Saturday, April 9, 2011

Author Interview: Kristan Higgins (& Giveaway!)


Kristan Higgins
Website | Blog | Facebook

Kristan Higgins' Books
All I Ever Wanted [Buy]
The Next Best Thing [Buy]
My One And Only [Buy]
[More...]




Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in writing?
Sure! I’m a forty-something mother of two, wife of one, dog-lover, Yankees fan. I’ve loved romance novels ever since I stole my first one from my grandmother when I was about 13. I had always worked as a writer in PR and advertising, but didn’t start writing fiction until I was a stay-at-home mom. My goal was to write the kind of romance I would love to read—realistic characters who had families, jobs, friends—normal people, in other words, not billionaires or actors or vampires (or billionaire actor vampires), though I do love reading those types of characters. But a big, memorable love story about two regular people…that was what I wanted to write. Fools Rush In, my first book, seemed to strike a chord with readers, and I’ve been writing ever since.


How was the road from idea to publication for MY ONE AND ONLY?
The road was pretty smooth! I wanted to write a divorced couple, and I wanted them trapped together. The harder part of the process was giving them enough reason for both marrying young and divorcing…and enough reason to want to try again. That took a little soul-mining, but I think it was well worth it. I love writing that blend of pathos and humor, and this book has that in spades.


Was there any inspiration in your life that sparked the idea of writing this book?
Well, no. I’m happily married and have been for a nice long while. But the idea of a reunion story has such appeal—you read all the time about people finding each other after a long time, whether on Facebook or at a high school reunion. And the power of first love is so overwhelming; it’s one of my favorite things to write about.


Have you ever read a book that changed your life?
Every book I’ve read has had an impact on me, good or bad, big or small. When I love a book, I carry it in my heart for a long, long time…maybe forever. I’ve read books that have felt like a friend, made me laugh, made me cry, informed me, upset me, inspired me…but I can’t say that I could point to one book and say, “There it is. The one responsible for everything.”


Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
UNTIL THERE WAS YOU will come out this November, and I’m very excited about this book, as it contains my first ever foray into the hero’s head. This is the story of the return of the bad-boy who now has to face up to his past while trying to raise a teenage daughter. The heroine is someone he knew from way back when…someone who always thought there was more to him than his reputation…right up until he breaks her heart, though not in the way you might guess. The two of them have to find out what’s different now, and what’s still the same. I had a lot of fun writing the hero’s point of view—I have a huge crush on this guy—and I really love the heroine (and her dog. And her family!).

I’m also working on a new book featuring a character readers have already met, as well as a return to a place a lot of readers loved. But I’m not sure I’m supposed to say too much about that just yet. Sorry!


Thank you so much for having me today!

As part of this interview, the publishers are offering up a copy of MY ONE AND ONLY to a lucky reader! Simply fill out the form below to be entered!

Details:
- US Only!
- Must be a follower of this blog.
- Contest ends Saturday, April 16 at midnight.

Click HERE to be taken to the form!

My One And Only, by Kristan Higgins


My One and Only
Kristan Higgins

Publisher: HQN Books
Release Date:
March 29, 2011
Series:
N/A
Genre:
Young Adult
Pages:
Mass Market Paperback, 384
Source:
Publisher
Rating:
5/5 (Avg 4/5)
Divorce attorney Harper James can't catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister's destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she's being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic. Harper can't help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick's eyes, Harper's always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting -- just around the bend.



I think it's starting to become clear that I have a soft spot for Contemporary Romance novels. Though the reviews for such books on here are usually Young Adult, I absolutely had to take the plunge to read this and review it. Kristan Higgins is an incredible writer and I have been a fan of her writing for a little while now. The way she writes makes it entirely too easy to get lost in her stories, making you not want to come out of the story world until you're completely done with the book.

The first thing that pops out about this book is the fact that it's about second chances. We're dealing with an ex-wife and an ex-husband who, after marrying very early, separate and then find themselves in a situation where they not only have to deal with each other - but also their feelings for one another. I absolutely loved it. It's not often we read happily-ever-afters about those that didn't quite get it right the first time around.

For me, this was most definitely a character-driven story. The characters kept me reading, anxiously wanting to know more and more. Although it seems that Harper is a bit... abrasive at the beginning, once you learn her story then she seems justified and completely in character. Nick isn't some knight in shining armor. He comes with his own issues. Yet, he admits right up that Harper was The One for him. He was never impatient with Harper, he's always there for her and it gave me a tooth ache just seeing how utterly sweet he was. Like all good characters, these two (and the others) don't go without their flaws... but it works for them and makes them each unique with their own voices, never once deviating from themselves.

I can't say anything bad about this book. It has everything that you want in contemporary/chick lit novels without the headaches of bad characters or plots that go nowhere. The story is as equally amazing as the characters themselves and, after finishing, I couldn't help but to want to read more about all of these fascinating characters. This is one of my highly recommended contemp reads of 2011 so far.


Find Kristan Higgins Online
Website | Blog | Facebook

Purchase MY ONE AND ONLY
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound


New This Week!

These are just some of the books of note that were released in the YA world this week(-ish). To learn more about a book, click on the cover art.




Now in Paperback


Friday, April 8, 2011

Napier's Bones, by Derryl Murphy


Napier's Bones
Derryl Murphy

Publisher: ChiZine Publications
Release Date:
March 15, 2011
Series:
N/A
Genre:
Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Pages:
Paperback, 300
Source:
Publisher
Rating:
4/5
What if, in a world where mathematics could be magic, the thing you desired most was also trying to kill you? Dom is a numerate, someone able to see and control numbers and use them as a form of magic. While seeking a mathematical item of immense power that has only been whispered about, it all goes south for Dom, and he finds himself on the run across three countries on two continents, with two unlikely companions in tow and a numerate of unfathomable strength hot on his tail. Along the way are giant creatures of stone and earth, statues come alive, numerical wonders cast over hundreds of years, and the very real possibility that he won't make it out of this alive. And both of his companions have secrets so deep that even they aren't aware of them, and one of those secrets could make for a seismic shift in how Dom and all other numerates see and interact with the world.

Every once in a while, you find a book that confuses you yet utterly dazzles you at the same time. Napier's Bones is that book for me. I really think the confusion for me was all things mathematics-related. To put it nicely, I will never be a mathlete - ever. Any word related to math boggles my mind. ;)

Other than that, this book was amazing. It was easy to get into and well-written. The characters felt a little more like stock characters than extraordinarily unique ones, but they were developed well and each had their own voice that set them apart from others.

The action is non-stop and doesn't let up at all throughout the story. You never get confused or left behind because everything is explained well, although sometimes the explanations are a little long-winded. Overall, this was a great read, fast-paced with an explosive beginning and equally entertaining reading. There's the definite feel of an Urban Fantasy read to it, but other than that it is like nothing that I've ever read before. It's a book to add to your TBR lists, for sure.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Blog Tour Author Interview: Rebecca Ryals Russell


Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Rebecca Ryals Russell has recently developed a craving for Hazelnut coffee around 9pm every night. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact she stays up until 2am writing, or doing promo/marketing for her many upcoming books over the next couple of years (seven to date through June 2012, but there are plenty in the Working-On pile, so never fear). A fourth-generation Floridian, she has lived in every quadrant of the state except the Panhandle (born in Gainesville-Cental Fl, grew up in Sunrise-South Fl, lived in Orlando-Central Fl, Jacksonville-Northeast Fl and now Wellborn-outside Lake City-North Central Fl). She keeps busy by writing, raising her four teens/young adults, running a Vacation Rental business and trying to sell the 1909 Victorian house in which the family lives so they can move back to Jacksonville.


What is the inspiration behind the Seraphym Wars series?

When asked why I wrote this book, the first of a five-book series, I always pause to think. The idea for the book began about thirty years ago while reading David Eddings’s series, one right after the other, and everything of Terry Brooks I could get my hands on. Originally, the story in my head resembled High Fantasy with a wizard, dragons and elves. But I knew I wanted to incorporate kids from around the world as heroes.


Since I was teaching Middle Grades at the time, which meant leaving the house at 6:30am to be at school in time, I got up for a while at 5am and plunked away at my manual typewriter. This lasted for about three chapters before I found I needed sleep. Principals frown on teachers falling asleep in class--although the kids thought it was funny. But the ideas wouldn’t stop. The story continued to grow. Then my family began to grow, one child every three years or so, until I was teaching and mothering. And overwhelmed. Anyone who knows me will tell you I don’t do anything half-way. My students were as important to me as my own kids, just ask my kids, they’ll tell you. So I put eighty to a hundred hours a week into my teaching and the rest went into my family. Even when I quit teaching to be a full-time mom, I then put all of that energy into them. I tried writing, but was too distracted, tired and busy.

But the story continued to grow. I began to see a shift in the violence and news of evil deeds being told every night or displayed in the morning newspapers. Demons were gaining the upper hand in our world, with the tightest grip on our children. And every time I mentioned what I saw happening in music, or movies or video games, my kids got mad and ignored me, saying I was crazy. I had to find a way to open eyes.


What made you want to be a writer?

After twelve years out of the classroom, with my kids all in high or middle school, I went back to the classroom. But things had changed too much for me to catch up. The pressure was immense and I was miserable. My husband said, “Quit and write that book you’ve always wanted to write.” So I did.On our five acres, we have a log house that my father built to live in. After he passed away we didn’t know what to do with this beautiful empty house. So we decided to rent it out as a vacation home. But until it got busy, I used it as a writing office. Surrounded by my parents’ furniture and quilts, rustic log walls and flat Florida landscape out the windows, I began writing again. But I didn’t rehash what I’d started twenty-five years ago. I started over. The story had changed.



For six months I created the world of Dracwald, invented my characters, monsters, mythological creatures and a basic plot. I illustrated everything to get a clear picture of my creations. And I researched, researched, researched. A story of kids fighting an evil wizard had blossomed into a story of multicultural teens battling demons encroaching on Earth after destroying other civilizations across the Megaverse. As I continued thinking and researching, the focus became Myrna (after about twelve name changes), the lead demon-hunter-slayer, who is responsible for finding the rest of the Vigorios and getting them trained on the island of Majikals. And along the way she would encounter real, actual news-story violence and evil taken straight from the newspapers from around the world. It would be eye-opening for her and the reader.


What are three adjectives that pop into your head when you think of Myrna?

Hard-headed, badass, compassionate.


Is there anything specific that you hope readers take away from the story?

I hope readers realize how much of what happens on Dracwald ACTUALLY occurred on Earth. (ALL of the violence in dreams/visions and that the characters witness comes from real news accounts.)


Are there any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

These are currently being edited, release dates are given:

July 2011-Zarena, Stardust Warriors MG Series
September 2011-Guardian, Seraphym Wars
October 2011- Don’t Make Marty Mad (adult Horror story)
November 2011-Jeremiah, Stardust Warriors
January 2012-Harpies, Seraphym Wars
February 2012-Laman, Stardust Warriors
April 2012-Mercy, Stardust Warriors
June 2012-Magaelbash, Stardust Warriors

I’m in the process of writing the next three Stardust Warriors books, a YA Dystopian Romance and planning Majikals, the next Seraphym Wars book. I’m also working on a whole new Tween series called Masquerade the Scaredy Cat.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Semi-Hiatus

Hey guys. I've been gone a lot because of stuff going on in my life. As a result, I have reached the end of my pre-scheduled posts except for two and haven't had the time to remedy the situation. Seeing as how I will be out of town until Friday, you won't see much going on around here except for a scheduled post on Friday and I think there's one for Saturday as well.

I WILL be home this weekend with a lot of time on my hands, so I'll be back in full swing next week with probably an overhaul of new posts. So don't give up on me - I'm still around, just a little preoccupied and full of blogger's guilt. ;)

See you next week!!
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Me & The Family



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Husband (Nick) and Me

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Dilla (top) and Optimus Prime (bottom)

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Stormy

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5/26/2013: If you're here and you're reading this.. thanks for sticking around! I know I've been gone for a while but I am definitely coming back. This blog will be going through some crazy transitions (layout and such) for the next few days, but I should be back up and ready to review VERY soon. Thanks so much for your patience and support!! xoxo, Missy
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