Flashback Review: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

AllegedlyAllegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

Hello, my lovely book friends! Today I thought I would bring you a Flashback review. I originally read and reviewed this novel back in September 2018.

Why am I bringing it up again, you may be wondering?

That’s easy. Because I love this book and still think about it to this day. Also, this novel introduced me to one of my FAVORITE YA Contemporary authors. Tiffany D. Jackson’s writing takes me places and I love every minute of it. Read my full thoughts below and I hope, if you haven’t already, you’ll seriously consider picking up some of Jackson’s work!

Allegedly was Tiffany D. Jackson’s debut novel!?

Yeah, think on that for a while. This. Is. A. Debut.

I am still reeling from this book. It’s one of those stories that sticks with you long after you turn the final page.

Following teenage protagonist, Mary Addison, after she is released from ‘Baby Jail.‘, she now resides in a group home and is trying to adapt to surroundings.

Mary Addison entered Baby Jail after being accused, and prosecuted, for killing a baby that she was helping her mother take care of.

Allegedly.

The majority of the book is stream of consciousness narrative, which generally is hit or miss for me. This is a definite hit and how it should be done.

It was incredibly moving to hear Mary’s remembrances of various parts of her childhood, her challenging relationship with her mentally ill mother, and of her alleged crime.

The rest of the book cleverly fills in the blanks with an excellent assortment of mixed media sources, such as police interviews and court transcripts.

I thought the blending of these two styles together was executed perfectly to reveal the truth at the heart of the story.

The thing I appreciated most about this book was the way it reflected upon the juvenile justice system. Shining a much needed light on the hopelessness and desperation these kids experience, not to mention the general systematic failures.

Behind every case number, inmate number and statistic, is a story. This is just one.

Mary Addison is a whip-smart, mixed race girl, who struggles with low feelings of self-worth and faces a boatload of obstacles.

Her codependency with her mother and her mental illness was so raw. I truly felt for this girl. I was drawn into her story. It was such a struggle to get through some sections, but completely worth it.

It was so well done that at times, I would be so wrapped up, I had to remind myself that Mary Addison is FICTION. Sadly, for a lot of kids out there, too many kids, this story is all too real.

I did listen to the audiobook for this and DAMN, Bahni Turpin can make you feel all the feels. She is so talented and truly brought the story to life for me. I was listening to Mary as far as I was concerned. I could not recommend this audiobook highly enough.

Loved it, loved it, loved it!

Tiffany D. Jackson is one hell of a writer!

View all my reviews

The Best Books I’ve Read in 2020

Now that we are officially halfway through 2020, I thought it would be a good time for me to tell you about the best books I have read so far this year!

My monthly wrap-ups have been nonexistent this year. I think I have written one. So, this serves as sort of a 6-month wrap-up with just good stuff. I am not going to include rereads in this; all these books were new to me in 2020.

First up is a book I am currently reading. I have about a quarter of the book to go, I am taking my time with it because it is so damn good, I don’t want it to end! This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and if you guessed Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, you are correct!

Yes, Home Before Dark is the Horror Thriller of my dreams. When Maggie Holt was just a girl, she and her parents moved into a desolate Vermont mansion, Baneberry Hall. They were there for 3-weeks before they fled for their lives. Her father subsequently released a novel titled, House of Horrors, that tells of their time within the house that he claims is haunted.

Twenty-five years later, after his death, Maggie returns to Baneberry Hall for the first time seeking answers. Was her father’s novel a complicated lie or are the halls of Baneberry actually as haunted as he claims?

Told in alternating sections between Maggie’s current day timeline and excerpts from the Book, I am loving every single second of my time reading this! Horror fans rejoice, this is perfection.

Next up, I would have to mention King’s newest release. If It Bleeds is a four-story short-story collection that includes an anticipated release following one of my favorite characters from the Bill Hodges Trilogy, Holly Gibney.

I felt this was such a great, well-rounded collection. I loved every single story. They all had completely different topics and feels, but somehow worked together perfectly. I actually think I loved this as much as Full Dark, No Stars, which is saying a lot, as that is currently my number one favorite short-story collection.

Keeping with the King, I have to mention Duma Key, which I read last month for a readalong with a bunch of folks in the Constant Reader community on Bookstagram. Firstly, I am so disappointed in myself for not picking up this epic story before now. It was soooooo good. I can’t believe it has been missing from my life all these years.

It follows a man, who after a devastating construction site accident, moves to a remote section of the Florida coastline to recover, both mentally and physically. There he rediscovers a passion for making art, but when Duma Key essentially begins communicating with him through his artwork, the real fun begins. Steeped in family lore and hidden secrets, this story contains beautiful friendships and a ton of hauntings. It is everything!

Even though I have owned a copy of this book since it was released in 2008, I had never even read the synopsis. I had literally no clue what this book was about going in and became completely entranced as the story unfolded. This felt like classic King to me; full of paranormal glee.

Taking a completely different turn, a YA-Contemporary that has blown me away this year would be, Felix Ever After, by Kacen Callender. Following Felix Love, a transgender teen living in New York, this story is a journey of self-acceptance and discovery as Felix learns how important it is to love himself, in addition to accepting love from others.

After a fellow student creates a gallery listing Felix’s deadname, along with photos of him before his transition, he is rightly shattered. He vows to find the person responsible and make them pay. Along with his best friend, Ezrah, he sets out to do just that. For a while, Ez is on board, but eventually Felix goes rogue and continues his revenge plot on his own. During this time, Felix evolves a lot as a character, as he opens up to individuals he had previously blocked from his life and seeks to understand more about his own identity.

Speaking of YA, the YA Mystery/Thriller game has been very strong this year, as I have discovered two new favorites in 2020 releases. Those would be, I Killed Zoe Spanos, by Kit Frick and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, by Holly Jackson. Both of these novels follow teen girls doing some amateur sleuthing into unsolved disappearances in their hometowns.

In I Killed Zoe Spanos, Martina Green creates a podcast investigating the mysterious disappearance of Zoe Spanos. Throughout the book we get the transcripts of entire podcast episodes and it was such a phenomenal way to build out the story. I adored this entire book, start-to-finish; the podcast element being just one small portion of the fuller narrative.

In A Good Girl’s Guide, we follow high school Senior, Pippa Fitz-Amobi, as she investigates the disappearance of local girl, Andie Bell, for her Senior Capstone project. Andie’s boyfriend, Sal Singh, has been accused of murdering her in a jealous rage. Pippa knows Sal and is not buying this official story. She thinks the town is covering up something and she is hell bent on exposing the secrets.

Pippa is a fantastic character. I loved reading from her perspective. Even when things got really scary, she was dogged in her search. Never giving up and never allowing others to tell her she couldn’t do something. This was cleverly formatted as well to make it a highly addictive story!

Another favorite for 2020 thus far would be Julie Kagawa’s concluding book in the Shadow of the Fox trilogy, Night of the Dragon. Returning to the land of Iwagoto, we follow kitsune shapeshifter, Yumeko, and her friends as the continue to work to keep the infamous Dragon Scroll safe. They are quite literally on a quest to save the world, so no pressure.

As much as I did not want this series to end, I could not have dreamed up a more stunning conclusion. This story shattered my soul into a million pieces. It stole my breath, but also instilled a sense of love and hope. Kagawa is wildly imaginative and an exceptional storyteller. This entire series was flawless. All the stars.

And finally, a new favorite Horror novel for me would be Grady Hendrix’s 2020 release, The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. This story swept me away from the very first pages. I love the tone of Hendrix’s writing. This one, set in the 90s, felt like the 90s. Following housewife, Patricia Campbell, in her suburban South Carolina town, we watch as she steps outside of her comfort zone to save all she loves, when an evil force arrives in town.

Hendrix can effortlessly blend humor with horror in his novels and I absolutely adore it. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me cringe and gag; it was incredible. Highly recommend this to any Horror fan!

So, those are my top, top, top books of 2020 thus far. I have read so many great books this year. A lot of 5-star reads, but when I reflect back, these are the titles that have truly stayed with me.

I am slaying my 2020-reading goals as well, which feels great. I set my goal at 150-books for the year and as of this writing, have completed 111-books. It’s fairly obvious to me I will be exceeding my goal.

Okay, that’s enough from me for now! I have to go read! I am participating in the blog tour tomorrow for the release of Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust, so stay tuned for that!

Until next time, Cheers & Happy Reading!

May Reading Plans: Medieval-A-Thon!!!

Hello, book friends! Welcome to May and day 4,354 of social distancing…

Oh wait. I guess it hasn’t been quite that long, but some days it feels like it!

I know it has been a long time since I have posted anything but reviews. Fortunately, or unfortunately, however you want to look at it, I have spent every spare moment reading.

I’ve pretty much given up on writing wrap-ups. The last one I wrote was a seriously belated January wrap-up. I have planned on writing February and March, but now I would have to do April too!

I don’t know, what do you guys think? One option is do a Q1 Favorites & Least Favorites post, then do an April wrap-up and go from there. Any advice from anyone who can actually handle time management, let me know!

Anywho, May!!! I am so darn excited about May because Holly Knece, @hollyheartsbooks, is bringing back my favorite readathon of last year: Medieval-A-Thon. For a full description of Medieval-A-Thon, please click HERE and if it sounds fun (WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY IS) join us!!!

I am going to try to meet all of the prompts. I think I can do it. Although I am not setting a TBR, I will make my selections as I go, I will be sure to update you at the end of the month! That’s a promise!

What are you reading this month? Are you participating in any readathons or readalongs? I want to know! Leave a comment down below or contact me through any of my social media links.

That’s all for now! Cheers & Happy Reading~

Offensively Late January Wrap-Up

Oh, hello. Hi, book friends!

It’s me, Meg. Do I write anything on this blog besides reviews?

Not much lately. I am so sorry about that. The funny thing is, I have spent every spare moment reading. The good news, I have completed 42-books this year already! The bad news, I am not putting out very interesting content, unless you love reading endless reviews.

Tonight I am dogsitting and figured, what better time to catch up on belated wrap-ups. Now, I bring you, what I read in January!! These will be in completion order:

  1. Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim: 4-stars, YA Fantasy gender swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo. Thank you, Disney Hyperion for my ARC!
  2. The Missing Years by Lexie Elliot: 4.5-stars, Adult Suspense set in the Scottish Highlands. (audiobook)
  3. The Dead Girls Club by Damien Angelica Walters: 3-stars, Adult Thriller with supernatural undertones. Thank you to Crooked Lane Books for my ARC!
  4. Hark! The Herald Angels Scream edited by Christopher Golden: 3.5-stars, Horror Anthology with all stories revolving around the Christmas season.
  5. Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz: 4-stars, YA Hard-Hitting Contemporary following a girl who gains her freedom after being kidnapped and held against her will for 7-months. Thank you to Wednesday Books for my ARC!
  6. The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner: 4.5-stars, Adult Historical Fiction following a female friendship that formed during a stay at an Texas internment camp during WWII. Thank you to Berkley Books for my ARC!
  7. Coral by Sara Ella: 3.5-stars, YA Hard-Hitting Contemporary with Magical Realism that is a modern retelling of The Little Mermaid. Multiple trigger warnings can be found in the author’s review of the book on Goodreads. Please be sure to reference that prior to reading if you have sensitivites you are concerned about particularly involving self-harm and/or suicide. Thank you to Thomas Nelson Books for my ARC!
  8. The Whisper Man by Alex North: 4.5-stars, Adult Crime Thriller with excellent police procedural elements; also, creepy as hell! Thank you to Celadon Books for my ARC!
  9. All Systems Red (Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells: 4-stars, Adult Science Fiction Novella that is delightfully humorous and full of action. (audiobook)
  10. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord: 5-stars, YA Contemporary Romance about a battle over a grill cheese recipe. No joke and it was fabulous. Thank you to Wednesday Books for my ARC!
  11. As Old As Time (A Twisted Tale) by Liz Braswell: 3.5-stars, YA retelling of Beauty and Beast. Part of Disney’s Twisted Tale series, this story imagines what would have happened if Belle’s Mother had been the one to curse the Beast.
  12. Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall: 3.5-stars, YA Horror about a teen girl delving into her sister’s mysterious disappearance. (audiobook)
  13. Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse: 3.5-stars, part of the Rick Riordan imprint, this Middle Grade story is based on the Navajo legend of the hero twins. Thank you so much to Disney Book Group, and Rick Riordan Presents, for my ARC!
  14. The Princess and a Fangirl (Once Upon a Con #2) by Ashley Poston: 4-stars, YA Contemporary that is basically a love letter to geek culture. (audiobook)
  15. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas: 4.5-stars, YA Mystery about a girl looking into multiple deaths of cheerleaders at her school. (audiobook)
  16. The Queen of Nothing (Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black: 4-stars, YA Fantasy, the conclusion to a beloved fae series. 
  17. Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer: 4-stars, YA Science Fiction series that retells the stories of various fairy tale ladies. Scarlet inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. (audiobook) 

As you can tell, I have been real busy reading. That’s it though. 17-books completed in the month of January. I feel so much better now that I have memorialized this accomplishment.

Now I must rest.

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts? Do you have any memorable reads from January you think I should add to my list? Or ones to avoid?

I want to know! Leave a comment below or contact me through any of my social media links!

I vow to complete February’s wrap-up by the end of the weekend. Then, just like that, I’ll be all caught up. I am literally thriving right now. Until next time, cheers & happiest of reading!

 

December Wrap-Up

As I sit down to write, it is currently 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 1, 2020! It seems like just yesterday that the Y2K-paranoia was sweeping the globe and yet, here we are 20-years later, with computers still functioning and people continuing to buy and read hard copy books.

You’re right. Enough lame intro. Let’s get into what we are really here to discuss, my December 2019 wrap-up.

As some of you may recall, my theme for the month was ‘Diverse December’. My goal was to complete 10-books with at least one prominent character whose life is significantly different from my own. In the below list, I will put an asterisk next to the titles that counted towards that goal.

My complete list of titles read, in order of completion is as follows:

  1. *Keeping Lucy  by T. Greenwood – This was an ARC provided to me by St. Martin’s Press. It had a main character with Down Syndrome and although that character was just a baby, it did provide a strong historical narrative regarding the treatment of children with disabilities in the late-1960s to early 1970s; 4.5-stars.
  2. Murder, She Wrote: A Time for Murder  by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land – ARC-copy provided by Berkley books. This is book #50 in the beloved Murder, She Wrote mystery series and the first I have read under the new authorship of Jon Land; 3-stars.
  3. *The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – Adult Romance novel with a main character with Asperger’s Syndrome and a main character that is half Vietnamese; 4.5-stars.
  4. *Aurora Rising  by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – YA SciFi with a half-Asian protagonist and a queer side character. This is the first book to an all new series for this successful author duo; 4.5-stars.
  5. *Dear Martin by Nic Stone – YA Contemporary OWN voices novel following an African-American main character as he grapples with race relations and police brutality in America; 5-stars.
  6. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin – YA Fantasy new release; 3.5-stars.
  7. *Reflection: A Twisted Tale by Elizabeth Lim – YA Mulan retelling set in China with a focus on Chinese history, folklore and culture; 4-stars.
  8. *The Ancient Nine by Ian K. Smith – ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press following an African-American student navigating the secret societies of Harvard University. Great premise, bad delivery; 2.5-stars.
  9. *Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia – This Adult Mystery novel follows Tuesday Mooney and her friends on a literal treasure hunt through the beautiful city of Boston; gay side character; 5-stars.
  10. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown – YA Dystopian; 4-stars.
  11. *All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney – ARC provided by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. YA Contemporary with Muslim main character; 3.5-stars.
  12. Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – YA SciFi; 4-stars.
  13. *Geekerella (Once Upon a Con #1) by Ashley Poston – YA Contemporary. This modern-day Cinderella retelling with a focus on geek culture had a lesbian best friend.

If my math is correct, I failed to reach my 10-diverse book goal but I did complete 9! Not to shabby. I’ll take it. I finished Geekerella last night so was very happy to end the year with a 5-star read.

My favorite covers of the month include:

How did your December reading go? Did you complete your goals? I want to know! Comment down below or contact me through any of my social media links.

In the next couple of days I am planning to post a list of my top 10 favorite books of 2019, as well as my 2020 reading goals, so stay tuned for that!

Until then, Cheers & Happy Reading~

Top 10 Most Anticipated YA Releases for Q1 2020

With 2020 almost upon us, it is time to start freaking out about the books soon to be released.

I already have a ton of great sounding titles on my radar but am keeping this list down to 10.

The YA titles listed below are all currently set to be released within the first quarter of 2020 (aka. release dates between 1/1/20 – 3/31/20). Without further ado, let’s get into them:

  1. Scavenge The Stars by Tara Sim – Because the Disney Book Group gods frequently bless me, I am currently reading this title, set to release on January 7th. This is a gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo!
  2. The Hand On the Wall (Truly Devious #3)  by Maureen Johnson – The final book in the Truly Devious trilogy, I know a lot of readers are anxiously awaiting this one. Johnson is the Queen of Cliffhangers so I need this book ASAP! This YA Mystery series is a ton of fun and a breeze to get through.
  3. One of Us is Next by Karen McManus – YA Mystery from Karen McManus, a follow-up to her 2017 bestseller, One of Us is Lying. I really enjoyed The Breakfast Club feel of the first book so am excited to get to this next installment of the drama at Bayview High.
  4. Ashlords by Scott Reintgen – This epic YA Fantasy follows phoenix horse riders who must compete at The Races; a modern spectacle that has replaced warfare within their society. Reintgen is the author of one of my favorite YA science-fiction series, The Nyxia Triad, so I am very interested to see him tackle fantasy!
  5. The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller – A YA fantasy story where the synopsis proclaims that our protagonist, Alessandra is going to woo the King, marry the King and then kill the King to take his kingdom. Color me intrigued, that sounds fabulous!
  6. The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne – The synopsis for this YA science-fiction novel sounds very Jane Austen but set in space. I was a big fan of Donne’s 2018 release, Brightly Burning, so am excited to read a story from her again.
  7. Deathless Divide (Dread Nation #2) by Justina Ireland – Jane, Kate and the zombies return in the second installment of Dread Nation. Historical fiction with zombies? Who knew it would be so good? Me, that’s who! Really excited to get back into this story!
  8. All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban – This YA Mystery/Thriller brings a Breakfast Club-esque cast of characters, a locked room mystery and a bogus dinner invitation channeling Agatha Christie; totally on brand for me and I cannot wait to get my hands on it!
  9. Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox #3) by Julie Kagawa – The third and final installment to pretty much my favorite YA Fantasy series. I am legit preordering like tomorrow and counting down the days until arrival. If you haven’t picked up this Japanese-inspired tale, you have plenty of time to read the first two books while you wait. You won’t be disappointed!
  10. A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell – This YA anthology consists of sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.That’s all I need to know. Sold.

It also appears the cover game will still be raging strong in 2020:

Am I right!? Those are all gorgeous and I cannot wait for them to be gracing my shelves! What books are you most looking forward to at the start of 2020? Are any of these are your list? What do you think I am missing? 

I want to know! Comment below or contact me through any of my social media links. Until next time, Cheers & Happy Reading~

 

 

December Reading Plans

The last month of the year is upon us! My theme for the month is…

DIVERSE BOOKS!!!

That’s right! It’s time for Diverse December. My goal, as in previous months, is to complete 10-books that can comfortably fit within this category. I am classifying any book as diverse if the main character of characters has an identity or lifestyle different than my own.

This can be race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health or disability representation, anything like that. Obviously, the books I could read to fit into this category are plentiful, therefore, I am confident I can meet my 10-book diversity goal!

I’m so happy with how my reading year has gone so far. Just today I completed my 171st book of the year!!! I cannot even believe that. Just a few years ago I was happy when I read 70-something. We’re in all new territory now!

What are your reading goals for the end of the year? I want to know! Leave a comment here or contact me through any of my social media links. Until next time, Cheers & Happy Reading!

Themed Reading: November Wrap-Up

Seven days into December and I think I am finally ready to bring to you my November Wrap-Up!! My apologies for the delay, it’s been a crazy week recovering from Thanksgiving and all the travel that comes with it.

We did have a fabulous holiday and I hope all of my book friends in the U.S. did as well. Even with the holiday week at the end of the month, I was still able to complete 14-books!

My reading theme for November, as some of you may recall, was ‘New Releases’. For me, this meant that I could read any book published in the 2019 calendar year. My goal was to complete 10-books that fit this theme.

It turned out that all 14-books I completed in November fit this category! Without further ado, let’s get into the books I completed, the genre, when they released and my star rating for each:

  1. The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah – YA science-fiction released in October, 4.5-stars.
  2. The Last Woman In The Forest by Diane Les Becquets – Adult Mystery/Thriller released in March, 4-stars.
  3. The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams – YA Horror Comedy released in September, 4-stars.
  4. The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White – YA Fantasy Retelling released in November, 4-stars.
  5. The Long Call by Ann Cleeves – Adult Mystery released in September, 5-stars.
  6. The Deep by River Solomon – Adult Fantasy Novella released in November, 3.5-stars.
  7. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – Adult Thriller released in November, 3-stars.
  8. Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon – YA Fantasy released in October, 4.5-stars.
  9. The Turn Of The Key by Ruth Ware – Adult Thriller released in August, 5-stars.
  10. Story & Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout – YA Fantasy released in June, 4.5-stars.
  11. A Violet Fire by Kelsey Quick – YA Vampire Dystopian released in December, 4-stars.
  12. When The Sky Fell On Splendor by Emily Henry – YA Contemporary Science Fiction released in March, 3.5-stars.
  13. Remarkables by Margaret Peterson Haddix – Middle Grade Magical Realism, 3.5-stars.
  14. The Last Affair by Margot Hunt – Adult Domestic Thriller released in November, 4.5-stars.

So, as you can see, I had a pretty even split between YA and Adult books this month; with one Middle Grade. I also had a fairly strong month as far as ratings go, with my lowest rating being a 3, which is still a good book.

As far as my regular monthly TBR-challenges go, I only completed two out of the four. I completed a New Release from the current month by finishing The Guinevere Deception and a New Release from the next month by finishing A Violet Fire. I failed to read a New Release from 2018 or a Sequel.

But December is a new month and I am already doing well! Just a side note, this week I completed my 170th book of the year!!! I can hardly believe it.

How did your reading month go in November? Did you complete all your goals? I want to know! Leave a comment below and contact me through any of my social media links! Until next time, when I should be bringing you my December Reading Plans, cheers and happy reading!

Guest Post: Author Chat with Kelsey Quick

On Tuesday, December 9, 2019, a great new addition to the vampire genre is set to be released. This fast-paced and inventive novel is a debut for author, Kelsey Quick.

I had the opportunity, thanks to, GODDESS FISH PROMOTIONS, to ask Kelsey a few questions about her work and what this release means to her.

Before we get into that however, for those of you who visit my blog regularly, you may remember that I just reviewed this novel last week, but for those of you who are new…

…and you can check out my full review by clicking HERE!!!

Without further ado, let’s get into my questions for Kelsey and her responses:

Meg: What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?

Kelsey: Aside from “never give up,” it would have to be: Understand that everyone in this industry gets rejected. That agent who rejected you? They get rejected all the time by editors. The editor that rejected you and your agent’s submission? Acquisitions rejected the last five of his/her/their proposals. If you have rejection issues (like me), this is not your industry unless you can see it for what it really is. It’s an unfortunate consequence of bad luck and, perhaps, a poor product—but that’s where persistence comes in. The more persistence you have, the less luck you need, especially if you keep trying to get better rather than to prove everyone wrong. The better you get, the better chances you have. It’s that simple, although it’s no guarantee. You have to really want it enough to overcome the perpetual sting of being told “no.”

Meg: What were your inspirations for this particular story?

Kelsey: Really, a lot of things! I found the basic framework of the story from reading Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino back in 2007. It was such a chilling, yet romantic manga, especially in terms of artwork. It had a dark, yet shoujo-esque (female-audience intended) style that I’d never seen. My own style of manga was influenced heavily by it, in fact. Aside from the basic framework, I’d always wondered why there wasn’t a big novel featuring vampires ruling over a dystopia, where humans were at their beck and call as slaves. I know they exist and I’ve since heard of them (such as The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa), but at the time, I thought that idea was pretty original, so I stuck with it—and it stuck with me!

Funny enough, a couple of the characters have their own inspirations: Lord Anton Zein is a silver-haired, cruel war general—much like Sesshoumaru from Rumiko Takahashi’s Inuyasha. I’ve also heard that he’s like Prince Cardan from Holly Black’s, The Cruel Prince, as well as Sarah J. Maas’ Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses. Gemini is the candid, blonde vampire that is a blend of three very different characters: Hanabusa Aido from Vampire Knight, Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter, and Guildenstern from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Meg: With release date just a week away, how does it feel to be having your story released into the world?

Kelsey: It is pretty surreal. I thought I’d never have the guts to self-publish if it came to that, but I clung to the hope of getting traditionally published for so long that I think it eventually wore away all the fears and inhibitions—so to speak. While those two years of querying took a lot out of me and completely killed my writing productivity, I think I needed them to realize that rejection by the publishing industry does not equate to rejection by the reading community. As they say, bestsellers are made, not written (to an extent). So, I decided to do the best with what I had, as my passion for A Violet Fire seems to have no bounds. It’s not perfect, but it is my heart book, and I take pride in how much work I put into it to make it shine well enough to be compared to other big names. At the end of the road, I’m going to be glad I did it this way even if the results are less-than stellar. It’s probably the
hardest I’ve ever worked for something… and the work is never-ending.

I want to thank, Kelsey, for being so kind as to answer my questions for her. I feel so blessed to have been provided with the opportunity to be included on this blog tour. Also, a huge thank you to Kelsey for providing me with an early copy of the book to read and review.

I really enjoyed this one and was so impressed by the fact that this is a debut novel. Kelsey has a wonderfully creative imagination and pleasing writing style, I look forward to the chance to continue on with this series!

Be sure to pick up your copy on release day, Tuesday, December 9th!!! Until then, click the link below to enter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card that the author will be giving away. The raffle is run via rafflecopter and one randomly drawn winner will win during the course of the blog tour. It could be you!!

$25 Gift Card Raffle

That’s all for now my lovely book friends! I hope you had a fabulous reading month in November and look for my wrap-up soon.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Buzzword-A-Thon Wrap-Up

Hey book friends!

Some of you may be wondering how I did with my Buzzword-A-Thon reading. Well, wonder no more. I am here to tell you that I failed miserably! 

As in, zero…that’s right…ZERO books completed. 

I did make it to the 32% mark in The Ancient Nine which I am still reading but I did DNF (did not finish and will never pick up again) Seven Black Diamonds.

I am trying to just pick up the pieces and move on with my life. I will be participating in Fantasy-A-Thon in December hosted by Julie over at Pages and Pens channel on YouTube. For her announcement video, click here:

Fantasy-A-Thon Round 2 Announcement

I think I may see some more success, or any success at all really, during this next readathon as it is two weeks opposed to one. With a full-time work schedule, that is extremely helpful.

Stay tuned for my TBR post which should be going up sometime next week!

Cheers and to my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving!