Saturday, 5 May 2012

Triple Threat: Author Interview, Giveaway and Review: A Stiff Kiss by Avery Olive

A Stiff Kiss by Avery Olive

Author: Avery Olive
Publication Date: February 12, 2012
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Pages: 247
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Source: Thanks to the author for providing a review copy!

Book Description:
Who knew kissing a corpse would change everything?
Death always hits Xylia Morana too close to home, but she likes it that way. She hangs out with the terminally ill, attends random funerals, and every so often, when the weather is right, she sleeps in open graves.
But after Landon Phoenix, the high school hottie, dies in Xylia’s arms, she sneaks into the morgue to say goodbye. How could she know stealing a kiss from his corpse would wake him up?
With Landon returned to the living and suddenly interested in Xylia, life has a new meaning. But what Xylia doesn’t realize is that by kissing Landon back to life, she’s thrown Life and Death off balance. The underworld demands a body, and it might just have to be Xylia’s this time.

Upon reading the book description for A Stiff Kiss, I was intrigued by such a unique and definitely eerie premise. I can’t really say that I’ve even read anything remotely close to A Stiff Kiss. It was difficult for me to predict how this would play out which made for a really addictive read because I had to find out what happened next!

The cover is amazing in giving us a visual taste of what Xylia looks like, and some of the night time death related activities that she loves to partake in. I love how the character on the cover is positioned, she looks so relaxed and at peace in the cemetery next to the fresh grave.

The opening paragraph was pretty much the hook, line and sinker for me. We find out that Xylia found her mother dead on Christmas Day of all days and at a young age. Olive leaves it there, and this becomes the basis of the story as we follow Xylia we’re slowly exposed to what happened.

       Immediately, I was throwing out ideas about how she might have died, I mean any kind of death witnessed at a young age can be traumatic. I was really banking on something along the lines of heart attack, but boy when Olive finally reveals what happened it was both tragic and shocking. This major event sets the stage for her morbid fascination with the dead which is the source of a lot of teenage angst between her and her father.

The dynamic between her and her father easily showed a relationship that was both full of love and difficulties. She and her father have some really great banter and he puts a lot of effort into his parenting. I definitely commend him for his valiant effort, but Xylia is a classic dark emo teenager, she’s rebellious, dresses in nothing but black and feels that “no one understands her”. I think most teenagers refuse to listen to their parent’s words of wisdom at this point in their lives anyways. Xylia’s character kept me constantly interested, I wanted to find out more about her fascination with death and the reasoning behind it, but I was a bit turned off with her almost stalker like physical attraction to soccer player extraordinaire Landon.

The story is told from alternating points of view between Landon and Xylia, which is especially enjoyable at the death scene because it was a great way to portray how they were straddling the lines of life and death and the different perspectives associated with each side. For example when Xylia watched the life seep out of Landon and Landon’s glimpse into the afterlife.

Landon’s character is the usual career jock that bases his whole life on sports and the popularity and hot perky girlfriend that comes with it, and we all know how well this always turns out. So when he has his death experience and his life is turned upside down, he becomes fascinated with the person who brought him back to life. It’s understandable, I think I’d want some kind of closure after coming back from the dead!

They end up going on a cross country trip together that they both really needed in order to reevaluate and recenter their lives. These two really came from two different social backgrounds and Landon I don’t think would even normally consider someone like Xylia in normal circumstances as a potential love interest. Because of this I wasn’t really sure about how successful their relationship would be. But it really surprised me how easily these two seemed to fit together and help each other figure things out, they really just felt “right”.

The paranormal element focused primarily on what seemed like “reaper” entities, it was kept very vague and mostly served as an ominous force that pushes and pulls at Landon and Xylia. It was really effective as the stressor, but I felt like I was left a bit wanting for a more detailed explanation.

Olive's writing is fluid and easy to follow, which is another reason I loved reading this book. The way she wrote out the kiss scene still gives me the creeps no matter how much she reassures the reader later that it was indeed THAT weird. The ending just totally blew my mind though, I felt like I entered the twilight zone and I found myself flipping back and forth a few pages just to make sure my eBook copy wasn't glitched or something. I loved that I had no idea how it was going to end, there was so much tension mounting and I found myself rooting for some kind of happiness for these two characters — which you’ll have to read and find out for yourself. 

Rating: 4/5 Hot Cups of Tea!
I really enjoyed this book! The premise was eerie and intriguing with great characters that teenage readers can relate to.

I got to ask the wonderful Avery a few questions about her inspirations, writing process and even what she's got planned next! 

Avery Olive

1. What inspired you to first start writing?
My love of reading. It’s funny, but I hardly cracked a book when I was younger but since becoming an adult I read at least, if not more, one book a week. I had read a book that I loved, but it also gave me the courage to think, “Hey, I can do this.” It’s not that I thought that I was better than the Author, but rather that I thought I could achieve the same thing, and I didn’t think I had anything to lose by starting to write. If I came out an Author, that would be excellent, if I didn’t, I was no worse for off.

2. Where did the idea for "A Stiff Kiss" come from?
A dream. I know, I know, shake your head, sigh and roll your eyes because, I too, know a dozen and one Authors that have said the same thing. But it’s true. I think my mind is most active and most creative when I’m sleeping. I have such vivid dreams. Sometimes they scare me half to death. I also wanted something that would appeal to a wide age range, girls, women, anyone. And I think, in a way, A Stiff Kiss does that. It’s also got a strong message that I didn’t even realize until I had put the words The End on the manuscript. Sometimes life experiences wiggle their way into your work.

3. Xylia's name is totally unique and I LOVE it, what made you choose that name??
Well, I found it in a baby name book. It’s pronounced ZYE-lee-ah. It’s also Greek and I thought it sort of worked with the character, she’s mysterious, and so is the name. It makes you stop and think. It also means woodland or wood-dweller and for me that sort of worked with her personality, it was the closest I could come to giving her a name that related to her situation, her likes and dislikes. I hope maybe the name will come back in style :)

4. Do you have any pre-writing rituals? Like certain foods, or writing supplies that you need?
This is a great question. I have to have gum. I prefer minty, but anything will do. I have a bad habit—smoking (shh, don’t tell) For me writing is like talking on the phone, or sitting outside having a coffee, there is just something about it, to be honest, that makes me want to smoke. So I chew gum to curve the cravings or I’d never get anything done. My computer of course is a big one, since that’s where I get a lot of my writing done. But if I can’t have my computer, than I HAVE to have Hot Chocolate Brand Notebooks (from Walmart) and Zebra Brand Pens, I know it makes me sound like a snob, but that’s the best notebook I’ve found and the best pen, the ink just flows so nicely.

5. Who designed the cover?
An amazing girl named Taria Reed. She was great to work with, and I think with the little direction I gave her, she did an excellent job of bringing the book to life. She’s done quite a few of Crescent Moon Press’ covers and she’s got real talent. She also designed my bookmarks, my blog button, and a few other things. I love her.

6. Can you give us a few details on what you're working on next?
Why of course I can. *Grin* I’ve got a few things on the go. I’ve been cleaning up a romantic ghost story. Every time I think it’s almost ready, I find something wrong with it. I’m also hard at work on a few things that may, or may not be related to A Stiff Kiss. It’s too soon to talk about everything. I like to keep tight-lipped. I’m always afraid I’ll jinx myself and not be able to finish something, or write something and realize it’s crap.

Avery has been an absolute pleasure to work with! 

More information about her and her debut book "A Stiff Kiss" can be found at the following:

Avery has also graciously provided a copy of "A Stiff Kiss" for a giveaway if you're interested in finding out how kissing a corpse can change everything! 

So be sure to enter in the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks so much for reading, reviewing and hosting me on your blog!!!

    1. Any time! It was a pleasure to have you on my blog!

  2. Awesome review. This is on my list to read!!!!! :) It's on my Kindle, just need to "crack" it open!! :)

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Lynn!

  3. Great review and interview. The books on my to-be-read list!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Connie!


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