Forever Young Adult: for YA readers who are a little less Y and bit more A

Snapple Real Fact #769: If a sheep and a goat mate the offspring is called a geep.
(I swear I may never get tired of Snapple facts. Who even needs to know this stuff? But seriously, if I ever make it on to Jeopardy, my first answer (regardless of the category) will definitely be ‘What is a geep?’. My backup plan: work a geep into my next novel. Look for it people!)
OMG! I am in love. I couldn’t post this week without mentioning the awesomeness that is Forever Young Adult. I don’t want to go all fangirl here, but this website completely rocked my, well, maybe not my world, but definitely my mood, this weekend. *Ahem*. I mean, today’s post is about spreading a little YA love (because this sounds so much more credible, obviously).
There are a lot of sites that I ‘heart’ (some of my fav’s are listed on the right), but I’m always looking for new and interesting blogs, perspectives, reviews, and stuff. Another blogger put me onto FYA and I’ve gotta tell you, I laughed out loud. And snorted. And there might have been a few tears (but only the good kind).
The ladies who run FYA are fan-frickin-tastic in my book! Why? Oh, let me count the reasons (because I haven’t done a list for a while and it seems I’m due!):
1.       The Cast: These ladies may love YA, but as the name suggests, it’s a mindset and not an age.
2.       Drinking Games: ‘Nuff said!
3.       Relevance: All YA, all the time!
4.       Wit: Not only is the writing wildly funny, the lexicons are brilliant!
5.       No Holds Barred: If you’re looking for a bunch of PC twi-hards… This isn’t the site for you.
If you’re a YA lover, I encourage you to check out the site! Now.
Oh, yeah, and for The Hunger Games fans among us…. I can also thank FYA for my officially unofficial THG name: Inless M. Screamlily. It does have a lovely ring to it, doesn’t it?

Q. In light of the Summer Solstice. Also known as Midsummer…let’s talk about fairies. What is your favorite fairy tale or story that revolves around the fae?

I love questions that make me dig deep! I haven’t thought about fairy tales in a while and I don’t have a favorite per se, but after thinking about it for a while, I’d have to say my top three are: The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Princess and the Pea, and Rumpelstiltskin.

I’ve read a lot of books that have fairies in them, but only one series that had a fairy as the central character: The Dulce O’Neil series by H.P. Mallory. While I loved the first two books in the series and would absolutely recommend them for a light summer read, it would probably be premature to call them my favorite since I have no good basis for comparison. It seems I’ll have to get some good fae books on my TBR list!

Happy Friday!


Review: Bloodspell by Amalie Howard


The spell was simple …

Cruentus Protectum. Defend the Blood.
But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?
Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds—much less one that reveals she’s a witch with unimaginable power.
What’s more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own …
Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood’s deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?


So, I was on vacation last week and found myself sitting by the pool with nothing to read and an appetite for something deliciously paranormal. Based on another blogger’s recommendation, I downloaded Bloodspell by Amalie Howard on my Kindle. I needed a good book and all the ones I really wanted (read: hopelessly lusting after for months) hadn’t been released yet.
I was a goner when I saw the cover for Bloodspell. It totally sucked me in. Isn’t it lovely? Mysterious? Unique, even? I thought so. And I’m happy to say that this book delivers. Maybe I was a little stingy with my stars when I rated this one (I gave it 4/5 on GoodReads), but Amalie Howard’s world of witches and vampires was not only unique, it was enthralling. I loved that this story played on what we already know about these paranormal beings (without reinventing the genre), but that it also had a unique spin.
Victoria’s transformation from start to finish was real—and it wasn’t just her magic that changed her. She made a choice, a conscious decision, to change from the weak, cowardly girl we meet in chapter one into someone more. She chooses to take control of her life and reshape the way the world views her the old fashioned way—with a new haircut, better clothes, and a more outgoing personality. So maybe she doesn’t have a good firm grasp of her magic from the start, but that’s what makes it a great story; there’s continual growth on both a personal and a paranormal level.
Victoria’s cursed blood was refreshingly original and chilling. Her struggle to overcome the dark desires of her legacy had me on the edge of my seat… wanting more. Her relationship with Christian was heartfelt and though often troubled, I was beside myself to find a heroine who acted her age (yes, she occasionally did things to just spite him) and who stood her ground (thankfully she didn’t spend all of her time pining over him either).
Bloodspell was full of action from start to finish and while some of the plot twists were bordering on predictable, the likeable characters and fast past made it forgivable. If you like paranormal romance, insurmountable odds, betrayal, and ferocious fight scenes, this book’s for you. As for me, I can’t wait to see what Howard writes next!

Snapple Real Fact #   : 
(I know what you’re thinking: Why is my Snapple Real Fact at the end of the post today? And more importantly, where the heck is it? This Real Fact is brought to you courtesy of Mexico. That’s right folks. You’ll pay $3.72 USD for a 16oz bottle of Snapple south of the border, but don’t expect to find anything under the lid because you’ll be deeply disappointed!)

Follow My Book Blog Friday

You know the drill…. Follow My Book Blog Friday hosted by the very awesome Parajunkee!

Q. Genre Wars! What’s your favorite genre and which book in that genre made it your favorite?

Hmmm…. This is a tough one for me. I love all things YA, especially those with a paranormal slant, but I think my current favorite has to be dystopian. The Hunger Games opened up this genre for me and while I find there are often a few heart-wrenching moments (yes, I actually cry over the plights of fictional characters), I enjoy the stories and the fact that they make me think a little more than say, my favorite paranormal romances.

Q. The magic book fairy pops out of your cereal box and says “you and your favorite character (from a book of course) can switch places!” Who are you going to switch with?

A. Okay, so this feels like cheating a little because while this character is in books, she debuted on the silver screen. Still, given the chance I’d swap with Buffy in a heartbeat. Grocery buyer and avid reader (me) or kick ass vampire slayer with a quick wit and super strength (Buffy)? Yep. I’ll take leather pants and a stake any day. Saving the world doesn’t sound half bad either.

Snapple Real Fact #741: Plants, like humans, can run a fever if they are sick.
(I wonder if they’re also prone to migraines? And where you take the temperature? And if I can just stick my thermometer in a potted plant the next time I want to call in sick!)
On serious note (or as serious as I get), this is kind of a big week for me. What constitutes a big week? Let’s see:
1.       I am going to get a first look at my cover art tomorrow. (Yikes! However will I sleep tonight? I hope it is AWESOME!)
2.       I received the first round of edits on my manuscript. I’ll be honest, I might’ve been expecting more red. Guess I picked up a thing or two (not about commas) in 10th grade English. I was always a fan of reading, writing, and spelling. I loved spelling.  And writing. And reading. Grammar? Not so much.
3.       I got some positive reinforcement on my manuscript. (Hey, it’s the little things). It was just nice to hear someone (outside my circle of guiding critics) say that they really enjoyed reading my work.
4.       I may be in high gear, no sleep, bags-under-my-eyes mode at my day job, but come 5 o’clock Friday I will officially be on vacation. I’ve got a date with sun, sand, and margaritas!  Viva la Mexico!
5.       Last but not least, I’m volunteering at the food bank tomorrow night. It’s just a couple of hours, but it always leaves me feeling good. Really good. And makes me wish I’d find more time to volunteer. Working at the food bank somehow makes all of the little things seem, well, little. I can’t think of a better way to put life in perspective than to give back to the community and get a gracious reminder of how lucky I truly am.

Follow My Book Blog Friday

Q. What are you doing to prepare for an upcoming zombie apocalypse and/or the return of Mel Gibson to the silver screen? (Both of which could be terrifying.)

A. OMG! I love this question! Lucky for me, I’m married to a hardcore video gamer/retired soldier/self proclaimed zombie defense expert (he’s read all the books so who am I to argue?) so we are well prepared for the zombie apocalypse. I know, you’re jealous. Don’t be. I’ll share tips! I even wrote a blog about it recently. Anyway, my husband has a plan. It involves machetes, shotguns, a lot of nonperishable food, and ripping out the stairs to our home, which by the way, makes me cringe every time he says it, but I suppose in hard times you have to make hard decisions. I on the other hand do not spend my time fantasizing about how to defend our home (clearly he does this enough for both of us). I do my zombie prep via Netflix and Xbox although I suspect killing a zombie in real life is much more terrifying and much slimier than it looks on tv.

As for Mel Gibson, well, let’s just say, I’m not doing anything to prepare. I can accept the possibility of the paranormal, but even I have limits. There are just some things too outrageous to be true, so why worry about them? I’ll spend my time preparing the inevitable… like zombies!

Impatience Is a Virtue Too

Snapple Real Fact #926: George Washington was the only unanimously elected President.
(I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty sure I could accomplish this amazing feat too. If only I had the time.)
Okay, so back to patience, or my lack thereof. All my life I’ve been told that patience is a virtue, to be more patient, that good things come to those who wait, blah, blah, blah. Yep. That’s right. It went in one ear and out the other. I meant to listen (I really did!), but it didn’t seem like particularly good advice at the time. Still doesn’t.
I’m more of a ‘take the bull by the horns’ kind of girl. If you want something, go get it. Make it happen. NOW. Because really, what’s the point of waiting? Sometimes you’ve just got to step up and take the initiative.
Take Sean Combs (a.k.a. P. Diddy) for example. (Yes. I realize there are numerous examples of self-starters throughout history who’ve had an amazing impact on our lives and the world at large, but I’m going to cave to the MTV generation for a moment. Not because I’m especially enamored with P. Diddy, but because he makes a great point. Stick with me for a minute.) Maybe you didn’t know this, but Combs is credited with dragging himself out of the Harlem projects with hard work, perseverance, and what my dad calls intestinal fortitude (yes, I mean guts).
When asked about his success, Combs said:

“I’ve never been surprised about what happened to me. I’ve put in hard work to get to this point. It’s like when you become a lawyer – if you’re bustin’ your ass, you’re not surprised when you get your degree. I came in to win, you know. This is why I stay up late while other people are sleeping; this is why I don’t go out to the Hamptons.”

I’m not going to be the next princess of hip hop (ask anyone who’s had the misfortune of hearing me sing), but that doesn’t mean I won’t be a published author. I know what you’re thinking. If it were that easy, everyone would do it. And what happens if I can’t find an agent who believes in my work as much as I do. Will I give up? Will I query myself into a coma? Will I just keep waiting for something to happen?
Unlikely. As I said, I prefer action. Swift and efficient. I may be new to publishing, but I’m not new to hard work, brand management, or marketing.  I’ve got a whole arsenal of tools and talented folks in my back pocket, not to mention a plan. As I sit here today I am fortunate to have a very creative graphic designer working on cover art for my book and a well-trained and experienced editor reviewing my manuscript. Why? Because I haven’t ruled out self-publishing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not done querying (I didn’t get where I am today without a reasonable amount of patience!). I would L-O-V-E being traditionally published. Not only would my words be available for millions of readers to enjoy, it would free up my time to do what I love most: write. Instead of being a jack of all trades, I would have a team of professionals to ease the burden. But I’m also a realist; a realist who is determined to make my dream a reality.

J.J. Bonds