[rating:4]
Author: Melissa Darnell
Series:
 The Clann #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: MiraInk
Pages: 416
Published: UK: April 6th 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher
Goodreads | Amazon (UK/US) | Book Depository

First sentence:

I edge closer to my unconscious boyfriend cuffed to a chair nearby.
Blurb

Bloodlust. Magic. Forbidden secrets.

When Savannah Colbert returns to school after a mystery illness, the fact that she has changed is clear to everyone. None more so than every school girls golden boy Tristan Coleman. Ever since their first kiss in fourth grade, Savannah and Tristan have been cruelly and inexplicably banned from associating with each other. Now, as the pair navigate the tricky social life of high school, the truth is about to be revealed.

As Savannah learns of their paranormal ancestry and Tristan deals with the repercussions of her new powers, the relationship they have been denied for so long becomes utterly irresistible and all consuming. Like Romeo and Juliet centuries before them, Savannah and Tristan’s love is destined to fail; and Tristan’s powerful magical family, the Clann, are watching.

Thoughts

The first thing I want to talk about is the cover of Crave. Despite the girl on the front looking nothing like the image I have in my head of Savannah, and it being (let’s face it) a fairly generic young adult paranormal romance cover, I adore it. I know the UK cover (pictured) isn’t too different from the US edition but I just find those subtle differences enough to make it a stand out cover. The red and black is a nice contrast and the red leaves around the edges are foil embossed. It’s lovely.

As for the novel itself, I really enjoyed it. I was quite pleasantly surprised by Crave as I didn’t expect anything entirely different from any other young adult paranormal romance, and I suppose in a lot of ways it wasn’t, but the writing style pulled it up into a world of its’ own and I loved it. It is most definitely a gripping read and I adored the witchy elements in The Clann, and also Savannah’s half-witch, half-vampire genetic heritage. It’s a lot of fun discovering everything as Savannah does.

There are a lot of rather “meh” reviews around for Crave and because I’d seen so many, I had been put off a little from trying it for myself, and I suppose the issues these others have pointed out were present, however, I enjoyed it a lot and I may have missed out on a great read. My issues were with Savannah herself. The two perspective story telling method which varied between Savannah and Tristan’s viewpoints worked really well. They gave us a look into each character’s mind as we follow the developing romance between the two of them. Tristen I liked a lot as a character, but Savannah is one of those female characters that just doesn’t seem to have her head screwed on quite right. I kept wanting to shout at my book and tell her to just talk to people. Voice her issues, opinions, and everything inbetween because not doing so does nothing but cause more problems than it solves, whatever it is that she wants. Saying that, she isn’t an unloveable character and I did want to see her happy.

All in all I was pretty sad when I had to put Crave down as I was enjoying it thoroughly and I look forward to the next in the trilogy. If you’re into young adult paranormal romance, I highly recommend you check this one out.

Interview With Melissa Darnell

As Crave is your debut novel, it would be interesting to hear a little about your other writing endeavours. Have you written anything previous to Crave? Perhaps anything you’d like to go back to or ideas that you haven’t touched upon yet?

Before Crave, I had several adult paranormal romance novels published under a pseudonym.  I’ll be working on the Clann Series through at least 2013, but in addition I’m also currently revising a YA magical realism/sci-fi romance called The Source as well as plotting several contemporary YA romances (all of which can be read about at www.melissadarnell.com and www.TheClannSeries.com as they are completed and contracted).

The premise of Crave is absolutely enticing! What and/or who was your biggest inspiration behind the story?

When the YA vampire craze started to take off, as a long time lover of vamp romances I was thrilled but felt the genre was really missing something…namely a vampire heroine.  Why should the boys get all the fun here?!  But I wanted to see her start off as a normal, clueless human and then have to experience this crazy transformation process as well as learn how to deal with the final result of becoming a vampire.

I also wanted a real Romeo and Juliet forbidden kind of love, one where both the hero and heroine were equally powerful, equally interesting in a paranormal way, and equally dangerous to each other so the forbidden aspect of their love would have a huge rippling effect not just on each other but on their worlds as well.  When I considered what kind of hero could possibly be as strong and powerful as a vamp, the answer seemed natural…a male witch.

What is your preferred writing environment and how does it relate to your writing process? Do you require silence to concentrate or can you not even consider writing without the hustle and bustle of daily life around you?

When I write, I like to have a few key things…

— I prefer to be in a closed room somewhere (part of the inspiration for Savannah’s “supersonic” hearing ability is because I’ve always had extra sensitive ears and even the pressure changes in the air from room to room can distract me!).  I also need to be alone; otherwise I’m tempted to ask anyone who’s there to give me feedback on what I’ve just written!

— As a former dancer, I’ve always been nuts about music and really rely on it to help me mentally stay in the right mood for each scene in the story.  So before I begin to write any story’s rough draft, I always start by creating a soundtrack specifically for that story.  This is why you’ll always find a playlist on my websites for every story of mine that’s published.

— Since I have two young boys and a hubby who all love to be noisy, I listen to that soundtrack (set to loop for hours if necessary) on headphones to further help me focus.

— While revisions are always done on a laptop, I prefer to write rough drafts longhand using pens and composition notebooks.  I worked for years as an editor, so when I’m on a computer it’s hard for me to turn off my internal editor.  Writing longhand subconsciously tells that internal editor to “zip it for awhile already!” so my creative side can come out to play instead.

— When both writing and revising, I’ve also been known to call upon the powers of Nacho Cheese Doritos, Crunch N Munch, and my new love of Snapple Peach Tea when flying through a rough draft.  I swear they’re superfuel for the brain!

How do you most enjoy spending your free time when you aren’t writing?

Reading and watching TV with my family.  I save the reading mainly for just before bedtime and when I’m in the car (thankfully my hubby actually likes to drive so I get a lot of reading in this way!).  My personal list of TV show addictions gets longer by the day and currently includes…

  • Being Human
  • Lost Girl
  • Dance Moms
  • Long Island Medium
  • Duck Dynasty
  • Whale Wars
  • Cake Boss
  • The Adventures of Gumball and MadTV (with two young boys, these are the two miracle cartoons that bring us all together, lol)
  • The Adventures of Merlin

I also enjoy website design, and have had a lot of fun designing interactive sites for my general author info (www.melissadarnell.com), the Clann Series books (www.TheClannSeries.com), and my publishing companies Netherfield House Press (www.NetherfieldHousePress.com) and Darnell Spirit Productions (www.cheeranddancebooks.com).

And finally, just for fun, could you share with us something that has made you laugh recently?

Being Human…The line “Is she going to eat her?  I feel like she’s going to eat her.  We should do something.”

Thank you for having me here on your blog!  Readers can also read more about the history of Savannah’s race of vampires as well as the Clann, listen to each Clann Series book’s playlist, and more at www.TheClannSeries.com, and contact me anytime at www.melissadarnell.com.