Monday, October 31, 2011

Interview & Giveaway with Jessica Shirvington!

Welcome to Cotton Candy Reviews, Jessica. It is great to have you here.
Thanks so much!

For those who are yet to have the pleasure of reading your books, could you tell us about them?
Book 1 in The Violet Eden Chapters is called EMBRACE. It is the story of a seventeen-year-old girl, Violet Eden, who discovers that she is caught up in this ancient battle between exiled angels that are on earth and angel-human warriors that fight against them called the Grigori. Violet discovers her destiny is entwined with this eternal battle and must make her choice – to follow the path that has been set for her, or turn her back on her destiny. At the heart of the story she is also torn between the two men in her life; Lincoln – her long time crush who is the one to tell her nothing will ever be the same, and Phoenix, an exiled angel who, despite his more frightening attributes always happens to be there when she needs someone.
Book 2, ENTICED, follows on from Embrace and we see Violet come into her powers and also begin to take charge of her life. New characters come in from the Academy in New York and new friendships are forged. But old enemies return, too, and Violet quickly discovers that she is more vulnerable than ever. It is in the sacred mountains of Mt Nebo, in Jordan, where the ultimate secrets are revealed and Violet must step up and make one more very difficult decision.
Book 3, EMBLAZE, has just come out. A lot has happened and Violet’s life has changed so much she sometimes barely recognises herself. She has had to face so many battles, but she knows her biggest is coming and she must ultimately face Phoenix. The trouble is, Phoenix always seems to have the upper hand. When he double crosses them and takes something very dear to Violet, she realises – the games are over. If she wants to protect the people she loves, she has to fight Phoenix – even though she knows, there is little chance of her coming out of it alive.

So far there are three books in the Violet Eden chapters. How many books are planned for the series?
Definitely 4 and probably 6. I am writing book 4 at the moment and I have always promised myself I would let the story build and end organically and at the right time. I am not interested in telling the same story over and over – but also, I don’t want to cut the character progression short or just give a predictable ending – so I am leaving myself open to find the right place to end. Of course, I think I have a good idea, but sometimes when you start writing you just discover a better way and I want to be in a position to take that better road if it presents itself.

How would you describe Violet?
I’d describe Violet as strong and independent but also fragile and flawed at the same time. Some of her actions are forced from a place of fear rather than strength. She is not always as strong as she likes to appear and I think that makes for some interesting scenes. At other times, when she is put in the most frightening of situations her real strength comes through and then you can see her potential. I guess you could say ... she’s complicated. Like most seventeen-year-old girls.

What are the differences between Lincoln and Phoenix?
Many. Lincoln is grounded. He knows who he is, had a stable upbringing. His morals and ethics are well developed and though he makes mistakes he has an inner strength that makes him an incredible person. On the other hand, he tends to overthink things as well. Sometimes I just want to grab him and shake him and tell him – he doesn’t have to always take the hard road.
Phoenix is quite different. His upbringing has been completely unique. No other being in the world is like him. He has been tossed aside so many times as if no one would claim him as one of their own. He has learnt to function, to take and to please himself when he wants, but you can see that has left him wanting in other areas. As opposed to Lincoln, Phoenix’s innate tendencies make it difficult to simply to the right thing. It is as if, even when he tries, he can’t help but chose the most questionable way to get there. I feel like shaking him a lot too!

How do your angels differ from other angel books that are out?
First of all, my angels are non-corporeal – and they are forbidden from visiting the earth. That also means that my exiled angels have to adjust to having human bodies when they fall to earth – it is a huge thing for them to become accustomed to and they never really do. As a result, they can’t process the physical restraints and the emotional responses that come with having a human form and they gradually become more and more insane.

Are the Violet Eden Chapters set anywhere in particular, or have you created a separate universe?
They are set in our world; however, I never name the city that Violet lives in. In book 2, they go to Jordan. In book 3, they go to Greece. In book 4, they go to New York. However, when I wrote the early drafts of Embrace I found myself simply referring to Violet’s home city as the ‘City’ and quickly realised this was the way I wanted it to stay. I want the readers to be able to fully submerge themselves in Violet’s world and that means imagining it as if they were there. I imagine a version of the places I have lived in my life and around the world and readers should do the same – whether they imagine a place they live in or have been to.

Was there anything in particular that sparked the idea behind your books?
I loved the idea of the angel hierarchy and I used that to help create the premise for the world rules. The idea that there are these nine ranks of angels – each with a purpose, power and function. It made sense that they would be broken up this way. Also, I liked the idea that angels were completely flawed, just like us. This led to a lot of my story threads.

What is one thing you wish you had the talent for?
Music. I love music so much and listen to playlists all the time in between writing. I am always singing along in the car – people point and laugh at the traffic lights! And my kids are always blocking their ears. I think they would like it too, if I had a talent for singing.

Do you have a favourite flavoured Tim Tam?  (I prefer the dark choc mint version.)
Hmm ... To be honest, I haven’t explored the flavour options. I’m pretty traditional when it comes to Tim Tam buying but my favourite ice cream is mint choc-chip so I like your suggestion.

Jessica Shirvington lives in Sydney with her husband of nine years, FOXTEL presenter and former Olympic sprinter Matt Shirvington, and their two daughters. She has previously founded and run a coffee distribution company, Stella Imports, in London, and been involved in managing the restaurants Fuel Bistro, Tow Bar and MG Garage in Sydney.

She is currently a full-time mum, author and co-director in the company MPS Investments Pty Ltd.

You can find out more about Jessica and her books by visiting her website:

Liking The Violet Eden Chapters on Facebook:

And by visiting the official Violet Eden Chapters website: 

To win a copy of EMBRACE, just leave a comment with your email! If you don't follow my blog I would be most appreciative you did. Giveaway is international as the book will be shipping from the Book Depository.  (The English covers are also different.)
Giveaway ends Friday November 11th.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Review: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Silence
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: October 4th 2011
Publishers: Simon & Schuster
Available from: Amazon

Amazon UK
The Book Depository
The Nile

I received this book from the publisher.

The noise between Patch and Nora has gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past, bridged two irreconcilable worlds and faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for - and their love - forever.
What a thrilling third instalment in the Hush, Hush saga. I absolutely adore this series and was not disappointed with Silence. Becca Fitzpatrick is truly a master storyteller.
Patch and Nora’s story is captivating. They are both intense, multi-dimensional characters you can almost reach out and touch. I love Nora’s fierce personality in this book. She faces huge obstacles in Silence but never gives up. She can come off as quiet and unassuming, but has a steel core. Patch is just amazing. He’s a bad boy with a tortured soul, who protects Nora with a powerful devotion. The chemistry between Patch and Nora is like an inferno; you just can’t help but be sucked in. Theirs is a truly epic and romantic love story.
Becca has created a fantastic host of secondary characters that help bring this story to life. Vee is Nora’s best friend, and she always has something to say. She’s definitely one of my favourites.
From the very beginning of Silence I was left awed. It caught me off guard and I had no idea how the story was going to pan out. Silence seduced me with a mesmerising tale that had me gasping for more. Addicting is an understatement. If you haven’t read this series, you’re completely crazy. Living under a rock is no excuse for not reading this phenomenal series. Absolutely cannot wait for book four!

Visit for great information on the books, Becca and her upcoming Australian tour! You can even attend The Black Hand Ball.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Title: Haunting Violet
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: July 4th 2011
Publishers: Bloomsbury
Available from: Amazon

Amazon UK
Book Depository
The Nile

I received this book from the publisher.

Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts, especially since her mother has worked as a fraudulent medium for a decade. Violet has taken part in enough of her mother's tricks to feel more than a little jaded about anyhting supernatural. The ghosts, however, believe in Violet and she's been seeing them everywhere. One ghost in particular needs Violet to use her emerging gift to solve her murder ...and prevent the ghost's twin sister from suffering the same fate.
I love reading about Victorian England, and it is such fantastic setting for Haunting Violet. The scenes are rich and vibrant, and I felt transported in every scene. Violet has been an unwilling participant in her mothers fake seances. She is a true skeptic, and I enjoyed the irony behind her ability. I thought Violet handled the whole thing very well. Violet is a such a likable character. She's caring and is determined to help others no matter the cost to her own safety. Colin is an Irish orphan, and has lived with Violet and her mother since his own passed away. I really enjoyed Violet and Colin's relationship progression. Violet has come to see how grown up Colin is, and begins to notice a little bit more and more about him. You can't help but dislike Violet's mother, but you also feel compassion towards her. Mind you, she doesn't do much to make you feel for her. I was entertained throughout the entire book, with Violet's best friend Elizabeth providing some entertaining scenes. Haunting Violet is a murder mystery first and foremost, but the paranormal aspects add an extra layer. I loved the suspense and intrigue, and was constantly trying to guess who the murderer was. I haven't read any of Alyxandra's Drake Chronicles, but if they're anything like this, I'm adding them to my TBR.