Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Enchanting Review: Shadow Kiss

YA Paranormal
ISBN# 978-1595141972
448 Pages
Paperback- Available now

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Rose Hathaway is in her final year at St. Vladimir’s academy for Dhampirs and Moroi. As soon as she and Lissa graduate she will be officially Lissa’s guardian. All she has to do is get through the trials. She thinks it is going to be a piece of cake considering she took care of Lissa while they were away from the Academy. But something goes wrong and she is given Christian as her trial charge. Oh well, at least she will be with Lissa a lot since Lissa is always with Christian. And it is not like she will not be assigned to Lissa once they graduate.

The only thing standing between Rose and graduation is her trials. If Rose can pass trials she will become Lissa’s guardian. The only problem is that once she is Lissa’s guardian that means Dimitri will be too. There is no way the two of them can be together if they are protecting Lissa. Rose knows that Dimitri care for her the same way that she cares for him but neither of them are willing to risk Lissa’s life. On top of this worry Rose has been seeing Mason’s ghost. Is it guilt eating at her or is she really being haunted by her ex-non boyfriend? When tragedy strikes St. Vladimirs Rose must jump into action and show that she is capable of doing her job. But when faced with the ultimate decision, who will Rose choose, Lissa or Dimitri?

I love and hate this book. The story progressed wonderfully. The characters were great. The romance was perfect. The only thing I hated was the ending. It left me openly crying. With that said I actually love the ending. It was the perfect ending to the perfect story. I love how Rose’s character matures quite a bit and she really wants to take responsibility for herself. The only thing I did not like was how she was unwilling to get help from other people when she really needed it. I love Dimitri. I think the way he handled his relationship with Rose was just beautiful! I absolutely cannot wait for the fourth Vampire academy story. I have to see what will happen. Thank you Richelle Mead for creating a truly wonderful read!

Richelle Mead writes three fantastic genres. Her paranormal romance series has started with Storm Born, her YA series is Vampire Academy and her Urban Fantasy is her Succubus series. To find out more about her very popular books please visit her website at

Enchanting Reviews
December 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Enchanting Review: Sara's Face

Contemporary YA
Simon Pulse
ISBN 978-1-4169-5815-4
264 pages
Paperback – Available now

Rating: 2 Enchantments

Jonathon Heat has nearly everything—fame, millions of fans, success, and money. Unfortunately, he no longer has the one thing he craves most—beauty. Years of experimental cosmetic surgery, and all for fame, have caused his face to collapse, leaving disgusting strips of rotting flesh. Now, he hides behind a mask and waits, hoping his cosmetic surgeon Dr. Kaye will find a way to restore his beauty.

Sara is an elusive and mysterious girl, known by few and truly understood by no one, not ever herself. She is obsessed with beauty and convinced that she is never pretty enough, skinny enough—perfect enough. This fixation leads her to idolize the rock star Jonathon Heat. In him she sees a kindred spirit. Unfortunately, this can't be a good thing if Jonathon Heat is as cunning, imaginative, ambitious, and unreliable as Sara is.

Sara's big break comes when she meets Jonathon Heat after an "accident" scars her face and leaves her in the hospital. The aging rock star recognizes Sara as beautiful—and offers to pay for the cosmetic surgery she yearns for. Sara is ecstatic; fame is nearly at her fingertips. But the longer she stays with Jonathon, the more she begins to doubt his pure intentions. She, and the rest of the world it seems, begins to wonder, what really will become of Sara's face?

Don't let the intriguing summary fool you; I was incredibly disappointed in this book. I originally picked it up because it sounded like a unique psychological thriller, but I was less than impressed with the execution of the plot and Burgess' style of writing, which pretty mush ruined my experience with this novel. SARA'S FACE is written almost like an investigation (biography wouldn't be the correct word) of Sara, with interviews with primary sources, transcripts of Sara's video diary, and other published documents. Now, I'm all for innovative writing styles, but the problem was that Burgess didn't totally stick to his format. There were conversations that seemed made up, because it was unlikely a witness would remember it word for word, and accounts of events where only Sara was present, which would be impossible for the author to know because he made it clear that no one knew Sara. The plot was frankly boring most of the time; it felt like I was reading a monotonous textbook. Only at the very end does anything get truly interesting, but by then, I've lost my sympathy for Sara because the preceding events in the story were way too jumbled and confusing. I felt Burgess' message in SARA'S FACE was very weakly conveyed, and I'm sure most readers will miss it, if they even make it to the end. SARA's FACE does provide some food for thought about fame and vanity, but overall, it's just not interesting enough for me to recommend it to anybody.

Melvin Burgess has written many novels, including SMACK, DOING IT, BLOODTIDE, and BLOODSONG. His works have also been adapted for film and television.

Rachael Stein
Enchanting Reviews
November 2008

Enchanting Review: The Youngest Templar: Keeper Of The Grail

Historical Fantasy YA
ISBN 978-0-399-24763-7
272 Pages
Trade--Available Now

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

When the Knights of Templar arrive to spend the night at the St. Alban's Abbey, young orphan Tristan couldn't know his life is about to change forever. But he soon agrees to become the squire of the kind Sir Thomas; and not soon after Tristan is the victim of a violent attack in the stables and that's all before they've left for Dover, a short stop before they begin their trek to Outremer, the Holy Land.

I absolutely loved KEEPER OF THE GRAIL. It really felt like you were going back in time to the time of King Richard, the Lionheart and the Crusades. Tristan is a wonderful character, very brave and adventurous. I really enjoyed the mystery surrounding his real identity, the odd way the King looked at him, what Sir Thomas really knows about him. Sir Hugh was truly an evil villain, with his ire for Tristan visible almost right off the bat when the poor boy hadn't done anything wrong. The rest of the characters are equally strong and well done.

One of my favorite scenes in the book takes place shortly after Tristan becomes squire to Sir Thomas. In the midst of a training session with his new friend Quincy, the awful Sir Hugh approaches and tries to 'teach Tristan a lesson', the young squire manages to evade the brutal attack until Sir Thomas approaches and pulls Sir Hugh away. That's when Tristan overhears the first hint that there's more to his real identity than he knows or could even suspect. This is a wonderfully detailed, exciting adventure guaranteed to keep you turning the pages till you reach the very last word. If you love historical YA, this is one book you don't want to miss. Look for the second in the series, THE YOUNGEST TEMPLAR BOOK TWO: TRAIL OF FATE coming in Fall 2009.

Michael P. Spradlin is the author of more than a dozen books for children. When not writing, he enjoys reading, traveling, spending time with his family and worrying over the fact that he really should be writing instead of doing other stuff. He lives in Michigan with his wife Kelly, son Michael, daughter Rachel and two dogs Willow and Apollo.

To learn more about THE YOUNGEST TEMPLAR, visit Michael's website: or the official website of the book:

Enchanting Reviews
November 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Enchanting Review: LilyDale: Believing

Paranormal YA
ISBN 978-0-8027-9656-1
256 Pages
Hardcover--Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Ms. Staub does an excellent job melding paranormal and suspense together in her LILY DALE series featuring Calla Delaney.

Picking up mere moments after the first book left off, LILY DALE: BELIEVING has Calla finding herself the target of a serial killer targeting teenage girls, a case that first came to light in book one. However, reading "Awakening" is not required to enjoy LILY DALE: BELIEVING for it stands quite well on its own. Calla is still trying to deal with the unexpected loss of her mother, the realization of her own medium abilities and adjusting to life in Lily Dale with her unique grandmother Odel and the physical distance between her and her father. Add in the normal teenager issues and things can get pretty complicated. What I like most about Calla is her willingness to learn about her newfound abilities, something that's much changed from her behavior in book one. The fact that we see things from both the killer's point of view several times during the story adds a creepiness to the book that keeps the reader rapidly turning the pages, knowing that at some point there will be a meeting between he and Calla.

Threads left unsolved from the first book continue on in book two, and with BELIEVING's own startling ending it will no doubt leave readers waiting anxiously for book three releasing November 2008.

Learn more about the Lily Dale series and Ms. Staub on her website,

Enchanting Reviews
October 2008

Enchanting Review: The Boy Book

Contemporary YA
Delacorte Press
ISBN 978-0-385-73209-3
193 Pages
Trade--Available Now

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Life hasn't gotten any easier for Ruby Oliver. In fact, its getting even more confusing. Sure, she really has no friends after what happened between them at the end of the school year; she and Jackson are definitely over (aren't they?) and the only person she kept in contact with over the summer is Noel, but who knows if their friendship is real or he's just being nice to her for the sake of being nice. The only thing Ruby knows is life is getting complicated and all she's got left of her friendships is THE BOY BOOK, the book she and her friends have written in for years. Its just too bad it doesn't tell her how to get them all back.

THE BOY BOOK is hands down one of my favorite reads of the year. I really enjoyed Ruby. She's a really fun character and I loved the scenes with her and her therapist Dr Z. So much of this book had me laughing out loud and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. From her footnotes which were hilarious at times, to her trying to figure out how to deal with the fact her ex is sending her notes again, all the while his girlfriend and her former BFF is in Japan…well things couldn't get worse could they? But unfortunately for Ruby they do. Between juggling guys, trying to renew friendships with at least one of her former friends and dealing with her wacky parents and her appointments with Dr. Z, Ruby struggles with a lot and the result is quite amusing and a total keeper of a book.

I can't wait to read more about Ruby and co. She's definitely become one of my favorite YA characters. Hope the next two books come out soon!

E. Lockhart is the author of two books about Ruby Oliver — The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book — plus two more coming soon. Other books: Fly on the Wall, Dramarama, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and How to Be Bad. You can visit her online at her brand new website:

Enchanting Reviews
October 2008

Enchanting Review: That's What's Up

Contemporary Young Adult
ISBN 0-7582-2582-2
320 Pages
Trade--Available Now

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

The best thing about Ms. Chase's DEL RIO BAY CLIQUE series is that the stories focus on the entire clique, not just solely on Mina and that continues in THAT'S WHAT'S UP, the third book in the series. Its almost spring break and that means everyone is heading to the O.C. to cheer on the varsity cheer squad compete at Extreme. All right, so not everyone is going, while Mina and the guys are headed for fun, Kelly, Jacinta, and Lizzie are stuck at home…well, they're supposed to be stuck at home until one of them comes up with a surefire plan to get them all to the Extreme. But can things actually work out for the three girls? With her new Upper status, Mina can't wait to head to O.C for spring break and the Extreme. Sure, it sucks that some of the clique has to stay behind on vacation, but it gives her a chance to enjoy her time with the Uppers…including her sworn enemy Jessica Johnson. But when Jessica mysteriously calls a truce before the Extreme, is it too good to be true?

What I love about Ms. Chase's books is the realism she brings to her characters and high school life in general. Everyone can identify with the cliques, especially the exclusive Uppers. Jessica is the perfect mean girl, willing to do whatever it takes to make sure Mina ends up back on the outside of the Uppers. And what she has in mind for poor Mina is truly disastrous. I'm anxious to see what happens in the next book, because there's definitely going to be fall-out from this one. My favorite part of THAT'S WHAT'S UP is when the book shifts to the O.C. and the Extreme itself. That's when things truly got interesting. All in all, THAT'S WHAT'S UP is a great third book in the series.

Learn more about THAT'S WHAT'S UP at and read an excerpt at

Look for the fourth book in the series, WHO YOU WIT'? out in November 2008.

Enchanting Reviews
August 2008

Enchanting Review: Parties And Potions

Paranormal YA
ISBN# 978-0-385-73645-9
352 Pages
Hardcover—Available December 23rd, 2008

Rating: 5 Enchantments

PARTIES AND POTIONS is a really fun, paranormal read. Its definitely one of my top favorites of the year. When her younger sister Miri wants to delve deeper into the witch world, Rachel’s resistant. Sure, its one thing to be a witch, but to be one openly is quite another. But when Miri gets them invited to dinner with one of her new witch friends, Wendaline, off of MyWitchBook, Rachel finds herself exposed to a whole new witchy world.

I really enjoyed PARTIES AND POTIONS. Ms. Mlynowski creates a wonderfully unique paranormal world that’s easy to enjoy even if you haven’t read the other books in the series. I was pulled into the story right from the start. Rachel is a great character, stuck having to deal with her younger sister Miri’s obsession with having a Samsorta, a debutante-like debut for witches in Romania. Now Rachel’s forced into Samsorta lessons, in Arizona no less, plus there’s a cute warlock, Adam, who might just make things even more complicated. Things would be so much easier if she could tell her mortal boyfriend Raf that she’s a witch, but she can’t bring herself to do that. What if that breaks them up? Besides, she’s just not as outgoing with her witchy ways as her new friend, Wendaline. And things get even more complicated when Miri suddenly decides they have to tell their father about their witchy ways.

I loved Rachel struggling to deal with her witchy ways in a mortal world and then in comes her new friend Wendaline, who keeps announcing to everyone she’s a witch—she’s definitely a scenestealer! One of my favorite scenes is when Rachel and Miri go to their first Simsorta, the warlock’s version of a Samsorta. The mix of humor and paranormal really made this a great read.

This is the first of the series I’ve read and I absolutely enjoyed PARTIES AND POTIONS. Can’t wait to pick up the other books and see how Rachel got to this point. If you’re looking for a fun, guaranteed to make you smile paranormal, PARTIES AND POTIONS is definitely the one to pick up.

Sarah Mlynowski’s novels include the first three books in the Magic in Manhattan series. Like Rachel, Sarah lives in Manhattan. Unlike Rachel, Sarah has no magical powers . . . yet. Visit her anyway at and To learn more about the Magic in Manhattan series, check out

Enchanting Reviews
December 2008

Enchanting Review: Fat Hoochie Prom Queen

Contemporary Young Adult
Simon Pulse
ISBN# 978-1-4169-3603-9
290 pages
Paperback- Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Margarita “Madge” Diaz is a chubby, fashionista, funny girl who loves her curves. Everyone likes her, except for her ex-best friend-student body president and queen bee-Bridget Benson. She’s a foxy Hispanic girl, who loves her gay best friend, and doesn’t let anyone step all over her.

One night, drunk at a party, Madge gets into a heated fight with Bridget. They both agree that whoever wins the Prom Queen title will do what the other says. If Bridget wins, Madge won’t be able to speak to her again but if Madge wins then Bridget will have to wear whatever Madge decides to a photo shoot for OK magazine.

It took me a while to get into this book but once I did, I immensely enjoyed it. Madge had a strong voice, and was funny as well. She felt real. All the characters had such strong voices that it felt as if they were right in front of you. The Spanish words mixed in really made Madge stand out more and made the story much interesting. The high school scene felt real: there was some crushes, cattiness, and the characters resembled real student which you might know. The book was fast, fun, and an easy read to take your mind off of things. Nico Medina is a great author and now, after reading Fat Hoochie Prom Queen, I feel like reading his other book.

Nico Medina is a graduate of the University of Florida and now resides in New York City. This is his second novel. His first book was titled The Straight Road to Kylie. To learn more about him, visit his website at

December 2008

Enchanting Review: Boys Are Dogs

Contemporary Middle Grade
ISBN# 978-1-59990-221-0
208 Pages
Hardcover--Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

When Annabelle returns from summer camp, she’s in for a whole lot of changes. She knew her mother was moving them into a house with her boyfriend Ted, aka Dweeble, but there’s also the change in schools, from an all girls elementary to Birchwood Middle School and the biggest surprise of all--a cute new puppy--to deal with. Getting used to a new school is hard enough, but dealing with boys, especially bullying, jerkish boys is harder than Annabelle originally thought it would be. But then she comes up with the idea to start applying her puppy training manual to dealing with the troublesome boys at school.

BOYS ARE DOGS is a really fun middle grade read. Annabelle’s a very likeable, spunk tween who comes up with a unique way to deal with things, especially the annoying boys she’s forced to deal with at school. Her newfound friends at Birchwood, including neighbor Rachel, who unfortunately is the younger sister of one of the bigger jerks of the entire school. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Annabelle’s out eating lunch with her new friend Rachel at school and finds out the boy who sent her to the wrong classroom that morning on the first day of school is none other then Rachel’s older brother, Jackson.

Ms. Margolis does a great job capturing what its like dealing with a new puppy and struggling to fit in at a new school at the same time and I loved the uniqueness of Annabelle applying the puppy training manual to dealing with boys. Anyone looking for a fun middle grade read won’t go wrong picking up BOYS ARE DOGS.

Leslie Margolis lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her fairly well-trained six toed mutt named Aunt Blanche and her less-well-trained husband, Jim. She is also the author of the young adult novels FIX and PRICE OF ADMISSION. Visit her online at

Enchanting Reviews
December 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Enchanting Review: Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home For Christmas

Children's (Ages 4-8)
Little, Brown
ISBN 978-0316033831
32 Pages
Paperback--Available Now

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

TOOT & PUDDLE: I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS is a perfect holiday read, featuring the beloved characters of Toot and Puddle. This time, when Toot goes away for a family reunion in Scotland, he sends Puddle a postcard promising to be home in time for Christmas. But when Toot reaches Boston, a sudden snowstorm may keep him from getting home for the holidays. Will Puddle's lucky nut, a gift from Great-Great-Aunt Peg be the key to getting home?

Cute charming illustrations accompany this fun story as Toot struggles to get home in time, and with time running out, and the to-do list too big, Puddles and Tulip are forced to start the decorating without their friend. I especially loved the pictures of Tulip and Puddle's Christmas preparations and Toot struggling to reach home in time for the holidays. This is one book I'll be adding to the holiday stack for years to come.

Holly Hobbie has worked as an artist for more than thirty years and is the author of seven previous and highly acclaimed Toot & Puddle picture books, as well as an illustrated memoir, The Art of Holly Hobbie. The mother of grown children, she lives with her husband in Conway, Massachusetts.

Enchanting Reviews
November 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Enchanting Review: Down To The Bone

YA contemporary
Harper Collins
ISBN # 9780060843106
367 pages
Hardcover--Available now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Laura has a secret which is revealed when her Catholic school teacher reads a loud a love letter—a love letter sent to Laura from another girl. Laura is a tortillera, which means she loves girls. Then the Mother Superior calls her mami, who can’t face that her daughter might be gay. So Laura’s mother ends up kicking her out.

To make matters worse, the love of her life is shipped back to Puerto Rico to marry a guy. Laura is heartbroken. But there is some hope. Her bighearted friend Soli and mother take her in. All the while, Laura struggles to make sense of who she really is while the world still frowns on those they claim are ‘different.’

I enjoyed this tale of a Latina who struggles with her sexuality while battling prejudice from those in her family to those around her. The author paints a very vivid world that isn’t layered in the usual gay stereotypes. I also like how she shows Laura’s cultural background. Laura is funny, down to earth, and also someone I’m sure many teens will relate with. Plus, Laura learns that sometimes a family isn’t just the one you’re born into, but those that accept and love you unconditionally.

Mayra Lazara Dole suffers from M.C.S. or Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and must live in a ‘bubble’ in order to survive-a glassed-in room. A chemical injury from pesticides damaged her immune system.

Mayra was born in Cuba and now lives in Miami with her partner, Damarys. You can read more at her website—

December 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cbay Books—an imprint of Blooming Tree Press
ISBN# 9781933767130
288 pages
Available now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Thirteen-year-old Benjamin Holt and his friend Andy like to use their ‘special’ gifts to place tricks. Then Benjamin is startled when his mirror starts talking and tells him he’s going to eight weeks of summer school. But not in the world he knows. He is teleported to the world Lemuria-a hidden continent-where he finds out he’s not a human but a telegen. He also finds out in Lemuria his so-called gifts aren’t really that unique.

While in Lemuria he finds the mysterious Emerald Tablet that chooses him to be a champion to help restore balance to the world, for both telegens and humans.

Along with his friend Andy and others, they set out on a series of riddles to find the missing three keys that will help with this task. But in a world where the ancient gods of mythology are based on fact and where the unusual is common place, finding these keys is a lot harder than it appears. And time is running out for Benjamin and his friends. He needs to find the mysterious keys or wait until next summer. That is if he can get the keys before someone else does. Someone who has other plans on using them.

This story will sure appeal to fans of HARRY POTTER and also Garth Nix’s THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM series. Right off the bat, Hoover starts with a great hook that sets Benjamin off on his adventure. The scientific facts are blended nicely in this story, for example, using DNA to teleport to anywhere you want. The idea that gods were in fact based on real individuals is interesting too. Fans of mythology will also enjoy reading how Hoover puts twists on the classic tales.

A must read for fans of fantasy, especially with a boy hero. This book will not disappoint.

P.J. Hoover when not writing, works as an electrical engineer in Austin, Texas, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a Yorkshire terrier. Check out PJ Hoover and her books at Also check

November 2008

Enchanting Review: Omnibus

YA Fantasy Anthology
Double Dragon Publishing
ISBN# 1-55404-507-X
219 Pages
Trade--Available Now

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

OMNIBUS is a delightful collection of four short fantasy stories by Ms. McGathy.

Wonderfully detailed, Ms. McGathy paints a delightful visual in this short story. When the wheel of seasons stop changing and war is imminent between the Winter and Summer, daughter of Summer, Astara must go to the Winter King to demand his freeing of the seasons Along the way she helps a pair of robins, saves two children and the flower they were freezing to protect and frees the wisp, all of which play a surprising role in the ending of the story.

Nerys Devi has been promised to Gerard Regan since birth, but while Gerard may have her hand, he’s far from having won her heart. When a chance encounter at the faire leads her to meet Cody, she finds herself attracted to him much more so than the controlling Gerard. When fate intervenes in the form of her father, he decides to give both men a year to win the lovely Nerys’ heart. But Nerys already knows who she chooses, will she finally have her chance at happiness or will Gerard conspire against her?

Talwyn, daughter of the Golden, was reborn from the mist into a beautiful world of colors. But when a vision in the pool foretells a dark future for her friends, the trees and spirits that dwell within, Talwyn must make a choice, to sacrifice her own future and her return along with the other Goldens back to the mist, or to stay behind and do what she can to keep the vision from coming true.

Hired to take the mysterious scarred Faylon to the mystical city of Sha-da-nay, Seeker Tanner couldn’t imagine what awaits for her deep within the cursed Hagath Forest. But the journey isn’t easy. Ghosts of her past haunt her and Tanner easily declares ‘she cries for no one’, something that might not be so true once she reaches her ultimate destination.

Its hard to pick a favorite from the four stories in this anthology, though I admit I’m partial to THE BIRTH OF SPRING for its great description, not to mention its sweet story and THIEF OF DREAMS for its story and characters. Gerard was a true despicable villain and Cody the perfect choice for the sweet Nerys. I loved how the faery ring actually played a big part of the story and how things alluded to early on later came back.

Fans of Fantasy and short stories will no doubt enjoy Ms. McGathy’s tales found within the covers of OMNIBUS.

During the weekdays, Ms. McGathy’s a Graphic Arts Coordinator/Copy Editor in prepress. In the evenings and weekends, she’s a writer. You can visit Sheri online at her website to check out excerpts from all the stories in OMNIBUS

Enchanting Reviews
August 2008

Enchanting Interview: P.J. Hoover

How long have you been writing?

Since the birth of my second child, which seems kind of counterintuitive, I know! My son came first, woke up a couple times a night, every night, for over a year. So when my daughter was born and started sleeping through the night at two months old, I was in heaven. I found all this extra time on my hands in the evenings I never had before. I started writing in 2004 and have only missed a handful of nights since.

What do you like best about being a writer?

The amazing feeling that kids are reading my stories and loving them. That’s just so cool!

What's your writing schedule like?

I’m super fortunate that my hobby is now also my job. I used to work as an electrical engineer, but in April 2008 I quit to focus on writing full time. I write in the evenings, every evening, from about 9:00-11:00. During the days, I work in clumps. If there is a bunch of publicity stuff to get done, I’ll spend the day knocking it out. If the publicity isn’t as front focus, I’ll spend the day writing. I have until I pick my kids up from school each day to work which is wonderful!

What's your writing process like?

I’m playing around with various techniques to help improve my craft. On some books I’ve spent months plotting and planning before even writing the first word. On other books, I’ve spent a couple days and then jumped in. It’s a matter of experimenting to see what works well for what kind of book, and what time spent improves the piece the most.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Hmmm…let’s see. Putting my hair up in a ponytail? Drinking a cup of coffee before attempting the first word? Emptying my inbox?
No, really, let’s see. I always write on a computer, never on paper. I always finish a first draft before attempting any revisions. I keep a digital voice recorder in my purse for when inspiration hits. I read the genre I’m working on. I read books on craft. I talk writing whenever I can.

What inspired this book?

A youth of sci-fi and fantasy TV watching inspired THE EMERALD TABLET. It all started with an 80s TV show called The Powers of Matthew Star. Matthew Star was an alien with telekinetic and telepathic powers who had to fit in with teenagers in a normal high school. He got to do cool things like save the world on a regular basis. So although the characters in THE EMERALD TABLET aren’t aliens, I’m happy to say Matthew Star was the original inspiration for the story.
Also, I’m a Trekkie. And one of my favorite episodes was Who Mourns for Adonis where they found out the Greek gods were actually just super humans on earth. I loved this idea, and incorporated it into THE EMERALD TABLET.

Favorite character in the book?

I’d have to go with Heidi. She’s a spunky girl whose hair spontaneously changes color when her emotions flare up. She’s fun, doesn’t mind breaking the rules, and can read minds like nobody’s business.

Which character is most like you or most unlike you?

I’ll start with the simple one: Iva is the most unlike me. She’s gorgeous, serious, and a vegetarian. I definitely eat meat.
I’d say I’m a combination of Gary and Heidi. I have the nerd qualities of Gary, but like to have fun like Heidi (not to mention I’m a girl).

Which character gave you the toughest time to write in the book?

No one character gave me a hard time. Hard for me was making sure the five kids all had distinct voices. It took many, many revisions to make sure lines of dialog were actually true to the characters saying them. And what’s nice about writing a trilogy is that with each book this can be improved upon even more!

Who would your ideal cast be if a movie was made?

My kids and their friends J
Seriously, no idea. I’m not a pop culture kind of gal and don’t follow who’s popular at all!

What's next for you?

Next for me is hopefully a lifetime of writing!
The second book in The Forgotten Worlds Trilogy, THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD, comes out in Fall 2009.
The third book, THE NECROPOLIS is due out in Fall 2010.
I’m also working on a MG urban fantasy series and a YA urban fantasy.

Interview by Kim
December 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Enchanting Review: The Dictionary of High School B.S.

YA Non-Fiction
Zest Books
ISBN # 978-0979017391
120 pages
Paperback--Available now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

High school can be a crazy time with not only the resident Queen Bees but other so-called rules that involve where to sit at lunch without coming across as a total geek. Add to that the irritating people, tough classes, and on-going drama, in short, the whole B.S.

In this uncensored dictionary, you’ll find all the talk that has to do with High School life. From definitions of what a hot or an evil teacher are to where most kids go on-line to hang out( which is not to be confused with the code word meaning making out with either boyfriend or girlfriend in bedroom when no parents are at home.)

Some of these terms will make you laugh—like the illustrations of a nerd. Others will make you cringe—like the slang definition of ‘gay’ which unfortunately is still being used not only in High School but outside. And others, if you’ve been out of High School for awhile, will bring back memories, both good and bad.

I really enjoyed reading this dictionary. Once again another Zest Books hit! I ended up taking it to my son’s school and had some of the parents read it. More than a few broke out in smiles and laughter. The illustrations are classic and hilarious.

I’d recommend this book not only to teens in High School but to parents who sometimes are clueless on what’s cool now.

Lois Beckwith is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Check out more on Zest books at

November ‘08

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Enchanting Review: This Book Isn't Fat, It's Fabulous

Contemporary Young Adult
ISBN# 978-0-545-01703-9
240 Pages
Trade--Available Now

Rating: 3.5 Enchantments

Riley Swain is used to getting what she wants in life, guys, friends, clothes. But suddenly she's on her way to fat camp (argh, the horror). She thinks her size twelve figure is fabulous, but apparently her father and stepmother- to-be have other ideas, which is why instead of going on the class trip to Mexico for spring break, she's headed to upstate New York and New Horizon. But Riley can't have her friends and fellow Manhattanites knowing the truth, so she concocts a cover story that she's actually going on a family bonding trip to an upstate NY spa.

While there were portions of the book I really enjoyed, especially when Riley meets Eric, which might have been my favorite scene of the book, the rest of it seemed to hit a lull. The story moved quite fast from Riley at home in Manhattan to being shipped off to fat camp. I think the story would have benefited from a slower pace and a chance to know the supporting characters. The only characters I felt you really got to know was Riley with a bit of Eric and her almost obsession with her best friend D. I did however enjoy Riley's letter writing campaign to her lawyer and others to keep from having to go to New Horizon.

Ms. Beck likes peppermint tea, movies with lots of synchronized dance sequences, boys with curly hair, and living in Brooklyn, New York. She also likes writing characters that make her laugh and make other people ask, "Um. . . is this autobiographical?" This Book Isn't Fat, It's Fabulous is her first novel. You can learn more about THIS BOOK ISN'T FAT, IT'S FABULOUS here:

Enchanting Reviews
August 2008

Enchanting Review: Untamed

Paranormal YA
St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN# 978-0-312-37983-4
352 Pages
Trade-Available September 23, 2008

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

Starting two days after 'Chosen' ended, UNTAMED kicks off with Zoey feeling isolated from her friends. After the 'outing' of her relationship with Loren as well as the realization that Stevie Ray was an 'undead dead' her friends are having issues trusting her. If they could only realize the reason they were left in the dark was for their own safety, but all they want to see right now is that Zoey kept secrets, important secrets from them. But when Aphrodite returns unexpectedly to the House of Night, she isn't alone. She's brought Stevie Ray back with her, along with news of a set of horrifying visions of the future—there's a war coming between the vampyres and the humans and its Zoey's demise that sparks it.

The fourth in the House of Night series, UNTAMED takes Zoey and her circle of friends down an unexpected and surprising path. Knowing that the target on her back is larger than anyone could have imagined, her new unusual alliance with Aphrodite and the growing tensions between her and the high priestess Neferet, Zoey's determined to keep Aphrodite's vision from coming true.
After the surprising deaths of Professor Nolan and Loren Blake, Zoey’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep everyone she cares about safe.

While there were still a few good chunks of back story scattered through the first half of the book, UNTAMED moves forward at a brisk pace. Aphrodite's surprising infiltration into Zoey's circle of friends, or at least her friendship with Zoey, continues which I was so glad to see as she’s become a favorite of mine in the last two books. Actually, at times I thought she stole a few scenes, especially early on when she was helping Zoey and Stevie Ray. But my favorite thing about Aphrodite I think is her continual comebacks to the Twins comments. I loved Zoey’s sheer will to keep Aphrodite’s vision from coming true and the ending, well there really isn’t another way to describe it but heart pounding and jaw dropping.

After an ending that will leave you breathless and wondering what lies ahead for Zoey and her friends, I can't wait to see what happens next! One of the best and possibly my favorite book of the entire HOUSE OF NIGHT series, UNTAMED will keep you riveted till the very last sentence.

Check out the newly redesigned House of Night website at

Enchanting Reviews
September 2008

Enchanting Review: Need

Urban Fantasy YA
ISBN# 9781599903385
320 pages
Available January 2009

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Zara has a little quirk. She likes to repeat phobias. And she knows a lot, including phobophobia-the fear of phobias. After her stepfather dies, she draws into herself. Her mother sends her to live with her grandmother in cold Maine so she can stay ‘safe.’
Zara doesn’t care much for the sleepy Maine town. Then she starts noticing a strange man who watches her and calls out her name. There’s other strange things that include missing boys and some secrets that no one will let her in on.

Zara finds out maybe repeating phobias won’t help, especially when she finds out the stranger is a pixie who leaves gold dust and has an uncontrollable need that might involve her.

NEED is one of those novels that grabs you and won’t let go. This urban fantasy is sure to appeal to fans of Cassandra Clair and Melissa Marr. Jones does a great job showing a spunky heroine who demands to know the truth even when this might reinforce another phobia--pixiophobia--fear of pixies.

I enjoyed this fast-paced tale where pixies live in our world but whose needs are high. Zara’s quirk of repeating phobias gives her an added dimension as a character. I also enjoyed her interaction with Betty, her grandmother. Her romantic interest also has a surprise of his own. It seems nothing in this little Maine town is what it seems to be. But you’ll have to grab a copy of this book to find out what’s hidden behind the glamour. You won’t be disappointed.

Carrie Jones lives with her cute family in Maine, but she grew up in Bedford, NH where she once had a séance with cool uber-comedian Sarah Silverman. She graduated from Vermont College’s MFA program for writing. She has edited newspapers and poetry journals and has recently won awards from the Maine Press Association and also been awarded the Martin Dibner Fellowship as well as a Maine Literary Award. Check out more at her website


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Enchanting Review: The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

Young Adult
Little, Brown
ISBN# 978-0-316-00293-6
238 Pages
Trade--Available Now

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Alien Bounty Hunter Daniel has been living on his own since age three when his parents were killed by The Prayer, an alien looking for ‘The List‘. Now fifteen, Daniel is determined to crack the top ten list and is set on number six Ergent Seth, a top level alien. But cracking the top ten of ‘The List’ is a dangerous proposition, even for a skilled alien hunter like Daniel and he may wind up way over his head before its over.

I absolutely loved THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X! Daniel himself is a great character, an alien who is an alien bounty hunter. His voice, his sarcasm, everything just clicks really well and helps make him one of my favorite characters of the year. I loved how he materialized his friends and parents, even a younger sister when the need arose. When he goes after Ergent Seth, he finds himself leaving Portland and heading to Los Angeles where Ergent Seth is already well aware Daniel is after him. And the lengths Seth will go to in order to scare Daniel away are

Short chapters, a great premise and a great character in Daniel himself keep the story moving at a fast pace. Filled with a lot of great twists and turns, including one very jaw dropping moment involving Seth make this an amazing read. I can’t wait for the next in this entertaining series! THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X is one book you’ll zoom through in one sitting guaranteed.

Learn more about Daniel X books at

James Patterson is the author of the blockbuster series Maximum Ride and has sold more than 140 million books, making him one of the top selling authors of all time. He lives in Florida. For previews of forthcoming James Patterson books and more information about the author go to

Enchanting Reviews
November 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Enchanting Review: Burn

YA Contemporary
Little, Brown
288 pages
Available November 2008

Rating: 4 Enchantments

What causes a person to kill someone? Fourteen-year-old Cameron Grady’s life becomes a nightmare after one remark at school. He’s later known as Cameron Diaz by the local jock bullies, who torment him daily.

Cameron is filled with anger. He escapes by running in the nearby woods and playing with fire. No one will listen. Not his mother. Not his teachers. One day something horrific happens to Cameron that causes him to react in a frightening way against someone else. Nothing will ever be the same.

This is an intense look at how far bullying can go before it can erupt into a terrible act of violence. Cameron’s pain is very realistic and his inability to communicate with his family or others around him is sad but I’m afraid true. This book reminded me how tough high school can be. Add to that a past of being abused by a parent and then by someone else. The cycle can continue on which unfortunately it does in this tale.

Phillips describes a disturbing world where both the abused and abuser are victims. She looks into the mind of one who ends up doing something frightening but does show there can be redemption at the end.

A must-read for anyone who wants to see what can cause an individual to go over the edge. I feel this book would be great to read in a high school class and then have discussions afterwards. What should you do if you know someone is being victimized? Or what should you do if you’re the one on the other end?

Suzanne Phillips is a special education English teacher in San Diego, California, and the author of the critically-acclaimed novel Chloe Doe. She has an MFA in fiction writing and is an active member of her local writers' community in Santee, California, where she lives with her daughter.

September 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Enchanting Review: Sucks To Be Me

SUCKS TO BE ME: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (maybe)
Paranormal YA
ISBN# 978-0-7869-5028-7
304 Pages
Hardcover—Available August 2008

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

Mina Hamilton’s grown up with her vampire parents and never really gave much thought about becoming a member of the undead herself, until well, now. It seems word has gotten out that her parents are living with a mortal and even worse yet in their eyes, they know she knows they’re vampires. Now the Vampire Council wants Mina to choose, vampire or non-vampire, as soon as possible.

SUCKS TO BE ME is a really unique, hilarious concept. What happens when a girl with vampire parents is forced to choose whether she wants to remain mortal or become a vampire? It’s not as easy as a decision as it could be. But with classes, brochures and a semi guidance counselor in the hilarious Ms. Riley, Mina’s being steered to making the right choice for her. As Mina finds out, a lot of the popular vampire lore simply isn’t true, like they can go out in the sun, just be sure to put on lots of sunscreen.

Ms. Pauley creates some very memorable characters in SUCKS TO BE ME. I particularly enjoyed the classes Mina was forced to take in order to help her choose whether or not to become a vampire. I thought those were some of the funniest scenes in the book and I loved the titles of the handouts/brochures she was given. Mina’s uncle is also a really great character.

Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire (maybe) is Ms. Pauley’s first novel. She is the founder and owner of Young Adult Books Central, one of the leading YA (& Kids!) literature sites on the Internet. As a YA book reviewer, she has interviewed authors such as Clive Barker, Lois Duncan, and Garth Nix and keeps up with pretty much anything going on in the YA publishing world. You can visit her personal webpage online at and read more about SUCKS TO BE ME at

Enchanting Reviews
July 2008

Enchanting Review: Spirit

Paranormal Young Adult
ISBN# 978-0-06-085063-0
224 Pages
Hardcover--Available Now

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

There’s only one way to describe SPIRIT: a spellbinding page-turner. From the moment I picked this book up, I couldn’t put it down. J.P. Hightman crafts a riveting story that grabs hold of the reader immediately and doesn’t let go until the startling, goosebump giving conclusion.

Tess and Tobias Goodravens, seventeen years old and newly married, are already seasoned ghost hunters. Now on the hunt for ‘The Ones Who Got Away’, witches who somehow managed to escape the Salem Witch Trials, Tess and Tobias find themselves heading to Blackthorne, a tiny, haunted town in Massachusetts. Tess is already feeling anxious about the upcoming experience, while Tobias too is a little uneasy, but he does his best to hide his true feelings from his wife. Along the way, the couple are forced to take a train ride that will have extreme life changing consequences.

Wow, what an unexpected paranormal read. Aside from its unique setting and time period, Tess and Tobias are two of the more unusual characters I’ve ever run across, which I think made them all the more endearing. I loved the whole thing, the twists and turns, the unusual characters that populated the story.

An amazing tale, SPIRIT will leave the reader with goosebumps as they near the startling conclusion that will leave them speechless. I can’t wait to read more from this talented author.

J. P. Hightman is a professional screenwriter and the author of the saint of dragons and samurai. He divides his time between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Enchanting Reviews
October 2008

Enchanting Review: Princess Ben

YA Fantasy
Houghton Mifflin
ISBN# 978-0618959716
344 Pages
Hardcover—Available Now

Rating: 5 Enchantments

I have to say I absolutely adored this book. It pulled me in right from the first paragraph. Told as a memoir, promising to ‘tell the real truth’ of Princess Ben, Ms. Murdock weaves a wonderful story about Ben’s struggles to adapt to a life without her parents as she’s thrust headfirst into the Queen’s world and expected to survive. Faced with spending the rest of her days with Queen Sophia, a woman her mother detested, Ben finds herself suddenly taking Princess lessons, on a diet and spending her mornings dancing under the watchful eye of her tutor. All she wants to do is return to the life she knew, but as the Princess next in line to the throne she simply cannot. When a war is threatened by the neighboring country, who both she and Queen Sophia believe are behind her parents and the King’s deaths, Ben finds herself about to be betrothed to stave off an attack, the very idea of which has Ben stunned.

Princess Ben has quickly become one of my favorite characters. I loved her feisty spirit and her willingness to sabotage anyone’s plans for her that she didn’t agree with, a trait that comes in very handy in the latter part of the story. Throughout the book, we watch Ben slowly grow up and see that things may not be exactly the way she perceived them early on. One of my favorite scenes is when Ben finds the secret passageway in her room and begins her journey into magic. When she discovers the reason for all the ‘ex’ rooms in the castle, she quickly begins to spend her nights traveling about, which prompts the staff to believe the place is haunted.

Filled with unexpected twists and turns that take Ben from a Prince's daughter, to orphan and finally to a real Princess, this is one book fantasy fans and fans of fairy tales won’t want to miss. Anyone looking for a fun, entertaining YA Fantasy won't go wrong picking up PRINCESS BEN.

Ms. Murdock grew up in small-town Connecticut, on a tiny farm with honeybees, two adventurous goats, and a mess of Christmas trees. You can visit her online at her website and read Chapter One of PRINCESS BEN

Enchanting Reviews
September 2008

Enchanting Review: Vamps

Paranormal YA
ISBN# 978-0-06-134917-1
222 Pages
Trade—Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

New Bloods, Old Bloods and Van Helsings populate this tale of privileged vampires in New York City. Lilith Todd is an Old Blood and reigns supreme amongst the privileged sect at Bathory Academy. When one night things go terribly wrong and one of her closest friends is killed by a Van Helsing, Lilith vows revenge on the vamp that she believes caused the situation to go badly in the first place.

Cally Monture is a new blood, and thanks to the legacy of her father is forced to start at the Bathory Academy, a move that instantly makes her the outcast. Its not bad enough being new—not to mention a muchly despised New Blood—but being the reason Lilith lost her best friend instantly puts a target on her back as Lilith makes no bones about letting her know she wants revenge.

I liked Cally a little more than Lilith in this one. Cally, being a New Blood is having tons of problems fitting in to the Bathory Academy, a private school specifically for Old Bloods. But that’s not the only thing; she has to quickly catch up on what she doesn’t know—transformation, pretty much everything. And its not only the students that aren’t exactly welcoming, some of the teachers are more than happy to let her know she isn’t wanted at her new digs. But we soon find out Cally may not be all that she seems, a surprise that has me wondering where the series goes from here.

VAMPS is a fun paranormal read. A lot of vampire myths are twisted in this one, and I especially liked how they were explained away. I really liked Lilith’s secret addiction to her compact mirror so she can look at her reflection while she still has one. The appearance of the Van Helsings and Peter’s inexplicable attraction to Cally, which becomes clearer at a particular point in the book. I liked watching the unusual relationship between Peter and Cally play out. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next installment of the series.

Enchanting Reviews
October 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Enchanting Review: LilyDale: Awakening

Paranormal YA
ISBN# 978-0802796554
256 Pages
Paperback—Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

After the unexpected death of her mother, Calla finds herself spending a few weeks in Lily Dale with Odelia, her unusual grandmother who she barely knows. But that's not the oddest thing, she soon finds out Odelia is a registered medium and Lily Dale is filled with people just like her. But that’s not even the weirdest part, it seems that Calla herself might just share her grandmother’s gift as a medium and soon she finds herself embroiled in a mystery; and wondering if her mother’s death really was an accident or was it something more, something her newfound gift can uncover?

LILY DALE: AWAKENING is an interesting take on a psychic teenager. With Calla’s life turned upside down, finding herself in Lily Dale with the grandmother she barely knows, Calla’s forced to come to terms with a lot of things. Like trying to figure out the bits and pieces of the argument she remembers her mother having with Odelia years ago, the same fight that kept Odelia out of their lives until the funeral. And when Calla realizes she might just share the same gift as Odelia, can she help a grieving mother find her missing daughter? Or will she end up in danger herself?

I really enjoyed LILY DALE: AWAKENING. Calla is an interesting character, fighting to adjust to her new surroundings and the fact her grandmother can see the dead. And maybe she can do, given she’s sure she saw something out of the corner of her eye, let alone when the woman appears at the door, asking to see her grandmother. What Calla first thinks of as a rude teenager, standing in Odelia’s flowers couldn’t be a real ghost could it? I loved Odelia, she’s just a really great unique character. I look forward to reading the second book in Ms. Staub's LILY DALE series.

WENDY CORSI STAUB is a best-selling writer of adult fiction, regularly appearing on the USA Today and New York Times best-seller lists. She grew up near the town of Lily Dale, and has had personal experiences with psychics in the town. Her adult best-seller, In the Blink of an Eye also took place in Lily Dale. Wendy lives with her family in Katonah, New York. Visit her Web site at

Enchanting Reviews
August 2008

Enchanting Review: You Just Can't Get Enough (Gossip Girl: The Carlyles)

Written by Annabelle Vestry
Contemporary YA
ISBN# 978-0-316-02065-7
208 Pages
Trade—Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

It doesn’t seem like the Carlyle triplets Avery, Owen and Baby have only been in Manhattan for only a week. They haven’t even begun to make their mark despite the party that managed to get the cops called and Avery taken to the police station. But not everything is smooth sailing for the triplets, Baby’s trying to get back in the good books at Constance Billard, Avery’s already got one frenemy in Jack, and Owen’s trying to get over Kelsey, who just happens to be the ex-girlfriend of one of his good friends from the swim team. What will happen if Rhys finds out that Owen’s the real reason Kelsey broke up with him?

The Carlyles are a great addition to the Gossip Girl series. I have to say I’m partial to Owen and Baby. Jack’s the perfect bad girl, out to oust Avery from her inner circle of friends but with Avery knowing the truth about her financial situation, Jack is practically being blackmailed till the truth comes out and then Jack is hopeful it’ll send Avery out of Constance Billard, out of Manhattan and straight out of New York. I loved Owen having to struggle with the fact he’s interested in Kelsey, but knowing Rhys is still into her as well. The swim team scenes with Owen and Rhys are actually some of my favorite in the book.

Fans of the Gossip Girl series won’t go wrong picking this one up.

Look for the Gossip Girl: The Carlyles #3 ‘Take a Chance on Me’ out in May 2009. Read the first chapter of YOU JUST CAN’T GET ENOUGH here:

Enchanting Reviews
October 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Guest Blogger: Traci Hall

Hi everyone – I am Traci Hall, author of Love’s Magic for adults and Her Wiccan, Wiccan Ways for Young Adults. I want to dish on Halloween and things that go bump in the night! Get your minds out of the gutter, people – I am talking ghosts, poltergeists and angry spirits who want revenge on the living. Doesn’t that give you a delicious shiver?

In my medieval paranormal novels, I write about legends and myths and family curses. It is a ton of fun, and the research takes forever, just because I go off on a tangent for about four hours following a lead on something haunted. In my young adult novels, there are ghosts, curses, family legends AND the Wiccan experience, all viewed from a fourteen year old girl’s perspective. Again, the research is amazing.

There are documented instances of real people suddenly bursting into flame – for no reason. Astral travel, especially between a recently deceased person and a sleeping person, is common. The Medium, Ghost Hunters and many other television shows have made the paranormal genre super, super hot.

But what is Halloween really about? Celebrating the dead? It comes from the Celtic tradition of Samhain – a celebration of the harvest. No Snickers or Twizzlers to be found, folks. And Halloween, the name, comes from All Hallows Eve – which was literally the night before All Hallows Day, or rather, All Saints Day.

In contemporary times, Halloween means dressing up as your favorite character and roaming the neighborhood for the house that gives out the best treats. For grown ups, its about the cider and bobbing for apples before heading back to the punch bowl.

The only scary thing about that is drinking so much you forget your good judgment and go home with someone you thought was a Prince Charming, but once the mask is off, he’s more of a toad.

My favorite thing about Halloween is the cheesy B horror movies on all month long. Halloween, Day of the Dead, Friday the 13th, Dawn of the Dead, Dead and Breakfast, the Dead Rising – and my husband just bought a sure-fire classic, Zombie Strippers.

On the night of the 31st we make popcorn and caramel apples and curl up on the couch for the Hall family favorites – Lost Boys, The Omen, and Amityville Horror.

What are your favorite movies? For everyone who gives me a title of a Classic Horror movie, I will send you a bookmark and put you into a drawing for a free copy of Love’s Magic! Don’t give me Frankenstein or Dracula, either – give me something GOOD JJ


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Guest Blogger: Judith Graves

Sometimes a Werewolf is Just a Man in a Doggie Suit:

Werewolves, vampires, witches, and demons are like the four food groups of paranormal fiction, and staples of my laptop’s diet. I’m a young adult paranormal fiction author (Sounds like a confession, doesn’t it?), just starting out on my writing career. I’m keen. I’m determined. I’m a tad insane.

I just might make it.

I recently had the pleasure of accepting a few author bookings, one for my local public library’s teen book club, and another for a nearby high school. Interactions with the target audience - real live teens! (Insert jump for joy.)

Faster than you can say, “Are those fangs in your mouth or are you just happy to see me?” my enthusiasm for the upcoming author gigs nosedived. Really, it was my own fault.

Knowing my high school presentation was going to be at a Catholic school, I asked a Christian friend of mine her opinion on the paranormal four food groups. (I know, I know…I’m cringing as I type this.) I had hoped to find some common ground with this individual, a mutual recognition of the fact that we were discussing FICTION. But alas, my paranormal plate was picked clean until, apparently, we were no longer talking fantasy, and my writing was promoting the novel and movie rights aspirations of Beelzebub.

I was truly saddened by this. I write dry, sarcastic, witty characters, all of which have normal teen issues. Friends. Boyfriends. Parents. Although I admit, my stories aren’t just about growing up. This is growing up with fangs, fur and hankering for raw meat. (And you thought your high school experience sucked.)

But promoting the devil? I don’t think so. (Have you seen the Exorcist? That’s one scary dude!)

Have I alone been challenged in this way?

I toss down the gauntlet.

Paranormal authors of the blogosphere – have you encountered any flack for your fiction sustenance of choice? What treats do you have, in your skull-and-cross-bones bag of tricks, to smooth over similar situations?

And in this ghoulish month of October I say to all: sometimes a werewolf is just a man in a doggie suit.

Visit Judith online:
Myspace page: and her blog with Kitty Keswick:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Enchanting Review: Sight

Mystery YA
Simon & Schuster
ISBN# 978-1-4169-0657-5
254 pages
Print – Available now

Rating: 3 Enchantments

Dylan is a psychic. She has visions of missing children that can help the police. Unfortunately, she usually sees the last moments of a child’s life, so when the child is found, he or she is dead. These haunting visions scare Dylan and emotionally scar her, so she doesn’t think about them unless she absolutely has to; not even her best friend Pilar is aware of Dylan’s psychic abilities.

Then Cate arrives in town, and Dylan finds herself revealing more of her secrets than she has ever before. But there’s something off about Cate that Dylan can’t place and probably doesn’t want to figure out. Cate is overeager to be accepted in Dylan’s hometown but her ways of going about doing this are undeniably odd. Dylan’s new friendship with Cate causes a rift in her long-standing friendship with Pilar, especially because of each friend’s unrevealed yet lurking secrets. But when Pilar’s little secret Grace disappears, Dylan realizes she has to embrace her sight to clear up all the mystery and save little Gracie’s life.

SIGHT starts off promisingly with an intriguing mystery and psychic visions to accompany it. However, the plot slows down after that and ends weakly; I was especially disappointed by the lukewarm climax. From the way the story started, I was expecting more dangerous encounters and frightening visions than I got. I’m not saying that the plot was bad; it just could’ve been written much better. There wasn’t much characterization, and I would’ve appreciated more development of Dylan’s character. It was difficult for me to connect with any of the characters, and I sometimes felt frustrated with them when I realized an important connection or clue long before they did. There was also a certain air of unreality about this story. It wasn’t Dylan’s psychic visions that caused this because those were actually one of the more plausibly aspects of this story. It was a mixture of the characters’ slowness in piecing together the mystery and the villain’s lack of motive. I couldn’t understand why many of the characters did what they did, and this confusion greatly diminished my enjoyment of the story. There might’ve been a deeper message in this story, but if there was, it was buried so deep I couldn’t find it. Overall, SIGHT was interesting but it didn’t live up to its full potential.

SIGHT is Adrienne Maria Vrettos’ second novel, her first being SKIN. You can visit her online at

Rachael Stein
Enchanting Reviews
October 2008

Enchanting Review: Jellicoe Road

Contemporary YA
ISBN# 978-0-06-143183-8
419 pages
Print – Available now

Rating: 5 Enchantments

Xavier Webster Schroeder, better known as Webb, was a friendly and fun-loving guy who was always full of life. He was the string that held his group of friends so close together. He was Narnie’s caring brother, Tate’s lifeline, Jude’s buddy, and Fitz’s partner in crime. All five were inseparable, and they did everything together, including creating a game called the territory wars between the Townies, Cadets, and the kids of Jellicoe School.

Twenty-two years later, the territory wars have become a much more serious tradition and are no longer the silly game they were intended to be. Taylor Markham is the leader of the Underground Community at Jellicoe School, which mean she’s in charge of one of the teams in the territory wars. She has worked hard for this position because she believes it will give her the freedom she craves—the freedom to find her mother who abandoned her six years earlier.

But Taylor has many more responsibilities that take up her time, like developing strategies to implement in the territory wars and taking care of all the students in her dormitory house. And then Hannah disappears, and Taylor loses the closest thing she has to a parent and friend at Jellicoe School. Consumed with worry, Taylor starts to lose the self-control she has worked so hard to develop for the past six years and bit by bit, long-buried memories start to come back to the present. People she never thought she’d never see again, like Jonah Griggs, and those she wished she had never met, like the Brigadier reenter her life and little details that she once thought were insignificant are coming back to haunt her. In this incredibly moving and beautifully written masterpiece, Melina Marchetta weaves an unforgettable story about friendship, family, love, and redemption.

JELLICOE ROAD is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read. Although it starts off a bit confusing, with two interconnected yet seemingly separate narratives, the story is just so captivating and thankfully becomes much clearer. It is easy to tell that all the small details of this story were written with care. The plot may seem a bit messy at times, especially because there are so many events occurring or being remembered that don’t seem related, but when all these incidents turn out to be connected, it seems to obvious that they were in the first place. Even with all these different smaller stories going on, I was never distracted from the main plot and all the details were surprisingly easy to remember. As the plot was created so carefully, so were the characters, especially Taylor. Emotions just pour out from the pages through Taylor and Griggs which allowed me to connect with them in a way I don’t usually do when reading. Marchetta has a way of drawing the reader into the story so they feel they are right next to the characters even though they are outside the book. The emotional journey the characters experience is so moving and so wonderfully drawn out. I highly recommend JELLICOE ROAD, an incredibly beautifully written novel, to all readers.

Melina Marchetta is the author of two other award-winning novels, LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI and SAVING FRANCESCA, which I look forward to reading in the future, as well as the upcoming FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK.

Rachael Stein
Enchanting Reviews
October 2008

Enchanting Review: Libertad

MG contemporary
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
ISBN# 9781554551064
215 pages
Trade-Available now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Libertad and his brother Julio live near the Guatemala City Dump. After the death of their mother, the brothers decide to go to America to search for their father. They have to survive on their own on the long and dangerous journey to the states not knowing if they will find their father but longing for libertad—freedom from the garbage.

This story gives readers a glimpse of the lives of two children who live across the border and what they have to do in order to find their long lost father.

As a former bilingual teacher, I often heard similar tales from my student’s families of the struggles and hardships of trying to cross the border. My own family was migrants from the interior of Mexico. I heard many stories too while growing up.

Fullerton paints an accurate portrayal of the harsh lives of those who struggle to come to American. The rhythm of this story pulls the reader along as Libertad and his brother encounter others who either try to take advantage of them or show acts of kindness. We see the street children of Mexico City, the allure of sniffing glue to forget, and the fear of la migra—immigration police.

Fullerton states in the back of her book that over 80,000 unaccompanied migrant children attempt to enter the United States. This is a fact. I saw this as a bilingual teacher in an L.A. county school. This book is a must read. If anything to get a taste of what others go through in their search for libertad.

Alma Fullerton was born in Ottawa and grew up in a large military family. She's lived all over Canada and in Europe and now resides in Ontario with her husband and two daughters. Check out more at

October 2008

Enchanting Review: Night Road

Contemporary YA
ISBN# 978-0-06-054605-2
362 pages
Hardcover – Available now

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

Cole leads a lonely existence. It’s not enough that he’s unlike other humans, or omnivores; he’s a hemovore, someone who feeds exclusively on blood. Sunlight is to be avoided at all costs, but Cole even goes so far as to avoid other humans unless he needs to feed. He’s a traveler, so he never stays in one place for long, and he prefers to be alone, away even from other hemovores like him.

However, when an old friend Johnny, the leader of the Colony of hemovores, requests Cole’s presence in Manhattan, Cole obliges. He doesn’t know why he’s being summoned yet he goes all the same. It turns out that there’s a newly created heme who needs to be trained and protected, and Johnny things Cole it the best man for the job. But training Gordon is more difficult than Cole expects even with the help of a fellow heme traveler Sandor. Gordon doesn’t seem to want to accept that he’s not a normal human anymore, making him a potential threat to the secrecy and safety of the Colony. Cole understands that should Gordon commit too large of a mistake he’ll have to dispose of the new heme, but he also refuses to think he could let that happen. This is a journey that will change both of them—for better or worse.

I must first begin by saying I loved the idea of hemovores. It is a huge twist on the myth of vampires which actually makes it seem more realistic. NIGHT ROAD is both a physical and emotional journey, and one I felt was very well-written. Cole’s character is relatively easy to understand and yet at the same time he retains an air of mystery and dark secrets that haunt him but are gradually revealed. The switches between Cole’s present journey and past memories were coordinated well and easily flowed together. Gordon’s and Sandor’s characters were also well developed although not to the extent of Cole’s. I did think that Cole’s background could’ve been more clarified and its effect on his life written to be more evidently significant, as I felt it should’ve been. The action part of the plot is never too exciting and the most promising part of that was left off at the end. However, I felt the most important part of the story was Cole’s and Gordon’s emotional growth, which were really what defined NIGHT ROAD as such a beautiful story.

A.M. Jenkins has authored several other young adult novels including the award-winning REPOSSESSED.

Rachael Stein
Enchanting Reviews
October 2008

Enchanting Review: Dead Is A State Of Mind

Paranormal mystery
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN# 9780152062101
192 pages
Available—January 2009

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Daisy Giordano has just learned she’s not a norm after all. She does have psychic abilities. While she tries them out, more things happen in her town. But this is Nightshade, where out of the ordinary is normal.

A new hottie shows up at Nightshade High. Duke Sherrad claims he’s descended from a long line of gypsies. He also claims he can do fortune-telling. Even though Daisy is from a family of psychics, she is skeptical. Then a teacher is found dead after one of his predictions. Daisy wonders if maybe Duke is the real deal. And then Daisy’s boyfriend Ryan starts acting weird and distances himself right before the prom. Talk about not good timing.

Rumors fly around that the murderer is a werewolf. Can Daisy find out the truth? Or has she finally met her match?

This is the second book in a funny paranormal mystery series. Fans of Perez’s first book won’t be disappointed. Daisy is back, continuing her Veronica Mars like sleuth hunting in a town with vampires and werewolves.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved Daisy’s spunky character and cheered her on.
Who can’t relate with Daisy? Not only is she out to solve a mystery but struggling to make sense of her relationship with Ryan.

I love the whole prophetic jukebox. Perez does a great job setting up the mystery and showing how Daisy finds out more than she bargained for. I can’t wait for the next book DEAD IS SO LAST YEAR. This is a fun, fast-paced series that will keep readers wanting more.

Marlene Perez is the author of Dead is the New Black, Love in the Corner Pocket, and Unexpected Development, an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. She lives in Orange County, California. Check out more at her website.

October 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Guest Blogger: Kitty Keswick

Did you know that sleeping under the glow of a full moon was once thought to transform the person into a werewolf? Sheesh! Does that mean camping under the stars is out? Or how about taking a sip of water from a wolf track? Yep, another strange and ill-tasting belief. The number one most common belief on becoming a werewolf was to be bitten by one and…survive. I guess no one has invented a vaccine, yet. What about being born into the curse? My characters in my novel Freaksville are born Lycans. How would you like that for Parental DNA? More on Lycans later.
Hairy eyebrows or uni-brow were once considered a sign that the person was indeed a werewolf. That’s a case for waxing if I ever heard one. “Spa appointment for one please. Can you fit me in before the next full moon?” Hollywood put a more supernatural spin on things and the pentagram and hairy palms became a dead give-a-way of our furry friends. “If your palms are hairy… then you might be a werewolf. Hey Jeff Foxworthy, I think I’m on to something.
Once bitten the remedies for Lycanthropy were few and far-out. A shot through the heart with a silver bullet would slay your hairy beast. Silver deemed a magical metal of purity in any form, should be avoided by most Weres— as if it was the Black Death or flea dip. For werewolves inclined to a more spiritual path, some believed praying to St. Hubert would break the curse.
If howling at the moon and running through the forest or the streets of London, while furry and on all fours sounds like a peachy keen good time. Then being a werewolf might be for you. Like any supernatural being, there are some downfalls to being well, wolfy. (That movie freaked the beejesus out of me when I was a kid. I saw American Werewolf in London, again a few years ago and found it incredible funny… The difference? Age and a well-lit room stocked with silver. Ebay anyone?)
There’s a wonderful piece of literature, which focused on the down side of being a werewolf. Marie de France wrote it in or around 1160, I think. I’m awful with names and dates. I’ll paraphrase it in modern terms. The husband was a Knight that turned furry once a month and his cunning wife…thought she’d trade up.
“Hubby where do you disappear to at night?”
“I turn into a werewolf and frolic in the forest with my furry friends.” Okay he didn’t say all that, but it’s my retold tale!
She listens to him then pulls out the twenty questions and asks him whether he goes clothed or not. The Knight is a little dense and answers.
“I go completely unclothed.” Duh! Wolves don’t have pockets…or do they? That’s my next blog Fashion of the Furry and Famous.
“Where do you leave your clothes?” The wife asks.
“I can’t say. Because if my duds were snatched. I’d be stuck as a wolf forever…or until my clothes were returned to me.” Could you imagine what would happen if the Dry Cleaner lost his shirt or if the dryer ate his sock? Millions of werewolves worldwide must be stuck as wolves because of hungry dryers or clerk errors. So sad! Anyhow, back to the story.
Here’s the depressing part, the wife with the help of her boyfriend, snatched her husband’s clothes. And he was stuck as a wolf forever. Poor Schlub.
So there’s lots of nifty tales about werewolves out there. I, of course, had to totally twist everything inside out and backwards and make up my own? Why? I never liked things to be easy.
Freaksville as the name implies, is full of freakish things. Oh and one very big sixteen-year-old-drama-queen, Kasey Maxwell. My heroine. She pulled the short straw in the DNA department. Women of the Maxwell family have the gift of sight. But that’s not all…nope. Poor Kasey is part Lycan. What’s a Lycan? Well, hold on to your knicker’s I’m almost there. She doesn’t really know the cause of her freakish gifts, visions, seeing ghosts, attracting British hotties. But she learns. She’s also half Valkyrie. Wait. Whoa! Valka-what? That’s a whole other blog.
Below are some notes that, two characters from Freaksville threw together. Kasey Maxwell and her BFF Gillie Godshall. Hopefully, this will shed some light on Lycans.
Kasey and Gillie's Notes on Lycans
Lycans: [lahy-kan]
Canis Lupus Supernaturalise
A race of supernatural beings that look human but can shapeshift into a wolves. The name comes from the word Lycanthropy. [lahy-kan-thruh-pee]

Lycans start to have the ability to shift in their teens. Lycan never shift into half-man, half-wolf. The moon rules them, forcing young Lycans to shift forms. Lycans are larger than the average wolf. {Need more data.} Increased sense of smell, sight, and hearing has been documented. They are not to be confused with werewolves. {I 've never met a werewolf} Werewolves, the word
Were comes from the Greek or old English word for man. Werewolves are half-man and half-beast.
See: Canis Lupus = wolf
Also See: Canis Lupus Boyfriendiais {Further study is needed Lycan males are hotties !!! }
So you want more wolfy tales? You came to the right place. Freaksville is coming soon from The Wild Rose Press, Climbing Rose Line. And my sister in wolfy tales, Judith Graves has a book Under My Skin coming out, too. Her wolves are Wolvens…a whole other furry freak.
Kitty Keswick
Freaksville is the first in a new YA Paranormal series from The Wild Rose Press. It is told through the sixteen-year-old heroine's blog.
Blurb for freaksville:

Add visions, ghosts and four-legged monsters into the mix…you’ll get FREAKSVILLE.

Maxwell women have premonitions. A talent sixteen-year-old Kasey would gladly relinquish. A vision about Josh Johnstone, the English exchange student, leads Kasey into new waters— a haunted theater, and her first kiss. Yet, Kasey and Josh have secrets lurking…

Kasey’s Blog:

Ack! I’m in Freaksville! On my sixteenth birthday what did I get? A car? A pony? No. I got the gift of sight. Soooo not fair! It’s a gift I totally wish I had a receipt for…I’d return to sender. I didn’t ask to be freak girl. The kicker is if I touch something I get visions. Now why couldn’t I turn invisible? That’s a gift I could use. Sheesh. If it wasn’t for my BFF Gillie I’d go insane. That was until I touched a pencil belonging to Josh-Hottie-Foreign-Exchange-Student-from-England. He’s sooo cute, jet-black hair, bright blue eyes…whenever I’m around him my stomach does backflips.

Kasey’s Fab Five Favs
1. The British accent…and snogging. It sounds gross, but believe me it isn’t.
2. Cute guy in English class. (Josh)
3. Snogging…again, believe me, it rocks!
4. Shopping ’til I melt into the mall. (A given.)
5. Oh yes and snogging, smooching, kissing Josh!

XOXOX - Kasey

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Guest Blogger: Laurie Stolarz

Hi, Enchanting Reviews! Thanks so much for inviting me to guest-blog here!

Okay, so my spooky entry involves my first novel, BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES. As some may already know, I grew up in Salem, MA. When I mention this to people, they automatically assume that the city itself had a lot of influence on my work. But actually, it didn’t – at least not in the way that one might think.

I mean, yes, Salem definitely had its influence on me. It was no big deal, for example, if a Witch (a male or female who practices Wicca as their religion) was in my class or on my sports team. Salem has many Witches, so the religion is accepted and people take it seriously. But, aside from that, I saw Salem as being a pretty regular place with regular stores, regular people, and normal places to eat.

True, Salem is abundant in history, but at first glance – at least for me – it appears to be even more abundant in tourism, particularly around Halloween. Just walk by the Salem Witch Museum with its humungous gift shop full of flaming eyeballs and cackling witch dolls; the Pirate Museum with its employee-turned-actors ordering passersby to walk the plank and pretending to steal your loot; and see the Salem Wax Museum, which boasts a lab in which to see the horrors of Frankenstein and his evil creature. Even last weekend, I thought I’d give Salem another chance by taking my son to see the Salem Witch Village, the first museum in the country to clear up the misconceptions of the Wiccan religion by teaching the history, practices, and beliefs of modern Witches today. But I was discouraged to learn that they’d turned their once educational village into a haunted one.

All this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that growing up I didn’t really think much of Laurie Cabot’s, Salem’s official Witch’s, claims of having psychic abilities. I merely saw these claims as an extension of her commercial potential.

Laurie Cabot is famous in the city, as well as around the world, having written books on Witchcraft, appeared on television, and given lectures all over the country. To me, she was a business-savvy woman, someone who capitalized on Salem’s commercialism, what with her long black dress and jet black hair. But psychic ability? I had my doubts.

Growing up, I’d see her around the city, shopping at the grocery store where I worked, and doing business at the local bank. She owned a magick supplies shop in Salem – and still does – and so I assumed her long-black-dress-wearing-psychic-ability-claiming way of life helped to fuel her sales, not to mention supporting the rights of Witches by showing the world that they do indeed exist as every day people. One Halloween, for example, I remember there being a two-hour wait to even step foot inside her store.

I didn’t begrudge her for any of this, mind you. A marketing major in college, and an entrepreneur to the core, I simply thought what she was doing made good business sense – right along with those flaming eyeballs.

Years later, in graduate school for creative writing, I wrote BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES. My impulse for writing the novel stemmed from a couple things. First, I wanted to write a novel that would have appealed to me as a teen, namely one that had a blending of suspense, romance, and drama. Secondly, I thought it might be interesting to have my main character dabble in folk magic and herbal remedies as a means of self empowerment. My grandmother, who had some experience with the sixth sense, used these herbal remedies in her day-to-day life. And so my main character, Stacey Brown, ended up practicing folk magic. She uses it as a way of dealing with recurring nightmares that turn out to be premonitions warning her that her roommate is going to be killed in four days.

So, long story short, the first draft of my novel was complete. It was two days before I was to defend it in front of my thesis committee, and I was shopping at TJMaxx. I was standing in the “home goods” department, scooting down to check out a water fountain thingamigjig, when I felt someone grab my arm from behind, and shove something into my palm. I turned around, only to find Laurie Cabot – long black dress and all.

Though I’d seen her many times before, we’d never formally met, nor had I ever spoken to her. She was physically trembling when she saw me. I looked down to see what she’d placed in my hand. It was a crystal. She told me then that she’d had a nightmare about me the evening before – and that in that nightmare, I was killed.

She went on to describe the killer, giving specific details about his age, personality, what he looked like, and how he spent his time. Then she warned me not to be alone for the next four days – not to drive by myself, or do anything out-of-the-ordinary.

All the while she was telling me this, I just kept thinking – this is my novel, right down to the four-day timeframe, right down to the crystal, the description of the killer, and the motivational pull.

A friend of hers came down the aisle a few moments later. Laurie turned to her and said, “This is the girl I told you about –the one from my dream.” If it was a lie, the friend played along, not showing even a speck of confusion.

Laurie told me that it was meant to be that we’d met and that she’d keep me in her thoughts until the fourth day passed.

It’s been eight years since that happened, and I’ve still never told her about my novel. Maybe someday I will. Maybe I’ll even forward her this link. It’s probably about time she knew she predicted the plot of a novel that’s now sold over 150,000 copies and spawned a series that’s sold over half a million books, worldwide.

I guess you could call it a coincidence. And before you ask, no, there was no way she could have read my novel beforehand. Only my thesis committee and a handful of classmates had read the book in its entirety at that point. And, remember, we had never even met before.

But I suppose it’s all up for debate. What isn’t debatable: I won’t be making anymore assumptions, nor will I be doubting Laurie Cabot’s psychic abilities ever again.

For more information on me and my work, including the BLUE IS FOR NIGHTMARES series, my newest spooky title, PROJECT 17, or the forthcoming chiller DEADLY LITTLE SECRET, go here:

Also, check out some of the book trailers below.


PROJECT 17: ( and


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Enchanting Review: Serafina67 *Urgently Requires Life*

Contemporary Young Adult
Scholastic Press
ISBN# 978-0-545-07330-1
235 Pages
Hardcover--Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Told completely in blog form, SERAFINA67 *URGENTLY REQUIRES LIFE* tells the story of Serafina, a fifteen year old who’s dealing with her parents divorce, her life seemingly threatening to unravel around her, not to mention the usual teen angst and the fact that she’s suddenly attracting more people to her blog than she ever imagined, including one mysterious commenter she can’t figure out their real identity.

I have to admit it took me quite awhile to get into the book. I’m not sure whether it was the blog format or the character of Serafina herself, that there was something about her that took awhile to get used to, maybe it was hard to figure her out for the first while. But by the halfway point, I really started to enjoy the book and Serafina’s story.

Susie Day always wanted to be a writer. At the age of 8 she co-wrote a radio play entitled “Paperback Writer”, based on the Beatles’ song and inexplicably about a racehorse that really wanted to win the Grand National. Susie’s first boo, Whump!… in which Bill falls 632 miles down a manhole, won the BBC Children’s Fiction Prize. She lives in Oxford, UK.

Enchanting Reviews
October 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Enchanting Review: Hell Week

Paranormal Young Adult
Delacorte Press
327 Pages
Hardcover—Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

In HELL WEEK, the second book in Ms. Clement-Moore’s Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil series, Maggie’s now a freshman at Bedivere University and doing her best to get a job on the school paper, The Ranger Report, even though they don't usually allow freshman on the paper. Hence, The Phantom Pledge is born. The sorority rush isn’t her biggest problem, yet, it seems her sight is gaining in strength as she’s getting visions while wide awake. Now she's being recruited by the SAXis’, a bit of a mysterious sorority on campus, if she pledges, she could get her biggest story so far, that is, if her cover as the Phantom Pledge isn’t blown…

HELL WEEK is a great follow up to Prom Dates From Hell. Maggie is still the same enjoyable character, still dealing with accepting her newfound abilities and struggling to deal with the latest addition as well, the visions that aren’t just sticking to dreams anymore. Things at school are going well, except for the fact she’s pledged herself into a sorority that if she wasn’t the Phantom Pledge, wouldn’t have been her first choice. But there’s something odd, almost – about the SAXis’ and Maggie’s determined to get to the bottom of it, even if it means bringing a whole new definition to ‘Hell Week’. Maggie’s a really great character, with a Buffy-like wit that makes her fun to follow as she tries to unravel the mystery that is the SAXis and keep up with her schoolwork as her social life goes on an unexpected upturn, Justin might even have a little competition in the potential boyfriend department.

What I really loved about this book was how it drew me in right from the start and kept me turning the pages well into the early morning hours. Ms. Moore takes the story down unexpected paths that will leave the reader’s jaw dropping in shock once they reach the second half of the book. HELL WEEK is the perfect companion to the first book in the series. ‘Highway To Hell’ the third book, releases March 2009.

Rosemary Clement-Moore loves history, Jane Austen, vintage embroidery, Dance Dance Revolution, BBC America and the Sci-Fi channel. HELL WEEK is Rosemary’s second book for young readers. Her first book, Prom Dates From Hell is also available from Delacorte Press. Rosemary lives in Texas with her husband and her dogs. She loves to hear from readers. You can visit her website at

Enchanting Reviews
September 2008