forman_yearJust One Year is the sequel to Just One Day…kind of. They take place at the same time, but in different perspectives and different locations!

If you don’t know what Just One Year is about, then here’s the quick rundown.

Allyson is on a boring tour in Europe. Not that Europe is boring, but the tour definitely is! When a boy she met the night before asks to take her to Paris for a single day, Allyson can’t help but say yes. She spends hours eating, exploring, and talking to Willem. Feelings start to form, but when Allyson wakes up the next morning, Willem is nowhere to be found.

Allyson is heartbroken and we witness the bruise that Willem has left on her heart and life in her first year of college.

Just One Year is the EXACT same thing! But instead of following Allyson’s side of the story, we’re witnessing Willem’s. Don’t get me wrong, I really wanted to learn more about Willem since he is such a mysterious character, but I was pretty upset that it was the ‘same’ story.

Allyson’s perspective started by focusing on the strange relationship between Willem and herself, and it continues with Allyson’s life and overcoming this heartache. Willem’s perspective, on the other hand, starts with a little bit of a bruise, and then continues on about his life, family, and friends.

I would have to say that I was a little disappointed two times in this story: the beginning and end. The beginning, because I was expecting the story from Just One Day to continue, so I could see what would happen next, and the end, because of the same reason. I was praying that the story would take the end much farther. I guess I was just a little heartbroken that I didn’t get to see more of Willem and Allyson together.

But even with that, I still enjoyed the story. It was a bit slower, but I think I really liked that the story didn’t COMPLETELY revolve around Willem thinking about Allyson, but more about discovering himself.



Mandy Wrangles_2_tnHello! We arrived safe and sound at LAX very early on Saturday morning after leaving Melbourne, Australia early Saturday morning. Isn’t time travel awesome? We flew with Qantas, and though the food was typically airline standard, it could have been worse. Like when, 6 hours into a fifteen hour flight, my ten year old became awfully air-sick. All over my lap. Yep.

 

USA_poDay One passed by in a blur of exhaustion, but we did manage to get into Disneyland for a few hours. We stayed at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, and just…WOW. So highly recommended, in every way. Seriously, just wow. We’re travelling with the extended Wrangles family – my parents in law, their three sons (one of whom is my husband), three daughters in law and eight grandchildren, so just getting a table together in a restaurant is a bit of a mission.

For lunch on that first day, we ate at The Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney, which was just outside our hotel. I had the Green Goddess Salad with shrimp – which tasted a whole lot better than it looked – and Simon (significant other) had the Cheesesteak Po-Boy. Both, apparently, dishes typical of New Orleans. Honestly, we were both so tired and hungry we would have eaten anything, but it was a very tasty welcome to American food.

usa-goddessDay Two was a BIG day at Disneyland, which meant hot dogs and sugary soft drinks all day. California is in the midst of a record breaking heat wave (Aussies, I’m talking 38 – 40 c each day. And dry), so again, I was happy to go with a salad for dinner.

We all ate at the La Brea Bakery in Downtown Disney (so convenient!) I had a Wedge Salad, which was delivered as a full quarter of iceberg lettuce with bacon, beetroot, chicken breast and a blue cheese dressing. Holy Moly, it was amazing! My sister in law, Tam, had a BLT with a side of yam chips – again, delicious.

After dinner, we headed back into Disneyland itself for more exploring and the fireworks over the Disney castle – one of my highlights so far. Just beautiful, and very sentimental for this big sook!

 

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bec2012_TNBec Stafford interviews Paul Weston as part of her HAZE book tour.

 

 

paula-weston1. The last time we spoke with you, you’d just released book 1 of The Rephaim, Shadows. Can you tell us a bit about the journey so far and what we can expect from book 2, Haze?

Of course – and thanks for having me again. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can tell you that Haze has a couple of fairly significant plot developments from a series perspective. It picks up a few days after the end of Shadows, and a few things happen early on that set Gaby on a collision course with the Outcasts.

This instalment is primarily driven by Gaby’s search for her brother, Jude, but it also focuses on her own soul-searching about who she used to be, and what that means for who she is now – and how that affects her relationships with everyone else.

She learns more about the Outcasts, and she and Rafa discover a new threat that changes everything for the Rephaim. There are more twists, more swordfights and more heated moments between Gaby and Rafa (romantic and antagonistic!). And you might have heard there’s a bit of a cliffhanger…

 

weston_haze2.   Paula, The Rephaim series includes a number of supernatural creatures, including (half) angels and demons! If you could be any of these creatures for a day, which would you choose and why?

Out of that choice, I’d have to say I’d choose to be one of the Rephaim (half angel). Mostly because of their ability to ‘shift’ (be anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye), which would make travelling so much easier and less expensive! They can also look after themselves in a fight. The downside is the whole ‘why do we exist’ dilemma, and the possibility that they have to fulfill some epic destiny to atone for the sins of their fathers.

 


3. You’ve told us how much you enjoyed creating Rafa’s character and how much fun he’s been to write. Well, we know what a huge hit he’s been with your female fans, in particular. Why do you think he’s so appealing, and did you base him on anyone from reality?

Ha – no, he’s not based on anyone in reality. I’d like to think Rafa appeals to readers because there are a few layers to him, and he shows different sides of himself with each book. I wanted to introduce him as a typical bad boy/smartass and then peel back the layers to show why he acts and reacts the way he does. Yes he can be a bit of a dick at times, but there are reasons why he responds to Gaby so erratically. He has a long and complicated history with her but because she doesn’t remember it, she treats him differently, which confuses the hell out of him. I like keeping him off balance. I also like the fact he’s a brutally efficient fighter, because it makes it interesting when he can’t solve a problem with his fists or a sword. Over the four books of the series, his growth curve is almost as big as Gaby’s.

 

4. Which of your fictional characters Burns Brightest in your mind and why? (We’ve asked you this one before, and you said it was Rafa. Has that changed? If not, who’s next in line?)

Rafa is still fun to write (as are all the characters, actually), but now that I’m deeper into the series I can’t escape that Gaby definitely burns brightest for me. It’s not just that I’m viewing the world and the story through her eyes – it’s also because so many of her questions and reactions reflect my own.

Thanks for the great questions!



Joelene_tnJoelene Pynnonen says: Money drips through your fingers like water in Sydney. After shopping in Brisbane, Sydney feels like a surfeit. The stores are bigger, there are more of them and there are sales everywhere.

 

 

hachettesydney2014 015Bel and I were lucky enough to meet up with Jorge from Spotlight Report during our visit. Because of his local expertise, I discovered two stores that were probably my favourite part of the trip. Utopia is the self-proclaimed Home of Metal, and lives up to its name. The staff are friendly and almost scarily knowledgeable about the local and International Heavy Metal scene. Within twenty seconds of me asking, they had found a reasonably priced album for my incredibly hard to buy for baby brother.

The other store Jorge told me about is one that I will be visiting every time that I go to Sydney in the future. Basement Books is buried in a passageway out behind Central Train Station. At first glance it looks like a little hole-in-the-wall bookstore. As you get closer, however, it expands into a verifiable Aladdin’s cave of wondrous things. The store stocks a wide range of art supplies and canvasses as well as books of every major genre. All at unbelievable discounts. Obviously I spent my time there combing through the fantasy and YA sections. Had my luggage allowance been more extravagant, I dread to think of how badly my credit card would be suffering right now.

hachettesydney2014 034After a five-hour day at Paddy’s Markets, my cards were depleted enough. For anyone who hasn’t had the chance to visit Paddy’s Markets, it is one of the places to go in Sydney. A labyrinth of stalls selling all sorts of things, everyone is bound to find a bargain here. From costumes to unusual pieces of jewellery, fresh fruit to ornamental swords, handbags to Australian memorabilia; Paddy’s has it all. Located in the heart of China Town, it is a short distance from the beautiful Chinese Gardens and is surrounded by some wonderful Asian restaurants. Bubble tea is also abundant, so there are many and varied reasons to visit.

There are a lot of great things to buy in Sydney, but it is also a beautiful city. I’d recommend walking rather than catching a bus or taxi. There are some truly amazing churches and old buildings that you may miss out on if you’re in a rush.



isabella rose taylorIsabella Rose Taylor

Isabella began creating fine art when she was 3, sewing at 8, and by the age of 13 she had a clothing line contract deal with Nordstrom.

The girl knows how to dream big and stand her ground when her business advisors may be steering her in a direction she’s not be comfortable travelling.

Biography-wise there’s not a lot of information available, but there’s a TEDx talk worth watching.

Isabella’s also on all the social media platforms, and her website is wonderful.

httpv://www.isabellarosetaylor.com/about/

There’s also a Dwen session which is rather enlightening.

 

Cecilia Cassini

cecilai cassiniCecilia Cassini is now 14 but began re-purposing clothing and sewing her own designs at age 6. She was followed around by a German film crew for the TV show Confessions of a Fashionette for the Style Network at age 12.

This young lady is extremely community minded, donating clothing for less fortunate kids to have a great outfit on their first day of school. A percentage of her Trunk show profits goes to homeless shelters.

When she’s not aiming for A’s in school she’s designing clothed for Hollywood’s A listers. Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Kelly Osbourne are just a few celebrities she’s dressed.

There is quite possibly even less information about this dedicated young woman online, but I have a strong suspicion we’ll be hearing more about her in the near future.

Here’s an old clip of her debuting on the Today Show.

 


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