Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered by A.G. Howard

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now. 

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own. 

~Expected publication: January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books

Food to Eat While Reading: Amplifying Pastry

I've read a few spin offs of the Alice story, but Splintered is by far my favorite.  It is modern and relevant but still stays true to the randomness that is Alice in Wonderland.

I love the freshness of Alyssa, a skater chick who can hear insects and flowers. Her journey through the rabbit hole is not one of curiosity, but of a daughter determined to rid her family of the Liddell curse.

Both Jed and Morpheus are intriguing and sexy potential love interests and Alyssa's attachment to both of them kept me torn. And a guy with moth

Wonderland was the same, yet different, with characters that are changed, but recognizable. Very creative.

I felt like there could have been a greater emotional impact, especially the scene with Alyssa's mother at the end. Because of the way things turn out in the book (I don't want to spoil it for you), there was so much room for anguish and loss, and I wanted that part to play out longer.

I love the last line of the book. I'm not going to ruin it for you. And don't just flip to the end. You will have to read the book to get the full impact.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blog Tour for Evertaster by Adam Glendon Sidwell

I'm excited to be on the blog tour for Evertaster. Scroll down for links to the other participating blogs, and click here to enter to win a $25 gift card and Autographed copy of Evertaster!

What if there were a taste so delicious that if you found it, you’d never want to eat anything else again? 

When eleven year-old Guster Johnsonville rejects his mother's casserole for the umpteenth time, she takes him to the city of New Orleans to find him something to eat. There, in a dark, abandoned corner of the city, they meet a dying pastry maker who tells them of a legendary recipe called the Gastronomy of Peace -- a recipe created hundreds of years ago, shrouded in secrecy, and sought after by connoisseurs everywhere.

So begins a perilous adventure that will take Guster, his clever sister Mariah, and the rest of the Johnsonvilles on an adventure to ancient ruins, faraway jungles and forgotten caves, where they discover that their search is more than just a quest to satisfy Guster’s cravings -- it is a quest that could change humanity forever

 ~Published June 14th 2012 by Future House Publishing

Food to Eat While Reading: Legendary Chocolate Chip Cookies
Legendary Chocolate Chip Cookies for
Evertaster by Adam Glendon Sidwell

I stumbled across Evertaster on Goodreads.  Sidwell has quite the publishing story and you can read about it here.

When I read the story blurb, I knew I would love Evertaster.  It's the perfect book for foodies and bookies. Indeed, there were moments in the book when I was drooling all over my iPad.

I was pleased with the opening scenes-great characters, good setup, yummy food.  All set.  Imagine my happiness when I found that the plot line is clever, and the ending not only satisfying, but insightful as well.

The settings were diverse and so fully explored that I could imagine myself peering into ancient caves and soaring on icy seas.

I absolutely love how Guster's family accompany him on his trip.  This isn't always easily pulled off in books, because parents often get in the way, or solve the child's problem.  Sidwell handled this with finesse.

Sidwell doesn't talk down to middle graders, and as a result, kids of all ages are going to love Guster's delicious adventure.


*BTW, I didn't want to spoil the mystery of what the "one recipe" is, but I'm totally going to make it!  It sounds to die for!  But you will have to read the book to figure it out.

Purchase Evertaster here.

Visit the other blogs on the book tour here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October Madness Write-a-thon Goals

I'm participating in Britney's October Madness Write-a-thon, a fun way to make writing goals and enter to win great prizes. 

Here are my writing goals for October 15-20:

Finish the first of edit of my YA mythic fantasy, editing for consistency and pacing, and just generally making sure everything matches. Then I will send it off to betas. 

Happy writing!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Not My Type: A Single Girl's Guide to Doing it All Wrong by Melanie Jacobson

Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson

Twenty-three-year-old Pepper Spicer is not living the dream. She ended her engagement at the last minute because her fiancé -- a musician and soon-to-be reality TV star -- wanted her to sacrifice her own career ambitions for his.

Now she's stuck at home sharing a room with her little sister, trying to pay off massive debt for a wedding that didn't happen, and spending Friday nights Facebook-stalking everyone who has a better life. Her therapist father urges her to choose her career dreams and count her blessings by writing weekly thank you notes, but gratitude is a tall order when she botches an important job interview and has to settle for writing an undercover dating web-zine column -- the last thing in the world she wants to do. Still, as Pepper (byline: Indie Girl) chronicles her bizarre and hilarious blind dates, she gives her father's challenge a try and slowly finds herself leaving self-pity behind. Life takes a major upswing as Pepper's column hits the big time and she tastes the exhilarating thrill of success. But there's one tiny problem: the intensely hot man she's falling for is having issues with her job (again). Will Pepper trade her personal ambition for another chance at love?

~Paperback, 257 pages Published September 2011 by Covenant Communications

Food to Eat While Reading: Rosemary and Cracked Pepper Bread

Read my interview with Melanie Jacobson here.

Pepper Spicer is like her name--saucy and independent.  She is reeling from a bad break. Her personality is so fun, and I had a great time experiencing her story.

The dynamic between Pepper, who is freelancing an online dating column, and Tanner, who is a seasoned reporter, is original and enticing. I so wanted the two of them to get together, and that's always a good thing in a romantic comedy.

Usually when the protagonist starts acting stupid and mistreats her guy, I get upset. But Pepper had some serious issues to work through, and even though I knew she should treat Tanner better, I was interested in how she would get through it.

My favorite part of the book is when Pepper realized she may be guilty of mistreating Tanner in the same way that she was mistreated.

I love how all of the threads of the book come together in the end.

Not My Type is a fun romp through the modern online dating scene.

Interview with author Melanie Jacobson

Melanie Jacobson, author
Photo: courtesy Melanie Jacobson

Please welcome Melanie Jacobson, author of Not My Type, a super fun book about romance, being a writer, and understanding yourself. You can read my review here, and don't forget to try out the Rosemary Cracked Pepper Bread!

Christy:  Pepper is such a fun character. Is she based on someone you know in real life?

Melanie:  Pepper is pretty much made up out of thin air, I think. She's one of my favorite characters, and she came to me out of nowhere, but she was so fun to write. I basically had to think of who would go on a crazy series of Internet dates, and why she would do it, and then Pepper appeared.

Christy:  What is your favorite scene in Not My Type?

Melanie:  I love it when Tanner drives Pepper to the temple and freaks her out. 

Christy:  What advice would you give authors who are just starting on their journey to publication? 

Melanie:  Read so much in your genre and go to every writing conference you can. You'll learn so much from those two things.

Christy:  Great advice. Can you share with us any projects or books that you are working on?

Melanie:  I have a brand new book coming out this month called SMART MOVE, about a redhead with a temper to match, and I'm about to turn in a contemporary young adult novel to my agent soon. 

Christy:  What do you eat while you are writing/reading?

Melanie:  EVERYTHING. But it's about even amounts of raw almonds and Sees candies, a custom mix I reward myself with when I meet my daily writing goal.

Christy:  Sounds like my kind of snack!  Thanks so much for the interview, and happy writing.

Rosemary and Cracked Pepper Bread

Rosemary and Cracked Pepper Bread
for Not My Type by Melanie Jacobsen 

Rosemary and Cracked Pepper Bread

I couldn't resist using pepper and spices to go with Pepper Spicer's story in Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson. The subtle blend of rosemary and pepper are perfect in this easy-to-make artisan bread. Pepper's parents named her and her siblings after spices, a twist on their last name. They got it right with Pepper--she's saucy, independent and doesn't quite know her own strength. This bread is great with other add ins; try cheese, lemon, or even dried fruit combinations. 

3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chopped, fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 2/3 cups water
cornmeal as needed

Combine the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary, and cracked pepper in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until it is blended.  The dough will be sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature until bubbles form on top, about 12-18 hours. 

Lightly flour a surface and turn the dough onto the flour. Fold the dough over a few times. Cover with plastic wrap and let is rest for15 minutes. 

Sprinkle a cotton towel with cornmeal. Quickly form the dough into a ball, using only as much flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Put the dough on the towel and dust it with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let the dough rise until it is more than double, about 2 hours. 

Thirty minutes before the dough is ready, put a cast iron pot or dutch oven in the oven and preheat it to 450'.

Carefully take the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and dough, and turn the dough over into the pot. It's alright if it looks funny. Cover with the lid and back for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the loaf is browned, about 10 minutes. 

Cool the bread on a wire rack. Makes one 1 1/2 pound loaf. 

*Tip: to make cracked pepper flakes, crush peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, or use the back of a large spoon.