Sunday, June 3, 2012

Blog Tour and Review: Guest Post and 2 Giveaways with Twined's A. L. Collins's

Woo hoo!  It's time for yet another Blog Tour complete with giveaway (not just one, but 2!!!).  We'll also get to hear from the author, A. L. Collins on his inspiration for writing Twined (an awesomely unique YA Urban Fantasy) and I'll chime in with a complete review.  So, enough of me prattling on ...  let's talk about our featured book!

Book Description:
Avalin Marsh is used to disappointment. When her mother murdered a woman in the kitchen of her home on her eleventh birthday, Avalin decided that the people in your life were only there to let you down. She built up walls over the years making a mental fortress impervious to disappointment, heartache and sadness. However it also isolated her from others, making her bitter... and lonely.

When her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia after the murder, Avalin began to see and experience things that she couldn't explain. She thought she could handle these episodes by pushing them back into her mind. Until the day she sees one of her classmates morph into a monster right in front of her eyes. Pushed to the brink of paranoia, Avalin truly believes she's insane. Then a mysterious man named Albert comes into her life. She's wary of his motives yet for some reason finds herself drawn to him even though they've never met. What's even more inexplicable is that Albert knows who Avalin is. She's the daughter of the famous Abigail Marsh. Her mother.

Now the two of them will need to put their differences aside and trust one another. If Avalin can't let her guard down long enough to let Albert in, then there might be dire and far reaching consequences in store for them.

It turns out Avalin Marsh isn't as crazy as she thought.

Genre:  YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher Type:  Indie
My Rating: *  *  *

My Review:
I was excited by the premise of this novel.  I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know more about Avalin's situation.  I gave this book 3 stars because portions were 5 stars all the way and portions were 1 & 2 stars.

As we begin, Avalin talks of her 11 year old self.  This was a point of great concern for me because the girl described was at best 5.  And I'm pretty much expert to all things little girl, my daughters being 7 and 11.  I even had my 11 year old read this first portion and she was pretty horrified (ironically, we meet Avalin's 11 year old brother later in the story and he is a completely believable 11 year old boy).  Right after this, teenage Avalin tells us that she is considering becoming an orthodontist because she wants to drill and pull out teeth.  Umm, that's typically a dentist as orthodontists are specialist and don't normally due general dentistry.  Honestly, I almost quit reading at that point.  Luckily I held on because after getting past these issues a really great story emerges.

I loved the creativity that went into this book.  The twined are a completely unique and different race from any other you'll find in speculative fiction.  And how they interact and need their human counterparts was a fresh change.  Avalin is a likable and believable character.  She has backbone and doesn't just swoon at Albert's feet.  Albert is an interesting character with depth.  The plot is 3-dimensional, fast paced and full of the action/adventure I crave with a perfectly delicately growing romance.

I really enjoyed the bulk of this book and was ready to give it a solid 4 stars until the ending.  I'm okay with cliff hangers.  I don't mind unanswered questions hanging out there to be answered in book 2.  But every book regardless of being series or stand alone, needs a solid conflict, climax and resolution.  There was no substantial resolution.  Just a creepy event meant to have you worrying about the character until book 2.  I was disappointed enough in the ending to subtract a star from my rating.

So, overall, a good read, worth the time (I'll definitely be looking for book 2), but has some elements difficult to accept.
Onto Giveaway #1 (keep reading for a 2nd giveaway).....

The author has generously offered up an amazing prize pack which includes a print copy of the book, bookmark, poster, pen and much more. This giveaway is US and International.  Are you Oooo-ing and Ahhh-ing?!?  I sure am!!! (Click here if Rafflecopter is playing hide 'n' go seek)

a Rafflecopter giveaway So, let's get to know our author now...

I'm a character enthusiast and lover of storytelling. I've spent most of my life listening to the tales that people tell and studying what makes a book or characters alive and interesting. Writing is my love and the details the flavor. I hope that people enjoy what I can create.

Get to know A. L. better on his blog and twitter.  Add his book, Twined, to your tbr list on Goodreads.
Now, let's hear from the man of the hour about his experience writing Twined...

The idea for Twined really came quite suddenly. Usually I don’t do romance books. Well, I don’t do books that are entirely romance. It’s just not a strong suit of mine to focus on love or lovers alone. But with Twined I wanted something different. I wanted something new.

I thought of the premise of love. How risky it is to bank all of your happiness on a variable such as another person. You don’t know how they’re going to act, react or even what their motives could be. How can we know, for certain, what their intentions are? Do they truly love you? Do you truly love them back? Do you want to? These are all questions that lovers are forced to decipher on a daily basis. That’s what makes love exciting. That’s what makes it dangerous.

I always thought of romance as one person needing another; one person needing another in order to have true happiness. It’s as if we’re made incomplete, and we can only finish our design with the help of another, or in some case several other, human beings. That concept intrigued me. And then the core idea of Twined hit me. What if there were people out there who literally needed another person to survive? What if there was a species identical to humans that thrived on partnership to exist? To truly be happy? That’s when I thought of this book.

The idea of the book is that the Twined are a species that parallel humans in many ways. However in order to survive past their early twenties, they must perform a ritual called a Joining with another human being. Through this ritual the Twined enters a symbiotic relationship with a human of their choosing, allowing them to live a full life and giving them access to supernatural abilities. The Twined literally need other people to survive. If they don’t form a bond, then they wither and die as their bodies prematurely shut down.

Now the Twined are known as creatures that distort reality. In their hidden language they are called the Sathantia, or the “seam rippers”. They have been around since the beginning of time, hidden from the world. But the secret is slowly revealing itself in these modern times. It is thought that the world is on the cusp of an all-out Twined revealing. However for the time being, the existence of the Twined remains a carefully and well-guarded secret.

The core idea of Twined is that often you must find the other half of yourself within the love of another person. Be that through friendship, true love, fate or happenstance. There’s a whole dimension to a character that can be studied based on how said character treats other people. Relationships are a powerful thing. And it’s interesting to see a man like Albert, who so desperately needs someone to Join with, wind up with Avalin who wants anything but another complication in her life. The chemistry in this book I think is great and I believe it will only get better with time.

The inspiration for Twined did indeed stem from the idea of love. There are a lot of key social values in this book, like loyalty, honesty and trust. We’re a social species by nature. Forming bonds is coded into our brains, into our DNA. I think that we are meant to love for a reason. Because sometimes you have to look through someone else’s eyes to truly realize the best things about yourself.
Okay, ladies, I don't know if our author is single, but with insight into love like that,
I'm not sure he will be for long!!!

So onto the grand giveaway for the Twined Blog Tour for a $50
Amazon Gift Card
!  Woo hoo!!!  (Click here if Rafflecopter is being shy)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Love this review! And definitely added to my TBR list.. sounds great!

  2. May i ask who the other winner is? Thanks!

    1. This is the author's giveaway, so I haven't any access to the rafflecopter. Sorry :( You could try the author's website or Shadow Blog Tours, who organized the tour.

    2. Okay. Thank you! You have a wonderful weekend! :)