Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winner of The Replacement

Update:  I drew a new winner:  congrats to JenniferKalman!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Giveaway-The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

Welcome Dreaming of Books blog giveaway hoppers!
Up for grabs is a copy of Brenna Yovanoff's book The Replacement.  The giveaway is open internationally and ends on January 17th.
Simply fill out the form below.  If you like what you see, follow my blog.

Contest Closed

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Interview with Bree Despain

Photo: Chauntelle Janzer of OpieFoto
I had a chance to ask Bree Despain a few questions about her book The Lost Saint. You can win a copy of her book here

1.       The Lost Saint is the second book in your The Dark Divine series.  Was it harder or easier to write the middle book?

Bree:  Writing the second book was definitely harder.  Even though I’d written a few “first” books before, I’d never written a sequel.  I found that many of the rules of a first book don’t necessarily apply to a sequel—and nobody offers any sequel writing classes!  Time was also an issue.  It took me four years to write the first book (in my own spare time) while I was only given about four months to write the first draft of the second book.  However, what was easier about writing the second book was that I had an editor to rely upon for input during every step of the process.

2.       Talbot is a new character in The Lost Saint.  Can you tell us about him?

Bree:  Talbot was a fun character to write because on the outside he looks like a dimple-cheeked farmboy but underneath his vast collection of flannel shirts, is a guy with a pretty intense past and some secret abilities.  I kept thinking “Clark Kent with a dangerous side” whenever I was writing about Talbot.

3.       On your website you keep hinting at a TOP SECRET project for the series.  Any clues as to what that might be? 

Bree:  The top secret project will be revealed this week.  It’s a writing project I’ve been working on for fans of the Dark Divine series (check out the secret project on Bree's site).

4.       You have mentioned that The Dark Divine series is a prodigal son story.  Why did you chose that theme to tell a story?
Bree:  When I started writing a story about someone who had disappeared for a few years and then suddenly returned, looking to put his life back together—I was reminded of the parable of the prodigal son.  I’ve always been intrigued by this story because essentially it doesn’t have an ending.  We never find out if the “prodigal son” was ever really able to change and reclaim his old life, and we never know if the “good son” was able to forgive his brother.  I really wanted to explore what might happen to these two people—and the person who loves them both—if their story was to continue.
Thanks Bree and good luck with The Lost Saint.  

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

This review first appeared in the Jan 11, 2010 issue of The Syracuse Islander Newspaper

Click here to read my interview with Bree.

Are you looking for a good series to get lost in during the winter months ahead? I recommend The Dark Divine series written by Bree Despain.

Despain says that she uses the paranormal as a metaphor for themes in her book that are hard to express. “The Dark Divine is a modern young adult exploration of The Prodigal Son with a paranormal romance twist,” she says.

When I attended the launch event of The Lost Saint in December, I wasn’t surprised to see a mix of teens and adults in line to have her sign their copies. In the gap left by the conclusion of the popular Twilight series, readers have latched onto this paranormal romance that began with The Dark Divine in 2009.

The trilogy when Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, re-discovers Daniel Kalbi—the one person that she never thought to see again. The night that Daniel disappeared from her life, Grace found her brother Jude covered in his own blood. She must decide where her loyalty lies, to the mysterious Daniel and the attraction to him that she cannot deny, or to her brother, who is hiding secrets of his own. Grace’s decision could cause her to lose something of even greater importance than those she loves; it could cost her the price of her soul.

In The Lost Saint Grace has to deal with new issues. Her decisions in the first book have unforeseen repercussions. With Jude missing and Daniel trying to protect Grace from herself, the romance and the action that readers loved in The Dark Divine escalate. Talbot is a new character that Despain describes as Clark Kent with a dangerous side. She says, “He looks like a dimple-cheeked farm boy, but underneath his vast collection of flannel shirts is a guy with a pretty intense past and some secret abilities.” Talbot offers to help Grace when Daniel seems to want only to hold her back from reaching her potential. Will she be able to break free of the inner struggles that plague her long enough to get Jude back and prove that she truly does love Daniel?

What to Expect:

Teens will relate to the struggles Grace has with her family, her relationships and her humanity. The books have crossover appeal and parents will enjoy reading them in tandem with their teens.

The Lost Saint is a clean romance with situations that will appeal to teens but are handled with a finesse that most parents will approve of. There is a small amount of profanity and a moderate amount of violence in the novel that are tied to the battle that Grace has with the “wolf” inside of her.

The ending glues all of the missing pieces of the novel together, and then shatters it into pieces in preparation for the final book—just how I like a middle book to end. The conclusion of the Dark Divine Series is expected to release in December of 2011.

Publisher: EgmontUSA, Published December 28th 2010,

Hardcover, 416 pages

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-Sevenstar Gingerbread

Gingerbread conjures up images of home and good 'ole fashioned homecooking.  The recipe has been around for hundreds of years and in The Revenant by Sonia Gensler, Willie uses the comfort food to soothe the nerves of her friends and herself after an encounter with the supernatural.  This cake-like recipe will soon become a family favorite.

Plantation Gingerbread

2 ½ c. flour
1 t baking soda
1 ½ t ginger
1 t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
¼ t salt
1 c butter, softened
¾ c sugar
3 eggs
1 c molasses
¾ c hot water
Freshly sliced peaches (optional)
Sweet whipped cream*

Preheat oven to 375’ and spray a 9x13” pan. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices-set aside. In a large bowl, on high speed, beat butter, sugar, and eggs. At low speed, beat in molasses and water. Add the flour mixture, beating just until smooth. Turn batter into the pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the edges of the pan. Cool partially (in the pan) on a rack. Cut while still warm. Serve with freshly sliced peaches and whipped cream. Serves 12.

*Beat 1 pint of whipping cream with ¼ c powdered sugar and 1 t vanilla until soft peaks form

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Revenant by Sonia Gensler

I won an ARC of this beautiful book (just look at the cover) at a giveaway from Writeoncon. Twists and turns in the book kept me reading until 1 am one night, and I had no idea what would happen next. The Revenant is a haunting ghost story with historical fiction and a good dose of hopeless romance thrown in.

Food to eat while reading: Sevenstar Gingerbread
Much of the book resonated with Anne of Avonlea and since I am a huge fan of Anne, I felt very much at home between the pages of the book.

Paranormal elements blended naturally with the historical aspects of the story. Set in the 1800’s at a female seminary for Cherokee girls, the book is rich in setting and background. In fact, I wished that Gensler had included more of the politics and difficulties that were prevalent for the Cherokee at that time period.

Seventeen-year old Willie grows from impulsive to responsible as you follow her story. She falls in love with Eli Sevenstar, a handsome boy who shows interest in her. The only problem is, she is a teacher and not allowed to fraternize with students. How can a reader resist the forbidden romance?

The river becomes a character in the book, adding a layer to the already gripping storyline. The climax of the book is intense and brings all of the elements of the book together. After the gripping climax, the story slows way down. At first I wanted the pace to speed back up, but I enjoyed the leisurely catharsis to the end.

Look for Sonia Gensler’s fresh and promising debut to release in June of 2011.

Purchase: The Revenant

Genre: YA, thriller, paranormal

Publisher: Expected publication: June 14th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 336 pages

Where I got the book: Sonia Gensler*

*I received only a copy of the book as compensation for my review.