Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Favourites ~ shoes, boots, heels

The only thing I'm looking forward to about winter is being about to wear my absolutely favourite boots in the whole world!!! I've even considered getting a second pair 'just in case' these ones wear out soon. And scarily I've just seen a new colour released this year... eeeekk!

I was reading a facebook post recently about how many shoes girls have. This particular friend of mine has 20 pairs (!!!) of those those she wears 13 pairs regularly. WOW. We have just had summer in New Zealand and I have worn a total of 1 pair! I literally LIVED in my jandals (sometimes called thongs or flip flops). In winter I'll live in my ugg boots and doc boots as above.

I'd love to be one of those people that get to wear sexy heels and other funky shoes, but being a mum of young kids means I don't get out much... but one day...

My favourite shoes as a kid were a type of barter bullet. Kinda like a converse shoe. They were white and had reflective colourful stripes on the sides. They were so cool and I loved them!!

Anyway of all the books I've read recently I've hardly read any mention of shoes. Are shoes important in literature? Do shoes define a character? Would a goth wear heeled pink shoes or a nerd wear clunky black docs? I think shoes are very important, we use them to define ourselves, they are also very useful to make shorter people (me) taller :-)

What are your favourite type of shoes? and What do you want your shoes to say about you?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Review ~ Pure Blood by Melissa Pearl

It is only a matter of time before Gemma's parents find out she traveled through time to bring Harrison back into existence. The fear of being found out is a heavy weight on her shoulders, but she refuses to give up on everything she's fought for. Harrison is worth the risk.

The couple draws closer together as they battle opposing forces from all sides. They stay strong until Gemma's parents welcome an exchange student into their home. Simeon, a gorgeous Californian, is as smooth as coffee and, supposedly, a fellow time spirit. Gemma's parents expect her to take him everywhere and, of course, fall in love with him. After all, he is the boy they have chosen for her.

No longer able to sneak off alone, Gemma must watch every step as she waits for the inevitable nightmare to catch up to her. Her parents ultimate goal is to get that last necklace and open the box hidden in their safe. If they do, Gemma knows her entire world will unravel.

As the danger mounts, Gemma must decide if she has the courage to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the ones she loves and stop to her parents' destructive plans.

The third and final instalment of the Time Spirit Trilogy, and Pearl doesn't disappoint. Again I read it almost in one sitting and was left thinking about it for days. Always the sign of a good book!! Another gorgeous cover that attracted me immediately.

PURE BLOOD answers the questions you are left with after BLACK BLOOD and then some. More action, more romance and the ultimate sacrifice.

Now that Harrison is back in her life, Gemma has to hide that knowledge from her parents at the same time as trying to find out what they are really up to and why they need Gemma to travel. The arrival of Simeon is another complication in her plan. With Gabe's help, Gemma learns more about her abilities and about who she really is. After snooping about her house she discovers what her parents are really up to and it only leaves one option for Gemma.

I loved Gemma's growth in this book and her ultimate decision. She is selfless and puts others before herself. Pearl once again turns out an amazing book filled with beautiful turns of phrase and easy to read writing.

I would recommend this series to young teens right through to adults.

Check it out on Smashwords or Amazon (but read the first and second books of the trilogy first: GOLDEN BLOOD and BLACK BLOOD)

Find Melissa Pearl on Goodreads and Facebook

Monday, March 26, 2012

Blog Tour Time!!

It's finally here. The Golden Blood Blog Tour has finally arrived. Whoppee!!!

I'm very excited because so many fantastic blogs are in this tour and I feel very privileged to be featured on their sites.

The first five are already up. If you'd like a chance to read some deleted scenes from Golden Blood, a guest post or two and some reviews, please take the time to visit.

Here is the tour schedule:

Please help spread the word far and wide. There are chances to win free copies of Golden Blood plus a grand prize at the end of the tour.

Thanks so much for everyone's help... and thank you so much to Julie for organizing this. You are such a legend. All your time and energy has been so appreciated :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Favourites - Guys Who Can Kick Some Butt

As part of the YA Indie Carnival this week, I had to post about who would be a good competitor in the Hunger Games - either from your own writing or books you've read. It was a really fun post to compose and it got me thinking.

A little while ago a did a post about girls who could kick butt. Now it's time to talk about the guys.

Who is your favourite guy from a book you've read or a movie you've seen that can really kick some butt?

Firstly I'd have to choose Dom, from the Time Spirit Trilogy. He is a strong, powerful character who can knock a guy flat with one punch. I really do love Dom :)

I also really like John Smith from I Am Number Four. Admittedly he is an alien, but he's pretty awesome.
I cannot ignore some of the characters in Twilight. Jasper is my favourite fighter. I really love his backstory and the way he trains the others. Very cool.

So - what do you think?
Who have I missed?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review ~ Black Blood by Melissa Pearl

Gemma's parents have put enough rules around her relationship with Harrison that she feels like she's living on parole. But she wins one battle—a summer job working for Harrison's step-father. It is the perfect chance to spend the steamy, hot Florida days with her boyfriend. It's also a great distraction from the cellphone hiding in her underwear drawer—her only contact with Gabe, the mystery man who's stalking her.

When she confronts Gabe, he tells her that her parents are not who she thinks they are, and Harrison has the gall to believe him. Surrounded by conflict, Gemma doesn't know what to believe, and it takes a trip back in time for her to glimpse the sickening truth.

Thanks to her parents, she returns to the present to find the love of her life no longer exists. His family line was broken and now, so is she.

This betrayal forces her to seek out Gabe. Setting aside her fear of the truth, she must trust this man and learn what he can teach her... otherwise, she'll never get her boyfriend back.

I'm attempting to be unbiased, but I absolutely LOVED this book. GOLDEN BLOOD (Book One in the Time Spirit Trilogy) was fantastic but BLACK BLOOD was even better. The tension and fast pace of this story made it impossible to put down. The only reason I didn't read it all in one session was the book is on my husband's ipad and he needed it at work. In fact today I stole it and kept it at home to finish the book.

This builds on Book One (without too much of that repetitive stuff that trilogy's often do) and takes us off on a wild adventure into Gemma's worst fear; her boyfriend has been deleted from time.

Melissa Pearl's writing is intelligent and colourful. She has a unique voice without too much fluff. She gets to the point and holds you on the edge of your seat, drip feeding you clues until the dramatic conclusion.

And last but not least, the cover of this book is beautiful. It perfectly encapsulates the anguish Gemma goes through in this story.

Pop by next week for my review of PURE BLOOD (final book in the Time Spirit Trilogy).

Check BLACK BLOOD out on Smashwords or Amazon (but read the first book of the trilogy first: GOLDEN BLOOD)

Find Melissa Pearl on Goodreads and Facebook

Monday, March 19, 2012

Beta Makes It Better

In about one hour I am stopping by Pakuranga College to drop off five manuscripts of Forbidden Territory. Ten students from their book club are going to share them out and beta read them for Brenda and me.

I just wanted to take the time to say I love beta readers. I think they are awesome and so vitally important.

I know your work needs editing, I know it needs critiquing by other writers, but it also needs vetting by your target audience. If they don't like it, you probably shouldn't be publishing it.

Brenda and I have found about 20 - 25 beta readers. A few are adults, but most are students between the ages of 12 - 17. We have made up a questionnaire for them to fill in once they've finished reading and we are hoping for really good feedback - obviously!!

We know that if they all come back saying similar things that we've either struck gold or we've got some work to do.

I used beta readers for my Time Spirit Trilogy and their feedback was so helpful that I ended up rewriting the first book. When I tested it again, the kids couldn't put it down. It gave me the confidence to pursue publishing. I felt like I had hit the mark and the reviews I've been getting are backing this up - phew!!

So this post is a shout out to all you honest beta readers who take our work from average to brilliant. Thank you for your time and your feedback. You guys rock!!

Do you use beta readers for your writing?
Have you ever been a beta reader before?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Favourites ~ Clothes

Okay so my absolute favourite clothes to wear are jeans. Bootleg, skinny, flared. I'm a little fussy (you won't catch me in granny jeans) but other than that, I love them all. So naturally I dress my characters in jeans too.

Does it put you off if a character is described as wearing clothes you absolutely wouldn't be seen dead in?? I remember when I first read Twilight, I did not like AT ALL the top Bella was wearing in the beginning. Some type of eyelet shirt or something. WHAT THE?

How important is it, that the main character is trendy? And should the author be a little vague due to writing in one fashion era to publishing in another?

What are your fave clothes to wear?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Review - Dead Radiance by T. G. Ayer

Bryn Halbrook had always seen the glow. But it is only when her best friend dies that she discovers the meaning of those beautiful golden auras — Death. Alone, lost in the foster system, she struggles to understand who she is and why she was cursed with the ability to see the soon-to-be-dead. 

The new foster kid, Aidan, isn’t helping any. Mr. Perfect seems to fit in no matter what, making her feel even more pathetic. But when his affections turn to her, Bryn finds him hard to resist. Impossible actually. A mystery himself, Aidan disappears, leaving behind a broken heart and a mysterious book that suggests Bryn might not be entirely human. 

Bryn stands at the threshold of a journey of discovery. Will destiny help her find herself, find her purpose and her place in a world in which she’d never belonged?

Okay - before I start with the guts of this review I just want to talk about the cover. Hello!! Gorgeous! Check out those amazing wings. I love it. This is one of those covers that made me want to read the book without even looking a the blurb. A great start, Ms. Ayer :)

I really enjoyed this book. The writing is elegant and intelligent. It is packed full of mysterious and questions that keep you turning the pages.

I really liked Bryn right from the outset. She is a strong, female character who is compassionate and very easy to cheer for. Her love interest, Aidan, is a total babe and I liked him from the second he pulled into her driveway on his motorbike.

The story leaves earth pretty quickly and you get to hang out with gods like Odin, as well as spend a little time with Valkyries, Warriors and Ulfrs. Ayer describes this world beautifully. I could picture everything so clearly. 

As much as I was fascinated with this world, I couldn't wait for the story to get back to earth. I wanted more of Aidan and Bryn's relationship. The story does head back there eventually and I loved that whole sequence.  I don't want to give anything away, but Bryn has a very cool mission to complete and throughout it gets one surprise after the next thrown in her direction. I really liked that.

I wanted more romance in this story, but I think that's more personal preference. We all know I'm a romantic sap and enjoy books with a very strong emotional element. Ayer has probably opened up the book to a much wider audience by not dwelling on the romance too much. Boys would really enjoy this book. It is action packed, interesting, fantastical - it's a really awesome read.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a little magic and mystery.
Norse mythology is pretty cool and Ayer has done a great job at wrapping a compelling story around it.

If you want to check out more on the book you can find it on:
Goodreads, Amazon and Facebook

You can also learn more about the author on her blog: and Facebook

There is a particularly cool character interview on Ayer's blog at the moment. Definitely worth checking out.

I hope you enjoy the book. I'm certainly looking forward to the second one!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Favourites - Family

Most characters in YA books come from some sort of family - whether they are close knit or ships passing in the night. I actually quite like it when the character has siblings or a close relationship with at least one of their parents. I like to see what the parents are like and the kind of home the character comes from... it helps  me understand the character's make up - why the behave the way they do sometimes.

So - who are your favourite YA families from books you've read or movies you've seen?

I really love the Cullens. I think Alice is awesome... in fact she's probably my favourite character from the series, along with Jasper. Their close knit family makes the books so much better.

Another favourite is the Weasley family from Harry Potter. They are so cool. The twins are so much fun and Ginny is just super sweet. Ron's parents are awesome. I love the way they take Harry under their wing.

So who do you like?
Which families do you think make the story so much stronger?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Forbidden Territory - first interview!

With the pending release of Forbidden Territory, we thought we'd bring in one of the main characters so you can get to know her a little bit. Meet Lexy Connell!

Hey Lexy, thanks for coming in today. Why don't you start by telling us a little bit about yourself.
Hi. Well I'm from New Zealand, a little tiny town called Te Anau. I'm super excited as this is my first interview, although you don't know me yet, you soon will once you read about my and Mica's adventures later this year.

Melissa and Brenda have written our story in a book called 'Forbidden Territory'. And they have written EVERYTHING... Mica and I fighting like cats and dogs, about both of us falling in love and racing through the bush for our lives. I can't wait for you to read it.

So how old are you and tell us more about the 'love' bit of the book:
I'm sixteen, nearly seventeen, and I've met the most amazing guy in the world (you'll read all about him too). His name is Tom and he's an exchange student from England. He's not just gorgeous but he has the most awesomely cool accent. Don't you just love different accents?

Totally. So the book is about you and your best friend Mica. What's she like?
Mica is the most awesome chick in the world. She basically is my sister but my exact opposite, we are two halves of a whole but occasionally we start World War 3. She's a band geek, but in a totally cool way and is feisty and fiery just like her burnt orange curls. We've known each other since we were eight when my family moved in next door to hers. Mica doesn't have any brothers or sisters so her parents take on exchange students every year... enter Tom!

Do you have siblings?
Eli is my older brother. He just got home from Africa a few months ago, thank goodness as I was going mad being the only kid in the house. Mum and Dad can be a tad annoying.

What can you tell us about Forbidden Territory?
Heh heh, it's an epic adventure of the weekend we decided to geo-cache in Fiordland National Park. By we I mean, Mica, me, Tom and Eli. I get my first kiss (eeeeekk) and Mica gets more than she bargained for. We also stumble across trouble in a major way, we get separated and the action doesn't stop until we end up locked up. That's all I can say without giving away the story too much. I know you'll love it.

Sounds amazing. Okay one more question. What do you want to do when you leave school?
Easy. Train to be an architect.

Thanks for your time, Lexy. If anyone has any more questions for Lexy, leave a comment and we'll chat to her again soon.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fancy A Cat Fight?

I'm reading a fantastic book at the moment - Dead Radiance by T. G. Ayer. The book is filled with so many great characters. I've fallen in love with some of them and I'm growing to dislike a couple... one in particular is Astrid. Man - she is one mean cow. I love it!

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I'll never have to meet her in real life, but as I was reading last night, I thought about how much fun Ayer must have had creating this character. There is something so deliciously vicious about a mean female. I don't know what it is, but girls have a special talent for nastiness.

I really want to see Bryn (the heroine of Dead Radiance) put Astrid in her place. I want to relish that triumphant moment when good wins over evil. I think that's why writing a spiteful villain can be so satisfying, because you know, eventually they are going to "get there's"... and it is going to be sweet!

Have you come across any fantastic female characters lately? You know the ones you'd like to put into a room together and see what explosions issue forth?

Personally I'd love to see a face off between the likes of Astrid and... I don't know, the White Witch from Narnia. That'd be fun :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Favourites ~ Type of guy

I've been thinking about what sort of guy I like as the hero. Do I like them brave or cocky? Strong or sensitive?
Do we have to be attracted to the guy in a book to like the story?

Obviously Edward in Twilight is gorgeous, but is he too perfect? I must say, I got tired of Stephanie Meyer always describing him so perfectly, I know he's a vampire, but COME ON... no one is that perfect. No wonder Bella had a complex about why he even liked her! Jacob on the other hand, was described rather plainly and it wasn't until the movie came out that 'Team Jacob' started.

In Forbidden Territory (our book due out in July) we have two completely different guys. One is strong and independent and a total spunk. The other is more sensitive and a gentler type of guy. It is fun to write different kinds of guys... but I would be interested to hear what the reader prefers. Are you an Edward person (gorgeous, talented, sensitive) or Jacob (muscles, tough, cocky)?

In a book do looks matter? Or can you get away with a plain boy with an awesome personality?
Let us know your thoughts. If you know other teens, send them to our page so we can get their thoughts too!!