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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Time Heals Blog Tour: Guest Post w/ Dina James :0)

Today we've got author, Dina James on the blog talking to us about crossover appeal for the blog tour of her new book, Time Heals!

Thank you, The Book Life, for having me on your blog!

When I was first asked to consider writing a paranormal story for young adults, I was horrified. Me? Did the person who asked even READ my stuff? Blood! Guts! Gore! Uh…”friendly” encounters! Not exactly stuff parents would approve of for their small humans.

What did "young adult" really mean, anyway? I had no idea. Other terms like "middle grade" and "advanced reader" were tossed around too. What did it all mean?

After some research into what the genre really requires, I understood better.

All "young adult" (YA) means as a genre is the main character is under eighteen.

That's it. Nothing about book length, subject matter, plot, language used. There was nothing that said anything about…well…anything.

And there was nothing that said a book with an intended younger audience couldn't appeal to another. Movies do it all the time. Movies I watched as a child – that were aimed at my then-age group – I watch in complete horrified fascination now, as I get all the in-jokes and other things that totally went over my head as a child. Movie writers deliberately put those in so the parent having to watch the film with the intended audience member will have something to enjoy, also.

Well, that sounded all right. I thought about it (all right, I agonized) and, after much discussion with friends and family, agreed to try it. I wrote a short story with the specific intention to prove that I couldn’t write for a younger audience.

I deliberately went the complete opposite direction of what was expected of me. I didn’t write about a girl turning into a vampire or finding out her boyfriend has joined a vampire clan or learning she’s a vampire hunter.

I wrote about a girl who learned she was a vampire healer.

Seriously, all these vampire hunters and slayers about and not one person takes pity on these poor fanged fellows? How awful! Not all slayers and hunters are competent, you know!

Sometimes they miss and only wing the intended target. That has to hurt! So where does a hurt vampire go for help if they need it? That’s the question I set out to answer.

My evil plan to prove I couldn’t write for young adults backfired, and today we have the Stranger Things series. The main character, Rebecca, doesn't just heal vampires, she heals Ethereals in general. If it's supernatural or thought to be imaginary, chances are it will be coming to her for help at some point.

The medical aspect may not be the most interesting thing to a younger reader, but might be to that reader's parent who is a nurse or a paramedic.

The supernatural aspect may very well appeal to any reader, regardless of age, who enjoys reading about vampires and werewolves.

The intended audience may identify more with the relationships of the main character than they do with what goes on around her.

I didn't specifically include anything that would appeal to adult readers like the movies of my childhood did. Honestly, the audience isn't something I kept in mind very much while writing, because to me, readers are readers, regardless of age.

I didn't write this book – this series, if you want to get technical – with any particular audience in mind.

To be honest, I couldn't even write it until I put the idea of the intended audience out of my head. Once I did that, I just wrote the story I had in mind. Oh, there are a few considerations I had to take once it was written – I mean, there's a reason movies are rated PG-13, NC-17, R, and so on.

That's really all I had to keep in mind. PG-13. NC-17 at the very worst. There were a couple things I deleted or altered because they strayed too close to R territory, but for the most part it wasn't something I even thought about.

Readers are readers, no matter what. I was reading Jean Auel when I was twelve.

And I still read the Babysitter's Club.
Time Heals by Dina James:
Rebecca MacDonnell is strange. More than that, she's a Stranger, a human born with the ability to use her own life's force to heal ethereal beings. Vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts, goblins, and other things thought only imaginary all need help sometime, and when they do, they come to her.

Some things, however, are beyond help. Something is stalking all Ethereals, great and small. Beings of every race are fleeing a terror no one will acknowledge, let alone name.

At seventeen, Mistress Healer Rebecca is still learning to manage her power. She must learn to control it before it controls her.

Unless it's already too late.

When her burgeoning ability gets away from her, that which heals turns to harm and drives her loyal man-wolf bodyguard Billy straight into the arms of the unknown horror.

Unlikely new friends are her only hope to finding out what's happened, and she must enter new – and dangerous – territory in order to do it.
And don't forget to check out book 1, All Wounds:
It's said that when opportunity knocks on your door, you have only one chance to take it.No one said what you're supposed to do when it kicks it.All Rebecca MacDonnell wants to do is get through high school with grades good enough to win a prestigious scholarship so that she can finally leave her miserable life behind. One evening, after a particularly bad day, she finds out that people other than her aging grandmother need her help, and desperately so.Well, not "people," exactly. Vampires, werewolves, demons, ghosts, goblins, and other things thought only imaginary all need help sometime, and Rebecca was born with the unique ability to heal ethereal beings. She is about to turn seventeen, the age at which her talent will manifest in its entirety, and become a true Healer...if she lives through the event. A war between various ethereal factions is brewing, and Healers are a valuable commodity to any side. Those who wish to harness Rebecca's manifesting healing powers for their own purposes must get to her before her seventeenth birthday.Only two vampires and a rogue werewolf stand between Rebecca and those determined to make her serve them, and the fact that Rebecca has no clue what she's doing doesn't exactly help matters.Neither does being seriously attracted to more than one of those just trying to protect her.For a soon-to-be seventeen-year-old Healer-in-training, that's a lot to handle.Especially on top of her homework.
Thanks for stopping by, Dina!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Changing things up a bit...

Hey guys! As some of you may have noticed, things have been a little sparse around here lately and I'm here to let you know that it's probably going to be that way for quite a while. I have a really good reason, though, I promise!

I've been doing something I never thought I'd be doing, but I'm extremely excited about it...

I'm writing a book :0)

I'll still be participating in blog tours and posting reviews from time to time on the blog, but I'm going to start transitioning my posts to ones about my writing experience. I want to chronicle this journey for myself and keep you guys updated.

I love books and reading so much, but I'd never really thought about or dreamt of writing a book myself. It was kind of a surprise to me when the main character showed up with her story and I was actually able to start putting it into words. I'm not quite ready to share what it's about, yet, but it's coming along...

So I'll be around, just not as much and not in the same capacity. I hope you'll all stick with me :0)


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia by Jenny Torres Sanchez

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that showcases our most wanted upcoming releases.
I haven't done a WoW post in a really long time, but I just heard about this book over the weekend and I am dying to get my hands on a copy. The story sounds incredible and the author was so, so nice. May cannot get here quick enough :0)
Release Date: May 28th, 2013
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Frenchie Garcia can’t come to grips with the death of Andy Cooper. Her friends didn’t know she had a crush him. And they don’t know she was the last person with him before he committed suicide. But Frenchie’s biggest concern is how she blindly helped him die that night.

Frenchie’s already insane obsession with death and Emily Dickinson won’t help her understand the role she played during Andy’s “one night of adventure.” But when she meets Colin, she may have found the perfect opportunity to recreate that night.
The synopsis is pretty intriguing on it's own, but when I met Jenny at an event this weekend, she described it a little bit further and I can tell you that it immediately moved to the top of my wishlist. I love books that tell the story of how a person comes to terms with the death of someone they cared about. Add in the fact that it incorporates Emily Dickinson and I already I know I'm just going to love it. A friend told me the style is similar to that of Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, and that is one of my favorite contemporary reads, so it's all the more reason to check it out. I cannot wait for May, when I can finally read this one :0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cover Reveal: Game. Set. Match. by Jennifer Iacopelli + Giveaway :0)

So months ago on twitter, I remember seeing Jennifer talk about writing her book, thinking it sounded awesome, and adding it to Goodreads once it went up on the site. Then I remember when Jennifer sold the book and I was stoked because I knew I was that much closer to being able to read it. So when I got an email from her asking if I wanted to participate in the cover reveal, it was pretty much a no brainer :0)
The cover is gorgeous and I am even more excited to read the book. I hope you all love it!

Release Date: May 1st, 2013
Publisher: Coliloquy
Nestled along the coastline of North Carolina, the Outer Banks Tennis Academy is the best elite tennis training facility in the world. Head Coach, Dominic Kingston has assembled some of the finest talent in the sport. From the game's biggest stars to athletes scraping and clawing to achieve their dreams, OBX is full of ego, drama and romance. Only the strong survive in this pressure cooker of competition, on and off the court.

Penny Harrison, the biggest rising star in tennis, is determined to win the French Open and beat her rival, the world’s number one player, Zina Lutrova. There’s just one problem, the only person who’s ever been able to shake her laser-like focus is her new training partner. Alex Russell, tennis’s resident bad boy, is at OBX recovering from a knee injury suffered after he crashed his motorcycle (with an Aussie supermodel on the back). He's hoping to regain his former place at the top of men’s tennis and Penny’s heart, while he’s at it.

Tennis is all Jasmine Randazzo has ever known. Her parents have seven Grand Slam championships between them and she’s desperate to live up to their legacy. Her best friend is Teddy Harrison, Penny’s twin brother, and that’s all they’ve ever been, friends. Then one stupid, alcohol-laced kiss makes everything super awkward just as she as she starts prepping for the biggest junior tournament of the year, the Outer Banks Classic.

The Classic is what draws Indiana Gaffney out of the hole she crawled into after her mom’s death. Even though she’s new to OBX, a win at the Classic is definitely possible. She has a big serve and killer forehand, but the rest of her game isn’t quite up to scratch and it doesn’t help that Jasmine Randazzo and her little minions are stuck-up bitches or that Jack Harrison, Penny’s agent and oldest brother, is too hot for words, not to mention way too old for her.

Who will rise? Who will fall? 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Things I Can't Forget Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway :0)

 I am SO excited to be a part of the Things I Can't Forget blog tour! Miranda Kenneally is one of my all time favorites and I feel so lucky to be able to help promote her newest book! This one is hosted by the fabulous Giselle from Xpresso Reads and you can find all of the tour info and scheduling information here.

Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally  (Hundred Oaks #3) 
Publication date: March 1st 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Contemporary
Companion to Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker.

Kate has always been the good girl. Too good, according to some people at school—although they have no idea the guilty secret she carries. But this summer, everything is different…

This summer she’s a counselor at Cumberland Creek summer camp, and she wants to put the past behind her. This summer Matt is back as a counselor too. He’s the first guy she ever kissed, and he’s gone from a geeky songwriter who loved The Hardy Boys to a buff lifeguard who loves to flirt…with her.

Kate used to think the world was black and white, right and wrong. Turns out, life isn’t that easy…

 I feel like I say this after each new book I read of hers, and I'll probably say it after the next one, but Miranda Kenneally has done it again. Her stories never fail to make me smile and I love reading about her characters. I was a little nervous about this one going in, because it's set at church camp and I'm not really a fan of religious type stories, but even though her faith and God are a large part of Kate's life it never gets preachy or uncomfortable. The role that religion plays in Kate's life is important in setting up her character's behavior and the choices she makes. It also gives her so much room to grow.
And then there is Matt...funny, sweet, swoony, Matt. I can't commit to loving him more than Sam Henry, but I sure did love him a lot. I felt like he was such a good balance for Kate. I really liked the fact that he seemed so easy going and really just got along with everyone. It was cool getting to see Parker and Will again. I felt like I got to know both of them a little more in this story and it was nice seeing them interact in a different situation.
The camp setting was fantastic. You never know what kind of trouble people are going to get into at camp and the possibilities for fun storylines are pretty much endless. I used to go to a camp every year when I was younger and it totally took me back there. I remember kayaking in the lake and running from snakes in the woods. So it was really fun reading about the counselors and what they get into when the kids aren't around.
This is an excellent addition to my Miranda Kenneally library and has definitely cemented her as an auto-buy author for me. If you are a fan of her other books, or if you haven't tried them out yet, I definitely recommend the whole Hundred Oaks series. This lady writes teens and she writes them well :0)




Growing up in Tennessee, Miranda Kenneally dreamed of becoming an Atlanta Brave, a country singer (cliché!), or a UN interpreter. Instead she writes, and works for the State Department in Washington, D.C., where George W. Bush once used her shoulder as an armrest. Miranda loves Twitter, Star Trek and her husband.


Author Links:

And thanks to the ever-awesome Miranda Kenneally we've got a couple of great giveaways going in honor of Things I Can't Forget! The first is a $25 iTunes giftcard giveaway and the second is a grab bag of Miranda's favorite books :0)
Both of these bad boys are International, kids, so enter away!!


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