Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Angela Marsons: Blood Lines

Normally with this series it is not necessary to read the previous books in the series (Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls and Play Dead), but this book is the exception. At the very least you need to read Evil Games in order to understand the cat and mouse game that Kim and Alex have going on. That book really set the past history that they have. That said all the books are really good reads and I think you will want to continue on after you read the first book Silent Scream.

What is the connection between a local caring upstanding social worker and a local drug addict have in common. Kim and her team are baffled as the only connection is the same precise stab wound to the heart. To make matters worse Kim is off her game with the return of Alex Thorne, who is not done with Kim yet. As the body count continues to grow, Kim cannot seem to focus on the case as Alex is forever in her mind, trying but failing Kim becomes more and more wrapped up in her "Game".

Mike Drop....Pen Drop....Book Drop..... Not sure which one applies to books, but I was extremely excited when I saw that Alex was going to be back in this book. Alex is one of my favourite antagonist in a mystery series. Alex is not only the master of manipulation but an actor who is able to become the person that you want her to be. It is very interesting that Alex is able to understand emotions but not feel them. Although Alex is not able to manipulate Kim as much as should would like in this book (face to face time is hard when you're in prison), we are still able to the resources that Alex has and her reach even when she was in prison were astounding. Her planning and forethought really point to the sociopath that she is, and well as you can probably tell I just loved having her back. Alex is not even the main issue/case in this book, Alex really acts as a diversion to Kim and really takes a toll on Kim mentally that her work is suffering. The main mystery is also interesting and I will say that the diary entries will make more sense at the end of the book.

It was nice to see that Kim has changed from the first book and has made strides since the very first book. Her growth has been slow but Marsons does allow some milestones in her personality and relationships. You can really see this with her relationship with Bryant. We also see more of her haunting past, and while we had some of the information in previous books, there was more elaboration of the events.
I'm not sure if I just never noticed it in the previous books in this series, but Stacey's slang really bothered me in this book. It just seemed more pronounced and constant and well just annoying to me. It is something very minor overall in the book but I guess it was there enough that I really began to notice it.

This is one of my favourite thriller/mystery series that I read and I was so excited when Alex was back in this book. I cannot wait for Marsons to release another book in this series.

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Keri Arthur: Winter Halo

You will need to read the first book, City of Light, in order to fully grasp what is going on within this book as the whole plot and a large part of the word building is done there. Additionally, I think that it was a really good read so you should just pick the book up.

The world thought that all the déchet were massacred during the last war, but Tig has survived and her secret is now out. Although many do not trust her, they have to put their faith in her to find the missing children. When all signs lead to a pharmaceutical company called Winter Halo, Tig needs to infiltrate the company. What she finds will scar her forever and it is going to take all her special abilities and gifts in order to come out not only alive but in one piece.

You never know how the second book in a series is going to go. There are some that are just as good as the first and (which happens more often) pale in comparison to the first book. I am happy to report that this book is in the first category and a really good follow up book to the first book and there were aspects in this book that I liked more. I found that this book was not only darker but more descriptive in those parts. The whole king of body farm aspect/human experimentation was completely creepy and Arthur really did not hold back here.

I'm glad that Arthur introduced additional information about rifts as this was one of the aspects in the world building that I found under explained in the first book and a bit confusing; especially the major role that the rifts have had in both books. Now I have a whole new set of ideas of what is really going on and what the rifts are, what they accomplishes. I think that the rifts are some sort of magic from another dimension or planet something to that affect. They are there to really weed out the weak from the strong as well as act as portals for these other creatures that made the portal to come through, and i think that is what those creatures are trying to create for them; a perfect army to take over. No idea if my thoughts are right, complete speculation on my part, but that is the feeling/ide, just glad that i'm able to get to this point instead of just scratching my head about them.

I found that the sex scenes were shorter, which I appreciated, I think this may be due to the fact that Tig was doing it more as an investigative part than reliving times with a close friend. However, there were times that I questioned whether Tig needed to follow that avenue of investigation and maybe Arthur was just using it to have sex scenes in the book but the more I thought about it, this is where Tig is supposed to excel. Not every avenue of investigation is going to get the result or outcomes that you hope it will and when I take that in to consideration I understand why Arthur had these scenes. Plus hey they were shorter, so major points in my book.

Still love Tig as a main character. She uses her strengths to the best of her ability even if that does mean sex, but she is a great fighter as well and she has not wasted her time alone in learning how to fight, even if this goes against what she was created to do. I would love to have some ghosts of my own to help me out, I think this is one of the more interesting aspects in this series. I just love Cat and Bear and their ability to help out Tig and I think that with some of the events that happened in this book things can only get more interesting.

This book lived up to the first one and while I still have questions, Arthur was able to keep me on the edge of my seat and of course wanting more. I am very interested and excited to see how this trilogy is going to play out.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Noah Hawley: Before the Fall

Noah Hawley explores the many aspects of what happens when tragedy strikes:

Eleven people board a plane, one of them is a painter, Scott, who has had a rough past and the other 10 are from a privileged background and Scott knows that he is lucky to be on this plane. Sixteen minutes after the flight takes off, it crashes into the Ocean and everyone dies except for Scott and a young boy. Scott is being hailed as a hero, but there are some who do not believe his story and have questions they want answered, especially why was he on that plan as he clearly did not belong there. Here is the story of Scott and the other passengers Before the Fall as we explore what caused the plane to crash.

Normally when I find an author that is transferring from the small or big screen to writing a fiction novel, their books have fallen flat. I find that you can tell they are used to writing something for a visual audience not one where the audience sees with their mind not their eyes. However, I do not think that this is the case with Hawley. I found that this book was well written and descriptive. I think that this had to do with the main character (I say main character as we have the most POV from Scott) being an artist by trade and Hawley uses this to his advantage when we are inside Scott's head. The book becomes more dimensional in it's world building and what is occurring because of Scott.

I enjoyed how Hawley went back and forth between the past and present but it was kind of  morbid and sad in a way as you get to know some of the other characters in the book, whether you like them or dislike them, but you know that these are going to be their final moments, especially that of the children (though we do not get their perspective). This was extremely well done, very interesting, and I personally have not read a book that took in to account the perspectives of those who have died before.

It was nice to really have a hero in this book who was just a regular guy who thrown into these specific set of circumstances he is able to save his life and that on a little boy. I think that Scott portrayed a very realistic sense of the people who are every day hero, in which they do not think of themselves as such and that people just want to be part of their limelight (even if they do not want it) plus

I enjoyed the main antagonist in this book Bill Cunningham who was so concerned in finding out the "truth" and pointing out the flaw of our hero that he goes out of his way to break the law. Cunningham also reminded me of Trump in a way as he would make a mountain out of a mole hill especially in regards to Scott going in to hiding and not wanting the media attention on him.

Overall, was an interesting read, but was not quite the thriller I was expecting, more a mystery and exploration in to human behaviour, which it what I really enjoyed. I did find it slow at times but I think Hawley did this on purpose because there were so many people to explore and not all of them can live an interesting life, have sort of scandal or skeleton in their closet (there are just normal people out there too). I would read another book by Hawley and I'm excited to see what he comes up with next.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

J.F. Lewis: Staked

In the first of a series, J. F. Lewis shows the reader just how wrong the vampire making process can go:

Eric wakes up covered in blood, which normally would not be that bad of a thing being a vampire, but it is never a good thing when you don't remember whose blood is all over you, who you have killed and most of all being outside this close to sunrise (unless you have a death wish). These are just a few of Eric's overall issues. Add in that his girlfriend desperately wants him to turn her into a vampire and a religious based lycanthrope group wants to kill him, it's no wonder that Eric is "slightly" insane. Now he just has to survive long enough to figure all these aspects out. They never said being a vampire would be easy and it sure beats the alternative of being dead.

The cover of the book does not do this book justice, and does not portray this book accurately as I think the book is way better than the cover dictates. However, this book was published in 2008 so that probably had something to do with it as it was covers like this one that sold back then. Really other than the main character owning a stripper joint (good place to get money and blood) the cover has nothing to do with the darker, funny and action orientated story that is on the inside. I'm not kidding this book seemed like such a contradiction to the cover that I was surprised with the book inside (but in my opinion it was a good surprise). Also the main character in this book is male, so I find it weird that it is possible Tabitha is the main focus the cover.

Have you ever wondered what would happen to someone who was going through becoming a vampire only to be thought dead and embalmed part way through? I know I never ever thought of it, but Lewis did and lets just say what comes out isn't entirely whole and pretty quirky too. This is Eric's creation story, and i think this is one of my main reason why I liked him and this book as he is very different. You can really see that the embalming has had an affect on him, not so much physically but mentally for sure; in fact he is kind of insane at times (most times really), lacks any type of for thought and judgement and his memory is horrible though I guess his blackout moments do not help. Eric is loyal to a fault (well except when it comes to the women he is dating, but to his friends, children and those he has made into vampires, he is very loyal to them even when he shouldn't be).

There were times when I liked Tabitha but I found more often than not she acted like a spoiled brat. Maybe this was Lewis' intention to really show the age difference between Eric and Tabitha as well as Marilyn and Tabitha but she was just whiny to me. I personally would have chose to have Greta more as the feature female in this story over Tabitha but you can tell that Lewis has big plans for her and really Greta seems a little bit crazy in her own right so I can understand Lewis not wanting two insane people for the leads.

This book did have some flaws in the mystery aspect falls flat and the conclusion that takes Eric and his team/friends, forever to come to is really obvious (I mean really really obvious). So this was a bit of a let down for me in this book. Mystery was for sure not the high point of this book, where Lewis excelled though was in his creation of Eric.  

For me there was too much sex in the book, but that is just personal preference, as the scenes were not that long, just a few too many of them for my taste. Additionally, i did become annoyed with all the times that both Eric and Tabitha thought about sex or how hot some guy or girl was, but once again this is just personal preference.

Although the mystery was lacking in this book, I was really intrigued with Eric as a character and the overall plot layout of the book that I ended up enjoying this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book and learning more about Eric.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Jeff Abbott: The Last Minute

It has been awhile since I read the first book in this series, Adrenaline, and while I really enjoyed that book and would recommend it to readers, I do not think you need to read that book in order to enjoy The Last Minute. Abbott takes the time (but it never felt out of place) to cover all the important elements from the first book in the second so you do not feel lost at any time.

Jeff Abbott is back with another high adrenaline read in the Sam Capra series; who will show just how far a father will go to get their child back:

Sam Capra has only one reason to live and that is to rescue his son from the secret society, Nine Suns, that has kidnapped him. However, Nine Sons knows what an asset it is to have Sam on their "side" and are going to take full advantage of it. They have plans for Sam, one of which is to complete an impossible assassination, but if Sam wants to see his son again and make sure that no harm comes to him then he is going to have to play along and get a new set of rules to live by. Nothing is ever simple in Sam's world and everything is going to become a whole lot more complicated.

Damn Straight Sam do everything and anything to get your kid back even if it means breaking some of your own hard and fast rules. I really appreciated Sam's drive throughout this whole book and the desperation that Abbott put Sam under. Getting Daniel back it the core to all the events that unfold within this book and Abbott never lets Sam forget that. From the taunting phone calls, or the tasks that he is asked to perform (killing someone else child) Same is ever reminded that he is a father. I do not think that I have read a book before where the main character is this desperate but also still trying to be the man that he is and the struggle it takes for him to compromise everything for his child, just wow.

Personally, I could read a whole book or multiple books of Milia's adventures. I wish that her back story was a stand alone book but I'm sure that Abbott could still do one of her adventures, targets and tasks before she met Sam. I don't think it would really be a true Sam Capra book without Milia as she really did help get Sam to where he is. I just hope there is more Milia to come in the next Capra adventures.

Loved the action and that Abbott is not afraid to have Sam get hurt, he is not invincible. Though at some points you do question this as Sam really seems to be only fueled by adrenaline and only goes so far. I also do not really know anything about Parkour (other than the odd YouTube video), and Abbott has Capra use this skill quite a bit, so I'm not sure about the believably factor for what Sam is doing. But hey it sure is a fun ride throughout the book. I think my favourite bad guys in this book were the sisters as they were twisted, smart and ruthless I wish that there was more parts with them facing off against Sam.

Great followup book in this series. It was able to grab a hold of me right from the beginning and never let me go. I wish I hadn't waited so long to get to this one, but there are so many books and only so many hours in the day. I know I'm not going to wait nearly as long to get my hands on the next. Keep the Sam Capra series coming Abbott, I know I will be reading them.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Anne Bishop: Marked in Flesh

You will need to read the first three books in this series to understand what is occurring in this book. While there are times when Bishop does take the time to recap some of the past events these do not make up for actually reading the previous books; Written in Red, Murder of Crows and Visions in Silver.

Anne Bishop is back with the latest book in her Other series and this time the humans may have pushed the Other too far that only one species could be left standing:

The Others have allied themselves with the sweet bloods (cassandra sangue) and this has change the dynamics between the Others and Humans especially in Lakeside Courtyard, who are discovering that Humans may have some uses when they are friends. The Humans First and Last group wants to see the other eliminated and will take drastic steps in order to make that happen even if it means attacking other humans. The Others are pushed to make a choice, that not everyone is going to like and not everyone is going to survive, but there are some other factors at play too, hidden deep in the forests who are now taking note of the Human problem.

This book was Awesome and it was what I wanted the third book to be. It really moved the story forward with increased the tension between human and the Others. I really enjoyed how Bishop had events play out and while things at times may have been predictable (in the end) it was still a really interesting ride on how we get there.

I love the way that Simon and Meg's relationship has progressed throughout the books. I think I have applauded Bishop many times for not forcing it and letting it grow as they get to know each other. There are some big steps taken in this book and I think those steps mean so much more as to how Simon and Meg got here.

This book is quite a bit darker than the previous three and it was quite a bit more gory at times than the first 3 as well, which I was shocked that Bishop went that way but happy that she did. A lot of the topics that she brings up in this book I think were better portrayed with the descriptions that she used. This has to do mainly with the introduction of some new Others (/elders), that the Others that we have come to know in the past few books are afraid of (now that is saying something). I personally hope that there are these new Others in the next book as they are probably the main reason why I enjoyed this book so much; Something new and something unknown.

I will say that we are almost getting to the point where there are too many points of view that some of the main characters from the beginning are lacking on time within this book and with the ever expanding territory that Bishop seems to be covering this may not get better. 

I do wonder where Bishop will take the series from here as there were some very finale moments in this book which makes me wonder will there be more and in what way will the story progress. I guess this means that I just want to read the next book even more just to see where Bishop is taking us.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Marcia Clark: The Competition

This book could be read as a stand alone novel as it is not entirely necessary to read the previous three in the series to understand what is occurring in this book or Rachel as a character. Yes, the relationships within the book are established in the previous three books Guilt by Association, Guilt by Degrees and Killer Ambition, however, by not reading them does not hinder this book. That said I would recommend the previous books especially Guilt by Association (which I thought was a fantastic start to this series).

Marcia Clark is back with the newest installment of her Rachel Knight series just in time to let you know that there is no place where you can be safe:

Rachel Knight receives a call that no DA wants, there has been a school shooting and there are major casualties but the killers have been identified and both are dead. As Rachel and Bailey start to interview the witnesses and other student, some things don't add up and they begin to wonder if the killer really are dead. What they don't know is the the competition has begun and there is nothing scarier that killers who want to be the best and beat the score of those who came before them.

I know I criticized the last Rachel Knight book for not having enough time in the courtroom, well this one has even less time. For me this is what stood out for me in Clark's previous books in this series was the integration of the investigation and the courtroom. I miss the courtroom aspects in these books and I think this book could have been something more if Clark had decided to include them. I personally think that there are so many authors out there that write in the mystery/thriller genre that you want to do something different to stand out and this is the courtroom for Clark. She knows how the courtroom works and this is where Rachel really shines. In the investigation part she really is second fiddle to Bailey (which makes sense as she is the detective), however, the point of view of the story is from Rachel so we get a lot of Bailey already thinking and doing something before Rachel even suggests it. This in turn overshadows Rachel and her character, and I will say again she is the main character. I just feel overall the Rachel I loved in the beginning of this series has become lost along the way.

All of that said, this is still a really good and interesting read and I loved the topic and premise that Clark decided to focus on, school shooting and the competition aspect. I think that this is an under used topic in books recently but I think the next school involved aspect will be something to do with the Creepy Clowns (such a weird trend). Clark did a really good job in hiding and changing you idea of who the second shooter is and I will say that she kept me guessing right till the end.

I personally think there is a lack of really great courtroom procedural books out there with a character like Rachel Knight and I hope that Clark in the future has Rachel return to the courtroom. This book is still good without it, but there are so many books out there with a "crime fighting duo" that I wanted more from what I originally liked from this series. I will read the next book in the series just to see where Clark takes it next, guess it really isn't a must read for me know though.

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Happy 6th Blogoversary To Me

Wow, truly wow. I never thought that I would make it to one blogoversary and now I'm having my sixth. I just want to take this moment to thank all my followers new and old for stopping by and reading my reviews each week. It is nice to know that every once in awhile I help someone find a new author, book or series to try. I also want to thank the authors this year who took the time to complete an interview with me and I hope everyone enjoyed reading their answers.

Winners have been chosen and contacted so please check your email to see if you have one.

Here is to my sixth year and on to the seventh, which i'm sure will have some more great finds and reads.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

James Patterson: Zoo 2

If you are reading this series because you like the TV show I will say that they are very much different from the book. Some of the characters have the same names and professions but that is where the similarity ends between the two. However, I have only watched the first season so I cannot say if the second season is more like the books.

If You are interested in reading this book then you will want to pick up the first book in this series Zoo, as it explains how we as humans have destroyed the balance of the world and what should be done in order to rectify it.

James Patterson is back with  his Zoo type of an Apocalypse where everything is about to become even more personal:

Oz thought he had found a way to save the human race, but the human is anything but adaptive as a whole. The animals are more violent than ever and humans are their prey. Never stray far from your home, make sure every access point into the home is blocked and never never go out at night unless you have a death wish. However, Oz could never have predicted the way the mutation would change and now it is even more deadly.

I was interested in this follow up "book" to see where Patterson was going to take the story, mutation and characters and he took it in ways that I never expected. Did there need to be a separate book for zoo 2, probably not, as this is not that long of a read. However, I think I understand why he decided to have separate book (you know minus the additional money) as the way in which the"mutation" changes within this book clearly is something very different from the first. However, this book is extremely short, I believe about 150 pages so It could have been added to the first book no problem.

The animals did not seem as smart as they were in the first book and I missed the point of view from Attila.I think that these added more depth to the overall story and even if we did not have points of view from Attila Patterson could have selected a different animal from each place that was visited and had even just one chapter from it's point of view and how they viewed the human and the plan.

The one thing that Patterson does a great job in this book is pointing out how much we as a species have come to rely too much on technology that we are unable to give it up (and yes I realize I am making this statement typing away on my laptop, while my smart phone is close by). It does make me wonder, would I be able to give it all up in order to save the human race? Would I be willing to go back the pre-technology age? It is really something to think on. So for those points in actually making me think while I am reading and reviewing this book I applaud Patterson for that.

Of course there is a cliff hanger at the end so I wonder if Zoo 3 is coming out any time soon, and I'll probably end up reading it just to see how far Patterson can take this series and his apocalypse idea. I guess I really do wonder if we could survive an animal uprising.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Author Interview & Giveaway: Anna Snoekstra

I love love love finding debut authors throughout the year and I really enjoy having the opportunity to feature them during my Blogoversary. Anna Snoekstra's debut novel Only Daughter, was a very interesting debut and I really enjoyed the story and her characterization of The Imposter.

Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:

Anna Snoekstra 

If there was one author you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who would you choose and why?
Elena Ferrante. Her work is beautiful and such a pleasure to read. Also, I’d love to know her real identity!

Your debut novel Only Daughter was just released, can you tell us a little bit about the process to get here? 
It’s been a long process! I wrote the novel when I was twenty-five working nights at a cinema. It took me a long time to get it to a point that I was happy with. When it was finally there I sent it to some US agents, and was so lucky to be pulled out of the slush pile by MacKenzie Fraser-Bub. She found a great publisher: Mira Books. They have been such a lovely group of people to work with! 

From debut novel to having Only Daughter optioned for a movie, can you share with us some information about the possibility of Only Daughter becoming a movie? Will you be directly involved in the process? 
I have been to Los Angeles twice in the last twelve months to discuss the film option. The Producers at Universal and Working Title were so respectful and we had some great chats about how the book would be adapted. The Screenwriter, Erin Cressida-Wilson, is an amazing woman and a fantastic writer so I know the film will be amazing! We stay in touch via email and share our influences: stories and essay from me, photographs and paintings from her. It’s all been very exciting but also a lot of fun! 

What have you learned about yourself and your writing in this whole process?
I’ve learned to have a thick skin, and that perseverance means as much as talent on the road to publication. Probably picture books. You have to get the characters, rhythm, story and tone perfect- and have less than three hundred words to do it! 

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
Probably picture books. You have to get the characters, rhythm, story and tone perfect and have less than 300 words to do it.

Only Daughter sounds like something out of the news, were there events that inspired your novel?
Not directly. The story in my book is entirely fictional, but I definitely was inspired by the idea of imposters. I was surprised to find out that the impersonation of missing persons has happened countless times throughout history. Martin Guerre in 16th century France. Anastasia Nikolaevna in Russia and Walter Collins in Seattle both in the 1920s. Even more recently is Nicholas Barclay in 1990s Texas. The more I read about these occurrences, the less far-fetched my story seemed.

The Imposter character was one of my favourite aspects of your novel, was it intentional for the reader to know very little about who the Imposter was? What do you think defines her as a character?
The imposter was a really fun character to write. She is an interesting dichotomy. In the book she lies to everyone constantly. She looks for their weaknesses and plays off them, lying and performing to everyone she meets. However, what sets her apart from Bec is that she is always honest with the reader. Underneath all the characters she plays and the lies she tells, she has no idea who she really is and that terrifies her.
You decided to alternate between 2003 and 2014, and two different points of view on top of that. Did you find it hard to change from one mind set to another while you were writing? 
It was incredibly hard! So, after just a few chapters I stopped. Instead I wrote the whole novel from Bec’s perspective and then went back and wrote the chapters from the imposters perspective. This created problems of it’s own, but I don’t think I could have done it any other way. When I write I have to be in the characters head 100%, and I don’t think I would have been able to do that if I was swapping back and forth. 

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share? 
Yes – I am currently working on my second novel DOLLS. I am so excited for this project. It will probably be out this time next year. I am also involved in a true crime podcast called ‘Dead and Buried’ which will be launching later this month. 

What is one book (other than one of your own) that you think should be a must read for everyone?
I recently read THE GIRLS by Emma Cline and I absolutely loved it! I think that it would definitely help the world understand teenage girls a bit better.

I want to thank Anna once again for taking the time to do an interview with me. I highly recommend her debut novel Only Daughter and I am very excited for her second novel Dolls. I also want to say congratulations to her for already accomplishing so much. Anna has very nicely provided a giveaway to go along with her interview, so fill out the rafflecopter information below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Author Interview & Giveaway: Kim Falconer

I have had quite a few awesome finds this past year for authors and series that are new to me. I would put Kim Falconer and her novel The Blood in the Beginning in this category. When the majority of authors focus on Vampire, Werewolves, Witches and (now) Zombies, Kim decided to go a completely different route with the Mar. I know I always like something new a refreshing in the Urban Fantasy genre and Kim delivers on this.

Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:

Kim Falconer  

If there was one author you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who
would you choose and why?
You start with a hard one! There are many writers I would be thrilled to collaborate with. Jules Vern, Voltaire, Homer, Jane Austen …  but, for today, I’ll pick China Miéville, because I love his writing, the parallel narratives, the immersive world building, the weird characters, the absence of cliché yet presence of archetypes … the heart, the edge. He’s not afraid to take emotional risks with his writing, and his clout in the industry allows for the experimental. Plus, Miéville! What can I say?

With the release of your novel The Blood in the Beginning you decided to write in the Urban Fantasy/Dystopia. Other than the Mar, how do you think your books stand out in what has become a somewhat over-saturated genre?
The Blood in the Beginning stands out in UF for a few reasons. As you infer, there are no vamps, no werewolves or shape-shifters of any kind, no witches. No fay folk. Just one girl in a post-disaster city facing a race of humans whose DNA took a left turn. It still follows some of the genre tropes - the gritty, dark, kickass atmosphere, with a noir city and hardboiled feel, but it also normalizes things like organized crime, disabilities (her sight issues, her PTSD ) race, (UF is often read white but in my series, Ava is partly of Asian descent, her BFF African American). It deals with environmental issues, for example the results of Fukushima Daiichi half a century later, and Monsanto’s results on society.

I don’t shy away from the hard problems of our culture, yet it’s all “everyday” in the pages - nuclear spills, radiation, surveillance go with dinner dates, martial arts and studying for final exams. Ava has very real, hopefully relatable goals. She doesn’t lose the plot if a hot guy crosses her path. She’s definitely not trying to save the world. Her emotions are confronted by issues of belonging, acceptance, integrity and betrayal, just like any of us. It rings true because, in spite of her strength, abilities and endurance, she still has a very human heart.

Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, and Witches tend to be the norm when it comes to the Urban Fantasy genre. Why did you decide to create the Mar?
My Mar obsession – and it is an obsession - was sparked initially by a John Waterhouse painting called The Siren. The image haunted me until I began to write the story. It continued to haunt me until the first book was complete. It’s still around me now! Mar make relentless Muses. 

Having said that, I would love to take credit for creating the Mar de novo, but these human-like beings who live in the sea stem from a rich mythology dating back thousands of years, from the Phoenician Atargatis, the Hindu Sucannamaccha, the Inuit’s Sedna, the Hawaiian Namaka, Caribbean’s Aycayia, to the European Melusines. They are archetypal. We find stories of Mer-folk or ‘Mar’ in every culture, place and time. I just took the core of the mythology, distilled and advanced it forward to cope with a dystopian, urban, hardcore world with environmental issues and upheaval, and themes of belonging, desire and accelerated evolution. The results were the Mar.

You have released a novel in Astrology and there were some hints at it in Blood in the Beginning. Are we going to see more Astrology aspects in this series? What about Astrology
appeals to you?
My first six novels, the Quantum Enchantment and Quantum Encryption series, have themes of astrology and astronomy relevant to the plot. Some of the characters are expert stargazers and rely on the symbol system to solve mysteries and make critical choices. Being an astrologer for over 40+ years, my father an astrologer before me, means it’s part of the way I perceive the world. It naturally seeps into the writing, unless I make an effort to keep it out. I’m sure we’ll have more astro-relevance in the future. It would be weird without it.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
My guess would be narrative non-fiction  - a novel-like story about real-life people and events. Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood is the classic example; Into the Wild a more contemporary one. The research and ethical issues alone would be daunting, maybe even stifling, especially with a still-living subject. I have a lot of respect for authors who tackle this genre.

When Ava was not running for her life, she was trying to figure out her own blood disease, what type of research did you do and how much research did you do in order to make the information in these parts of the book sound extremely real?
I spent enormous amounts of time to achieve a believable condition, so it’s rewarding to know that mission was accomplished. It helps that I’ve worked as a veterinary haematologist and studied zoology, marine biology and microbiology. At least I knew where to begin with the research. I hit the textbooks, physical and electronic, in medical libraries and online. I also had face-to-face and email discussions with a medical science lecturer in my area and a retired pathologist. Without them, this key branch of the story would not ring true. As for most of my research, can I just say. “Thank the gods for the internet?”

Sex, Drug abuse, S&M, a serial killer are all strong dark themes throughout the books (some books only handle one of these), what appeals to you of the darker side of our culture? Are darker themes going to occur throughout this series?
I can’t say that the darkness appeals to me, not like chocolate or strawberry shortcake. I am drawn, though. Compelled. It’s like getting sucked into a black hole. Once there, the only way out is through. I don’t think you can write a hardcore Urban Fantasy and skim the surface. This isn’t about Persephone skipping across the meadow. It’s about Hades erupting from the underworld to grab her, and drag her down into the depths. The darkness goes with the genre. I feel it must be explored to do the work justice.

Holy Crap is Ava an amazing character, she basically has the perfect balance of badassness, smarts but also self-aware (plus she lacks the whiny or smugness that many female characters have in this genre), what went in to her creation? Was important to you to make sure she was balanced character? Do you train in MMA to help Ava learn all her skills?
I’m syked you think Ava is amazing. A lot went into her creation. 

She evolved organically, but I think, for one, the environment has shaped her. She develops what it takes to survive the Big One, CHI-Tech, being raised in the system … survive and thrive. If she was whiny, I don’t think she would have made it through her teens, living under the radar, in the streets. Ava’s character grows from the unseen past that moulded her to the current challenges she faces. It’s sink or swim. (LOL the pun)

I also wanted to balance Ava’s badassness with heart. She’s defensive, at times. Cautious. Brutal. But she will do anything for those she loves, as we find out.

To help write ‘real’ characters, I give them astrological charts, a horoscope just like anyone born in the future might have, only I get to pick the day, month and year to fit. It ends up being a character reference guide. If I am not sure how she might respond to a certain situation, I refer to her chart and ask, “What would a Virgo with Pluto rising and Moon in Gemini do?” Gets me unstuck every time.

I’ve trained in martial arts and Iaido, (Japanese Sword) and I do pull on those experiences to choreograph fight scenes, but in this series, I collaborated with a Jujitsu and MMA fighter as well, to give that extra level of authenticity.

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share? (Hopefully when book 2 is coming out J)
I would love to announce the release date for book two (which I am writing as we speak) but I’ve not been given the go ahead to do so yet. Soon. I promise I’ll let you know.

What is one book (other than one of your own) that you think should be a must read for everyone?
This is a great question. I can’t pick just one, as I’m not sure a book I label must-read would apply to everyone, for example, a favourite, Julian James’ The Origins of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bi-cameral Mind may have limited appeal. With fiction readers in mind, I would say The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Also, Tanith Lee’s White as Snow, Traci Harding’s The Storyteller’s Muse with it’s wonderful parallel narrative, Lee Child’s Jack Reacher Series, Jack London’s White Fang and Charlain Harris’s Southern Vampire Chronicles.

You asked a Gemini to choose one book. Be happy I stopped at seven! :)

Thank you so much for the chat, Blood Rose Books! It’s been such a pleasure. I’m happy to stick around and answer any questions, or share thoughts, in the comments too.


I want to say thank you once again to Kim for stopping by and taking the time to complete an interview. I know I am really looking forward to the next book in her Ava Sykes series. Kim has very nicely offered a few giveaway for her book The Blood in the Beginning, so I highly recommend you enter the rafflecopter app below. :)
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