Friday, October 30, 2015

Interview with Erica Lucke Dean – author of Splintered Souls (Flames of Time #1)

Dreamer J: ‘Splintered Souls’ is a fun book with soul-mates as a way of explaining the supernatural element of time-travel.  How did you come to think of soul-mates as the explanation?  Which came first, the desire to write about soul mates or the desire to include time travel?

Erica:  I think they came to me at the same time. The idea of soul mates searching for each other through time just seemed like the romance of the ages. And adding a few twists to the mix was all me. J

Dreamer: Where and when did the idea for ‘Splintered Souls’ originate?  How long have you been working on this series, or dreaming up the characters?

Erica:  Last summer, I had a medical condition that required me to take this awful medication that made me sea sick when I got up and walked around, so for three weeks I stayed in my bed and wrote a book. I’m working on the sequel now, and I’m thinking about calling the doctor to see if I can get a refill. LOL

Dreamer:  Were there any influences in creating the characters, the charming old house, or the town atmosphere?

Erica:  When I was six years old, I spent a summer in Maine with my parents, and I’ve always loved the waves crashing against the craggy shore. There’s just something magical about Maine to me. So I knew that’s where the book had to be set. As for the town, I wanted something like Kennebunkport without being Kennebunkport.

Dreamer:  Do you have siblings?  Would you have made the same choice as Ava; turning down Georgetown after all that hard work, to help your family cope?

Erica:  I do have siblings. Two sisters. And I’d like to think I’d have made that same choice. Just like Ava, family means a lot to me. And Georgetown would still be there after a year or two of the smaller school.

Dreamer:  Are you a fan of supernatural series?  What types of supernatural beings do you enjoy reading about or watching? (Vampires, werewolves, witches, fairies, zombies, etc)

Erica:  I’ve never watched Supernatural, though I may be the only one in existence who doesn’t. LOL. I used to love True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, and the old-fashioned scary movies of my youth (let’s not ask how far back those go!) And let’s not forget Harry Potter and Twilight. Yes, I was a Twi-Mom.

Dreamer:  Are you a fan of other time-travel series?  Which ones?

Erica:  I haven’t read any of the other time travel series yet. I did read the Time Traveler’s Wife, and I loved that movie. But other than being fascinated with the idea of going back in time, I haven’t gotten into the other books like that. I hear Outlander is amazing, but I haven’t started it yet.

Dreamer:  What’s in store for Ava, Maddox, and Laith as your series progresses?

Erica:  There is much in store for them as things go on. When we catch up with them in the next book we’ll find Ava and… wait! I can’t give out spoilers. You’ll have to let me whisper in your ear sometime. J Just know I have a lot in store for them, and I can’t wait for it to be available.

Dreamer:  Are you currently working on the next book in the ‘Flames of Time’ series?  When can eager fans get their hands on a copy?

Erica:  I am in the middle of the sequel now and I know exactly how everything ends. And who Ava ends up with (and doesn’t end up with.) But I’m not telling. You’ll just have to wait. But I promise not to make it a long wait. J

Dreamer J’s Review:

After her father’s unexpected death, Ava decides to move with her mother and younger brother and attend University of Maine, rather than Georgetown.  Set in more of a high school atmosphere than college, Ava finds herself befriending a clique of girls who enjoy nothing more than gossiping about, or kissing, hot guys.

Ava is drawn to a mysterious hot guy herself, and when he finally introduces himself, Ava’s world quickly spirals out of control.  Caught in the middle of a centuries-old curse, which is revealed slowly throughout the book, she finds herself caught between twin time-traveling brothers, Maddox and Laith.  There are twists and turns along the way, leading to a surprise cliff-hanger ending.

‘Splintered Souls’ was a quick and easy read.  I enjoyed the tension between the clique-ish girls and battling brothers.  Best of all was the connection between the main characters and the involvement of soul-mates as a way of explaining the supernatural link between them.  Looking forward to the next chapter in the Flames of Time series!

Perfect for fans of Rysa Walker's 'Timebound' book series and the CW show, 'The Vampire Diaries.'

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Excited to host an interview with author Erica Lucke Dean tomorrow!

Splintered Souls
By Erica Lucke Dean
Genre: Urban Fantasy

When Ava Flynn walks away from a scholarship to Georgetown and moves into her grandmother’s abandoned summer home in coastal Maine, she steps into the center of a centuries-old curse. On her first night, she notices a mysterious leather-clad stranger looking up at her third-story window. For weeks, everywhere she goes, Ava catches more
glimpses of him, but she can never get close enough to find out who he is. 

Over three hundred years ago, Lady Catherine Fairchild risked everything to protect her unborn child, sending a ripple through time that would change Ava’s future. As the mystery unravels, the horrifying consequences of Lady Catherine’s choices drag Ava deeper into a world she never knew existed, trapping her in a conflict that’s been raging since before she was born. A winner-take-all battle for her soul.

Author Bio:

After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica Lucke Dean moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains, where she lives in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180lb lap dog, and at least one ghost. When she’s not writing or tending to her collection of crazy chickens and diabolical ducks, she’s either reading bad fan fiction or singing karaoke in the local pub. Much like the main character in her newest book, To Katie With Love, Erica is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces. How she’s managed to survive this long is one of life’s great mysteries.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

'Silver Hollow' by Jennifer Silverwood

3.5 stars!

An enchanting and intricate read; Silver Hollow is surely a magical word, and following our main character, Amie, takes concentration.  I re-read/skimmed Silver Hollow immediately after finishing it and found lots of clues scattered throughout the book, but they are easy to dismiss as not-essential-to-the-plot and easy to gloss over.  I found this book even more enjoyable as I went through and discovered all the clues I missed the first time.

Careful; here there be dragons, and magic, and wrights, and King Arthur (sort of), and hobgoblins, and other things that go bump in the night.  Though there were two romantic possibilities for Amie, I would not declare this anything close to a love triangle.  As Amie is new to everything in the magical world of Silver Hollow where nothing is as it seems, her friendships and relationships take time to develop naturally.  As this is a book of mystery right up until the end, there is little else to say without giving away spoilers.  I whole-heartedly enjoyed the ending and Amie’s romantic choice.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

‘Spelled’ and ‘Casted’ by Sonya Loveday

4 stars!

This fun two-part series follows Jade as she learns the truth of her ancestry, discovers her own magical abilities in a hidden world of spell casters, and tries to set things right.  She is joined by several friends and her pre-ordained soul mate.

While I feel this series might be best for a younger audience, particularly for Jade’s protests against doing things with a boy before she is ready; there is also a ton of bad language used as things go wrong for the characters.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

I have spent the last week or two re-reading this brilliant series of fairy-tale re-telling by Marissa Meyer.  Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Snow White, and her wicked Evil Queen all feature in their own stories in this shared world and connected series of books. 

Cinder:  Cinderella is a cyborg!  Set in a futuristic New Bejing; Cinder has two stepsisters, a mean stepmother, and a handsome prince.

Scarlet: Little Red Riding Hood and Wolves that go after her grandmother!

Cress:  Hacker extraordinaire, Cress is locked up high in a satellite orbiting Earth, with hair grown down to her toes.

Fairest:  Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the most wicked Lunar queen of all?

Winter:  First two chapters released (for free!) today and are every bit as fantastic as the rest of the series.

There is still time to read these books before Winter is released on November 10, 2015!  Happy reading!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Apprentice (The Black Mage #2) by Rachel E. Carter

The second book in the Black Mage series is even more captivating and magical than the first!

After working their minds and bodies hard for a year at the realm’s most prestigious magic Academy in order to secure one of five spots in each category of Combat warriors, Alchemists, and healing Restoration mages, twins Ryiah and Alex are back for their Apprenticeships.  Ella, Prince Darren, Priscilla, and younger brother Derrick are back too.

Much was at stake for Ryiah during her three-year apprenticeship; concerning both her training and her love life.  While the continued absence of insta-love is quite enjoyable, ‘Apprentice’ did feature a love triangle; a well-thought-out and plot-driven love triangle.  There were times throughout this story that I couldn’t decide which of the charming and talented boys I wanted Ryiah to end up with.  Never has a novel so gripped my attention and influenced my emotions the way this book has; when Ryiah hurt, I hurt.  When Ryiah was happy, I was happy.  Through Ryiah’s eyes, I understood fully what was special about each of the boys, and why it was so hard to choose between them.  Excellent writing on author Rachel Carter’s part!

The continued trend of elaborate and vivid descriptions of training and battle scenes was delightful.  I especially enjoyed when the characters dressed up for fancy events.  More background information was provided regarding the politics and geography of the realm which the Mages defend, as well as its neighboring lands.  Characters continued to grow, some of which becoming complex with admirable, or at times, devious motives.  Character interactions felt natural.

This book was read in less than 24 hours and held my attention the entire way through.  I absolutely cannot wait to find out what happens next!

Strongly recommend reading ‘First Year (The Black Mage #1) (for $0.99 until Halloween!) before reading ‘Apprentice (The Black Mage #2)’ and ‘Candidate (The Black Mage #3)’ (releasing on October 27, 2015!)

Review of 'First Year: Black Mage #1'

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Two-Face and Chaos (The Assassin at Court Books 1 & 2) by Nia Davenport

3 stars each:

These quick, fun reads are a perfect distraction while working out on a treadmill or elliptical, but truth be told, they’re both a bit repetitive.  These YA novels contain the typical romance, deception, and lies that come with life at Court, with supernatural undertones thrown into book 2.  'Chaos' ends on an intriguing cliffhanger.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Time's Divide (The Chronos Files #3) by Rysa Walker

5 time-bending stars!!     Wonderful conclusion to Rysa Walker’s Chronos Files!

I greatly enjoyed this fast-paced page-turning conclusion just as much as the rest of the series; it continues to have a fantastic plot, meaningful character development, and comedy in all the right places.  So glad Walker has created and shared such an entertaining tale!

Much was at stake for Kate at this point in the story; with the Cyrists’ plan for catastrophic global change, Kate had to act quickly.  It’s amazing how many adventures occurred in 1 “day” for Kate.

I greatly enjoyed the explanation and use of "splinters" and time-travel math.  Glimpses into an alternate-reality future were thoughtful and creative.  The ending was fantastic; Kate "gets both guys" in a fair and reasonable way; Kiernan ends up with a Kate who remembers him, who's in love with him, and they have a family together.  Meanwhile, Kate also gets to end up with Trey, and they're in love.  Really like that there's a Connor Dunne in existence, even if it's not the same Connor we've grown to know and love.

From the beginning and through conclusion, this series has been a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable read for young adults of all ages, as we follow Kate through multiple adventures through time.

Strongly recommend reading the first two books in the series, ‘Timebound’ and ‘Time’s Edge’ before reading this, as the characters are well-developed and some are already well-traveled.  It would be helpful to understand where they are at before beginning book 3.  While reading the two novellas are not necessary to enjoy ‘Time’s Divide,’ this book includes a few Easter Eggs if you have read them.

Reviews of other books in this series:

Time’s Echo (Novella 1)

Time’s Edge (Book 2)

Thanks to Rysa Walker for allowing me to join her group of beta-readers! Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Time's Mirror (The Chronos Files #2.5) by Rysa Walker

5 stars!

Rysa Walker’s ‘Time's Mirror’ is a real treat for Timebound fans! Written from the perspective of a rebellious and teenage Prudence Pierce, we finally get to see what led to the crazy, older ‘Mother Prudence’ referenced throughout the Chronos Files. This novella follows Pru as she uses the medallion for the first time and travels to 2306 to meet Tate Poulson and Morgan Campbell, who then lead her to Saul Rand, in an effort to fix CHRONOS headquarters after the blast. The Pru we meet here is around the same age as Kate, though she learns about the future and time travel and what happened in the blast from Saul’s perspective, rather than Katherine’s. 

As always, Walker’s writing style is captivating. I only wish we could see more events from Pru's point of view. This novella simply is a must-read for fans of the Timebound series!