Review ~ They who from the heavens came by Vrinda Pendred.

I received this novel in exchange for my honest review.

They who from the heavens came (The Wisdom 1)

Book blurb

vrinda Pendred they who from the heavens cameSome say the Wisdom is knowledge of the Creator. Others claim it’s a myth. All anyone really knows is it was lost long ago – and now the Sirians have returned to Earth to retrieve it.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Itzel Loveguard has written another story – and this time, it may have killed her father. Now, she finds herself entangled with an unexpected cast of characters – her estranged half-brother Oz; his unfailingly charming friend Seth, who can draw things into existence; and the handsome grey-eyed Aidan, who seems to have stepped right out of Itzy’s dreams in pursuit of a mysterious black pulse that speaks to him in the night.

With these new friends, Itzy is flung on an emotional journey, as they unravel the mystery of why her father took his life. But what will they do when they learn the explosive truth of who Itzy really is?

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I award The Seekers 4 stars

My review:

What I loved: Itzy is a lonely, traumatized teenage using her gift of writing to make sense of the world around her. Her character is fantastic, she’s introverted and caring and i identified with her on many levels.

Even though the book is part urban fantasy it also crosses into the Sci-Fi genre using mythology to questions their existence. It’s a unique way of world building. Itzy discovers her powers and learns to harness them.

I’m a huge fan of romance and the love triangle did not disappoint, even though I know its a tedious troupe to some, I loved it. Itzy forms fast bonds with her brother, his friend Seth and Aiden.

What I disliked: The ending! The twist was well written and foreshadowed. All subplots were tied up, all my answers were explained. Its simply not the ending I anticipated or hoped for. It’s a novel that leads into the follow on series with a great hook.

I also questioned the speed an intensity of Itzys and Aidens love. This was explained in the twist, reminding me why I hated the ending.

I recommend this book to lovers of fantasy, romance and low Sci-fi with an integrated use of mythology. Vrinda Pendred is a talented writer, keeping me locked into the story from beginning to end.

Vrinda Pendred

Thank you for reading my review, have you read this novel or perhaps a similar one? Let me know, I love reading your comments and discovering new novels in the YA fantasy romance genre. Why not recommend me one for me to read and review.

Author lorraine ambers logo© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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Searching for an Agent

After two and a half years I’ve finally done it. Completed my novel, the endless edits and revisions are over.

Last week I sent off my MS to five carefully selected agents. I spent nights trawling through the Writers & Artists year book, and hours researching each firm to find the perfect match for my novel. Then, more days following them on social media or checking out their blogs. To find out about them and how I could connect. It’s tricky business. Agents hate it when authors approach them on a broad range biases, it proves they have not done their homework. I can not be accused of that.

I followed their guideline: submit first 3 chapters, double spaced and in font size 12, making sure to use an appropriate script. Each agent specifies slightly different terms, some want PDF or word document attachments other only want them in the email body.

That was fine, but what what about the ones that don’t specify?

When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap.
– Cynthia Heimel
I guessed and made that leap!
Agents and publishers want to know:
  • who you are,
  • what your novel is about,
  • what experience you have,
  • who its targeted at, and so on and so forth.
I polished individual cover letters for each agent. All specially chosen from specific companies, and then rounded down, like a bizarre version of the Hunger Games. Where only one agent with in the agency can be victorious.
Inevitably I forgot something! I didn’t include the word count. I can’t go back. I can’t add it in another email or resend the whole lot again. They class that as harassment, perhaps I’m over exaggerating. The amount of conflicting information, surrounding this process is mind boggling.
I panicked! Why did I tell them my novels a crossover between genres? What was I thinking when I claimed my story is a romance fantasy, interlaced as a psychological thriller. I don’t even know what that genre is…
That was when I mentally slapped myself! I know these thing are true. I know my own story. I might fumble and go bright red when someone asks me what its about, but I still know it inside out.
The whole process is confusing, scary and shadowed in the artist Achilles heel – DOUBT.
Now I wait and refresh my emails daily. Now I plan book 2. Now I keep going.

Thank you for reading my post. Are you almost at the finish line? Or perhaps your starting out on a new adventure, Let me know about it. I love reading your comments and discovering I’m not alone in this process. 🙂

Author lorraine ambers logo© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
girl reading book supernatural pixels

You can be supernatural too

I have learnt to listen to my mind, body and soul. The last thing a creative person needs is a burnout. Our work dries up and comes to a grinding halt. Exasperated, the original problem is prolonged. Meaning, the journey to getting back on track is even harder.

What should we do when life reveals it’s self as a broken fairy-tale? Unlike a fantasy novel, there is no Dark Knight to save us. The first step is realisation. Our realm is what we make it.

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I’ve had my share of experiences to wonderland and back. I’m keen to keep myself on an even keel. In pursuit of more knowledge I stumbled across this enlightening YouTube clip.

Psychological well-being by Nina Ellis-Hervey at TED

Nina is an inspirational woman. Who has learnt valuable lessons from her failures and strives to encourage others, that they too, can achieve anything they put their minds too.

So to all of my fellow writers, as Nina says: Dream big or not at all.

Share your favourite inspirational quotes or sites with me. We all need encouragement from time to time. 🙂

Author Cait Ashwood

Author Interview ~ Cait Ashwood

A huge thanks to Cait for taking the time to answer my questions. Warning to future fan’s this post contains spoliers (Don’t worry too much, Cait gives plenty of notice.) If you havn’t read Caits debut novel The Seekers (Order of the Lily Book 1) then check out my review. Plus Cait has given us a excerpt from Order of the Lily Book 2, Wow!

Banner The Seekers Author Cait Ashwood

1) What drove you to write fantasy?
Fantasy is where I grew up and have spent the bulk of my time as an adult. It seemed the most natural place for me to write, as it’s what I’ve been reading. That, and I often grow weary of reality. Give me something fantastical to occupy my hours, and I’m a happy girl.

2) Who are your favorite authors, and what genre do you enjoy reading the most?

Sherwood Smith, R.A. Salvatore, Mercedes Lackey, and J.R. Ward top my list of favorite authors. I’ll spend time in epic fantasy, romance, PNR, and just about anything else that catches my interest, including softer sci-fi.

3) Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

The earliest memory I have of reading a book was most likely a Little Bear chapter book, and the only impactful thought I had about that book was that Little Bear got in trouble with his mom, too.

4)  How did you come up with the idea to write about The Seekers and the Chosen?

This started off as a daydream of mine, about a simpler time. Obviously, the more time I spent in this little daydream of mine, the more complex and complicated it got. I had never thought to write it all down; it just kept growing and expanding in my head. It was my escape when life got too real. Then I met this crazy lady with explosive brown curls tapping away madly on an iPad. When I asked her what she was doing, she said she was writing a novel. Those of you who participate will understand my meaning when I say that this auspicious meeting occurred in November – that’s right, I had run into one of my area’s two MLs for NaNoWriMo. The first draft took two years, and then I floundered about attempting to edit it for six months. I took another two months, read every book on the writing craft I could, got a few good critiques and suggestions, and re-wrote the entire (then) one hundred and twenty-four thousand word manuscript. The re-write took two and a half months. A month and a half later, and my little world floated out onto the internet to sink or swim on its own.

Author Cait Ashwood The Seekers

5) Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Always a gift. The curse is the number of hours in a day and those pesky things called bills.

6) Where do you write? Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

I have a few places I write. My NaNo group meets weekly year-round at a local Panera. My bestie writes weekly at a local cafe on open mic night. Then…there’s my desk with Muse the black moor goldfish and Calliope the snail for company.  As for quirky habits, my muses have this fun thing they like to do where they make me work and fight and claw for every word before 10:30pm. After 10:30, it’s like they clock into work and I can finally get some work done. I can occasionally woo them with some wine, but that’s hit or miss.

7) Do you have any further romantic plans in the future for Audrey?

Why yes, yes I do. While trimming for spoilers, I’ll share an excerpt from Order of the Lily with you. If you haven’t read The Seekers yet, you may have no idea who the mystery man may be.

“How…how long?” His voice broke on the words, and more emotion showed in his eyes than she’d ever seen.
His grip on her bicep was strong, but she didn’t even feel the discomfort, nearly hypnotized. “I don’t know, really. It’s like,” she paused, fishing for words, “it’s like it was always there, but I never dared to hope—”
She didn’t get to finish as his lips crushed down on hers. She froze for half a second in shock, then responded, letting her eyes flutter closed. This was no romantic kiss; this was a claim staked.

Order of the Lily Cait Ashwood

8) Which character from your novel do you most identify with?

I have to go with Audrey on this one, as she’s the only character I’ve created to actually sort of be based on myself. Everyone else is different and unique but Audrey…she’s mine.

9) Out of the world you have created, where would you most like to spend the day, and why?

This is actually our world in the future, so a lot of things we have today are ruins. Still, I’d love to have a Seeker whisk me off around the world to see all of the great archaeological feats that are left standing, and all of the beautiful places with pristine lagoons. And at the end of the day, I can sleep in my own bed with no jet lag. Best of both worlds.

10) Did you find any specific challenges in writing The Seekers, and what would you do differently next time?

Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing the first time around. I had no plot, no outline, just a super vague plan. I ended up cutting out the first four chapters, re-wrote my beginning about four or five different ways, and didn’t have a villain until I randomly decided to change a character into a bad guy half way through, simply to fill the void. This messed up a lot of the dialogue, as the character was originally sugary sweet and then seemed bipolar when they were revealed as a villain. It was a disorganized mess! I’d definitely do all of my character sheets in advance next time I’m writing in a new world, because starting with everyone as a blank slate, there was a lot of distance. I couldn’t connect with them. By the time I finished writing the first draft and started on the re-write, I truly knew who they were and could bring some life into them. I’ll definitely make sure to do some practice writing and character sheets ahead of the actual writing of the novel next time so that I don’t have that awkward dissociative phase to work through.

11) If you were a Chosen, which power would you wish to have?

I love animals, so I’d definitely choose to be an animal seer if I had the choice.

12) Give us an interesting fun fact about The Seekers.

Semi-spoiler warning, but not a horrible one. Hound was actually originally supposed to die samurai-style upon his discovery of his condition. My alpha reader and bestie literally begged me to let Hound live, no matter what the cost. Especially during the re-writes, this enabled me to give him a lot more of a story arc, and I really like the finished product and how everything turned out. It’s definitely had a series-wide impact but is probably one of the best changes I’ve made to the manuscript.

13) Were there any scenes that you found particularly challenging to write, and why?

This may sound silly, but the hardest scene for me to write was when Audrey has to leave Mia behind. Mia is based on my own Great Dane, Naomi, and the thought of ever having to leave her behind like that made me cuddle her for about an hour straight after writing that scene.

14) What got left out of the final draft?

The first original four chapters, for certain! The biggest casualty there was the description of Audrey’s bathroom in her house before she goes back with the Seekers. Gosh, that place was heavenly. If my books ever make me rich and famous, I’m building her bathroom for myself.

Author Lorraine Ambers Banner

15) Were there alternative endings you considered?

Well, Hound was originally supposed to be dead. The other answer is going to have a spoiler, so don’t read it if you don’t want to know.

Are you still with me?

You sure?

Okay. Hound originally wasn’t supposed to be able to work for the Seekers at all. Once Gretta took control of him, he was supposed to be their man, through and through. While writing that, I decided I really couldn’t do that to him. He was supposed to be leading the opposing forces at the Battle of the Institute and, despite my alpha reader’s pleas, I still hadn’t decided if he was going to survive the battle. As I sat down to do the re-write, Audrey decided to skip ahead and figure things out faster than I’d intended, but it made sense with the plot. This meant that she had a chance to tell Hound about himself and free him from Gretta’s control before the actual battle, so he no longer had to lead the enemy in the attack against his own brethren. After that, he was going to decide he was too dangerous for society and seclude himself in a cave and become the Ghost of Calanon, preying on bandits on the main roads. He became sort of a mythic figure that Gwyn (who originally was quite a bit more assertive) searched for until she found him. Book 1 ended with Gwyn being the first to lay eyes on Hound since the Battle of the Institute. Her mission was to slowly begin healing him and convince him to return to the fold.

16) What’s next for you? What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on the sequel to The Seekers, Order of the Lily. It’s about half-way written at this point, and time has been reserved with the editor to get cracking on it. Exciting things are afoot!

Cait loves to have new followers, this is where you can find her:

www.caitashwood.com

www.facebook.com/cait.ashwood

www.instagram.com/ashwood.cait

www.twitter.com/caitashwood

rose book novel review

Review ~ The Seeker by Cait Ashwood

I missed the deadline to receive the full copy of this novel. But I was given the first three chapters, which I loved and had to buy the full version.  Here is my honest review.

Back Page Blurb:

The seekers novel cover cait ashwoodAudrey’s always felt there’s more to life than being stuck in the same old 9-5 routine. When a black-clad stranger says she meets the criteria for his recruitment program, she can’t help but be intrigued. The fact that he’s from nine hundred years in the future only adds to the appeal.

Hound has been searching for ancestors of the Order his entire life. The power to heal the earth resides in their blood, and they are all that stands between humanity and starvation. But protecting Audrey isn’t an easy task, not when her uncontrollable talents only paint a target on their backs. Doing a head count after the latest in a series of disasters, Hound comes up two short– Audrey and his right-hand man are missing. What would make Ace take the strongest Chosen of the era away from the safety of her group, and even more troubling, why wasn’t he informed?


 

 

I award The Seekers 4 stars

My review: The Seeekers (Order of the Lily Book 1)

What I loved:

Audrey has the perfect blend of flaws and talents, making her extraordinary gifts believable. I love all the seekers and their individual, complex characters. Together their personalities drew me into the story and kept me engaged until the end. There’s the tantalising idea of romance that built anticipation.

The world building is natural and simplistic. It complements the stories theme, showing the balance between life and death. The author creates vivid scenery. Her voice is authentic, a gentle balm, lulling me into her story. There were fantastic plots, leaving me unsure of which characters to trust. A week later and I’m still thinking about Audrey, Ace and Hound. A fantastic story.

What I disliked:

There was no plot resolve, which made the final scenes melodramatic. Leaving to many unanswered questions about the antagonist. (Unresolved novels are becoming a pet peeve of mine!) I’m sure they’ll be answered in the following series. I can’t wait to read it.

I recommend this book to lovers of fantasy, who want to fall in love with the characters and follow their journey.

Cait Ashwood