Monday, December 11, 2017

Elle Casey: Kahayatle

Elle Casey introduces readers to a world where adults have vanished and what happens to the kids and teenagers when left to their own devices:

Bryn Mathis was 16 years old when her father died, however, this is nothing new to the world, as adults have been dying for years now. The youth have been left alone for a while now and Bryn knows that it is time to move on from her family home as she is almost out of food and a gang of kids has started to roam her neighbourhood looking for trouble. Bryn knows that she shouldn't trust anyone but when a strange kid appears next door she realizes how much she has been missing human contact and they decide to set out to look for a new shelter and food hopefully some place safe. But something as happened to some of the youth that have been left behind, they have lost some of their humanity.

This book was a great read, and I was surprised how dark Casey took this book as it is a YA read. I would say that this is more for an older or adult YA book, based upon the content of the book. This said Casey does not go too far in to description or detail about what is happening, which at times can be worse as it leaves it up to your imagination, but there are several scenes and flashbacks in the book that most people would find disturbing. The one thing that is not really explored in the book is why all the adults died or whether once an teen turns 18 will they too pass away. Maybe this is not explained as the main characters a teenager, or maybe Casey will address it is further books in the series, I'm just left scratching my head about it as nothing is explained.

It always seems when the world goes to hell, humanity goes with it as well, so I guess this is almost to be expected in books like this. Casey takes the idea to a whole new level though with having youth be the ones who have lost this humanity in the form that they become cannibals aka canners. We first really learn about it through Peter and his tragic past but our main characters run in to them and the ending is one that will have you searching for the next book in this series.  They are not zombies these people have chosen an "easier" way to survive by entering into cannibalism. The Canners also become more sophisticated in their process by the end of the book,

I liked the three main characters in this book and how they play off each other, there is some intereting and funny banter that occurs. Bryn is the strength, Peter is the brain and Bobo is really the heart (and at time the comedic relief) of the team that they form, oh yes and Buster the dog, who doesn't need a dog at the end of everything. My main complaint with a character was Bobo being from Germany and the accent that was written in to the book. It took a while to get used to the words being written how someone would say then in English if they had a very heavy German accent.

This book was much more than I expected and was not only darker than I expected but also an interesting story. I look forward to picking up the second book in this series.

***Fun fact of the moment this book is currently free on amazon, so I suggest you pick up your copy ASAP***

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

B. A. Paris: The Breakdown

B. A. Paris takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride that starts with a murder and spins further and further out of control:

One night Cass decides to take a shortcut home through the back roads, even though she know she shouldn't. It pitch black out and the rain is pouring down but she wants to get home faster than going around. Cass did not know that this one act would change her life forever. She passes a vehicle on the side of the road with the driver in the front seat, she slows down to see if the woman needs help but they do not exit the car so Cass continues on. Cass finds out the next morning that the woman has been killed and Cass feels nothing but guilt. Then strange things begin to happen to Cass phone calls, misplacing items, seeing thing, and begins forgetting things that she know she should not.When she starts to feel someone watching her she is convinced that it leads back to the night on the road, she feels guilty for not helping and could the killer now be after her?

Paris' debut novel was one of my favourite from the past year so I had really high expectations for her second novel and she really did live it up to them. What I think that I liked the most was that it was completely different from her first book in the story line as well as how the plot is laid out. There is nothing more refreshing where the author strays from their other novel(s) and does something completely different. There is still what I will call Paris' flare but she does not rely on Behind Closed Doors to define this book, this may disappoint some readers if they are looking for something along the lines of Behind Closed Doors part two and I think in the beginning I was but this book was Sold to me by the end.

Cass' deterioration within this book is truly the highlight of it. The details that Paris needed to lay out in this book are very well done and it was really interesting to see her bring everything altogether. From Cass beginning to believe that she is suffering from the same memory loss and early on-set dimension that her mother eventually passed away from to the events that she is so sure that she is experiencing it is really well done. Paris does a good job of showing the paranoia that Cass has around losing her memory and how just forgetting one simple thing can spiral things out of for Cass and makes things even worse in her life and the isolation that it causes not just from her friends and coworkers but also from her husband.

In a way this book was may seem less compelling that Behind Closed Doors as the story is not as dramatic or sinister but this does not mean that it is any way boring. This also does not mean that I did not enjoy the book, actually the opposite of that especially when you really get in to the book, I just think that if people are looking for a Behind Closed doors repeat, this book is not it.

This book is like a slow burn that is completely worth it in the end. Paris knows how to bring suspense to her writing and have reader devour her books. I look forward to the next book by Paris.

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Ezekiel Boone: Skitter

You will need to read the first book in this series The Hatching in order to understand what is going on with the spiders and how they came to be all over the Earth. Plus if you don't have a fear of spiders or want to test your fears, the first book is for you.

Ezekiel Boone, returns to a world that is haunted from a spider outbreak, while the World may be calm now, something more deadly is coming: 

Millions of people are dead around the world. China has become mainly a nuclear wasteland. Flesh-eating spiders have devastated the human population, and now there is some sort of calm that has settled over the world. Have the spiders been defeated or is this just the beginning. As the researchers and military work to find and destroy any egg sacs that seems to be the solution until in Japan they find a monstrous egg sac that could only hold a new kind of terror. Quarantine zones are slowly being evacuated but not fast enough for some people and eventually they break through shattering what little hope they had at containment and difficult decisions are going to be made world wide in order to help save the human race.

I am really enjoying this series. I do not have a fear of spiders but there are times in this book that I need to make sure there is nothing creepy crawly around or if someone start to look really pale and sick around me I head the other direction, lol. I would say that this book is of a slower pace than the first with less of the spider frenzy and more about trying to figure out or understand the spiders than actually combating them. This does not mean that they do not make an appearance but there are way less scenes with them than the first one. This books also feature much more of the political sides of things than the raw panic that was in the first. The political aspect was very interesting and begs the  kill a few to save the many, which is an ethical questions asked through out the book. Also how they hope to save the human race is very different and interesting but I still think everyone is underestimating the spiders.

There are points when this book does feel like a filler book, which many second books in a trilogy can have. Boone hints of bigger scarier spiders that we actually do not get to read or learn much about so you can tell that he is very much setting up for the third book in this series.

Boone once again has multiple points of view, some that are the same as the first but some new ones as well. Often we only get to hear from a character once as they describe where they are and what they are doing about the spiders or even if they are worried about them at all or we get to read about their death. Although there are points in the book where I wish there were less points of view as I want to get to the ones that reoccur I appreciate what Boone is doing by having these points of view. This book is not just about America but how the spiders are affecting places world wide and what people are doing about the chaos.

A fresh perspective of how the human race dies out is really why I am enjoying this trilogy so far and the far reaching affects that one species can have on the other...Sound familiar humans? I'm very much looking forward to the conclusion of this series. I hope that Boone does not play it save

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Mary Kubica: Every Last Lie

Mary Kubica show how far a woman will go to prove that her husband's accident was anything but:

Clara's world was shattered when her husband, Nick, and their four year old daughter, Maisie, were involved in a deadly car crash. Maisie was unharmed in the crash but her Nick succumbed to his injuries. The crash is ruled as an accident, probably speed related, but Clara cannot believe that Nick would drive the winding road fast with their daughter in the back seat. When Maisie begins to have nightmares about the crash, Clara has determined that Nick's death was much more than an accident. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out and the truth is only the beginning of secrets and deceit she is going to uncover. 

This is the second book that I have read by Kubica and while it may follow a similar format to tell the story, it is nothing like The Good Girl, which I appreciated. The format that Kubica chooses to use is a before and after the main event, in this case a deadly accident that kills Nick. The voice of before and after is also not the same person, her husband Nick is the before voice and Clara is the after voice. This allows you to get to know and care about both characters even though you know that Nick's is going to end in tragedy.

Kubica puts real emotion in to this book and I can honestly say that I there are times within the book that I do not know if I would have acted differently from Clara. From not wanting to tell her daughter about her daddy's death, to trying to deal with what actually happened during the accident and setting out to find herself, Kubica puts a very real elemetn behind Clara's thoughts, choices, grief and actions. The need to know what actually happened and that your loved one would not be so reckless not just with their life but that of her child.

I enjoyed going along the journey with Clara as she tries to discover what truly happened that day and Kubica does a great job of introducing new facts and possible along the way that there are many factors and people to consider as to what caused the crash. I think that Kubica chose a bit of an unconventional ending to her book which I think you will either love or hate. I personally loved it.

Two books down by Kubica and I have enjoyed both of them. I think she has mastered the way that she likes to tell the story and uses it to her advantage. I'm off to find another book by her.

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

K. L Slater: Blink

K. L. Slater takes a reader on every parent's worse nightmare with the disappearance of their child:

Toni's life was turned upside down when her husband was killed in action. It has caused her to make some drastic changes in her life, some good and many bad ones. With her daughter Evie by her side she makes a move to a new city to try to start a new life but people notice there is something not right with Toni and question her ability to take care of Evie. When Evie disappears there are many suspects but everyone sees it as Toni's fault. Will she ever see her child again? As more time passes she tries to stay positive but everyone knows as more time passes the likelihood of Evie coming back alive gets smaller and smaller.

This book had everything that I was looking for in a psychological thriller, and as the premise on Goodreads says it actually does have a twist that you will not see coming. Trust me that does not happen very often and there are times when I question where the big twist was. Honestly, half way through this book I was like I have it all figured out and how it was going to play out but I was totally wrong. Slater does a great job of not only surprising you having so many possibilities that you're not sure which one is right.

Slater has a strong story telling aspect in this book and I really enjoyed they way she decided to tell the story with the present, Toni before and the teacher before. It can take a bit to lead to the actual abduction of Evie so it was maybe a bit drawn out but Slater needed to lay the groundwork. It also gives you a great overview of what led up to Evie's disappearance as well as the list of suspects for taking Evie and they all seem to have a motive that they would act on that sends your brain spinning in so many different scenarios.

Toni is very real character who is suffering from the loss of her husband and everything psychological and financial burdens that comes with that. The only Light in her life is Evie and as much as she tries to be a good mother, she struggles throughout the past portions of the book. The choices that Toni does make does make her hard to like at times but at the still time you feel so sorry for her that you understand her in a way.

This is the first book that I have read by Slater and it will not be the last. Slater has a great story telling ability that has set the bar really high with this book, so I'm really looking forward to finding another book by her.

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Interview: S. J. Kincaid

A little late for my Blogoversary this year, but that is okay, as this author was new to me and her novel The Diabolic was a great read. It melded together so many aspects that I enjoy in books, darkness, political power plays and a ruthless main character. I mean what is there not to love. Additionally, her second book in her Diabolic series, Empress, was just released this week so make sure you check that out as well. Please welcome to Blood Rose Books today:
S.J. Kincaid

My Grandma was instrumental in me turning out to be a reader. Was there a book or person who first influenced you in to becoming an author?
My Sister was the number one influence in this. She was older than me by four years, and I wasnt to be just like her. I used to follow her around and annoy her when she was playing with her friends. When she decided as a third grader that she loved writing, I decided to start writing too. It became my primary hobby from then onward.

If there was one author you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who would you choose and why?
Actually, it would be an unpublished but extremely talented writer I've already co-written a novel with, on of my two best friends, Jamie. Thanks to her, I co-wrote the first ever manuscript I finished, and realized writing was a possible career for me. I've hoped ever since for a chance to write something with her one day. It was so much fun.

What appeals to you writing in the YA genre?
I don't have to write about mortgages or wrangling with taxes, for one. It's an interesting period of life when there's still so much possibility, so many decisions not yet made, and a teenager is simultaneously and adult in so many ways but lacking all the autonomy and power over fate an adult has.

Many adults have taken to reading novels that have been classified with the YA designation. Why do you think YA novels are appealing to adults more? Do you think that this may change some of the overall content of the YA genre? Hoave you seen changes within the genre since you started writing in it?
I think adults appreciate - as I do - the pacing of a typical YA novel. Although there are certainly exceptions, adult fiction often seems much more rumination or lingering than a YA novel, where the emphasis focuses upon driving the story forward.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
I would say straight-up romance. My sister writes romance as Meredith Duran, and she's incredibly talented, but I don't think I could simultaneously keep to the pretty strict genre guileless and expectations and manage to produce something compelling and fascinating the way she does. I really am in awe of her.

The Diabolic was originally supposed to be a standalone novel; Why did you decide to make it into a series?
There were a variety of reasons, but mostly it was because there was just too much story left to tell! I really had this plot idea that nagged me so I felt compelled to write onward.

As The Diabolic wrapped up the story by the end of the book did you find it hard to create a new storyline and where these characters would go next?
Not in this case, mostly because it was the storyline for where it would go next that compelled me to write onward, rather than contract for three books from the start. I just had this idea and I couldn't resist pursuing it.

You wanted to make The Diabolic older and darker from your previous series, what appealed to you about writing the darker side of human nature; As Nemesis is cold, lacks empathy and is ruthless.
I felt like INSIGNIA began with a main character who was fourteen, and although some readers will grow older as Tom does, other will pick up all three books after they're out. To write for middle grade or the younger end of YA, one has to be respectful of not just the readers, but the parents and librarians who are sharing the book. I want people to know from the beginning of the first book just what they'll be exposing their kid or student to if they read this series, rather than surprise them with shocking or dark stuff they're not ready to read. For that reason, there's a lot of pretty dark stuff they're not ready to read. For that reason, there's a lot of pretty dark stuff in INSIGNIA, but it never goes too far , and yet I couldn't help but notice the parts that readers really connected with were some of the darker moments. With The Diabolic, I laid it out pretty explicitly in the first chapter of the first book just how dark the story could get, so if it doesn't work for a reader, then someone knows in the bookstore.

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
Yes! I should preface this and say I had the awesome and enormous par of The Diabolic wings made, so anyone who wants a selfie with them, come see me! These are my events:

November 4th, I'll be at the Colorado Teen BookCon with Scott Reinten, Veronica Rossi, Emily Suvada, Len Vlahos, and moderated by Scott Bergstorm.
November 6th: I'll be at Third Place Books in Seattle.
November 7th and 8th: I'll have two events with Tommy Wallach at Barnes and Noble and Chevalier's Books
November 18th: Miami Book Fair 

What is one book (Other than one of your own) that you think should be a must read for everyone)
The Gift of Fear. Not fiction, but honestly it'll save your life. That book has given me so many useful tips as a woman who travels alone often.

I want to thank Kincaid once again for taking the time to answer these questions. Honestly, if I was able to go to one of her upcoming events I would totally take a self with those wings, they sound amazing and I am really looking forward to reading Empress, the second book in her Diabolic series.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Layton Green: The Brothers Three

Layton Green takes readers on an adventitious quest for power, friendship and save a loved one:

The Blackwood brothers from New Orleans are very different but are always there for each other. Will dreams of a fantasy world and believes he was meant to be a hero, if only he get over his panic attacks. Middle brother Caleb tries to live his life to fullest and take a laid back way of life using his charm to survive. Oldest brother Val who has been caring for his brothers since their father died and mother became ill is hiding a secret from both of them. All three are about to be put to a test that none of them ever dreamed of (though Will wished for something similar). Enter in to a world where wizards rain supreme, religion is crushed down and a perilous journey must be taken not only to save their own lives but find out the truth about their father and save a long time family friend who help raise them.

Honestly, this is one of the best fantasy quest books that I have read in a long time. I may not dip in to this genre that often but I know what I like and Green delivered on so many levels. From start to finish with his writing, plot, characters and pacing of the book everything was right.

Green is known for the amount of research and detail that he has put in to his Dominic Grey series (which is one of my favourites) and it was interesting to see him put these type of skills towards a fantasy based book. You can tell that he pulled from different folklore and cultures to creates the monsters (and trust me some of these creature not not only unique but scary as hell) as well as the puzzle aspects to the quest that the brothers are forced on. You can also see it in the world building between the parallel dimensions which was one of my favorite aspects of the book.

The parallel dimensions or portal between two worlds is not something that I have read a lot of, but I find I really enjoy the idea of it. It was an interesting twist between the two dimensions to show what would have happened if religion was stamped out like witches or magic ideals. I actually want to know more about this world, the magic, the culture and the hierarchy system that is in place. All of these aspects are just touched upon in the first book as this book was Quest based, but I are really interested in knowing more.

Having the three brothers was an interesting choice and there were times when I questioned the need for all three. I am sure that they all have their roles to play, as they are very different in personality as well as strengths and weaknesses but there was times that the middle brother Caleb was more of a secondary character than a primary one (perhaps this will change in the next book). Trust me you do not want to be a secondary character in this book as well they get hurt a lot and not everyone is going to make it to the end of this book, which I am glad that Green is willing to take risks with his characters, all of them.

Fantastic start to a new series, this book really had everything that I was looking for when I read this genre with it's mix of fantasy and adventure.If you're looking for a new fantasy read and series to start you should pick up this book. I'm really looking forward to the second book, especially how this book ended. I need to start the second book really soon.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Nicholas Sansbury Smith: Orbs

Nicholas Sansbury Smith takes the reader on the journey of an Alien invasion where no place is safe:

 2061: Earth is dying. Cataclysmic solar storms has eaten away at the atmosphere and has caused leaders from around the world to finally acknowledge that the fate of the human race lies on the colonization of Mars. Dr. Sophie Winston is hired by New Tech Corporation to test a biosphere deep within the heart of Cheyenne Mountain; a mission she believes will help prepare the company for the three-year flight to the red planet as well as ensure spots for her team members on those ships. There job is to stay in the biosphere and not leave no matter what, however, days in to the assignment things begin to go extremely wrong and they are unable to contact the outside world. The mission abandoned, the blast doors are opened and the enter in to a barren world that appears to be void of life and water. But not all life is gone, and the team is about to find out that they hold a very precious resources that the invaders need.

I discovered Sansbury Smith earlier this year with Hell Divers and when I found out he had other series, I knew I had to check them out. Orbs is so different from Hell Divers it is shocking, there are very few common threads (really the main on is the survival of the human race) between the two books that they could have been written by different authors. I mean this completely as a compliment as it shows the creativity that Sansbury Smith has in that brain of his. 

From start to finish I was drawn in to this book and the concept that he presented. While an Alien race invading our planet is not knew by any stretch Sansbury Smith's take on it was extremely unique to me. The Alien's need for our water and we're not just talking bodies of water, we're talking every last drop they can squeeze from every living thing on Earth. Enter some of the creepiest and scary Aliens that I have ever been introduced to and lets just say that how living creatures die seems far from a quick and pleasant experience.

I found the characters were not quite as well developed as I would have liked them to be, but I think that it is due to the fact we start off with many and are slowly weeding them out (Yes that is right Sansbury Smith is not afraid to kill off a character or two or more). I think in the next books we will get to know some of the characters better rather than some of the stereotype ones that we got in this book. As I said everyone does not make it to the end here, so there is hope for less point of views next time around and to really get to know some of the characters.

This book will make you appreciate the next time you go for a swim in any body of water or even take a shower or bath. Our most precious resources is our water, we cannot be the only lifeforms out there that relies on it, so maybe Sansbury Smith is a little bit of a prophet. I'm Really looking forward to the next book.

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Peter Swanson: Her Every Fear

Peter Swanson shows the readers that you can never really hide from your past:

Kate Priddy always had bouts of anxiety, but things are taken to the next level when her ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and left her to die after killing himself. Kate never thought that she would recover both mentally and physically after what happened to her but she wants to try. When she is accepted in to an art program in Boston, her distant cousin Corbin Dell suggests a flat switch for 6 months. kate really cannot say no. What Kate does not know is the Corbin is trying to fell Boston as she is London and when Kate/Corbin's Boston neighbour turns up dead, Kate has all these questions of who Corbin really is.

I really wanted to LOVE this book. It had such an interesting premise and I really enjoy when a main character has a flaw that is very real life and affects so many people out there but overall I found this book fell flat. This mainly had to do with how the story was told and which characters Swanson chose to have points of view from.

I liked the back and forth between the characters' points of view as well as the shifts from the past and present, but I think that this was also a major flaw in the book as it gave too much away as to what was occurring in the present. This made the book predictable and the major punch line about what was occurring not happen, as you're like "yep figured that out about half way through the book." And trust me it is really obvious.

Kate was the most interesting character in tis book. The paranoia and basically agoraphobia (not wanting to leave the house) that she has was a really interesting aspect to her character. I also liked the incorporation of having her as an artist to try and overcome these issues but they also contribute to them as well in this book. However, I wish that she was a more developed character and these aspects seem to get lost in the second half of the book and it is not due to her suddenly recovering.

Overall, Swanson's book was a miss for me. It had a great premise and great potential and I think executed in a different way I would have enjoyed it. This does not mean I will not read another book by Swanson, I can tell he has something there as an author, but as this is the first book I have read by him I am disappointed.


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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Mercedes Lackey: Hunter

In the first in a new series, well known author Mercedes Lackey takes the reader on the journey of a young hunter who travel from her small town in the mountains to the big city to help against the fight with the Othersiders:

After the Diseray happened Monsters appeared. The ones from your nightmares and some you have never heard of before. The people are forced to live in Cities (Cits) with high walls and the protection of the Hunters. Joyeaux Charmand (Joy) who has been a hunter since she was a child in her mountain village has been summoned to the Capitol, Apex City,  to work as the newest Hunter. Apex is where the best Hunters are located but the job is much more than Joy thought it would be. Hunting the monsters is one thing, but there are even more dangers within the city which means she always has to watch her back. Someone does not want Joy in the city and will do anything to make sure Joy is gone permanently.

Really enjoyed this book, I know I have read Lackey before but it was a long time ago and I'm thinking it was during my romance phase (yes I had one of those when I first started reading). Lackey was able to blend some of the notions that we have now, like our obsession with celebrities and needing to know everything they are doing, with a fantasy and technology based world. This book is also fast pace. Lackey waste no time throwing Joy in to battle and it never seems to let up. Even when she is in the Capitol where she should be safe she knows that all is not right and she needs to keep her guard up. This book really does go from hunt to hunt and with all the different creature that Lackey has Joy face I did not want to put this book down.

Joy is a fantastic character and lead for this series. She is a kick-ass as a hunter who is humble but naive and almost shy when she first enters the Capitol. Really good personality, she is wise beyond her years in certain areas. I loved that she brought her small town knowledge to the big city and showed the hotshots that there way of doing thing aka showing off was not always the best way to get it done.

One of the most interesting and inventive aspects in this book for me was the Hounds. When an individual becomes a hunter they are able to summon a set of hounds from the Otherside and they fight side by side. Hounds is a term that is used loosely as they take on many shapes, sizes, forms as well as extras, like wings thrown in. In the case of Joy she treats her hounds as equals. One more thing that makes me like Joy more as a character. Honestly, I think she will become one of my favourite female characters in a series, if Lackey keeps her along this path.

World building was well done I felt like I had a good grasp on what lackey had set up and that she did not overwhelm me with too many details. As the book is told from Joys POV we get her feelings and emotions that she has when she first enters the Capitol and learns all about what is expected of her as a Hunter. I do hope there was more information about the Folk, as they were introduced right at the beginning of the book as these feared creatures but then that aspect was never really explored further. I also would like more information about the Diseray. This was a major world shaping aspect, basically made the world what it was now, but why it happened is never really explained so I hope that happens sometime in this trilogy as well.

I liked that there romance idea was a real subplot as Joy was very busy doing what she was brought to the Capitol for to be a hunter not to go one dates :) I also appreciated as this is a YA read that there was not love triangle in site.

I think this was a well done YA novel and it was nice to have a heroine who was not overly concerned about her popularity or what a guy thinks about her (most of the time, she is human after all). Great start to a series and I am very excited to read the next book in this series and see if Lackey can top this one.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Interview & Giveaway: Wendy Walker

Wend Walker was a late find for me this year, but her novel All is Not Forgotten is one of the most memorable I have read in a long time and to top it off it was her debut to the thriller genre is simple outstanding. Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:

Wendy Walker

From Chicken Soup for the Soul to women’s fiction to psychological thriller, how did you get from point A to point B? Why the psychological thriller genre?
I have been on a very long journey as a writer! My first attempt at a novel was actually a legal thriller. That one took me six years to write and revise because I was having my babies! But it eventually got me an agent and from there, I started writing women’s fiction because I became fascinated with suburban culture and the issues that were all around me as a stay-home mother. I wrote two novels in this genre, and then was approached by Chicken Soup for The Soul to edit an edition for their series. I went on to edit two more books for them and it was a great way to make some money as a writer and hone my editing and writing skills. 

However, I was a single mom by then, needing to forge a career for myself that would sustain me in the future, so I went back to practicing law. I also wrote two screenplays and another women’s fiction novel while I was practicing law again. After five years, I found a new agent who gave me the life-changing advice to try my hand at a psychological thriller. She thought it was something that would fit with my skill set and she was right! I took about two months off from my fledgling solo law practice and wrote All Is Not Forgotten. That novel enabled me to write full time – after seventeen years since I wrote my first page.

You recently released your second psychological thriller novel, Emma in the Night, what did you learn from about yourself and writing between the two novels?
There wasn’t much time in between, but I did learn quite a lot! With the help of my agent and editor, I was able to glean what readers liked about my writing and work and what could be better. Writing Emma In The Night took a lot longer than All Is Not Forgotten because I was growing as a writer and trying to be better with each draft. Luckily, I had new access to professionals to advise me in the psychological areas of narcissism and family dynamics, and also FBI forensics. I hope I can get better with each novel. That is surely the goal as an author – and every professional, really. 

How do you believe your now two books (All is not Forgotten & Emma in the Night) stand out from the rest of the novels in this genre?
I think I bring a focus on real world psychological issues and illnesses because of my background as a family law attorney. The training I received there, and the experiences with families in crisis, gave me enough knowledge to know what might make an interesting plot. From there, I do a lot of research and try to include very specific and realistic aspects to the characters who are impacted by the psychological
issues at the core of each novel. Readers seem to be enjoying this aspect of my work so I hope to continue along this path and carve out a niche in a genre that includes some incredibly talented authors.

If there was one author you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who would you choose and why?
That’s a tough question! I adore Jane Austen. I don’t know what kind of book we would write together, but she had the ability to capture the essence of both people and the cultures that shaped and confined them and I find that fascinating. Most of my work has elements of the cultural constraints on the characters, if only as a backdrop to the plot. By linking people to their environment, Austen was able to help the reader understand their motives, even if they were nefarious. No character was all good or all bad – and they were always relatable. I think that every novel has to have that element at its core. If the reader doesn’t care about the characters, not even the most thrilling plot will keep them engaged.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
For me, an abstract literary novel would be a challenge. I like to write in first person or close third person and focus on the inner thoughts of each character. Being inside a person’s head is where I am most comfortable. If you asked me to describe a physical landscape in a unique way, I would probably run in the opposite direction! That is not where my interests lie. My strongest skills are in my ability to weave intricate plots (from being an attorney) and also to tie together the psychology behind characters and motivations. The latter skill comes from my work in family law, but also a lifelong fascination with people and psychology. 

I personally love the point of view you decided to have in All is not Forgotten, why did you decide to have the story told solely from psychiatrist Dr. Alan Forrester point of view?
I had to have a narrator who would be privy to everyone else’s secrets and emotions. The psychiatrist was the perfect solution. From there, I decided to use the actual words of the other characters in italics, rather than leaving the entire book in the voice of the narrator. This tool enabled me to give a voice to each character, but to allow the narrator to drive the plot. Once I got inside Dr. Forrester’s head, it was incredibly easy to write the novel. I knew what each chapter had to contain and reveal, and I knew exactly how my narrator would reveal it. I doubt I will ever find as much ease writing a novel as I did with this one. It was a unique coming together of plot and voice.

How much research did you do in regards to not only PTSD and the medical science around the possibility of a drug to make someone forget a memory but all the psychiatric techniques that Alan uses on Jenny?
I did a lot of research! I read everything I could find on line – which was extensive. I started with articles intended for the general public, and then I went into the scientific articles written for that community. I read blogs and other chat sites for people suffering from PTSD, and also survivors of sexual assault. From there, I found a scientist working on memory experimentation and a therapist who has experience with trauma treatment. I had every passage of the manuscript read and vetted by an appropriate professional. I wanted to get it right!

This book had me questioning myself several times while reading your book that given the same information that the characters had would I make the same or different decision. So I have to think that while writing this book you also asked yourself the same questions. Therefore, if you could help a loved one forget a horrible moment in their life would you?
Yes – that is the question at the heart of the book and what I wanted readers to ponder. I don’t think I would ever choose to erase a factual memory, for me or a loved one. There is just not enough research on how this impacts our emotional memory. However, there are amazing treatments which target emotional memory, altering them to be less powerful, and I would definitely seek out that type of treatment for myself or a loved one.

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share? Maybe some up dated information about Reese Witherspoon’s interest in All is not Forgotten :) as well as some additional information about Emma in the Night.
There are many updates! The movie for All Is Not Forgotten continues to move forward. Reese Witherspoon’s production company is still attached and involved and actively pursuing the production of the film. Emma In The Night is out in the world and doing great. We are pursuing interests in Hollywood for that novel as well. I am working on my third novel and hope to have that out next summer. I have many appearances scheduled for the fall and they are all listed on my website at

What is one book (other than one of your own) that you think should be a must read for everyone?
Not to dodge the question, but I’m not a fan of must reads. I think that books and genres are very personal. For me, Mystic River is one of the best suspense novels I have ever read. It is incredibly deep psychologically and does an amazing job of tracing childhood trauma to adulthood. I loved the Kite Runner for the same reason. Those are just a couple of my favorites. If I had to choose just one book for everyone to read, it would have to be The Lord of the Flies. That novel raises questions about human nature in a way that is brilliant and relatable, and those questions are ones that can help us understand ourselves, others and the world at large.

 I want to thank Wendy once again for taking the time to answer these questions especially since I was asking right before this event was to start. Wendy it truly an author to watch out for and I cannot wait to read Emma in the Night (I have it on my Kindle already). Wendy has very nicely supplied a giveaway to go with her interview, so see the rafflecopter link below to enter :)

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Interview & Giveaway: A. M. Justice

I will admit that I do not read a lot of High Fantasy or strictly Sci-Fi ones either, but somehow Justice was able to combine both in her novel A Wizard's Forge. Justice book (and series I bet) is very world and character driven and you would be hard pressed to find a more real and strong character than Vic. Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:

A. M. Justice

Who is A. M. Justice? What led you to writing not only a novel but a series?
I’m a born nerd with eclectic interests that range from dance to scuba to the outdoors to all things science-related, including science fiction and fantasy. Most of my favorite books, films, and TV shows fall into the SF/F genre. Even within that genre, however, I prefer stories, films, and shows that present the fantastical in a realistic way—showing the dirt under the fingernails, if you will. 

The Woern Saga has been in development for a long time (in fact, I wrote the original source story for A Wizard’s Forge when I was a teenager, back in the last century). I turned it into a series because I love the characters so much, and as I aged, I had new ideas for their adventures.

things I admire and aspire to do in my own work.

It has been exactly one year since A Wizard’s Forge was released. How has your year been?
It’s been an emotional rollercoaster! It’s thrilling and terrifying to release your work on the world and see how people react, whether that’s through your sales or reviews. My goal is to keep building a fan base and momentum so when the next book in the series comes out, it’ll make a big splash (I hope!).

A Wizard’s Forge is a mixture of the science fiction and high fantasy genres. Why did you choose to put the two together? Was it another way to express the differences between the two cultures and beliefs?
The choice was more a reflection of my own worldview, which like Vic’s is evidence-based while being open to supernatural possibilities. I also like settings that can fit within our universe—if humans are living in a strange world that is similar to our own but contains different plants or animals, I want to know how people got there. Readers familiar with Anne McCaffrey’s work will immediately recognize I’m following the precedent she set with her Pern novels. Pern is a lost space colony that resembles Earth in climate and ecology (except for the world-threatening Thread), but by the time most of the stories set in Pern take place, the space travelers’ descendants have lost all modern technology and live in a quasi-medieval society.

Another reason why I write blended fantasy and science fiction (also known as science fantasy) is that I prefer “magic” to have some basis in the physical world, even if the how and the why are made up. All the supernatural powers in Knownearth have a biological basis. There’s very little about this in A Wizard’s Forge because Vic doesn’t learn the details until Book Two,  A Wizard’s Sacrifice, but I’ve written a lot about the origins of her powers on my blog and elsewhere. You can read about the magic system here: 

If there was one author you could co-write a novel with (they can be alive or dead) who would you choose and why?
My idol is Ursula K. Le Guin, and I would cherish the opportunity to work with her because I believe she’d be a wonderful mentor. I’m in awe of her imagination and her writing skill, and I also admire how she paved the way for female speculative fiction authors in the 1960s. Her novel The Left Hand of Darkness was the first book written by a woman to win the Hugo, science fiction and fantasy’s most prestigious award. Le Guin’s imagination stretches far and wide, she writes really layered narratives that are about a lot more than the surface story, and her writing is elegant—all

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
I suppose every author has a different answer to this question. For me, the hardest genre to write in would be contemporary lit, because the ordinary problems of ordinary people aren’t terribly interesting or inspiring to me. The real world can be fascinating—I like reading biographies and nonfiction—but I’ve made it picked up very few contemporary novels and finished even fewer. Coming in second would be hard science fiction involving interstellar navigation, because I’d want the physics to be “good,” but the amount of research I’d need to do to make it so is daunting. I was recently joking with a friend about how I can nitpick the biology and medicine on Star Trek to the bone (because I know a lot about those topics), but when the captain calls for a tachyon pulse, I just nod and say, “oh yeah, the tachyon pulse will get the job done!”

The genre I most like writing in after fantasy is historical fiction. That requires a ton of research too, but I like researching clothing styles and home construction and culture and politics from historical periods, so I embrace the challenge rather than shy from it.

Vic is an ever-changing character (as you say in the premise, a scholar, a slave, a warrior and a wizard) in this book just based upon life events that influence her change. Was it hard to write Vic as she grows, changes and adapts several times throughout the book?

I didn’t find Vic hard to write at all, as her experiences and challenges are so dramatic that I could just put myself in her shoes and imagine how she would react to each situation. I also wanted to explore self-reliance as both a strength and a weakness. Her history as a loner growing up in Ourtown makes her incredibly vulnerable to Lornk but also gives her the wherewithal to escape from him and recast herself as new opportunities present themselves. She’s very good at learning, which is why she excels at physical and intellectual challenges, but her faith in her own abilities blinds her to other peoples’ capacity and desire to help her, and a lot of the troubles that arise in the second half of the novel emerge from those flaws.

Torture and manipulation can be a theme that is present in novels, however, you decided to take a route of a more “unconventional” type of torture, sexual torture. Why did you choose this form of torture? Where did the idea come from? Was it hard to write the experiences for your characters?
I didn’t really think of this approach as unconventional, since in real life, for as long as humans have existed, adults have used sexual abuse as a way of grooming young teens to do their bidding. Lornk isn’t interested in Vic as a mere sex slave to satisfy his carnal desires. Instead, he uses sexual pleasure the way Valmont does in Dangerous Liaisons, as a means of controlling his victim. As he tells her, he wants her to crave him the way an addict craves narcotics:

He laughed softly, stretching his arms out, then twining his fingers behind his neck. “I told you once—I want you to crave me. Why do you think that is?”
“So I’ll obey you.”
“Oh, I’ve had your obedience for months. What I want now is your devotion. The day may come when you will have the world in your hands, and I want you to hand it to me, without reservation.”

Lornk also isolates Vic so he’s her only source of food and comfort and comes very close to making her entirely dependent on him. She manages to escape, but his psychological hold continues to haunt her when she’s a grown woman and a renowned soldier.

Lornk encompasses everything dark in human nature. What appeals to you about writing about our dark side?
Well, a book needs a good villain, doesn’t it? As the author, I know a lot more about what motivates Lornk than what the reader sees in A Wizard’s Forge, where he is a villain in every sense of the word. However, as he hints in the passage above, he’s not operating out of pure sadistic pleasure in others’ pain. He’s playing a long-game, one that involves Vic’s role in a future conflict, and Lornk believes if his plans succeed, all of humanity will benefit, while failure could spell the end of human kind. The stakes will become clear in A Wizard’s Sacrifice.

Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
I’m really excited to announce that A Wizard’s Forge received an Honorable Mention Award for Fantasy in the 2017 Reader’s Favorite Book Awards. Readers can check out all this year’s winning titles here:

You can hear a podcast interview with me starting Sept 16 on Write On with Tom Fallwell (, and I’ll be participating in the Virtual Fantasy Con in October: 

What is one book (other than one of your own) that you think should be a must read for everyone?
Recently someone asked me which book series I would take with me if I had to be stranded on a desert island, and I answered Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle, because it’s a favorite I could read over and over and still see new things. The books in the Cycle feature dragons, sorcerers, evil clerics, old dark magic, and lots and lots of sea travel, while all the stories are tales about finding one’s inner strength to serve the greater good. They are great stories that taught me a lot about heroism and the kind of person I wanted to be as I lived my very ordinary life.

I want to Thank Justice for taking the time to answer these questions and for writing a unique book. If you are looking for something different that blends High Fantasy and Sci-Fi together check out A Wizard's Forge. Justice has also provided a giveaway to go along with her interview so please see the rafflecopter link below to enter :)
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