April 25, 2015

Book review: Mary Hades by Sarah Dalton

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Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager.

Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite…

Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement.

Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?

The first in a series of dark YA novels, Mary Hades follows on from the bestselling Kindle Single 'My Daylight Monsters'. A spine-tingling tale with romance, readers will be shocked and entertained in equal measure.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

April 18, 2015

Why I do reading challenges

Last year, I participated in a reading challenge called Reading Outside the Box. The year before that, I did an Authors A to Z reading challenge. This year, I'm participating in a more generic challenge on Goodreads to read at least 100 books in 2015.

Why do I partake in these reading challenges? First of all, I believe that every writer should read. Anyone who thinks they can be a good writer without reading books is delusional IMHO. That's like saying that you can be a chef without ever tasting food. It may not be impossible, but it's very, very, very difficult.

The additional benefit of reading challenges is that it forces me to read outside of my comfort zone. If all I read were YA books, I'd think that all stories involved insta-love and love triangles, and that's probably what I'd write (or not, since I despise insta-love and love triangles). With the Reading Outside the Box and Authors A to Z challenges, I had to read books that I normally don't. Some were not my cup of tea, as expected, but others were surprisingly good and I found myself learning from those books. Reading them could only make me better as a writer.

The thrill of finishing a reading challenge also makes me feel good. Who doesn't like completing a challenge with some degree of difficulty?

Finally, I do reading challenges because... reading is fun! Even if you're not an author, the last two points make reading challenges worthwhile.

April 11, 2015

99 Cent Book Blast this weekend only


This weekend, Gifted will be part of a 99 Cent Book Blast! Over 175 ebooks from more than 150 authors -- including USA Today Bestsellers -- are on sale for just 99 cents. Genres include paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy. This promotion will only last until April 12th, so don't delay!

April 4, 2015

I guess I am an author after all?

When I meet someone new, one of the first questions one of us usually asks is, "What do you do for a living?" For me, the answer has always been "I'm an engineer" because that's what my day job is, what it's been since I graduated from college, and what it'll be for the foreseeable future. I'm used to people knowing me as an engineer.

However, in the last year, something's changed. I started meeting people who knew me primarily as an author. These weren't people I met online through my author social media or this blog. They're people I ran into in person. My family or friends have told them that I write, and I'm still taken aback when they ask about my books.

I must say that conversations are more entertaining when I talk about being an author. When I tell someone that I'm an engineer, either their eyes glaze over or they react with, "Oh, you're another one of those." (I work in Silicon Valley, where engineers are a dime a dozen.) However, when someone knows me as an author, they want to know about the books I wrote, or how I write, or they want to tell me about a story idea that they have. Everyone knows what books are and have some idea of what authors do. It's a calling that captures people's imaginations. I've heard statistics that say 80% to 90% of all Americans want to write a book sometime in their lives. Somehow, I don't see as many people saying they want to be engineers. :-)

One of these days, I might tell people that I'm an author when I introduce myself. I think it would be fun to. Until then, I'll relish the surprises that come up when someone knows me as an author first and foremost.

March 28, 2015

Book Review: Eerie by Blake and Jordan Crouch

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On a crisp autumn evening in 1980, seven-year-old Grant Moreton and his five-year-old sister Paige were nearly killed in a mysterious accident in the Cascade Mountains that left them orphans.


It's been thirty years since that night. Grant is now a detective with the Seattle Police Department and long estranged from his sister. But his investigation into the bloody past of a high-class prostitute has led right to Paige's door, and what awaits inside is beyond his wildest imagining.


His only hope of survival and saving his sister will be to confront the terror that inhabits its walls, but he is completely unprepared to face the truth of what haunts his sister's brownstone.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

March 21, 2015

YA Spring Fling interview with author Cady Vance

The YA Spring Fling giveaway started yesterday! Remember to enter for a chance to win from over 100 ebooks and other prizes!

Before you do, let's hear from Cady Vance, one of the authors whose books you can win.

Tell us more about your books.

Never Sleep is a YA science fiction story set in New York City. The protagonist, Thora Green, suffers from chronic months-long insomnia, and she's heard a rumor of a secret haven with a cure called the Insomniac Cafe, hidden in the streets of Manhattan. So, she takes off to follow the clues in an overnight epic adventure.

Bone Dry is a YA paranormal about a con artist shaman who tricks her classmates into being haunted. But, of course, real spirits start showing up in town, leaving behind a trail of bodies, and Holly has to get to the bottom of things before more people die. There's also a swoony comic book nerd named Nathan Whitman who helps her out.

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee all the way. Lots of it, all day every day. Along with chocolate. Best combination ever!

Plotter or Pantser?
A bit of both. I need to know where I'm going and the major steps along the way, so I write out an outline before I start working on the story. But I like to leave some room for surprises, because my mind always comes up with cool ideas as I'm typing out all the words.

Are there any books involved in the YA Spring Fling that you’re secretly lusting after?
I've been eyeing Bound in Blue for awhile, and I have The Witching Elm by C.N. Crawford on my Kindle. Can't wait to dive into that!

What are your top tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse?
You need a weapon, obviously. I think a crossbow is your best option. It gives you the distance you need, but it's not loud like a shotgun (which, as we all know, gets the zombies coming). Also, it's very important to get to a secluded location. I'd head straight for a ship and make sure I had the supplies for fishing. I'm a vegetarian, but when the zombie apocalypse comes, I'll have to survive on sea creatures.

Where can readers find your books?
You can check out my website at www.cadyvance.com to see all of my books and upcoming releases!

March 14, 2015

YA Spring Fling Giveaway

I'm excited to announce that two of my books, Gifted and Keep Your Enemies Close, are part of the YA Spring Fling Giveaway! There are over 100 books up for grabs, along with other cool swag. I know that there are quite a few books in the giveaway that I'm personally itching to read.

The giveaway runs from March 20 to April 3. If you want to receive updates, you can sign up for the mailing list at http://eepurl.com/baBpFr. Anyone who signs up before the 20th is guaranteed to receive at least one e-book!