Character Profile for Daphne from The Eternity Key by Bree Despain

Eternity-Key-Bree-DespainThe Eternity Key by Bree Despain is coming out in two weeks on April 28 and I’m so excited! I’ve been waiting forever for this sequel to The Shadow Prince and I can’t wait to read it!

Fan-favorite author Bree Despain continues her modern-day romance trilogy inspired by the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades with this second book in her Into the Dark series.

Haden Lord, the disgraced Prince of the Underrealm, has chosen love over honor and will do everything in his power to protect Daphne Raines, the human girl he was supposed to bring to the Underrealm. Haden’s choice is put to the test as the Skylords and a figure from his past arrive in Olympus Hills with a plan that could destroy all of the realms.

Name: Daphne Raines (a.k.a. The Cypher)

Hair color: Golden blonde

Eye color: blue

Height: Just little over 6 feet

Build: Tall and curvy–often described as looking like an amazon.

Favorite food: BBQ bacon cheese burger with avocado and a single onion ring.

Favorite drink: Rootbeer!

Special skills: singing, guitar, floral design, animal charming, can hear special tones and music put off by all living/organic things. Uses these tones and sounds to read people and situations. (May be able to do even more with this ability–like control the elements.)

Weaknesses: Abandonment issues from being raised without her father, has difficulty letting people in, overly focused on her goals, can’t drive.

Life goal: Become a world famous musician on her own merit–not because her father is a the Joe Vince “the God of Rock.”

Character inspirations: Taylor Swift meets Dean Winchester from Supernatural Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Check out the other two characters on Bree Despain’s Blog



 Get The Eternity Key

About Bree Despain

Bree Despain

Bree Despain is the author of the Dark Divine trilogy and the upcoming Into The Dark trilogy. Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, two young sons, and her beloved TiVo.


Book Review: The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo

Book Review: The Too-Clever Fox by Leigh BardugoThe Too-Clever Fox by Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #2.5
Published: June 4, 2013
Format: eBook (32 pages)
Genres: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Short Stories, Young Adult
Source: Purchased

In Ravka, just because you avoid one trap, it doesn't mean you'll escape the next. This story is a companion folk tale to Leigh Bardugo’s upcoming novel, Siege and Storm, the second book in the Grisha Trilogy.
4 Stars

This fable has a little of everything – talking animals, a moral about being wise, and a girl to save the day.  Yep. A girl.  This is an adorable, well written companion story to the Grisha Series.  Even if you haven’t read the Grisha Series, pick up this charming fairy tale that stands well on its own.



This was a gripping fable about a fox that is so clever he tries to outsmart death.  It doesn’t work out so well.  Luckily, he has a smart girl to come and save him.  We need more fairy tales to end that way.

Normally, a story about talking animals telling us how to be wise instead of clever would be tedious, but Leigh Bardugo sucks you right into the story. She gives the fable an Ugly Duckling twist and a good dose of feminism to make this fairy tale feel modern and different.  The other animals point out how ugly the fox is, but instead of crawling into a hole and whining about how he doesn’t fit in, he says this:

I can bear ugliness.  I find the one thing I cannot live with is death.

– Leigh Bardugo, The Too-Clever Fox (Location 61)

That’s a good way to look at life.  Optimism at it’s best.  Yeah, I’m ugly.  At least I’m not dead.

Nikolai is compared to the too-clever fox and they have a lot in common.  They are both clever, rejected by their families, loyal, and they both love to flatter people.

Fables don’t usually have magic.  This one doesn’t really have it either.  What looks like magic is really people looking for evil in the wrong place.  The fox is eager to have magic explain something instead of using logic based on the evidence he has.

Part of what makes the fox so clever is that he never uses the same way to escape twice.  My favorite way he escaped was by making a promise to some fleas and then HE KEPT IT.  He let fleas eat him alive for a year because he said he would.  That kind of loyalty is amazing to me.  Most stories are about how un-loyal people are. I found his loyalty refreshing and impressive.

All of Leigh’s short stories for this series have had a feminist slant.  This one did, too.  The girl is assumed to be harmless because she is young and pretty and lonely.  Leigh does a great job of playing off of our stereotypes and challenging them.  Even re-reading the fairy tale, I still didn’t want to believe that sweet young girl killed all those animals.  I found her trap so interesting.

The trap is loneliness, and none of us escapes it.  Not even me.

-Leigh Bardugo, The Too-Clever Fox (Location 268)

How is loneliness a trap?

I don’t really have a good answer for that.  I think loneliness trapped the animals because they trusted someone they shouldn’t have.  Or maybe she trapped them because they were traveling alone.  Buddy system people. The fox was only saved because he had the nightingale with him.  It makes me wonder how I get influenced by loneliness.  For me, loneliness only makes me feel powerless when I’m not making an effort to care about other people.  What do you think?  Do we get trapped by loneliness?  How do you escape that trap?

Content Rating: Mild, for a very brief description of skinning an animal while it’s alive.

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links.

About Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she lives in Hollywood, where she indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as makeup artist L.B. Benson. Occasionally, she can be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.

Her debut novel, Shadow & Bone (Holt Children’s/ Macmillan), is a New York Times Best Seller and the first book in the Grisha Trilogy. Book 2, Siege and Storm, will be published in 2013. She is represented by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of New Leaf.


Exclusive Teasers from The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

The-Shadow-Prince-by-Bree-Despain-Paperback-BannerExclusive Teasers from The Shadow Prince by Bree DespainThe Shadow Prince by Bree Despain
Published: April 14, 2015
Format: Paperback (512 pages)



I loved The Shadow Prince when I read it last year, and I’m so happy to be on the blog tour for the paperback release!  The Shadow Prince is like Percy Jackson for YA.  It’s a Greek mythology retelling of Persephone and Hades with a feminist twist and swoon-worthy romance.  If you haven’t read it yet, check out these exclusive teaser quotes from the book!


Check back next week for more teasers and a giveaway!  What do you think of the new cover?

About Bree Despain

Bree Despain

Bree Despain is the author of the Dark Divine trilogy and the upcoming Into The Dark trilogy. Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, two young sons, and her beloved TiVo.


My Google Diary for Anna and the French Kiss

pinterest-size-banner-transparent-backgroundMy Google Diary for Anna and the French KissAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins



When I read, I ask a LOT of questions. Here’s some stuff I searched or wondered about while reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.

From my review:

So what are teen relationships really like? Hint: they lack communication and have lots of drama.  The couple in this book fights a lot which I found kind of funny and adorable.  The thing that kept me from completely loving this book was I felt like there was a little too much drama.  It gave me mild anxiety while reading it.

I couldn’t get enough of the cast of characters.  Anna’s father is a an author who is more or less Nicholas Sparks but with the personality of Gilderoy Lockhart – complete with fake white smile, purple shirt, and hair that blows dramatically in the wind…. [Read more]

Victor Noir’s Grave (at Pere-Lachiase Cemetary)

“Victor Noir. He was a journalist shot by Pierre Bonaparte,” St. Clair says, as if that explains anything. […] “The statue on his grave is supposed to help . . . fertility.”

“His wang is rubbed shiny,” Josh elaborates. “For luck.”

– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg. 132)

NO. No way.

Seriously? HOW DID I MISS THIS WHEN I WAS IN PARIS?  I was using the wrong guide book.  Learn from my mistakes.  See Paris the Stephanie Perkins way.  Then see what Rick Steves has to say about The City of Light.

Oh. My. Gosh.  It gets better. :) I looked up the Pere-Lachaise cemetery on Wiki and here’s what it said about Victor Noir:

Victor Noir – journalist killed by Pierre Napoleon Bonaparte in a dispute over a duel with Paschal Grousset. The tomb, designed by Jules Dalou, is notable for the realistic portrayal of the dead Noir.”

Wiki Page on Pere-Lachaise

Are you sure? Are you SURE, Wiki, that that’s ALL his grave is known for???? Lol.

The Pantheon

St. Clair glances at me from the corner of his eyes and smiles. “A pantheon means it’s a place for tombs – of famous people, people important to the nation.”

“Is that all?” I’m sort of disappointed.  It looks like it should’ve at least crowned a few kings or something.

– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 168)


Eh. Not too sad I missed this when I went to Paris.  Anna was right. Kind of disappointing.  Cool building though.

Luxembourg Gardens and the Grand Bassin

Le Jardin du Luxembourg, the Luxembourg Gardens, is busy today, but it’s a pleasant crowd. […] Etienne and I are sprawled before the Grand Bassin, an octagonal pool popular for sailing toy boats.

– Stepanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 307-308)

I saw the toy boats in the Grand Bassin when I went to Paris and it was something out of a freaking fairy tale.

« Bassin et bateaux devant le Sénat » par Dinkum — Travail personnel. Sous licence CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.

« Bassin et bateaux devant le Sénat » par DinkumTravail personnel. Sous licence CC0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The trees there are meticulously trimmed.  They are square.  They are really tall, really square, and it makes me feel like I’m not so perfectionist after all. When I went, I didn’t take any pictures because it was so peaceful.  It’s the kind of place that you want to sit for hours and do absolutely nothing.

Shakespeare and Company

It starts drizzling, so we pop into a bookshop across from Notre-Dame.  The yellow-and-green sign reads SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY. 

Inside, we’re struck by chaos.  A horde of customers crowds the desk, and everywhere I turn there are books, books, and more books.  But it’s not like a chain, where everything is neatly organized on shelves and tables and end caps.  Here books totter in wobbly stacks, fall from the seats of chairs, and spill from sagging shelves.

– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 183-184)

By celebrategreatness (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By celebrategreatness (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

My heart!!! It breaks that I didn’t go here either!! Shakespeare and Company will stamp the books for you that you buy there.  How cool is that?! I was SO close to here, too! There are tons of book sellers on the bank next to Notre Dame.  We even looked at some of the carts.  All I needed to do is turn around!! Ah the angst!

Pont Neuf

 The Christmas gift I bought her, a tiny package wrapped in red-and-white-striped paper, has been shoved into the bottom of my suitcase.  It’s a model of Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in Paris.

– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 244)

"Pont Neuf at Sunset" by Steve from washington, dc, usa - the pont neuf glowing at sunset. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Pont Neuf at Sunset” by Steve from washington, dc, usa – the pont neuf glowing at sunset. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


Point Zero

I look down, and I’m surprised to find myself standing in the middle of a small stone circle.  In the center, directly between my feet, is a coppery-bronze octagon with a star.  Words are engraved in the stone around it: POINT ZERO DES ROUTES DE FRANCE.

“Mademoiselle Oliphant.  It translates to ‘Point zero of the roads of France.’ In other words, it’s the point from which all other distances in France are measured.”  St. Clair clears his throat. “It’s the beginning of everything. […] Welcome to Paris, Anna. […] Now make a wish.”

– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 84-85)

SWOON.  What an adorable moment!  Here’s point zero.  Now imagine a cute boy and make a wish :)

By Jean-Pierre Bazard Jpbazard (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jean-Pierre Bazard Jpbazard (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Saint Etienne du Mont

We’re standing in front of an absolute beast of a cathedral.  Four thick columns hold up a Gothic facade of imposing statues and rose windows and intricate carvings.  A skinny bell tower stretches all the way into the inky blackness of the night sky. “What is it?” I whisper. “Is it famous? Should I know it?”

“It’s my church.”

“You go here?” I’m surprised.  He doesn’t seem like the church-going type.

“No.” He nods to a stone placard, indicating I read it.

“Saint Etienne du Mont. Hey! Saint Etienne.”

– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 78)

Maybe it’s not a famous chapel, but it’s an amazing one.

"DSC 7095--Saint-Etienne-du-" by Pline - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

DSC 7095–Saint-Etienne-du-” by PlineOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Champs-Elysees and Place de la Concorde

“I still want to ride one of those Ferris wheels they set up along the Champs-Elysées.  Or that big one at the Place de la Concorde with all the pretty lights.”

– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 199)

CUTE! I didn’t know they had Ferris wheels here.

Place de la Concorder "Champs Elysees Grande Roue p1040788". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Place de la ConcordeChamps Elysees Grande Roue p1040788“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Saint Genevieve

We stroll across the marble in awed silence, except for when he points out someone important like Joan of Arc or Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris.  According to him, Saint Genevieve saved the city from famine.  I think she was a real person, but I’m too shy to ask.

– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 169)

"StGenevieve" by This file is lacking source information.Please edit this file's description and provide a source.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

StGenevieve” Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

So of course I had to know – is she a real person? Yep. But she lived in the 400s so it’s hard to separate her real life from her canonized Catholic biography.

Sofia Coppola

MV5BMTcxODIwMDMzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDE5MTU0MDE@._V1_SX214_CR0,0,214,317_AL_My car’s named after my favorite director, Sofia Coppola.  Sofia creates these atmospheric impressionistic films with this quiet but impeccable style.  She’s also one of only two American women to have been nominated for the Best Director Oscar, for Lost in Translation.

She should have won.

– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 219)

Sofia is also an actress.  I looked her up mostly to see what other films she’s done.  She did Marie Antoinette as well.  I agree with Anna’s description of her films – impressionistic and atmospheric.

Pauline Kael

Pauline_KaelI shrug. “I just like . . . expressing my opinion.  That possibility of turning someone on to something really great. And, I dunno, I used to talk with this big critic in Atlanta – he lived in my theater’s neighborhood, so he used to go there for screenings – and he one bragged about how there hadn’t been a respectable female film critic since Pauline Kael, because women are too soft.  That we’ll give any dumb movie four stars.  I want to prove that’s not true.”

– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 270-271)

I had never heard of Pauline Kael and I’m so glad I looked her up.  She’s a fascinating person.  She was a movie critic for over 20 years and changed the way that major movie critics reviewed movies – including Roger Ebert.  She was very opinionated but her opinions were usual different than the other critics.  She often brought movies to people’s attention that had been overlooked and she didn’t often bash movies that others hated.

Michel Gondry

MV5BMjEwNDg3MDA1MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDAxMzc1MQ@@._V1_SX214_CR0,0,214,317_AL_What was I thinking? I’d much rather stay in and hold a Michel Gondry marathon.

– Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss (pg 272)


I was curious about what movies would be in this marathon.  As far as I can tell it would probably look like this:

  • Human Nature
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Be Kind Rewind
  • The Green Hornet

Want a longer to-read list? Here are some books mentioned in Anna and the French Kiss.



About Stephanie Perkins

Stepanie Perkins

Well, hello! I'm Stephanie Perkins, and I write novels for teens (and for adults who aren't afraid to admit that teen books are awesome). I was born in South Carolina, raised in Arizona, attended universities in San Francisco and Atlanta, and now I live in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.

My best friend is my husband Jarrod. Our house is almost a hundred years old, and every room is painted a different color of the rainbow. We share it with a cat named Mr. Tumnus.

I've always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, and now as a novelist. On weekdays, you'll find me at my desk, typing away, downing cups of coffee and tea. On the weekend, you'll find me at the movies, waiting for the actors to kiss. I believe all novels and films should have more kissing.


Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Book Review: Coraline by Neil GaimanCoraline by Neil Gaiman
Published: August 4, 2002
Format: eBook (162 pages)
Genres: Childrens, Horror
Source: Purchased

Coraline lives with her preoccupied parents in part of a huge old house--a house so huge that other people live in it, too... round, old former actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible and their aging Highland terriers ("We trod the boards, luvvy") and the mustachioed old man under the roof ("'The reason you cannot see the mouse circus,' said the man upstairs, 'is that the mice are not yet ready and rehearsed.'") Coraline contents herself for weeks with exploring the vast garden and grounds. But with a little rain she becomes bored--so bored that she begins to count everything blue (153), the windows (21), and the doors (14). And it is the 14th door that--sometimes blocked with a wall of bricks--opens up for Coraline into an entirely alternate universe. Now, if you're thinking fondly of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, you're on the wrong track. Neil Gaiman's Coraline is far darker, far stranger, playing on our deepest fears. And, like Roald Dahl's work, it is delicious.
4 Stars

Even if you don’t like horror, pick up this beautifully written children’s book about bravery, boredom, and getting everything you want.  Turns out, getting everything you want isn’t as great as you’d think.


Coraline is horror light. All the creepy richness of a regular horror novel but with a light, happy ending instead. In all honesty, this book was the max amount of horror I could handle.  The horror parts of the novel involved things like going in dark basements and you KNOW something is down there.  There were gross parts involving bats and moving spider-egg-sac-things.  Does she have to touch it?  OH YES SHE DOES.  The thing she needs is inside it (of course).  This story is about bravery, which I obviously do not possess.  I would not do any of the things Coraline did, especially touch the creepy egg-sac-thingy.  As Neil Gaiman puts it, Coraline has “scared many adults and fewer children.” (Coraline 10th Anniversary Edition, Q&A with Neil Gaiman)

There’s also a general feeling of something being off, something not quite right.  I think it’s mostly from his word choice when he uses similes.  And they are gross.

The flat had walls the color of old milk.

– Neil Gaiman, Coraline 10th Anniversary Edition (p. 129)

There was a tiny doubt inside her, like a maggot in an apple core.

– Neil Gaiman, Coraline 10th Anniversary Edition (p. 75)

Why use “off-white” when “old milk” induces dry heaving?

The thing about Neil Gaiman is that he really nails childhood.  He gets how kids work and how they think.

There was also a well. On the first day Coraline’s family moved in, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible made a point of telling Coraline how dangerous the well was, and they warned her to be sure she kept away from it. So Coraline set off to explore for it, so that she knew where it was, to keep away from it properly.

-Neil Gaiman, Coraline 10th Anniversary Edition (pp. 5-6).

Because seriously – what kid that was told there was something dangerous nearby wouldn’t do exactly that?

This parent gets points for a) not screaming at his kid for bugging him all the time about being bored and b) for coming up with the most tedious, time consuming game possible.  I’m stealing this game for my kids to play tomorrow.  “Where did you get this idea, mommy?” “A horror novel.  You’ll love it.  Have fun.”

“Then explore the flat,” suggested her father. “Look— here’s a piece of paper and a pen. Count all the doors and windows. List everything blue. Mount an expedition to discover the hot water tank. And leave me alone to work.”

– Neil Gaiman, Coraline 10th Anniversary Edition (p. 9)

And now for the random deep thought of the day from a cat.

“Cats don’t have names,” it said. “No?” said Coraline. “No,” said the cat. “Now, you people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.”

– Neil Gaiman, Coraline 10th Anniversary Edition (p. 43)

Like, WOW.  I’m not exaggerating.  It’s kind of deep.  Without labels, do we really know who we are?

One of my favorite things about this book is when Coraline decides she doesn’t like this creepy, alternate reality that she found because it turns out – getting everything you want? Not so great.

Coraline sighed. “You really don’t understand, do you?” she said. “I don’t want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted? Just like that, and it didn’t mean anything. What then?”

– Neil Gaiman, Coraline 10th Anniversary Edition (pp. 144-145)

It’s true though, isn’t it?  As a parent, I don’t give my kids everything they want on purpose because I know it would make them unhappy.  It’s sad that I don’t have this problem as an adult because what I want gets longer by the hour.  But kids?  What they want is food made exactly their way and their parents to pay attention to them all day long.  At least, that’s what Coraline wants.  And that’s it.  How beautiful is childhood that complete happiness is so simple.

Is getting everything you want closer to a horror novel or to a fairy tale?

It’s kind of crazy to me to realize after reading this that it’s probably closer to a horror novel.  What do you think?

Content Rating: Mild, for some scary elements that might scare young children (or really wimpy adults).

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links.  

About Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman was born in Hampshire, UK, and now lives in the United States near Minneapolis. As a child he discovered his love of books, reading, and stories, devouring the works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, James Branch Cabell, Edgar Allan Poe, Michael Moorcock, Ursula K. LeGuin, Gene Wolfe, and G.K. Chesterton. A self-described “feral child who was raised in libraries,” Gaiman credits librarians with fostering a life-long love of reading: “I wouldn't be who I am without libraries. I was the sort of kid who devoured books, and my happiest times as a boy were when I persuaded my parents to drop me off in the local library on their way to work, and I spent the day there. I discovered that librarians actually want to help you: they taught me about interlibrary loans.”