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Friday, September 30, 2011

Dark Companion (Early Review)

Yan: *waves* Well this is strange since I haven't reviewed anything in a long time, but hopefully the following review is coherent. It's a very VERY early review so I will be posting this again closer to a release date, but I wanted to get this out while it's still semi-fresh in my mind.

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta (website/twitter)

Grade: 4 stars out of 5
When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She's even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper's cottage in the center of the birch grove.

Something's not quite right about the school -- or is it Jane? She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She's also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother.

The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane. She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet. But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member.

Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries. What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school...and be bound to Birch Grove forever? 

Note Dark Companion is *not* a paranormal romance novel. Marta Acosta calls it dark gothic.

Dark Companion is a great title because it gives a sense of the plot and just how “dark” this novel can actually get. 

When the manuscript for Dark Companion first arrived in my hands, I admit that I was a little scared. It was daunting stack of 200+ pages that would later be printed, bound, and shipped off as a book. While 200 pages might not so scary on screen, when you have it your hands and feel its weight, you worry if you can ever finish it. So I set a goal for myself, a chapter per day while eating breakfast/lunch. (The convenience of a lightweight single paper as opposed to a huge book makes that possible.) But for some reason I couldn’t stop at one chapter per day.

Dark Companion is addicting. It immediately drew me in from the very first page and wouldn’t let go until the last. With its combination of sinister secrets and equal parts light and dark romances, Marta Acosta’s debut YA novel will surly captivate new readers. (And have some fans asking for their own Jake; I know I want my own Jack.) With strong, but conflicted heroine Jane Williams leading the charge of a delightful motley crew, Dark Companion really asks what the true worth of free will really is to a person.

The prologue leaves readers wanting to know what happens next, what happened before. Rather than forcing the readers to continue on just to make any sense of the scene, Marta Acosta dangles a carrot to entice the reader.

It was a great hook for what I hoped to be a great book. The characters alone seemed to seal the deal for me. When I say a motley crew, I meant it. From Jack, the epitome of an organic, healthy, silly boy to the melodramatic and amusing Mary Violet, every character is different. However it was Lucian (Lucky) that I suspect will leave readers torn down the middle. He is rather childish, selfish, arrogant and hard to emphasize with. I spent a good 10 minutes ranting to someone how much I disliked him and why Jane liked/pitied him. This is not necessarily a bad thing since polarization creates discussions between readers and what better way to spread a book than through talking.

Jane Williams was a surprising character. On one hand she is constantly praised for her intelligence. She’s book smart, but she’s also street smart. And yet I felt that because she’s never known physical and emotional security she latches onto Lucky (whom you might recall isn’t the most giving and kind boyfriend). He comes from a well-do-to family and definitely shows some sort of attraction towards her, which would later prove dark. He can provide physical security, but emotionally he’s much more immature than her. I could empathize with Jane while at the same time I wanted to shake her. Her development over the course of the novel showed Jane transforming from the little Mousie and just Jane and her taking roots. Her old lifestyle was all that she knew and can’t forget (that results in a charity that made me proud), but this new lifestyle was one she grew accustomed to.

Dark Companion delves into the issue of security that separates the major characters into two separate groups. There is the survival of a population and there is the individual survival. Which is worth more depends on the character’s personality which comes through the dialogue and action. Their actions are far from the norm which makes it hard for me, particularly, to comprehend and swallow. I understood why—for the sake of survival of course—but the motives were evil and dark.

Dark Companion will shock readers with its many twists and turns. While readers might have an inkling of what might come, the finer details will be a complete surprise. Marta Acosta has begun to what I hope will be a long continuation of YA novels.

Cover B: after finishing the novel I'm less in love with it*
Source: accepted manuscript from author
Publication Date: June 2012 from Tor/Macmillan
(not available on Amazon yet)

*this was my initial reaction that I expressed to the author:

I think the cover is pretty. Really pretty. It's simple and catches a reader's eye immediately because there's a great contrast of colors. And all the you really need is the chance to catch the reader's attention before convincing them with the synopsis. I mean after looking at it, I'm a little bit more eager to read it!

It fits nicely with the other YA fantasy novels now. Following the trend, however, can be bad at times. The cover is less "wow" than some of the other covers for example, The Girl in the Steel Corset. 

The leaf border on the bottom, I feel, is not needed. Most YA book covers do not have any type of bordering. The font of the title I'm iffy about. It gives off a playful air which is different from the sober environment/coloring.

I will say that the designer did a great job with the setting. In your synopsis, you mentioned birch trees, which thankfully was incorporated into the cover. Too many times I see covers that have absolutely nothing to do with the book. So while the cover is following the trend of 'girls in dresses', it's one of the better ones. Especially for a stock image. 

You described Jane Williams as a plain girl and what this cover is showing is a plain girl with a simple dress. The background is what gives the book a light fantasy element that you mentioned.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Zombies vs. Unicorns

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

Grade: 4 stars out of 5
This is a collection of stories about unicorns or zombies from today’s contemporary young adult writers.
First off, I’m Team Unicorn before I read the book (look to the side to see my avatar). I noticed this book before, but I didn’t really want to pick it up until I received a poster for it. Because I needed to buy some college textbooks/food, I borrowed this copy from the Philadelphia Free Library. (The library has been one of my best friends for the last 5 years. I support it fully!)

Anyway, this anthology is Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black arguing over whether zombies beat unicorns. Black isn’t as militant as Larbaletier, and I pretty much skipped their conversations before every story. They were all the same (Larbalestier: ZOMBIES WIN! Black: Unicorns are cool too!).

Now, since this post would be too long, I have a selected a few stories and shared my feelings on each one:

“The Highest Justice” by Garth Nix—I love Garth Nix’s stories. I think he has an amazing imagination and I would love to live in his worlds. I read Sabriel and Lirael and I hope I get to finish Abhorsen soon because it’s so good. I also read a story he did for another anthology (Teeth: Vampire Tales) so I was pumped that his was the first story and about unicorns too! All of Garth Nix’s stories have a hint of adult themes to them, which I love, and this one was so… realistic (is the best word I can come up with). I really liked the inter-family struggles and the magic and the dealing-of-the-justice and thought “Hey this is off to a good start”. YAY!

“Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Alaya Dawn Johnson—My favorite zombie story. The beginning was just awesome and gave me a craving for mac n cheese for a week. The middle where everything is explained and Grayson doesn’t eat the girl made me want to eat the book it was so good. I even loved the random hipster bands mentioned. Also, I must add Johnson to my list of authors to read things by. YAY!

“Bougainvillea” by Carrie Ryan—Didn’t even finish it. I tried, I really did. It was 40 pages long, and I was like a quarter of the way through and nothing was happening other than people casually mentioning there were zombies (mudo). I read “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” and it took me a really long time to actually finish the damn thing. I don’t like Ryan’s zombies. YUCK!

“The Care and Feeding of Your Baby Killer Unicorn” by Diana Peterfreund—Favorite unicorn story because it had unique unicorns in it! I love the concept of the “evil” unicorn (*ahem* see avatar). I loved the names (Yves, Wen, Aidan, etc.) because I like original naming of characters. I could do without the God-aspect, but the struggle was REAL. “Do I want to spit on my family by taking care of this monster, or do I want to kill this monster in cold blood?” It was so touching, and I want to read more! YAY!

“Inoculata” by Scott Westerfeld—I learned that Larbalestier is married to Westerfeld, so it makes sense that he’d be on her side. I liked the Zombie safe-zone idea, and the endless practices with the dessert points, but the zombies (zees) were weird. I wasn’t aware that there could be a mild form to zombie-ism. It was well-written, but not exactly exciting. MEH!

“Cold Hands” by Cassandra Clare—OMG! So I know Holly Black and Cassie Clare are like BFF’s (I saw them at a Philly Free Library talk), but I was surprised to see Clare go with the zombies. Oh well. Reminds me of Generation Dead by Daniel Waters: acceptance of the dead rather than trying to survive. I liked the romance especially. It was warm, rather than cold. *wink* YAY!

I’m loathe to admit it, but zombies won. I think as soon as I get my paycheck I’m going to go on an Amazon.com shopping spree (Peterfreund, Johnson, etc.) TOTALLY PUMPED!

Also, I realize Yan kinda did a post already, but she didn't talk about the anthology much. :P

Copy: From the Philadelphia Free Library

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Winner of Isle of Night

Thanks to all the amazing people who entered! The lucky winner is...

Casey (A Passion for Books)!

Congrats again Casey!

Be sure to stop by Figment's website to read 4 chapters (4!!!) of Isle of Night! Also, follow IsleofNight on twitter to partake in an epic literary battle this Thursday (the 15th)!

Remember, you can purchase Isle of Night right now! Be sure to check back again for a review of Isle of Night by moi!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Taker by Alma Katsu

The Taker (Book 1) by Alma Katsu

Grade: 4.5 stars out of 5
Surgeon Luke Findley is working the night shift at the hospital in a small town in Maine when a young woman accused of murder is brought in for an evaluation. The girl, Lanny, admits her guilt to Luke but also begs him to help her escape. However, he doesn’t give it a second thought until Lanny cuts herself and heals miraculously. Suddenly, play-it-safe Luke turns to his subconscious to let his impulses out in order to help Lanny escape across the border, all the while telling her story of love, beauty, sex, and immortality.
Yan gave me this book to read. “Start with it first,” she said. I never heard of it and it’s not even young adult (what I usually read). The Taker would never appeal to me, especially with the synopsis that is given. The Taker is close to a “bosom-heaving romance” (Yan’s words) [ETA by Yan: LOL, I was implying "bosom-heaving romances" to another book which I stuck in the bag for you], but without the descriptiveness, which I was grateful for. And it is well-written, with an even flow and classic 19th century air of politeness (similar to Jane Austen). I found that I really enjoyed it. The plot only dragged on in a few places, but everything Lanny told Luke was important. Even the things she omitted only enhanced the magic (I admit it; I stayed up for an extra ten minutes wondering what terrible thing happened to Lanny that she didn’t tell Luke). I really like the whole story-telling bit. I even liked the story-within-a-story, how it was Lanny telling Adair’s background. It just seemed more real, or at least as real as you can get with a character that’s immortal.

On the point of immortality, I loved that magical realism element: we don’t know why, but we are, and we’re just doing to live with it. How very Kafka (^_~). One of my favorite things about high school English class was reading magical realism, and The Metamorphosis was one of the few stories I completely finished in high school. (Spoiler alert?)The best part of this immortality business was at the very end where Luke sorta-kinda wants it, and Lanny just wants to be done with it. Honestly, while I didn’t like the ending compared to the rest of the novel, it was the only way to finish it.

Most of the book was about Lanny, but Katsu didn’t write about Lanny; she wrote about Lanny and Luke. So this was as much Luke’s journey as Lanny’s which moved me. Lanny helped Luke break out of his shell, his daily routine of *blah blah I-need-to-leave-but-I-won’t-blah*. Luke was the first person Lanny met after her arrest that Lanny felt she could trust, which was why she told him the truth, which would be the first step to breaking the spell, and everything just comes together.

I didn’t like the ending. I wanted ACTION. But like I said, it was appropriate. I also didn’t like the fact that the story didn’t return to Luke’s mother’s death. I thought it would somehow be important to the plot, but it wasn’t (though as I’m writing this I think I understand why she died that way *cough cough* more magical realism).

One last comment, my late grandfather once told me that it’s a mitzvah (~human kindness) to “die on your own”. My grandfather said this in Russian, so I’m roughly translating. What he meant, I think, is that it’s a mitzvah to not expire on someone else’s command, whether it’s a doctor or someone else. I thought about this a lot, since my grandfather died ~2 months ago on his own, and I just thought that this fit rather well with the theme of the novel. Once you read The Taker, I think you’ll understand. *wink*

All in all, The Taker was a great read, and it decidedly answers the question "Who Wants to Live Forever?".

Source: I borrowed this book from Yan. And she didn’t give me the cover, though I would LOVE to see it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Q&A + Contest with Cate Lord: Makeup, London, Oh My!

Welcome to part of Cate Lord's LUCKY GIRL tour! You can connect with Cate: Facebook / Goodreads / CateLord.com!

Get your copy of Lucky Girl at: Amazon | Amazon UK & Books On Board.

Jessica Devlin isn't looking for love. Heartbroken after being dumped by her unfaithful ex-fiancé, she's determined to have a fabulous time during her vacation in England where she ll be maid-of-honor at her cousin s wedding. After working overtime as beauty editor of Orlando's O Tart magazine, avoiding dating, and putting on ten pounds, Jess is ready to toss her past like an empty lipstick tube and party like a single gal.

But when she steps into the church on her cousin s wedding day, she sees the one man who could sabotage her plan James-Bond-gorgeous Nick Mondinello. She s never forgotten the London marketing exec who held her in his arms after her beloved grandfather s funeral two years ago. Ambitious, and lusted after by women everywhere, Nick is completely wrong for guarded, Plain Jane Jess.

Could Spy Man Nick ever fall for her? Nope. Not unless Jess is one lucky girl.

Read an excerpt! This one or this one

1. What is your and Jessica's must have makeup?
Lip color!  Lip gloss, lipstick, tinted lip balm...  We love them all, because they can transform us from a Plain Jane to a Sultry Siren in less than ten seconds. I had a lot of fun inventing names for the lipsticks Jess wears in Lucky Girl, including Butt Naked Beige, Good Girl Pink, and Vixen.
2. What is the reasoning behind writing under another name when penning Lucky Girl?
I decided to write Lucky Girl using the pseudonym Cate Lord because the book is very different in style and tone to my medieval historical romances.  Readers buying a Cate Lord novel are going to get a light-hearted, funny, sexy romantic comedy, whereas a Catherine Kean book is dramatic, emotional, and enriched with historical detail.
3. Do you incorporate your old job as an antique and fine art appraiser into your novels?
Not in my books that are available to purchase now.  However, one of my works-in-progress is a contemporary paranormal about an antiques dealer.
4. Your time abroad in England sounds like a fabulous year! What was your favorite thing about London and have you ever been back?
Yes, my year abroad was incredible.  Lots of good memories.  My favorite thing was all of the cultural sites to be discovered just by walking the London streets: museums, galleries, important historical buildings.  Since my husband is British, I’ve been back to London several times on vacations, and have loved each visit.
5. Was your time in England the inspiration for Lucky Girl since you met your husband there?
Yes! While Lucky Girl is entirely a work of fiction, I very loosely based Jess’s story on my time in England when I was single, recovering from a breakup, and eager to enjoy my year overseas.  One of the highlights of that year was meeting a tall, dark-haired, charming Brit at a Christmas party.  He later became my husband.  We recently celebrated our nineteenth anniversary and have a teenage daughter, and our love is still going strong.  I consider myself to be a lucky girl.
6. Do you ever look back at your old manuscripts and rework them?
Sometimes.  It depends on the story.  Usually, I pull out the elements of the book that I think are the strongest and then start afresh, because it’s easier in the end.
7. Do you write your novels with a pen and paper or do you type them on computers?
I do both.  I love writing longhand on paper.  The words seem to flow more easily, for some reason—maybe because this is how I wrote as a teenager and there’s a sense of freedom to crafting a story this way?  I carry a lined notebook in my purse at all times, and if I’m waiting for my daughter at an appointment or find I have a few minutes to spare, I will take out my mechanical pencil and write.  Later, I type what I’ve written into my manuscript file on my computer.

When I work at home, I set my netbook up on my dining room table and work on that.  My kitty usually snoozes in his bed beside me.  I try to write 2-3 solid pages per day, if my muse cooperates.
8. Do you feel that you were born in the wrong time period? If so, what time period would you have wished to be born? And what old fads do you want to bring back?
Great question! I’d love to have been born into aristocracy in the Victorian era.  That was a time of tremendous change and invention, and I love Victorian antiques.  Old fads I’d want to bring back?  Daily afternoon tea with scones, clotted cream, jam, cakes, biscuits, and other delicious treats.  Yum!

Ready? Entangled Publishing has offered to give away one e-book of Lucky Girl! It's open internationally to really anyone who has an email address! We're going to keep this short and simple guys so comment below with your email address.

Extra entries: connect with Cate through one of those links above. Give me a link or your name so I can identify you.

Contest ends: September 10th!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead

ETA by Yan: Pst, this was written by Fallon. Who will be blogging with me. Proper introductions will be made soon. :D

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

When Rose Hathaway was accused of killing the Morio Queen, Tatiana, Alchemist Sydney Sage was the one that put her into hiding. Now, Sydney’s Alchemist superiors distrust her, simply for the reason of seeming “too comfortable” with vampires. She is given a second chance; a job to accompany Queen Vasilisa’s sister and tie to the throne, Jill Dragomir, to a human school in Palm Springs and pose as her sister. With tension in the Moroi kingdom, Jill’s life is in danger, and Sydney has to keep the young girl under the radar of the vampires that want to hurt her. But things aren’t as quiet as the Alchemists promise. There is a nearby threat of Strigoi killings, metallic tattoos humans are getting that are eerily similar to the Alchemist’s own tattoos, and, of course, some romantic turmoil.

First off, I am a huge fan of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy. Bloodlines is set in the same universe with the same characters including royal Moroi Adrian Ivashkov, dhampir Eddie Castile, and even Abe “Zmey” Mazur. I was excited to see that it was almost a clean continuation of the last book of the Vampire Academy series. Many questions were partly answered (Rose + Dmitri = ?, Adrian = ?, What was the deal Sydney and Abe made?, etc.) and I can only assume that they will be fully explained in the coming books. I was glad to see Rose make an appearance, and that she had a small part in the novel. It is, after all, Sydney’s story, and even thought I love Rose, I don’t want to hear any more about her. I heard Mead in an interview that she wanted to write Sydney as a character who was trying to become more impulsive (opposite of Rose who sought control of her impulsive actions). Indeed, Sydney spends half a page talking about how much she wants to be like Rose, and spends the rest of the book finding herself. She picks up on some of Rose’s habits, but is mostly calculating, so I thought this transition between narrators was well done.

Similarly, the characters were also consistent. Jill was always timid/in awe of Adrian, and she still is, but she also did some growing up. Eddie is still the stone faced guardian. Adrian is still carefree, but harbors a pain in his heart after what happened with Rose, but one could see that he is slowly healing…

…which brings me to the romantic portion of the novel. This is the part that I had the most trouble believing. I lost track of who is most likely to end up with whom. I don’t want to get too into it, but I didn’t like the romance. I thought there were three guys going after Jill and two going after Sydney, and the pairings I liked best didn’t turn out. It was so confusing and only cleared up, rather abruptly, at the end. I hope it gets better in the upcoming novels.

Other than the romance, I really like the novel. There were twists and turns characteristic of Richelle Mead’s novels, so it makes it a fun read, even if you didn’t read the Vampire Academy series at all. I actually read this thing in a day, and I’m a slow reader. A day is lightning speed for me, and I can only do it with novels I really enjoy. I highly recommend Bloodlines.

This is my real first review, so thanks for reading! If anybody has constructive criticism, I'd love to hear it! :)

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Grade: 3.8 stars out of 5

As I type this review out all I can think about was how I should I posted this review before my review for The Fox Inheritance. Oh well; what's done is done.
Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox has just awoken from a year-long coma—so she’s been told—and she is still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. But what happened before that? She’s been given home movies chronicling her entire life, which spark memories to surface. But are the memories really hers? And why won’t anyone in her family talk about the accident? Jenna is becoming more curious. But she is also afraid of what she might find out if she ever gets up the courage to ask her questions. What happened to Jenna Fox? And who is she really?
The Adoration of Jenna Fox, like I said in my previous review, was very much a character driven plot. It's the world-building that makes The Adoration of Jenna Fox such a great novel to read. The philosophical and moral stance Pearson takes combined with the technological advances is light-years from where we are today. Yet it could be the future. Decades, centuries, millenniums away, but there is still a chance of whatever Pearson writes to be true.

I absolutely love the family structure for The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Jenna, obviously, is no longer the same since she came out of her coma. The family members' attitude all differ because of who she is now. Some overcompensate by overprotecting Jenna from a guilt, I presume, that came from not being able to prevent Jenna's accident. Some remain hostile towards Jenna because this is not the real Jenna. The real Jenna was someone they already said goodbye to. It's the shift when the new Jenna starts to take action, begins to live her life once again, that readers see a change in the family dynamic. Feelings are being understood rather than a hearing-but-not-listening demeanor.

I found the other characters, Allys, Ethan, and Dane, sort gave a different perspective to how to live life. You take life as it comes or you block out what life can give. I particularly enjoyed Allys and Ethan because of their opinion on just how much a human body can be changed before it's no longer a human , but an android or machine.

Again to reiterate: The Adoration of Jenna Fox had less action than The Fox Inheritance. Instead it delve deeper in the moral ethnics of society. Those who aren't really interested in general world-building and lack of a real plot may not enjoy The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Still, this is a sound novel that I plan to reread when I'm in the mood to be intrigued and challenged.

Cover B+
I much prefer this cover over the hardcover. This has an abstract feel rather than the symbolic meaning. 
Source: personal copy
Publication: 2009, September 1

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Fox Inheritance Winners!

The audiobook goes to...

Sarah R. from DC!
who said her favorite narrator is "Davinia Porter (narrates the Outlander series)"

The personalized copy of The Fox Inheritance goes to...

Shannan B. from IA!
who said: "I am thankful for computers. This makes it an  option for me to go to college and work full-time."-- Can't agree more Shannan! My boss is looking into doing some online courses as well.

Remember, you can purchase both the hardcover and the audiobook RIGHT NOW.

Don't forget to read my interview and enter for a chance to win Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bargain Books (32)

I am one broke student. Just spent $101.20 for this online program just so I can do my homework for 1 class! Plus textbooks, English novels, dissection kits and whatnot. But the temptation!!

Anna and the French KissHunger (Riders of the Apocalypse)Fall for AnythingSome Girls Are
Anna and the French Kiss (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Devil's KissGraceWintergirlsHush, Hush

The Body FinderAcademy 7Dreaming Anastasia: A Novel of Love, Magic, and the Power of DreamsThe Candidates (Delcroix Academy, Book 1)

-follow the label, bargain, to find more of these posts- 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Q&A + Contest with Veronica Wolff: Vampires, Sequels, & YA Novels!

Veronica Wolff’s ISLE OF NIGHT is the first book in a new Young Adult series that is a perfect blend of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy novels and Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games. Told from the point of view of a smart and edgy teenage girl, Wolff weaves a story will have both teens and adults hooked from the very first page.

Visit Veronica at her website! and twitter!

1. Was there a big difference between writing YA and writing historical romances?
A huge difference! I do a lot of research for my historicals and have even traveled to Scotland a couple times to tour the castles and the landscape I’ve written about. But now, with this particular YA series, instead of poring over seventeenth-century maps and learning the ins and outs of things like sheep farming, I get to Make It All Up instead. It’s a blast.

Moreover, with my romances, readers know they’re guaranteed a happily ever after. There’s nothing so neat with my YA series. Although I have a long-term vision for The Watchers, and the plot of each book is resolved, Annelise’s story doesn’t end on the last page.
2. What made you decide to branch into YA novels?
Honestly, I can’t read enough of them. It’s blown my mind just how many gifted authors, amazing stories, and vividly drawn, complicated characters there are in the genre. As for the writing, I’m enjoying every minute. Speaking as someone with one foot in romance (which I still completely adore), it’s exhilarating that, in YA, there are no rules. I want The Watchers to be a series in the true sense of the word, with a serial feel, like episodes in an action-packed television show. The approach has been freeing.

Another thing I love about writing YA is immersing myself in that first person voice, steeping myself in Annelise’s roiling emotions, delving into things like friendships, crushes, betrayals, and the total unease of adolescence. Hey, who knows, maybe I still have some stuff to work out from my own teen years.
3. Is there any plans for a character from your other novels to have a small cameo in this new series? 
Wow, I hadn’t even considered that! My knee-jerk reaction was an instant nah, but now that you’ve put it in my head, it sure seems like something that’d be fun to write. When it comes to writing, I say never say never.

[Edited to Add: sorry Veronica, but when you said "never say never" I just had to put a picture of Justin Bieber!]
4. In Isle of Night, are the vampires the good guys or the bad guys? Or perhaps a mixture of both?
Aw, I can’t go telling you things like that! What I will say is, in my world, vampires were once people, and like people, some are good and some are evil. Similarly, things and people aren’t always as they seem.

Otherwise, good or bad, so much has yet to be revealed about my world and those in it—book one just scratches the surface. 
5. Can you describe Isle of Night in a couple of keywords?
Fast. Fraught. Violent. Longing.
6. What are some of your favorite things about Scotland? Will the setting play a major part in Isle of Night?
My favorite places in the world are the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The isles take my breath away—some have lovely sandy beaches, others are bleak and craggy, with gray skies and winds so violent, you need to link arms to stay upright. There, you’ll find land so isolated, there are few people and nothing like power lines overhead to mar the scenery. It’s a place where anything could happen. Where you’d believe anything. You could be in the past, or among fairies, or druids. Or vampires.

Ancient standing stones, a looming castle, and the total, eerie isolation of life on a rock in the middle of the North Sea—these things all play a part in Isle of Night.
7. Can you tell us a little bit about the sequel to Isle of Night?
Annelise’s training intensifies as she prepares for her first mission, and her relationships intensify, too. Friends can be lost, the hazing is cruel, and one of the vampires is just too frighteningly seductive for her own good.

And, I don’t want to give it away, but the book is called Vampire’s Kiss…so, you know, there might just be a kiss in there somewhere.

Interested yet? Read an excerpt of Isle of Night!

Are you really interested now? Then enter to win a copy for yourself! Or buy a copy right away: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Indie Bound.