse” (August 2013, Fedd Books) is the culmination of years of personal and professional life experience combined with the desire to empower, entertain and inspire adults and teenagers.

Sallie lives in Reno, Nevada, with her husband, son, daughter and black kitty named Chubs.


Facebook | LinkedIn

Review: A Matter of Forever by Heather Lyons (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Matter of Forever by Heather Lyons (Blog Tour + Giveaway)A Matter of Forever by Heather Lyons
Series: Fate #4
Published by Cerulean Books on May 13, 2014
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

It all comes down to this . . .

Chloe Lilywhite has struggled for years to find her footing in a series of dangerous and demanding worlds. Creator, first tier Council member, and one of the most powerful Magicals in existence, she was little more than one of Fate’s pawns. But now, Chloe is back home and ready to call the shots. She knows what she wants and who she wants to be.

Except the Elders never got the memo.

Annar and Magical-kind are under attack. The lives of Chloe’s loved ones, and life as they know it, are at stake. Chloe's the key to taking the Elders down, but they won't go quietly into the night.

This time, neither will Chloe.

*This is a New Adult title, suitable for readers 18+

AMOF BT Banner

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the A Matter of Forever tour! I’m very excited to be a part of this blog tour! Heather is amazing and I absolutely LOVED this book!!!! I hope you enjoy my review!

This book shattered my feels, brought me to tears and filled me with more joy than any other book ever has or ever will. Heather’s writing is so melodic and she crafted a gorgeous ending to an incredible series, one that will stay with me forever.

I feel like I say this every time, but Chloe has grown SO much from the first book to now. She started out as a young, frightened (though never helpless) girl and matured into a bright, strong, mature young woman. She fought harder than she has ever fought before. She knew when to give up, when to ask for help and when to keep pushing until she achieved her desired goals. She also knew when to let go… But I can’t explain that because of spoilers.

Jonah was… Wow. And Kellan? Omg.. Wow… First of all, I just want to say this: You know a love triangle is amazingly well-done when you root for one person, but know the MC will end up with the other – and you’re perfectly okay with that, because you know, deep down, it’s meant to be. Now, for those of you who know which Team I’m on, this may seem like a spoilers, though I can assure you, it’s not. And for those of you who don’t know which Team I’m on, you’ll need to read the books to truly find out! But it needed to be said because Heather is such a brilliant writer, she managed to pull off one of my all-time favorite love triangles EVER. And she did it in such an amazing way, I’m completely satisfied with the way things ended. I’m still heartbroken over certain things, but I’m completely satisfied.

It’s hard to say which twin matured more in this final book. For Jonah, he got over his trust and anger issues. He was no longer like a ticking time-bomb, ready to explode. When things needed to be asked or said, he asked them and said them. He was open and honest and so, so good to Chloe in this book. Then there was Kellan. Kellan had to grow up a LOT in this series. He had to accept so many things. In the past, he ran away from his problems rather than face them. But in A Matter of Forever, he accepted things and faced them head-on. He didn’t run; rather, he came to a mature decision, weighed the pros and cons and did what he felt was best for everyone involved.

Of course, no review of a Fate book would be complete without mentioning how much I adore Astrid, Callie, Cora, Cameron, Will, Raul and so many others. Unlike some books, where secondary characters are just that – secondary and in the background, Heather has crafted these amazing characters, family and friends, people you wish you could know in real life. I don’t want to say too much and spoil things, but I’m truly happy with where their stories ended – though still heartbroken for some of them.

The deaths in this book – and yes, I’m sad to say that there were several lives lost – dealt a crushing blow. I had to stop reading after two deaths in particular. I raged against them. I kept telling myself they hadn’t actually happen, they had to be a dream. I felt both losses just as greatly as the characters did. I’m still dealing with them, mourning the losses with a broken heart. The outcome of the one, well… Spoiler. So I can’t say, but I can say that at least the one was for the best. That’s not to say I’ll ever heal from that loss (I know, I’m speaking as if this truly happened in real life… but that’s how much these characters have come to man to me), but I know I’ll heal over time.

And yes, that brings me to say that my feels were utterly destroyed with this book. After four books and one novella, these characters have become like family to me. They feel so real and we’ve been through so much together, it’s hard to see them as fictional. Though we still have Kellan’s novella to look forward to, this is pretty much the end of this series and and I just can’t fathom it. I can’t imagine not having another book in this series to look forward to. It baffles me that this is the end and I won’t get to know what happens next for these characters.

But with that said, the ending was absolute perfection. I definitely cried several times throughout the book, but the end brought me tears of joy. I can’t imagine this series ending in any other way and I’m so, so happy with where all the characters stories ended.

This will, forever and always, be considered one of my Top Three favorite series’ of all time. I can see myself re-reading it for years to come. If you haven’t read this series, then you must. With realistic, lovable characters, a plot that is like nothing I have ever read and the most amazing, satisfying ending, I promise you, you will NOT be disappointed.


HeatherBW2About Heather Lyons:

Heather Lyons has always had a thing for words—She’s been writing stories since she was a kid. In addition to writing, she’s also been an archaeologist and a teacher. Heather is a rabid music fan, as evidenced by her (mostly) music-centric blog, and she’s married to an even larger music snob. They’re happily raising three kids who are mini music fiends who love to read and be read to.

Heather’s Website | Heather’s Twitter

Heather’s Facebook | Heather’s Goodreads

Heather’s Pinterest

Thanks to Inkslinger PR and Heather Lyons, we have an amazing giveaway set up for you guys! Please enter by using the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Blog Tour + Author Interview: Between Two Worlds by Katherine Kirkpatrick

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of Katherine Kirkpatrick’s blog tour for her novel, Between Two Worlds (April 8, 2014)! For my blog tour stop, I have an interview with Katherine. First, here’s some more information about Between Two Worlds:

Between 2 Worlds cover for blog
On the treeless shores of Itta, Greenland, as far north as humans can settle, sixteen-year-old Inuit Billy Bah spots a ship far out among the icebergs on the bay–a sight both welcome and feared. Explorers have already left their indelible mark on her land and its people, and a ship full of white men can mean trouble.

The ship carries provisions for Robert E. Peary, who is making an expedition to the North Pole. As a child, Billy Bah spent a year in America with Peary’s family. When her parents went to America years later, they died in a tragic scandal. Now, Peary’s wife, daughter, and crew are in Itta to bring him supplies. Winter comes on fast, and when the ship gets caught in the ice, Billy Bah sets out to find Peary. The journey will imperil her life, and that of the man she loves.

By turns lyrical and gripping, Between Two Worlds is an impassioned coming-of-age novel set in a land of breathtaking beauty and danger, where nature and love are powerful and unpredictable forces.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

And now here’s the interview! Hope you guys enjoy it!

Question: What made you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Answer: In the sixth grade I wrote a story about vampire bats attacking a scientist. My teacher praised it as “absolutely superb!” And it was fun to startle my classmates. After that I wanted to be a writer.

Question: Why did you choose the historical fiction genre? Specifically, what drew you to YA historical fiction?
Answer: I grew up in Stony Brook, New York, a town rich in history. My mother frequently took me on tours of local colonial houses, and my brother loved old cemeteries. We lived near a cluttered and dimly lit carriage museum, where my favorite exhibit was a gypsy wagon with a costumed manikin peering out of it. Spooky!

When I started to write novels, I found myself drawn to YA’s coming-of-age themes of independence, discovery, maturity, and relationships.

Question: How did you come up with the concept for Between Two Worlds?
Answer: In the Hall of Meteorites at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, I noticed a photo of four-year-old Marie Peary, the daughter of Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary, onboard a ship with the gigantic Ahnighito meteorite. After researching Marie’s life, I started a novel. I showed it to editor Mary Cash at Holiday House, along with stunning photographs of Marie in Arctic Greenland. With the photos in mind, Mary encouraged me to write a nonfiction book, The Snow Baby, which she published in 2007.

Years later I returned to the novel. It took on new life when I decided to switch perspectives, telling the story from an Inuk girl’s point of view.

Question: Between Two Worlds is based on a true story. What’s real and what’s made up?
Answer: About eighty percent of the book is based on historical events. Sixteen-year-old Inuk Billy Bah joined the Peary family on Peary’s ship Windward, which became locked in ice for eight months in 1900-1901. The incidents that will shock you the most in the book are unfortunately true. But the love story involving Billy Bah and the sailor is fictionalized.

Question: Tell us about the real Billy Bah.
Answer: Billy Bah, also known by her Inuk name, Eqariusaq, was born around 1884 in a remote coastal area of Arctic Greenland. When she was about eleven, she spent a year in Washington, D.C. with Peary’s family. She was both orphaned and married around age fourteen. Peary referred to her as his most expert seamstress. She sewed the fur coat that explorer Matthew Henson wore during the famed Peary expedition of 1909 to the North Pole.

Question: Let’s talk about the editing process. What scene do you most regret having to cut?
Answer: My editor Wendy Lamb asked me to create flashbacks from Billy Bah’s year in America. I added fifty new pages of backstory then, of course, had to cut most of it. I especially liked the scenes of Billy Bah experiencing nature. Growing up in a polar climate, she’d never even seen trees or squirrels – parts of life that are so common to us, we almost forget them most of the time.

Question: On the flip side, what was your favorite scene that got added during edits?
Answer: In a flashback, Billy Bah’s father teaches her not to be scared of darkness. He shows her how the winter sky glows with the colors of their Ancestors (the beautiful display we know as the Northern Lights). She remembers: “Only years later, after I’d returned from the white man’s land, did I fully appreciate the calm and softness, the peace and joy, of our starry season. By then I’d learned about real terrors.”

Question: The setting of 1901 Arctic Greenland plays a distinct and significant role in the novel. How did you make Billy Bah’s story come alive for today’s teens?
Answer: The key to historical fiction or drama is to put the past into the present by zeroing in on universal themes that everyone can relate to such as the desire to belong or the need for independence. Regardless of their time period, people have always shared many of the same core fears and desires. A common teenage dilemma is that at some point we must act under pressure and make difficult choices. That’s when we show “our stuff”— our strength of character. This was as true in 1901 as it is in 2014.

Question: What was it like to have Madeleine L’Engle as a writing teacher?
Answer: Madeleine was the most extraordinary person I’ve ever known. She was magnificent, regal, wise, kind, radiant. In her long, colorful, loose-fitting African dresses and exotic jewelry, she was also eccentric and a great deal of fun. As a writing teacher she wasn’t what you would expect. Instead of talking about plot, character, or story structure, she preferred more abstract themes about the larger role of writing and art in our lives, such as the concept of story being truth. Her belief about writing was that it’s an entry into the larger Cosmos. Writing is about taking a shared journey, she said. In the ten years I knew Madeleine, she taught me about the life of spirit and the value of community. I met most of my closest friends through her.

Question: What is a typical day like for you, as far as your writing schedule goes?
Answer: I write in the mornings until the early afternoons. Later in the day, I take my two middle school-age daughters to their music lessons and other activities.

Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: I researched Inuit women washing their hair with urine. It would have put off readers, so I ended up not including that info.

Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: The Snow Baby is a great companion title. All known photographs of Billy Bah appear in that book, as well as a spectacular photo of the ice-locked Windward. Also check out Boreal Ties: Photographs and Two Diaries of the 1901 Peary Relief Expedition, edited by Kim Fairley Gillis and Silas Hibbard Ayer III. Billy Bah makes a cameo appearance in the YA novel Smiler’s Bones by Peter Lerangis. And if you think you can stand to learn all the gory details of Peary’s 1897 expedition and its aftermath, read Give Me My Father’s Body by Kenn Harper.

For Arctic adventure stories and books on doomed voyages, Google Ernest Shackleton, the Endurance, Robert Scott, Raoul Amundsen, or the Franklin Expedition. Readers interested in historical YA books featuring native characters should definitely check out titles by Louise Erdrich and Joseph Bruchac, as well as older titles by Scott O’Dell.

In more general terms, Between Two Worlds follows in the vein of serious, edgy historical fiction like Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (my good friend, Google our names together for articles about us), Fever, The Book Thief, Between Shades of Gray, and The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing.

Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: I’m writing a novel set in England and Egypt in 1922-1923, during the opening of King Tut’s tomb. My real-life protagonist grew up in Highclere Castle, now popular as the set for the hit British TV series “Downton Abbey.” I’m excited to return to Highclere this April.


Katherine author photo
I grew up in Stony Brook, New York, the youngest of three children. My mother instilled in us a love of reading. I published two nonfiction titles, The Snow Baby and Mysterious Bones. Like The Snow Baby, my new young adult novel, Between Two Worlds (Wendy Lamb Books, April 2014), involves Arctic exploration. Currently I’m working on a novel set in England and Egypt in 1922-23, during the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.

Aside from reading, writing, history, and archaeology, some of my other interests include playing the harp, growing orchids, drawing, painting, hiking, camping, and bird watching.

Fancy, my old, gray tabby cat, keeps me company while I work. All freelance writers should have pets.

Find Katherine Online:

Website | Blog

Twitter | Facebook

Review: My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

I received this book for free from Rockstar Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris (Blog Tour + Giveaway)My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris
Series: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #3
Published by Entangled Teen on April 21, 2014
Pages: 250
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy on Amazon

Cat Crawford just wants to be normal—or at least as normal as a daughter of Hollywood royalty can be. And it looks like fate is granting her wish: she’s got an amazing boyfriend, Lucas; her fabulous cousin, Alessandra, living with her; and her dad planning his second marriage to a great future stepmom. That is, until her prodigal mother reveals on national television that she has something important to tell her daughter…causing a media frenzy.

Lucas Capelli knows his fate is to be with Cat, and he’s worked hard to win her over once and for all. Unfortunately, Lucas has his own issues to deal with, including a scandal that could take him away from the first place he’s truly belonged.

As secrets are revealed, rumors explode, and the world watches, Cat and Lucas discover it’s not fate they have to fight if they want to stay together…this time, it’s their own insecurities.

Well, and the stalkerazzi.

Super Sweet Banner copy
Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the My Not So Super Sweet Life blog tour! I’m very excited to be a part of this blog tour! Rachel is AMAZING and I absolutely loved My Not So Super Sweet Life!! I hope you enjoy my review!

Rachel Harris has done it again! My Not So Super Sweet Life (MNSSSL) was an amazing journey filled with beloved characters and timeless lessons. I’ve loved every book that Harris has written and she will continue to be on my auto-buy list for a long time to come.

Cat has grown so much since My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (MSSSC, book one). In the beginning, she kept her feeling and emotions well guarded. She didn’t trust anyone and didn’t let anyone get too close. She didn’t have many friends because of this and she refused to let herself fall for anyone, for fear she would end up heartbroken. So much of this changed after her trip to the past, but she still had a lot of trust issues. In MNSSSL, she really worked through a huge chunk of those trust issues. I definitely think having Alessandra around helped. She also never forgot the lessons she learned in the past and she constantly tried to remind herself of those lessons. I wasn’t a huge Cat fan in MSSSC but I really grew to love her in MNSSSL.

Lucas… Wow, Lucas… Can I just say I swooned over him and leave it at that? No? You want more details? Okay. Lucas is amazing, kind, sweet, patient, loving and wonderful. Like all of Harris’ swoon-worthy guys, he makes you grin like an idiot and wish fictional boys were real. He knew when to be there for Cat and when to give her space. He was always a gentleman and always seemed to say the right thing. I LOVED LOVED LOVED having his POV in this book. Getting into his mind took this book to a whole new level. I felt like we really got to know him and feel for him and we got to see a whole new side of Cat by seeing her through his eyes.

I still adore Austin to pieces and I’m glad he was in MNSSSL as much as he was. He and Alessandra are amazingly adorable together and I loved how he had Cat’s back and the ways in which he was there for Lucas.

I LOVED LOVED LOVED Ransom. Before reading MNSSSL, I saw a lot of friends reading and commenting on how amazing he was – they even asked, begged and pleaded for a book with him. Now that I’ve read it, I can see why!!! And I truly hope he gets his own book, as well!!! I’d love to learn more about him, get inside his head and find out about his past.

I also loved the little bit we got from Reyna’s perspective and I’d absolutely love to see her get her own book, too. She’s a fascinating character. Until now, we’ve only seen her as a Gypsy guide. She’s constantly helping others, but I’d love to see her help herself for once. She deserves a happily ever after and, as a reader, I’d love to go on that journey with her.

There were some really intense, emotional scenes in this book. And I feel like I went through every single emotional upheaval that the characters went through – When they were happy, I was happy; when they were crushed, I was crushed. My heart broke for them at times; yet, at times, my heart soared with joy for them. The ending felt like it went full-circle from the first book, too, which gave closure to everything.

Overall, I adored this book so much; I could go on and on, gushing about it for hours. But I’ll leave you with this: Rachel Harris is amazing. Everything she writes is amazing. All her guys are swoon-worthy and hot. If you haven’t read her books yet, DO IT. What are you waiting for?!?! I promise, you won’t be disappointed!!


As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels. As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends.

She grew up in New Orleans, watching soap operas with her grandmother and staying up late sneak reading her mam’s favorite romance novels. Now a Cajun cowgirl living in Houston, she still stays up too late reading her favorite romances, only now, she can do so openly. She firmly believes life’s problems can be solved with a hot, powdered-sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations.
She homeschools her two beautiful girls and loves watching reality television with her amazing husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult Fun, Flirty Escapes, and LOVES talking with readers!

Find Rachel Online:

Website | Blog

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

And finally, we also have a giveaway going on for this blog tour! Up for grabs?
-One handmade sterling silver necklace that retailed over $130. It is an eight petal rose and a replica of the one Lucas gives Cat for Valentine’s Day in the book.
– One rare, signed paperback. US Only.

necklace 1 necklace 2

Please enter by using the Rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full Tour Schedule:

Week One:
4/21/2014- Jenna Does Books– Review
4/21/2014- Coffee, Books and Me– Interview
4/22/2014- Meredith & Jennifer’s Musing– Review
4/22/2014- Vi3tbabe– Excerpt
4/23/2014- Pandora’s Books– Review
4/23/2014- Stuck In Books– Guest Post
4/24/2014- The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club– Review
4/24/2014- Library of a Book Witch– Excerpt
4/25/2014- Every Free Chance Book Reviews-– Review
4/25/2014- Book Loving Mom– Excerpt

Week Two:
4/28/2014- The Book Belles– Review
4/28/2014- Mercurial Musings– Excerpt
4/29/2014- Mundie Moms– Review
4/29/2014- The Cover Contessa– Guest Post
4/30/2014- Book Angel Booktopia– Review
4/30/2014- Swoony Boys Podcast– Interview
5/1/2014- Bookaholics Anonymous– Review
5/1/2014- TSK TSK What to Read– Excerpt
5/2/2014- Once upon a twilight– Review
5/2/2014- Fantasy Book Addict– Guest Post


Blog Tour + Author Interview: Fire of the Sea by Lyndsay Johnson

fire of the sea banner

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of Lyndsay Johnson’s blog tour for her novel, Fire of the Sea (March 24, 2014)! For my blog tour stop, I have an interview with Lyndsay. First, here’s some more information about Fire of the Sea:

Fire of the Sea cover

Sharp, sleek, and golden. Like the dagger she has worn since childhood, eighteen-year-old Aeva is all three of these things. But there is something else that this mermaid and her prized weapon share – they are both hunted.

Hidden within the caves off Iceland’s dark shore, Aeva waits to take her place as the next ruler of the Meriads. But when Aeva uses her potent and alluring song to save a drowning human, she disrupts a delicate balance. Realizing she has unexpectedly bound herself to Gunnar, Aeva is torn between duty and love.

Aeva severs one life to begin another, and soon finds herself not only rejected by the sea, but also stalked by an old enemy. As the worlds of myth and man intertwine, Aeva will challenge fate to protect her own sacred relic and the man she loves.

But legends and lies cast an intricate net. With time and safety quickly unraveling for Aeva and Gunnar, there is only one clear course: Find and defeat Delphine before she can shift again.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

For the blog tour, Lyndsay was kind enough to share an excerpt from Fire of the Sea with us. This comes from Chapter 2: The Call. Enjoy!

In the deepening blue, what appeared to be an enormous jellyfish was descending slowly and steadily. A white plume the size of a ship’s sail, with long trailing tentacles, hung in the agitated water. Part of it still clung to the surface.

I moved closer. Reaching out, my fingers felt the edges of the ghostly form. Fabric. I’d read of its tight weave used in human clothing. I’d never seen so much of it, much less touched it.

White strings were attached to the fabric, tangling down into the depths. My gold hair whirled in front of my face as I paused to make sense of what hovered before me. As I whipped my head around for clarity, I saw him.

Snared at the center of the mass was a young man. A human. What I had first thought to be a jellyfish was something else entirely. The human was attached to the now collapsing net of fabric and rope by a bundle strapped to his back and shoulders. He sank deeper and deeper in a slow-motion descent, as the last of the fabric slipped below the surface. His head was bowed, but his body wasn’t completely limp. He struggled sluggishly. Was he giving up? Why didn’t he remove the pack?

It took me a moment to tear myself away from my fascination. I managed to remember that humans couldn’t hold air in their lungs underwater for very long. They would lose strength in the sea, not gain it. He was drowning.

And now here’s the interview! Hope you guys enjoy it!

Question: Describe your book in ten words or less. Go!
Answer: Daughter of the Sea, Viking son, coveted relic, common enemy!

Question: Where did the idea for Fire of the Sea come from?
Answer: I had a dream, actually. I’ve always had really vivid, detailed dreams. One morning I woke up after dreaming that I was a mermaid. I had rescued a pilot who had fallen from his plane (he was being dragged under by his parachute). I was swimming through all of this billowing, white fabric. It was amazing. I woke up and had to type a rough draft of what would eventually become the second chapter in my book.

Question: Why mermaids?
Answer: It seemed like the right time (and because who doesn’t love mermaids). We’ve seen a lot of vampires and zombies, and I wanted to write something that didn’t feel as dark. Of course I do have a few dark characters in the book, but overall I was aiming for something with a little more beauty and magic.

Question: What makes Fire of the Sea stand out from other mermaid books?
Answer: While Fire of the Sea is in some ways a modern twist on a classic tale (mermaid saves human, falls in love, leaves her home beneath the waves), my story is also quite unique. My mermaids are Icelandic and live in sea caves. They are marine mammals and breathe air. They are generally a peaceful species. But I combine this peaceful race with the mysterious Selurs (or Selkies of the North), as well as a dangerous shapeshifting demigoddess. I also draw on a lot of Norse mythology for Fire of the Sea, and tie Viking heritage into the story, as well. There really is something for everyone in this book. It’s overflowing with myth and legend.

Question: What scene do you most regret having to cut?
Answer: I had two major changes that were really hard (but only one was a true “cut”). The first came before I began submitting my manuscript for publication, and the second came later in the game. My main character, Aeva, has a best friend named Sissel. Sissel is a unique mermaid because she is a “Seer,” and has special abilities to see things in her mind’s eye. Sissel has a complicated and detailed backstory that I thoroughly enjoyed writing. But it was adding unnecessary distraction to my plot, and seemed to slow things down. But it would make a great appendix or novella! Also, I ultimately had to change my antagonist’s name. For many valid reasons, my publisher and I decided it would be best. It was really hard to make that change because her name had so many levels of meaning. We came up with a great alternative, but for me, my antagonist will always have her original name.

Question: If you could create an “alternate ending” for your book, what – if anything – would you do differently? Why?
Answer: Sometimes I toy with the idea of what I call “the trilogy that never was.” I really feel like this book stands on its own. But I do find myself daydreaming about how I would have gone about a trilogy. In order to do that, I would have had to create a completely new ending for this particular book that would have taken things in a new direction for a while before circling back to the current ending. I don’t think I could ever abandon the ending that I have written… but I could have possibly delayed it.

Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: I don’t think I could pick one thing. Ha! There have been many Tweets and Facebook posts stating, “I never thought I would be Googling (fill in the blank).” Some of my Google searches involved ancient runes and divination, Viking longship construction, traditional Icelandic fisherman attire, and parachute material.

Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: Well, I don’t know about other mermaid books, per se. But I can recommend some wonderful fantasy trilogies. From my publisher, 48fourteen, check out the Born in Flames trilogy by Candace Knoebel (dragons!). And if you like the idea of nineteenth century boarding school girls who moonlight as witches, try the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. I am also on book two of the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, which has a wonderful combination of magic and a unique cultural aspect, which I really enjoy (her world building is wonderful). And finally, the Starcrossed trilogy by Josephine Angelini (modern-day Greek mythology with a stunning love story).

Question: What are three must-have items when you sit down to write?
Answer: My laptop, my writing “soundtrack,” and Junior Mints.

Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: My next project is a dystopian YA novel that explores how people perceive beauty and power. I plan to finish that in the coming year.


authorAbout The Author:

Lyndsay grew up in the wide expanses of Texas, where the only thing stronger than the accents was the state pride. An over-active imagination, tale-telling father, and encouraging librarian mother lead to her love of all things creative.

When it comes to books on her bedside table, young adult lit has always been a favorite (Blue Balliett, Libba Bray, and Stephenie Meyer, to name a few.) But it was actually an old, yellowing copy of Scandinavian Folk and Fairy Tales that planted a particularly relentless seed. Shapeshifters and sea nymphs began forming the seed of an idea that would eventually grow into Lyndsay’s debut novel, Fire of the Sea.

When she is not writing, you can find Lyndsay spending time with her family in the Rocky Mountains of Utah. She enjoys sitting in dark theaters, trying new gluten-free recipes, watching breaking storms over the peaks out her window, and secret naps.

Website | Facebook


host button