Blog Tour for Divide by Jessa Russo (with author interview)

Divide by Jessa Russo

Divide by Jessa Russo
TITLE: Divide
AUTHOR: Jessa Russo
PUBLICATION DATE: April 17, 2014
PUBLISHER: Independent
PAGES: 270 pages
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From senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.

After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.

As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate—that she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales—she unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson.

Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish.

Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her.

Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.


1. When you started writing, did you intend to write YA or did your stories just lead you there?
I can’t say I intended to do much of anything, honestly, I just started writing. I think that my favorite categories and genres to read have definitely molded me into the author I am today, and would also explain why I began with YA. At the time, I couldn’t get enough of young adult fiction (mainly paranormal and fantasy), and it was all I would read. Now, since my reading tastes have expanded a bit, and I’ve discovered a growing love of not just different genres within the YA category, but also NA and Adult erotic romance, I’ve branched out in those directions as a writer as well.

2. Was there any music that inspired you on Divide or helped you in the writing process?
Absolutely. And the list isn’t long. Dark Side by Peter Hollens and Madilyn Bailey (their amazing redux of Kelly Clarkson’s song) was the main soundtrack behind DIVIDE. But I also felt incredibly connected to Beneath Your Beautiful by Labrinth featuring Emeli Sandé. This is a truly incredible song with such powerful lyrics—so fitting to Holland and Mick.

3. Between Toby & Frankie (from the Ever Trilogy) and Mick, who is your favorite?
Oh wow. Um . . . honestly, I love them all so much! But I’d have to say Toby has my heart. Also, Brandon “Tig” Tiggs from CHLORINE&CHAOS (written under my pseudonym) is probably my favorite male lead thus far. He’s swoony, IMHO.

*And you forgot to ask about Donovan, but since he’s not a leading character in DIVIDE, I’ll pretend he’s not also one of my favorites. Lol 😉

4. What was your favorite scene to write in Divide?
I think that my favorite scene to write in DIVIDE was when Holland accidentally happened across Donovan in the middle of the night. I had a hard time not bringing those two together, calling it an adult erotic romance, and ending the book with them running off into the sunset together! Lol! Not sure why, but I just loved Donovan’s character.

5. What was your favorite scene to write in the Ever Trilogy?
Ohhhhh, so far, I think I love the ending of EVADE the most. I can’t go into too much detail, though, because spoilers.

6. Did your characters in Divide do anything to surprise you?
Hmm. That’s a good question. I think it surprised me when Cam and Rosemarie started hooking up, as that hadn’t been part of the plan. *pretends to have a plan for anything ever*
But it worked out perfectly for them and the story, and I just adore the two of them separately, so together they’re even better!

7. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
This could be as simple as ‘take your time’, and as in-depth as pages and pages of lessons I’ve learned in my journey to publication and beyond. So, I think that the main thing I’d advise is to stay true to the story. Not to yourself (though obviously within reason), and not to the readers and reviewers, not even to what you think a publisher or agent wants to read. Take these people and their opinions into consideration, definitely—they are huge factors in your career—but stay true to your characters. It is their story you’re trying to tell. You’re their voice, right? Never forget that. When you tell the story the characters want you to tell, the words will come and the final product will be beautiful. If you worry too much about what other people think, you’ll change the very heart of your story without even realizing it. You’ll also lose a bit of the reckless abandon and pure joy that comes in just writing freely the story that your heart wants to tell.

Plus, you can always revise later anyway, right?

9. Which did you did you enjoy more, writing the trilogy or the stand-alone?
The standalone. But not because I don’t love trilogies. I adore a good series. The truth is, I published EVER before I’d even begun to write EVADE, and I won’t make that mistake twice. Negative reviews and lackluster sales snuck their way into my head, and, referring back to my answer to the last question you asked, I lost my love for that series and those characters. That reckless abandon? That joy? Gone. It was like innocence being ripped away. You just can’t get that back. Now, when I read those books, it’s hard to ignore the voice in my head that mimics the negative side of publishing. That isn’t fair to my characters, or me, or my readers, but with EVER being my first step into publishing, I hadn’t had the ability or knowledge to properly prepare for what would come once Ever’s story was released.

10. What is the hardest part of the writing process?
Accepting that the story is done and ready for publishing. I’m one of those artists who has to make it a point to stop myself while painting, otherwise I risk over-painting and ruining the artwork. This applies to my writing as well. I will forever see something that needs changing or find errors to fix in every story I write—whether because I’m crazy or because I continue to grow in my trade and this is, hopefully, normal—so finding a happy stopping point and actually accepting that the story is beautiful and ready for the world is probably my biggest stumbling block.

11. When you release a novel, which is the predominate feeling about reviews: excited over the possibility of positive reviews or terrified over the possibility of negative ones?
So, this is a bit embarrassing to admit, but I pretty much just expect the worst. When positive reviews start trickling in, I wait. Because at any moment, the other shoe will drop. And then it does. And I realize, remarkably, that I’m okay. Because not everyone is going to love everything I write, and I’m starting to get that now. But I still go into each new book positive that the whole world will hate my book, hate me, and that I suck as a human. Not sure why, or how to shake it, but that’s the general feeling I have during those first few days before and after a release.

12. What’s one question you always hope you’ll get asked in an interview and the answer to said question?
I have no idea! Sorry. What a lame response, huh?

13. Who are your favorite authors/novels?
Since there are far too many to name, both friends and strangers alike, I’ll tell you the authors who really stick out in my mind, the ones who I’d fangirl all over if given the chance to meet them in person: Jeaniene Frost, Richelle Mead, and Karen Marie Moning. Those are the ladies who really stick out, the ones with talent I wish I had even a smidgen of.

14. I was going to ask if you had to cast Divide using only characters from animated movies (not just Disney because then we miss the awesomeness that is Anastasia), who would you pick, BUT since it’s a Beauty & The Beast retelling, I think we all know what the answer would be….so can you cast the Ever Trilogy solely with animated film characters?
Wow. You’ve totally stumped me! Are we talking looks alone, or looks and personality? I think we’ll make it just looks. *goes easy on self*

Okay, hmm . . . Ever could definitely be a combination of Lonette from Cool World, mixed with Meg from Hercules, and a touch of Jasmine from Aladdin—though very light skin with her dark hair and curves. Let’s make Jessie a combination of Holly Would, also from Cool World, Susan from Monsters vs Aliens, and Jem from . . .Jem!. (Yes, I’m fully aware that I’m dating myself with all of these answers—but just wait, it gets better.) Toby is going to be Dimitri from, you guessed it, Anastasia (I have to ask, is that where you would have cast him, Tabitha?) and Flynn Rider from Tangled. Frankie is easily Eric from The Little Mermaid, but with glasses and a pompadour, obviously, and maybe a touch Trent from Daria. Because why not, right? Last but not least, Bianca Dupree, from Beverly Hills Teens (does anyone remember this awesome gem!?) would be perfectly cast as Ariadne, our beloved antagonist. And, just for fun, let’s cast Archer as Ted Stone. 😉

I actually think Dimitri is perfect….except that we are casting on of my very favorite animated characters as my not favorite Ever male (Team Frankie to the end!). And I so wish I had even the most minor photoshop skills so I could me a picture of hunky prince Eric with geeky glasses and a pompadour. Why, oh why, am I artistically challenged? And DUDE, you’re a Daria fan? ::dies::

Thank you Jessa for allowing me to interview you!


Jessa Russo

Jessa Russo believes in fairytales, ghosts, and Jake Ryan. She insists mimosas were created for Sundays, and that’s not up for discussion. She’s obsessed with the great city of New Orleans—where she’s collected too many beads to count, eventually married her sweetheart, and visited graveyards they don’t include on maps.

She’s loud, painfully honest, and passionate about living life to the fullest, because she’s seen how abruptly it can be taken away.

What began as a desire for reading and writing young adult paranormal has bled into stories of all kinds. From fantasy to pre-dystopian to erotic contemporary, Jessa’s stories always include romance, though she’s given up on pigeonholing her work into a category or genre box.

Jessa was born and raised in Southern California, and remains there to this day with her husband (a classic car fanatic), their daughter (a Tim Burton superfan), and a Great Dane who thinks he’s the same size as his Chihuahua sister.

ENTWINED, the final installment of Russo’s Ever Trilogy, will be released late 2014, as well as an erotic romance written under a pseudonym. Stay tuned!

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Amazon

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Blog Tour for Savor (Vicious Feast #1) by Kate Evangelista (with review and giveaway)

Savor by Kate Evangelisa blog tour banner

Savor by Kate Evangelista

TITLE: Savor
SERIES: Vicious Feast #1
AUTHOR: Kate Evangelista
PUBLISHER: Crescent Moon Press Inc
PAGES: 295 pages
SOURCE: Blog Tour
RATING: 4 bows
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Mature and explicit content. Not recommended for readers below 18-years-old. Yup, you’ve got to be that old to read my story. Consider yourself warned.

I’m Dakota Collins, a tough talking, eye patch wearing, workaholic photography student. Why am I important? Well, maybe because I get to spend an entire month with Vicious, only the sickest indie rock band out there.

You see, I needed a subject for my Spring Showcase introspective in order to graduate. During a chance encounter at a club I’d been sent to cover for the Daily Gossip, our ironically named college paper, the features writer I usually teamed up with introduced me to the band—by accident, I might add. It involved a run in with a scary, bald bodyguard. Anyway, long story short, I signed a contract to take pictures of Vicious.

I should have known their handsome yet way too serious for his own good bassist, Luka Visraya, wouldn’t be able to keep his hands to himself. He’s gorgeous and all, but the way he smiles spelled trouble with a capital L. I’m in for a long month with him around.

Crazy shit happens and then some. So, if you want the skinny on Vicious and the events revolving around my stay at Lunar Manor, read my story.

Again, refer to the warning above.


“Dakota Collins!”

I lowered my camera. The use of my full name never came with good consequences. I blinked my vision back at her even if I wanted to spend the rest of the night taking his picture. Sweat rose over my upper lip. I may just have found my subject for the Spring Showcase.

The only problem?

I had to find a way to convince him to be in my project. Something told me this wouldn’t be easy. By the way my heart beat in my ears, drowning out the music and Silvia having a fit in front of me, I wanted it too much. I wanted him too much.

“This the guy you were saying?” I showed Silvia the picture I’d taken. This seemed to pacify her because she sidled closer, mesmerized like a moth to a flame.

“Luka Visraya,” she said with a moan like she’d just tasted the most luscious chocolate before taking a long gulp of her cocktail. The name didn’t register. Silvia must have noticed my blank expression because she continued. “He’s the bassist for Vicious.”

Still no pings of recognition in my head.

She slapped her thigh. “Where have you been? It’s weird that you haven’t heard of them. Their songs are on the radio like every second.”

Of course I hadn’t heard of them. I liked listening to country and I hardly kept up with current events.

“Name one?” Okay, I had a name. Luka. Exotic. A bassist. Part of a band I should know about. So he’s famous. I slowly felt my chances of asking him to be my subject slip from my grasp. If he was someone famous, fat chance he’d say yes to a graduating photography student like me. I just about deflated when Silvia mentioned one of their songs. “Oh, I know that one!” By accident. It played in the radio of the cab I rode in to Sacrifice. I stared at the picture of him then lifted my gaze to where he sat. “He’s gone.”

“What?” Silvia whipped around in time to come face to face with a wall of man. “Whoa!” She pushed at him. “Watch it, buddy!”

“Give me the camera,” he said in a threatening tone.

Big. Beefy. Bald. The three Bs that made up the quintessential bodyguard.

I clutched my DSLR closer to my chest and looked up at him with my good eye. “And why would I do that?” The patch didn’t seem to intimidate him because he just reached out. So much for my Bond villain aspirations. I moved away from his grubby hand. No one touched my camera but me.

Despite her size, Silvia came between me and the mountain. “We’re here to cover Sacrifice for our college paper. You don’t have the right to take away my colleague’s camera.”

Yeah! You give it to him, Silvy.

Not that I couldn’t take care of myself. But if Silvia wanted to play hero, I wouldn’t stand in her way.

“What seems to be the problem here?” a soft, authoritative voice chimed in.

The bodyguard moved aside to reveal the Gothic Lolita. She stood at just about the same height as Silvia, but she possessed an older aura even if she seemed to be our age.

“She’s been taking pictures,” Baldy said.

Lolita’s kohl eyes landed on me then shifted to my camera.

“As I was saying to the big guy,” Silvia explained. “My colleague and I are covering the opening of Sacrifice.”

“For what paper?” Lolita asked without taking her eyes off me. I clutched my camera like an extra appendage. In some ways it was. After losing half my sight, I relied on my camera like an extra eye, seeing the world through its lens. I would rather die than lose it.

“The Daily Gossip,” I said before Silvia could answer just to relieve some of the awkward tension building in me under her gaze. “We study at Wexler U.”

She tilted her head, crossing her arms.

“Okay,” I quickly stammered out. “I get that the name of our paper sounds like a tabloid, but the Daily Gossip is a cool campus paper.” The last part maybe only I believed since Silvia raised her eyebrow at me, but Lolita and the mountain didn’t have to know that.

No one spoke after that. Even in a noisy club, the silence in our group rang in my ears. Not waiting for the situation to get any more awkward, I plowed forward with my own selfish intensions.

“You know Luka.” I said it more as a statement, but it came out like a question.

Lolita nodded.

“I’m Dakota Collins and I’m graduating this spring. I was wondering if Luka would be interested in—”

“What would I be interested in?” a smooth voice joined our group.

The walls of my throat closed, chocking the rest of what I had to say. All eyes turned to Luka. Silvia dropped her empty glass. It bounced off the bodyguard’s shoe and landed in a clatter but didn’t break. Even with my height, I still had to look up at him.

“What are you doing here?” Lolita admonished. “You should be backstage.”

One side of his lips came up. God. Without the scowl, his face lit up. I had to stop the urge to lift my camera and start snapping away. And his eyes were piercing blue. The kind that stretched over my mother’s farm in the summer. Damn.

Seeing him up close, I knew I’d give any one of my kidneys for a chance to take his picture in a formal shoot.

“We have five minutes. Chill, Yana.” He tugged at one of her pigtails.

“Luka,” Silvia managed. “I’m a big fan. Will you sign my chest?”

Bypassing my petite colleague, Luka’s intensely blue gaze studied me. He reached out and I flinched back. His fingers almost grazed my patch. What the hell was the matter with him? Trying to touch my eye patch was tantamount to poking a bandage over a wound and asking the person if it hurts.

Gothic Lolita—Yana—yanked Luka’s arm down. “I’m so sorry!” Her whole aura changed. She went from all business to panicky. “My brother sometimes forgets his manners. He didn’t mean anything about touching your…” She bit her lower lip, maybe trying to keep herself from saying the wrong thing.

That little faux pas cleared my head of the Luka haze and spurred me into action. “Luka, will you let me take your picture for my final project?” I didn’t know where my courage came from, but I knew if I didn’t take this chance, I’d regret it. I had to have him as my subject.

Still not removing his gaze from my face, like my patch transfixed him, he tilted his head to one side very much like his sister did earlier.

“Luka, don’t!” Yana said, but from the consideration on Luka’s face, she was too late.

“You’re a photographer?”

“Yes.” I nodded, in case the word wasn’t enough.

“And you’d like me to be the subject of your project?”

God yes! This time, I could only nod. I didn’t want him to see how eager I was. And I couldn’t live with myself if I embarrassed myself further.

I waited with baited breath.

It seemed everyone in our group waited with baited breath for what the golden god had to say about my brazen request. I soon realized when Luka spoke, everyone listened. The way he pronounced every word precisely yet still spoke so smoothly, like butter on warm toast, captured everyone’s attention. To say he captivated us was an understatement. Something in me certainly wanted to hear him keep speaking. He could read from an accounting textbook in that voice and no one would get bored.

“I need to know that you’re good,” he finally said.

Something about his words seemed to hold a different meaning. I must have missed the alcohol in the soda Silvia had given me. Maybe I was drunk and this was all a blackout dream.

“What are you saying?” Yana faced Luka all the way now, her petite form all rigid.

He unleashed a full on megawatt smile my way. I almost had to cover my eye from it. At my side, Silvia gasped. Her long nails dug into my arm. Like staring at the sun, I couldn’t take my gaze away from him no matter how bad it was for me.

“We’re about to perform. I want you to take several pictures then send them to Yana. If she approves, we’ll see about your request.”

Then, like smoke, he disappeared into the crowd.


Kate Evangelista

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master’s courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today, she lives in the Philippines and writes full time.

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | YouTube

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Dakota becomes captivated by Luka Visraya, the bassist in Viscious, a super popular rock band, when they perform at a local club. Determined to make him and the band the center of her Spring Showcase, she negotiates a deal to live with the band for a month to gather all the shots she’ll need. But when she arrives, she realizes that she wasn’t really prepared for what life at the Manor will be like. Luka continues to draw her attention as she becomes fond of all the band members. She’s determined to fight her attraction to him, she’s strives to stay professional…and fails completely. Something about Luka makes it impossible to fight her attraction to him, even though it’s obvious he is hiding something. Maybe the whole band is?

The idea of this novel intrigued me instantly. Eye-patch wearing photographer? That’s certainly not something you read about every day, so count me in. There’s a hot rocker who shows interest? Fuck yeah, let’s get to it. And I wasn’t disappointed. Dakota is a snarky smart-ass who obviously hasn’t had a great past, but is determined to not let the past rule her future. She’s truly interesting and I’m dying to know how she lost her eye, though we never learn in this installment.

I’m a little undecided about Luka. I liked him initially, dark and rocker-y and intense. But the further we get in, the more fucked up he seemed. He seems wise one moment and then so unbelievably immature the next. At one point, he literally throws a temper tantrum, destroying an entire damn room. Seriously? Grow up. There is no need for that kind of bullshit. For a bit, it almost felt like he was leading Dakota on because he’s all over her one minute and then ignoring her the next. By the end, I’m no closer to deciding if he’s swoon-worthy or a man-child who needs to be slapped than I was midway through.

The rest of the band are an odd band of characters. I loved them all, especially Dray, with his quirky scientific personality. Each member added their own twist to the book that I wasn’t exactly expecting, but none of them were as fascinating as Luka. I can say definitively now that I desperately want to read Evangelista’s Taste now. I didn’t realize going into this that the Vicious Feast series was a spinoff of Taste. I almost wish I’d read Taste first so the mystery of what Luka (and the rest of the band) is would already be solved, but I guess it’s good that I haven’t read it. It keeps the mystery alive and fresh, though I’m dying to know what the hell they are.

Evangelista’s writing style is clear and easy to understand, with that great addictive quality that reminds me a little of Jennifer L Armentrout. Once you start and get going, it’s incredibly difficult to put it down. The massive cliffhanger at the end is a bit of a bummer, but it’s not a deal-breaker since the rest is pretty awesome. It doesn’t make it impossible for me to rate it higher than four stars, but that’s still a great rating.

I highly recommend this for anyone who is looking for a New Adult novel that is a little out of the ordinary. It contains a bit of humor, mystery, and a bunch of smutty scenes for the romance lover in all of us. I’m going to add Kate Evangelista to my “authors to watch” list as I impatiently await the sequels release!

****Thank you to Kate Evangelista and Paranormal Cravings Blog Tours for providing me with a digital in exchange for an honest review****

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