Book Review: Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

***UPDATE: My paranormal YA novel DRAWN is now out in paperback and ebook…If you like TWILIGHT and HUSH HUSH and books by Beth Fantaskey, then you’ll love DRAWN, the paranormal novel filled with forbidden love…and rich with believable characters. For more info about DRAWN click here!***

REVIEW: You know that obnoxious cocky guy? The one that is cute and he knows it?  The one that can’t help but make you laugh even though you really don’t plan on giving him the satisfaction of doing so?  Well, now imagine that this guy is European royalty, and that he shows up in your small Pennsylvanian town. Oh, and he’s a vampire.  Let’s add to that…It turns out you are a vampire too, but you didn’t know it.  And you were betrothed at birth to said arrogant vampire royalty dude.

Well, that is the entertaining premise of Beth Fantaskey’s debut young adult novel Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).  I know. More vampires. But like Suck it Up by Brian Meehl (you can check out my review of that by clicking here), Fantaskey fully embraces the ridiculousness of the situation to make us laugh out loud frequently.

Throughout the novel there is the enjoyable banter of anger laced with attraction between Jessica and the imperious Lucius. Well done throughout the book.  But the parts that I most enjoyed were the moments when Lucius comments on American teen life, and even gets involved in it.  One of my favorite moments occurs when he’s writing to his very scary uncle back at the homeland about his progress in sealing the deal with Jessica.  If the wedding between him and Jessica doesn’t occur, then the two ruling vampire families will go to war and most will be killed. No pressure, eh?  Anyway, Lucius concludes his rather solemn letter with

Your nephew, duty bound,
Lucius Vladescu
P.S. I’ve been recruited for basketball. The coach thinks I might start!

It’s that type of humor that will have you flipping the pages and thoroughly enjoying this book.  I loved the spoofy  wit surrounding the book Lucius gives Jessica to help her deal with her changes as she becomes a vampire –  Growing up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions. The guide has chapters like: “Your Changing Body.” Too funny.

The novel is full of flirty fun and moments of danger, but my favorite parts are when Lucius is looking down his nose at us all. “And do not even speak to me of ‘Jell-O’ and ‘sloppy joes.'”

So check this book out and enjoy. You’ll find it a great summer read.

 

Between Books in Claymont, DE: Another Unique Indie

As the Philly Liar’s Club (of which I’m a member) has been continuing it’s “Truth Tour,” throwing parties for independent bookstores throughout the region, I’m really learning a lot. Especially since I’m the one who contacts each owner to interview them about what makes their store special. I then write a feature story based on this info and send it out to the world.  What I keep noticing over and over again is just how unique each Indy store truly is.

Okay, we know what to expect when we walk into any Borders or Barnes & Noble, right? We know where each section is, what sort of books and magazines we’ll see. And where that cafe is.  But walk into an independent bookstore, and you are always experiencing something fresh and new.  Books you’ve never seen before.  Staff who have picked out every single title for that particular store. And there’s more…the store has it’s own quirky personality.

Between Books in Claymont, DE is the next stop on the Liar’s Truth Tour.  Between Books isn’t just a bookstore. Oh no. This store specializes in sci fi, fantasy and horror, making it a Mecca for genre fans throughout the area.  The shop also carries new comics, board games, role playing games and card games.  It holds incredible events for fans…like the time that Beef Cake and Techno Destructo from GWAR played the GWAR miniatures game there in full costume!  Plus Between Books offer 10% discounts on just about everything. They definitely deserve this Liar’s Club party and our support, don’t you think?

Shopping at a locally owned business like Between Books benefits the entire community. “We buy most of our supplies and services from local businesses,” says Greg Schauer, who co-owns the store with Richard Schauer. “And we help to promote local authors, artists and game designers.”  As part of this, Between Books offers advertising space for community activities, and helps promote events at Arden Guild Hall with posters and ticket sales. The bookstore also runs plenty of author events, bringing writers and the community together.  And, in at least one instance, the store brought two very important writers together as well. “Author Joseph Gangemi met the writer John Passarella at our store,” Schauer says. “They then collaborated on the novel Wither, which went on to win the Bram Stoker Award for best first novel.”

Great service, unique selections, and exciting events have sustained this independent bookstore for many years. In fact, Between Books will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in November. And the store will be bringing writers together yet again, this time in the form of an anthology they are publishing. “We will be releasing The Stories in Between,” says Schauer. “It’s an anthology honoring a few of the artists and writers that have appeared at our store over the last 30 years, and we’ll be celebrating its release on November 14th.”  The anthology will include work from Philly Liar’s Club members Jonathan Maberry, Jon McGoran

Independent Bookstores for Independent Minds

Independent Bookstores for Independent Minds

and Gregory Frost.

“It’s an honor to be included in their anthology,” says McGoran.  “And we Liars are all especially honored to be throwing our party for Between Books.  Independent bookstores are so much more than shops. They are the heart and soul of a community.”

The Liar’s Club will be at Between Books throwing a wild and crazy party July 25th from 3-5 p.m….free, fun, zany and lots of giveways, too…everyone is welcome! Visitors to the celebration will get to play Truth or Lie games for prizes, and can smooze with the following Liars: Bram Stoker award-winner Jonathan Maberry (Patient Zero, St. Martin’s), fantasy author Gregory Frost (Shadowbridge, and Lord Tophet (Del Rey/Random House), young adult author Marie Lamba (What I Meant…, Random House), debut crime novelist Dennis Tafoya (Dope Thief, St. Martin’s), historical author Keith Strunk (Prallsville Mills and Stockton, Arcadia Publishing Images of America Series), novelist Kelly Simmons (Standing Still, Washington Square Press), mystery author Merry Jones (The Borrowed and Blue Murders, Minotaur Books) and social media guru Donald Lafferty. For more information, or to reserve a copy of an author’s book before the event, call Between Books at 302-798-3378.

So join the fun, and support this local gem.  Have a special independent bookstore near you that you’d like to brag about?  Let me know. I’d love to hear what makes your Indy unique…