Thursday, January 29, 2015

Author interview: Natalie Scott




Today on the blog: An interview with author Natalie Scott, who shares a bunch of random facts about herself. It can't be all about books, now can it?


Personal questions:

What's the scariest thing you've ever done?
Writing a novel and putting yourself out there is pretty scary! I’m not sure if it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s definitely up there. I am lucky because most of my reviews have been fairly positive, but there is always one or two that turn my stomach. Still, I say no guts, no glory!

How do you take your coffee?
I have a wicked sweet tooth! I put sweet cream by Coldstone in my coffee every morning.

If you were given the chance to take the place of one Fairy Tale character, who would you choose?
I would choose Cinderella. Doesn’t every girl want to be Cinderella and find her handsome prince? Unfortunately, life is not like a fairy tale… if you lose your shoe at 12 o’clock at night you are probably drunk!

Questions about your writing:

What makes you feel inspired to write?
I have a deep love of stories and of books. Whenever I am upset or overwhelmed, there is nothing like losing yourself in a really great book. Not only do the books I read inspire me, but the authors who write them.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
My favorite scene in the book is when the main character, Bebe, is getting to ready to compete in the Grand Prix and she has an attack on the nerves. Her trainer Billy takes her aside and says, “You’re a good rider, Bebe, maybe a great one, but you’re fear-driven. You always have been. Despite all of your training, I’ve never been able to knock that out of you.” I love this part of the book because we all have our fears and our doubts and we have to learn how to push through them!

What is your usual writing routine?
I like to write in a public place, like a coffee shop or café. I like having background noise or listening to music while I write.

What is the highest goal that you desire to meet as an author?
I think every writer secretly wants an audience that is swept away and totally relates to their works. One of my favorite reviews starts off with, “What child hasn’t wanted to be a cowboy/cowgirl or own their own horse?” It’s a great feeling when a reader connects with your book.

Questions about your reading:

The best book you've ever read?
My favorite book is JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. I know most people prefer third person, but I love first person stories. I enjoy the immediacy, which is why I decided to write my own novel in first person.

Five books that inspire you.
1-Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
2-Gone With the Wind
3-The Fault in our Stars
4-To Kill a Mockingbird
5- The Hunger Games

Do you feel scared to pick up a book about which you've heard a lot of different opinions?
Not really, I’m a very definitive person. I try not to get sucked into the hype. I think it’s really important to make up your own mind and not be swayed by public opinion. I’ve read books that have had a lot of buzz and been disappointed, then I’ve read books I’ve never heard of and been blown away!

How long does it take you to fall in love with a book?
It takes me just as long to fall in love with a book as it does a person… about 5 minutes! People talk about love at first sight… I think it’s the same with a novel.

Your favorite book genres:
Young Adult, New Adult, and Romance

Things you crave/covet:

One thing you're ready to beg for.
Beg might be a little extreme, but good reviews are always welcome! I think most writers pray for great reviews.

Five desserts that make your mouth water.
I’m a chocoholic, so my favorite desserts would be: Chocolate mousse, chocolate brownie, chocolate soufflĂ©, chocolate chip cookies, and a hot fudge sundae.

I could totally recommend a book that features a GIANT sundae. It's called Zeus is Dead by Michael G. Munz. And that sundae? It bites. Anyway, what do you collect?
Is that a trick question? I love collecting books.

Random:

If you were put to the task to create your own soulmate, how would he/she look like?
I think it was very subconscious, but my main character Billy O’Reilly is in many ways my ideal of romantic love.

What are you wearing right at this moment?
I am a fashionista, so normally I can’t resist a little black dress! However right now, answering interview questions, I am in my trusty black leggings!

What do you think is the most important thing in life?
I think love is the most important thing in life. That’s why the romance genre is so popular!
 


About the book:

Rules for Riders, by Natalie Scott, was published in August 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in eBook and paperback. Genres: Young Adult / Romance

Synopsis:


Rules for Riders is a fast paced coming-of-age novel set in the competitive world of equestrian riding.

After a near fatal riding accident, Bebe Barkley is banned from riding and sent off to boarding school. There, she meets her roommate and fellow equestrian rider, Finn Foxley. The girls devise a scheme to get themselves kicked out of boarding school in order to return to the world that they love. Once back on the circuit, former friends become deadly rivals. 

Bebe's handsome trainer, Billy O'Reilly, gives her seven rules to follow in order to successfully compete. Through a series of tragic events, both girls are forced to abandon their dreams of Olympic gold. Bebe ventures down a dark road of self-destruction as she breaks every rule Billy taught her, only to be forced to relearn them in order to reclaim her life. Rules for Riders is a tale of lost dreams and the struggle to create new ones.


About the Author:

Natalie Scott grew up in Melbourne, often referred as the cultural capital of Australia because of its great restaurants, trendy cafes and great shopping! Natalie developed a love of books when her fourth grade teacher read the book Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis.

In high school Natalie devoured the classics, her favorite being Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger. At University she studied English Literature and Communications, though she will openly admit to spending a lot of time at the college pub where she liked to make up outrageous stories before traveling extensively through Europe and the United States.

Throughout her travels, she fell in love with sunny California where she attended classes at UCLA Writer’s Program. Natalie also attended numerous writers’ conferences including Santa Barbara, San Diego State and Grubstreet. She was the recipient of the Outstanding Fiction award given at the Southern California Writers Conference. In her spare time, Scott worked as a spokes model for companies including the AMC Network,, We Entertainment, Hasbro, Adobe and Sony.

The Aussie gal is a foodie who loves Vegemite and currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona where she enjoys sharing her passion for food, enjoys exploring new restaurants, happy hour, traveling, and a passion for books and fashion.

Natalie Scott’s debut novel Rules for Riders was published in August 2014.

Connect with Natalie on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

To learn more, go to http://www.nataliescott.com/




KING
CHAPTER 1

I can still remember the first time I saw him...

He’s seventeen hands high, a dark bay, almost black, a white star on his forehead, and two white socks on his hind legs. I’m fifteen years old when I spy King bucking and rearing and giving the grooms a terrible time. I think he’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

I point straight at him, “I want that horse.”

My father (otherwise known as the Colonel) rolls his eyes. “No, he’s wild. You just want him because he’s difficult like you.”

We’re at our neighbors, the O’Rileys, on a crisp Sunday morning. Jim O’Riley owns Starlight stables and is one of the best horse trainers in Connecticut. Jim winks at me. “For God’s sake, Colonel, everyone knows you made a ton of money in the stock market. Let her have the damn horse.”

“I said no,” shrieks the Colonel, remaining unconvinced. “Besides, who’ll train her?”

“I will,” Billy O’Riley, Jim’s oldest son, steps forward. His clear green eyes stare straight at King. “He’s a warm blood, sir, from Holland. We just bought him.”

The Colonel growls at Billy. “Listen son, I don’t care if he’s from friggin’ Japan! For God’s sake you’re only a couple of years older than my daughter.”

We all stand there watching, while his face turns bright red with rage. There’s no way in hell he's going to let me have this horse now. That would be too perfect. Instead, he shocks the pants off of me!

“Fine, but if you break your neck, don’t blame me.”

First thing the next morning I race over to the O’Rileys. By the time I reach the stables, I’m out of breath. Billy’s busy brushing down his horse, Stargazer. I walk over to King and stroke his mane. Then I pull a sugar cube out of my pocket. “Hey, boy.”

Billy looks up. “That’s funny, he doesn’t usually take to people so quickly. So let me guess, you want to take a ride?”

God, I’ve been riding since I was six! Okay, I admit it— Billy’s a hottie. I’ve had a crush on him forever. But it makes me crazy the way he still treats me like a little kid. He leans closer and places his hands firmly on his hips.

“Bebe, if I’m going to train you, there are rules for riders. The first one’s commitment. Without it, none of the other rules exist. If I agree to train you, you’ve got to give me 100 percent.”

I stare right back at him, giving him my best killer smile. “I’m all yours!”

For the next few weeks, he insists I do nothing but flat work. He hardly lets me ride across the yard without making sure I am doing it properly. Unlike the Colonel, Billy brings out the best in me and plays down the worst. Whatever I lack, he teaches me with infinite slowness; guiding King and I so we both gain confidence.

“That’s right. Keep your back straight, hold your head up, shoulders back.”

I learn from Billy that difficult horses become easy once you know how to handle them. With Billy’s training, I’m right on course. The Colonel’s threats don’t scare me. Instead, they fuel me, making me even more determined to succeed.

A few days later, I get to the stables early for some quiet time with King. Billy sneaks up behind me. I can feel his breath against my neck.

When I turn around, he has an amused look on his face. “So, do you finally want to take a ride? Isn’t that what you’ve been dying to do—jump every fence this side of Connecticut?”

I have this wild urge to hug him. Instead, I saddle up King. “C’mon, boy.”

King and I take off.

“Tell me what you’ve learned when you get back!” Billy shouts.
 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blog post by Jill over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights releases we're eagerly awaiting.

My pick this week is:



Title: Queen of Tomorrow

Genre: historical
Audience: YA/NA
Author: Sherry D. Ficklin
Release date: July 14th, 2015
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing

Summary:



Sophie—now Catherine, Grand Duchess of Russia—had a tough first year at Imperial Court. Married at sixteen to Grand Duke Peter, heir to the throne, and settled in their own palace, things are finally looking up. As a new day dawns, she thinks only of securing her future, and the future of their country, during one of the greatest political upheavals of her time. Fighting desperately against forces trying to depose the Empress Elizabeth and put the young Prince Ivan on her throne, Sophie soon finds herself in the middle of a war brewing between her beloved Prussia, and her new empire. But even as she navigates the fragile political landscape, she quickly realizes that she has only begun to discover the tangled web of deceit and infidelity woven over the lavish court of Oranienbaum Palace.

When a strange and delicate alliance forms between the young couple, she glimpses a future of happiness, only to see it lost in a moment at the hands of those who still seek to end her life—and prevent her reign. Out of favor with the empress and running out of options, Sophie will have to sacrifice her own innocence on the altar of Russia if she is to save the nation, and herself. To survive, she will have to do the unthinkable, betray those closest to her and become something greater and more dangerous than she ever imagined she could be… a queen.
  
Why I want to read it:
Because I loved Queen of Someday, book 1 to such an extent I'm buying them both when Queen of Tomorrow comes out in the summer!!! :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: The Third Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks & Tinker Lindsay


Synopsis:


Keep current with the truth: we’re only as weak as our secrets—especially the ones we keep from ourselves.
That’s the Third Rule of Ten
As the go-to private detective for a bevy of high-profile clients, our beloved ex–Buddhist monk, ex–LAPD officer, Tenzing “Ten” Norbu, has finally found his stride. With his beautiful pathologist girlfriend, a healthy bank account, and a steady stream of clients, courtesy of middle-aged movie star Mac Gannon and rising political star Bets McMurtry, Ten’s life is bursting with activity. But it’s not all joy and happiness. The death of his father and a growing abundance of secrets—both personal and professional—leave Ten feeling an unexpected depth of sorrow and confusion.
Even with the emotional turmoil, nothing can stop Ten from taking the case when McMurtry’s housekeeper goes missing. The investigation leads him down a dangerous path littered with bodies, untraceable prescription drugs, and human organ trafficking. But nothing is as shocking as the realization that the mastermind behind it all is in fact a criminal who has slipped through Ten’s fingers once before.
The Third Rule of Ten will have you on the edge of your seat, as you learn, along with Ten, that there is a fine line between healthy privacy and unhealthy secrecy. Knowing the difference may just determine whether Ten will stop his archenemy or lose himself.



NOTE: I received this title via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I'm not sure what I was hoping for with this novel, but I certainly got some thrill out of it. It was like watching CSI or Monk or Bones, but with a notch up on the action factor. I was very pleased that Ten didn't fail to deliver.
I can't say there was much mystery to it, but this wasn't the kind of book to expect it from anyway.

Writing style:
Quite good. Enticing with thrill and action.

Story line:
The Third Rule of Ten was the typical thriller/action/PI novel. There was a situation, a missing person case, that lead to death threats, some confrontation with drug lords & the FBI. It was really a journey that I usually only watch on TV shows, so it was nice to actually read it for a change.

Themes:
- Finding yourself can take awhile
- the PI's job can sometime be quite dangerous

Characters:
- Tenzing Norbu (Ten), a buddhist priest turned police officer turned PI has put himself in a situation he doesn't even know about. Right smack in the middle of organized crime of all possible kinds. Of course, with death threats and such he had little to no time to deal with his romantic and personal issues. After all, staying alive was turning to be a priority.
He was a fun character. Not quite quick of wit, but he wasn't stupid either. He liked to count on himself, and only rarely use his contacts.

- Heather was Ten's girlfriend. I'm not sure how she and Ten came to be together, but there was something missing from their relationship. Like love, maybe?

- Bill was Ten's ex-partner in the PD. Even though he tried to pretend he didn't care about Ten's affairs, he still helped the PI however he could. A fine man.

- The bad guy, a.k.a. drug lord, had two sides, which made him look realistic. On one side he was the ruthless killer who didn't care about anyone's life. On the other, he was a loving husband and father.

In conclusion:
If you're looking for a nice crime thriller, this should definitely be something to consider.

My rating is: