Friday, February 28, 2014

{Kat's Korner} Reviewing A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY by Susan Dennard

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Hey hey readers! Today is a day I've been waiting for a little while now, because I'll be covering Susan Dennard's A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY, the second in the SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY trilogy. I can't wait to gush about this, because it'll bring me one step closer to being able to review STRANGE AND EVER AFTER, a title that I can barely contain myself over. I still have to wait until the end of summer to talk about it, but even talking about the trilogy at all helps. So many feels!

This is a trilogy graced with covers dark and lovely. Just look at that dress! I'm no girly-girl, but I would rock that if I ever had a reason to. That aside, believe it or not, this cover really says a lot about the content of this book. (You have to read it, of course, to connect the dots.) So I really can't say much other than the fact that I love this cover. The one detail that I really, really flail over every time I look at this (so much so that I'm going to talk about it!) is that Eleanor's right hand is out of sight. All I'm going to say about that, for those of you who haven't read these glittering and delicious novels yet, is that it's a detail that is not at all a coincidence. Eleanor's right hand is not a thing to overlook at all. ;)

Moving past the very well thought-out and executed cover, the jacket reads as follows:

"Darkness has come to the City of Light. . . .

With her brother dead and her mother on the verge of insanity, Eleanor Fitt is utterly alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters—Joseph, Jie, and the handsome, enigmatic Daniel—have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor begins to hear the vicious barking of hounds and see images of haunting yellow eyes, she fears the worst—that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are coming for her.
To escape and search out the Spirit-Hunters, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. Though friendly, Oliver entices Eleanor with necromancy and black magic, yet as long as she can resist his powerful temptation, she'll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over the city . . . and there's a whole new evil lurking. With the body count rising, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.
In Paris, there's a price for this darkness strange and lovely . . . and it may have Eleanor paying with her life.
In this spellbinding sequel to Something Strange and Deadly, Susan Dennard delivers a thrilling mix of intrigue, romance, and revenge, all set against the wonderfully enchanting backdrop of nineteenth-century Paris"

There is no lack of intensity in this short summary, and there definitely isn't in the actual story, either. Dennard makes a quick read out of this middle book by keeping the pressure on our heroes and the plot thickening.

She brings us back to Eleanor a few months after the end of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, her world completely turned upside-down. Rather than having to stay and manage her household, she must flee from it - the necromancer Marcus pursues her and the Spirit Hunters after all of the craziness that went down in Laurel Hill Cemetery. Yet the Spirit Hunters left immediately at the end of SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, for reasons I dare not spoil. (Go read it, it's so good!) So Eleanor must catch up to them... in Paris.

Paris! Eleanor has always wanted to travel, though not necessarily under dangerous circumstances like these. Along the way, she meets a man named Oliver, who has certain interesting ties to her brother. Oliver is an interesting character who brings a whole new voice and depth to this trilogy that I adore. For those of you who are fans of the CW's tv series Supernatural, you might find Oliver's character to be elements of certain beings of that series, blended wonderfully into Dennard's 19th century world. To be clear, I'm not saying that Dennard took things from Supernatural and used them as her own. What I am saying is that I find certain aspects of Oliver and his history to have the feel of some characters from Supernatural that I find makes his contribution to the story fantastic and refreshing to the story line.

Onward to Paris with Oliver, to find Jie, Joseph, and Daniel! How romantic- oh no. No, it's not. Eleanor finds the Spirit Hunters neck deep in the Dead and politics yet again. However, this time, public affairs are getting in the way of the Spirit Hunters doing any real work. Well, at least the public officials here are giving them proper funding and housing. This was a fun new situation to read, as it is the complete opposite from the Spirit Hunters' "accommodations" in Philadelphia. One thing is made very clear - this time, something weirder than a necromancer is behind the dead. But as much as they'd rather be out working on the problem, the Spirit Hunters are sucked into the lap of political luxury and trapped there. Could be worse.

As excited as she is to be reunited with her friends, Eleanor has a few dark and strange new secrets of her own. Secrets that she isn't sure she wants to share with Joseph, Jie, and Daniel. Eleanor feels as though she can only share them with Oliver, the man she only just met. (Oooo~!) What are these secrets? I'll never tell. But those secrets make those nice political comforts get a little messy. Could be worse indeed; Eleanor unfortunately makes it so.

Eleanor's secrets might be the only thing that can stop the Dead in Paris. But they might end up taking Eleanor's life in the process. Will she tell the others? Can they find a way around it? Will they keep their friendship? Will Marcus come to Paris and make things worse? And who is Oliver, exactly? All of these questions and more are answers in a most spectacular manner by the end of this novel.

All in all, I am enchanted by this trilogy. As good as SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY was, A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY raises the bar even higher for this genre. If you like magic, spirits, zombies, and other things supernatural, I high recommend these, because Dennard keeps you guessing and exclaiming nonsense syllables. Eleanor is a fabulous leading lady - she is so modern and fierce for the time setting of the story, and in A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY, she is tested and found to be oh so human. Dennard did a wonderful job keeping her so real. And the Spirit Hunters not only befriend Eleanor, they befriend you as you read. And the antagonists? They are as diabolical as the Spirit Hunters are lovable. For me, this trilogy is over, as I was lucky enough to have access to an ARC of STRANGE AND EVER AFTER, and all I can say right now is that I am blown away. Don't miss out on these - make them a priority!

That's all for now. Happy reading, and I will return soon enough with talk of mythical creatures. I'll confess I've been on a bit of a dragon trend this past month. See you next time! :)

*This review is an HONEST representation of my personal thoughts and feelings of this work. A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY was purchased by me, and this review was not prompted nor paid for by any individual or group.

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Susan Dennard
Release Date: July 23, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Received: Purchased

Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.

The epic meeting of the two Kats!
Kat Meets Kat Zhang (And Susan Dennard,
Sarah J. Maas, and Erin Bowman!) at YAGB!
Check out our exclusive full audio recording from the tour
to feel like you were there with Kat, Bonnie, and the authors!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

{Guest Post/Giveaway} Real Mermaids Festive Treats: "Trey's Gummy Worm Sushi" with author Hélène Boudreau

To celebrate the recent release of Hélène Boudreau's final Real Mermaids novel, Sourcebooks has put together a fabulous Blog Tour!

Keep reading to win your own copy of REAL MERMAIDS DON'T WEAR TOE RINGS, the first book in the series, to get your feet wet! 

 In REAL MERMAIDS DON'T SELL SEA SHELLS, the final book in the quartet about real half-girl/half-mer Jade and her exploits, Jade’s friend Trey makes some tasty candy sushi treats to share at her parents' wedding!

Today, Jade and Trey have stopped by to share the recipe with us!

I've previously interviewed Hélène Boudreau
featured her guest post "Summer Island Breeze," 


Real Mermaids Festive Treats:
Trey's Gummy Worm Sushi
by Jade and Trey(with help from Hélène)

Hi everyone! Jade here from Real Mermaids. 

One of my favourite things about the upcoming holidays is the great treats we get to make and share. I love food so much, in fact, that I included a recipe for some of my favourite snacks in each of the Real Mermaids books. 

Leave it to Trey! These turned out pretty well!

Trey's Gummy Worm Sushi

You don't need to like fish to like sushi!

Here's what you'll need:

- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 cups mini marshmallows
- 6 cups crispy rice cereal (Rice Krispies)
- 20 gummy worms
- 2 boxes of green Fruit Roll-Ups (For the sweaweed!)
- 1 egg 


- 12" x 17" cookie sheet lined with wax paper
- Non-stick cooking spray

In the microwave:

1. Melt the butter in a microwaveable bowl for about 10 seconds (or until completely melted).

2. In a separate bowl, melt the marshmallows for 30 seconds at a time until completely melted, stirring each time you take the bowl out of the microwave.


1. Add the butter to the marshmallow mixture and stir.

2. Add the crispy rice cereal one cup at a time to the marshmallow/butter mixture and stir until well-blended.

3. Spray the wax paper with non-stick cooking spray.

4. Pour out the cereal/marshmallow mixture onto wax paper and flatten it to about 1 inch thick with a greased rolling pin (or your hands if you don't mind getting sticky!).

5. Let the rice crispy treat mixture cool.

6. Working from the short end of the baking sheet, place a line of gummy worms across the rice crispy treats, about an inch from the edge.

7. Using the wax paper to help, roll the rice crispy treats around the gummy worms once so it will form a log, pressing it tightly so it will stick together.

8. Cut the log away from the rest of the pan and set aside.

9. Repeat with another line of gummy worms, roll and cut until you've used up all the rice crispy treats.

10. Slice off sushi rolls from the log one inch at a time then wrap in one inch strips of green Fruit Roll-Up.



O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Hélène Boudreau
Release Date: Feb. 4, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Sun, surf and tropical breezes are no ‘day at the beach’ because being a teenage mermaid never takes a vacation.

With all the mers in Jade’s life now safe, happy and legit (with passports to prove it) and the underwater mer-world off the coast of Port Toulouse on the road to democracy, it’s time to relax and plan for the future. Jade can’t think of a better way to celebrate than with a tropical wedding in the Bahamas with Mom and Dad to finally make their family ‘official’.

Soon, Jade is enjoying the tropical sunshine, all-you-can-eat buffet, and island day trips. But when Jade gets lost in the island’s famous waterfront Straw Market, something doesn’t feel quite right. A body splashes into the water as a cruise ship enters the harbor and a teen boy selling conches from his boat behind the market knows more than he’s willing to admit.

With no body, no leads, and no other witnesses, though, the local police don’t seem too concerned. Maybe Jade’s imagination has been acting up on her, just like Cori said, considering everything she’s been through in the past few months.

But with Mom and Dad off on a honeymoon excursion it wouldn’t hurt to check things out, would it? Little do Jade and Cori realize, they are about to uncover more secrets about the splashing body, dangerous cruise ship cargo, and more questions than answers lurking in the nearby Caribbean waters.


Enter to win

…a copy of REAL MERMAIDS DON'T WEAR TOE RINGS by Hélène Boudreau! 

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

24 ebooks from FREE to $4.99! Peek at some GREAT deals!

It's been a while since I've featured some great e-book deals for you!
Are you ready to fuel your e-readers with food for your MIND!?

I've rounded up some GREAT ebook deals for you to enjoy!
  While these are all deals I saw on my nook, 
they should also be available for my Kindle friends!

Keep reading to see 
great deals ranging from

(I think the Terah Edun deals might be ending tonight, so SNAP THEM UP!!!)

Tell me what you're going to choose!


SWORN TO RAISE by Terah Edun is on sale TODAY ONLY! Celebrate the release of the fourth book in the high fantasy series with this great deal! Haven't heard of the Courtlight series? Check out my review!

BITTER SWEET LOVE by Jennifer L. Armentrout is a novella set in the same world as the release of this week's series launcher WHITE HOT KISS! If you're a fan of gargoyles and fantasy romance, or have loved Armentrout's other novels such as the awesome Covenant series that began with HALF-BLOOD, then this one is for you!

Okay, truth? I'd never heard of VENGEFUL IN LOVE by Nadia Lee until the free deal came up on Twitter yesterday. I did, however, r&r Lee's A HAPPILY EVER AFTER OF HER OWN during the first Fairy Tale Fortnight. I'm pretty sure this is a straight-forward romance novel!

I ADORE Shannon Hale. I think it's so cool that she was asked to develop middle-grade fairy tale series Ever After High, and that there are SIX free novellas you can download and sample right now!


OF SEA AND STONE by Kate Avery Ellison is on sale for a limited time only to celebrate it's launch! This week, I featured three excerpts, an author interview, and a chance to win a $50 gift card in honor of the book's release! This one will be an underwater adventure, and I plan to review it during this year's Splash into Summer event in July (Dates TBA)!

SWORN TO TRANSFER by Terah Edun and brand-new book SWORN TO SECRECY by Terah Edun are on sale TODAY ONLY! Celebrate the release of the fourth book in the high fantasy series with this great deal! Haven't heard of the Courtlight series? Check out my review of SWORN TO RAISE!


I'm a huge fan of Leah Cypess! MISTWOOD was her debut novel, and if you're a fan of high fantasy, you want to read this intriguing debut that made me sit up and take notice of this great author!

Are you caught up on Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series? The sixth book in this urban fantasy series, BY A THREAD, is on sale right now! I've been slowly stocking up on these as they go on sale. I currently have books 1-6 and 8! I just need 7 and 9+ on my nook!

THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS by Ann Brashares is a YA staple. If you've never read (or only seen the movie!), what are you waiting for!?

I've never read DEAD GIRLS DON'T LIE by Jennifer Shaw Wolf, though I r&r her debut novel BREAKING BEAUTIFUL. It sounds like an intriguing YA mystery, though!

Scott Westerfeld's Uglies quartet paved the way for many of today's dystopian bestsellers. See what made him a world-wide bestseller by picking up the first book in the series, UGLIES!


If you don't already know about my love affair with CINDER by Marissa Meyer, you're living under a rock! I reviewed it, Kat reviewed it for her last Kat's Korner, and earlier this month, we had A Week of Rapunzel to celebrate the new book CRESS. Still haven't read it?? Try it now for only $2.99! You can also still enter to win a copy of it (AND sequels SCARLET and CRESS, plus an awesome Cress Comb and Rampion Poster!) through Monday! Check out this sci-fi fantasy fairy tale series now!

And of course, no fairy tale lover should be without a good novel...especially when it's a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast! I'm so excited to r&r THE CURSE GIRL by Kate Avery Ellison for this year's Fairy Tale Fortnight and share it with you! But don't wait for my it NOW!

SWORN TO CONFLICT by Terah Edun is on sale TODAY ONLY! Celebrate the release of the fourth book in the high fantasy series with this great deal! Haven't heard of the Courtlight series? Check out my review of SWORN TO RAISE!

WHITE HOT KISS by Jennifer L. Armentrout is actually $3.03. Close enough to $2.99, right? The price keeps fluctuating on this fantasy with gargoyles and romance, so snap it up before the price goes back up!

Ready for a brand-new deal that just hit the web? You can snag UNREMEMBERED by Jessica Brody for $2.99 as well!  It's the start of a fast-paced YA sci-fi mystery trilogy. I reviewed it this past week and am giving a copy away through Monday!


I'm a huge fan of Leah Cypess! NIGHTSPELL is a high fantasy companion novel to MISTWOOD, though it can be read on its own! Check out my review!

If you haven't treated yourself to THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern yet, you're missing something truly special. Categories allude me. Heck, words allude me. I tried with my review. I tried. One of my top fifteen all-time favorite novels. I can't believe this is Morgenstern's debut!

STORM by Brigid Kemmerer is actually a little cheaper at $4.50! The final book is coming this fall, and the second to last book just launched last month. If you haven't read this series with hot boys, elemental magic, and more, you're missing out! The covers are MEH, but the books are so beyond good!

What great deals have you indulged in recently?

...which of these books will you snag?
I'm curious! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

{Guest Post/Giveaway} The Sekrits of NIL--The Island World by Lynne Matson

Welcome to the NIL Blog Tour!

Here's a list of all the NIL tour stops:

Feb 17: Dana Square Interview
Feb 18: Book Loving Mom Review
Feb 19: Jenna Does Books Guest Post

Feb 20: Word Spelunking Review 
Feb 21: Book Addict's Guide Interview

Feb 24: Great Imaginations Review 

Feb 25: A Backwards Story Guest Post
Feb 26: Two Chicks on Books Interview 

Feb 27: As Told by Rachel Review 

Feb 28: Paperback Princess Interview 
Mar 3: The Best Books Ever Review
Mar 4: Wastepaper Prose Review 

Mar 5Book Haven Extraordinaire Review
Mar 6: Good Choice Reading Interview
My review is coming soon, 
so check back for more NIL goodness!

Ready to take part in making NIL 
a HUGE success next week?
Join the #NILTribe right's easy!

 The #NILtribe

tribe: noun \ˈtrīb\*: a group of people who have the same job or interest

If you love books, especially thrillers, packed with mysteries, islands, secrets and ALL THE FEELS, then the #NILtribe may be for you!

All you have to do is tweet . . . or post to Facebook . . . or post on your blog . . . or comment on my blog and add the #NILtribe hashtag. And that’s it! You’re in.:) 


Lynne is a former attorney who thinks writing books for teens is much more fun. :) Her debut novel, NIL, a YA thriller with a SF twist, will be published by Macmillan/Henry Holt on March 4, 2014.

When she's not writing or reading, you'll find her hanging out with her husband and their 4 boys, usually at the beach. Cookies are her kryptonite, especially thin mints.

Visit Lynne's website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

The Sekrits of NIL--The Island World
by Lynne Matson!

Thank you for having me! I love your question: What sort of world-building did you do in order to create the island of Nil, which manages to become like a character itself?

World building on NIL was huge! The biggest part was the start: the entire world of NIL began in one clear moment. I was on Hawaii (the big island) with my husband; it was our first real getaway from our four boys, EVER. As we left the airport after landing on our very first day, we drove through miles of ancient lava fields. Broken red rock stretched endlessly on each side, gorgeous and desolate. No roads, no buildings, no people–just the eerie sound of wind blowing over the barren rocks. I remember thinking how much it all looked like an alien planet, and thinking how creepy it would be to wake up there, alone. And I remember thinking how scary it would be as a teenager, to wake up by yourself, not having a clue where you were or how you how got there, and what if–because isn’t this every person’s worst nightmare?!–you woke up naked? NIL was born in that moment. That barren-red-rock visual locked in my head, and that's what Charley sees when she first wakes up in Nil.

From that point forward, every experience we had on Hawaii was fuel for my world-building fire.:) The black sand beaches, the lava fields, the rainforest and its breathtaking canopy. The shoreline cliffs, the smoking volcanoes. NIL was inspired by Hawaii, but it’s not Hawaii. Nil became an island all its own.

For me, the island is the ultimate antagonist in NIL. The island embodies the ticking clock, the hand of fate that dumps them on Nil and pulls teens closer to death with each day that passes. Some teens escape, others don’t.

A huge part of my world-building was the viewpoint of Thad, one of my two main characters. When the book opens, Thad’s been there for 267 days, and he’s seen the worst of the island. He’d slightly jaded, and after his time on Nil, Thad has an insider’s  handle on the machinations of the island, and the darkness. Thad’s take on NIL is key to building the island as an adversary--as someone to be defeated.

On the other hand, Charley, the other main character, is discovering the island for the first time, and through her, the reader gets initial impressions from a newcomer. Charley sees the beauty of Nil, and the unknown, allowing the reader experience the horrors and hope of the island through Charley’s eyes.

The rest of the world-building came together in my imagination, and occasionally, with some help from Google. How to start a fire with a bow? Are rock slingshots effective? How deadly are warthogs? How long can a person survive on coconut milk? So many questions, all answered to get the world-building just right.:) IT WAS SO FUN! I had a blast writing NIL and creating the world that Charley and Thad encounter. I hope you enjoy reading it! Thanks for stopping by! *sends all the island love*

Thank you so much for your awesome post, Lynne!
I loved seeing how Hawaii was the source of your inspiration, 
and loved learning more about how you created the scary island of Nil! 

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Title: NIL
Author: Lynne Matson
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Macmillan / Henry Holt

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days--to escape, or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.

Ready to check out NIL?

Enter now to be one of TWO WINNERS
to receive a NIL PRIZE PACK
that includes swag and a hardcover copy of NIL!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Cover Reveal} DESIRE by P.T. Michelle


Release Date: 04/01/14

Summary from Goodreads:

Now that Nara and Ethan are working together to uncover the Corvus’ secrets, they’re confident nothing can stop them.

But while they’ve learned to anticipate dark, outside forces gunning for them, neither is prepared for the insidious evil that slithers its way into their lives, nor the new challenges that surface so close to home.

Despite all the chaos and turmoil around them, the one constant they can depend on is their devotion and loyalty to each other. But as their relationship moves into deeper territory, sometimes the toughest battles are the ones waged within.

While the hunt for answers unravels more layers in the Corvus world, Ethan and Nara uncover new truths about themselves and their intricate connection to the powerful raven spirit.

When boundaries are suddenly redrawn and control shifts, Ethan and Nara will be forced to make choices that could bring them closer together or rip them apart forever.

Books in this series:
(covers linked to Goodreads)

 photo ethan_zps856392e5.jpg  photo brightestkindofdarkness_zps37595052.jpg  photo lucid_zpsd02b0538.jpg  photo destinypt_zpscec99147.jpg

About the Author
P.T. Michelle is the young adult and new adult pseudonym of Patrice Michelle, author of fifteen romance novels and novellas. When P.T. isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading or taking pictures of landscapes, sunsets and anything beautiful or odd in nature.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png  photo iconpinterest_zps6fcf02a7.png

Monday, February 24, 2014

{Guest Post/Giveaway} Why We Write Kissing Scenes in YA with Stasia Ward Kehoe!

Welcome to the final day of the blog tour for Stasia Ward Kehoe's THE SOUND OF LETTING GO!

Here's a list of all the previous tour stops:

Sunday, February 2, 2014 at Candace's Book Blog
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at Rather Be Reading
Thursday, February 6, 2014 (PUB DAY!) at G Reads Books
Monday, February 10, 2014 at Good Books & Good Wine
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at Katie's Book Blog
Friday, February 14, 2014 (Valentine's Day!) at Addicted 2 Novels
Sunday, February 16, 2014 at The Hiding Spot
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at Diznee's World of Books
Thursday, February 20, 2014 at Bloggers [Heart] Books
Monday, February 24, 2014 at A Backwards Story 

I've previously reviewed Stasia's debut novel AUDITION!

Check out today's review of 


Stasia Kehoe grew up dancing and performing on stages from New Hampshire to Washington, DC. She now writes books for young adults and choreographs the occasional musical.Her novels AUDITION and THE SOUND OF LETTING GO are both written in verse.

Visit Stasia's website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

Why We Write Kissing Scenes in YA 
by Stasia Ward Kehoe!


As a writer of Young Adult fiction, I think a lot about kissing scenes. If you and I are Facebook friends or Twitter buddies, you already know I enjoy writing them. I also take them quite seriously because they are serious matters for many of my teen readers.

Back when I wrote my first YA novel, AUDITION, I posted a YouTube discussing HOW to write a kissing scene. The video was a bit tongue-in-cheek (no pun intended—heck, yes, pun intended!) but truthful.

YouTube Link

Today, as I wrap up the blog tour for my second novel, THE SOUND OF LETTING GO, here at A BACKWARDS STORY, I’d like to approach the kissing scene from a Writing Craft perspective and share some of the WHY of including such moments in a story, particularly in the context of teen novels.


From catching the eye of a guy to banter and even to holding hands, the risks of romance are largely emotional (heartbreak, embarrassment). In getting to the point of kissing, we realize the parts of a physical relationship that we are actually afraid of (or not ready for; or don’t understand).  When characters kiss in a book (or on screen) there is a shift in their relationship—a change in the dynamic of the story.


Kissing is an act embued with meaning. It is something we DO for X minutes of time and then REFLECT UPON for exponentially MORE minutes. Especially at the beginnings of relationships. After that, we travel with that kiss into the rest of our world. We tell a friend or family member about a kiss, or confront a cheating partner about a kiss. A kiss can lead writers down many a fascinating plot path for which we are grateful since plots can sometimes be tricky!


What is a good kisser, emotionally and physically? Does a good kisser make a good boyfriend? Do you always kiss for the right reasons? Can BIG ISSUES be explored without going beyond the kissing point? Why or why not?

While I sometimes shy away from breaking the writing process down too much, I feel it can be useful to explore the WHY of dramatic moments, such as kisses, particularly if you feel you’ve written one that doesn’t quite have the intensity you would like. Knowing exactly WHY your character gives, or participates in, a kiss may help you realize how well you know the character in a larger sense. Changing the limit of “how far” a kiss is taken can have a dramatic effect on the way readers perceive the ongoing relationship between characters.

In the end, I think, a kiss can represent a reach outward for love. It daring and dangerous, precious, fleeting, sometimes life-altering and, for the writer, always worth some extra moments of refinement.

Stasia Ward Kehoe’s second novel, THE SOUND OF LETTING GO is available now from AMAZON, B&N, INDIEBOUND and wherever books are sold. She is at work on a new manuscript in which, of course, there is a critical kissing scene. When not at her desk, she can be found teaching writing workshops in the Pacific Northwest and driving multitudinous carpools.

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Stasia Ward Kehoe
Release Date: Feb. 6, 2014
Publisher: Penguin / Viking Children's
Received: For Review

For sixteen years, Daisy has been good. A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly. A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad. She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave.

But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal. Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy? Should she side with her parents or protect her brother? How can she know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go?

Enter to win

…a signed first edition of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO, 
one of four different TsoLG Swag Packs, 
or a pair of author-designed custom Keds sneakers (size 8)

(Ends 2/26)

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