Category Archives: Auralee Wallace

Chewbacca: Perfect Sidekick or Perfect Date?

GUEST POST – I Want Me Some Wookie by Auralee Wallace

Back in June when my debut novel, SIDEKICK, was set to launch, I was tasked with the job of writing a number of guest posts. I decided, in order to stick with the whole sidekick theme, I’d spend some time looking into some historical examples. That’s when I stumbled across Chewie.

Initially, I thought I would do a Top Ten list for why Chewbacca may be the best sidekick at all time, but it wasn’t long before I discovered Chewie was so much more than a sidekick; he was a compelling male… what is he again? Oh yeah, a Wookie. But fearing the blowback of Wookie love, I never published the post. I thought I had gone too far even for me.

Well, the months have passed, and it seems the “Wookie” just won’t die. I wanted it die. When I re-looked at this post and thought, “Huh, that’s the most inane things you’ve ever written,” but for Penny of Penny Dreadful Reviews it has become a bit of a thing. So at Penny’s request, here it is. Much like the Wookie upsetting her is not a good idea.


DISCLAIMER: I still have grave reservations about attaching my name to this piece. In fact, I will probably deny ownership of it should it ever come up in polite conversation, but, regardless, here it is.

Let The Trial Begin!

RULES: Points will be awarded to either the Sidekick or Date category in a completely whimsical, entirely biased fashion.

1. Chewy has a fabulous head of hair. I can’t really see many sidekick advantages here, but from a dating perspective, it’s unlikely that he’ll ever go bald…although I do have to wonder about the shedding issue. Once you get wet dog smell in your upholstery, it’s never coming out. No points to either side.


2. Everybody wants to imitate the wookie. In fact, at times I tend to think those wookie noises might even upstage the imitable Hans Solo. Not good in a sidekick. Great for a family dinner though. Your family will love him! Everyone will be making Chewie sounds around the table. And those are happy sounds. Try it. I know you’ll like it. One point date!

3. He knows how to dance. Again, no readily obvious sidekick advantages here, but just imagine what a magical evening it would be to dance cheek to furry cheek with our friend Chewie. One point date!


4. He doesn’t talk in a language anyone can understand except for Hans Solo…and I guess other Wookies. So this is a handy trait for a sidekick. Think of all the secret information he could pass on. Plus, he can’t talk smack about his boy, Hans. Then again, I can also think of many a first date where I wished my companion was unable to speak. I know you can too. Two points Sidekick. One point Date.


5. He’s warm. When you’re not saving the universe, how awesome would it be to curl up with Chewy on the couch? You know he’s even more comfortable than one of those blankets you see on TV with the sleeves. That being said if you were freezing to death on the ice plains of say planet Hoth he might also be fun to snuggle with. One point each!


6. He’s caring and would take care of you when you’re sick. I’m going to give one point to Sidekick here, but two points to date because that there is husband material.



7. He’s big and has some impressive muscle. Very useful in a sidekick. Very attractive in a date (I am so tempted to expand on the “big” part right now, but I won’t. I’m starting to creep myself out!) One point each!

Well, I thought about going to ten, but I just can’t…not after seeing that look on Leia’s face. So let’s tally the scores!



Date: SEVEN              Sidekick: FOUR

I know. I’m kind of surprised too. But there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this exploration of the Wookie, but let us never speak of it again.

 ABOUT Auralee

photo (1)Auralee Wallace is an author of humorous commercial women’s fiction and occasional guest blogger at Penny Dreadful Book Reviews She is a member of the RWA, and her debut novel, Sidekick, a superhero urban fantasy, placed as a finalist in the Virginia Fool for Love Contest, The TARA Contest and The Catherine. Sidekick has been picked up by Harlequin’s Escape Publishing and is due for release June 1st, 2014. Auralee has an undergraduate degree in psychology, a Master’s degree in English literature and has worked in the publishing industry for a number of years before teaching at the college level.

Auralee has always been fascinated by the power of stereotypes in terms of race, gender, and disability and how those beliefs colour our understanding of the world and of each other.

When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children and three rescue cats isn’t writing or playing soccer, she can be found watching soap operas with lurid fascination and warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard. She can also be found on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and her blog


SidekickHeroes meets Bridget Jones in this brilliant, hilarious debut novel about a girl who just wants to save the world…

Bremy St James, daughter of billionaire Atticus St James, has been cut off from the family fortune and is struggling to survive in a world that no longer holds its breath every time she buys a new outfit. To make matters worse, her twin sister is keeping secrets, loan sharks are circling, and the man of her dreams — a newspaper reporter — is on assignment to bring down everyone with the last name St James.

Things are certainly looking bleak for the down-and-out socialite until a good deed throws her into the path of the city’s top crime-fighter, Dark Ryder. Suddenly, Bremy has a new goal: apprentice to a superhero, and start her own crime-fighting career.

Ryder has no need for a sidekick, but it turns out the city needs Bremy’s help. Atticus St James is planning the crime of the century, and Bremy may be the only one able to get close enough to her father to stop him.

Now all she needs to do is figure out this superhero thing in less than a month, keep her identity secret from the man who could very well be The One, and save the city from total annihilation.

Well, no one ever said being a superhero would be easy




Sidekick and “The Five Stages of Goodreads Grief”

GUEST POST – Auralee Wallace


Scheduled Post: Guest Blog – The Five Stages of Goodreads Grief

By Auralee Wallace, author of Sidekick

My debut novel, SIDEKICK, was released June 1st of this year. Coming up to the date, I thought I was prepared for all that is Goodreads. Much like when I boasted about my ability to handle natural childbirth because I was “pretty good with pain,” I naively reasoned that I could manage bad reviews because, logically speaking, not everyone was going to love my book – different tastes and what not, yadda yadda. Then it happened, and again, much like my experience with natural childbirth, the day I received my first one star review was filled with agony, despair, and may or may not have involved lots of screaming.
Now that a month or two has passed, I feel like I am able to reflect on my thought processes at the time with some clarity and share them with other authors. Not to prepare them. Nothing can do that. But for them to have something to look back on when their first one star rears its ugly head. Then maybe they’ll remember they’re not alone.
So here’s how it happened…blow by ugly blow.
(On a side note, this is my first time using .gifs. I’ve been a holdout partially because, as a writer, I feel I should be able to express myself more than adequately with words…but then it occurred to me that perhaps I was being a bit of a snot because I was intimidated by all this newfangled technology. So I’ve decided to give them a try. I hope you enjoy them…but if you don’t, please don’t feel obligated to tell me so on Goodreads.)
1. Denial
One star? ONE STAR?
Maybe Goodreads got it wrong. Sometimes the numbers don’t match up. I’ve read that happens. Or…or maybe that reviewer hit the wrong star. It’s an honest mistake. It happens. I’m sure he or she (or other of your choosing – I know that’s a Goodreads hot button) will fix that just as soon as he or she realizes the horrible, HORRIBLE mistake that has been made. After all, there are at least six other people on here that LOVE my book. I mean, really LOVE it…and only one of them is related to me. Surely, this is all just a silly mistake.
2. Anger
Wait…wait…wait. It’s still there…and now there is a review! And they said WHAT?????
Anger (1)
I was being SATIRICAL! Ever heard of satire Oh-my-opinion-is-better-than-everyone-else’s-stupid-face? Son of a b…!!!! The character didn’t even say that! Why I oughta…!!!!
3. Bargaining
Maybe if I just explain to the reviewer why he or she is so very, very wrong, he or she will change his or her mind? (You can nail me for the discriminatory pronoun use. I got nothing) We’re all reasonable people here. There’s no reason why we can’t work this out. In fact, have I told you ColdheartedCat67 how much I love your name? I’m thinking of using it in my next book. Maybe we can work something out…
That’s right. When I’m through with you, Reviewer, you’ll be putty in my hands.
(Disclaimer: I’m joking here. I’ve read the warnings. I would never, NEVER – no matter how tempted – contact a reviewer. I realize that’s about as wise as sticking my hand in a blender.)
4. Depression
Nobody…nobody likes my superhero chick lit. (Well, statistically, according to Goodreads, most readers do, but not this one star reviewer. Nooo.  I will never write again. In fact, I shall now retreat under my bed where my children can visit me after school (That’s right, Reviewer. You’re picking on somebody’s mom! I hope you’re proud of yourself.) because I’m hated…HATED! by all readers, everywhere.
5. Acceptance
Not all readers are going to like my book, and that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion…even if it’s stupid. (Whoops, I may have slipped back into some kind of passive-aggressive anger-type thing there. That happens with stages. They’re fluid.) It’s cool. Goodreads is a site for readers to express honest opinions…everybody says so. Besides, bad reviews add legitimacy. That’s right. It’s all part of the bigger picture. So you do your thing, Reviewer, and I’ll do mine, and maybe we can both have our HEA, or at least HFN…but so help me, if you give me one more review like that…whoops, there I go again back to anger. As I said, the stages, they’re fluid.
We’re all good.
Acceptance (1)

ABOUT Auralee

photo (1)Auralee Wallace is an author of humorous commercial women’s fiction and occasional guest blogger at Penny Dreadful Books and Reviews She is a member of the RWA, and her debut novel, Sidekick, a superhero urban fantasy, placed as a finalist in the Virginia Fool for Love Contest, The TARA Contest and The Catherine. Sidekick has been picked up by Harlequin’s Escape Publishing and is due for release June 1st, 2014. Auralee has an undergraduate degree in psychology, a Master’s degree in English literature and has worked in the publishing industry for a number of years before teaching at the college level.

Auralee has always been fascinated by the power of stereotypes in terms of race, gender, and disability and how those beliefs colour our understanding of the world and of each other.

When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children and three rescue cats isn’t writing or playing soccer, she can be found watching soap operas with lurid fascination and warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard. She can also be found on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and her blog


BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY! The Almost Girl – Amalie Howard



Continuing a tradition of strong female characters, “The Almost Girl” (January 7, 2014, Strange Chemistry) introduces readers to a tough, independent soldier from a parallel universe who is thrown into an earthly mission that has her second guessing life as she knows it. “The Almost Girl” is first in a two-book series.

Having always imagined that I have a warrior’s spirit, (don’t laugh, it’s true) I was understandably intrigued by the unique premise of this fascinating book and immediately signed up to participate in the blog tour with this fantastic giveaway.

  • Almost-Girl-finalTitle: The Almost Girl
  • Author: Amalie Howard
  • ISBN: 9781908844804
  • Series: First of a two book series
  • Published: January 7th 2014 by Strange Chemistry (first published December 29th 2013)
  • Format: eBook
  • Genre/s: YA
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Source: Netgalley
  • Rating: B+


Every time I think of The Almost Girlone word comes to mind – cool.

Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come.  Coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for softness, no room for emotion, no room for mistakes.
 A Legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes, a parallel universe to Earth. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.
 The Almost Girl was a refreshing change of pace for me. It has been awhile since I’ve read any sci-fi, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Thankfully Riven’s character quickly brought to mind happy memories of Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Alien and Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor in Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Can anyone forget her pull-ups on that bed frame?) I have been reading so many books as of late, YA especially, with weak, whiny female protagonists who are sad all of the time. Even worse, I have come across a few bad-assed characters with self-esteem and body issues! Thankfully this isn’t the case in The Almost Girl. Riven doesn’t have time to worry about her breast-size – although she’s momentarily uncomfortable with her scars, which is also cool – she’s busy saving the world for Pete’s sake. Heck make that two worlds! Her sister’s character was much the same – although her constant beatings did remind me a little of the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Some reviewers have taken issue with the insertion of mean girl stereotype Sadie into the plot, and the painfully unrealistic make-out scene in her father’s house, but I found that those issues really didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. The plot concept is – you guessed it – cool. The characters (maybe Caden excluded) are also cool. And the monsters? Well, they’re super-cool.
And then I can’t think as I’m running into the reptile runner head on, ninjatas in both hands. I have thirty seconds before the others close the space between them and the runner. It’s smaller than the ones I’ve seen before, about horse-sized, but I know it’s no less lethal with its heavily muscled and metaled body. Its eyes glow white as its pointy snout gapes open, full of sharp, cracked teeth. Angled plates curve down its back and tail into some kind of pike.
We are seconds from head-on impact, and in full sprint I roll head over heels, slashing out with my blades at the same time, snapping through the intertwined wires and tissue at the base of its hooves. I don’t stop. Momentum keeps me going, and I’m on my feet and running back toward Caden, but I hear the thump and screech of agony as it bowls forward onto its face. A grim triumphant smile graces my face for a second…It won’t be running for a while, that one.
In fact, the only issue that popped up for me was the rather lengthy sentences in the fight scenes. Howard does a wonderful job describing combat, but at times I felt a little like Austin Powers trying to make that three-point turn in the hallway. I wanted to go, but the sentence length slowed me down. Still, this didn’t kill my enjoyment either. I won’t try to claim that The Almost Girl is a perfect book, but I can promise you that next time I step on a treadmill I’m going to blast Rob Zombie’s More Human Than Human and channel Riven running across an alien desert.
My grade = B+ hard on the tail of an A.
Guest reviewer – Auralee Wallace




Amalie-Howard-200x250A rising star among young adult writers, Amalie Howard developed a loyal following after releasing her debut book, “Bloodspell,” in 2011. Now, she is returning with five new books that are sure to excite her devoted fans and catch the attention of new readers. Howard’s first book, “Bloodspell” (June 2011, Langdon Street Press) earned rave reviews and was named a Seventeen Magazine Summer Beach Read. Readers will hear more from Howard as she releases a pair of two-book series, “Waterfell” (November 2013, Harlequin TEEN) and “The Almost Girl” (January 2014, Strange Chemistry), as well as “Alpha Goddess” (March 2014, Skyhorse/Sky Pony Press) over the next two years. Howard lives in New York with her husband, three children and one willful feline that she is convinced may have been a witch’s cat in a past life.



GUEST POST: The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas

GUEST REVIEWER – Auralee Wallace

  • TBSTitle: The Burning Sky
  • Author: Sherry Thomas
  • ISBN: 0062207296 (ISBN13: 9780062207296)
  • Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
  • Published: Published September 17th 2013 by Balzer + Bray (first published September 15th 2013)
  • Format: eBook
  • Genre/s: YA
  • Print Length: 464 pages
  • Source: Purchased
  • Rating: B

It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning. 

Recently I reviewed The Luckiest Lady in London, and looking back, it read more like a love letter than a review. Sadly, I am a less gushy of The Burning Sky

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

 Don’t get me wrong. There is a lot to like about this book. I did enjoy the world Thomas created with its promises of earth-shattering power. The story was also riddled with super-cool elements like its beauty witches and lightening elixirs. My main problem, however, was with the pacing. I actually put down the book halfway through, not certain if I would pick it up again. I’m glad I did. The second half moved more quickly than the first, but it never quite reached page-turner status. I found the scenes at Eton dragged quite a bit. I’m not sure if the threat and worry regarding Fairfax’s cricket prowess really hit its mark. What’s more, I found Iolanthe, overall, to be a reactive character. I realize the story goal was to take down the Inquisitor/ protect Iolanthe from being kidnapped by the Bane, but there was never a clear picture as to how these goals would be achieved. As a result, I wasn’t led into worrying about upcoming events. As much as I’m not a fan of The Lord of the Rings, I did read several hundred pages of seemingly endless travel through Middle Earth just to see if Frodo would ever throw that damn ring in the Volcano thingy. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was supposed to be reading towards in The Burning Sky.

There were two other minor issues I had with the book. First, the occasional “bum-boy” reference killed some of the romance for me. I get that English boy schools have a certain reputation, but bringing to mind thoughts of hazing rape incidents was a bit jarring for me. This, however, was a small issue. In fact, I wouldn’t even mention it, but then there was the Sleeping Beauty thing. I love Sleeping Beauty. What’s not to love about enchanted castles and dragons?  But I am also aware of the rape theme. Thanks a lot Anne Rice. I could have happily forgotten this aspect, were it not for Iolanthe bringing it up herself.

She wanted to see the girl he used to kiss before she came along. And did he stop at kissing? Or did he do a great deal more to that pretty, grateful, pliant girl?

Yeah, that’s not good. Maybe as a teenager I would have found a prince kissing an unconscious, conjured image of me romantic, but now I find it creepy. As an experiment, I imagined, for a moment, my husband making out with a “virtual” me in another room, and the result was not warm and fuzzy.  In fact, I had the sudden urge to punch him in the face. 

 All that being said, I could not end this review without gushing just a little about Sherry Thomas’s technique. The descriptions!  Oh, the descriptions. Sherry Thomas you are a descriptive god or goddess – whichever you prefer. YA fantasy is not exactly known for exquisite craft or writing technique, but Thomas is a master. As a soon to be published author, I am so very jealous. I’m not sure every reader will appreciate the level of difficulty she is demonstrating here, but let me tell you, she’s making a lot of us look like bumbling hacks.

The fear that seized her made time itself stretch and dilate. The man reading a timetable under a streetlamp yawned, his mouth opening endlessly. The diner at the next table asked his mate to “Pass the salt,” each syllable as drawn out as pulled taffy. The mate, moving as if he were inside a vat of glue, set his fingers on a pewter dish with a small spoon inside and pushed it across. […] She was not safe here. She was not safe anywhere.

 And that’s why, despite any plot slow-downs, I’ll still read her next book, and her next, and so on and so on…for evermore.

STSherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed romance authors working today. Her books regularly receive starred reviews from trade publications and are frequently found on best-of-the-year lists. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.

The Ideal Romance Novel – The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas

GUEST REVIEWER – Auralee Wallace

I will be completely honest.  I am not a fan of the bodice ripper.  Maybe I read too many of them, stolen from my grandmother’s bookshelf, as a young teenager.  Maybe I studied too much Literature with a capital “L” in university which turned me into a book snob. Or maybe the market is just over-saturated with bad examples.  Whatever the reason, for the longest time, if I saw a half-naked man or woman in period dress on a book cover, I would scoff and roll my eyes, before mentally droning, Next. This was the case until I was introduced to Sherry Thomas.


The Luckiest Lady in London is a perfect example of what I like best about Thomas’s work.

Rivendale, the Marquess of Wrenworth, is The Ideal Gentleman, a man all men want to be and all women want to possess. Felix himself almost believes this golden image. But underneath is a damaged soul soothed only by public adulation.

Louisa Cantwell needs to marry well to support her sisters. She does not, however, want Lord Wrenworth—though he seems inexplicably interested in her. She mistrusts his outward perfection and the praise he garners everywhere he goes. But when he is the only man to propose at the end of the London season, she reluctantly accepts.

Louisa does not understand her husband’s mysterious purposes, but she cannot deny the pleasure her body takes in his touch. Nor can she deny the pull this magnetic man exerts upon her. But does she dare to fall in love with a man so full of dark secrets, anyone of which could devastate her, if she were to get any closer?

In this novel, Thomas’s talent for description is, once again, at the forefront. She pulls and stretches the language to an almost ridiculous degree, deliciously mirroring a society obsessed with the beautiful – if not torturous – forging of decorum and manner.

Her gaze traveled up Lord Wrenworth’s expertly pressed trousers to the flute of champagne at the his side, dangling from his fingers.  Many of the guests at the ball had such crystalware in their hands—Lady Tenwhestle, for one, held hers decorously before her person; Mr. Drummond , for another, idly turned his round and round. Lord Wrenworth’s champagne glass, however, gave the impression that it had leaped off a table of its own will into his hand, because it would never fit better elsewhere, or emanate a quarter so much ease and aplomb.

On that same hand he wore a signet ring, a coat of arms engraved upon a crest of deep, rich carnelian. The white cuff of his shirt extended a perfect quarter inch beyond the dark sleeve of his evening jacket. The cuff links were simple gold studs—or perhaps not so simple studs, for she could see lines and patterns to fine for her to make out the design from where she stood.

She was stalling, she realized, lingering in the same spot because she was…not afraid, exactly, but rather apprehensive about looking higher.  But really, what could he possibly do to a woman as practical as herself?

YummyI admire so many things about this passage.  She doesn’t go for the easy kill (height, build, face, hair) in describing her Ideal Gentlemen – at least not right away.  She goes for the more subtle tells that speak volumes – from bottom to top, building anticipation.  The way he holds the glass naturally leads to the question of what else he can handle expertly with those fingers.  Next, his attention to detail in his dress points to easy wealth which – let’s face it – is an expected convention.  And finally that question, But really, what could he possibly do to a woman as practical as herself? I can’t help but answer it with a, “What, indeed?” (Insert waggling eyebrows here.)

I have found in the four and five novels of hers that I have read, she always manages to fulfill my Cinderella/Happily Ever After expectations without the story going stale or my brain going numb.  It is a little like being a child again and wanting the same bedtime story every night – I know I’m going to fall asleep with a smile on my face.

I doubt that period romance will ever be my favourite genre, but Sherry Thomas has stopped me from dismissing these books out of hand after a glance at the cover.  In fact, lately, I have caught myself stopping to take a good look at the artwork for this type of romance, and, you know what?  While I still may roll my eyes at the heaving bosoms, I have to admit, some of the dresses are really pretty…

Excerpt –