COVER REVEAL: POISON TREE (REFLECTION POND, BOOK 2)

poison-tree-ebookObviously, I’m super excited to reveal this cover. It’s so beautiful that I can’t stop looking at it. This book has been a long, hard road, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you in December! The full print cover is below, this is EXCLUSIVE to my blog, just because I love you!

Poison Tree

Available December 2, 2014 from Urban Fey Press

Cover Design by Julia Gollbach (Gorgon) – Bioblossom Creative

Goodreads

Preorder kindle edition

Buy Reflection Pond (Book 1)

The road to the City of War is dangerous.

With their home in ruins, Callie and Rowan are Eirensae’s last hope of stealing the cauldron back from Fraeburdh. They must travel into the human world where the Fallen hide. The banished fae wait for Callie, desperate to sacrifice her before she comes of age.

If Callie and Rowan survive the journey, something worse looms in Fraeburdh. Rowan is destined for a dark family legacy too horrifying to accept, and his father is anxious to welcome him home. Once the truth is revealed, will Callie ever look at Rowan the same way?

Trapped between feuding cities lost in a centuries-old war, Callie and Rowan will face their biggest rivals yet, and neither of them will make it out unscathed.

Poison Tree Print Cover

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REVIEW – SEARCHING FOR SKY BY JILLIAN CANTOR

Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor

Available May 13, 2014 from Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Goodreads

Amazon

Sky and River have always lived on Island, the only world they’ve ever known. Until the day River spots a boat. Across Ocean, in a place called California, Sky is separated from River and forced to live with a grandmother she’s just met. Here the rules for survival are different. People rely on strange things like cars and cell phones. They keep secrets from one another. And without River, nothing makes sense. Sky yearns for her old life where she was strong and capable, not lost and confused. She must find River so they can return to Island, but the truth behind how they ended up there in the first place will come as the biggest shock of all.

*

I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I am in no way compensated for my opinion.

Sometimes you come across a book that makes you question everything you believe. Searching for Sky was that book. The premise of “reverse dystopian” hooked me right away, especially because it seems every YA book is dystopian now. It was refreshing to look at the world from a different angle.

The concept is simple. Sky and River grew up on a remote island with Sky’s mother and River’s father. When I say remote, I mean, they literally have made do with only what’s on Island. They eat fish from Ocean, they made Shelter out of things on Island. There are no other people. There’s no technology. There’s nothing but their parents and them and what Island provides.

The story unfolds beautifully, in layers, in such a way that feeds the reader’s hunger for knowledge.

When Sky and River’s parents die, River breaks his father’s rules and lights a fire on the beach. They’re rescued by a boat the next day. What follows is a complex attempt at assimilation in modern society. Sky and River were originally from California, but it’s nothing like they’ve ever known. Sky, whose real name is Megan, is still a minor, and is claimed by her maternal grandmother. River, technically an adult, is released into the modern world with nothing.

Searching for Sky makes you ask questions. What makes an evil person? Is it being a murderer, or is it taking happiness away from a child who doesn’t know any better? What is truly right and what is truly wrong? What determines the right to have a voice? Is it book knowledge, or is it life itself?

The writing itself is poetic. Sky and River don’t view the world the same as everyone else. They don’t have words for things, they don’t understand technology, money, evil. Watching them try to interact in a world they can’t fathom was heartbreaking. It made me question what is important in life and what things I could do without. It made me question morality and how far someone would go to protect their child.

This book will take you on an emotional roller coaster. I read it “cover to cover” in one sitting. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, it’ll make you think. Beautifully written, with rich nuance and attention to detail, Searching for Sky is a book that will haunt me long into the future.

4 STARS

REVIEW AND GUEST POST: TWISTED BY HOLLY HOOK

Sixteen-year-old Allie has always been fascinated by storms. So instead of spending her summer break sitting around on the beach, she takes the vacation she’s always wanted.

Tornado chasing.

Allie meets her dream of seeing a tornado. But her dream turns to a nightmare, and she winds up in the middle of a strange ritual that leaves her shocked. When she returns home, something’s different…and it’s her. Allie’s become something powerful, dangerous, and terrifying—and there’s no way to stop it or protect the ones she loves.

With her best friend, Tommy, Allie must return to the plains, find her tormentors, and figure out a cure. But others have their own plans for her and her new abilities. Allie becomes a pawn in a battle to save others from her fate…or to destroy them.

WARNING! SPOILERS BELOW! There’s something to be said for an original idea, and that thing is: WOOHOO!! Just when you thought the fantasy genre was full up with the vampires and the werewolves and the fairies…we get a girl who turns into a tornado. Yes, you read that correctly. She literally turns into a tornado. Talk about a bad hair day, am I right?

Allie’s dream vacation goes from awesome to oh-my-god in the matter of a few minutes. One second, she’s tornado chasing, the next she’s part of some bizarre ritual where a tornado embeds itself into her chest. Just when she thinks the worst is over, a storm blows in and Allie blows away with it, in the form of a monster tornado.

And she’s not alone.

What ensues is a horrible mystery of epic proportions. Allie, along with her best friend Tommy, are thrust into a world where turning into a tornado is the norm. However, there’s a new force in town, and Allie’s transformation is only the beginning. If Allie and Tommy can’t stop the Deathwind, soon the entire town will be tornadoes.

Filled with more turns than an eighties perm, Twisted will take you on a wild, windy ride that doesn’t let up until the very last page.

My favorite thing about Holly’s writing is her spot on teenage dialogue.It seems these days that all stories are “aging” their teenagers to sound like adults. Holly’s dialogue is refreshingly on point and hilarious.

My review? 5 Stars for the originality, dialogue, and downright fun of this story.

Because I have those writerly connections, I caught up with Holly and asked her what is the most difficult thing about writing teenage fantasy. Here’s Holly’s response:

I’ve written young adult fantasy for several years now.  I think the biggest challenge about writing young adult fantasy isn’t so much the fantasy part, which I’ve never really struggled with, but with writing believable young adults.  There are just so many things you have to nail: are their emotions accurate for the situations they’re in?  Do they sound exactly their age?  Does their dialogue sound like that of 16-year-olds?  I think the hardest thing for me to get down is the characters’ relationships with each other, since during the teen years they’re so dynamic and subject to change.  If you don’t make your characters believable, then the fantasy part of your story won’t be believable, either.  And not to mention, you have to make sure you keep your slang modern and up-to-date.  Using slang from the eighties simply isn’t going to work unless your story takes place in that time period.

That’s all for today, kids. Take a look at Twisted by Holly Hook. While you’re at it, visit Holly’s blog. She’s all about freebies and sneak peeks, which I know we all appreciate. You can also catch up with her on Goodreads and Twitter.
All the best,
Kacey

THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2014

I tried to write a witty introduction to this post. Maybe my brain is fried from the manuscript I just finished (literally five minutes ago) or maybe I used up all my wit in 2013. Perhaps it’s best if we just get to the point!

2014!

What is happening?

Drum roll please. Here is the Officially Unofficial List of THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2014. (In no particular order.) It’s a YA list. I know this doesn’t shock any of you.

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

May 2014

Everyone who knows ANYTHING about me knows that I’m obsessed with Cassandra Clare. Coming up in 2014, we will finally find out WHICH MAIN CHARACTER WILL DIE. Thanks for that hint, Cassie. It’s given me an ulcer for a year and half now.

Erchomai, Sebastian had said. 

I am coming.
Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!

Want my guesses? Magnus, no, Alec, no…Simon? For the love of glitter, let’s just kill Jocelyn. Luke can do better, anyway.

Divergent

The Movie, March 21, 2014

Holy muscles, Batman. Have you seen Theo James as Four? HOLY MUSCLES. (Wow. I think I just had a fangirl moment.) This book rocked my world when it came out. I might have been quoted saying, “This may be the best book I’ve ever read.”

Since then, I’ve had a bipolor relationship with Veronica Roth, the author. While I still love her for creating this beautifully tragic world, I still have sleepless night over Allegiant. This is one of those times that I hope the movie industry takes artistic license and changes the story line. I’ll keep it spoiler free, folks. Just for you.

Divergent is an emotional roller coaster that I can’t wait to experience in theaters!

Beatrice Prior, a teenager with a special mind, finds her life threatened when an authoritarian leader seeks to exterminate her kind in her effort to seize control of their divided society.

 

The Fault in Our Stars

The Movie, June 6, 2014

Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort must’ve won the lottery to not only get to be in Divergent (as brother and sister) but also appear in The Fault in Our Stars as the tragically doomed Hazel and Augustus.

This book. Where do I even begin?

I reviewed it. (There are spoilers in that review, by the way.) Oh thank goodness I don’t have to go over it again. This book TORE me to SHREDS like I’LL NEVER EVER EVER EVER BE THE SAME.

Thanks, John Green. (I seriously love you. Call me.)

Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel’s other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.

The Maze Runner

The Movie, September 19, 2014

This is going to be awesome. This series is unique, from beginning to end. I can’t wait to see how they pull it off.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, young Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.

 

Extraction by Stephanie Diaz

July 22, 2014

WAAHHHHH! The cover for this book hasn’t released yet. Suffice it to say that I’ve read some of Steph’s work and she is FANTASTIC. Look out YA, you don’t know what’s coming!

Clementine has spent her whole life preparing for her sixteenth birthday, when she’ll be tested for Extraction in the hopes of being sent from the planet Kiel’s toxic Surface to the much safer Core, where people live without fear or starvation. When she proves Promising enough to be “Extracted,” she must leave without Logan, the boy she loves. Torn apart from her only sense of family, Clem promises to come back and save him from brutal Surface life.

What she finds initially in the Core is a utopia compared to the Surface—it’s free of hard labor, gun-wielding officials, and the moon’s lethal acid. But life is anything but safe, and Clementine learns that the planet’s leaders are planning to exterminate Surface dwellers—and that means Logan, too.

Trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan and the rest of the planet. But the planet leaders don’t want her running—they want her subdued.

With urgent writing, fluid dialogue, and a cast of unforgettable characters, Extraction is a page-turning, gripping read, sure to entertain lovers of Hunger Games and Ender’s Game and leave them breathless for more.

Well, that’s it guys. The Completely Incomplete List of THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2014.

REVIEW – HOSTAGE THREE BY NICK LAKE

Hostage Three by Nick Lake

Available November 12, 2013 from Bloomsbury USA Childrens.

As Amy sets out to sea with her family on a yacht, she’s only thinking about the peaceful waters and the warm sun. But she doesn’t get either after a group of pirates seize the boat and its human cargo, and the family becomes a commodity in a highly sophisticated transaction. Hostage One is Amy’s father–the most valuable. Hostage Three is Amy, who can’t believe the nightmare she’s in. But something even stranger happens as she builds a bond with one of her captors, making it brutally clear that the price of life and its value are two very different things.

*****

Hostage Three will take you for a wild, emotional ride. Nick Lake mixes the perfect combination of desperation, love, and heartache. It’s definitely a case of someone doing the wrong things for the right reasons.

With their lives on hold, Amy, her father, and step-mother set sail for the world on their yacht. Amy is the reluctant passenger, content to listen to music and forget where she is and who she’s with. When Amy and her family become hostages, all of that changes.

As the bargaining chip of pirates from Somalia, the yacht and all of its human cargo will fetch a high price, a price, which for one of the pirates, will allow him to buy his brother’s way out of prison.

The back story of Amy and Farouz unfolds between the action scenes. There’s plenty of guns and intensity to go around. It’s such an unlikely romance between captor and hostage, innocent in a unexpected and beautiful way.

Amy is a very unlikeable character at the start. She’s bratty, she’s spoiled, but mostly, she’s unhappy. She has a lot of ghosts following her around and her father’s inattentiveness leaves her cold and lonely.

Farouz became a pirate because he had no other choice. Somalia is not a forgiving place. After his parents are killed and his brother is imprisoned, he turns to piracy to raise the money to free his brother. Farouz’s story is heartbreaking, and even though he’s a pirate and he does terrible things, I can understand why Amy would sympathize with him. I found myself rooting for the bad guys.

Amy and Farouz’s romance develops slowly and is filled with uncertainty. Though it’s clear Farouz cares for Amy, he’s also a pirate who has sworn to do his job. Refusing could mean his execution.

I found Hostage Three unique and heartbreaking. It tests the limits of trust and love. It shows that even good people do bad things, but that doesn’t necessarily make them bad people. What I loved about this book was that it was unapologetic. Hard situations are described, nothing horrible is skirted.

The action and suspense make Hostage Three unputdownable. The carefully crafted relationships make it unforgettable.

This book will haunt me well into the future.

Rating: 5 GIANT Stars

ANTITHESIS REVIEWS

Antithesis CoverDid you pick up a copy of Antithesis yet? There’s been tons of feedback and lots of discussion over the “mysterious” blurb. Not sure if Antithesis is for you? The blog tour just wrapped up and here’s what other people are saying:

http://www.supportivebusinessmums.co.uk/best-seller-in-the-making-young-adult-paranormal-romance-by-kacimari-win-books/

Ces: “This book grabbed my interest at the start and kept tight hold tugging me along for a hard to put down read.”

“…it’s an emotional blast till the very end with lots of twists and turns. Tick for steamy scenes, Tick for emotional scenes, Tick for action, Tick for drama, lots of Ticks and Stars for Antithesis.”

http://distancebookclub.blogspot.com/2013/08/antithesis-book-tour-review-giveaway.html?spref=tw

Josie: “Gavyn is such a sassy-pants, strong but cynical girl with a major chip on her shoulder…”

“Filled with unexpected twists and turns and swoon-worthy moments, Antithesis is unlike the other “YA sci-fi romances” you will find out there.”

http://caughtinasnyderwebb.blogspot.com/2013/08/antithesis-review-giveaway-heroine-with.html

Ryan: “Gavyn is dorky and not very confident. She was born with only one arm which is a little hard on her sometimes. Her personality was pretty cute. Liam is sort of a cocky mess. He made me laugh sometimes and for that, he is okay with me.” 

http://we-do-write.blogspot.com/2013/08/review-antithesis-by-kacey-vanderkarr.html?spref=tw

Sandra:  “Vanderkarr’s novel demonstrates a surprising layering of the intimately familiar and mundane with advanced technologies, surreal landscapes, and the clinically macabre, in a story which has left me waking from dreams wondering for a moment if maybe I really am just glimpsing other realities, just as real as this one.”

http://cicistheories.com/2013/08/antithesis/

Cici: ”I really liked how Gavyn embraced herself.  She was who she was, no limits, no excuses.  I believe it really sends a strong message about what it really takes to be a true ‘hero’.  I also really appreciated how right from the start, Liam was not afraid nor intimidated by her.  I don’t recall a story that had such a strong main character like Gavyn.  Truly a first read for me.”

“If you are looking for a captivating, unique read, ANTITHESIS should definitely be on the top of your list.”

http://mylibraryinthemaking.blogspot.com/2013/08/blog-tour-book-review-giveaway_20.html

Kazhy: “It’s easy to find swoon-worthy boys in books, but swoon-worthy couples? Nuh-uh. These two were so hilarious and awkward yet still sexy and sweet together. I may have snorted and giggled a lot.Gavyn and Liam’s crazy adventure made for a fast-paced, unputdownable read.”

http://thebookbabesreads.blogspot.com/2013/08/blog-tour-review-giveaway-antithesis-by.html?spref=tw

Megan: “…she [Gavyn] deserves to be seen for who she is, because she totally kicks ass. Even if she does puke afterwards.”

“All in all, Antithesis was a fun, philosophically challenging read for me.”

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the tour and took the time to read and review Antithesis. If you would like to pick up Antithesis, you can get it on Amazon in both paperback and digital format. Add it on Goodreads.

Questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you. Shoot me an email: kacey.vanderkarr (at) gmail (dot) com.

All the best,

Kacey

INTERVIEW WITH JILL KAELIN

Today I am interviewing the lovely Jill Kaelin, author of the upcoming YA paranormal novel, Hunted: Cycle Thirteen, available in digital edition from Inkspell Publishing, August 17, 2013.

The blurb:

8;That’s how old I was when I found out I was special. I was given my rose quartz gem and taught about my past.

13;That’s how many times I’ve lived in this world. This is my thirteenth life cycle as a human.

1;That’s how many seconds it took me to fall in love with Mike. It’s also the amount of time I had to say goodbye to him just before he was killed by Reggie, the hunter that’s been after me for months.

Will Reggie succeed in killing me too, and possibly eradicating the planet of the unicorn race forever?

Yep, you read correctly! UNICORNS! Are you as excited as I am for this book??

Tell us about your writing habits. Are you a carefree pantser or a methodical outliner? What’s your writing space like?

My writing habits are a bit unusual. I work a lot of hours a day so the only time I have to write is in the early mornings. I set my alarm for 4:30 a.m. and use that quiet time in the morning to play with my characters. I’m a “carefree pantser” for sure. It’s interesting how the characters come to life for me and lead me into places I never thought of. That’s my favorite part of writing. My space for writing is pretty casual, laptop on the couch with my feet up and complete silence.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m constantly inspired by my daughter. She has no fear. I want to be her when I grow up.

What are you reading right now?

I am currently reading two books right now. I’m desperately trying to finish City of Bones before the movie comes out. (Doesn’t look hopeful, though.) I’m also almost finished with the Star Child by Stephanie Keyes. She’s another awesome author from Inkspell.

The young adult market is HUGE right now. Why is YA so special to you?

The young adult market is special to me because it’s really what got me back into writing. Here’s a funny story…I live in Florida and there was a year where a series of hurricanes struck our area so naturally, as a teacher, we were off from school due to weather. I was bored so I picked up my daughter’s Twilight book. I couldn’t put it down. We only had the first two books in the series at the time and when I finished New Moon, I was desperate for Eclipse. Being the beginning of the school year, my teacher friends can relate, I was super broke. That’s when I resorted to digging around the house for loose change to purchase the next book and find out what happened. I remember distinctly walking into Wal-mart to purchase the book and wondering how everyone could walk around so normal when Edward and Bella had just gotten back together! We should have been rejoicing! Admittedly, I was a little lost in the world of Twilight.

Hunted: Cycle Thirteen sounds so interesting. What is your favorite part of your book?

So many parts of Hunted were fun to write. I think my most favorite part would have to be where Skye shares her secret with her friend Jules. I think everyone should have a friend like Jules to confide in.

How has becoming published changed your writing and your life?

Becoming published hasn’t changed my life, but it has definitely changed my writing. Just going through the editing process alone taught me so much about writing. I think writing is like life, with more experience comes a greater wealth of knowledge.

What author would you like to have coffee with, and why?

I don’t drink coffee, but I would suck it down in a heartbeat to sit with J.K. Rowling for ten minutes! She is so talented as a writer, but inspiring as a human being, too.

Compare Hunted to other books out there. What kind of readers should snatch it up?

Hunted is unique. I have yet to find a story about unicorns that relates to mine. I hope readers find it that way as well. As for the romance portion of Hunted, I think it relates to a story like Unearthly by Cynthia Hand or Divergent by Veronica Roth. It’s the kind of love that is just meant to be  and you find yourself rooting for the characters to find one another and fall in love. The kind of reader that should snatch it up is a reader that likes a little action, an interesting and surprising plot, and enough romance to keep it heated.

What is your greatest fear when it comes to writing?

I honestly have no fear when it comes to writing. My fear surfaces when it comes to other people reading my writing! Writing is so personal and very subjective. What one person may love another may despise and find boring. But when an author pours their heart into a story as I have in Hunted, it’s frightening to think others may not like it.

Here’s your spot to plug Hunted. Give us something juicy!

Here’s a blurb that didn’t make it to the back of the book:  Enjoy!

As a descendant of the unicorn race, Skye Kelley has specific powers related to the gemstone she received when she was eight years old—rose quartz. This gift soon becomes a magnet for the opposite sex, which she manages to repel until one specific boy changes her idea of attraction. 

 Mike Evans, a prep from another town, notices Skye one night while she’s working at the Hot Topic.  Their lives soon mingle together and Skye finds herself feeling things for him she didn’t think possible.    

 Together, they battle an ancient enemy that threatens to kill them both.  Regnir Vingus, III has dedicated his life to hunting unicorns.  His sights are set on the Kelleys and Skye is his first target. 

 Will their crusade against evil be enough to defend the unicorn race?  Or will the wickedness of Regnir succeed in eradicating the planet of unis forever? 

I want to thank Kacey Vanderkarr for these AWESOME questions and for taking the time to interview me! I hope everyone loves Hunted as much as I do. Thank you!!!

Jill Kaelin is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a degree in elementary education, and Nova Southeastern University with a graduate degree in teaching. She currently lives and teaches elementary school in Florida with her talented daughter Justyce, playful dog Coco, and three cats. She enjoys quiet mornings in front of her computer plunging into the lives of her characters. Her favorite things to do include inspiring young writers, reading paranormal romance novels, and watching her daughter dance on stage.

Can’t wait for Hunted? Get a glimpse into the world Kaelin has created in the free short story, Cycle 13: Approaching Skye.

Preorder your digital copy of Hunted here.

You can contact Jill at all the following places:

Goodreads

Blog

Twitter

Congratulations, Jill. I am eagerly awaiting the release of Hunted!