Guest Blog: Michaela Maccoll

Pam, thank you for the opportunity to guest post at Bookalicious and talk with your readers.
Yesterday I had seven twelve year old girls in my house. My daughter Margaux has been bribed (and handsomely! Bad, bad mommy) to create book trailer for The Prisoners in the Palace. I thought she would enjoy doing it and might involve a friend or two…or six! She wrote the script, arranged the cast, organized an editor, and assembled costumes. I was frantic with curiosity to know what she took away from the book. For her, what was the key moment – the one that makes all the commercials?
“My mom is so unfair!”
That was it. The theme. The great message distilled from 367 carefully written pages. Moms are unfair.
Margaux wrote a script about two girls who can’t go to a party because their mom won’t let them. Girl number three says, “If you think that’s bad, you should read about this girl. Her mom’s trying to steal all her power.” Girl number four says “So? Kids don’t have any power.” Girl number three retorts “This one is going to rule all of England.” The story goes from there. The kids fall in love with the shiny cover (kudos to the wonderful designer, Amy Achaibou) printed on foil. When Mom finally relents and lets them go to the party, they are all too busy reading. With a careless wave, they all dismiss Mom.
Maybe my daughter has a point. The book is about power. Who has it. Who wants it. And who would give it up if it meant she could have a boyfriend. Victoria is due to inherit enormous influence and a huge fortune. There are untrustworthy people around who would want to take advantage of her for personal gain.
It’s also a story about mothers and daughters. Princess Victoria’s mother was widely held by Parliament and the public to be an exemplary parent. She was a single mom (Victoria’s father died when she was only a baby, leaving his German wife to live off the charity of his brother King George IV). And she was raising a daughter who would someday, probably, hopefully, wear the Crown. What a responsibility! She’s strict. She makes Victoria sleep in the same room with her. Victoria can’t go down stairs by herself. Victoria has a rigorous schedule of tutors. The Duchess is trying to protect her child and prepare her for her destiny. Naturally Victoria resents this. In Prisoners in the Palace I play with the idea that Mom’s motives aren’t so pure, certainly a suspicion that Victoria had herself. It’s the basis of the novel.
We’re still editing the trailer, but check my website, It might be the best advertisement for The Prisoners in the Palace that I could have.

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Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Goodreads: Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: Jem, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length…everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

If you thought the action between Jace and Clary was hot in The Mortal Instrument Series you better get yourself a fan and an Iced Chai to tackle Clockwork Angel. Clare comes back with a vengeance in this first book in the new series The Infernal Devices.

Set once again in the world of Shadow Hunters this story begins in Victorian England. Still a dark and twisted romp through an urban area, just a bit in the past. The world building is even more fantastic than the last series if that is even possible.

Clare has a penchant for writing swoon worthy boys in novels. Edward Cullen who? Move over pasty guy. There are two not one, yes count them two, avenging angels that are going to press all your right literary buttons. I am torn between my love for Will and Jem, but I think I am pulling a solid Team Will here.

Magnus makes an appearance or two and is still hilariously evocative.

The steam punk people are so exciting I was thinking of building one for myself! I rip roared through the streets of London on a horse, I walked across Black Friars Bridge at dark, I smelled the rot of the Thames and I fell in love. Who doesn’t want to do all that?

If you ask me “Pam darling, are you gushing?”, I would have to answer “Why, yes I do believe I am, how uncharacteristic of me”.

Seriously folks this is the big YA hit of the fall. Read it, really, just read it.

FTC Disclosure: I picked this up at BEA I was not paid for the review.

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