Sunday, October 30, 2016

Author Interview: Nicky Peacock

I guess I’ve always been a storyteller, not in a ‘liar liar pants on fire’ kind of way, although I do work in advertising! When I was little, kids would crowd around me in the playground and I’d tell them tales of blood soaked horror filled with vampires, werewolves, ghosts and more. Yes, most would consider me a disturbed child, but my playmates couldn’t help themselves, they’d huddle around me every break time like an ancient tribe feeding off the fear; and that’s how I learned that horror stories hold a certain power, no matter what some might say, everyone is addicted to a good scare, especially if it is somewhat rooted safely in unrealistic beings… or are they unrealistic?
Writing was really a natural progression for me. So far I’ve had 35 short stories included in anthologies produced by publishers all over the world; my latest was included in Little Brown Book Group’s Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories. I have two YA series with the publishers, Evernight Teen: Battle of the Undead and The Twisted and The Brave. 

Casey Marie: How did you get the inspiration for Lost in Wonderland?

Nicky Peacock: The inspiration for the book hit me last year. It was Alice in Wonderland's 150th anniversary, and I wanted to write a book that honored the themes without just transposing the whole story into another genre - and Lost in Wonderland was born. I'm currently working on new books in this series based on other children's books.

CM: How does Lost in Wonderland compare to your other novels and short stories?

NP: I currently have just one other series, The Battle of the Undead. These are vampires VS zombies, urban fantasy books. Think True Blood meets The Walking Dead. This series is told purely through the eyes of the main protagonist, a 450 year old vampire called Britannia. Although Lost in Wonderland is told partly through Mouse’s first person narrative, the styles of the two books are very different. The characters are also worlds apart. Vampires are usually pretty old so their personalities are more complex, their skill sets more varied. I enjoy writing both series, and it’s great to be able to change style and narrative whenever you want. I have a short attention span, so when I’m bored with one, I change to the other.

CM: How many books will be in the Twisted and the Brave series?

NP: I’m not sure yet. To be honest that is up to the readers. If the series sells then it will justify my time writing, editing and promoting the books. It’s a horrible thing to say, I know, and I wish I had enough money to be able to write what I want rather than what sells, but the hard truth with most authors is we need to make money. So if you want more books in the series – spread the word about Lost in Wonderland.

CM: What can you tease about book two of the Twisted and the Brave series? Does it have a title or release date yet?

NP: The second book is The Assassin of Oz, and I'm working on a prequel to the series which is inspired by The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I’m working on something else at the moment but I’ve plotted these out ready to go. 

CM: What would the characters of Lost in Wonderland dress up as for Halloween?

NP: Mouse would probably dress up as a witch and Cheshire would be her cat. Rabbit would go for a zombie, she already has the contact lenses for it. Shilo would stay in, he’d be too overwhelmed and frightened by the costumes. Mr Custard isn’t allowed to change outfits, he is an imaginary friend after all! Hatter would be dressed as a 1920s gentleman (he has a thing for that era)

CM: If the characters of Lost in Wonderland had the time to become avid readers, what books would they read?

NP: I think rabbit would enjoy a few historical romances. Cheshire would read Lee Childs’ books and Mouse would be addicted to thrillers – she’d see them as some sort of career handbook! Shilo would really enjoy some David Walliams books and Mr Custard would be drawn to urban fantasy. Hatter would be all about the comedy.

CM: Who is your dream cast for the characters of Lost in Wonderland?

NP: Mouse was always Maisie Williams in my mind – I think she’s great in Game of Thrones.
Hatter – Ian Somerhalder
Rabbit – Elle Fanning
Cheshire – Domhnall Gleeson
Shilo – Shia LaBeouf
Mr Custard – Hugh Jackman

CM: What are your favorite horror/thriller novels? Do you have any favorite horror/thriller authors?

NP: So many authors! And they change depending on my mood. For horror, I read Poppy Z Brite or Richard Laymon. For Paranormal Romance I read Kresley Cole and Christine Feehan. For Urban Fantasy it's Keri Arthur and Patricia Briggs. For thrillers it’s Louise Voss and Mark Edwards. For YA it's Kiera Cass and Cassandra Clare. And for when I'm feeling very brave, I read any paranormal non-fiction book from the publishers, Llewellyn.

CM: If you could co-write a book with any author, dead or alive, who would you want to write with?

NP: I’m always honest in interviews so I’d have to say that I’m too selfish and head strong to write with someone else. Even someone I admired. However, I loved Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books and felt the last in the series was a real let down. I’d work with her to re-write that last book, to give Sookie the farewell she deserved. 

CM: When did you decide that you wanted to become an author?

NP: I’m not sure I ever had that eureka moment. Literary apples didn’t konk me on the head one day. My mum had always wanted to be an author, and I think she passed that onto me at an early age.  I loved writing at school; English was by far my best subject – it just came real easy to me. Especially with reading being a close second love to writing. But it was only back in 2010 that I started to take my dream seriously. I began writing short stories for the anthology market. I'd previously tried writing novels but had always lost interest halfway through. Short stories seemed to be a good way for me to learn how to finish something (something you wouldn't think is a skill, but is) Next thing I knew I had 30 short stories published and an idea for a YA novel series. I think my previous publishing history helped seal the deal with my publishers. By learning my craft through short stories, I'd gain writing skills, experience working with editors, and a social media presence - all of which helped when it came to selling my lone author work.

CM: Aside from The Assassin of Oz, the second book in the Twisted and the Brave series, are you currently working on any projects?

NP: I’m always working on a few manuscripts at one time. I have an idea for another series that is currently worming its way out of my dark, twisted mind – but its top secret! 

I am also plotting the next book in the Battle of the Undead series, Bad Karma

CM: While the Alaskan setting is a major factor of the plot, if you could move the setting of the Twisted and the Brave series, where would you move it to?

NP: It would be difficult to move the setting and keep the Kushtaka as the antagonist. I’m in England, so I do prefer to keep my settings close to home for research purposes, so perhaps rural England, there are plenty of legends of blood thirsty, hairy beasts that walk the moors and woods.

CM: Do you believe in the Kushtaka?

NP: It’s an odd one. Monsters such as vampires, witches and werewolves have a place in every culture round the world. But the Kushtaka is very much confined to Alaska. It’s a big place so there could easily be something unknown lurking in the snow and ice. It’s a scary legend, so it wouldn’t be a pleasant thing to slip out of the cryptozoology files and into reality, but it would make the world a much more interesting place, if that was real, what else could be?.

Thank you so much for having me here today. If you’d like to find me online:

Purchase Links: 

Bad Blood
Lost in Wonderland


Bag yourself a FREE Halloween read, Traitors’ Gate!

Better When He's Bad (Welcome to the Point #1) by Jay Crownover

Summary: Welcome to the Point

There’s a difference between a bad boy and a boy who’s bad . . . meet Shane Baxter.

Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he’s the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft…and standing directly in his way.

Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con The Point has ever produced.

Bax terrifies her, but it doesn’t take Dovie long to realize that some boys are just better when they’re bad. (Via

Pages: 339

Release Date: June 17th, 2014

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I absolutely love Jay Crownover's Marked Men and Saints of Denver series. I started Rule, the first book in the Marked Men series, almost two years ago and it hooked me. I have been fortunate enough to meet Jay at two book events and I even had the opportunity to personally interview her. I was also on both of the review and excerpt tours for her two Saints of Denver novels (all the posts I have mentioned will be linked below).

There is something so personal about Jay's Marked Men and Saints of Denver series. After reading all eight of those novels, the novellas and the exclusive short stories, I feel as though I have a weird connection with her. She puts so much of herself into her work that you feel as though you have experienced some of these things alongside her. She just has a way with words.

Although I absolutely love the Marked Men and Saints of Denver series, I am not completely sold on Welcome to the Point series yet. That fact does not necessarily surprise me because this series is completely different from her other series. While I cannot necessarily relate to the Marked Men and Saints of Denver crew because I am not a twenty-something year old trying to figure out my future in Denver, I am most definitely not living in a dangerous city like the Point. The small town I live in is by no means the cleanest or safest town, but I do not live in a city that is completely littered with crime and illegal activity. I found myself trying really hard to relate to characters that were so different from myself. Reading does allow you to introduce yourself with different people of different walks of life, there was just something about the Point and its characters that had me clashing with them.

While the setting of Better When He's Bad might have left me with disconnect, it also made the story intriguing. I really love that the Point has no literal place in our world. It symbolizes all the bad parts of cities that have neighboring "good" places. It could be paces in any city in any country that meets the Point's criteria. That might have also led to the disconnect because it felt as though the setting was floating in the air since it had no literal home. It did bring a really special layer to the story though.

Like I mentioned earlier, I have very little in common with the characters of Jay's other novels; however, I have a deep connection with them. I do not feel the same about the characters of the Point. I assume that will change as the story progresses because, in a series like the Welcome to the Point series, the reader knows little about any of the characters aside from the main male and female character. I could grow to connect with the other characters as their stories become untangled, but who knows. I did not feel particularly attached to either Bax or Dovie and they are the main characters of Better When He's Bad. I would mainly blame this disconnect on the lack of similarities between us, but it could have to do with the time in which this novel was published. When He's Bad was published during the middle of  the Marked Men series, a point in which Jay was still figuring out her writing. She was working through the bugs in her character development and other elements of her stories. This could simply untangle itself as the Welcome to the Point series progresses.

Better When He's Bad was an enthralling first book in a thrilling new series. It introduced countless characters that I cannot wait to learn more about as the Welcome to the Point series and the spin-off series, The Breaking Point, continues. After the events and revelations in Better When He's Bad, I can only imagine what is in store in its sequel, Better When He's Bold. I can only imagine the trouble Race will get himself into.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Lost in Wonderland (The Twisted and the Brave #1) by Nicky Peacock

Summary: Monsters, serial killers, and imaginary friends—being a Wonderlander can be murder... 

Once upon a time, Kayla was lost. Then she found Wonderland, but not the one you know. Run by ex-government agents and funded by an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire, this Wonderland is the name of a collective of highly trained vigilantes who hunt serial killers. Now Kayla, aka Mouse, works tirelessly alongside her fellow Wonderlanders, Rabbit and Cheshire, baiting dangerous murderers. But even her extensive training hasn’t prepared her for the return of her older brother… 

Shilo has spent most of his life in an insane asylum, convinced his mother was abducted by a sinister Alaskan monster who lures the lost away to feast upon their flesh. And now he’s certain that his sister is in the same monster’s crosshairs. But if Shilo is going to save what’s left of his family, he’ll have to convince his sister that maybe, just maybe, we’re all a little mad.

14+ due to violence and adult situations

Buy Links: Evernight Teen  I  Amazon UK  I  Amazon US  I  Amazon Canada 

Add on Goodreads

Pages: 154

Release Date: April 14th, 2016

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars


I was given a free e-book of Lost in Wonderland by the author, Nicky Peacock, in exchange for an honest review. Lost in Wonderland is not a type of book I would typically reach for. It has elements of horror, which is my least favorite genre. While I am not a huge fan of horror novels or movies, I thoroughly enjoyed Lost in Wonderland. The novel did have its flaws, but overall it was a rather compelling read. Like the Kushtaka, Lost in Wonderland sank its claws into me and would not let go. 

Lost in Wonderland definitely sets the framework for an addicting series. It was a fast-paced read that kept me on the edge of my seat. Lost in Wonderland seamlessly combines Alaskan folklore and the classic tale of Alice In Wonderland into a unique Young Adult novel. The plot was addicting and I could barely tear myself from the screen. Depending on the format you read Lost in Wonderland, it barely reaches over a hundred pages. You can easily devour it in one sitting. I have never read anything like Lost in Wonderland and I highly doubt I will ever find another book like it.

Although the length of Lost in Wonderland allows the reader to devour it in one sitting, it is simply too small. The plot was great; however, the pace and length of the novel and the chapters cause an underdevelopment in the characters and the story as a whole. While short chapters can easily be used to hook readers, the shortness of the chapters in Lost in Wonderland causes a disconnect between the reader and the characters. The novel flips between so many different perspectives every three or four pages that the development of the previous characters ceases to exist. While the perspectives of the characters were supposed to add to the suspense and depth of the novel, it made the novel seem as though it was one tone. The reader barely has time to familiarize itself with the current character and they begin to blend together. Aside from Shilo, none of the characters have their own distinct voice. Nicky should have focused her energy on creating distinct voices of only two characters and slowly build the perspectives over the course of the series. 

The length of the novel and the chapters also led to a lack of details. I have no idea where Mouse lived with her "Mom" and "Dad". After something was mentioned in the beginning of the novel, I had assumed that they also lived in Alaska; however, it was mentioned that Kayla and Shilo had gotten passports when they were leaving for Alaska towards the end of the novel. While that could have been standard protocol for a mission, it was not stated where they were leaving to go to Little Bell, Alaska. I am not sure if they lived in Canada or somewhere else in Alaska. The novel lacked little details to make it more visual. While it did not shy away from the blood and guts, it did shy away from more important details that build the foundation of a novel. 

While the idea of the organization of Wonderland was interesting, the development of it also lacked. Towards the beginning it was stated that each agent has a special ability; however, that fact is not carried on throughout the novel. It was only mentioned that Mouse has the ability to look younger than she actually is. Rabbit is constantly referred to as an albino; however, I would not consider that an ability. Barely anything about Cheshire was even mentioned. I though he was a little boy until it was mentioned towards the end that he was in his late teens or early 20's. The novel lacked detail when it came to the characters and the organization of Wonderland. 

One thing I really enjoyed about Lost in Wonderland was the use of Alaskan folktale and the back drop of Alaska. I am not familiar with the Kushtaka and it was rather interesting learning about it. Alaska is also not a popular setting for Young Adult novels. I loved the diversity of the setting. Not many novels, in general, tackle the last frontier. I also loved Shilo's character. He was the most unique character of the bunch and his situation was rather interesting. I do not want to spoil much when it comes to struggles, but I really fell in love with his character. He has such a lovable personality and his situation is not necessarily common in our society. 

The ending of Lost in Wonderland also left me feeling a bit off. While it leaves room for a sequel, it was rather rushed and predictable. It was also confusing because it seemed to go against a determined fact from the beginning of the novel. While I did not love the ending, I absolutely loved the epilogue. I had predicted it as well, but it was a very sweet touch and I really want to see how that plot point will develop throughout the remainder of the series. I will definitely be continuing the series. I am interested to see where it goes. 

Lost in Wonderland was an enjoyable read; however, it had its flaws. I have read several five and four star reviews for Lost in Wonderland on Goodreads and I am glad that those readers absolutely loved the book, but I did not feel the same way. I did enjoy Lost in Wonderland and I am excited for the rest of the series; however, it was not my perfect cup of tea. I highly recommend buying yourself a copy of Lost in Wonderland and finding out for yourself. I have an excerpt from the novel below that you can read and if you enjoy it, you can purchase a copy from one of the purchase links that are listed above or below.

Before I can scream, he stuffs me in his trunk. It is dark, smelly, and contains an empty plain black plastic bag and a dirty shovel; these are not good signs. I put my hands to the top of the trunk and push. It is locked. I wasn’t getting out till he wanted me to. I resign myself to curl into a ball, the acidic-smelling sweat of his palms still imprinted on my bare, narrow shoulders. I should be listening out for the car engine, hearing when it slows for corners or revs on open roads. I should be testing the resilience of all the sides of the black space around me. I should be doing all the things they tell you to do, but I don’t. I simply stay in my little ball, quiet and patient.

The car bounces up and down and I realize we’re not on the main road anymore. He’s taking me somewhere remote…

We come to a soft stop. The slam of a car door shivers through the metal of the vehicle. I know what is going to happen. It’s so inevitable that it’s almost laughable. Death comes to everyone at some point; what is that saying, “No one can avoid death and taxes.” Funny the things you remember when you’re in danger. I suppose your brain tries to distract you with all sorts of useless crap, anything to keep you from shutting down and freaking the hell out. I grab at my forearm, an almost robotic reaction, feeling down it to check that my tracking chip is still there. The hard edges beneath my skin make me smile. My small, metallic friend never lets me down, never abandons me.

The lid to my dark place is pulled up and I see him. His face is blank. There’s no hint of emotion or even intent other than what can be derived through his actions. His hands are sturdy as he pulls me from the trunk and stands me up before him. Being barely five feet tall, I only stand to his chest. I look down to the ground between us and see the cheapest sneakers in the world, ones probably made by enslaved third-world children. Man this guy is pure evil.

“Don’t worry, girl.” He puts a hand on my cheek and graces me with a twitchy smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. The hand lingers longer than usual polite social circles would allow. My eyes widen. I know that I am one of many girls he has brought here—one of the many that he planned to rape and strangle, then leave used and vacant by the side of the road, a hollow tangle of floppy limbs. How do I know this? Because I know him. I was looking for him. I’m not who, and what, he thinks I am. I’m not a fourteen-year-old girl, scared by the death sentence before her. No, I am something else entirely.

I smack his palm from my cheek and use the momentum to reach over with my other hand to grab his wrist. I position myself in front of him and use his own body weight to pull him down and over my now bent back. He hits the ground so hard he cries out. I keep hold of his arm and twist it around and under. He moves his body, angling it in the same direction in an attempt to ease the tension I’m creating.

“Stop!” he yells, those crappy sneakers frantically pumping to find enough purchase to get him to his feet.

I push harder till I hear the bone snap. He screams, but thanks to the remote location he has taken us to, no one hears him. I let go of his wrist and turn to retrieve the shovel from the trunk. I take a minute to loom over him. He is trying to get up, but the weight and pain of his broken arm is putting him off-balance; funny how fragile the human body actually is, even one that belongs to a sick serial killer.

I raise the shovel and smack it over his knees. He howls and tries to shield himself with his good arm. An arm that is not intact for long, as I turn the shovel and this time use the edge to dig into his flesh. Blood pools on the ground and he begins to crawl. I’m not sure where he’s trying to go. I think his goal is just to get away from me. I walk the few steps to where he’s managed to drag himself to then bring my weapon down hard onto his skull. The splintering sound of bone meeting metal is my cue to get on with the operation. I pull my cell phone from my pink sparkle-covered jeans and dial the only number on it. An automated message greets me. “Off with their heads.” I take a breath and look over at the mangled mess of the serial killer they knew as the Doll Maker. “Here, here,” I say. The call rings off and I know that I have to make my exit now. They will come and clean up the mess. No one will ever know that the Doll Maker was an accountant with really bad shoes, and I mean really bad. It’s not till they’d stopped moving that I see peeling luminous go-faster stripes adorning their sides. Yeesh. The blood splatter does little to hide their ugliness.

I stoop and check for a pulse, finding none. His skin is already clammy and I could swear slightly rubbery, but in truth it is probably just my imagination.

I throw down the shovel and begin the trek back to civilization. The night air is bitter and cruel, so I pull up my lilac hood against it. An unmarked black car zooms past me. They were quick tonight. I rub my hand up my forearm and feel the comfort of my chip. My chip is a constant friend, albeit a chatty one; they will always be able to find me, know where I am, where I’ve been. Not that I’m complaining. I was lost once, when I was very little. And although that fear bubbles in my mind every day, I beat it back with my chip. I’ll never be lost again; or at least that is what my adoptive parents tell me. Wonderland doesn’t lose its operatives.

Buy Links: Evernight Teen  I  Amazon UK  I  Amazon US  I  Amazon Canada 

Event Review: Celebrate the Book 2016 + Giveaway

From October 17th to 23rd, the week long book festival, Celebrate the Book, occurred in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The event has been on a hiatus since its last event in 2013 and I was excited to attend its revamp this year. You can read my event review of Celebrate the Book 2013 here. They actually moved the location of the event to the Bosler Memorial Library this year and it was a fantastic location choice. The library was in an easily accessible area and it was spacious enough to hold multiple panels and signings at one time. The event has most definitely grown since I attended it last and I hope it continues to do so in the future. 

(The First "Get Published" Panel: Kelley Keller, Lindsay Bandy, and Me)

Not only did I attend Celebrate the Book on Saturday, YA Day, as a fan, I also attended as a panelist. I was featured on the first "Get Published" panel from 11:30 am-12:30 pm. I am so grateful for this opportunity. I was featured with two other amazing panelists, Kelley Keller and Lindsay Bandy, and we had a very responsive audience. I really hope that I was able to properly advise them on the publicity aspect of publishing. I wish all the attendees good luck in their journey with the publishing industry. I hope they are able to successfully meet whatever goals they set for themselves and their work. I would once again like to thank Melissa Sheperd and everyone else who made this panel possible. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity!

(Victoria Scott, Me, and Sarah Beth Durst)

In addition to meeting my fellow panelists, I had an absolutely fantastic time meeting the wonderful authors in attendance. The organizers did a fantastic job organizing this year's Celebrate the Book event. It flowed so seamlessly and they had an array of amazing authors. This year's Keynote speaker was bestselling author, Lisa Scottoline, and I was fortunate enough to attend one of her sessions. She is absolutely hysterical and a genuinely nice person. I do not typically read adult fiction; however, I definitely want to check out her books. With her humor and life experiences, I can only imagine the stories she weaves together. I would most definitely attend another event where she speaks.  

(Me and Zoraida Cordova)

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the Young Adult panel this year because my panel was at the exact same time. However, I was able to meet all of the fantastic YA authors during their two signings. I got to meet the wonderful Zoraida Cordova and Martina Boone for the second time. I also got to meet amazing Victoria Scott, Sarah Beth Durst, Jeff Hirsch, and Diana Peterfreund for the first time. They were all so sweet and I was able to have great conversations with all of them. I wish I could have attended their panel, but I am glad that I had the opportunity to met them. 

(Me and Diana Peterfreund)

I absolutely loved this year's Celebrate the Book event. Although I loved the event the first time I attended in 2013, my love has only grown for the event this year. It was so well organized and was in such a central location. There was plenty of parking and it was next to the beautiful Dickinson College. If you live in the Carlisle region or are willing to travel there, I highly recommend attending the event in the future. They always have a great panel of authors and this year they made the event a week long. Throughout the week they had authors such as Maria V. Snyder and Kim Briggs on different panels and writers workshops. I wish I could have made it to both of their panels but, unfortunately, I live a couple hours from Carlisle. The event is most definitely closer to my home than events around the Philadelphia region.

(Me and Martina Boone)

If you live in the Carlisle region or if you are interested in traveling to the Celebrate the Book event as an author or an attendee in the future, you can check out the Celebrate the Book website, here, for more information on the event. To my knowledge, they have not yet announced a 2017 or another future event. Keep checking their website for more information. If they do create another event in the future, I urge you to go if you live in the region. I had such a fantastic time this year and I am interested to see what they might host in the future.

For those of you who were unable to attend the event, I wanted to give you the opportunity to win a bookplate signed by either Zoraida Cordova or Martina Boone and one of the following books by those authors!

Zoraida Cordova:


Martina Boone:

One of the Heirs of Watson Island Novels:



  • You must be 18 years or older, unless you have a parent's permission
  • This giveaway is open Internationally as long as the Book Depository ships to your country (Click here to see which countries the Book Depository ships to)
  • Once contacted, the winner will have 72 hours to respond with their address, or a new winner will be chosen
  • STARTS October 29th, 2016 at 12:00 a.m. EST 
  • ENDS December 1st, 2016 at 12:00 a.m. EST

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any lost or damaged packages