A Month of Indies: Ingrid Seymour

ignite

I had the distinct pleasure of reading Ignite the Shadows by Ingrid Seymour and I was so happy that I got the opportunity to read such an awesome book.

Here’s a quick synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Marci Guerrero is one of the best teen hackers in Seattle. However, she’d give up all her talents to know she isn’t crazy.

Marci feels possessed by what she perceives as shadowy spectres that take control of her body and make her do crazy things. While spying on the clandestine group known as IgNiTe, she’s confronted by the leader, James McCray. His presence stirs the spectres inside her brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don’t go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her and shows her the awful truth.

Half of the world’s population is infected by sentient parasites. They bind themselves to the human brain and replace the pathways for all thoughts and actions. The creatures then morph their hosts into grotesque monsters with extraordinary strengths. Winged, clawed, fanged half-humans become living nightmares. Now Marci wishes she was crazy, because the truth is worse.

She’s infected.

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Sound great?  It was and still is great.  This is one of the few books that I really enjoyed even though it is YA fiction.  I try not to give YA fiction a bad rap because I know that some if not all the authors tried really hard to get to where they are today by appealing to young readers and there is nothing wrong with that.  The issue I have is that the stereotypes that go along with YA fiction (and having used to read a lot of the genre myself when I was a teenager) left me feeling like there is just the one arc to go with.  Well I was wrong and this book can prove that.

With most YA fiction that I read, it has pretty average vocabulary so that you aren’t reaching for a dictionary every few pages (like A Confederacy of Dunces.  Seriously, I had to look up at least one word per paragraph) and you can read pretty uninterrupted for the whole book and understand what is going on.  For me, I enjoy learning a new word or two in a book and this book actually had a vocabulary where I was able to enjoy and understand the book more when I looked up a few of the words.  I really like learning something new and this book really helped me do that.

Moving on to storyline and characters.  I really liked all of it.  This is a new twist on an “infected” being.  Usually when I hear “infected”, I think zombies or plague, but with Ignite that isn’t the case.  This is an original idea with an original storyline with likeable characters.  I was able to connect to Marci in a way that I didn’t think was possible.  I used to take mixed martial arts and I also have a love for motorcycles, but that wasn’t the way I connected with her.  I was able to understand her point of view, not as a whiny teenager, but as someone with legitimate issues looking for answers in a way that could only work if she did it without parental help.  I also liked the fact that even though she and her mom weren’t on the best of terms, she wasn’t expected to (and didn’t) take care of her mom.  A teenager should NOT be in charge of her parents and how her parents behave and that is something that I admired in Marci.

There was a little bit of predictability, but at some parts I was definitely surprised and didn’t know what was going to happen next.  For example, I saw what was going to happen with Marci’s romance and what happened within her family, but I did not see the ending coming at all.  I was a little put off that it ended on such a cliffhanger, but that also insures that I will buy the next one when it comes out.  I need to know what happens next and not just because of the cliffhanger.  This was a great book that I recommend to anyone and I highly recommend that you pick it up as well.

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I’d like to thank Ingrid Seymour for letting me read her amazing book and Sanovia (go and check out her blog http://creatyvebooks.com/) for allowing me to be part of A Month Of Indies.  I met some awesome authors, read some amazing books, and had a great time blogging about it.

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Some links you should click on:

Author website: http://ingridseymour.com/

Twitter: @ingrid_seymour

GoodReads: Ignite the Shadows

Amazon: Buy Ignite the Shadows

A Month of Indies: Jennifer Foxcroft

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I had the absolute pleasure of being able to read Sanguine Mountain by Jennifer Foxcroft and right now I am so overcome with so many emotions about how I feel about Sanguine Mountain that I may not know how to start.

Here’s the synopsis:

An anonymous letter shatters the world Connie thought she knew and trusted. The news that her parents aren’t really her own leaves her angry, devastated and alone. The search for the truth leads her down a dark, desolate forest road where she meets a boy in the shadows who has secrets of his own.

Rockland’s life has been ruled by an ancient curse since the day he was born. Forever labeled a misfit and a rebel, he is desperate to convince his leaders that integration with the modern world will be the salvation of their kind—not their demise.

After their worlds collide in the middle of a dark forest, Connie and Rocks strike a deal to help each other find the answers they both need—away from her lying parents and the judgmental sneers of his colony. But, can they find love on their journey to discover who they are and where they belong in the world?

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Seriously, doesn’t this book just scream to be read?  Haven’t convinced you yet?  Well how about a little insight for you.  I literally just finished the book and I can tell you that I could not put it down.  It was a great read.  I have said before that I normally don’t like YA fiction because of ridiculous main characters or stupid love triangles or lacking plot lines, but this book had me hooked.  The characters were well thought out and loveable.  The storyline was well thought out with very few holes and it wasn’t overly detailed or lacking details.  I was able to picture everything perfectly. The “love triangle” wasn’t really a love triangle and it didn’t make me want to pull my hair out of my head and scream in a pillow.  The respect that Connie and Rocks have for each other is cute and it works.  I was able to connect really well with Connie because I love nail art as much as Rocks loves brownies.  This is one of the best reads I have read for 2015 and you should read it too.

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I also had the honor of being able to interview Jennifer and hopefully her answers inspire others, not just to read her book, but to go out and do something they’ve always wanted to do but were too scared to start.

Why did you want to be a writer?

To be honest, I have never known what I really wanted to be. After high school, I was so lost and confused—who really knows what they want to be at seventeen?!? I worked in several different industries, but the thing that always made me happy was writing. As a teenager, I wrote every single day. For many years I stopped writing, but I always entertained myself by telling myself stories in my head. I would plot them out with all the tiny details from start to finish. So next time you see someone sitting on a bus or train smiling to themself for no apparent reason, they might be a storyteller like me.

Or what inspired you to start writing?

There was a very small online writing contest for first time writers.  I had wanted to start writing again for a while, but this contest gave me a deadline and made me open that word doc and begin writing again.  It was the best decision I made because I haven’t looked back since.

What advice would you give to a new writer?

Firstly, write every day.  This is hard to achieve sometimes, but I think it makes you a better writer in the long run.  It also keeps your muse talking to you, and without that, your story will be a very short one. 😉

Secondly, be brave. Writing is a very personal journey, and publishing a novel can be scary.  You’re putting a piece of you out into the world for criticism, so just be brave.  You can’t worry about the readers that won’t connect to your characters.  It took me a long time to deal with this because I want everyone to love them—it’s only natural.  I have read some very popular books and not really enjoyed them.  The fact is that every reader is different.  It’s impossible to write something to please every single person that will pick up your book.  Don’t focus on that.  Focus on writing the best story you are capable of.  Be brave.  Share your work.  And, celebrate the readers that do love your characters.

What are you hoping the outcome of your book to be?

I would like to share Connie and Rocks with as many readers as possible.  In the long term, a movie deal or TV show would be my ultimate dream come true, but I think most writers share this goal.  Let the dream casting begin. 😉

Is there someone or something that inspires you to keep writing?

I simply love to write. It’s my happy place, and I can spend hours sitting at my computer writing chapter after chapter and it feels like no time has passed at all.  So many amazing authors inspire me to try to write the best book I possibly can.  So often when I read other books I find myself saying “Oh, I wish I wrote that character.”  “I wish I had invented that world.”  “What a fantastic scene!”  That’s a great feeling and keeps me going.

Where do you write most (coffee shop, in bed, beach etc.)?

I mostly write in the living room during the day.  It just depends what part of the book I’m writing.  If it’s the beginning, then it’s mostly daytime writing.  Once I get to the climax, then I just can’t stop writing, and I’ll write at 2a.m. if the words are still flowing.  I have a really comfy chair and a foot stool so I can sit there for hours happily.

Has anything changed since you finished your book?

Not really.  I guess if anything, I want more reading time.  There are so many books out there to read, but just not enough time to do it.  I’m working on book two of the Camazotz Trilogy now, but I wish I could be snuggled up on the couch reading as well.  I like to read totally different genres from what I write while I’m writing.  I’ll avoid YA and read a historical romance or a fantasy—just something totally different.  This seems to keep my muse happy.

What is your favorite part of Sanguine Mountain?

That is such a hard question to answer.  I love all the scenes that involve Rocks.  His colony have banned the use of any kind of technology, so when he starts hanging out with Connie, I love how he reacts to modern devices—like the first time he gets hold of the TV remote control.  I also have a soft spot for the scenes at the market that involve his younger siblings.  The Camazotz were a lot of fun to write with their goth clothing and love of tattoos.  So that was a great part of it for me.

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The only thing I regret not asking was “WHEN IS THE NEXT BOOK COMING OUT??? I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!!!!”  But on a slightly more serious note (I’m still serious about needing to know what happens) definitely check Sanguine Mountain and support Jennifer Foxcroft and her goal to get more readers to discover Connie and Rocks.  I want to send out my immense thanks to Jennifer for sending me a beautiful copy of her book and allowing me to ask her some questions.  It was an incredible experience and I am still in shock I was able to correspond with you.

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Some links you should click on:

GoodReads: Sanguine Mountain

Twitter: @msjenfoxcroft

Website/blog: http://jenniferfoxcroft.com/

Amazon: Sanguine Mountain Book

The Novice…

So this is the second book in The Black Magician trilogy and I didn’t even write a review for the first book, so my comparisons and examples probably won’t make any sense… but I’ll give it a try.

So in the first book, we followed the story of Sonea and her discovery of her gift of magic.  In this book, we follow Sonea in her journey to become a magician and how she avoids bullies.  Seriously.  I thought we were done with seeing her hide all the time and I thought that in this book she might have slightly more character development than what she had in the first book.  Don’t get me wrong I like this book but I had some issues with it that I wasn’t very thrilled with.

Enter Regin: an obnoxious boy who pretty much replaced Lord Fergun in the hate department.  I guess I should have figured that she would still be picked on and that there would be people who hated her, but I didn’t think that she would be completely isolated from other people and let people walk all over her.  In the first book, I understood that she was scared and didn’t want to be found and all that, but in this book, I figured that she would at least somewhat stand up for herself and not let this child totally ruin any chance at having even a semi normal schooling.  Regin took bullying to such an extreme that I am surprised that no one else stood up to him as well.  Sonea had more than enough chances to try and show them that she shouldn’t be messed with, but she was so concerned that she was going to hurt people and as great as that is it bugged me.

I know that someone being that nice and “selfless” shouldn’t bug me, but I just didn’t like it.  It let all the novices walk all over her draining her to the point where she had to crawl down the stairs because she was so weak from an hour long attack.  Then on top of all that, she was taken by the High Lord and STILL bullied.  So if you put drama on top of drama and then you add a possible love interest you equal breaking point.  Yes when she finally hit her breaking point she finally loses it and stands up for herself.  Finally.

I like Lord Dorrien and I really like him and Sonea together.  I just wish that Cery didn’t love her as well.  What I really enjoyed about this series was the lack of a love triangle and then there was one that was introduced.  I was kind of happy that Cery wasn’t really in this book because some distance between Sonea and Cery means that maybe Cery can fall in love with someone else while Sonea and Dorrien can get together.  I guess we shall see what happens in the third book.

I really enjoyed this book.  Nothing really happened and yet at the same time there was a lot that happened as well.  We mostly just read about Sonea trying to stay away from Regin and his band of novices, but there was more going on outside of the Guild that was also interesting.  My favorite side story was that of Dannyl and Tayend.  I hope to learn more about them in the next book as well.

Overall good.  Not bad.  It has its flaws, but it is still one of my new favorite series.

A Month of Indies: Alysha Kaye

Of course I would forget to post on the day that I am supposed to.  I apologize for being irresponsible and not posting this yesterday.

Author Bio:

AlyshaKaye

Alysha Kaye was born in San Marcos, TX, where she also received her BA in Creative Writing from Texas State University. She worked in marketing for a brief and terrible cubicle-soul-sucking time until she was accepted into Teach for America and promptly moved to Oahu. She taught 7th grade English in Aiea for two years and also received her Masters in Education from University of Hawaii. She then taught here in Austin, TX for a year at Ojeda Middle School (DVISD) and absolutely loved it, but wanted to move to the high school level. She now teaches freshmen at her alma mater, Jack C. Hays High School, and tries to squeeze in as much writing as possible between lesson planning. She dreamt about The Waiting Room once, and offhandedly wrote her boyfriend a love poem about waiting for him after death. Somehow, that became a novel.

Synopsis of The Waiting Room:

thewaitingroom
Jude and Nina are the epitome of that whole raw, unflinching love thing that most people are jealous of. That is, until Jude dies and wakes up in The Waiting Room, surrounded by other souls who are all waiting to pass over into their next life. But unlike those souls, Jude’s name is never called by the mysterious “receptionist”. He waits, watching Nina out of giant windows. He’s waiting for her. What is this place? How long will he wait? And what will happen when and if Nina does join him? The Waiting Room is a story of not just love, but of faith, predestination, and philosophy, friendship and self-actualization, of waiting.

The Waiting Room is available on Amazon (in print and Kindle) and also at Book People in Austin. Alysha’s WordPress blog has now reached over 2,200 followers—she not only writes about the novel and self-publishing, but also teaching, love, and life.

Links:

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlyshaKaye

Twitter: @alyshakaye7

GoodReads: The Waiting Room

Amazon: The Waiting Room

Author Website: www.alyshakaye.com

A Month of Indies

So I am just a tad bit late on starting this, but I am participating in A Month of Indies.  Basically these are authors who were turned down by publishers, but went continued to push through so that they could get their books out anyway.  They are an inspiration to the writing and book communities and they deserve recognition.

Here are the three authors I’ve had the honor of reviewing and you should check them out

Alysha Kaye- @alyshakaye7

Ingrid Seymour- @ingrid_seymour

Jennifer Foxcroft- @msjenfoxcroft

(this is my first time trying links and things so hopefully it goes well)