August 31, 2013

Authors Are Rockstars: Introducing Karsten Knight

About Karsten

Karsten Knight has been writing since the age of six, when he completed his first masterpiece: a picture book series about an adventurous worm. In the two decades that have followed, Karsten has worked as a proofreader, a bookseller, and a college admissions counselor before he finally decided that his true calling was to be a volcano goddess biographer. He lives in Boston, and for more information or to watch his video blog, visit

☆ How to find Karsten ☆

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About his books!

Wildefire #1
Click on the pic to see my review!

Publisher’s Summary: Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She's struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve's violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California's redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn't go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she's one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she's got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there's guaranteed to be a storm.

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Wildefire #2
Click on the pic to see my review!

Publisher’s summary: Ashline Wilde may have needed school to learn that she is actually a reincarnated goddess, but she’s ready to move beyond books. She leaves her California boarding school behind and makes for Miami, where she meets a new group of deities and desperately seeks her sister Rose, the goddess of war. But she’s also looking for love—because even though her romance with Cole had to be snuffed, Ash is a volcano goddess—and she doesn’t get burned.

This sequel to the edgy and action-packed Wildefire continues a fiery drama on an immortal scale.

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Wildefire #3

Coming Soon
Release date:
November 12, 2013

The action thrills and the passion burns in this red-hot conclusion to the Wildefire trilogy.

Teenage volcano goddess Ashline Wilde discovers that her former love, Colt Halliday, has an evil plan to kill the Cloak, the benevolent beings that oversee the gods. And that’s not all—he also wants to merge Ash and her two sisters back into a single, too-powerful goddess, Pele. Ash must stop her trickster-god ex-boyfriend once and for all…and to do it, she’s going to have to feed a few flames.

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Mindy: Hey Karsten! Welcome to Magical Urban Fantasy Reads!!! I’m a super-fan of your Wildefire series, and I totally think your protagonist, Ash, is kick ass! And the villains in your series are amazingly well-developed and, in my opinion, they are the very definition of The Perfect Villain!

My most remembered moment while reading your books was when I was reading the last few pages of Wildefire. I remember thinking that the plot for that book was completely over and that you were just tying up loose ends to close up shop. And THEN you threw in this crazy twist on the very last page and I’m pretty sure I jumped up and shouted out loud, in complete shock! It was so completely brilliant how you pulled off that crazy twist…and I think you are a rockstar because of it!

Now for your Q&A!

Mindy: Your big-time fans know you well for you hilarious videos/vlogs! Why haven’t you done one in a while? And when do you think you’ll do another one? Soon?

Karsten: I really loved vlogging when I started several years ago. I had performed improv and standup comedy throughout high school and college, so filming those videos allowed me to fill that void while also connecting with fans. It was time-consuming (editing takes forever) yet doable while I was in my MFA program, but I ultimately decided to focus my limited free time on what I really enjoy: the writing part. But you never know when vlogging inspiration will strike.

Mindy: What has been the most awkward or bizarre thing that a fan has said to you?

Karsten: You know, I’m far more awkward than my fans—probably because I’m perpetually dumbfounded that I actually have fans. So when people recognize me at a signing or book festival, I get incredibly tongue-tied. It’s sort of like walking around, thinking you’re wearing Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, but then getting really confused when some people can see through it.

Mindy: You seem to have a pretty quirky sense of humor. Do you have any embarrassing moments in your writing history that you are not too embarrassed to share?

Karsten: When I was writing full-time at home, all my roommates had jobs with typical day hours, so I spent a lot of time alone…which eventually made me way too comfortable with talking to myself. This can present some awkward situations, especially when you’re pacing around the house, rehearsing conversations between your characters out loud—and you realize all too late that your roommate has taken the day off from work. Then you have to be like, “Chris, I swear I don’t hear voices! …Often.”

Mindy: After the way you ended Wildefire and, especially, after you informed me of the setting where you originally intended to end Embers and Echoes (Talk about cliffhanger, literally! But, luckily, you added a few pages to the end), I’ve been wondering . . . “Do you start writing your books with the intent to torture your readers?”

Karsten: …Yes.

I’ve seen some reviewers take this enraged stance, “Authors end books on cliffhangers just so you’ll buy the next one!” Please, we’re not that smart. Or financially Machiavellian. I just have a twisted part of me that enjoys finishing books feeling a little unsettled, so I choose to inflict that on my readers, too, whether they like it or not.

Mindy: With that in mind, do you also like torturing your characters?

Karsten: I had this self-epiphany recently where I realized that, in just about everything I’ve ever written, there is inevitably a scene where someone gets chained to something—a rock in the ocean, the ceiling of a humidor, a stone altar—and threatened with a less-than-desirable end. Interpret that knowledge however you like.

True story: My favorite review I’ve ever read was Kirkus’s review of Embers & Echoes. This might seem strange at first, since the review was, overall, less than flattering…but they said that I write “creatively gruesome deaths,” which is the highest praise I could ever ask for.

I have problems.

Mindy: And, will we Wildefire fans be tortured by the end of Afterglow, or do you think we’ll be happy with the ending?

Karsten: All I will say is that I hope the last page will make you feel a sense of…dark vindication.

Mindy: Was it a challenge to write in the POV of a female character?

Karsten: To be honest…no. I just focused on writing Ashline Wilde as a human being, and let the other details fall into place around the character that had developed in my mind.

If you try too hard to write “the female POV” or “the male perspective,” I think you run the risk of conforming to polarized gender norms, and you also potentially strip your character of her ability to make choices that might surprise the reader. Readers will say things like, “A woman would never say that,” or, “The girls I grew up with never used such crass words,” or, “I would haven’t made that choice.” Great—but this story isn’t about you. It’s about Ashline Wilde. If characters always made the exact choices that we would make, or acted or spoke the same way as the people we grew up around, what would be the fun—or the surprise—in that?

Personally, I get really bored when I read a book where the character never makes some poor decisions. I solemnly swear my characters are up to no good.

Mindy: There is a pretty shocking twist when it comes to the three sisters in Embers and Echoes. Did you already have this twist in mind when you first started writing Wildefire? Or, did this twist come to you later, after you started writing?

Karsten: That idea came to me partway through writing Wildefire, as I was doing more research on Pele (the Polynesian volcano goddess). I was fortunate enough that my agent and editor had my same twisted sensibilities and let me run with that idea in Embers & Echoes.

Mindy: Now that you are done with the Wildefire series, are you working on any projects that you’re allowed to talk about?

Karsten: I have two ongoing projects. One plays with time and chronology, which is appropriate, because it feels like I’ve been revising it forever. The other is a modern-day noir set in Boston. When people ask me what it’s about, I usually just blurt out cryptic things like “Drugs! Gangsters! Cancer!” All of which are true, but confusing nonetheless.

Mindy: Can you tell us some totally random things about yourself?

Karsten: I used to be able to solve any Rubik’s cube in under two minutes, but I haven’t picked one up in years, so I’m worried that I’ve lost that skill…. It used to make a great party trick, though.

Mindy: Any final thoughts from your brilliantly quirky mind?

Karsten: Lobsters.

Mindy: Thank you so much Karsten for stopping by Magical Urban Fantasy Reads!

Haven't seen Karsten's awesome videos?
Here's two of my fave!!!

Want to see more? Here's where to find them!
Karsten's Vlogs on YA RebelsKarsten's Youtube Channel

August 30, 2013

Authors Are Rockstars: Introducing Allison van Diepen

About Allison

Allison van Diepen is the author of Street Pharm, Snitch, Raven, The Oracle of Dating series, The Vampire Stalker and Takedown. Her novels have been named ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and New York City Public Library Books for the Teen Age. She holds degrees in History and Education, and teaches at an alternative school in Ottawa, Canada.

☆ How to find Allison ☆

Why I think Allison is a Rockstar!

When I first saw all the different books that Allison has written and published, I was amazed! It’s awesome that she’s published such unique stories in such a variety of different genres, and I hear that all her books are really dark and gritty. But that doesn’t surprise me after I read on her bio page that her best friend as a kid was not allowed to play with her because Allison’s stories gave her nightmares. I love that! Now that’s a true rockstar!

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About her books!

A teen infiltrates a drug ring to settle a vendetta in this fast-paced novel from the author of Street Pharm and Snitch.

Darren took the fall for Diamond Tony, the notorious head of the city’s drug cartel. Two years later, Darren’s finally out of juvie—and determined to get even.

Working as an informant for the police, Darren infiltrates Diamond Tony’s operation. But falling for sweet, innocent Jessica was not part of that plan. She’s a distraction—and a liability. She’s also everything Darren dreamed about while he was locked up, and with her, he has the promise of a fresh start.

When a deadly turf war breaks out between Diamond Tony and the Bloods, Darren gets caught in the crossfire. The cops think he’s playing both sides, and any mistake could be his last. Darren has to stay on his game if he’s going to protect Jessica—and if he’s going to stay alive.

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Julia swore she’d never join a gang—but for Eric, she’ll risk everything. Now in trade paperback with a new cover, a gritty novel from the author of Street Pharm.

Lines are clearly marked at South Bay High School. It’s mixed territory for the Crips and the Bloods, which means the drama never stops.

Julia DiVino wants none of it. No colors, no C-Walks—it’s just not her thing.

But everything changes when Eric Valienté transfers to South Bay and rolls into her life. Lines are redrawn. And then they are crossed.

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A successful teen drug dealer is forced to reexamine it all in this riveting novel, now in trade paperback with a new cover, from the author of Snitch.

Ty Johnson knows survival. The supply game’s in his blood. And now that he’s taken over his pop’s business, Ty’s smarts and skills have earned him some serious street cred. But Alyse knows nothing about Ty’s reputation, and he’s determined to keep it that way. She’s too beautiful, too brainy, too straight-laced to ever get involved with someone who deals. As long as Ty walks the line, life’s pretty sweet.

Then one slip—one serious competitor—and things turn ugly fast. Suddenly Ty’s got to rethink his whole strategy. And for the #1 dealer on the streets, strategy is not just about staying ahead. It’s about staying alive.

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Zin dances with fire in every step; speaks with a honey sweet voice; and sees with eyes that can peer into your soul. Nicole's friendship with him is the only thing that saves her from the boredom of school and the turmoil of her family life. It's no wonder why Nicole is madly in love with him. But she can't understand why he keeps her at a distance, even though she can feel his soul reaching out for hers.

Zin is like no man Nicole has ever met, and he carries with him a very old secret. When Nicole uncovers the truth, her love may be the only thing that can save him from it.

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What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world-and came into yours?

Amy is in love with Alexander Banks, a brooding, handsome vampire hunter. There's just one problem: He doesn't exist. Alexander is the hero in a series of popular vampire novels, and Amy has breathlessly followed all his fictional adventures.

Then, late one night, fiction becomes reality.

Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander Banks. In fact, he IS Alexander, come to life from the pages of the book. And he's in hot pursuit of Vigo, the ruthless vampire who has also crossed over into Amy's city. As Amy struggles to unravel the mystery behind Alexander's arrival, she must help him track down Vigo before too many lives are at risk. But attraction, danger, and dark secrets soon collide, leaving Amy to wonder if the greatest thing at stake... is her heart.

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The Other Books!

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Mindy: Hi Allison! Welcome to Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.
Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming release, Takedown?

Allison: It’s about a teen who comes out of juvie and wants to settle a score with a drug kingpin. School Library Journal just called it the “Y.A. version of The Wire”.

Mindy: How would you describe the characters in Takedown and their personalities?

Allison: Our main character, Darren, is smart, determined, and tough as nails. But he also loves his little brother and his girlfriend so much, and would do ANYTHING to protect them. As for Diamond Tony, he brings evil badass to another level. He HAS to be taken down, and Darren’s just the one to do it.

Mindy: What was your favorite scene to write in Takedown?

Allison: The big showdown near the end. It will NOT disappoint!

Mindy: You’ve written both Urban Fantasy and Contemporary. Which is easier for you to write and why?

Allison: You might think the world-building involved in urban fantasy is more difficult, but coming up with a realistic, exciting story can be tough as well. When it’s realistic, you have to play by the rules of nature and of society… and I’ve never been good at playing by the rules.

Mindy: Why do you prefer to write Young Adult novels?

Allison: The teen voice feels natural to me. And I’m a high school teacher, so I’m very connected to my teen self!

Mindy: Do you prefer to write a stand-alone or do you like writing series?

Allison: It’s important to me that all of my books stand alone. BUT I like writing books with connected characters. As a reader, I’ve always enjoyed seeing characters I know return in a different capacity.

Mindy: I've heard that you will have some of your previously published books re-released. Is this true? If yes, which books and in what order? And, which re-release would you most like us to read?

Allison: Yes, STREET PHARM and SNITCH are being re-released alongside TAKEDOWN. They’ve been updated and will have fresh new covers. You can read them in any order, as long as you read them!

Mindy: Do you have any other books in the works? And, if yes, can you tell us something about them?

Allison: I’m writing about a teen who’s witnessed a murder, and falls in love with the leader of a mysterious street gang. Stay tuned! And don’t forget to look me up on Facebook for the latest updates…

Mindy: Thanks Allison for stopping by Magical Urban Fantasy Reads! You're a rockstar!

Allison: Ah, stop it! Thanks for having me.

August 28, 2013

Impatiently Waiting! The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Expected publish date:
September 17, 2013

Publisher's summary: It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of the Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother's visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

The Burning Sky—the first book in the Elemental Trilogy—is an electrifying and unforgettable novel of intrigue and adventure.


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

August 26, 2013

Alice In Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Publisher’s summary: She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real.

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn't careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies.

My take: Alice in Zombieland is the first book in a long time that I got me so super excited I just had to talk to someone about it! In fact, it was so much fun that I’m super excited that Through the Zombie Glass will be coming out next month…and I want to read it now!

In the beginning of the book, I was trying to wrap my brain around how this story could possibly be about zombies because it’s an Urban Fantasy story and, in the beginning, there’s not a single zombie. So I started wondering if there was going to be a big zombie outbreak somewhere in the book, but nope…not even close…it’s something totally different. And even though it took me just a little bit to figure out exactly what’s happening with this version of the zombie genre, I like how Gena Showalter created an Urban Fantasy book with zombies. Yep, I said it right! It stays Urban Fantasy, so no all-of-a-sudden outbreak. You’ll have to read it to get it…I’m not spoiling.

I really liked Ali’s character and I felt really bad for her because of her horrifying loss in the beginning of the book. Then there is the friend she meets right after the tragedy, and I think that character (sorry I’m suck with names) might just be my favorite character in the entire book. Ali’s grandparents were hilarious when they were constantly misusing slang words while trying to connect and be on the same level as Ali, and I just loved them for it. The best part is when they give “the talk” to the guy picking Ali up for the night. I couldn’t help myself from laughing out loud. But, best of all, is Cole! Oh….Cole! Hawt, bad boy…gotta love him.

Of course, there are some horrifying things that happen near the end of the book that were really sad, but I absolutely loved the way the book ended and, like I said before, I’m dying to read Through the Zombie Glass. It needs to happen, like ASAP!

August 23, 2013

The Program by Suzanne Young

Publisher’s summary: In this “gripping tale for lovers of dystopian romance” (Kirkus Reviews), true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in.

And The Program is coming for them.

My take: Oh…wow! This book sucked the life out of me and left me numb! But it was so good! I have no idea how Suzanne would be able to write this book without going into a deep dark depression because she would have to literally put herself into a deep, dark depressed state of mind to accomplish the feelings and emotions that come out of this book. And I think it was really important for Suzanne to create these true, dark feelings in order to create and tell the story as well as she did. She did a phenomenal job in my opinion.

It killed me while reading this book, knowing that these teens are constantly being watched to see if they develop signs of sadness or depression which means they’ll be thrown into The Program. And how is it even possible for these teens to avoid the very emotions The Program supposedly says proves they are infected…when one in every three teens is killing themselves (these teens know other teens who have committed suicide), when they are constantly being monitored, and when they then see these other kids come out of The Program as totally different people. Don’t these things alone give them a reason to show signs of sadness, depression and anxiety? Wow!

There is something that happens really early on in the book that has you truly understanding what these teens are going through. And then that’s only the beginning…craziness is going on throughout the entire book! It all blew me away.

Suzanne Young is an amazing writer. She does an amazing job developing the story’s characters, and she did an amazing job emotionally attaching me to the characters. The world she created in this book and her storytelling were remarkable! And I especially love how she created a contemporary feel to this dystopian novel.

The story ends amazingly well, and I’m really excited to see where the story will lead!

August 22, 2013

In the After by Demitria Lunetta

Publisher’s summary: Attack.
Not isolated.
Fate of Americans: unknown.
Amy is watching TV when the world is attacked by Them. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to survive—and even rescue "Baby," a toddler she finds in an abandoned supermarket.

Then, after years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream, with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she'll lose Baby—and much more.

You'll tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.

My take: This book was so freakin’ good! I loved it! And I’m so super excited and I’m definitely going to be impatiently waiting for book #2.

When I first started reading In The After, I’ll have to admit that I was a little worried because I started reading this book not too long after I read The 5th Wave, and I was afraid I would be unfairly comparing the two books. But not long into the story, the book took a different, super strange turn that freaked me out! And, I knew from that very moment that I would love this book. And I was right!

This is one of those books that you wonder throughout the story who the protagonist, Amy, should actually trust. And I can’t say that I was too surprised by the betrayals, but there definitely are some crazy ones.

I loved the character named Baby, but it was REALLY distracting for me to keep referring to her name as “Baby.” There’s not much I want to say about the other characters in this book because the book starts out with just Amy and Baby (all alone for like, I think, 2 or 3 years) and I don’t want to give up any spoilers.

There were a couple things that transpired and that came together in the end that truly surprised me, and I was totally loving it! And I absolutely love the way the story actually ended…it leaves my brain reeling over how insane the next book will be, and I can hardly wait!!!

August 21, 2013

Impatiently Waiting! Fates by Lanie Bross

Expected publish date:
February 11, 2014

Publisher's summary: One moment. One foolish desire. One mistake. And Corinthe lost everything.

She fell from her tranquil life in Pyralis Terra and found herself exiled to the human world. Her punishment? To make sure people's fates unfold according to plan. Now, years later, Corinthe has one last assignment: kill Lucas Kaller. His death will be her ticket home.

But for the first time, Corinthe feels a tingle of doubt. It begins as a lump in her throat, then grows toward her heart, and suddenly she feels like she is falling all over again--this time for a boy she knows she can never have. Because it is written: one of them must live, and one of them must die. In a universe where every moment, every second, every fate has already been decided, where does love fit in?


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

August 20, 2013

The Bitter Kingdom Blog Tour + Giveaway!

About the Book

Summary: The epic conclusion to Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.

Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she's never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion-a champion to those who have hated her most.

AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

About Rae

Rae Carson is the award-winning author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy. She was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start author for Fall 2011 and was a finalist for the Morris, Cybils, and Andre Norton Awards. Her first novel was named to ALA's Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults list.

Rae lives in Ohio with her husband, novelist C.C. Finlay, two stepsons, and two very naughty kitties. She is hard at work on her next trilogy.


Mindy: Hi Rae! Thank you for stopping by Magical Urban Fantasy Reads!

Rae: Hey, Mindy! Thanks so much for hosting!

Mindy: I’m very enthralled by the fantasy world you created in the Fire and Thorns trilogy. How were you able to create such a unique worldly setting? And what current real-world setting do you think your fantasy world mimics the closest?

Rae: Aw, thanks, dude. I think the world most closely mirrors Spanish Morocco. The northwestern tip of Africa—what is now modern day Morocco—used to be occupied by Spain. It's an incredibly arid but beautiful place, and during the occupation there was this fascinating blend of Arabic and Spanish architecture, language and culture. I drew a lot of inspiration from that.

Mindy: How did the Fire and Thorns story come to you?

Rae: I was dating this guy who was a douche. He was totally obsessed with my weight. It didn't matter that I could run six miles a day; he always wanted me to lose 5 – 10 extra pounds. So I finally came to my senses and dumped that jerkwad, and I decided then and there that I wanted to write a book about a heroic young woman who would always be on the plump side.

Mindy: You killed off some pretty significant characters in your books. Was it harder for you to kill off one character more than any other and, if so, which one?

Rae: Oh, yes, it was very hard for me to kill a certain character. I bet you can guess which one! I really liked him. So did Elisa. But she needed to experience true loss and the consequences of war. Also, I had a better love interest in mind for her. :)

Mindy: Now that this series has come to a close, what’s next?

Rae: I'm working on a new trilogy set during the California Gold Rush. 16-year-old Lee Westfall has the magical ability to sense gold. When her parents are killed and her greedy uncle discovers her power, she disguises herself as a boy and flees west in a wagon train to make her fortune. So it's a crazy fantasy-adventure like the Fire & Thorns trilogy, except set in one of the most tragic and epic times in U.S. history.

Mindy: Top Books Recs

Rae: I love talking about my favorite books! These are upcoming releases that I loved so much I gave blurbs to, and they should absolutely be on your TBR list. Most of them are coming this Fall, with one Spring release. (Click on links to add to Goodreads.)

1. The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas is the YA debut of one of my favorite romance novelists. It's a fabulous fantasy adventure, and I can't wait for everyone else to read it!

2. Horde by Ann Aguirre is the totally epic conclusion to the Razorland trilogy that began with Enclave. All I'll say is that it's a very fitting conclusion, and don't blame me if you shed a tear or two.

3. Red by Alison Cherry is one of those books that you think is going to be a light, fun beach read, and then it surprises you by making you think. It's satire, but don't let that intimidate you. I bet you'll be as charmed as I was.

4. Salvage by Alexandra Duncan. Sorry, you have to wait until April for this one. It's feminist science fiction for teens. I'm going to say that again. FEMINIST SCIENCE FICTION FOR TEENS. I just died and went to heaven.

Mindy: Thank you so much Rae for stopping by! I’m a huge fan!!!

Rae: Thanks for having me! Happy reading!!

8/19/2013- Ivy Book Bindings- Guest Post
8/20/2013- Magical Urban Fantasy Reads- Interview
8/21/2013- Refracted Light Reviews- Review
8/22/2013- A Backwards Story- Review
8/23/2013- The Starry-Eyed Revue- Interview
8/26/2013- Candace's Book Blog- Review
8/27/2013- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
8/28/2013- Citrus Reads- Review
8/29/2013- Hobbitsies- Interview
8/30/2013- Fiktshun- Guest Post

A signed set of the complete trilogy. US Only

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August 14, 2013

Authors Are Rockstars: Introducing Sarah Beth Durst + Giveaway

About Sarah

Goodreads' summary: Sarah Beth Durst is the author of Vessel, Drink, Slay, Love, Enchanted Ivy, and Ice from Simon & Schuster, as well as Into the Wild and its sequel Out of the Wild from Penguin Young Readers. Her next book for teens, Conjured, comes out in September 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker. Her first book for adults, The Lost, comes out in November 2013 from Harlequin/Luna. She has been writing fantasy stories since she was ten years old and holds an English degree from Princeton University, where she spent four years studying English, writing about dragons, and wondering what the campus gargoyles would say if they could talk. Sarah lives in Stony Brook, New York, with her husband and children. For more information, visit her at

☆ How to find Sarah ☆

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About her books!

Coming Soon!

Release date:
September 3, 2013

Publisher's Summary: Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.

At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined.

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Newest Release!
Publisher's Summary: Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate—or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.

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A Book I Loved!
Click on the cover to see my review!
Publisher's 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 entr√Čes.

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?

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The Other Books!

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Why I think Sarah Beth Durst is a Rockstar!

Sarah Beth Durst is brilliant! In fact, I’m shocked to find out that she has a bunch of books that I’ve never heard about, so I want to read them all ASAP because of my awesome experience with her writing in Drink, Slay, Love (the book I have read), and I can’t wait to tell you about it.

Drink, Slay, Love is very unique and snarky. I laughed and snickered all through the book. It was like Sarah picked all these crazy ideas (I’m totally astonished that she came up with all these ideas for this one book!), and she brought them all together for an amazing, fun and compelling story! And the characters were all very well done and compelling . . . even the side characters who only played really small parts! And, even though I read Drink, Slay Love over two years ago, I’m even now still able to pull up that mental picture in my mind of what I saw while reading this story. That’s a true rockstar!

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You’ve written and published many different types of books. Can you tell us a little bit about the process you use to create each of your stories?

Really, the process for me is loosely the same for each book:

First, I ask myself: If I were to walk into a bookstore or library right now, what kind of book would I want to read?

Then I ask myself: What are the most awesome things that could be in a book like that? And I make a list -- kind of a grocery list, but instead of milk, bread, and Raisinets, I put things like: creepy carnival, serial killer, levitation, teleportation, transformation, and amnesia.

And then I shake those items around in my brain for a while (sometimes hours, sometimes days), usually while typing out whatever thoughts spill out of my head (because I think better through my fingers), until something spills out that makes me say, "Ooh, yes!"

From there, I keep shaking the thoughts until I have enough "ooh, yes" ideas to coalesce into a story.

I'm oversimplifying, of course, but that's essentially it.

The differences between my books are caused by the different ways the ideas collide together when I shake them. In the case of CONJURED (my next YA novel), those ideas that I listed above coalesced into a creepy, mind-bending thriller. For THE LOST (my upcoming novel for adults), my list centered on a town full of lost things and lost people, and so the book became a magical realism / contemporary fantasy. For VESSEL, I wanted to write about a desert steeped in magic and legend with gods that walked the earth – and so I wrote a sweeping epic adventure. For DRINK, SLAY, LOVE, I wanted a dark comedy with an evil vampire girl as my “heroine” and a were-unicorn. ENCHANTED IVY is a magical adventure on a college campus. ICE is a romantic fairy-tale adventure with a talking polar bear and an Arctic scientist’s daughter. And INTO THE WILD and OUT OF THE WILD are about fairy-tale characters living in my old hometown.

But despite these outward differences, all my books also have similarities. All of them are fantasy. All of them have a kick-ass heroine who faces incredible odds. All of them have a dose of adventure, a dose of romance, and a dose of humor. All of them have a note of hope. And the reason for these similarities is that they are all built around the same core: they're all the kind of books I like to read.

And so that would be my advice to anyone out there who wants to write. Forget about the old adage "write what you know." Forget about writing what your teachers wanted you to write, what your friends and family expect you to write, and what you think you should be writing. Instead, write what you love to read.

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