Monday, March 21, 2016

"Tiger Lily" by Wende Dikec

Tiger Lily
by Wende Dikec

Tiger Lily by Wende Dikec is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt, my review, a guest post by the author, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Lily Madison thought dying because of a bad manicure was the worst thing that could happen. She was wrong.
Waking up in the hospital and realizing she's being stalked by an entire herd of naughty little ghosts turns her entire world upside down. She begins to doubt her own sanity until she realizes she isn't alone. A Goth girl, named Zoe, can see the ghosts, too.
Most of the ghosts look like fuzzy blobs, but one is not blobby at all. He's a very hot, very annoying dead guy named Nick. Although they dislike each other on sight, Nick soon realizes Lily is his only hope. With the help of Zoe and Mr. Wan, the manicurist who almost killed her, she has only days to get Nick and the other ghosts back where they belong or the whole world will be in terrible danger.
But sending the ghosts back means saying goodbye to Nick forever, and Lily isn't sure she'll ever be able to let him go.

I died because of a bad manicure. It wasn’t a nasty fungal infection from the manicurist using dirty equipment, or a cut that allowed deadly bacteria to creep under my skin and rot me from the inside out. I died because on impulse I let Mr. Wan of Wan Fine Lady Nail Salon paint my nails a color called Pretty and Pink.
With my red hair and pale skin, pink is tricky, but I trusted Mr. Wan. When he told me, “New color, big discount for you, Lily Madison,” I didn’t realize he actually meant, “Bad color, nobody else wants it.”
I’ve never been a risk taker. My idea of living on the edge was not having an extra bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse. I knew the pink would be a mistake, but I ignored my inner voice. I guess the smell of acetone and the hum of the nail dryers had lulled me into such a relaxed state that I didn’t realize how awful the color actually looked until I drove home in the BMW my parents had given me for my sixteenth birthday.
Pretty and Pink was false advertising, but as I learned long ago in my ninth grade science fair project, neither the government nor the FDA regulates the names of nail polish colors. I didn’t have a case, but I felt extremely upset.
I didn’t see the ice cream truck stopped in the middle of the road. I was staring at my nails, wishing I’d gone with my first choice, Princesses Rule!, a frosty pale pink that would have enhanced my natural skin tone. I glanced up just in time to narrowly avoid hitting the truck and several small children caught in a snow-cone-induced feeding frenzy.
It’s funny how accidents happen in slow motion. I remember the shocked faces of the people on the street as I swerved and flew over a small embankment. Someone screamed, and it took me a full second to realize the high-pitched wail came from my own mouth. I’d started screaming the minute I’d steered away from the ice cream truck, screamed some more as my car became an airborne missile, and continued screaming until it landed in the deep, murky waters of Lake Eugene.
I tried to open my door, but it refused to budge. My windows wouldn’t roll down either. I pressed the buttons anyway, even the one on the dashboard to turn on the radio, but none of them worked except my hazard lights. I didn’t know I had hazard lights, although I’d read all about them in my driver’s ed class. They blinked on and off, illuminating the darkness around me with an eerie, red, pulsating beacon.
I unbuckled my seat belt and searched for something to break a window with, but couldn’t find anything. I swung my purse at it, pounded it with the heel of my shoe, and even tried stabbing it with my nail file. I reached for my phone to call for help, but it was too late.
As the car filled with water and I gasped for air, the last thing I saw was that awful color on my nails as I scratched and clawed at the window until my fingers bled and everything turned black. As I died, I thought about my parents, and my friends, and all the things I would never get to do, and the fact that Mr. Wan had just lost his very best customer due to his own negligence. I hoped he would be sorry. Thinking about how bad he’d feel gave me just a little peace before I slipped away into darkness.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"First Wende Dikec grabs you with her fresh writing, then she keeps you in the throes of her story with an incredible voice and a gifted talent for spinning tales that will amaze and delight. I am stunned. Tiger Lily will consume you, and before you know it you are fighting for air yet begging for more. You've been warned!" ~ NY Times Bestselling Author Darynda Jones
"Good story telling is a gift, and this author’s debut novel is a sign of more good things to come. I can’t wait for more!" ~ Gulliver's Mom
"This is a really witty and intelligently funny book to read. Wende Dikec has a way with developing characters and letting the reader vividly see and get to know them." ~ A. Durnell
"Once I started reading Tiger Lily I found it hard to put down. [...] I'd highly recommend this book to middle grade and high school readers." ~ S. Edmondson
"Sometimes when you read outside of your preferred romance subgenre, you find a piece of reading treasure. That is what Tiger Lily is, a charming delight." ~ C.C.

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
When Lily wakes up in a hospital room after "dying" in a car accident, she starts seeing things. Mysterious black blobs are floating around the room, and there's a shadowy boy called Nick, who may or may not be dead. But something evil may have followed her back from the brink of death as well. Will Lily be able to solve her current predicament with the help of her new friends, Josh and Zoe?
From the moment Lily Madison has a near-death experience as a result of a bad nail job in the first scene, you just know you're going to be in for a fun ride. The author maintains her dry wit and dark humor throughout, and manages to craft some laugh-out-loud moments. There is a great cast of amusing support characters, including Mr Wan, Mrs Chang, Miss Lin, and Uncle Johnny. The Chinese proverbs at the beginning of each chapter are a nice touch, as are Lily's weekly manicures with nail polish names to suit the occasion.
A beautiful, funny, heart-warming story about the power of love.

Guest Post by the Author
The Perils of Having a Romance Writer for a Mom
My middle son was applying for colleges this year. Fortunately, he got into quite a few, so he has lots of options to choose from, but writing the essays for all the applications was challenging. He’s a very scientific boy, a math nerd, and completely the opposite of his mother (the romance writer) in every way. But, sadly, he needed my help.
“Mom, can you take a look at this?”
“What is it?”
“My essay. I just want you to edit it, okay? Don’t…add stuff.”
This had me perplexed. “What kind of stuff?”
He shuffled his feet, trying to avoid making eye contact with me. “You know. Romance writer stuff.”
“I can do that. Give me the essay.”
I began rubbing my hands together and may have laughed maniacally. I love editing, but sometimes I get a little too excited about it. My boys all hate when I do this.
He sighed, sitting down next to me, watching as my eyes flitted across the page. “Oh, gosh. Here we go again. It’s an essay about biology. I just want you to do a spell check.”
“Spell check, schmell check,” I chortled with glee. “Do you know what this needs? A hook!”
He shook his head. “No. It needs to be proof read. Please. Mom. Don’t go crazy.”
I was ignoring him completely at this point. “We should start with a narrative. I walked into the lab, hesitant. Unsure. As I pulled on my purple lab coat and adjusted my safety goggles over my flowing waves of chestnut hair, I saw it. Right in front of me. The microscope of my dreams.
He put his face in his hands. “You’re doing it again.”
“What?” I adjusted my glasses and went back to the essay. “The lab intrigued me. Captivated me. Made me yearn for more. But there was danger here, too. I had to keep my wits about me, and take careful notes, or all my data would be lost.”
“Now you’re just being ridiculous.”
“I used the word ‘data’. That’s all science-y.”
“It’s not ‘science-y’. It’s romance writer-y.”
I stared at him, dumbfounded. “But it’s really good now. Interesting. Sexy.”
He groaned. “I don’t want sexy. It’s an essay for a college application. And your sentences are all weird. They aren’t really sentences at all.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The phrase ‘captivated me’ is not a sentence.”
“I know, but you’re adding rhythm and color and music to your writing.”
He stared at me. “Just read it, Mom. Please. I know it’s hard to hold yourself back, but you’re going to have to try.”
I love my son, so I did as he asked. I checked his spelling, made a few suggestions, and let him speak (through his essay) in his own voice. That is what the colleges want to hear after all. His voice. Not mine.
Then he left, and I opened a blank document and started writing a romance about a statuesque redhead getting her PhD in chemistry. She falls in love with a very hot reporter (who happens to look exactly like Joe Manganiello) (who, ironically enough, graduated from Carnegie Mellon University – nirvana for a science or math nerd). It turns out our heroine is not at all what she seems. She descended from witches and has magical powers.
Okay, that may have just been a blatant opportunity to post a photo of Joe Manganiello, but you get my point. Even science can be sexy. And although I adore writing books like Tiger Lily – with magic and romance and ghosts and hot guys and beautiful heroines:
I enjoy editing college essays, too. Especially if it embarrasses my children – even just a little bit.

About the Author
Wende Dikec has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, and fun. Fluent in several languages and married to a man from Istanbul, Wende is a trekkie, a book hoarder, master of the Nespresso machine, and mother of three boys. A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.

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