Posts tagged ‘lisadesrochers’

December 22nd, 2010

Five Challenge: Debuts

by Madeleine Rex

Persnickety Snark has a neat challenge/meme going for the last days of the year. I’m terrible at rephrasing things, so I’m going to quote directly:

It’s called the Persnickety Snark FIVE Challenge

From December 21st to 31st I posted daily on different elements of YA. I chose my top five titles/series/moments for each day. It was purely subjective / opinion based but I thought it would be fun to share my thoughts on YA for the year.  I am doing the same for 2010.  You can read last year’s efforts here.

I have included the themes for each day below so should you choose to join me you can. It’s a busy time of year so you might even pre-schedule posts or only chime in on the topics that interest you.

The challenge began yesterday, but instead of posting twice on one day, I’m going to skip the re-reads category (I hardly re-read anyway, so it won’t make much of a difference). Today’s (really yesterday’s) challenge? 5 Great Debuts… But it will actually be three because I haven’t read enough debuts.

1. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

My Review

2. Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance—-even her closest friends—-and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him.

What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy—-all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

My Review

3. Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

Amber Appleton lives in a bus. Ever since her mom’s boyfriend kicked them out, Amber, her mom, and her totally loyal dog, Bobby Big Boy (aka Thrice B) have been camped out in the back of Hello Yellow (the school bus her mom drives). Still, Amber, the self-proclaimed princess of hope and girl of unyielding optimism, refuses to sweat the bad stuff. But when a fatal tragedy threatens Amber’s optimism–and her way of life, can Amber continue to be the rock star of hope? With an oddball cast of characters, and a heartwarming, inspiring story, this novel unveils a beautifully beaten-up world of laughs, loyalty, and hard-earned hope.

My Review

All three of these were fantastic books, but I have to step up and say that more people need to read Sorta Like a Rock Star! The other two have gotten so much more hype, but the third deserves just as much!

Anyway, I’m hoping that I’ll actually be able to deliver the desired five books tomorrow with 5 Great Covers!

Good night!

P.S. Exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point…

October 18th, 2010

Lisa Desrochers; Author Interview + Gabe Stops By!

by Madeleine Rex

The fabulous Lisa Desrochers, author of Personal Demons (Review), has increased her Fabulous Status in agreeing to let me interview her! I was thrilled when she said yes and took my time compiling my questions. Five of them are for Lisa herself, and the remaining six are questions I asked Gabe. Without further ado (because I know you’re not here to listen to me jabber), Lisa and her angelic friend, Gabe:

Questions for Lisa:

ME: When you sat down to write Personal Demons, did you have a concrete idea of what you wanted to do with the book, or was it more conceptual and you decided to see where your whims took you?

Lisa: All I had when I started writing Personal Demons was a name, Lucifer Cain. He popped into my head and started telling me a story. The rest flowed from the characters.

ME: It’s inarguable that the Heaven, Hell, and Limbo in Personal Demons are incredibly well-formed and rather unique (I know I was wowed by the details). You seem to blend various bits of myths and legends to create your worlds. How much thought went into the world-building process, and are you still creating different facets of the ways the three operate?

Lisa: I did a lot of research into demon and angel lore. I decided from the beginning that I wanted to keep Personal Demons contemporary, so I took what I learned and put a modern spin on it. In Personal Demons, Hell is a bureaucracy. I looked at demon hierarchy and tried to figure out what departments there would be and who would be in charge of them. Then I did the same thing with Heaven. Once I had that sorted out, I had to figure out how, within this bureaucracy, it would be determined who went to Heaven and who went to Hell. It made sense that Hell would have an Acquisitions department. Heaven, on the other hand, would be in charge of sorting the souls who died before they were tagged because of the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing, so they wouldn’t need and Acquisitions department. They would be more like the police and judicial system, to keep Hell’s Acquisition team from running wild on the mortal coil. So, it’s really based in the bureaucracy of modern society. It’s continuing to evolve in the sequels.

ME: Did you always intend the book to have two POVs, and what made you choose to leave out Gabe’s? Did you have difficulties keeping Luc and Frannie’s voices distinct enough to avoid readers’ confusion?

Lisa: Well, only the reader (you) can tell me if the voices are distinct. In my head they are. As far as who got a POV, again, that flowed from the characters themselves. Luc was the initial POV character, but when Frannie showed up, she demanded to tell her side of the story. Though Gabe has a strong presence in the novel, I always heard him through Frannie or Luc. Not only did he not demand a POV, he didn’t want one. For you Team Gabe fans out there, you’ll be happy to know he is demanding a POV in Hellbent (bk #3) so we’ll be hearing from him soon.

ME: How many rewrites did you go through before querying? How was the dreaded querying experience for you?

Lisa: I wrote Personal Demons in about seven weeks and spent another six or so revising and polishing before I queried. It took me about a week to put together a killer query letter and another week to research agents and decide who were the best matches for what I’d written. I initially sent my query to five agents, holding back on 15 more until I heard from the first five. My thought was, if I didn’t get any requests, I could revise my query before sending it out to the others. Luckily, four of the first five agents I queried requested manuscripts. In the end, I had 12 manuscript requests and four offers of representation.

ME: What’s a day in the writing life of Lisa Desrochers like? Do you write every day? Wake up in the wee hours of the morning to spurt out a few thousand words before daily distractions take hold? Or do you write whenever you feel the urge?

Lisa: I only write when my characters have something to say. Unfortunately, that’s often when I’m in the shower, driving down the road or at three o’clock in the morning. I find that if I set a strict word count per day, I just end up writing drivel that gets cut anyway. When I’m drafting a novel, the story seems to come fast and furious, so I’m writing in every second I can sneak to my laptop or scribble a note on the back of a Taco Bell receipt. When I’m between novels, I can go for weeks without writing anything. It’s really up to my characters.

Questions for Gabe:

ME: If you were mortal and didn’t have the incredibly amazing job as a Dominion Angel, what do you believe you’d like to do for a living someday?

Gabe: Good question. I’m an angel, so I probably should say something profoundly angelic, yes? But, since I can’t lie…I’d want to teach skydiving.

ME: What looks like the most disgusting of human food? (Please don’t say mushrooms. It would break my heart.)

Gabe: Lasagna. It’s red and squishy with chunks of stuff. It seriously looks like it’s already been chewed.

ME: How many years did it take for you to reach the status you have (or have you lost track)? Being the left-hand of the Gabriel must have been difficult place to end up. Do you remember what your first calling was?

Gabe: I was created by the Almighty just after the War to replace some that Lucifer took with him. I’ve always been a Protector. Gabriel took me under his wing (literally) from the time of my creation. The understanding has always been, should something happen to him, I’d take his place. I suspect that’s the reason they named me Gabriel. Everyday of my existence has been training for that possibility, though, his is a job I’m not sure I’d want. There may come a time I have no choice.

ME: How many people have you tagged? Have any slipped out of your grasp before?

Gabe: We have teams of angels whose job it is to tag souls, so it’s not something I do often. When I’m sent, it’s usually a special case…someone special who needs extra protection. In those cases, if I can tag them I will. It’s the surest way to protect them from the other side. But the thing about that is, it’s really up to them. I can’t just tag whomever I choose. They have to earn the tag. There have been a few that weren’t able to find it in themselves to do what needed to be done to allow me to tag them. Others just flat out chose to go the other way.

ME: Have you and Lucifer found yourselves after the same target before, or do your shields usually work?

Gabe: Lucifer and I have a history. Other than Frannie, Lucifer has gotten past my Shield twice. Unfortunately, he seems to be particularly perceptive. I’m not naming names, but the two other times we’ve run up against each other are the two times the mortal has chosen to go the other way. Not only is Lucifer perceptive, but also persuasive.

—-

First of all, Lisa had the dream writing/querying experience. I think my jaw would have dropped when I read that if my jaw was actually in the habit of doing that.

Anyway, if you have not read Personal Demons, I seriously recommend it! Lisa’s a fabulous author and her book has a refreshing take of Heaven, Hell, and that little place in between.

September 6th, 2010

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Personal Demons

Author: Lisa Desrochers

Published: September 14th, 2010

Number of Pages: 368

Rating: 4/5

Review Sent to Tor*:

Personal Demons is a twisted and steamy paranormal romance that, frankly, is anything but just a paranormal romance. The fight between good and evil is more of a heated and very entertaining argument, one that kept me clutching my copy and holding it closer to my face than was probably necessary. Lisa Desrochers’s versions of Hell and Limbo are fascinating, unique, and richly described. Surprisingly humorous and undoubtedly highly addictive, Personal Demons is a book not to be ignored – particularly when a certain demon and a certain angel take the stage…

Synopsis:

Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She’s spent years keeping everyone at a distance—even her closest friends—and it seems her senior year will be more of the same…until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him. What she doesn’t know is that Luc works in Acquisitions—for Hell—and she possesses a unique skill set that has the King of Hell tingling with anticipation. All Luc has to do is get her to sin, and he’s as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and the angel, Gabe, is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Luc doesn’t get what he came for. And it isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just her soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay…for all of them. [From Goodreads]

Review:

Though I, unsurprisingly, have mixed feelings about this book (funny, how often that happens), I enjoyed it immensely. Hence the 4/5 rating that was almost a 3/5, but I figured I should go with my initial instinct, which had voted for the former.

Lisa Desrocher’s debut novel has an incredibly unique take on the ways of Heaven and Hell. The histories and current realities of the two that we are made aware of in this book fascinated me. Yes, yes, some might be a bit appalled at the differences between these worlds and the ones they believe in religiously, but this is fiction people. Let your imaginations run free and welcome the imaginings of others. (Sorry for the odd-ball comment. I just think this is something people might find issues with and wanted to express my view.)

I think one of the immediate turn-offs for me was Frannie’s character and her prevailing indecisiveness. We all have our problems with love triangles (It’s inevitable.There’s just too much drama and tension to avoid irritation and arguments. Let’s face it) – one of mine is the main character who runs between two different boys, pretty much taunting them as she kisses Boy One and then moves on to some smooching with Boy Two. Frannie does a fair amount of this. In her defense, the girl becomes pretty shaken up as a result of various events in the book, but I simply cannot truly excuse the kissing wars. I also felt uncomfortable at times and wish that people hadn’t gone as far as they did down that road I hate wandering down with a character (hint, hint). It dampened the experience for me a bit.

However, I did enjoy the book. Yes, I already said that, but I’ll say it again. The tension, the heat of everything – it was all mesmerizing and wildly entertaining. There is not a single thing I can say against Lisa’s prose, as I was carried through the story seamlessly. Frannie’s voice is clear and distinctly different from Luc’s (the other point of view) – although the lines blurred a bit more for me toward the end, but that might have been their effect on each other. And what I wouldn’t give to have been able to read from Gabe’s POV! His mind was always such a mystery, while I knew every thought and feeling of Luc’s and Frannie’s.

Anyone who’s read the book is wondering at this exact moment what team I’m on (Remember? Love triangle!!). You need not wait any longer – I am determinedly Team Gabe. He’s the angel! Sorry, but I have a weakness for the apparent good guy. Give me the clean and virtuous, please. Personal Demons’ version of an angel might be vastly different from my own, but he’s an angel all the same, and that’s a hardy credential in my book. I loved that Gabe manages to be the good mysterious boy. I’ve never entirely understood him as I have Luc or Frannie, and that’s because his head was the absent one. In some ways, he was a void. I’m eager to have a bit of sight into his mind in the future. I hope Gabe will prevail. My friend, Harmony, and I actually had a “heated” argument on the subject of Luc vs. Gabe that we shared with Lisa. It was pretty entertaining, if I do say so myself… particularly because Harmony is the official Fangirl Captain on Team Luc. I’ve volunteered for Lieutenant on Gabe’s side (I’m not kidding).

Now, Luc is one doozy of a character as well. He’s undoubtedly very conflicted and his “journey” is fantastically interesting. My opinion of him altered drastically between the beginning and end of the book. Lisa expertly fooled with my feelings. I can’t honestly say what I think of him as of now, but I can attest to the fact that Lisa is a professional at realistically evolving a character’s personality. I’d say don’t make the mistake of judging him too soon (as I did), but it was simply too fun to be surprised. Go ahead and jump to conclusions, because even having them blasted to smithereens was a good time!

As I said before, Frannie isn’t one of my all-time favorite people, let alone main characters. She doesn’t have some of the qualities I really admire, and at times I wondered just why it was that so many boys were falling over their own feet in their haste to get to her. However, I don’t need to entirely admire a main character to enjoy an intriguing story or side-characters that fascinate me. And I firmly believe that people can change in more ways than we could ever imagine.

When I finished Personal Demons, it would be an understatement to say that I wanted the next book in the series (which, depressingly, will be released in a dreadfully long time, as this book has yet to hit shelves as it is). I believe there are tweets out there in cyberspace that say something to that effect (but very probably with more exclamation points and possibly capital letters). This is one book that ends both satisfactorily and terribly – only terribly because you are left with this irritating itch that you must read more. The ending’s also quite funny, which only made it harder to stomach the fact that it’s over… for now.

With a combination of hilarious banter between angel and demon, a love triangle that will amuse you to no end, and a fascinating take on Heaven and Hell, Lisa Desrochers Personal Demons is bound to entertain and grip readers. I’m eager to hear what others will think of this surprising and utterly creative debut.

*Thank you so much for the ARC!