Tag Archive | YA paranormal

Review of EVAN ELEMENTAL by Crystal Groszek and Pinterest Father’s Day project

evan elemental

I signed up to participate in the blog tour for Crystal Groszek’s book, EVAN EVOLVED, Book 2 in this trilogy, because the blurb sounded fascinating and I always enjoy a good YA paranormal story. I decided I’d better read the first book, EVAN ELEMENTAL, so I’d be caught up and know what’s going on 🙂 This has been a fun trilogy to read and I’m happy to present the review of Book One: EVAN ELEMENTAL. After the book review, be sure to check out my Pinterest project for the week. Since Father’s Day is just around the corner, I decided to get the kids’ help with this one. In case you’re still looking for a project to do with the kids, it was a fun one 🙂 My pictures and review are posted at the bottom 🙂

Blurb:

Orphaned at seventeen, Evan O’Fion has a choice: let her loss define her or rise above it and become more than she ever believed she was capable of. The problem? Giving in to the darkness that calls her is just too easy. Add in to the mix the ability to control the elements and travel across space and time, and Evan is pretty sure she’s going to lose it completely. Giving in would be a relief, but Evan is beginning to realize that there are people counting on her and that the mystery of her past is the key to it all.

As Evan struggles to put her party-girl ways behind her, she must learn to control her new abilities and face the fact that everything she thought she knew about herself was a lie. On top of it all, she has to face a new town, new home, new school, and a sexy dangerous guy…or two.

Dealing has never been Evan’s strong suit. How she’s going to handle it all and come out alive, she has no idea, but she’s stronger than ever and she’s not going down without a fight.

Review:

I enjoyed the story a lot. It was a quick read and kept me wanting to find out what would happen next. As with any story there are always aspects that I enjoy and things I would change. The story is told from a first person point of view from the main character, Evan. At age seventeen, Evan is orphaned at the beginning of the story and sent to live with a relative she’s never met. Her world is surrounded in mystery from the moment she enters her new life, and she is kept relatively in the dark throughout most of the story. Crystal has a knack for keeping the story progressing smoothly, and I flew through the book because I kept wanting to find out what would happen next. Soon after Evan arrives to her new town, she begins to discover that she is developing supernatural abilities and can manipulate the elements of nature.

As much as I enjoyed the story, I had mixed emotions about the main character Evan and had a hard time relating to her. When I read YA books, I always consider the teenagers I work with and whether I would recommend the same book for them. Keeping in mind that YA books are typically considered to fall in the 13-17 age group, I would definitely say that this story is for the older age range of mature YA readers due to language and Evan’s poor choices of turning to drugs. The story would have been just as entertaining if Evan didn’t use drugs because there wasn’t an explicit “good” reason following the plot development for her to turn to drugs, not that there ever is a good reason anyway. In this case, Evan just seems like a spoiled brat. I can see that teenagers who struggle with drugs and alcohol would be able to relate to the character, but the main plot of the story has nothing to do with overcoming a drug addiction, it was just a character flaw. I would have enjoyed it more if Evan could be seen as a better role model to younger readers. With that said, because I had to get in out there since this is a YA book, it was an enjoyable story.

There is definite character development throughout the story, and I enjoyed reading about Evan as she discovered her new supernatural abilities. I haven’t read a story exactly like this one before with a character who can manipulate the elements of nature. It was very interesting. The only thing I would have liked to have seen more would have been more time spent on Evan exploring her new abilities. There were a few instances in the story that focused on her new talents, but they were all fairly brief. I anticipate that in the stories to come, Evan will continue to discover what she is capable of. I think this first story is just the beginning of more to come 🙂

I also enjoyed the love story entwined within. As Evan is struggling to deal with the loss of her parents, discovering her new abilities, and the obvious secrets those around her are keeping, she is also faced with a surprising love interest, who IS a very likable character. 🙂

There were a few instances in the story when I questioned the first person perspective and choice of verb usage and a few punctuation errors here and there, but nothing that was distracting unless you were looking for it. Overall, this was a great story. *Warning* it does end with a huge cliffhanger, so it’s a good thing the second book, EVAN EVOLVED, is already out. I anxiously started reading it the day after I finished this book 🙂 Look for my review of EVAN EVOLVED on Sunday 🙂

***3 Stars

FREE on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Evan-Elemental-Crystal-Groszek-ebook/dp/B00CNF0BEU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402437829&sr=8-1&keywords=evan+elemental

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17887135-evan-elemental?from_search=true

Pinterest Project

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Father’s Day Project “Dad Rocks”

I had a hard time deciding which Father’s Day project to do this year. After perusing Pinterest, I came up with a ton of fun ideas. I pinned all of the great projects I found under “Kids Crafts” if you’re looking for other Father’s Day ideas. The link to my Pinterest page is at the bottom of this post 🙂 I decided on this salt dough project because my kids LOVE rocks and they were all able to participate in the project.

To start with I sent the kids into the backyard in search of rocks. This was the easy part because I live in Arizona, and half of my backyard is made up of rocks 🙂 The project definitely could have been on a smaller scale using smaller rocks – the rocks we used ranged between 1/2 inch – 1.5 inches. The dimensions for the final project are 12″ x 6″.

After we gathered the rocks, the kids had fun sorting out their favorites and figuring out which rocks would work best for each letter. Once we had sorted through the rocks and spelled out “Dad Rocks”, the kids helped me mix up the salt dough mixture. It was difficult to knead the dough, but we still took “turns” and the girls thought they were helping to knead it and that’s what mattered 🙂 The next step was to roll it out. We rolled it on floured wax paper so it would be easy to transfer to a cookie sheet. The rectangle is, of course, not perfect, but it’s a kids’ project and the kids helped, so that’s what matters 🙂

photo 1(1) photo 2(2)

It’s optional of course, but I decided it would look cute and be more personalized if they made an imprint of their hands first. The rocks cover up half of their handprints, but I like that it gives a personalized touch 🙂 Once they pressed their hands in, I carefully pressed in each rock. I thought each rock was secure, but once it had baked, 2 of the rocks fell out. This is an easy fix with superglue, but I would suggest double checking that the rocks are completely pressed into the dough.

Another thing to be aware of is that if you make a project of this size it’s going to take a REALLY long time to bake, so don’t plan on using the oven for a while.  Also, if you plan to hang it up, which I hadn’t planned on at first, make sure you punch the holes before you bake it. After we put it all together, I started to bake it and then started wondering what we were going to do with it once we give it to “Daddy” for Father’s Day. It’s a little too big to just place on a desk. About an hour and a half into the baking process, I realized that it would look cute hung up, so I pulled it out of the oven, and thankfully the dough was still soft enough that I could punch holes 🙂 A small smaller project, of course, would make a cute paper weight.

When all was said and done, it took approximately 12-14 hours to bake. It’s a big process, but the kids loved it, and I’m happy that it turned out cute. The kids are very excited to give it to their daddy for Father’s Day 🙂 I found several salt dough recipes online and they all seemed to vary slightly. I’m sure they all work, some call for more salt, some call for higher baking temperatures. I just picked a recipe that had a good blog and description, but there are lots more out there. If you don’t have your own salt dough recipe, this is the one I used. Here’s the full link to the blog if you want to read more on the recipe:

http://www.craftychild.com/salt-dough-recipe.html

Salt Dough for crafts

– 3 Cups flour

– 1/2 cup table salt

– 1 1/4 cut water

Directions:

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. To make colored dough, add a couple teaspoons of food coloring to the water before you add it to the flour mix. Slowly stir in the water then knead the dough on a floured surface. If the dough is too crumbly, slowly add a little water at a time until it is smooth and elastic – 5 to 10 minutes.

Bake at 170 degrees on a baking paper lined tray. It will take a while so just keep an eye on it. The bigger the project, the longer it’s going to take. The project is finished when it’s hard and you can’t make an indentation in it. Also be sure to check the bottom. At first I thought our project was finished, but the bottom was still soft. I peeled the paper off and put it on a lower rack to finish baking.

For more Father’s Day ideas check out my Pinterest Page 🙂

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Review of HELL TRANSPORTER by Cyndi Tefft and a Pinterest experiment with Peanut Butter Energy Balls

I am thrilled to share my first review of the summer with Cyndi Tefft’s HELL TRANSPORTER, Book 2 in the Between Series. Each week throughout the summer, I will share a book review along with a Pinterest experiment. I love to cook and do craft projects, but I’ve been short on time throughout the school year. Now that the kids are out of school, I’m going to take advantage of my time with them to work on projects and recipes I’ve wanted to try throughout the year. Each week I will share a project or recipe with you and give you my review of how it turned out and, if appropriate, how kid friendly it is 🙂

hell transporter

Blurb:

Aiden MacRae has been given a new life after being stuck transporting souls to heaven for the last three hundred years. He doesn’t know the culture, the times or the slang, but there is one thing he does know: he didn’t come forward alone.

The master of hell has other plans for the Scottish Highlander and has sent a transporter of his own to get the deed done. Will Lindsey be able to save him or get caught in the crossfire?

Review:

Last year I presented my review of BETWEEN, Book 1 in the NA Between Series. The premise is based on Lindsey, a college student who dies in a car crash and falls in love with the transporter who is supposed to take her to heaven. I loved the book and was excited to continue reading the story with Book 2, HELL TRANSPORTER.

In Book 2, Lindsey finds herself head over heels in love and wondering if her new life is too good to be true. Her sense of peace soon comes crashing down when she discovers that someone else from “the other side” is after her. I love these books because it is a quick, easy read, but at the same time, Cyndi manages to create a sense of realism through rich, descriptive language. She creates enough visualization to offer the sights, smells, and feelings that the characters experience, but not too much to bog the reader down. HELL TRANSPORTER has a nice balance of character development, romance, and suspense.

Without giving anything away, I will say that HELL TRANSPORTER lives up to my expectations, and is perhaps even more exciting than the first book. I was satisfied with the ending because it didn’t leave off with a complete cliffhanger, but left me wanting enough to read the next book, EVEN IN DARKNESS.

I would recommend the series for older teenagers, as there are mild love scenes, or any adult who enjoys an excellent paranormal NA story 🙂 5 STARS *****

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hell-Transporter-Between-Cyndi-Tefft-ebook/dp/B007KUXJ4M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401742380&sr=8-1&keywords=hell+transporter

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12934676-hell-transporter?from_search=true

Pinterest Project

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Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Recipe:

I found several variations of this recipe online. There are slight variations but this one was the most similar to other recipes I found.

  • 1 cup dry old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes (I used raisins instead)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used all natural, no sugar)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.

Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Makes about 20-25 balls.

I’ve been wanting to find healthier snack alternatives for the kids and myself (and the husband, ha ha) and saw the recipe for these Peanut Butter Protein Energy Balls awhile ago, and I’ve been wanting to try them. They are excellent on so many levels and I highly recommend them.

First off, they are very easy to make and it’s a fun, easy project that the kids can help out with. Full of high nutritional foods (except for the chocolate chips), the peanut butter balls give me enough energy to keep me going for hours. I can eat two in the morning and feel satisfied until lunch in comparison to eating a bowl of cereal where I am usually hungry an hour or two later. You’ll see in the recipe that flaxseeds and chia seeds are included. These are of course optional, as most of the ingredients are. You can mix and choose what you add. I was hesitant to add the seeds because I didn’t know much about them. I remembered hearing Dr. Oz talk about them on his show at one point, so I knew they had to have some sort of beneficial health value, but I couldn’t remember what it was, so I googled them. Here’s what I found:

Flaxseeds: (Taken from WebMD.com)

Although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its primary healthy reputation to three of them:

  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
  • Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
  • Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.

Chia Seeds: (Taken from WebMD.com)

Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. “Chia” means strength, and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds as an energy booster. That makes sense, as chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.

Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds (unlike flaxseeds). One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals.

The health benefits to include the seeds definitely sounded worth it and the recipe doesn’t call for a lot. I spent about $3 at a local health food store for enough seeds to make the recipe twice. The downside to the seeds is that they do get stuck in the teeth, especially the chia seeds if you have braces or any sort of permanent retainer. The little black seeds, unlike poppyseeds, swell when they get wet and become gooey. So you have to weigh that option when you consider adding them.

The Peanut Butter Energy Balls get a definite 5 stars and are highly recommended for the whole family.

Look for future books and projects that I will be reviewing this summer on my Pinterest page. I will continue to add books and projects as the summer progresses so check back 🙂

Interview with author Cyndi Tefft

Between (Between, #1)  I am thrilled to present my final interview of the year with author Cyndi Tefft. I haven’t yet read her book, BETWEEN, a YA paranormal romance, but I have just added it to my TBR list and absolutely can’t wait to start reading the series. As I’ve gotten to know Cyndi I have discovered that she and I have a lot in common so I know that I will love her writing. The plot sounds fascinating so I’m excited that it’s a series so I’ll be able to continue the story line once I finish the first book. Please enjoy her interview and then check out the blurb for the first book in her series, BETWEEN.

Cyndi Tefft

1. Cyndi, I just looked up the first book in your series, BETWEEN, and I’ve just added it to my TBR list! You had me at Scottish accent 🙂 Add in paranormal romance and I’m hooked. I can’t wait to read it! What makes BETWEEN stand out from other paranormal romances?

BETWEEN is about a modern girl who dies in an accident and the 18th century Scottish Highlander who comes to take her to heaven. The majority of the book takes place in the realm in between Earth and heaven, rather than the heroine being tied to this world, which is unique (at least I haven’t seen it in another book!). Aiden MacRae is a grim reaper of sorts, but ‘grim’ is not among the words I would use to describe him. Sexy, sweet, charming…yes! But not grim. 🙂

2. When I write, I am often surprised my things my characters do and say. What has surprised you the most about your characters?

I remember while writing the second book in this series, Hell Transporter, I had in mind that the next scene would be a love scene, but instead, my characters decided to have a rip-roaring fight! I didn’t know anything about it until I started writing and out it came. LOL

3. I would like to interview the main character, Lindsey, for a moment:
 Lindsey, falling for Aiden is anything but practical. What do you see in him that you find irresistible?

You’re telling me! Who would have thought? But still, you’ll understand once you meet him. I never stood a chance. Not only is he hotness incarnate, but his kindness towards others, and the way he cares for me… I’ve never met anyone like him. *blissful sigh*

4. I was thrilled to learn that you’re from Seattle because that’s where I grew up. When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun in Seattle?

Seattle is a great city (apart from the miserable traffic!). I’ve lived here for about six years. There are a ton of touristy activities to do here (Space Needle, Seattle Center with the Pacific Science Center and the Chihuly Glass Museum, the Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum). I’m a little bit of a homebody, though, so I tend to go out with friends for food and fun, just like you’d do anywhere else.

5. I also see that you’re just as crazy about Scotland as I am, and I am extremely jealous that you’ve been there. What did you enjoy the most about your visit?

I’ve been twice, actually, and I would go again in a heartbeat if I could! The highlight of the first trip was visiting Eilean Donan Castle (the home of the hero in my books). Standing in the great hall that I’d written about, seeing it through Aiden’s eyes, was a surreal experience! On the second trip, we visited Orkney (islands to the north of the mainland), where there are ancient stone villages sunk into the earth. Totally cool!

6. If BETWEEN was turned into a movie, who do you imagine would play Lindsey and Aiden?

I actually have a Pinterest board where I collect pictures just for this fantasy! http://www.pinterest.com/cynditefft/between-series/  Chris Hemsworth is the closest I can come to Aiden. There are a few women who have the look of Lindsey, but the closest is a model Rachel LaHood. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see the book come to life on the big screen. Amazing. As my daughter would say: DO WANT.

7. What are your favorite must-have comforts when you are writing?

I listen to classical music while writing, which helps me block out the rest of the world and slip into the zone. Mostly, I just need space where no one is going to interrupt me!

8. What sort of writing projects do you have planned for the future?

I am currently writing the fourth book in the Between series, as well as dabbling here and there on some other projects, both YA and adult. Anything I write will be a love story, though!

BETWEEN by Cyndi Tefft

Blurb:

It just figures that the love of Lindsey Water’s life isn’t alive at all, but the grim reaper, complete with a dimpled smile and Scottish accent.

After transporting souls to heaven for the last 300 years, Aiden MacRae has all but given up on finding the one whose love will redeem him and allow him entry through the pearly gates.

Torn between her growing attraction to Aiden and heaven’s siren song, Lindsey must learn the hard way whether love really can transcend all boundaries.

Want to read Between and the rest of the series?

Add Between to your Goodreads list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11152377-between

Purchase on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Between-Cyndi-Tefft/dp/1460937104/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385438433&sr=8-1&keywords=between+cyndi+tefft

Interview with author Shannon A. Thompson

Minutes Before Sunset    Over the past few months, I have gotten to know author Shannon A. Thompson and I have excitedly awaited the opportunity to present the interview that I did with her. A fun side note before you enjoy the review, I mentioned in a previous review that most of the reviews and interviews that I post are a result of getting to know authors through Facebook chats, Tweets, and emails over time. I love to have the opportunity to be able to present reviews and interviews for my friends. The last review that I posted, EDGE OF TRUTH, was by my friend and author Natasha Hanova. When I found out that my two friends Shannon A. Thompson and Natasha Hanova lived fairly close to each other, I introduced them and they are now friends with each other as well 🙂 I know that several fans of my page expressed an interest in Natasha’s book, EDGE OF TRUTH, and I hope that you will also add Shannon A. Thompson’s book, MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET, to your To Be Read list. It sounds fascinating. At the end of her interview, I will post a blurb of her book and links to access it. There will also be a GIVEAWAY link, at the bottom of this page, for a chance to win your own eBook copy of MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET!!

My interview with author SHANNON A. THOMPSON

1. Shannon, MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET, sounds awesome and the reviews are fantastic. I love paranormal YA stories. In fact I just added it to my own Goodreads, TBR list! For those out there who haven’t had the opportunity to hear about your book, sum it up in 3 sentences or less.

The Light is evil, the Dark is good, and prophecies aren’t guaranteed. Minutes Before Sunset is an exploration of identity, fate, and choice, but it’s also a paranormal romance. Minutes Before Sunset happens through the minds of two young adults as they struggle to survive their paranormal realities and find balance in their human lives

2. It sounds like you’ve been writing from a young age. Have you always wanted to be a writer? At what point did you decide that you had a story in your head that needed to get out to be shared with the world?

I have been writing as long as I can remember, and I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I even posted a picture of a short story I wrote in the first grade where we were asked on the back page what we wanted to be, and I said a “book author.” I was six, but I didn’t take the dream seriously until 2003. I was eleven when my mother suddenly died, and we shared a love for words. Because of that, I knew I wanted to spend my life chasing my dream, and I had to start immediately. My first novel, November Snow, was published four years later. Since then I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to have more publications: a poetry collection, the Timely Death trilogy, and a short story coming in an anthology this October. I will continue, but my ultimate hope is to be in the position to help others follow their dreams.

3. I love imagining my book one day being turned into a movie and like to picture the actors who would star in it. If MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET was turned into a movie, who do you imagine would play the roles of your two main characters, Eric and Jessica?

What a question. I like to imagine my books as movies as I write as well, but if the opportunity ever came up, I hope I’d have the chance to hold open-casting calls. I want the perfect Eric and Jessica, but I also want to give new actors and actresses a chance at their dream.

4. I read on Goodreads that MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET is the first novel in a series. What are your plans for upcoming books? Any new releases coming up soon?It’s the first in A Timely Death trilogy. Seconds Before Sunrise is scheduled to release this fall. Yes, THIS fall, and I’m really excited to share the next part of the story. The conclusion, Death Before a New Day, is scheduled to release in the spring of 2014. Readers can expect even more twists from the next two books.

5. Besides writing, are there any other hobbies or interests that you are passionate about?I really love older movies, especially if they have Humphrey Bogart in them. I actually named my cat, Bogart, after him, because my love for his movies is borderline obsessive. Other than watching Casablanca, Sabrina, and Key Largo on a regular basis, I love traveling, reading, photography, and attempting cooking (or making small kitchen fires in my case.)

6. I read that your cat’s name is Humphrey Bogart. So cute! I’m guessing that you enjoy Humphrey Bogart movies? Do you have a favorite movie? Humphrey Bogart or otherwise?

As said above, I absolutely love Humphrey Bogart. My favorite is Casablanca, which I first came across in 2007. I can practically recite the entire movie I’ve watched it so many times. But I also love other people from that era of entertainment. Elvis Presley is my favorite singer, and he’s currently in my car stereo right now. I probably would’ve named my cat Presley if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m waiting until I get a large, shaggy, preferably black dog to be given that name.

7. I was just checking out your blog. It’s very impressive! I’m going to include a link to your blog so that readers can follow it. Who are authors or bloggers that you like to follow?

Nathan Bransford is one of the main ones I follow, but he’s well-known, and I’d rather take this opportunity to share some bloggers from the WordPress community I really appreciate: Ky Grabowski, Read to Write Stories, Nada Faris, Tuan Ho, Dan Pantagram, Tim Flanagan, and Michael Fedison. They are all amazing, and there are so many more I wish I could share, but it’d end up being an entire document! WordPress is an amazing family I am so grateful I joined last September.

8. What are your top three favorite books that you’ve read so far this year?

I read a lot of different genres, so I want to give my favorite in them:YA Fiction: Requiem by Lauren Oliver, a brilliant end to an even more brilliant trilogy. I loved how she challenged how societies are morphed by culture by using texts we have and altering them to her world. This happens mainly in the first book, but the entire trilogy kept me on my toes. Nonfiction: My War Gone By, I Miss It So by Anthony Loyd. It’s not for the faint of heart. It’s about the cruelty of war, but if you can handle the controversial scenes, this book will challenge and move you. Poetry: Unmemntioable by Eric Moure (yes, that is the spelling.) I was in love the entire way through this collection. I have already reread it five times. It’s also about war, but it’s also about finding out who you are and where you come from as well as your perception of language and how it shapes you.

9. When I write, I like to make sure I have my favorite beverage and snack on hand, and depending on who is in the house at the time, I prefer to write in a big, oversized chair in my bedroom. What about you? What are your favorite “must-haves” that set up your ideal writing-comfort-zone? 🙂

Surprisingly, I write best in chaos, meaning I love writing in public places. I need a lot of people and noise around me. I can’t really listen to one song, because I get distracted by lyrics, but I still listen to it every now and then. Currently, my number one place for writing is at Ice Fire Hookah Lounge in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.

10. There are so many fantastic YA books out on the market. How is MINUTES BEFORE SUNSET different from other YA paranormal books?

I like to challenge archetypes, so the Light and the Dark is flipped as well as seasons and other commonly used symbols in literature. The main example in Minutes Before Sunset is the Light and the Dark. The Light is evil, while the Dark is good, but I will say the line blurs. Another one readers seem to consistently like is the prophecy. It isn’t set in stone like the traditional prophecy. It changes big time, and it continues to change throughout the trilogy. I also try to focus on having a productive heroine and healthy relationship example for teens to see and relate to. Beyond that, I like stretching the stereotypes of teens. For instance, Crystal, Jessica’s best friend, is seen as a “punk,” but it really comes down to how she dresses. She still has a dream of being a journalist and she loves social events. I did this to show that how you look doesn’t define who you are, and I hope young readers can relate to the characters because of that. To add to this, (I know, more?) it’s told from two different perspectives, one male and one female, in the hopes of reaching out to both genders. In terms of the paranormal, I created the creatures—shades and lights—in the hopes of stretching outside the usual supernatural beings used in the genre.

Minutes Before Sunset blurb:

She was undoubtedly a shade, but I didn’t know her.

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

He had gotten so close to me—and I couldn’t move—I couldn’t get away.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

Buy on Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/mbeda5d

Buy on Barnes & Noble:  http://tinyurl.com/mtzwunu

Add to your Goodreads list:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17801911-minutes-before-sunset

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