Monday, November 18, 2013

 Praise for Freaksville--
Freaksville is a laugh-out-loud chronicle, January 13, 2010
LAS Reviewer "The Long and the Short Of It Re...High school sucks when you live in Freaksville, also known as Stony Creek, CA. And what would make living there so much better? Special powers enabling you to see the future. Right? Not quite. At least, not as far as Kasey Maxwell is concerned. After having been blessed with the ability to see the future on her sixteenth birthday, things haven't quite been the same for her. Armed with her sharp wit and her best friend, Gillie, Kasey does the best she can to just muddle through.

Kasey is your typical teenager. She thinks her parents haven't a clue; her best friend is the greatest ever, loves to gab on the phone and believes that shopping can cure anything. She is also a total and complete crack-up. Using humor as both a defense mechanism and as a way to bolster her courage when it's flagging, she'd be one of those girls you loved to hang around. Although she has a tendency to complain (what teenage girl doesn't?) and underestimate herself, she has a strong support system in her parents and her best friend. And with them, she knows that she can overcome anything thrown at her. Psychic powers and all.

Josh Johnstone, British hottie supreme, is in California on an exchange program. He's wise to Kasey's act and refuses to let her get the best of herself if he can help it. He's confident, courageous, and harboring a secret of his very own. Having grown up with a supernatural secret himself, he's just what she needs to grow and become more secure with her abilities. Armed with a quick wit of his own, he and Kasey make the perfect couple. Their teasing, yet flirty conversations are engaging and entertaining, as well as very real-to-life.

Freaksville is a laugh-out-loud chronicle of Kasey Maxwell's venture into ghost hunting, all things paranormal, and her first real boyfriend. Written as a series of blog entries, complete with comments, Ms. Keswick not only moves the young adult novel into the modern era, but also hooks the readers with her fun, flowing style and irrepressible sense of humor. From her witty chapter headings to the mystery surrounding the ghosts inhabiting the school's theater to all the yet-unmentioned surprises lurking within, the author will capture your attention and hold it hostage until you've reached the end. A highly enjoyable read that left me anxious for the sequel.

 Teens Read and Write Reviews:, March 24, 2010
Alyssa M. Kirk "Teens Read and Write" (Los Angeles, CA United States)
 If you like a sharp, snappy female protagonist embroiled in danger, mystery and action, Freaksville is for you.

The strongest thing about the story is Kasey's sassy voice. And talk about energy. This girl has got plenty and it leaps from the pages with a manic pace.

Freaksville is written in blog format from Kasey's point of view, chronicling her crazy adventures.

She knows she's got the gift of sight and when she has a vision of British exchange student hottie, Josh, she follows him. Kasey is smitten and romance quickly ensues. But nothing is easy.

Kasey and Josh get the leads for Romeo and Juliet and their time in the theater becomes dangerous. Kasey starts seeing ghosts and some of them get cranky when she sticks her nose in their business, attempting to solve the mystery of an old disappearance.

Then there's the mystery of her father's job, and some deep family secrets she didn't know about that just happen to connect with Josh, his family, and their deep dark secrets that threaten to turn dangerous for both her and Josh.

The romance is innocent. Mostly sexual tension, lots of 'OMG isn't he dreamy' as well as Kasey going ga-ga over Josh's accent and use of British colloquialisms. She frequently gushed about how everything he said was so cute and adorable. It began to grate on my nerves but I got past it and think younger teen girls would eat it up.

Keswick admits to a love of all things British and it shows. She even puts in a dictionary of the British terms. Another unique aspect of Freaksville were the drawings that are spattered throughout the book to help you visualize characters and particular scenes. And Kasey has this quirk of writing lists, I'm sure trying to calm and organize the wacky whirlwind she lives in.

Kasey is a screech. Her sarcastic wit had me laughing often, and she is full of spunk and determination. She and her best friend Gillie have a wonderful relationship, open, honest and loyal. Having boys enter the picture didn't interfere with their love for each other.

Annoying/stupid/disloyal/guy crazy BFF's in YA are a pet peeve of mine and I was glad to see that wasn't the case here.

I also applauded the fact that Kasey had a strong relationship with her parents (who were still happily married) and they were involved, caring, interested and supportive. Sometimes they made Kasey crazy (and vice versa), but the relationship was real and healthy. I found that refreshing!

While the real action doesn't get going for a bit, Kasey's high energy and snappy dialogue makes up for it. There's a lot thrown in at the end, including some surprises that come out of the blue, but it all wraps up nicely. And Kasey's adventures will continue with the sequel Furry and Freaked.

It's a good, light-hearted read with funky characters, a hefty dose of paranormal and layers of mystery weaving throughout. I'd recommend it, especially for younger teens and anyone who loves all things British.

The Cover:
I like it. Very haunting and foreboding. Great shot of the moon, cool font and love the red color. The only thing I'd say is that the cover has a dark feel and the content is light-hearted and fun.

First Line:
So I needed a filter between my brain and my body, one with big flashing lights and blaring sirens that ruptured my eardrums if I was about to do anything stupid.

See what I mean? Strong voice and great sense of character. It's fun!

My short story, Death Becomes Her is in this anthology.

Haunted houses. Haunted hearts.
And a past that refuses to die.

Leap Books summoned best-selling paranormal and dreadfully talented debut authors to conjure up Spirited, a haunting collection of 13 tales guaranteed to keep you up all night.

Get entombed in stories of Egyptian treasures, shudder at tales of malevolent spirits, and become enthralled with the adventures of witch-hunters, ghost seekers, and lost souls. From steampunk to cyberpunk, our collection spans past, present, and future hauntings. One story actually leaps off the page with 3-D augmented reality.

With this celebration of things that go bump in the night, Spirited authors hope to slay the specter of illiteracy that plague our youth. All proceeds from Spirited will be donated to 826 National, a non-profit organization that offers free after-school tutoring, workshops, and in-school programs because "strong writing skills are fundamental to future success."

Go ahead. Turn the page if you dare. We won’t tell if you sleep with the light on. Because after all, there’s no rest for the wicked.

Anthology edited by Kat O'Shea

Contributing authors include: Maria V. Snyder, Candace Havens, Shannon Delany, Jill Williamson, Linda Joy Singleton, Heather Kenealy, Judith Graves, Kitty Keswick, Dawn Dalton, Carmen Tudor, John W. Otte, Halli Dee Lilburn, and Mark Finnemore

Leap Books
 ISBN-10: 1-61603-001-1

A group of teenagers, trapped in a haunted theater on the night of a full moon, find out that ghosts are the least of their worries…
Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen-year-old Kasey would gladly give up. All she wants is a normal life. Shopping and talking about boys with her best friend and long-time sidekick, Gillie Godshall, consume her days. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from England. The vision leads her into new realms, a lead in a play, a haunted theater ... and into the arms of Josh. Yet, both Kasey and Josh have secrets lurking in dark corners. Can Kasey’s new romance survive FREAKSVILLE?
Kitty Keswick has been an Anglophile since age four when she saw Robin Hood and fell head over heels in love. As she grew up on her grandfather’s California vineyard, Kitty’s imagination was her best friend. At a very tender age, she started writing her stories and reading them to the grapes.
Kitty spends her days with Werewolves, Valkyries, Vamps and other creatures that go bump in the night.