Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday (11)

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books. In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So visit Crazy-for-Books to grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list there!

This week's question:

"In honor of Banned Books Week, what is your favorite 'banned or frequently challenged book?'"

Oh, there are so many! Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Water for Elephants, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, to name a few. All wonderful books!

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Allison Can Read. Visit either of their blogs for complete rules of the following fun!

This week's question:

"What book that hasn't been turned into a movie (yet) would you most like to see make it to the big screen, and who would you like cast as your favorite character?"

This is so difficult! I think I'd really like to see Andrea Cremer's Nightshade trilogy made into a movie. As for who would play the characters, I have no idea.

Then of course there's the Black Dagger Brotherhood books...I would LOVE to see those on the big screen. And I know who would play all of the Brothers ;) Sadly, I'm not sure those would ever translate well...oh well, thank goodness for imaginations!

What are your answers? Please leave a comment or a link to your blog!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Author Interview & Giveaway: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

ASHES by Ilsa J. Bick

Alex has run away and is hiking through the wilderness with her dead parents' ashes, about to say goodbye to the life she no longer wants to live. But then the world suddenly changes. An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky zapping every electronic device and killing the vast majority of adults. For those spared, it's a question of who can be trusted and who has changed... Everyone still alive has turned - some for the better (those who acquired a superhuman sense) while others for the worse (those who acquired a taste for human flesh). Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the zombies that are on the hunt, Alex meets up with Tom - an Army veteran who escaped one war only to find something worse at home - and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse. This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to find food, shelter, while fighting off the 'Changed' and those desperate to stay alive. A tense and involving adventure with shocks and sudden plot twists that will keep teen and adult readers gripped. (From Goodreads)

You can read my review here.


I'm very excited to have Ilsa J. Bick here today. I was lucky enough to be able to interview her in person, and let me tell you, it is fascinating to listen to her talk and share her stories. Please take a few minutes to learn more about this amazing author!

An early draft of Ashes existed before you rewrote it. What was different about this first version?

Everything. The basic premise in terms of a wave of an EMP sweeping the globe and bringing everything crashing down stayed the same. Everything else changed. The characters, who they were, what they did, what they were like, who came into the picture, the adventures that they had, all of that was incredibly different. It was actually supposed to be much more paranormal. I was going to tie it into a covert CIA operation that actually did exist, called the Stargate program, where they had psychics trying to look for secret weapons. There was actually a movie made about this. I thought that it would be interesting to take the real thing, go one step further, and make it work. I wrote and finished it, and I was actually supposed to workshop that novel. I had never workshopped a novel; I play well with others, but I write the book for me. I have enough self-doubt as it is that I worry about beginning to write for a committee. The workshop ended up being cancelled. I put the book away and thought I would come back to it later. I wrote another book and then pulled this draft back out, and was very glad I had never workshopped it. When I looked at it again, I understood why it wouldn’t have worked. So I got rid of the Stargate program, the paranormal elements, everything except one scene and the basic premise. Everything else is new

In Ashes, many of the teenagers become radically different after the EMP. Are hormones the key to the change?

I leave that very fluid, and I leave that up to your imagination. I don’t want to nail it down to one thing or another. The reason that I have kids changing so much is that adolescent brains are really, really complicated monsters. Their sleepwave cycles are different, their moods are different, they’re a wash of hormones, they’re gaining function, it’s all of those things. For adolescents, it’s where they are in life. Can hormones help with being one of those triggers? Of course. But the brain is so complicated, with so many chemicals, that it’s not unifactorial, it’s multifactorial. That’s also the basis for how the human body and intelligence and other things work.

Do all of the Spared (the teens not changed) have some kind of mental issue, even it it’s unknown to them?

Yes, there’s something different about them. And I know why. But even though I know, it may be that the readers will never know, because there’s no science that can explain this. You can have a lot of people hypothesize, but they can’t run any tests, so it can never be proven. And that’s fine with me. As long as I have plausible hypotheses, that’s all that matters to me. I don’t want to nail it down, because while that’s really interesting, I’m more interested in how people will deal with the situation.

On several occasions in the book you skip ahead several days. What prompted this decision?

I think that readers are really intelligent. And I know that it upsets some people that I skip ahead a couple of days. But I leave you enough clues and give you enough information to fill in what happened. It doesn’t help the story if I walk you through all the bad things that happened, the 25 miles they had to cover in those days, whatever. It doesn’t matter. In a few sentences you can get through all that. It helps keep the pace going, and you give your readers credit for having some brains.

If Alex and Tom could have one electronic device back, what would they choose?

I don’t know. When they had power they could have used, they decided not to because they didn’t want to draw attention to themselves. If you have one thing, you want something else, and then you want something else. It’s very important to be able to start to let go and deal with what’s real. So probably nothing. And that goes for Chris and all the others too. Ellie would want her iPod back.

If you personally were in Alex’s shoes, having survived an EMP, how do you think you would fare?

I’d think that I would have about five seconds of panic, like everybody else. But I don’t think anybody knows how they would react in an emergency situation until it’s upon them. I really believe that. I’ve been in a lot of emergency situations as a doctor, and I know that it’s a maturational process. I remember the first time that I worked in the emergency room and a trauma case was brought in, and a really wise intern grabbed me by the wrist and told me, “Before you do anything, take your own pulse.” I thought, “Yeah, fine, old guy,” but then I realized what he was telling me. In survivalism circles you say the same thing. In an emergency situation, in the first three minutes, as long as you’re not in danger, you have to sit down, hug a tree, do yoga, and get yourself calm, because you’ll end up dying if you don’t. I think I would be pretty freaked out, but since I do know how to deal with things like finding water, making fire, building shelter, finding food…I’ve done all those things. As long as you have a couple of skills, you can get yourself busy doing something when you know you have to do something. And I think that working toward getting yourself safe, finding food, all those things…I think I’d be okay. Would I be happy? No. No more toothpaste? What am I going to do? I’d have to learn how to make soap. I do a lot of survivalism stuff; I’ve also taken classes in edible plants, how to make soap, things like that, because I want to know. I think that I have enough book knowledge and practical knowledge that I wouldn’t starve – I wouldn’t necessarily be well-fed – but I know how to snare, and I’m not squeamish about having to gut a fish or a rabbit. I think I’d have trouble making toothpaste. But I think I’d be okay.

You spent some time in the military. What are some of your most memorable experiences from that time?

Unfortunately if I talk about them I’ll probably get into trouble. Here’s what I can talk about. I had not necessarily been really thrilled about joining the military; I needed the money for med school. My dad was in the air force, so I had been around military people all my life. I went to Bethesda Naval Hospital, I worked in a PX, so the idea of being around soldiers didn’t freak me out. I actually have a lot of fondness for soldiers. I think a lot of the time, especially in YA, we lose sight of the fact that a lot of people fighting are young adults. I can’t tell you the number of kids I’ve met on this tour who are in the military. I meet them everywhere. I was just talking to a kid the other day who’s shipping out to Afghanistan. But being around the military and being in the military are two different things. If you’re a doctor, you’re used to being in charge. In the military, there’s nothing worse than being the sergeant who has to teach a bunch of doctors how to march. Doctors don’t take direction very well because we’re used to giving direction. You don’t want to be arrogant, but you do have to believe that you know what you’re doing. So to cede that control to commanding officers, who are not necessarily as skilled in what you’re doing as you are… With other doctors, rank almost doesn’t matter. But rank really does matter when you’re dealing with people who are commanding officers. The idea of somebody telling me what to do really bothered me. I spent so much time fighting through medical school to get here, and to get competent, and now you’re going to tell me that you’re more competent than I am? So I was a little concerned about that. But then what happened was a really interesting thing. What I came to discover during the buildup to Desert Shield and Desert Storm. When the buildup started, people were really concerned for their friends and spouses. All of the sudden, you’ve got all of these guys in a crummy situation, where everyone is scared but everyone is still doing their job. The amount of pulling together and camaraderie that happened… They call it the esprit de corps, and you think it’s a bunch of hooey that’s only on a movie, but it’s actually true.

You have an English degree, but you were in the military, worked as a child psychiatrist, and now are a writer. What’s it like juggling all those different hats?

In terms of psychiatry, I actually don’t practice anymore. I haven’t had a full-time practice or seen patients in five years. I don’t do forensic psychiatry anymore either. I have to keep up my certification and keep learning new things about psychiatry, and the stuff that I learn I can put into books. In terms of film and television, I don’t write about that anymore either. The only job I have right now aside from keeping my cats and husband happy is writing. That’s what I do right now. I used to write at four in the morning, go to my practice, and take care of my children. Then in 2006 my husband said to me that in order for me to reach the next level I would need more time. So we looked at our finances, we scaled back, and he told me not to worry and to write.

What are your writing habits?

I just sit and write. The bad thing about that is that I don’t have any habits. I actually should get up more than I do, because once I start writing I’ll just sit there for hours and hours. I get pretty focused. I do have a certain order that I do things in the morning. Anthony Trollop and I probably could have been best friends. He would sit with a watch and write a certain amount of minutes every day. If he finished one book in that time, he would start another. Could I do that? No, but I do have a set routine. And it is nice to have a cat nearby, as long as he doesn’t want to play. I do only know how to work when it’s quiet and I have my space. I have to have my coffee in the morning. When that setup isn’t there, it gets a whole lot harder. The only thing I have, which is actually a reminder, is an “’ego” box that my husband made me. He said when I sit down at the computer, I need to take my ego and put it in the box. I need to realize that some words deserve to die. I don’t know everything. I need to put my critical mind away (the one that tells me I suck), stop letting my ego get bruised and just write.

What inspires you while you’re writing?

If anything inspires me, it’s envy of other people. I’ll read books and think, “Why can’t I do that?” Sometimes what inspires me is to read someone who writes a great story, but there’s something missing for me. I think that I wouldn’t have done it quite that way. I think, “Would I like to do that with an Ilsa spin?” So I’d have to say envy and a sense of competitiveness. I like to keep learning; I don’t want to do “wash, rinse, repeat,” because that’s boring for everybody. Ashes was a really big departure for me because I tended to write smaller, character-driven books. Ashes is actually highly character driven, even though it has a thriller element. I just wanted to try something where I would really have to keep up the pace and force myself to just do it.

What are some of your upcoming projects?

When I go to Europe, I’ll be researching for the second book in a new series. It’s a very strange book. I’m trying to do something I haven’t done before. It’s more science fiction. If you think Matrix meets Inkheart and go from there, you get an idea of what type of book it is.

Can you tell us anything about the second book?

It gets a lot worse. Not everyone is going to be happy. And yes, I do know how it ends. Shadows comes out in the fall of 2012, and Monsters will be released in the fall of 2013.


I'm very excited to have one signed ARC of Ashes to give away! To enter, please fill out the form below.

This contest is open to US residents only. Must be 13 to enter. Please see my Contest Policy for more information.

This contest will close on October 6 at 12 midnight CST.

This contest is closed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Waiting on" Wednesday

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's selection is:

By: Cynthia Hand
Published By: HarperCollins
Release Date: Jan. 24, 2012

Goodreads Summary: For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

Described by Richelle Mead as “utterly captivating,” Unearthly received outstanding reviews, garnered accolades from New York Times bestselling authors, and was named an Indie Next Pick. In this heart-wrenching sequel, Cynthia Hand expertly captures the all-consuming joy of first love—and the agony of loss. This beautifully woven tale will appeal to fans of Lauren Kate, Becca Fitzpatrick, and Aprilynne Pike.

Why it's wanted:

I really enjoyed Unearthly, and I can't wait to know what happens next! Plus, I really want to see more of Christian and Tucker and see how things turn out for them and Clara.

Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

By: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Published By: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: Sept. 13, 2011
Series: Sky Chasers (#1)
Pages: 307
Genre: Sci-Fi / Dystopian
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.

I will admit that I put off reading this book for a while because the past few science-fiction titles that I've read haven't been my favorite. But once I picked it up, I honestly could not put it down. Glow is thoroughly captivating and the beginning of a new series that's not to be missed.

Waverly has been raised on the Empyrean, a vessel sent to colonize New Earth. At fifteen, she doesn't feel ready to be married or have children, though that is what is expected of her. Everyone thinks she should be with Kieran, who is slated to become the next captain of the ship. When he proposes, it seems like her fate is set, despite the misgivings she might have. And then something goes wrong on the Empyrean. Everyone thinks that crew members from the New Horizon have attacked; the children are separated from the adults, and lives change forever. Waverly finds herself fighting for herself and for her friends, and every day she struggles to determine who she can trust. Meanwhile, Kieran is busy dealing with the damage that has been done to the ship, and he faces his own fights. Can the two overcome all of the obstacles in front of them?

For those of you who may not be huge fans of science fiction, don't let that stop you from reading Glow. The setting may be a spaceship, but the characters are human, and none of the language (even when dealing with the ship repairs) is overly technical. Also, if you read the premise and think that this book focuses on a love triangle, let me assure you that it doesn't. Though there is a hint of romance, Glow focuses on action, friendship, and self-discovery. Glow alternates between Waverly and Kieran's points of view, and I loved getting to see both of their stories unfolding simultaneously. I worked with Waverly to figure out the truth, and there were definitely twists in the story that I did not expect. My heart broke for Kieran as he dealt with situations no teen should have to handle and as he fought unfair circumstances. I wish I could say more about how clever some of these teens are, but this is a book in which surprises need to stay surprises. Discovering hidden secrets with Waverly and Kieran was what made this book so compelling.

I will say that religion does become an issue in this book. While there are some sermons given in this book, it is not done in a "preachy" way. In fact, it only creates more tension and drama. Glow is the perfect example of how there are two sides to every story. Nothing is black and white, and that makes the story all the more interesting and real.

I was completely absorbed in this book from start to finish. Embark on this journey to New Earth and you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to see what happens next!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Teaser Tuesday (10)

I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is my teaser:

"It was odd to be alone. At home, there was always someone demanding my time or attention.

I might even have enjoyed the sensation had it not occurred in a jail cell."

p. 110 (ARC) from ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE by Gabrielle Zevin

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. Each week we will share the books we have just finished reading, are currently reading, and are planning to read.

Just Finished Reading:
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Currently Reading:
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Planning To Read:
All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

What are you reading this week?

Review: Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

By: Sarah Beth Durst
Published By: Margaret K. McElderry
Release Date: Sept. 13, 2011
Series: None
Pages: 320
Genre: Paranormal
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: ALA
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

I know what you're thinking - vampires and unicorns couldn't possibly go together. But in Drink, Slay, Love, they do. I have to admit that I've always had a soft spot for unicorns (I blame Fantasia), so that and the cover were what drew me to this book. And I was not disappointed.

Pearl knows exactly who she is - a vampire, one of the youngest vampires in her Family, and a vampire with a fondness for ice cream-infused blood. And then one night, everything changes. She is stabbed by a unicorn's horn, only she doesn't die; instead, she wakes up back at her house, confronted by a family who doesn't believe her story of the attack, left wondering if her memories are true. Over the next few days, Pearl begins to discover the effects of her attack. She can walk in sunlight, and humans no longer seem to be simply a source of sustenance. This conscience only grows stronger as Pearl enrolls in high school (what could be a bountiful hunting ground for her Family) and begins to make friends. But no matter how close she becomes to Bethany, or what she might feel for Evan, she can neither abandon her hunt for the unicorn who changed her nor escape her Family. But when the two worlds collide, which one will she choose?

Though the vampires in Drink, Slay, Love may be very close to vampire canon, this book is certainly not your typical vampire story. While Pearl struggles with her family responsibilities and what she comes to believe is right, she is not afraid to stand up for herself when she needs to. I loved reading about her journey of self-discovery and how she came to realize that sometimes, you can't do things simply because your family or your boyfriend expects you to. The shift in her feelings about Evan and the fact that she finally opened up to him yielded some very sweet scenes. But despite her assimilation into the human world, Pearl still had her vampiric connections. Even though her family frustrated me at times, I really enjoyed reading their family dynamic and watching these different characters come to life. I also liked her Uncle Pascha's quotes from literature. Finally, the fact that unicorns are the antithesis to vampires in this book - pure genius.

The only thing I did have trouble believing in this book was Pearl's easy infiltration of the various high school cliques - could a new student really have reached that many people, especially after some unusual stunts? That being said, Pearl's many human activities made a nice contrast to her vampiric ones. And it was great to see her classmates work together when they needed to.

With plenty of action and a little romance, fans of the paranormal will enjoy this refreshing and creative twist of a vampire story. A fast-paced, fun read, Drink Slay Love will leave you wanting more.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (10)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme that was started by Kristi at The Story Siren with some inspiration from Alea at Pop Culture Junkie. It features books or book-related things that have been bought, borrowed, won, or received in the mail. Be sure to check out The Story Siren for a list of all the other blogs participating!

For Review:

Dark Souls by Paula Morris

Received courtesy of Scholastic


Another bunch from Borders sales:

Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White
Torment by Lauren Kate
Lady Macbeth's Daughter by Lisa Klein
The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

Weekly Recap:

Banned Books Week Hop
Crossroads Blog Tour: Character Interview and Giveaway

Review: Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick
Review: Crossroads by Mary Ting

Monday Reads
Teaser Tuesday: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
"Waiting on" Wednesday: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Book Blog Hop & Follow Friday

What books did you get this week? Please leave a comment or link to your own IMM post!

Banned Books Week Hop

Welcome to this stop of the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop, hosted by I am a reader, not a writer and I Read Banned Books. A little bit of information about Banned Books Week:

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

To find out more, please visit the ALA website.

My thoughts on banned books (taken from a post I made about this last year):

Confession time: I read banned books.

It is inconceivable to me how, in this day and age, books are challenged and banned, removed from schools and bookshelves, simply because the material is "unpleasant" or "inappropriate." And this opinion is rarely held by the majority; it is often an individual or small group that speaks out against a book.

Last time I checked, we're not all the same.

Books do not have to appeal to everyone; but neither should they be restricted because of the opinions of a few. I just finished a book that I know many people won't read because of its subject material. But does that mean it wasn't a good book, or that others, myself included, shouldn't read it either? Of course not! To each his own, I say. If you don't like a book or its subject material, by all means don't read it; but know that that book may speak to someone else, may help and influence him or her in a positive way, may be the book that makes the difference.

Yes, there are books that might not be suited to children. Yes, there are books that may offend someone. Yes, there are books that are controversial and spark debates. But that is the beauty of books! The ideas and messages are there for the people who need them, when they need them. Books are powerful. Embrace them!

My real confession: I have not read enough banned books.


I have three great books to give away for this hop. They are:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

One winner will receive Speak and Wintergirls, and one winner will receive The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The contest is open to US residents only. Must be 13 to enter. Please see my Contest Policy for more information.

Must be a GFC follower to enter.

This contest will close on Friday, October 1 at midnight CST.

Don't forget to visit the many other stops on this hop!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Crossroads Blog Tour: Character Interview & Giveaway


Claudia Emerson has a good friend who shares the same first name and last name. That friend unfortunately dies in a tragic accident during homecoming dance. Claudia is distraught at the loss of her friend, but is even more disturbed by her dreams, which seem to take her to another place called Crossroads. Unknown to her, Crossroads is like a second heaven, a place between heaven and earth. It is where the souls of humans in comas or near death experiences may wander. Where, Claudia meets Michael, a nephilim, a half angel, half human, whom she often meets in her dreams. It turns out that this isn’t her first visit to Crossroads, which is an enigma for no human can ever travel there until Claudia.

Now the fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special and it is up to Michael and the other nephilims to protect her. Her dream becomes a nightmare as more secrets are revealed, about who she really is, and the true identities of the people she loves most. Can Michael fight his growing feelings for Claudia and protect her as a guardian angel should? (From Goodreads)

You can read my review here.


I'm very excited to have Michael from Crossroads here today! He was kind enough to answer a few questions about his life and his relationship with Claudia for our inquiring minds :)

Hello Christin!

Thank you for your interest. This is my first interview so I will do my best to answer your questions, but there may be questions I may not be able to disclose due to angel secrecy. I hope you understand.

Before you met Claudia, what was a typical day like for you?

Since we have no concept of time in Halo City, I can’t tell you what my day is like, but I can tell you what I have been doing: teaching the young ones sword fighting; practice sword fighting-mostly with Davin; reading the bible with Alexa Rose and other children; meetings with Phillip, Margaret, and Agnes; and learning the history of before and after Christ. I also enjoy making things out of my hands, but my favorite thing I made was the butterfly necklace I made for Claudia for her birthday. These are just few of the things I’ve been doing.

Since spending time on earth, have any of your memories come back?

Spending more time on earth has not brought any memories back. I honestly think it will never happen. The Royal Council does not make mistakes. They were adamant about wiping our memories of our lives on earth. But the emotions have not disappeared. The human emotions are much stronger on Earth, for example, such emotion as jealousy. The thought of Claudia with another guy just drives me crazy, not that she was, but the thought makes me angry. Also, when I’m around Claudia, I can’t think straight. We are forbidden to fall in love, but I can’t help the way I feel. When I hold her in my arms, my heart beats faster. I melt into her and my human emotions start to take over.

What made you decide to leave Aden?

I followed Aden, thinking that it was the right thing to do. We believe that angels and humans can co-exist. I strongly believed in our quest. I decided to leave Aden when I found out his true motives. Not only did he want to take over Crossroads, he wanted to take over humanity and have them worship him. I finally opened my eyes and I encourage many to follow me to stop Aden. Unfortunately, I was deceived by a friend and Aden knew our plan of attack. That day is very hazy. I remember being injured and the next thing I knew, I was laying on a bed in Halo City, recovering.

What are some of your special talents that we haven’t seen yet?

Claudia called me Superman once. I didn’t know who Superman was, let alone his powers. I asked Davin to find out who Superman is because I wanted to know who Claudia thought so highly off especially if I had to worry about him swooning over her. Now that I know he is a fictional character, I can relax. You can compare my powers to Superman. I have strength. I can fly and see through walls. My wings, soft and comforting, is my secret weapon. Special talents you haven’t seen yet-I am one with nature. I can make it snow, control temperature, levitate things and people and I have yet to discover more.

Other than spending time with Claudia, what is your favorite thing to do?

Besides spending time with Claudia, I enjoy spending time with Alexa Rose, Davin, Vivian, and Caleb. Also, I enjoy observing human mannerism. For example, I'm trying to understand why Ryan behaved the way he did on his birthday party. He was drunk and acted inappropriately. Why did he behave this way? Did he think he was going to win Claudia back by acting ridiculously?

What is something you would like to do on earth that you haven’t had an opportunity for yet?

I haven’t had time to see the world. I would love to see the world with Claudia. I can definitely fly us anywhere. I would also like to watch the cool action movies, especially Superman movies. Though I know it is produced by special effects, they look so real. I get a kick out of it.

Thank you for the interview!

There you have it! You can learn more about Michael and his life by reading Crossroads. For more information about Crossroads and author Mary Ting, visit these sites:

Mary Ting's Facebook Page
Mary Ting's Blog
Mary Ting's Website
Crossroads on Goodreads


I'm very excited to have one signed copy of Crossroads to give away! To enter, please fill out the form below.

This contest is open to US residents only. Must be 13 to enter. You must be a follower of Mary Ting's Facebook page. Please see my Contest Policy for more information.

This contest will close on September 30 at 12 midnight CST.

This contest is closed.

Review: Crossroads by Mary Ting

By: Mary Ting
Published By: World Castle
Release Date: July 29, 2011
Series: Crossroads (#1)
Pages: 315
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Blog Tour hosted by Late Bloomer Online
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: Claudia Emerson has a good friend who shares the same first name and last name. That friend unfortunately dies in a tragic accident during homecoming dance. Claudia is distraught at the loss of her friend, but is even more disturbed by her dreams, which seem to take her to another place called Crossroads. Unknown to her, Crossroads is like a second heaven, a place between heaven and earth. It is where the souls of humans in comas or near death experiences may wander. Where, Claudia meets Michael, a nephilim, a half angel, half human, whom she often meets in her dreams. It turns out that this isn’t her first visit to Crossroads, which is an enigma for no human can ever travel there until Claudia.

Now the fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special and it is up to Michael and the other nephilims to protect her. Her dream becomes a nightmare as more secrets are revealed, about who she really is, and the true identities of the people she loves most. Can Michael fight his growing feelings for Claudia and protect her as a guardian angel should?.

We have all read angel books and read about battles between good and evil. But in Crossroads, Mary Ting has reworked this story, adding new dimensions of emotions and events and introducing us to characters that are worth getting to know.

Claudia leads a relatively simple life, until things are shaken by the death of her close friend with the same name. Her subsequent dreams lead her to a place called Crossroads, a realm between heaven and earth where Alkins (half-angel, half-humans) live. As the first human to enter Crossroads, Claudia is cause for questions and concern. Because of her special abilities, the Alkin and other angels fear that Claudia may be in danger from the fallen angels. Hence she is assigned a guardian angel, Michael, who at first seems to dislike her. Over time, however, the feelings between Michael and Claudia grow, and the danger continues to increase. And if learning about angels weren't enough, Claudia still has her human life to deal with. Not everyone is who they say they are, and plenty of people are vying for Claudia's attention. Can she navigate her seemingly double life and find a way to be with Michael against the odds?

What really drew me into this book was the writing style. Everything flowed incredibly well, as if I were actually watching the story unfold instead of simply reading it. One of my favorite characters in this book was Davin, another Alkin who befriended Claudia and helped Michael protect her. His sense of humor and fun personality definitely added the right amount of lightheartedness to this book. There were, of course, some very sweet scenes between Claudia and Michael. Because of his tendency toward everything romantic, Michael is a character who is very easy to fall for. But then there's Austin. I'm fairly certain there must be something more to his character, and I'm looking forward to seeing what that could be. Finally, this book is about a battle between good and evil; for those of you who like action with your romance, Croossroads certainly delivers.

I have to admit that I did have a few issues with this book. Though I really enjoyed Mary's writing style, there were instances where Claudia's voice just didn't seem like a teenager. With this, a few events were somewhat unbelievable. Also, at times Michael reminded me of a certain other well-known romantic lead, with both his disposition and actions. Finally, I will say that although this book is not necessarily Christian fiction, there are strong religious undertones to it.

If you are looking for a sweet story encompassing an ancient battle, a fresh take on angel mythology, and a great cast of characters, then Crossroads is the book for you. I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next installment!

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