Saturday, 11 April 2015

BLOG TOUR INCL REVIEW - INTO A MILLION PIECES BY ANGELA V. COOK

Title: Into A Million Pieces
Author: Angela V. Cook
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Release Date: 27th January 2015

BLURB supplied by publisher
Allison McKready is a succubus. So is her twin sister. But while Allison spends her summer break hiding in the library behind her Goth makeup, Jade fools around as often as she can. Allison can’t believe Jade would ignore their mother’s fatal example so recklessly, but concealing a cursed bloodline and its dangerous effects is far from Allison’s only problem. Mean girl Julie’s snob mob is determined to ruin her summer, and Aunt Sarah’s Bible thumping is getting louder. Only her new friend, Ren Fisher, offers safe haven from the chaos of her life.

When one of Jade’s risky dates leads to humiliation and sudden tragedy, Allison reels, and Ren catches her. But as her feelings for him grow, so does her fear that she’ll hurt him—or worse—in an unguarded moment. The choice is coming—love him or save him—but Allison might not live to make it. One way or another, the curse will have its due.


PURCHASE LINKS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Angela V. Cook lives a very unexciting, but never boring, life with her husband and two children just outside of Detroit. Like most writers, she’s been making up stories for as long as she can remember and can’t imagine a life that doesn’t involve creating worlds.
Angela loves to write novels for teens because it’s the best outlet for her sarcastic personality, immature sense of humor, and love of romantic firsts. Her idea of the perfect day involves a quiet house, a good book, and a piece of cheesecake. Or two.

Angela can be found online at www.angelavcook.blogspot.com
and on Twitter at @AngelaVCook.



INTERVIEW

How long did it take you to write Into A Million Pieces, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I don’t know how long from the time I got the idea until I finished the first draft, only because an idea will often spend months rolling around in my head before I actually write anything. But from the time I started that first chapter to the time I wrote “the end,” it was right around three months. 

What genre would you place Into A Million Pieces into?
Technically, I think it’s considered a young adult paranormal romance, but it also has thriller/mystery elements.

What made you decide to write that genre of book? ie, What made you write fantasy/ made you write about a succubus?
I got the idea for Into a Million Pieces after watching a short-lived TV show during the summer of 2010 called The Gates. It was about a gated community where the residents were of the supernatural persuasion (werewolves, vampires, witches, etc.).  One of the residents was a teenage succubus. Every time this girl kissed her boyfriend, she absorbed some of his life energy, which in turn weakened him. I had never heard of a succubus, but I loved the idea of a teenage girl who was in love, but couldn’t so much as kiss her boyfriend without harming him. It was then the wheels of creativity started turning.

How did you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book? Who designed the Cover for your book? [I love the cover!]
We actually ended up changing the original title, which was Spark, because it was too common in the YA genre. Coming up with a title was very challenging, because it seemed like everything I thought of sounded too cliché or overdone. I wanted something unique. I ended up finding a line in the book that I liked, and that’s where the title came from. The cover was also a bit of a challenge, but in the end, Streetlight Graphics (who does all the covers for Red Adept Publishing) designed something amazing, which I think really captures the mood of the book.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
At the very, very beginning, I titled my book Dark Allie (yes, this book has had three titles!). I liked the play on words, since my main character is named Allison. “Dark Allie” is also what the mean kids at school call her. I think I came up with that title before I started the actual writing.

How did you come up with characters names and place names in Into A Million Pieces?
The name of the town where the story takes place is totally fictitious and a product of my imagination. However, many of the names of the minor characters come from family members (though they don’t share any resemblance in physical appearance or personality). Often, I just needed a boy’s/girl’s name, and so I used the first thing that popped into my head, which was usually the name of a family member.

Are character names and place names decided after their creation? or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
I’m actually horrible at naming things (places and people). So, the naming part often comes after the creation.

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I definitely like to have a sense of who my characters are before I start writing, but sometimes my characters will surprise even me with their reactions to certain situations ;)

Did you basic plot/plan for Into A Million Pieces, before you actually began writing it out? Or did you let the writing flow and see where it took the story?
I always have a basic idea of the beginning, middle, and end of a story. And even though that was the case with Into a Million Pieces, I realized after a few chapters that I needed a bit more structure, so I wrote a very simple chapter outline. For example, I would write “Chapter _” and then list two or three things that needed to happen in that chapter.

Do you have a favourite character from Into A Million Pieces? and why are they your favourite character?
I love my main character’s sister, Jade. She’s a “bad girl” and I just think bad girls are fun to write. 

If you had to choose to be one of your characters from Into A Million Pieces which would you be? and why?
I don’t think I’d want to be any of them, ha! Into a Million Pieces is not exactly a lollipops-and-rainbows type of story. All of the characters go through a lot of… drama (don’t want to give anything away!). Though I suppose if I had to pick one, it would be Allison, because she finds herself a great guy who loves her unconditionally.

How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve dabbled with writing my entire life, but I didn’t start writing seriously until about five years ago. During the summer of 2009, I went through—what I would consider—an early midlife crisis. I was a stay-at-home mom, living the same day over and over, day in, day out (Groundhog’s Day anyone?). Don’t get me wrong; I don’t regret my decision to stay home with my children when they were little, but at the time, the monotony was killing me, and I was plagued with the thought, Is this as good as it gets? I wanted more from life. I didn’t want to turn seventy some day and have a long list of regrets. So, I decided to tackle one of the things on my bucket list: write a book.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I usually write in bed or in my husband’s recliner after he goes to bed. Comfort is a necessity! I usually listen to classical music while I’m writing, but I’ll often create playlists of rock/pop/dance (or whatever) music to listen to for inspiration when I’m not writing.

Will you be reading all the reviews of Into A Million Pieces?
EEPS! Good question. Umm… probably? As much as it might sting, I think even a negative review can be helpful to a writer. It’s very similar to getting feedback from a critique partner; it’s just a matter of weeding through it and deciding what resonates and what doesn’t. I’ve already had a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moment after reading a review, and I plan to fix that little plot snafu in book two.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think it all depends. For example, one of my all-time favorite books is Toni Morrison’s BELOVED, but I don’t think the movie did it justice AT ALL. I just think it’s one of those stories that needs to be read, not watched. One of my favorite book-to-movie adaptions was probably IF I STAY. I wasn’t a huge fan of the book, but the movie was done really well, and I ended up loving it.

Could you imagine Into A Million Pieces being made into a movie?
I think every writer imagines his/her book being played out on the big screen, and because Into a Million Pieces is really plot driven, I don’t think it would be half bad (though I’m a bit biased, heh).

Would you have any specific proviso’s you would want in a contract if Into A Million Pieces was to be made into a movie? For example, Using only American actor/actresses?, or Certain parts/all of the book being totally true to how you wrote your book? Or wanting a specific actor/actress to play lead roles?
Again, it’s something I’ve thought about, especially since I’m a very visual writer. The scenes often play out like a movie in my mind when I write, so I’d have definite ideas and visions if Into a Million Pieces was to be made into a movie. However, I’m not a director, so I’d be open to compromise. The only thing I wouldn’t bend on are the characters. It would be important to me that they stay true (in physical appearance and personality) to how they were written in the book. Only because it’s important to the story.  

Are there any New Authors you know or are interested in for us to watch out for? and Why should we watch out for them?
One of my favorite genres in young adult—besides paranormal—is contemporary, and my friend, Bethany Crandell, is an amazing contemporary author. She currently has a book out titled, Summer on the Short Bus, and I was fortunate enough to read it twice (pre-published and post-published), along with several other of her work-in-progresses. She has an amazing voice—this girl was born to write young adult—and her stories are always emotionally packed. One minute you’re uncontrollably laughing, the next you’re crying. She’s definitely one to watch out for.  
[I'd actually already marked Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell on Goodreads as Want-To-Read. Thankyou for the recommendation]

Can you tell us anymore about the Into A Million Pieces Series? ie, how many more novels/novella’s will there be and when will they be available?
I’m currently writing a sequel (and having a ton of fun with it). As of now, that’s all I have planned, but then again… you never know.
[Please add my name to any reviewer list you have then I'd love to know what happens to Allison and Ren]


Thank you for having me! These questions were so unique, and I enjoyed answering them!
[You're so welcome I enjoyed reading the book, being part of the tour and reading the Interview too!]

EXCERPT

Chapter 1 extract

I hid out at the library until it closed at six. God, their summer hours were more depressing than a Hemingway novel. Less time spent at the library meant more time spent at home. And that was never a good thing. I pushed the library door open and jogged down the concrete steps. The hot, muggy afternoon had given way under the evening sky to an almost ten-degree temperature drop. As a girl who lived in black clothing, I was beyond relieved—the color wasn’t exactly sun friendly. I walked down postcard-perfect Main Street, passing frou-frou stores like Monique’s Evening Wear and Gail’s Gifts-n-Such. The shops greeted me like wealthy, disapproving strangers while the smell of fresh-roasted coffee beans wafted by from the overpriced café, Javalation. As much as I hated the bitter drink, its scent made me smile. My mom used to brew a pot of coffee every morning before my sister and I were even out of bed. Once I reached the end of the block, I crossed Edison Street and headed for Sanders Park. Cutting through the park would shave about ten minutes off my time, but I had to keep an eye out for the classmate clusters that always seemed to gather there. Apparently, being the only “goth” girl—as they referred to me—in school made you an obvious target. Avoiding the more popular, tree-canopied parts of the park, I trampled through the overgrown soccer field instead, which put me two blocks from my street once I was across. I checked the time on my phone: 6:15. Oh, joy. Just in time for my favorite meal of the day. Dinner at my house sucked for a lot of reasons. First of all, if it didn’t come from the freezer, my aunt couldn’t cook it. I’d eaten more fish sticks and tater rounds in the past two years than should be allowed by the FDA. Second, my aunt was a major Bible-thumper, which meant I had to endure a sermon the entire time I tried to eat my plate of flash-frozen faux food. Finally, my twin sister, Jade, was rarely home for these “family dinners,” so I usually had to endure them on my own. Jealous yet?




***GIVEAWAY***

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MY REVIEW
Title: Into A Million Pieces
Author: Angela V. Cook
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing
Release Date: 27th January 2015

BLURB supplied by publisher
Allison McKready is a succubus. So is her twin sister. But while Allison spends her summer break hiding in the library behind her Goth makeup, Jade fools around as often as she can. Allison can’t believe Jade would ignore their mother’s fatal example so recklessly, but concealing a cursed bloodline and its dangerous effects is far from Allison’s only problem. Mean girl Julie’s snob mob is determined to ruin her summer, and Aunt Sarah’s Bible thumping is getting louder. Only her new friend, Ren Fisher, offers safe haven from the chaos of her life.

When one of Jade’s risky dates leads to humiliation and sudden tragedy, Allison reels, and Ren catches her. But as her feelings for him grow, so does her fear that she’ll hurt him—or worse—in an unguarded moment. The choice is coming—love him or save him—but Allison might not live to make it. One way or another, the curse will have its due.

Goodreads Link

INITIAL THOUGHTS
I'm not sure whether I will enjoy this book or not. I usually find succubus based stories quite usually predictable with too much steam and not enough story for my reading tastes. However as this one is has a YA target audience perhaps this one will be different. So I'd say although I am a little apprehensive I am also approaching the book with an open mind, and looking forward to reading it.

MY REVIEW
I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The cover has a rather fragile, perhaps glass like heart that is cracking and is literally breaking "into a million pieces" so fits the title of the book perfectly. There is also the image of a young woman, looking very upset suggesting she is the one with the heart broken "into a million pieces". I also think that the heart has a clear crystal side and a red side which could represent two halves of a whole, and in turn could symbolise the twins featured in this book too.
So would the cover make me pick this one up from a book store shelf? I think I'd pick the book up and want to read the blurb to decide whether I would want to read the book.
The main characters central to this story are twins Jade and Allison, they are also both succubi. The girls now live with their highly religious celibate Aunt. Jade and Allison never met their father as he literally died shortly after they were conceived, as their mother was also a succubus. Their mother could not cope with the fact she had killed their father and committed suicide. So quite naturally the girls Aunt is over protective and stifling around the girls. She gives constant religious lectures and scare stories about what could happen if the girls ever have "relations" with a male. Succubi kind of "eat" the energy of the male they are kissing etc. To actually "do the deed" a succubi would kill her male mate. The feeling the succubi receives from the energy they draw from their victims provides them with a euphoric, thrilling and highly addictive rush. The girls Aunt answer to this problem is that the girls should never kiss a male, let alone fall in love with one or "do the deed" with one. Their Aunt is quite persistent and tries to push religion on the girls.
The twins are really like chalk and cheese. Jade is the outgoing one of the pair who craves attention and usually gets it. Of the two girls Jade is the one their Aunt is most worried about carrying things too far and succumbing to her succubi heritage. Allison is much quieter, more introvert, happy in her own company. In fact she even dresses to put people off approaching. Whereas Jade wears all the "trendy", more revealing clothes, Allison wears large jumpers, jeans and a more "goth" look. 
The girls get along well enough, they may squabble between themselves but if anyone bullies either sister they do stick together and immediately stand up for/defend each other.
Jade becomes set on taking out revenge on a boy who has been nasty to her sister Allison. The guy in question plays sport and he is training for an important match so Jade goes on a date and makes sure to kiss the guy and drain his energy. They guy does feel ill, kind of like having a bad case of flu and he puts it all over Facebook that Jade has "slipped" him something that has made him ill. Allison hear's about it and goes to warn her sister Jade what the guy has done. The once popular Jade suddenly becomes "untouchable" with everyone turning their back on her. Naturally this really upsets Jade and she becomes reclusive and very depressed. Depressed enough to do something shocking and irreversible.
What's "happened" to Jade sets the girls Aunt into a whirl of religious lectures and more and more rules for Allison to adhere to. Obviously Allison is finding it extremely difficult to deal with what has happened to Jade. I know I'm being a little reserved in what and how much I am revealing as I don't want to give away too much or spoilers. Allison tends to slightly agree with her Aunt about there being no such thing as love for a succubi, that is until she meets Ren and begins a friendship that rapidly becomes a risky, much closer kind of relationship for them both.
The end of the story see's Ren and Allison separated but vowing to keep in touch and visit etc. So the end of the book is left open as to where their relationship is going.
There is a quite suprising/shocking twist which reveals what happened to Jade, and you kind of wouldn't guess, so I enjoyed that aspect of the book too. I would have liked to learn more about Ren's grandmother Violet, as could there be a possible of "magical" heritage in that family too?
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, after being really apprehensive approaching the book, I did enjoy the book and become immersed in the plot.
Would I recommend the book? I think it is a great YA aimed book, none of the supper steamy scenes you would associate with a pair of succubi being the main characters.
Would I want to read another book in this series? I would, I can imagine more from Ren & his family and Allison and her relatives. Maybe there is a way or something that can make it possible for Ren & Allison's relationship to progress safely and put those "million pieces" back together? Would I read other titles by this author?I would certainly show an interest and take a look at any other title by this author.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much, Sandra, for taking the time to read and review my book :)

    ReplyDelete