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 RosesGemini 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!

Review: When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry

When the Sky Fell on SplendorWhen the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

This is a tough one.

A sort of genre-mash of things I love but together seemed a little disjointed but still good…yeah…

A few years back the town of Splendor was wracked by an industrial accident. Pretty much everyone in the town was effected in some way.

The plant were the accident occurred literally employed about half the town. There was an explosion and a lot of people were killed.

As you can for imagine, for a small town, this had horrible ramifications. People had brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and spouses stolen away from them in an instant.

In part, that is what this book is about. Even though it is around 5-years later, the aftermath continues to be challenging for those remaining residents of Splendor.

We follow a group of teens who have really come together since the accident. The adults in their lives are dealing with their own grief and sort of left the kids on their own to deal with theirs. This group of kids has come to rely on each other in both meaningful and beautiful ways.

As an exploration of grief, this is a touching, heart-wrenching story but there is also a science-fiction element that I found truly interesting.

You can tell that the author really enjoys science, as do I. There are detailed sections on black holes, time/space, fibonacci spirals and the idea of a cosmic consciousness.

I loved the friend group and how supportive they were of one another and I loved the science. However, there was something a little wonky about the way it was all strung together. It didn’t feel cohesive to me.

As always, this is 100% subjective and you may read this and think, ‘what the hell was Meg talking about?’ And that’s fine!

Just for me, it felt like the narrative was fighting over what kind of story it was trying to be. It didn’t feel like a seamless composition, if that makes sense.

Overall, I am really glad that I read this book. It is definitely a thoughtful exploration of a lot of interesting and important topics. I also think Emily Henry is a very talented woman and clearly a lot more intelligent than I am!

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Review: A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon #1) by Kelsey Quick

A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon, #1)A Violet Fire by Kelsey Quick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Wavorly Sterling was a child, a vampire attack decimated the population of the town in which she lived. In fact, she is known as the only survivor, rescued, or captured, depending on your perspective, and brought to live within the Vampire Stratocracy of Cain.

Set in a dystopian world, where the blood supply is low, the Stratocracy has developed a vast and interesting system for raising ‘human supply units’. These supply units are eventually chosen and bound to a master who they vow to serve, and feed, for the duration of their lives.

Wavorly is brought to a sort of private school where the girls are raised together and taught how to please their future masters.

The majority of these girls were born within the Stratocracy so have never tasted the freedom of the world outside as Wavorly has. This sets her apart from them and she struggles trying to understand their seemingly docile personalities in the face of what lies ahead of them.

In fact, when we first meet her, she is in the midst of executing an escape attempt. Although it may not go as planned, you have to give the girl props for her strength and determination.

No matter how hard she fights back against the powers that be however, Wavorly is ultimately selected to go live in the castle of Lord Anton Zein and act as one of his supply units. They have a complicated history and you just know something’s going to go down at that castle!

I really enjoyed this, you guys! I do not read a lot of vampire-related content, really my only experiences being Salem’s Lot, NOS4A2 and Doctor Sleep, so I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this or not. Apparently, it’s my new thing!

I loved the dystopian feel of this story. The world-building was excellent in my opinion and I cannot wait to learn more in Book 2.

I also really enjoyed quite a few of the side characters, they added depth, humor and challenging personalities to the story. There were people you really wanted to get behind and people that were a joy to hate. Yes, that is a thing.

Although the plot got a little jumbled for me towards the end, I was still on board for all that was happening. There were revelations and betrayals, a lot of excitement.

I think this left off in a great spot for the continuation of series and I definitely will be continuing. This was one of those books that when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it and wishing I was!

Overall, this was an impressive debut. I feel confident this author has a bright future ahead of her. If you are looking for an inventive and captivating, fast-paced read, you should definitely pick this one up!

Thank you so much to the author, Kelsey Quick, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I have since preordered the paperback because I love the cover and also, have no self-control.

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Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is a magic within her, a power, that even she doesn’t know the limits of.

In its opening pages, we find young Princess Guinevere arriving in Camelot for the first time. Sent there to marry King Arthur, all she knows of him are what the legends tell. For he is a great man, the greatest, the one to pull the sword from the stone.

While it is true, he is a great King, one who strives to make the kingdom a better place, there are those outside the kingdom who threaten his reign.

Unbeknownst to anyone but themselves, Guinevere hasn’t actually been sent from a royal family in the South to marry Arthur, she has been sent there to protect him.

You see, there is more to Guinevere than meets the eye, much more than a fragile Princess desiring a life of luxury. She holds secrets so dark they are even unclear to herself.

It has been a long time since I have consumed any media revolving around the Arthurian legend. I had a wonderful time reading this and thought it was splendidly done. I felt very connected to Guinevere’s character and enjoyed following her on her journey of self-discovery.

I think if you have any interest in the story of Arthur and Guinevere, you should definitely give this book a shot. I think it was a nice twist to hear the story from her perspective, which is much darker and more convoluted, in this case, than I anticipated. In fact, it was intense at times trying to piece it all together.

She is confused about a lot of things, her past, which she doesn’t remember, her purpose and her heart. I think she experienced a lot of growth over the course of the book and although not all of her choices were the best, I think she was doing the best she could.

The supporting cast of characters were also fantastic. I love Arthur and am hoping for a deeper connection between them for the second book. This left off in an incredible spot and I know the next book is going to take the story up a whole other notch!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press and Random House Children’s, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. This was a highly anticipated book for me and it did not disappoint. I look forward to continuing with this series!

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Review: The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams

The Babysitters Coven (The Babysitters Coven, #1)The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We all know babysitting comes with a lot of responsibility. You are literally responsible for maintaining the health and wellness of little humans. But did you also know that some babysitters are responsible for protecting the entire Earth from evil forces?

It’s true and when Esme Pearl formed her Babysitter’s Club, she didn’t know that either. Unfortunately for Esme, she’s about to find out the hard way.

I feel weird sort of giving that away but it’s nothing you won’t read in the synopsis of the book. Part Buffy the Vampire Slayer, part the good ole’ Babysitter’s Club series, this book brings horror comedy to a whole new level.

I was giggling to myself for over half of this novel. Apparently, the author and I share a brain and have exactly the same sense of humor.

Esme was such a fun character to read about and although parts of this were predictable, I had a great time reading it. The culminating scene does occur on Halloween as well, so perfect for the Fall Spooky season.

I loved all the pop culture references, the definite homage to Buffy and that fun teen horror atmosphere. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a fast and funny teen scream.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I look forward to seeing what this author comes up with next!!!

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Review: The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss #1) by London Shah

The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, #1)The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Debut novels have really been impressing me lately and this one is no exception. Man, what a captivating story. I don’t think I have ever read anything quite like this.

Set at the end of the 21st-century, the world is now underwater. Our protagonist, 16-year old Leyla McQueen is living on her own in London.

Her Father has been arrested and spirited away by government officials, although no one will tell her exactly where.

Leyla knows he is innocent of the crimes for which he is accused and now her whole life is focused on trying to find him and get him back.

When the opportunity arises for her to compete in a government-sanctioned auto race, with the prize being anything the winner desires, she puts her whole heart into winning.

The marathon doesn’t turn out to be what she expected, however, and Leyla finds herself fleeing the perceived safety of London and heading out to lesser chartered waters for the first time in her life.

Now in her own submarine with her sweet pup, Jojo, virtual domestic help, Oscar, and a new body guard, Ari, she sets out to finally solve the mystery of what happened to her Father.

This book is so intriguing, you guys. Once I got into it, I could not put it down and pretty much read it in two days. There is a an enemies-to-lovers plot element which I enjoyed. It was very mild though so if romance isn’t your thing, I would just say that it never overpowered the rest of the storyline.

For me the elements I was picking up the most were the great bits of politically-charged social commentary. That may not be the greatest way to describe it. The story itself isn’t of a political nature but the topics explored definitely were and are poignant for a lot happening in the world right now.

Topics I noticed would include the idea that it is okay to question authority, to question the official story. It explored the idea of governments molding citizens viewpoints on ‘others’ and how individuals can be punished if they speak up or against such sanctioned ideas. There were elements of ‘terrorism’, domestic and otherwise, explored, as well as an us-versus-them mentality.

While all these topics were threaded throughout the narrative, to me, they never felt forced or like the author was championing an agenda. It was all very natural and organic to the plot progression. I was impressed with how the author was able to do that.

It’s also important to note this is Own Voices representation for a Muslim main character. Both of Leyla’s parents were of Afghan descent. So if you are looking for more stories with Muslim main characters, I think this would be a great one for you to check out!

I thought the scifi elements in here were excellent. Very forward thinking and unique as far as the whole world being underwater. I think the concepts are very approachable for all readers, so even if you don’t read a lot of scifi, maybe you are afraid you won’t necessarily understand it all, I don’t think that would be the case here.

Finally, there are very cool ‘monsters’ in this story! They were honestly one of my favorite parts. They are called anthropoids and are basically genetically-modified humans that can breathe underwater. So, think the evil mermaids from Harry Potter — very well done.

Thank you so, so much to the publisher, Disney Book Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I was so impressed and cannot wait for the next book to be released!

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Review: The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco

The Girl from the Well (The Girl from the Well, #1)The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When the hosts of the Dragons & Tea Book Club announced this as our October pick, I was genuinely excited. A YA horror novel I had never heard of, I was completely intrigued.

Then I discover people comparing the vibe to one of my favorite horror movies of the early 2000s, The Grudge, and I was sold!

I am so happy to report that I really enjoyed this. I could not put it down once I started. I love this type of horror. It was smart and visceral with great characters and atmosphere.

One of the biggest surprises of this book was the perspective from which it is told. A 300-year old vengeful spirit is our narrator. She becomes tied to our protagonist, a troubled boy named Tark, and we follow along with them as she tries to protect him from others out to do him harm.

It’s hard to talk about this book without giving too much away. It was a very engaging plot with a lot of Japanese cultural influences which I found just so interesting. The cultural perspectives in regards to spirits, the afterlife and all things related to those topics, it was really well done. I seriously would consider reading this again because I am sure that I missed a ton of fine details.

During the course of the story our characters travel from suburban American to Japan. It is there that the creepiness begins to kick it up a notch. We have ancient temples, local folklore and legends, crazy ass doll rituals and Shinto exorcisms.

This story is very graphic and definitely doesn’t shy away from violence on page. Some of the scenes were hard to read. The narrators detachment in the midst of violence, pain and suffering was truly unsettling. Well done on Chupeco’s part. That has to be hard to write consistently from that perspective.

I was really impressed with this overall. It wasn’t perfect. There were some points in the narrative that were a tad confusing or even repetitive but overall, very solid horror story.

I definitely plan to pick up more books from this author in the future!

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Review: Alien: Echo by Mira Grant

Alien: EchoAlien: Echo by Mira Grant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay. I like it.
I’m pleased I read it.

Fun, quick and gory.

Definitely a solid creature feature. If you are looking for a book with monsters this month, this would definitely fulfill that desire. 

ALIEN monsters!

This story follows twins, Olivia and Violet, who have recently moved to a new colony on a distant planet. Their parents are xenobiologists and they travel frequently, getting called to far off places to research new found alien life.

Violet is suffering from a debilitating illness that keeps her secluded in their home and sends Olivia out to navigate the new landscape on her own.

Attending school without her twin, Olivia is just trying to fit in and make the best of things. She has her first crush on a girl in her class so is pretty much dealing with things any teen would deal with.

Well, maybe a little more than that. She has always wanted to be more involved in her parent’s work and feels disappointed that they seem to still be treating her like a child. When her parents receive a call to explore an abandoned ship, they again tell her she is not to participate.

Luckily for her, she doesn’t. Things don’t end so well for a lot of others however.

An apex predator is introduced to this colony world via the abandoned ship. Even if you aren’t a xenobiologist, you probably understand that is not a good thing. Before they know it, the girls are literally fighting for their lives trying to escape the planet.

This little book has a lot of action and a ton of graphic gore and violence. Let that fact determine whether or not this book is for you. I personally enjoyed that aspect of it.

I wasn’t as crazy about the length. It was really short. I think the entirety of the book takes place in a day or two therefore I never felt fully immersed. Also, it definitely gets a bit romance heavy toward the end and in a way that was a little jarring, it didn’t quite fit with the rest of the story.

Grant’s writing is excellent though, there is no denying that. Overall, there was nothing outstanding about this but it was a quick, fun read. I think this would be an ideal book to pick up for a readathon because of its length and it could potentially fit a lot of varying prompts.

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Review: Campfire by Shawn Sarles

CampfireCampfire by Shawn Sarles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up because I feel this book deserves a higher overall rating**

((How’s that for honesty?))

When Maddie Davenport heads on a friends and family camping trip she has no idea that it is a trip that will change her life. But we all know what happens when teens go camping.

Y’all, this book is a teen slasher flick come to the page. If you enjoy the campy, bloody, sometimes ridiculous movies like Cabin Fever, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Friday the 13th, House of Wax or Wrong Turn, I think you could enjoy this.

It’s all about the mindset you go into a book with. I was looking for a campy, silly slasher that would make me nostalgic for my Junior High years, devouring every Fear Street book I could get my hands on. This did that. It gave me exactly that.

This does definitely read on the younger side of YA so if you aren’t into Tween reads, I would steer clear. I would put this at a target audience of 7th through 10th grade, which is completely fine. People in that age group deserve to have books too and for a fun, Spooktober read, this is great.

The writing is simplistic and the storyline was easy to follow. There are a ton of flawed characters to hate on so when bodies start dropping, you probably won’t shed too many tears.

If you are looking for a quick read, something to remind you of your younger years, when you first started to learn that scaring yourself was fun, you should probably check this one out. I was laughing out loud to the cheesy lines at the end. It was a good time. Glad I picked it up and I feel like you should too!

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Review: All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle

All the Bad ApplesAll the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Break the stigma, break the curse.

An absolutely enchanting feminist tale!

I was so enthralled by this story, I could not put it down. As Deena begins to unravel the mysteries of her family tree whilst on a search to find her sister, Mandy, assumed dead, I was completely swept up in their family lore. I wanted to know everything about the Rys family.

Fowley-Doyle seamlessly blended past and present together as the narrative unfolds. The reader takes a front seat as history repeats itself again and again. Women and girls are stripped of their power and choice, made to live false lives. It was heart-wrenching and felt extremely genuine.

At the beginning of the novel, Deena, our teenage protagonist comes out to her family with a mixed reaction. She is a student at a Catholic school and has been raised within a conservative household. She is struggling with her identity and being able to live her truth.

I thought this aspect of the story was so well done, as were all aspects really, but the feelings evoked as Deena questions whether or not she is a ‘nice, normal girl’, were just so powerful. That’s how the story kicks off and as far as gut-punching, hard-hitting topic choices, never lets up.

I loved the format the author chose to slowly reveal the truth at the heart of this tale. I am going to be thinking about this one for a long time to come. I am not going to say anything else in regards to the plot because I think it would best serve the story, and your reading experience, to go into this with as little information as possible.

A story of family, identity, secrets, truth and power, I am still reeling by how much this story has impacted me. Truly stunning.

While this is a fully fictional story, the topics explored within were well researched by the author and are based on true events that happened throughout the course of Ireland’s history. As the author lives in Ireland and is Irish herself, that is where the story is focused, however the issues the girls and women faced are universal.

Please read this book. Please read this book. Please read this book and as always, this includes the Author’s Note at the end. Read that too!!

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