Author Interview

Author Tales: Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong is the author for this Thursday’s Author Tales. Kelley is the author of The Otherworld series, which is an adult paranormal series and The Darkest Powers, which is her YA trilogy. The first book in the series The Summoning was released July 2008 and the second book The Awakening was released April 28, 2009. You can check out my review for these books soon. For more information about Kelley and her books, you can check out her website.

How hard is it to work on YA and Adult literature at the same time?

It hasn’t been a problem so far. My main adult series has narrators ranging from their twenties to forties, male and female, and I switch genres when I write in my secondary series (crime) so I’ve never gotten into the habit of narrating only one type of story.

What made you decide to write a novel for young adults?

The idea came from my second adult novel. There was a possibility there that I wanted to explore, but it would need to involve supernaturals just coming into their powers, which in my world happens in adolescence. I couldn’t have teen main characters in a series for adults, so I had to wait a few years, until I was ready to try YA.

How did your adult fans react, when they found out you were writing a YA novel?

There wasn’t any real reaction. I’d learned how to handle the announcement from a few years ago, when I started a second adult series. I let them know that “their” series is still my first priority and the new one wouldn’t interfere with its schedule, and that’s really all they seem to be worried about. For those who like YA books, it gave them something else to try.

If you could posses a “power” what would it be? and why?

I would love to be a werewolf. What better thrill than to experience life in a different form? The secondary characteristics would be cool, too, but those “extras” also make it hard for werewolves to blend, so if I was being very practical, I’d go with spell-casters. Their powers take work to learn, but overall they have fewer drawbacks.

What is the most rewarding aspect of writing?

Entertaining readers. My goal is to tell a fun story, and if I succeed at that, then I’m happy. I’m particularly thrilled by emails from people who don’t consider themselves “readers,” but enjoyed my book, then go out looking for more to read. Too often kids learn to associate reading with schoolwork, and it’s great when they learn it can be entertaining, too.

Are you working on any YA novels now? Can you tell us anything about it?

Right now I’m in final edits on the third in the Darkest Powers trilogy (the Chloe books) And without giving away any spoilers, all I can say is that it’ll wrap up the trilogy and all questions will be answered. Well, almost all I need to keep a few minor threads dangling in case readers want more of Chloe and the gang in the future.

How many novels will there be in the Chloe Saunders series? Will it really be just a trilogy?

Well, that’s a bit more complicated than it would seem… Chloe’s initial story will end with book 3. Book 4 will be new characters, but with a connection to the Chloe books (which I can’t reveal without spoilers for The Awakening!) I still consider that part of the same series, and I’m leaving it open for Chloe to return. I do a similar thing in my adult novels–change narrators, then return to previous ones later for new adventures.

Thanks for the interview! In closing, I’ll just quickly mention the free online novella I’m doing for the Darkest Powers books. It’s the story of Derek and Simon and how they got to Lyle House, told from Derek’s point of view. It started in January and I post a chapter twice a month. You’ll find that on Chloe’s MySpace and LiveJournal blogs http://www.myspace.com/chloesaunders and http://chloe-saunders.livejournal.com


Book Review

TMI by Sarah Quigley

TMI by Sarah Quigley

Release Date: April 16, 2009
Publisher: Dutton
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 288

Friends call Becca the Overshare Queen, but her tendency for TMI never seemed like a problem to her until she blabs about her sweet band-geek boyfriend’s sloppy kisses—and gets dumped! Realizing it may be better to resist the temptation to overshare face-to-face, Becca decides to blog anonymously about everything instead. On her blog, Too Much Information, Becca unleashes her alter ego, Bella. Bella tells it like it is . . . though perhaps with a bit more drama. After all, no one’s going to read it, right???

I think everyone has had a TMI moment at one time in their life. Becca unfortunately has a ton of them! The girl had me rolling on the floor. Well I guess Sarah Quigley had me rolling on the floor!

I felt like I was stepping back in to my small town high school when I was reading this book. The characters held a overwhelming sense of deja-vu. I’m not exactly sure it that made this a more enjoyable read, but it did hold a more realistic aspect for me.

Personally I related more to Becca’s friend Katie. I’m not a big talker, I usually won’t initiate a conversation and have a hard time butting in unless I’ve been spoken too directly. So the fact that Katie and Becca were able to maintain such a close friendship wasn’t a surprise to me.

The blog entries where a little out there for me. They were funny, but at times it was a little too much for my liking. Even so the overall message was well displayed.

Great characterization, witty dialogue, and an original plot make this a notable debut novel.


Book Review

Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia by Cindy Pon

Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia by Cindy Pon

Release Date: April 28, 2009
Publisher: GreenWillow/HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 352
On the day of her first betrothal meeting–and rejection–Ai Ling discovers a power welling deep within her. She can reach into other people’s spirits, hear their thoughts, see their dreams…and that’s just the beginning.

Ai Ling has been marked by the immortals; her destiny lies in the emperor’s palace, where a terrible evil has lived, stealing souls, for centuries. She must conquer this enemy and rescue her captive father, while mythical demons track her every step. and then she meets Chen Yong, a young man with a quest of his own, whose fate is intertwined with hers. Here is a heart-stopping, breathtaking tale for fans of action, fantasy, and romance–of anything with the making of legend..

Silver Phoenix was a fascinating novel. I literally could not stop reading it once I started. It was beautifully written and I was completely captivated by the world and characters that Cindy created.

I thought Ai Ling was a very well developed protag. She was impulsive, courageous, yet shy, selfish, and yet compassionate. I wish we would have been divulged into the entire history of Silver Phoenix. I want to know more about her!

I loved the creatures that were presented in this novel and all of the different lands that AI Ling and Chen Yong traveled though. That type of element truly fascinates me. I would love to read, The Book of the Dead, The Book of Devine and The Book of Lands Beyond that were referenced to throughout the novel.

The plot was very fast paced it never faltered or lulled.. Ai Ling is constantly battling evil beings and I reveled in her butt kicking abilities. Even though she was traveling with two very capable boys she never expected them to fight her battles.

Another aspect of the novel that I loved, and this really doesn’t have much to do with my overall recommendation to read the books, but all that talk of food! Oh MY! There was an abundance of mouth-watering meals that were deliciously depicted! I’m hungry just thinking about it!

Overall a completely satisfying read for fantasy fans. I’m hoping to see more of these characters!



Sloane Sisters Winners!!

Winners of their very own pink signed copy of Sloane Sisters by Anne Carey are:

Diana Dang


Erika Lynn




Please email me ASAP with your information, so your book can be sent out! For those of you who left an email, I will be contacting you via email later today, if I haven’t heard from you!

Thanks to everyone who entered and congrats to the winners!!

For those of you who didn’t win, Sloane Sisters release day is today! So you should be able to find a copy in a bookstore near you! I read it this weekend and it is too cute! My review will be up later this week!



Body Image Week Guest Post: My Favorite Author

Today as a part of Body Image Week I am hosting Angela of My Favorite Author!! In this post Angela is sharing a different perspective on poor body image/eating disorders — that of a parent. This is her reaction to the newly released Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, which deals with the topic of Anorexia.

by Laurie Halse Anderson
282 pages
Released March 2009 by Viking

Hardback, Paperback or Library: Hardback. This was a difficult but important book that I think every mom of girls should read and discuss.
The Next Person I’m Giving This To: All of my friends who have daughters.
To Re-Read or Not To Re-Read: I’ll definitely be re-reading this book with my girls when they get older.

“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit. In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery. (from GoodReads)

This book scared the crap out of me. It did. Unlike my review of PURGE that I described as being “easy” to read and humorous, WINTERGIRLS is raw and painful. I would almost say that it is an uncensored look into eating disorders, except that Lia censors her thoughts like in this excerpt:

From Page 27 (of the ARC):
Five days ago I weighed 101.30 pounds. I had to eat at Thanksgiving (vultures all around the table), but since then it’s been mostly water and rice cakes. I am so hungry that I could gnaw off my right hand. I stick three pieces of gum in my mouth, throw out Emma’s potato chips, and fill the tank. I am disgusting.

The text is full of other visually disturbing formatting such as repeated words, right-justified thoughts that haunt Lia, counting, etc. It’s the kind of book where the formatting of the text is as important as the story itself. I don’t think you’ll get the same impact from the story if you listened to it on audio book or had it read aloud.

So why did WINTERGIRLS scare the crap out of me? A lot of reasons, but I was most affected as a parent. I wasn’t scared for myself — I know that I am not going to have this problem (although it’s so easy to see how you slide down the slippery slope into an eating disorder without realizing how big the problem has become). I wasn’t scared for my friends and family — I hope and pray that they do not have these kinds of thoughts, but if they do I know there’s nothing I can do but love them and be there if they need me.

But my kids? My little baby girls? EVERYTHING in my whole being is about protecting them! Eat healthy. Check. Get enough sleep. Check. Wash your hands. Check. Take vitamins. Check. Learn your colors, letters, numbers, shapes, etc. Check. Make sure I know who all your friends are and what their homes are like. Check. Don’t play outside alone where some stranger might kidnap you. Quadruple check.

It scares me how independent my daughters are already becoming, and they aren’t even old enough for elementary school yet. What am I supposed to do if they start to have negative thoughts about their body and spiral down the same path as Lia in this book? I can do all I can to be positive in what I say to them about their bodies and who they are, but in the end there is absolutely nothing I can do to protect my girls from this. And it makes me feel so helpless.

WINTERGIRLS is all from Lia’s perspective, so you get her warped perspective of her parents being “on her case” about eating. But from my experience as a parent I could taste the parent’s fear for their daughter and it scared me. Honest to goodness, I was terrified. No scary movie can come close to how this book affected me (and I am like the world’s biggest wuss when it comes to scary stuff … yes Kristi, I’m a bigger wuss than you are!)

No, Lia’s parents are not perfect but whose parents are? Lia’s mom, dad and stepmom don’t always approach the situation “correctly” but the biggest secret of parenthood is that we are all just winging it, you guys! Kids don’t come with instruction manuals, but oh how every parent wishes they did. And the other secret of parenthood? Your parents love you more than anything in the world, even if they aren’t very good at expressing it. Someday when you have kids of your own (if you don’t already), you’ll know what I mean.

After I finished WINTERGIRLS, I needed a few days to process it. My GoodReads review was simply: “This book scared the crap out of me” for about a week before I had a clue what to say. And when I went to see Laurie Halse Anderson to get the book signed for the Body Image giveaway, I wasn’t planning on buying a copy for myself. But right before I approached the author (I was the last in line), I was moved to pick up a copy for myself. I know that I won’t be re-reading this book any time soon. But when my girls are older, I want to read this with them. I want to talk about it. I want them to know that these thoughts indicate a problem and that I want to protect them and keep them safe.

If you are curious about the impact of WINTERGIRLS on teens who’ve read it or adults concerned about the subject matter, check out MyFavoriteAuthor today where we are posting videos of Laurie Halse Anderson addressing these questions and more.

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