Friday, May 26, 2017

YA Spotlight- The Vampire Wish by Michelle Madow

Let's take a look at the new YA release- The Vampire Wish by Michelle Madow.

He’s a vampire prince. She’s a human blood slave. They should be enemies… but uniting might be their only hope to prevent a supernatural war.

Annika never thought of herself as weak—until the day vampires murdered her parents and kidnapped her from our world to the hidden vampire kingdom of the Vale.

As a brand new blood slave, Annika must learn to survive her dangerous new circumstances… or face imminent death from the monstrous wolves prowling outside the Vale’s enchanted walls. But not all in the kingdom is as it appears, and when a handsome vampire disguised as a human steps into her life, Annika discovers that falling for the enemy is sometimes too tempting to resist.

Especially when becoming a vampire might be her only chance to gain the strength she needs to escape the Vale.



“Race you to the bottom!” my older brother Grant yelled the moment we got off the chair lift.

Mom and Dad skied up ahead, but beyond the four of us, the rest of the mountain was empty. It was final run of the trip, on our last day of spring break, and we’d decided to challenge ourselves by skiing down the hardest trail on the mountain—one of the double black diamond chutes in the back bowl.
The chutes were the only way down from where we were—the chairlift that took us up here specified that these trails were for experts only. Which was perfect for us. After all, I’d been skiing since I was four years old. My parents grew up skiing, and they couldn’t wait to get Grant and I on the trails. We could tackle any trail at this ski resort.
“Did I hear something about a race?” Dad called from up ahead.
“Damn right you did!” Grant lifted one of his poles in the air and hooted, ready to go.
“You’re on.” I glided past all of them, the thrill of competition already racing through my veins.
Mom pleaded with us to be careful, and then my skis tipped over the top of the mountain, and I was flying down the trail.
I smiled as I took off. I’d always wanted to fly, but obviously that wasn’t possible, and skiing was the closest thing I’d found to that. If I lived near a mountain instead of in South Florida, I might have devoted my extracurricular activities to skiing instead of gymnastics.
I blazed down the mountain like I was performing a choreographed dance, taking each jump with grace and digging my poles into the snow with each turn. This trail was full of moguls and even some rocky patches, but I flew down easily, avoiding each obstacle as it approached. I loved the rush of the wind on my cheeks and the breeze through my hair. If I held my poles in the air, it really did feel like flying.
I was lost in the moment—so lost that I didn’t see the patch of rocks ahead until it was too late. I wasn’t prepared for the jump, and instead of landing gracefully, I ploofed to the ground, wiping out so hard that both of my skis popped off of my boots.
“Wipeout!” Grant laughed, holding his poles up in the air and flying past me.
“Are you okay?” Mom asked from nearby.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I rolled over, locating my skis. One was next to me, the other a few feet above.
“Do you need help?” she asked.
“No.” I shook my head, brushing the snow off my legs. “I’ve got this. Go on. I’ll meet you all at the bottom.”
She nodded and continued down the mountain, knowing me well enough to understand that I didn’t need any help—I wanted to get back up on my own. “See you there!” she said, taking the turns slightly more cautiously than Grant and Dad.
I trudged up the mountain to grab the first ski, popped it back on, and glided on one foot to retrieve the other. I huffed as I prepared to put it back on. What an awful final run of the trip. My family was nearing the bottom of the trail—there was no way I would catch up with them now.
Looked like I would be placing last in our little race. Which annoyed me, because last place was so not my style.
But I still had to get down, so I took a deep breath, dug my poles into the snow, and set off.
As I was nearing the bottom, three men emerged from the forest near the end of the chute. None of them wore skis, and they were dressed in jeans, t-shirts, and leather jackets. They must have been freezing.
I stopped, about to call out and ask them if they needed help. But before I could speak, one of them moved in a blur, coming up behind my brother and sinking his teeth into his neck.
I screamed as Grant’s blood gushed from the wound, staining the snow red.
The other two men moved just as fast, one of them pouncing on my mom, the other on my dad. More blood gushed from both of their necks, their bodies’ limp like rag dolls in their attackers arms.
“No!” I flew down the mountain—faster than I’d ever skied before—holding my poles out in front of me. I reached my brother first and jammed the pole into the back of his attacker with as much force I could muster.
The pole bounced off the man, not even bothering him in the slightest, and the force of the attack pushed me to the ground. All I could do was look helplessly up as the man dropped my brother into the blood stained snow.
What was going on? Why were they doing this?
Then his gaze shifted to me, and he stared me down. His eyes were hard and cold—and he snarled at me, baring his teeth.
They were covered in my brother’s blood.
“Grant,” I whispered my brother’s name, barely able to speak. He was so pale—so still. And there was so much blood. The rivulets streamed from the puddles around him, the glistening redness so bright that it seemed fake against the frosty background.
One of the other men dropped my mom’s body on the ground next to my brother. Seconds later, my dad landed next to them.
My mother’s murderer grabbed first man’s shoulder—the man who had murdered my brother. “Hold it, Daniel,” he said, stopping him from moving toward me.
I just watched them, speechless. My whole family was gone. These creatures ran faster than I could blink, and they were strong enough to handle bodies like they were weightless.
I had no chance at escape.
They were going to do this to me too, weren’t they? These moments—right here, right now—would be my last.
I’d never given much thought to what happens after people die. Who does, at eighteen years old? I was supposed to have my whole life ahead of me.
My family was supposed to have their whole lives ahead of them, too.
Now their lifeless, bloody bodies at the bottom of this mountain would be the last things I would ever see.
I steadied myself, trying to prepare for what was coming. Would dying hurt? Would it be over quickly? Would I disappear completely once I was gone? Would my soul continue on, or would my existence be wiped from the universe forever?
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I didn’t want to die. I wanted to live.
But I’d seen what those men—those creatures—had done to my family. And I knew, staring up at them, that it was over.
Terror filled my body, shaking me to the core. I couldn’t fight them. I couldn’t win. Against them, I was helpless.
And even if I stood a chance, did I really want to continue living while my family was gone?
“We can’t kill them all,” the man continued. “Laila sent us here to get humans to replace the ones the new prince killed in his bloodlust rampage. We need to keep her alive.”
“I suppose she’ll do.” The other man glared down at me, licking his lips and clenching his fists. “It’s hard to tell under all that ski gear, but she looks pretty. She’ll make a good addition to the Vale.”
He took a syringe out of his jacket, ran at me in a blur, and jabbed the needle into my neck.
The empty, dead eyes of my parents were the last things I saw before my head hit the snow and everything went dark.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cover Love-

These are my personal choices, books can be published traditionally or self-published- I'm only interested in the art choices. I would love to hear what you think of these covers, so please leave comments.

Today's pick is a library find...

The Storm by Virginia Bergin. Cover Design by Nicole Komasinski.

Just look at that moldy decay eating it's way through the cover. The green is even fuzzy looking and reminds me of house siding out here in the Northwest where moss and mold abound. I don't know if you can see, but there are also clear spots where from behind you can see text. The most obvious being the raindrop in the middle of Storm. The image suggests a truly terrible experiences awaits within and water will not be your friend. Love it!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Door in the Alley (The Explorers #1) by Adrienne Kress

Today I am taking part in a blog tour, thus the middle grade post on Wednesday instead of Monday. The book I'd like to share with you is The Door in the Alley (The Explorers #1) by Adrienne Kress.

The Story-
Sebastian is a very straight cut twelve-year-old. He does everything he's supposed to do and follows all the rules. A wrong turn one day leads him into an alley where he sees a lonely door with a sign that reads, "The Explorers Society."

Inside the building he finds a bizarre landscape of odd rooms and a giant tree that grows straight up the middle of the building with a tree house at the top. He is caught immediately and as punishment for being where he is not supposed to be, is asked to spend his free-time as an errand boy for the society.

Evie is a twelve-year-old orphan who wishes for family. Once a month she has dinner with a kind old couple, the Anderson's. During dinner they are attacked and only Evie escapes. She flees with the last word's of Mrs. Anderson ringing in her mind, find the Explorers Society. When she finds it and asks for help, she is kicked out.

Sebastian finds Evie and she explains her troubles. The Anderson's had a letter from her grandfather, whom she never knew about, and he is in trouble. The letter asks for the Anderson's to guard the key and then send help for him. Evie's grandfather was once a member of the Society and went on incredible adventures with a group of colleagues, but that all ended twenty years ago, and now every member of the group has disappeared. It is up to Sebastian and Evie to find the missing members so they can learn about the key, protect it, and then rescue her grandfather.

My Thoughts-
I have mixed thoughts on this one. First off, the premise is great and I knew I wanted to read the book just based on the description. A secret society of explorers whose most famous members have gone missing are a great hook and throw mystery right into the mix. Sebastian and Evie having to uncover clues and find people, while being chased by bad guys, is exciting. The weird rooms and odd behaviors of the society members are just funny. Overall, great ideas and plot.

The unrolling of these ideas however, are rough. The author uses very long and wordy paragraphs full of details and very few dialogue breaks to ease things up. The story takes a long time to get into, and we don't even get to the main plot until about a quarter of the way in. There is a lot of telling, not showing. Perhaps this is because the author uses a narrator to interject comments and elaborate descriptions? The comments are often funny, and the use of foot notes are cool, but the clunky paragraphs were a pill.

Now, the main character is Sebastian, and even though he is a character that definitely changes over the story, he is still a bit boring. I really loved Evie. She comes in about a quarter of the way through and is full of excitement, courage and wit. The whole reason the plot happens is because of her connection to her grand father and the explorer group he belonged to. Sebastian seems to just be along for the ride. I personally would have flipped flopped the main character and supporting character.

The end of the story leaves us with the promise of a sequel and more fun explorer related stuff to delve into. There are continual hints throughout the story of somewhat magical occurrences and I hope the next book brings these more into the main story. So, I'm giving this one 3 stars! It is definitely worth looking at just for the fun premise and quirky characters.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

And the winner is...

Congrats to Linda for winning my ARC of The Hush by SKYE MELKI-WEGNER!

Friday, May 19, 2017

STARR FALL by Kim Briggs

One Starr falls, and a killer rises
Book Cover
Kim Briggs
Series: Starr Fall, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult, YA Contemporary, YA Romance
Publisher: Inkspell Publishing
Publication Date: November 4, 2016
On the run from the Organization, Starr never planned on falling in love.
Starr Bishop’s the complete package. A perfect smile, brains to match, and a winning attitude. Boys want to date her and girls want to be her. She’s the type of girl you want to hate, if only she wasn’t so damn likable. But don’t worry, she’s not interested in your boyfriend. Boys are one complication she can live without.
When the Organization decides she’s not only the model student but the ideal assassin, Starr’ll need a lot more than high test scores and extracurricular involvement to get herself out of that commitment.
Dark, moody, and dead sexy Christian Evergood is the last person she’d expect—or even want— to come to her rescue. From opposite ends of Webster High’s social hierarchy, their lives collide in one electrifying moment. Christian isn’t the Goth loner he pretends to be, he’s a part Cherokee, All-American boy who wants to be a hero, Starr’s hero. Christian makes Starr forget that the Organization is after her, but nothing will stop the Organization from collecting their top recruit.
By the way, the spot for junior class president just became available.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cover Love- The Sin Eater's Daughter

These are my personal choices, books can be published traditionally or self-published- I'm only interested in the art choices. I would love to hear what you think of these covers, so please leave comments.

Today's pick is a library find...

The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury. Jacket art by Jacey and Jamie Gregory.

Just look at how beautiful it is! A gorgeous green background behind an eye catching potion bottle holding a girl in a blood red dress, imprisoned in liquid and blood. The golden filigree around the bottle adds a touch of elegance and richness. Wow, I loved it as soon as I saw it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Agent Danielle Smith, Lupine Grove Creative

Looking for an agent? For Inside the Publishing World Wednesday I am looking at Danielle Smith, agent and creator of Lupine Grove Creative.  I was blessed to listen to her three times at the Spring SCBWI WWA conference and have some great things to share.

Lupine Grove Creative is a  boutique literary agency for children’s book authors and illustrators that also packages books for publishers. She is interested in picture books through young adult as well as illustrators. She is constantly looking for diversity. That's why she comes to conferences.

In regards to taking on clients, she says she wants not just one project, she wants an author with a career. She only has so much time and doesn't want to spread herself too thin, so she's looking for passion. So, when you pitch make sure there's something special. Like the personal touch that you've researched her and paid attention to things she's said. Once she takes you on she'll be over committed to you, Skyping, connecting, and having some face to faces.

Her advice to writers?
1. Don't go on Goodreads :)
2. Have passion and understand what you're doing. You're going to inform children, enlighten and shape their future. It is a big responsibility. Be serious about it. Kids count on the things we're creating.
3. Read current books.
4. Write what you like.
5. Put your favorite elements in your books.
6. Make her cry. "I'm a sucker for books that make me cry."

Some don'ts-
1. Don't do your query in your character's voice.
2. Don't include questions about your book in the query. For example, "Will she survive the quest?"
3. No Bodily function books, they aren't for her.
4. Don't address her as sir.
5. Don't say your book is going to be the next best seller.
6. Don't write to trends.
7. Don't say your agent works for you. It is a collaboration!

For more information and submissions guidelines check out Lupine Grove Creative.