In this post: Book Details, Author Details, My Review, Giveaway
When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother's side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales. Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park, left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair. Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him.
In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.
Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy.
Armored Hearts, her joint effort with author Melissa Turner Lee, has been a #1 Bestseller in Christian Fantasy and been awarded the Crowned Heart for Excellence by InDtale Magazine. Her debut novel, Sanctuary is scheduled for release September 30, 2013, and has already been nominated for two awards in YA Science Fiction.
One of Pauline's short stories has won the CCW Short Story contest. Other short stories have been published in Fear & Trembling Magazine, Obsidian River and Avenir Eclectia. An urban fantasy short will appear in The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves from Port Yonder Press, and a vampire short will appear in Monsters! from Diminished Media Group.
Catch Pauline on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or at her Official Site.
Melissa Turner Lee
Melissa Turner Lee holds a BA in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has studied fiction writing since 2008, attending various writing conferences and workshops, along with guidance from professional writing coaches. She resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and 3 sons.
Catch Melissa at Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and her Official Blog.
This post is part of the AH April Blog Tour. Find more posts about the book here.
This book was very well written and provided a fast, enjoyable read in a fascinating new world. As a fan of both steampunk and traditional fantasy I found it intriguing to see this combination of the two, particularly using the Scottish connections to the Fae folk mythology.
The characters hugely reminded me of the ensemble in Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicles (another series that I love) - Gareth is another rendition of the Griffin King moody hero type, though he is made much more interesting by his physical condition. I enjoyed all of the characters and found them to be very individual and well developed.
I particularly enjoyed the idea of the 'bonnet club' and the automation elements of the story and would have liked to see more made of them. I didn't really get into the Fae side of the story to be honest so I was glad to have the other element to hold my interest. The relationship between Jessamine and Gareth was well-played and engaging to read.
Speaking as a disabled person myself, however, I did find Gareth to be too whiny about his condition for my liking. Considering the other incredible abilities he has, I don't really buy into his 'suffering in silence' feeling. Perhaps there wasn't enough of his persecution in the tale to really sell it to me, but that was the only thing that put me off this story. I suspect if you're not a disabled person then you won't focus on that sort of thing in the tale and will probably give it five stars!
In this post: Book Details, Giveaway, Extract, My Review
Scary Modsters... and Creepy Freaks
A fantastical romance involving a girl, the music that fuels her, and her Ouija board.
Rosalyn possesses a sunny personality that is laced with quirks. Although she seeks acceptance in a world where she lives out of time, what she gets is ridiculed for her eclectic wardrobe and unconventional music collection.
One fateful night, Rosalyn bewitches Niles, a stylish man whose offbeat character perfectly complements her own. Unfortunately, he possesses a critical flaw that means relationship suicide for him and pretty much anyone.
While under the influence of insomnia-impaired judgment, Rosalyn summons Rock ‘n Roll deity Peter Lane back from the dead. Not only does he spin her hormones into a frenzy, Peter is also the precarious puzzle piece that brings sense into her world. When Niles learns that he can overcome his life-long challenge by helping Peter avenge his death, how far will he go to secure Rosalyn’s heart?
A brunette, a raven-haired beauty, and a girl looking like a peacock all walk into a bar. No, it's not a joke; it's my not-so-mundane life that generally feels like the setup for a wisecrack.
No matter how many times my friends and I claim we are going to do something new, every Friday night we find our tushes planted at Mulligan's. However, today our weekly Friday night venture truly seemed out of the cards since my friends were originally too tired from their workweeks to consider anything short of collapsing. When you are in your early thirties and single you should be embracing life, not rotting on a sofa. Thus when my friends bailed I detoured into Warped Records which is both a second home and how I envision my little corner of Heaven. Some would call the smell of old album covers a dank stench, but to me it's a musky perfume that seeps into my pores and comforts me with the knowledge that no matter what fails me I always have my sanctuary.
Among the bins of paradise and the blaring Siouxsie the perfect gem captured my gaze and held it for ransom. Before me was a pair of eyes so unlike any other that they were nearly indescribable.
Piercing? No. That implies they shot through my skin and reached my heart; however, these somehow reached my soul. Captivating? Again that was misleading. While they did hold my attention they also kept me at bay. Perhaps haunting? Yes, they did indeed haunt me. They also seemed to follow me to wherever I stood. A true description was so elusive that the color wasn't easily defined. They were deep blue, yet also flannel grey with a hint of green. In a certain light they seemed black with specks of gold.
All of these emotions and colors were brought forth by just one picture—a picture on an album that had been slipped into plastic and unceremoniously tacked to the wall, yet somehow it jumped out at me and begged for worship.
“Who are those guys?” I asked Shane, the store's clerk. Shane's tight black pants, white Split Enz T-shirt, black suspenders, and short, curly brown hair made him look like a skinny, nineteen eighties teenager in a forty-something-year-olds body. His hot pink English Beat button sold the outfit. In an odd way our obsessions make us kindred spirits. It may be like we are third cousins, twice removed, but kindred nonetheless.
“Not a clue.” Shane absent-mindedly tapped a pencil on a note pad while his hazel eyes sat on a ragged copy of Rolling Stone that was decades out of date. “How is it you don't know? You're the super genius that no one can stump.” He sighed, conceding to the call of duty. “I suppose you want me to halt my important work and show it to you.”
“If it's not too much of a bother to pull yourself away from that fascinating article on INXS that is so old it will soon disintegrate, then yes, please. I would appreciate your struggle of removing the tack for a lady.”
With the flick of his wrist, Shane sent the magazine spinning across the counter. “Geez, you practically live here so I thought you would be more at home yanking the thing off yourself.”
“Glad to see that chivalry is alive and well at Warped Records.”
The album was presented with a bow. “Milady, as per your request.” Shane's smugness made me grin. “Anyway, it arrived with some other records from a recent estate sale. Rob seemed to know who they were.”
My eyes honed in on the price tag. “Six dollars? That's a lot for a potentially crappy band no one has heard of.”
Shane's view floated from the magazine to the notepad. “Yep. Six bucks is what this says. I hung it next to the two hundred dollar, Jagger-signed, Goat's Head Soup to be funny.”
Four men, who were partially obscured by a golden overlay of paisleys and swirls, stared back at me. Their clothes were colorful, slightly Edwardian, and accented with fur. It was all very fashionable for the nineteen sixty-eight copyright printed on the back of the cover that held no liner notes. Three of the men felt so insignificant that they were but mere blurs. All I noticed was the cute one with the sandy blonde hair and magnetic eyes whose signature started with the letter P.
My fingers glided over the autograph whose ink felt as if it were luxurious azure velvet. It also gave off an energy that put a beat in my head. What really caught my attention was a spot of what appeared to be dried blood. When I touched it, a fuzz reminiscent of the thrill I get when hearing a vintage guitar effects pedal vibrated through. I had to have that album!
If Bridget Jones had a ghost lover from the sixties, this is kind of how that story would go!
If you love chick lit but you're bored with the same-old, same-old in contemporary publishing, read this book. You will probably give it five stars by the time you've journeyed through the twists and turns of Rosalyn's life. I don't even like romance books (I picked this up purely because of the 1960s music featured heavily in its story) and I still enjoyed the love triangle at its heart. It's also mercifully not smutty, but sweet and entertaining.
This is an exceedingly well-written book with well-rounded characters who you can get to know (and love) from the moment they step onto the page. It doesn't matter what you know (and what you don't) about the 1960s, you can still read this book, learn about and enjoy that culture as it clashes regularly with events in the modern day. The paranormal edge and musical interludes in the tale give Scary Modsters a unique flavour that's all of it's own, I can think of no other book like it which is truly a fabulous thing.
In this post: Book Details, My Review, Author Hot Seat
Puck, a demon composed of dark matter, is the collective consciousness of evil and feasts on the death and destruction borne of warfare as he effortlessly manipulates the most potent weapon ever created: the human mind. The task of killing this evil antagonist rests on the shoulders of a solitary, mortal man; Neil Branch, the Caomhnóir. Branch naively considers himself to be an ordinary man with an extraordinary problem. He recklessly discounts his purpose and is in perpetual conflict with his destiny. Puck continuously assaults Branch within the realm of the subconscious and twists his dreams into surreal, insidious nightmares that forecast the demise of all that he holds sacred, but the visions also reveal the demons intent and expose clues that may lead to the beast’s downfall. Desperate, and driven to the brink of madness, Branch must resolve his emotional turmoil, accept his loses, and acknowledge his faults and frailties as he summons the courage to fight for the possession of his soul and deliver humanity from eternal bondage.
Andy McNab meets Stephen King in this firestorm of demonic action and suspense.
I'll be honest with you, when I read the title of this book I thought I'd be reading some heavy, archaic prose right out of the dark ages. I was SO wrong about that and I implore you all not to judge this book at first glance. Pick it up and start reading, because as soon as you do, you'll be bowled over by a gritty, realistic soldier's narrative that twists its plot superbly to a range of modern historic times and places. The prose is literary but not overdone and makes for a rich but quick-paced read.
The supernatural elements to the tale were what initially drew me in, but as the story progressed I really became invested in Neil, George, John and Sean as characters and by the end of the novel it was their lives that had me captivated rather than the unholy chaos going on around them. Puck was a well crafted villain and the visions that Neil experiences during the novel are vivid and truly horrific. I'm not usually a fan of starting in the middle of the narrative and jumping back into backstory, but this writer knows how to deliver a timeline of events with poise and precision.
Overall this book is highly recommended for those who enjoy military fiction and sci-fi/fantasy tales, but in all honesty I think that anyone with a strong stomach and a thirst for high-impact adventure will thoroughly enjoy it too.
The Hot Seat: Five Burning Questions Answered by T. Brady
1) What experiences in your own life influenced the decision to set the caomhnoir legend amid the world of the military?
I have always had a fascination with history, military history in particular. As far as Caomhnoir is concerned, it originated from an article that I had read about the My Lai village massacre during the Vietnam war. U.S. soldiers killed over three hundred men, women and children without provocation. I began to think, “what would cause these men to commit such a heinous act?” and then my imagination took over. “What if these events were orchestrated by some sort of supernatural phenomena, a force of evil that could manipulate the human mind?”
2) How long did it take you to write this novel and what was that experience like for you?
The original story was written in 2001 as a screenplay titled “The Antagonist.” Through several edits and rewrites, the final work was well reviewed and recommended by a script writing service, but I had no takers. Although I went on to write over a dozen screenplays, this tale kept haunting me. I felt as if I had left Branch in lurch, his story was not fully realized. So in 2005 I began working on converting the screenplay into a novel. I wrote while working fulltime and raising a family, so it was a long process. I had actually put it aside a few times for extended periods. The hours of editing, revision, and fact checking became a bit overwhelming at times as the story evolved and took on a life of its own, but I had to see it through. I have learned that this process is unavoidable, especially for a first time novelist, and will determine if you have the stamina and perseverance to write; regardless if you are monetarily successful or not.
3) In my imagination, your villain Puck looked like a young Ian McKellen straight out of Macbeth. Who do you picture when you see his face in your head?
Jeremy Irons comes to mind when I think of Puck, in his middle aged years, not now (pictured above).
4) None of the relationships between the soldiers and their wives went very well in your novel. Was it a conscious decision to represent military men and their guarded emotions in this way?
I tried to stay true to the mind set, attitudes, and social norms of the day. Men were very reserved in this time period, so I just amplified that with Branch and Meadows. Each man is emotionally wounded and scarred, although their experiences differ, they did not have a consistent or dependable male role model. The very act of war is very damaging to a person’s emotional state, which affects each man’s ability to connect with others who are outside of their realm of experience, and in Branch’s case this is magnified by his designation as Caomhnoir.
5) What's next for you as a writer? Do you have more books planned?
I am currently working on a prequel to Caomhnoir, which delves into the origins of Puck and the Caomhnoir order. I have many ideas on the table, I feel that a few of my screenplays would translate well into novels, so I’ll just keep pecking away.
In this post: Book Details, My Review, Author Hot Seat
Book One in the Nirvana Series
Jade has spent her entire life within the confines of the eye-colour- obsessed Nirvana commune. She dreams of experiencing freedom but travel to the Outside is forbidden. Besides, she’s a dutiful daughter who never breaks the rules. As her seventeenth birthday approaches, however, she realizes just how little she wants to follow the commune rules. She doesn’t want to undergo another eye color surgery, or immediately choose a life partner, or follow her parents’ life paths of teaching or wine making. In fact, her green eyes suit her just fine, she’s never even been on a date, and she’s passionate about photography. And yet she’s resigned to do as she’s told because it’s easier for her to close her eyes and follow orders.
Her Grandmother Ruby’s murder is the catalyst that causes Jade to open her eyes wide for the first time in her life. She’s devastated yet determined to find the killer and their motive. With help from her mysterious friend Tyrian, and Peaches, the commune leader’s sweet daughter, Jade unearths dark secrets which include her mother’s illicit affair, her maternal grandparents’ escape from Nirvana, and a plethora of murders. To make matters worse, someone is hell bent on ending Jade’s mission for the truth, and that someone is most likely the killer.
Jade can’t continue conforming to an evil society and yet she fears the Outside is just as corrupt. If she resolves to flee and is caught, the punishment is banishment to the slave cabins…and blinding.
See it here: Amazon / Facebook / Author Blog / Twitter / Goodreads
I get really excited when I find a writer who really knows how to tell a story. Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie could have turned the phonebook into a narrative and I would have lapped it up page by page. I am delighted to say that Jaded is a serious page-turner, a well told story with fully formed characters and an intriguing plot that sets up what promises to be a fascinating series.
Gillespie takes puts a huge twist on the tidal wave of (mostly boring) dystopian fiction that the YA world is dominated by right now, taking the idea of totalitarianism, surveillance and control and bundling it into a claustrophobic commune with shocking ways of life and little contact with our modern day existence. It was so well conceived and realistic that I felt as though Nirvana could really exist out there somewhere.
As usual I found that my favourite characters were some of the minor ones (Ivory, Rust and True), but surprisingly for me I sincerely related to Jade, the lead heroine and found her love interest Ty to be sweet and sincere. I don't go in for gushy romantic moments and there was none of that rubbish in Jaded: Gillespie has created something far more important and far more real for her characters to experience.
Overall this was an excellent read. If I had the second book in this series I would be starting it right now. As it is I will have to wait patiently for Hunted and imagine all the possibilities for Jade along the way. A definite recommended read for everyone I know.
The Hot Seat: Five Essential Questions with author Kristy Feltenberger Gillespie
1) If you could choose an eye colour (from those of the characters in your books), which colour would you pick for yourself and why?
I would choose the color blue for a number of reasons. For one, it's my favorite color, my eyes are already blue so perhaps I could somehow dodge the eye color surgery, and like Jade's father Royal, I love wine, so that's the career path I'd hopefully land!
2) How much research did you do into the professions of Jade's parents to get such vivid descriptions of their workplaces?
Fortunately, I didn't have to do too much research on Jade's parents' professions. I worked at a winery for three years and I currently work as a middle school counselor, so I know quite a bit about wine making and teaching, which helped!
3) Who would your dream cast actor and actress be for Ty and Jade?
It it was 1994, Claire Danes and Jared Leto, who stared on my favorite show at the time- My So-Called Life (pictured above). Not sure which actress and actor now!
4) Can you give us a tease of what's coming next in Book 2: Hunted?
A few teasers from Book Two, Hunted: This novel goes back and forth between Jade and Peaches point of view. Ty's uncle Hunter causes a slight rift between them. At least one person in this novel is hunted, and at least one person in this novel is kidnapped!
5) What sort of books and writers influence your storytelling style?
To me, one of the most influential YA writers is Lauren Oliver, who I met several years ago at a writing conference. After listening to her talk, I started thinking about writing in the YA genre. She's fabulous!
In this post: Book Details and Giveaway, My Review, Character Interview
Book Two in the Escaping Fate Series
Arrabella thought she was done with dreams, done with curses and the threat of death.
After surviving the ancient Aztec curse that had plagued her family for centuries, Arra was more than ready for her new life in the boring little town of Grainer, Maine. Boring and small sounded perfect...but she should have known better than to think it would last.
The dream was odd, but Arra passed it off as nerves about starting school in Grainer. Her boyfriend, Tanner, was there to distract her…and get her into a little trouble as well. He pushes the dream out of her mind until they walk onto the school campus and see her. The lonely girl from Arra’s dream.
Tanner’s reaction is fierce. He won’t risk losing Arra again and demands she stay away from Sibeal, but Arra can’t stop thinking about her haunted expression. What if she can help her? Arra can’t just walk away and let whatever curse has a hold of Sibeal claim her without trying to stop it. But what if Sibeal deserves the punishment?
Arra’s battle to make the right choice about Sibeal only gets harder when she is forced to turn to the person in town she likes least for help. Sebastian Wallace is arrogant and irritating, but he’s seems to be the only one who can help her. As Arra tries to determine what the right choice is, she finds out saving Sibeal may be the least of her problems.
This is the second instalment in this series after Escaping Fate and the story of Arra's life gets bigger, better and a whole lot scarier from here!
Like Escaping Fate, this book begins instantly with a supernatural intrigue with central character Arra being plagued by horrific and fascinating dreams. In this tale Arra is pulled into danger once more by the problems of new student Sibeal, a mysterious shy girl newly arrived to the small town of Grainer.
I enjoyed the further development of Arra and Tanner in this book and it was really interesting to see a teen relationship realistically portrayed with all the ups and downs that you would expect a pair of 16 year olds to go through. My favourite character in this tale, however, was Bas: the local hero with surprising hidden depths. He really made the story for me as he brought a new conflict into the action and helped Arra's character develop a lot more than she did in the first novel.
Overall if you enjoyed Escaping Fate, you will definitely enjoy Soul Stone because it mixes the familiar elements from book one with a larger, more exciting plot with a lot of physical action as well as emotional trials.
The Hot Seat: Character Interview with Sebastian 'Bas' Wallace
1) So Bas, people around Grainer really rate you. They say you're a local hero! Care to elaborate on that?
I see you start with the tough questions first, Kim. I can appreciate that, even if I don’t particularly care to talk about this one. People around here only see what they want to see. Maybe it’s easier. They want to move on, to celebrate a hero instead of carrying around the burden of blame. I can understand that, but I can’t let go of what happened.
2) You're popular with almost everyone in town... except for that new Manhattan girl, Arra. What's up with that?
Have you ever met someone who just brought out the worst in you for some reason? That’s pretty much me when it comes to Arra. I mean, sure, she thinks I’m constantly getting her in trouble, but most of those were completely on accident. I have a knack for rubbing her the wrong way, and at some point she might realize why.
3) We all know you're a star for the archery team, but what else do you like to do in your free time?
The beaches around Grainer aren’t world class surf spots, but as soon as it’s warm enough, that’s where you’ll find me most days. Being out on the water is liberating. I can get away from everyone’s expectations an attention when I surf. The waves don’t owe me anything. They’re brutal when I mess up and peaceful when we get along. I don’t get that anywhere else, except maybe…never mind.
4) If you could change anything in your life right now, what would it be?
If you were asking me what I’d like to change about my past, I’d have a whole list for you. Right now? I’d change the way people see me. There are days I want to escape. I think about leaving more than I should. Leaving won’t fix anything, though.
5) Do you believe in the supernatural?
It’s hard not to when you grow up in my family! I’ve lived in the U.S. my whole life, but my mom grew up in Ireland. She is incredibly superstitious and believes in everything from leprechauns and will-o-the-wisps to curses and magic. She passed all of her stories down to me and my siblings like they were facts, so naturally, we grew up scared of the dullahan and convinced we’d find a selkie on the beach at night. I guess she helped prepare me to hear Arra’s story and not pass it off as fantasy. I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am for that.
About DelSheree Gladden
DelSheree Gladden lives in New Mexico with her husband and two children. The Southwest is a big influence in her writing because of its culture, beauty, and mythology. Local folk lore is strongly rooted in her writing, particularly ideas of prophecy, destiny, and talents born from natural abilities. When she is not writing, DelSheree is usually reading, painting, sewing, or working as a Dental Hygienist. Her works include Escaping Fate, Twin Souls Saga, The Destroyer Trilogy, and Invisible. Look for, Wicked Power, the next book in the Someone Wicked This Way Comes Series, and Soul Stone, book two in the Escaping Fate Series, coming 2014.
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