Saturday, June 28, 2014

Review/Interview: Ex-Factor by Elisa Dane (Giveaway)

Ex-Factor: Book One in The Diamond Girls Series 
Author: Elisa Dane 
Date Published: April 14th, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Format: e-book 

Nevaeh Evan’s life is uprooted after her father’s death, when she moves in with her aunt and cousin, Livvie. Her plan to lay low at her new high school isn't working. Her friend’s jerky boyfriend keeps asking her out, the guy she likes treats her like garbage, and the thought of tumbling again makes her want to hurl. 

So when her aunt pushes her into joining the elite X-FACTOR cheer leading squad, Navaeh goes along with it. 

But Nev feels she doesn't deserve to be happy. Not after what happened the night her father died. 

Bodie Scott knows about grief all too well. Critically injured in an alcohol related accident the year before, Bodie struggles with the fact that he’ll never play football again, and he’s so far behind in credits he can’t see straight. That is, until he meets Nev. Haunted by their bloody pasts and wary of a shared future, Nev and Bodie turn to one another for comfort and support, and realize they’re not so alone after all. And when the party scene at school threatens the life of a loved one, the two stop at nothing to keep the past from repeating itself.

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My Review

Let me start off by saying that this book was AMAZING! I am a big fan of contemporaries so I read quite a bit of them and I know that often times they tend to be somewhat similar. Ex-Factor by Elisa Dane definitely broke the mold for me. For one, it dealt with the sport of All Star Cheer-leading, which I didn't know much about. Several contemporaries I've read dealt with cheer-leading but more along the lines of the kind done at football games. It gave me a whole new respect for these young ladies (and men) who go through such rigorous training. I even found myself looking up videos of competitions after I was done reading! 

Another reason why Ex-Factor stood out to me was its incorporation of the topic of drinking and driving. We all know so many YA books bring up the topic of teen drinking but rarely do we ever see the disastrous consequences that such actions can lead to. There were definitely some heart breaking scenes in this book but they drive home the point well and make you value those you have in your life. There were many sad scenes but also many happy and funny scenes. I loved the characters together. I know some people might label their relationship "insta-love" but I hate that term because in my opinion there is no set time limit on when you are allowed to fall for someone. I personally loved the relationship and thought they really helped each other out. 

This was a fantastic book and also an important one. I think we all need to read this and be reminded that even though it is about teens, this lesson applies to all of us no matter the age. I think a lot of times adults think they know best and they are in control when in reality we are just as susceptible to mistakes and consequences. I can't wait to pick up the second book in the series! Everyone please go check out this amazing book! 

Author Interview

Q: I love watching your book tube channel and you are always so full of life. How do you manage to stay in such high spirits even with your very busy schedule?

A: Awww, thank you! I'm so glad to hear you enjoy my channel. I love books, and I tend to get excited when talking about them. It's tough some days to find time to shoot videos, but so worth it when I meet someone online who loves the same book as me and wants to talk about it.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Ex Factor?

A: I was lucky enough to attend the Every 15 Minutes program when my oldest daughter was a senior. The mock crash and assembly were both extremely moving and inspired Nev and Bodie's story.

Q: What inspired you to write Ex Factor? Your daughters are All- Star cheerleaders, are they your main inspiration when it comes to writing your YA books, especially Ex Factor? Did they have any input in the book?

A: The loss I witnessed while watching the Every 15 Minutes program inspired the theme for Ex Factor. That being said, I've been wanting to write a story about All Star cheerleaders for years. My girls have been cheering for ten years now. It's a HUGE part of our lives. Their teammates are their closest friends, and in a sense, extended family. They sweat, bleed, win, and lose together, and it's that special team bond that is so inspirational. Not to mention, the things those athletes do on the mat are nothing short of incredible. My oldest daughter gave me a lot of input while I was writing, for which I'm very grateful.

Q: Which character was your favorite to write and which did you have the most trouble with?

A: Oh gosh! That's a tough question. I love my Diamond Girls. I'm not sure I can pick a favorite. I'm going to take the easy way out and go with Mr. Keltar, the Foods instructor. He's in all three books, and is as crabby, crotchey, and sour in the third book as he is in the first. He takes great delight in needling his students and it was a ton of fun to write his character.

Q: How does the writing process differ when it comes to writing and coming up with ideas for your YA novels versus writing your adult novels?

A: Honestly, I found it much easier to write contemporary YA. I think because my girls are so rooted in the sport of cheerleading, and because I've got three girls, things just seemed to come easier. One of my girls always has some sort of drama going on, which gives me plenty of inspiration to draw from lol!

Q: What is your favorite genre to write about? I know that you enjoy writing paranormal romances, so what got you into writing YA books?

A: I definitely think I found my niche in contemporary YA. My girls live in their cheer gym, and I'm surrounded by teenage girls all the time. It makes sense for me to write what I know.

Q: I understand that you write adult novels with your real name. What made you use a pen name for your YA books? How did you come up with your pen name?

A: I wanted to keep my YA books separate from my steamier adult stuff. My YA stories are geared toward ages 15 and up, and though they include foul language and reference adult themes and situations, there is no sex in them. I wanted to keep them separate from my other work. Elisa Dane was created from the letters of my first and middle names: Lisa, and Deanne.

Q: Are you writing anything new at the moment? If so, can we have a little sneak peak?

A: I just finished up the third and final book in the Diamond Girls trilogy. It's currently titled, Defenseless and features Claire and a new character, Ryker as the leads. Much like Ex Factor, Defenseless is a story of loss and learning to live again. That's all I'm saying.

Q: What main message would you like readers to take away from Ex Factor?

A: I'd love for readers to come away with the knowledge that although you can't change the past, you can change your behavior and actions and become a better person. Drinking and driving is never a good decision. It's my hope that teenagers and adults alike will make the wise choice to call a cab, phone a friend, or parent and ask for a ride home from wherever they're at if they've been drinking and need a ride.

Q: What are some of books you feel made an impact in your life and influenced you as a person or as a writer?

A: A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux was the first romance I fell in love with when I was a teen and sparked my love affair with the romance genre in general. Jamie Fraser from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series was my first fictional crush, and paved the way for many book boyfriends to come. Then, of course, there is Colleen Hoover. Pretty much everything she writes is gold and I'm in awe of her.

About the Author 

I'm a lover of books (YA & Adult romance), chocolate, reality television, and am a proud mother to three All Star cheerleaders. Woot! I write Contemporary YA romance with cheerleaders. Yep. I write what I know, and it's my hope that my stories will not only take you on a romantic journey that will warm your heart, but that you'll find a new respect and interest in the sport of Cheerleading you may not have had before.



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