Raising a book lover

I was thinking about today's special post when I came across the article that I'm featuring today. I know that many bloggers out there are mothers. Sometimes, mothers can love books when their children don't. My mother was a librarian, so naturally, we had tons of books around the house, but I only started liking books in high school. That's a lot of years wasted, right? So, I'd like to share this article with all the blogger moms and moms who may not blog but love to read that have kids who are struggling to get into the reading spirit. I learned something, and I always love sharing what I've learned with others. So, dear readers, enjoy!

Raising a book lover
Home Grown by Toni Tiu
For Yahoo! Southeast Asia

I grew up in a house full of books. From finance to romance, there was always something to read. We are a family of book lovers, so naturally I hoped from the very beginning that my baby becomes a lover of books as well. With the way he interacts with his books now, I can confidently say he is a book lover too.

Encouraging a child to read can start at infancy. A month after I gave birth, I was desperate to catch up on my reading. Between taking care of the baby and trying to catch up on lost sleep, there was hardly any time for a leisurely read. That changed when I began a bedtime routine with my infant. Before tucking him in, I’d take out a book and read aloud a few chapters to him. Not only was it a way to familiarize him with my voice, it helped me catch up on my reading. I think reading aloud to him even when he was just a month old was a good start in establishing a healthy relationship with reading. He is now 11 months old and enjoys it very much when books are read aloud to him. Sometimes he babbles while I read to him. It seems like he’s reading along with me. I love sharing a book with him!

There is a wealth of good children’s books in stores that it’s a challenge picking just a few out. Books with big, bold shapes and bright colors are fascinating to a baby, so I choose books with these in mind. I find that they hold my baby’s attention longer. He carefully observes the details on each page before moving on to the next.

Board books are my current preference. It’s easier for the baby to turn the pages on his own. When he was a few months old, I’d sit him on my lap and turn the pages for him while reading aloud. Over time he would learn how to flip the pages himself. In the beginning he used his closed fist to try turning the page, then his open hands. Both times I would help him. Today, he uses his fingers and turns the pages on his own. I think his pincer grasp (using the thumb and index finger to pick up small objects) developed because of the page turning. I’m wary of books with paper pages for now because the baby crumples up the pages anyway, and he could be prone to paper cuts. Board books are friendliest for my little one.

Another way to build a child’s love for reading is to be conscious of what stage he’s in. My baby is at the phase where he is fascinated with textures, so he has some books that stimulate his sense of touch. Books that have little tags of a silky, cottony or furry texture intrigue him. Other ways to encourage reading are choosing books that reflect his interests, listening to audio books, and sharing books you yourself loved as a child.

I think the best way to raise a book-loving baby is as simple as showing him that you enjoy reading too. Whether it’s the newspaper, a magazine or a novel, if your child sees you reading he’ll be motivated to read as well. So far that’s working out fine for me and my son. He is growing up surrounded by books and by people who enjoy reading them.

When I see my baby pick up a book and go through the pages with such concentration, my heart sings. I love how he is so captivated by the pictures. I love how right now letters are just pictures and patterns to him, but eventually he’ll learn how they form words. Then words will unlock worlds, and my book-loving baby will find even more reasons to keep on reading.


Bookworm Toni Tiu never leaves home without a book. Now she doesn’t leave home without two books – one for her and one for the baby. Visit her personal blog at

This post was written exclusively for Yahoo! Southeast Asia.

Book Budget No. 10

Sixteen-year-old Hanna Järvinen is an unusual girl with a head full of hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet full of frilly, violet dresses. Everything a girl needs–except love. But that’s what mothers are for, and Hanna is sure she can reconcile with hers, even though she was abandoned as a baby.

Unfortunately, her mother lives in Portero, an odd East Texas town with doors that lead out of the world, flesh-eating creatures, and parasitical spirits–not an ideal environment for winning a mother’s love.

Hanna, however, refuses to let a few monsters interfere with her plans. If she has to flirt a little, lie a little, kill a little, or even bleed a little, she’ll do it. Hanna can live with monsters and mayhem, but she would rather die than live without love.

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Blogger Interview: Wondrous Reads

About the Blogger:

My name's Jenny, I'm 23 years old and I live in the UK. I used to work as a bookseller for Borders in the UK, for almost two and a half years. Now I'm between jobs, and hoping to get something book related.

I mostly review YA/teen books, though I do also review some middle grade/9-12 titles. I'll read the occasional adult novel, especially if it involves vampires, epic romances or is written by Sophie Kinsella.

I first started Wondrous Reads in January 2009. I'd been posting my reviews on Amazon for quite a while, and came home from work one night and suddenly had the idea to start a blog. I quickly made friends within the blogosphere, and I love the whole YA community. Starting my blog is one of the best things I've ever done - I love it!

I'm a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Twilight fan, and work on a couple of related sites. I've been a staff member on since March 2008, and have been writing Twilight Saga news for since March 2009.

I also love other TV shows, music, films, vampires, tennis and the Titanic.

About the Blog:

I review any and all YA/teen books, some middle grade/9-12 and the occasional adult book. I can't 100% guarantee I'll review every book I'm sent, though I do consciously try to read everything that comes through, and they are ALWAYS shown/mentioned in my weekly 'In My Mailbox' post. Sometimes I'll receive a book that I just don't like the sound of, and in those instances I'll usually pass them on to a friend or the local library.

I'm not currently accepting e-books or self-published books for review. I don't have the time at the moment, but maybe in the future!

I'll try to post a book review as near to the release date as possible, though there are only so many blog posts in a week, which does make this difficult. I write honest reviews, and if I don't like a book, I'll say so, but will also try and focus on the positive aspects. All reviews are also posted on and, depending whether it's a US or UK publication.

I grade the books I read from A+ to D. It's a new rating system I've been trying out in 2010, and it seems to be working okay so far.


1. How long have you been blogging?

Since January 17th, 2009.

2. Why did you decide to blog?

I used to write my reviews on the Amazon and Borders sites, and had been reading a couple of US YA blogs which I thought were great. I came home from work one Saturday night and just suddenly decided to start my own - there was no big plan or anything, I just thought it'd be cool to have my own site and all my reviews in one place. It's probably one of the only times I've been spontaneous!

3. What books do you blog about and why?

I mostly blog about YA, because I love it. My favourite books and authors are YA, and I can't think of anything else I'd blog about. I also review some middle grade books, and the occasional adult title - usually vampire related.

4. What memes can be found on your blog?

I participate in a couple of weekly memes - In My Mailbox and Waiting on Wednesday. IMM is great for finding new books, and I love seeing everyone's pictures. I also do a US Vs. UK cover post every Thursday, though I don't think you'd call it a meme. I've been doing that pretty much since I started blogging!

5. What is your review style like?

I like to think my reviews are quite personal, and reflective of my own reading experience. I always write honest reviews, and if something didn't work for me, I'll say so. I'm never mean though, because I know that even if I didn't like a book, someone else will. I'm not an overly critical person in real life, and I'm guessing that shows through in my approach to reviewing books -- I read for enjoyment, not to pick them apart. Obviously I don't like everything, but that's to be expected.

6. If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?

British! I read and review a lot of UK books, and I do tend to use words like 'ace', 'brilliant' and 'rather' quite a lot.

7. What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

I'd say just enjoy yourself, and never ever see it as a job or a chore. You should enjoy blogging, and not feel any pressure or stress. If ever it feels like it's all getting on top of you, have a break. We all need them.

8. What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

I don't actually actively try and get followers, because I don't know how! Also, I think people should follow my blog because they genuinely want to - what's the point of having thousands of followers if they aren't really interested? I do tweet blog links on Twitter, which I suppose you could class as promotion. Aside from that, I don't really put myself out there - I just comment, read and participate in the community.

9. If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

I hope people just find my reviews helpful, and see that I'm truly passionate about reading and YA. Also, taking away a new-found love for vampires, Buffy and all things Joss Whedon wouldn't go amiss ;)

10. What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

Lots more reviews of UK and US YA, some cool interviews, a week dedicated to Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick, UK publisher spotlights, more vampire lovin' and far too many book cover debates. I'm pretty excited about it all - as you can tell, I love blogging!

~pRoPhEcY gIrL~

Blogger Remarks:

Thank you so much for the fascinating look into your blogging life, Jenny. Thank you for being a part of this series. For those who want to visit Wondrous Reads, you can do so by clicking on the blog button featured at the top of this post. Next week, we have the pleasure of reading about Alex from More Than Just a Book.

C.A. Belmond Giveaway!

Thursday is CONTEST DAY, dear readers, as many of you already know. But before I present the contest this week, I would like to remind you that I also have a giveaway. The 150 Follower Giveaway is still on going, so please refer to the lovely picture of a 150 Cake to enter the Giveaway, or you can click HERE.

Now, on to this week's actual giveaway.

Lauren, from Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf interviewed C.A. Belmond. And with that interview comes a contest. The author has graciously offered three of her books for the giveaway.

Here's the summaries for each book: 

A RATHER LOVELY INHERITANCE is the first book in C.A. Belmond’s “Rather” series, and introduces Penny Nichols, an American art researcher who works for the movies. Out of the blue, she is summoned to London for the reading of her English great-aunt’s will, where she learns of her inheritance, and is reunited with a childhood friend, Jeremy Laidley, who is also an heir. But to claim their legacy, they must team up and go off on a chase from London to Antibes and Rome, to uncover some family secrets. If you’ve ever dreamed of having the perfect apartment, auto, wardrobe and guy to see Europe with, here’s your chance to go for the ride!

A RATHER CURIOUS ENGAGEMENT is the second novel in C.A. Belmond’s “Rather” series. Penny and Jeremy are a real team now, in love and in work. They decide to sock away their inheritance, except for one splurge—a vintage yacht that they win at auction, which leads to another mystery for them to solve. If you want to know what it’s like to live on a yacht, and visit Lake Como, Italy, and Nice and Corsica on the Mediterranean, then climb aboard!

A RATHER CHARMING INVITATIONis the third novel in C.A. Belmond’s “Rather” series. Penny and Jeremy are trying to plan their wedding while balancing the demands of their American, English and French relatives. But when a family heirloom loaned to them for the wedding goes missing, Penny and Jeremy must solve the theft in time to say “I do.” If you’ve experienced the family dynamics of planning a wedding, and if you love the idea of travelling to Paris, Lake Geneva and Monte Carlo with the man you love,’s your invitation!

Also, as with any contest there are rules:
(Note, I just copied the rules from the site. Go to Lauren's Blog to enter.)

~ Must be 13 or older to enter.

~ Open to participants with an United States mailing address only. (international readers can enter if they have a friend in the States who can accept their prize by mail)

~ The contest will close on August 26th at 6:00 AM Eastern.

So, what are we waiting for? It's a contest. And it's happening right now!

To enter the contest, you may click HERE.

Author Interview: Charles Carr



The carnal dreams of Minister Michael Parks have added serious weight to the decision he now faces regarding whether or not he will accept the position of Pastor that is now before him. Michael is unaware that The Darkness uses the dreams of mankind and the vulnerability of dreaming to influence the subconscious during its wakened state; a form of manipulation used to tip the scale of conflict in the supernatural war The Darkness wages against Man. Book One is the beginning of the journey of Michael Parks and his ascension to that of the Dream Pastor to those of The Light that come against he that us is exposed in the Book of Revelation, the destroyer Apollyon.


"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12

Most of us are oblivious to the darkness that not only exist in the shadows, but also in those who walk amongst us who are not... us. Its been over thirty-five years since the succubus Sister Griffin put an end to Pastor Rish, now she is back to do the same to Jason his son; to forever silence the Word of God that will one day emanate from within him. Will The Remnant and its spiritual leader Elder Curry arrive in time to foil the machinations of Satan and the demonic host of fallen angels such as Sister Griffin who follow him?


In an alternate realm of possibility the ruling world government is ran by the Roman Catholic Church, more commonly known as the 'Ecclesia.' The Ecclesia not only thrives foundationally on it own slant of religion and politics, but the advance technology it has developed to monitor, control and manipulate. Unbeknownst to the Church its technology has become both sentient and psychotic. The Technology has come to the conclusion that the Church and all of mankind has lost its way; that the only means of salvation will come by way of a new Savior the Third Adam, an artificial life form developed by the Ecclesia which the Technology is determined to use as means set both the Church and all of mankind on a road to it's own interpretation of salvation.

Author Info:

Charles is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction works. His latest published project Trifecta: Book One borrows from Christianity, the Supernatural and Science Fiction to create the unique stories (The Dream Pastor, Six-One-Two and The Third Adam) that exist within it.

Charles is also a multi-instrumentalist with experience in both martial arts instruction and competition. He is an Information Technology professional who also spends time visiting state and federal prisons as a part of ‘Champions for Life’ which encourages inmates in making permanent life changing decisions.


1. When did you decide to start writing?

I started writing and composing stories at an early age, it has only been within the last five years or so that I have become both ‘serious’ and ‘focused’ about doing something with the ideas and stories that visit me from time to time.

2. What genre do you write in and why?

It is a blend of Christian Fiction, the Supernatural and a dash of Science Fiction.
Though there are other stories I have written within other genres (none published at this point in time), the aforementioned has always been the place my mind likes to spend most of its creative time.

3. Were you worried about the word count of your work?

I almost always write from an outline. I use mind mapping as an outline tool, my choice of software being “Freemind” because I can use it for other facets of my life both personal and professional. For the most part the outline will have the beginning, parts of the middle and the story’s end. As I write I only have to fill in the gaps in the outline. This process, at least for me takes care of the word count without me expending any conscious effort to do so.

4. Do you have any writing quirks and what are they?

None that I am consciously aware of, though I will say there are times I write best when my mind is most troubled, when I need a distraction from what everyday living has to offer; other times there might be a concept or theme I wish to explore (i.e. metaphysics, eschatology) in a fictional context, then perhaps I might wrap a story around it.

5. If you can describe your novel in one word, what would it be and why?


The three stories in the book collectively contain quite a few unrelated themes… religion, science, the supernatural, eschatology, metaphysics and dreaming. It is my hope though that the manner in which the stories are executed makes all the blending kind of seamless and worth the reader’s investment of time.

6. How did you decide on the title and what does it mean?

Using the definition from the Macmillan Dictionary…”Trifecta: A series or set of three things or influences”.

The book is the first part of three separate stories whose influences are different, but thematically still fit together between two covers. I am fond of the word because it is both simple and elegant at explaining something so basic and rudimentary.

I so often wish the titles to my stories would come to me as easily as the actual outlines. In a way I am glad they don’t, it’s liberating for me to write without a working title hanging over my head dictating the contents of what I am writing. Without a working title I am free to live within my outline (which I give myself freedom to change). On rare occasions a title my come to mind prematurely (early in the process); if that is the case, I write within the comfort of knowing my imagination co-signed off on it.

7. What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your novel?

A sense that they have read something that is both original and entertaining; nowadays one never knows if the two are necessarily mutually exclusive to one another.

8. Tell us a little about your road to publication.

In the very beginning I think fretting over if I was going to get published or not hung over my head like a huge cloud. It greatly interfered with my focus to complete any writing project I started. I have always been more interested in the creative process and being able to share my creations with others than the prospect of making money or becoming a famous author, but what is the point if once done I would not have the means to substantially share them with others? At the time the only other major alternative was Vanity Publishing, a business paradigm where the publisher makes its’ up front money off of the author. I find it incredible that I still run into people who still use this method. Self publishing has been around a bit with entities such as Lulu and now CreateSpace, but distribution and quick turn around to the potential reader was in the earlier days problematic. So much has changed now, I publish under my own company ANAID Publishing and I have no upfront cost when I partner with entities such as Amazon for distribution. I also take advantage of using their Expanded Distribution Channel service and every week I see my book offered from entities I never would have been able to reach out and touch on my own. Barnes and Nobles will be offering a similar service by the end of summer called ‘PubIt’, I plan to use it as well.

There are those who say if you self publish your work that a major publisher will not touch you for reasons that go beyond our discussion; bottom line is if it is good and it sells it will garner interest. One of the most recent examples of a successful self published book is ‘The Shack’ by William P. Young.

9. What advice can you give other aspiring authors out there?

Shakespeare said it best in ‘Hamlet’ through Polonius “To thine own self be true.” If you reflect that within your writing, your approach to your work and personal being then your work will always resonant authentically with someone, somewhere; and on those days when it feels like that someone is absolutely no-one, then ultimately that someone will be you… and you’ll be fine with that and still have peace.

Blogger Remarks:

I would like to thank Charles for taking the time to participate in this author interview series. If you want to know more about Trifecta, you can visit the website here. Stay tuned for more author interviews next week.

Borders Interview: Suzanne Collins

For today's special post, I wanted to feature an interview by Borders on Suzanne Collins. The first reason I'm doing this feature is to celebrate the imminent coming of Mockingjay. Yes, I'm chomping at the bit for this book. Second, I've greatly admired the writing of Suzanne Collins. If I ever envied someone's writing style, it would be hers. Third, I dream of interviewing her for this blog. Let's cross our fingers that one day that happens. Fourth, I dream of being a featured author on the Borders Interview series. All valid reasons to do this special post, don't you think? Anyway, here are the videos. Enjoy!






Book Budget No. 9

Okay, so maybe Shelby has made a few mistakes with boys lately (how was she supposed to know Wes had “borrowed” that Porsche?). But her step-mother totally overreacts when she catches Shelby in a post-curfew kiss with a hot senior. Suddenly Shelby’s summer plans are on the shelf, and she’s being packed off to brat camp. It’s good-bye, prom dress; hello, hiking boots.

Things start looking up, though, when Shelby meets fellow camper (and son of a rock star) Austin Bridges, III. But soon she realizes there’s more to Austin than crush material—his family has a dark secret, and he wants Shelby’s help guarding it. Shelby knows that she really shouldn’t be getting tangled up with another bad boy…but who is she to turn her back on a guy in need, especially such a good looking one? One thing’s for sure, that pesky full moon is about to get her into trouble all over again.

Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger--and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever.

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

Blogger Interview: Narratively Speaking

About the Blogger:

My name is Lynsey, I live in the UK and am a registered nurse. I love to read and am an avid reader of YA fiction, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I mostly read YA but also read some adult titles especially if they fall under the paranormal romance category.

Narratively Speaking was born in January 2010. I'd been reading YA books for some time and had no one to really share my thoughts with so I decided to set up a blog to give honest reviews about the books I read. Through my blog, I was hoping to connect with other like minded individuals out in the blogosphere and share thoughts and feelings about books that we'd read.

My favourite authors include Maggie Stiefvater, Claudia Gray, Jennifer Laurens, Stephenie Meyer and Nora Roberts (adult books). I also love discovering debut novels and new authors.

About the Blog:

I review YA/teen books and cross-over adult titles that sit within the following genres: Paranormal, Contemporary, Dystopian, Fantasy, Science fiction and Historical. I will not review Middle Grade fiction, autobiographies, or non-fiction books.

I will accept printed ARC's, Galleys, fininshed copies, audio books, PDF's and E-books. I cannot guarantee that I will review the book but I can guarantee that I will take a look at it. I write honest reviews in a professional manner. If I truly don't like a book at all then I will not write a review for it.

1. How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging since the beginning of the year so about 7-8 months now.

2. Why did you decide to blog?

As I’ve said on my blog, I’d been reading YA books for some time and had no one to share my thoughts with so I decided to set up a blog to give honest reviews about the books I read. Through my blog, I was hoping to connect with other like minded individuals out in the blogosphere and share thoughts and feelings about books that we’d read. As it turns out, I’m still loving it and have made some pretty special friends too J.

3. What books do you blog about and why?

Mostly Young Adult/Teen books although I also like paranormal romance, Urban Fantasy and a bit of Chick Lit (I’m a huge fan of Nora Roberts). I only really review the YA books though.

4. What memes can be found on your blog?

I take part in “Waiting on Wednesday”. I used to participate in “In My Mailbox” but recently decided against this. I think that these kinds of posts incite jealousy and a sort of unintentional bragging. I’d much rather let people know what I’ll be reading next which is a different way of letting people know what books I have without being all up in their face about it. It’s just my personal opinion though and I have nothing against people taking part in that meme.

5. What is your review style like?

Like me! I write in a very conversational way and it reads just like I would be telling a best friend about a good book I’d read.

6. If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?


7. What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

Oh there’s lots of advice out there and some bloggers like “Presenting Lenore” have even written posts about it. I think the biggest piece of advice is to just be yourself. Write from the heart and don’t copy or plagiarise someone else’s writing because you will be found out. I admit to being worried about my writing style at one point but then I relaxed as I realised at least it is my own words so what does it matter? It’s a reflection of MY thoughts and feelings.

8. What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

Everyone loves a contest, don’t they?! However, my hope is that once they get to the site and enter the contest, they will like what they see and want to stick around for a while. I also advertise my reviews on twitter and sometimes facebook. I also try to post my reviews on GoodReads, Amazon etc.

9. If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

A sense of who I am and hopefully good quality reviews that will help inform decision making about whether they want to read a book or not. I love getting comments, especially when someone says that they have bought a book based on reading my review :D

10. What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

I’m continuing to write good quality, honest reviews. I’ve also made it more organised now so you can find things more easily and I’m starting to add book trailers and videos to the site. Now that I’m a more established blog, I’m getting more review copies so I can write reviews of books that have yet to be published and sometimes offer the ARC in a contest. I’ve also recently set up UK Book Tours (, a separate website dedicated to sharing books and ARCs with other UK YA book bloggers.

Blogger Remarks:

If you've been an avid follower of this blog, you would have read my special post on Lynsey about her giving me ASH. For those who haven't read that post, you can find it here. Anyway, I would like to thank Lynsey for taking the time to answer my questions. I really appreciate it. Next week, I will be featuring Jenny from Wondrous Reads.

150 Follower Giveaway

Oh, beloved readers, we have reached that milestone in every blogger's life: 150 Followers. When I started this section of my website, I never dreamed of having 50 followers, let alone 150! It's surreal and really, really gratifying. Thank you so much!

And, as promised, I have a GIVEAWAY for all of you.

As usual, I moved away from giving away books. I want to give away reading and writing related things instead that I hand picked for all of you. At the same time, all the items on this giveaway are from local artists. Got to support our own, right? 

Anyway, how the giveaway goes...

In the comment section:

1. Your Name

2. Your Email 

3. Which ONE of the items you want

That's it. Plain and Simple. And it's INTERNATIONAL.

If you happen to spread the word by blogging, tweeting, posting on Facebook or wherever about this giveaway, I would really appreciate it. Add the link in your entry just so I know. :-)

So, without further hullabaloo, here are the items:







There will be three winners for this giveaway, who will be chosen by the lovely Noey. She checks each and every one of the entries. Gotta love her!

Giveaway ends September 30, 2010. Please spread the word.

Kate Evangelista

Author Interview: MC Foley


A family, reeling from their eldest son's death, escapes to the Ice Hotel, where an age-old, arctic magic connects this world to the next...

To twin siblings Izzie and Poe McGarity, big brother Rossa is not just the eldest of three children. He is a hero, a leader, a king. Or rather... he was a king. Before his mistake. Before he died.

Haunted by visions of Rossa wherever they turn, the twins and their parents accept an invitation to the legendary Ice Hotel, an enormous structure built entirely from snow and ice, thousands of miles to the north, in the Arctic Circle. What the grief-stricken McGaritys don't know, is that the Ice Hotel will not only bring them face to face with frigid Arctic winds, powerful huskies built of fur and frost, magnetic fields, fluxes and levitation, mercenary Hunters, and a storm thundering towards the polar cap with the force of the cosmos itself; but also, it will bring them closer than they could ever imagine, to Rossa's last, greatest, and most impossible wish.*

(*the family encounters an arctic magic that enables them to see Rossa again, in another form)

Author Info:

MC Foley was born in Cebu, Philippines, raised in Virginia and resides in West Hollywood, CA. After winning second place in an elementary school poetry contest, Foley's fate was sealed.

From that day forward, Foley and the written word would never part. Years later, after winning a poetry slam competition in Oakland, MC Foley paid rent with the winnings, and began touring as a performance poet, doing shows across the U.S. and overseas, including tours through the UK and Denmark, where Foley performed on Denmark's national radio station, Radio P3.

Foley then wrote/acted lead in "The Coconut Masquerade," a play written entirely in verse and produced by Bindlestiff Studio in San Francisco's SOMA district. Segments of "Coconut," were featured in theaters around the country including the national Hip Hop Theater Festival and LA's Greenway Court Theater.

Upon moving to LA, MC Foley continued writing plays, screenplays and teleplays until one awful Saturday in November when a phone call reminded Foley exactly just how fleeting our time is on this earth. After that day, the voices of Rossa, Izzie and Poe, as well as the multitude of stories that weave into The Ice Hotel, grew swiftly.

Until they were too loud to be ignored.


1. When did you decide to start writing?

Writing took hold of me in elementary school. I have a clear memory of walking up to my parents when I was in first or second grade, and telling them I was going to be the youngest published author in history. Of course, that didn’t happen, but over the years I always wrote – sometimes without even thinking about it. I secretly won contests in high school (when I didn’t want people to know I loved writing poetry and plays, for some reason), I wrote and performed work in college, and immediately after college I toured internationally as a performance poet. It’s in my blood – partially because it always has been – and partially because I always write.

2. Why young adult?

I actually write everything – I am a weekly e-columnist on an entertainment industry newsletter, I’ve had plays produced in San Francisco and featured in U.S. festivals, had screenplays optioned, and etc... However, with this particular story, when it struck me, it took the shape of a fantasy YA story immediately. Growing up, I read books from Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Michael Ende (Neverending Story), JRR Tolkien (Lord of the Rings), and Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time) – to name a few – until the pages were worn – I obsessed over comics like X-Men, Excaliber and Elfquest with my brother, and I played Dungeons & Dragons with my brother and father. Fantasy infused my childhood and has stayed with me ever since. In fact, I often tell people I wish I lived in a traveling circus. And the “young adult” part came because of the nature of the story and its 12 y.o. protagonists. I, myself, appreciate books designated as YA because there seems to be more hope present in these stories.

3. Were you worried about the word count of your work?

No, not at all. I just created 3 bibles of research, mapped out the general story before writing, and then wrote until I’d taken the family to what felt like the end of the book.

4. Do you have any writing quirks and what are they?

I don’t know if I would call this a quirk – but perhaps someone else would: I am always inclined to include segments of verse in my writing. One of the plays I wrote that was produced in San Francisco – called “The Coconut Masquerade” – was written entirely in verse; a screenplay I wrote that was optioned in Los Angeles – called “Down and Out” – often broke into verse segments; and “The Ice Hotel” is part prose part verse. It has a lot to do with how my mind works, because what I love most about certain types of verse, is that it represents that space between what we think and what we say or do. It is the essence of thought. The purest representation of our internal world.

Oh – and in terms of ‘quirks’ in my writing habits – I suppose I’ll mention that I can often sit for 10 to 12 hour stretches, if needed, with nothing but a few snacks, my laptop, and my little chihuahua buddy, Chia – and just write. I don’t subscribe to that whole “writing is painful” / “I hate writing” school of thought. I love writing. It makes me feel whole and balanced. It is a form of meditation. And when I am consistently writing, I feel that I am doing what I was put upon this planet to do.

5. If you can describe your novel in one word, what would it be and why?


If it had to be just one word, I would pick that one because that is what I was trying to find for myself when I was writing the book. It all began when I saw my friend, Bryan, on a Friday and got a call the very next day that he had died. He was young and healthy, in the prime of his life, and his death was not only shocking, it threw me, and many people I knew into a state of surreal grief. People would talk about being haunted by him – in a good way, of course. Some thought they saw Bryan walking down a street in Hollywood, others saw him at shopping centers or waiting tables at a local restaurant. And I, myself, woke up at 3am and saw him on a cooking show in my TV. I suppose it must have been our subconscious minds trying to come to terms with his loss, trying to tell ourselves that he was okay. Trying – in some way – to stare at the empty space where he used to be, and to find hope.

6. How did you decide on the title and what does it mean?

The title came very easily. It is based on the location where most of the story takes place: the real ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, inside the Arctic Circle. It is the very first hotel of its kind, build entirely out of snow and ice every winter for the last 20 years. Each year, sculptors travel to Jukkasjarvi to create unbelievable designs from a material that, by its very nature, parallels human existence. That is – it is born from the nearby Torne River, when the waters freeze at the start of winter and become ice. That ice is turned into a phenomenal hotel with rooms that are sculpted to look like anything from space ships to chessboards, dance floors with life-sized dancing couples, forests, and underwater scenes. And at the end of the winter, the entire hotel melts – returning back to the Torne River from where it came.

It is like the cycle of life: birth, existence, death. And, if you believe in this sort of thing – rebirth. Because each year, the cycle repeats itself.

I was immediately drawn to the ICE HOTEL for the story location because the story has everything to do with death, loss, rebirth, and acceptance of the cycle of human life. And I was also drawn to it because the actual location is mindblowing. It is a fully arctic environment that many of us have never and (maybe) will never see. Everything from the hotel itself, the dog sleds, arctic forests, and the Aurora Borealis – contribute to an almost other-worldly place that is, in fact, real.

7. What do you hope your readers will get out of reading your novel?

I hope readers will enjoy the adventure that the McGarity family encounters on the road to overcoming the loss of their eldest son, Rossa. I also hope that anyone who has experienced the pain of loss can find, or at least think about, what I found through writing it – acceptance and hope... and possibly – the means to be unafraid of death. As it is just a part of the cycle.

8. Tell us a little about your road to publication.

Once I'd completed a solid first draft of the book, I began giving it to people for notes. One of these people was producer, Marvin V. Acuna (The Great Buck Howard). Again, this was just for notes or quick thoughts, but he called me in two days and said he'd read the entire thing, and that he wanted to work with me on this project. I took some of his notes, as well as other people's—and then Marvin sent the manuscript to his industry peers who gave even more thorough notes—off which I further honed the story. We then chose to do two things: 1) self-publish the novel to get it out in the world as soon as possible. And 2) begin formal discussions with the major publishers as well as the studios for the screen adaptation rights via Marvin's network.

This approach has been used by a number of successful authors. Christopher Paolini (Eragon), William P. Young (The Shack), Richard Paul Evans (The Christmas Box), Patrick Carman (The Land of Elyon, The Dark Hills Divide), etc. With rapid advances in digital technology, internet marketing and social media, it is clear that while traditional publishing houses are struggling, this does not mean that books are struggling.

And – to be quite honest, when you witness the sudden death of a friend at a young age, you are intensely aware that our time on this earth is brief. And if you have something you want to put out in the world, and there are obstacles to its distribution, you must not let these obstacles stop you, or make you wait another ten years. You must be relentless.

9. What advice can you give other aspiring authors out there?

The same advice I give to myself each and every day: Write. Write like your life depends on it. Write like you need to do it in the same way you need to eat or breathe. Write without over thinking it. Write without wondering about the past or the future (unless you are thinking about these things as you write). Write without hoping for successes, or riches, or fame. Just write – because that is what you do – because you are a writer.

Best example I can give – the prologue to the prologue of The Ice Hotel, is a verse segment that I often re-read and am very satisfied with as a writer. And it came to me on a day when I was tired, bored with myself, and totally uninspired to write. I look at it now and I often think – if I had allowed myself to not write. To just say “I’m tired, I have no idea what to write, I have writer’s block,” etc ... then that section would never have found its way to the page, to the book, to other readers. Anyone curious to see this segment can go to the Amazon page for “The Ice Hotel” and click “look inside this book” to read that one page prologue to the prologue. It begins with... “One of the worst things in the world to lose... is hope”

Blogger Remarks:

I would like to take this time to thank MC for giving us her time. It's been a pleasure. I'm currently reading The Ice Hotel for review, so watch out for that. If you want to learn more about this amazing author and her work, you can visit the Ice Hotel website by clicking here.

"The Ice Hotel" fantasy YA novel now available! Order your copy here: (weekly article - Business of Show Institute) 

Author Focus

The special post today is short, but really sweet. 

Kindness is such a wonderful thing. Bloggers, especially, I have found to be some of the kindest and most awesome people. This is not just because I'm a blogger and a certain blogger did one of the most unexpected, yet terribly nicest things for me. Bloggers rock! That's why I decided to do a weekly Blogger Interview that features seasoned bloggers along with fledglings. We all can learn from each other.

For me, blogging is a way to connect. It brings people who might not be able to meet under normal circumstances together. 

As some of you might not know, I am also a writer. I am working hard on getting my young adult novels published. The goal is to share the stories of the characters in my head with as many people as possible. This is why I started the Stream of Subconsciousness section of my website.

It is because of the Stream of Subconsciousness section that I met Jess, from The Tales of Compendium. She emailed me one day about one of my novels, Hunter's Moon. I only post the first five pages, but anyone can email me and I'd gladly send out the first chapter. Anyway, this led to the unexpected act of kindness.  Jess was gracious enough to do an Author Focus on me. Me. Can you imagine? It totally gave me the confidence to keep going. You can click here to see the post.

So, lesson for the day, bloggers are awesome and sincerely kind. Jess, thank you so much!   

Book Budget No. 8

Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.

Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.

Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.

But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faerie intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning 21st century faery tale.

Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction…

When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.

The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.

Blogger Interview: The Tales Compendium

The Tales Compendium

About the Blogger:

Hi my name is Jess and I love to read YA fiction. My love for YA fiction is made very easy as I work as a children's specialist in a bookshop. This will be a place for me to review those books. I also like to read the occasional adult book, generally chick lit or crime novels so you may find a few of those reviewed here as well. Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments as comments make me happy :)

About the Blog:

You can also find and follow a complete list of my reviews and such on my visual bookshelf page via Facebook


1. How long have you been blogging?

Since January 2010

2. Why did you decide to blog?

Before I started, I already wrote a lot of reviews for my job as a children's specialist in a book store. One of the people I worked with had a blog and suggested I might want to try it out. I figured I already write the reviews, why not share them with everyone? My excitement can't be contained over new books and I love finding like-minded people out there who feel the same way.

3. What books do you blog about and why?

I blog about young adult fiction. I try not to focus too much on one genre as I like a lot of different things. I also try my best to get as many advanced reviews out there before publication as I can.

I like YA fiction because I think authors have to try harder when writing kids books because kids and teens are so easily distracted and can get bored so quickly. I get bored when I try to read adult literature because they take so long for something to happen. I don't know how grown up this makes me look but kids and YA books are just so much more fun!

4. What memes can be found on your blog?

I have a page where I list my all-time-favourite books and also a page for books that are coming soon with their release dates. I don't currently have a regular weekly meme. If I stumble across something interesting like movie news or a title that has just been announced then I will just post it straight away. I am mulling over a few different ideas for a weekly meme so keep your eye's open for something in the near future.

5. What is your review style like?

It's pretty straight forward. I talk about what I like about the book, what I don't like and why. I also make comments on bits and pieces that I think others will be interested in and comments on the book jackets. I will also often give age recommendations as well as compare the book to another I have read. I refuse to post spoilers. When I was younger, someone told me what happened at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before I finished it. I was so annoyed that the surprise was ruined for me, hence I don't post spoilers. If someone really wants to know what has happened, then they can email me.

6. If you can describe your blog in one word, what would it be and why?

Uncomplicated - because it is easy to navigate and find what you are looking for but still looks pretty and serves it's purpose.

7. What advice can you give other bloggers about blogging?

Blog as much as you can and be truthful about how you feel towards what you review (don't post what you think others will want to hear, post what you think).

8. What kind of promotion techniques do you use to get followers?

I post links to my reviews on places like Book Blogs and also comment on other peoples blogs if I like what they have said. I know that if someone posts a comment on mine then I will always check to see if they have a blog. Chatting with your fellow bloggers is the best way, there is such a fantastic online community and before I started my blog, I had no idea there were so many people around like me. I don't like saying to someone that I will follow them if they follow me. I want someone to follow my blog if they like what I review, not just because it means they get another number on their followers. In terms of promoting my blog in other places other than online, I have recently had bookmarks printed with my blog details on them and am working on getting them into bookshops.

9. If there was something you’d want your readers to take away from reading your blog, what would it be?

I'd hope they read a review for a title that they have 'ummed and ahhed' over for a while and my review makes them decide that they should go and read that book.

10. What can readers look forward to from your blog in the future?

A new weekly meme and plenty of advanced reviews.

Blogger Remarks:

Thank you so much, Jess, for participating in my Blogger Interview section. It's an honor to have you. Consequently, Jess did an Author Focus on me, which you can find out more about here. Let's keep our fingers crossed. Next week, I will be featuring Lynsey from Narratively Speaking.


Okay, so it's contest day again, and I've been trolling the net for a good one. If you've read my review of Hush, Hush, you'll know that I loved that book. This is why I can't wait to get my hands on Crescendo. So, when I found a contest that's giving away an ARC, I had to share it with everyone (who lives in the US and Canada). This one is sadly not INTERNATIONAL. Sigh.

Here are the rules (courtesy of the blog doing the giveaway):

1. Followers only. It is a blogoversary, and I did forget to do a 200 follower giveaway, so we’ll kill two birds with one stone. Yes? Good.

2. Fill out the form below, or click here to go to the same form in another window. You have to fill it out completely.

3. You get an extra point for posting this contest in a blog post, but that’s the only way to get an extra point.

4. USA and Canada only, no PO Boxes. Sorry guys, I am still broke after all. I might do an international giveaway for a graduation party or a “I got a job!” party. But for now you’re stuck with broke old me.

5. Contest runs from now until August 15th. prizes will be sent out directly.

So, for those of you who want to join, come and visit THE LIFE (AND LIES) OF AN INANIMATE FLYING OBJECT. Such a delightful blog this one is. Reminds me of Forgive My Fins for some reason.
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