Book Review: True Grime by Natasha Deen

I can’t believe I am going to say this, but a book filled with magic and fairies might just be my favorite read of 2011. True Grime by Natasha Deen finds teen fairy Pepper Powder sent undercover in the human world. And what might have happened to cause this? Well, she’s a good Grime cop, that’s for sure. She and her senior partner Harley Hands make a great team, which is another plus. But what really sets it all in motion is when terrorist leader Claude Von Beulow escapes and releases a necrophage bomb that not only decimates Grime headquarters, it leaves Pepper as the first fairy amputee. Pepper, Harley, and the Grime team race against the clock to prevent Von Beulow from unleashing a VIURS in one of the human world’s biggest shopping centers, West Edmonton Mall.

So, in case you missed it by my opening line, magic and fairies aren’t really my thing. I live in the real world and there is plenty of real world drama for us to create in our novels without making up worlds, creatures, and all sorts of crazy things I just don’t get. But I liked the synopsis of this book, so I figured I would give it a try. I’m so glad I did.

Deen’s strength definitely resides in her development of characters. We have the impulsive, sarcastic Pepper who can be a bit of a lone wolf, running off and doing what she shouldn’t if she thinks it will accomplish the job. She’s never been undercover in the human world. She sure didn’t know it would be filled with bullies and cliques. Then there’s Harley, much older, much wiser. He knows humans almost as well as he knows himself. He’s the one who keeps a cool head about him, and he’s fiercely protective of Pepper. Then there are the supplemental characters: Lou, the Grime Lieutenant, Loca the technology guru, and Dr. Bentley, who helps get Pepper back up and running again after her leg is amputated.

In addition to her fabulous characters, you have a unique plot that engages the reader right away. From the opening line, you’re drawn in: “In The City, crime never slept. It didn’t eat or exercise, either, but I wished it would shower.”  Pepper makes an excellent narrator for this story. She’s strong, funny, quick with the wit, and you can see she means well when she flubs.

What I feel Deen portrayed so well in True Grime is the commitment cops have to stomping out crime, and their devotion to their partners and fellow crime fighters.  There were moments when it became very intense and the stakes were as high as they could get, but none of these people ever gave up.

If you’re looking for a witty, engaging fairy story, you’ll find it in True Grime by Natasha Deen.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:Blueberry Hill
  • ISBN-10:0986741914
  • ISBN-13: 978-0986741913
  • SRP: $12.99 (paperback)
  • Also available in a Kindle edition

Author’s bio:

When I was little, there was only one thing I wanted to be: a superhero. But there came a day when my dreams were broken, and that was the day I realized that being a klutz was not, in fact, a super power, and my super weakness for anything bright and shiny meant a magpie with self-control could easily defeat me in a battle of wills. I turned to writing as a way to sharpen my mental super-hero skills. I don’t get to orbit the earth in a space station (and thank God, because I get sick on merry go round), but I do get to say things like: “Stand aside! This is a job for Writing Girl!!”

Connect With Natasha:







Follow the rest of Natasha’s tour:

November 27-Live To Read (Review)
November 29-Reviews By Molly (Review)
November 30-Celtic Lady’s Reviews (Review)

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinions. I was not monetarily compensated in any way to provide my review.

Interview with Estevan Vega, Author of Arson

Joining us today is Estevan Vega, author of the supernatural coming-of-age novel ARSON, and its upcoming sequel ASHES.

Thank you for joining us today, (Estevan). Can you please start off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Well, I’d like to be honest and start off by telling your readers that I’m tall, dark, handsome, with a Greek-like build and one of those voices that’s sure to get you weak at the knees. I write books that cross the line between the real and the supernatural and often have a bit of dysfunctional layers. They’re awesome. Okay, half of this is true. My books maybe aren’t that cool. But I like them. That’s gotta count for something. 

When did you first get bit by the writing bug?

I was eleven or ten when it started, but the scratch never went away. Now it’s more like a scar. But it’s one I like showing off. Funny thing, though, is I’m still trying to figure out if chicks dig the writing scars. Because if they don’t, I’m afraid I might actually have to get a real scar, and I bruise easy. 

Why did you decide to write stories for the YA market?

I never intended to originally. My first two books were aimed more for adults, although I found that once kids found out how young I was when I wrote them, they were anxious to check out my writing. So when I was working on ARSON, I had it as more of an R-rated book. It wasn’t overly gratuitous, but it had it’s moments. During the million editing processes, I opted to go for a more YA-adult hybrid vibe. It’s very YA, but at the same time, it’s very mature. Every character brings something to the table, so no select group feels that it’s dull or immature. I like that. Plus, teens are a great audience to write for, I’m discovering. Because I was a teen just a few years ago. 

What is your favorite part of writing for this group? What is the greatest challenge?

I love creating characters that are just like them or characters that are just like how I was in high school…but way cooler. Teenagers can be wild and they can be conservative and they can be sluts and they can be prim and proper and mouthy and even villains and heroes. They’re like adults, but in younger bodies. There’s an honesty I enjoy when I write, a method of getting inside people’s minds. And I’ve read a bunch of YA books that I was trying to outdo, honestly. I kept reading stuff, wondering if I could do it better. Wondering if there had to be such a definite line between YA and adult novels. There doesn’t.  So my novels may have more blending than most. But I’m cool with that.

Can you tell us what your latest book is all about?

ARSON is about a kid named Arson Gable. He’s seventeen. And he can create fire with his mind. He lives with his bipolar grandmother, whom he has a love-hate relationship with, and swears he has the world, and its jerks, figured out. Until a strange girl moves in next door. Her name is Emery Phoenix. When she was a little girl, she was in an accident. She hates the way she now looks, so the only way she feels normal is when she wears a creepy mask. But I’ve probably said too much. Go check out the book.

And its sequel, ASHES, is coming very, very soon. 

What inspired you to write it?

My father lit the great fire. And now I just make sure there are sticks to burn and enough matches to keep it hot. 

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Amazon is the best and easiest place. It’s available in paperback and Kindle. It’s also on the Nook. Plus, you can check out my facebook page We are Arson and my page or my website to find out where I’ll be signing copies next. At my signings, I have books, posters, and custom Arson t-shirts. I tour when I can. Be on the lookout or resort to Plan A.

What is up next for you?

ASHES. I’m super stoked about that book. It’s the sequel to ARSON, and it’s gonna take everything to the next level. It should be out in another week or two, so keep your eyes peeled and help send it to the bestseller charts. Pretty please. 

Do you have anything else to add?

Um…keep it real. Stay lit. And, remember, dysfunctional is the new normal.


Thank you for spending time with us today, Estevan. We wish you much success.

Book Details:
Genre: supernatural/YA/coming-of-age
Publisher: StoneGate Ink
Publication Date: May 2011

Arson Gable feels like a freak. He can create fire. He never asked for it. He never wanted it. But he can’t shut it off.

Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl–who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin–moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he’s never had: purpose. Using what he fears most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is his present as he walks the fine line between boy and monster. Dark, moody, and breathtakingly relevant, Arson, the chilling chronicle of an isolated boy with unimaginable ability, is sure to ignite the hearts and minds of a new generation.

Follow the rest of Estevan’s tour:

August 26-Interview@Coffee and a Keyboard

August 30-Review@Romancing The Book(Valerie)

August 31-Review&Interview@Darlene’s Book Nook