Saturday, January 20, 2018

AskSeekKnock Interviews: Ashley Dotson

AskSeekKnock Interviews: Ashley Dotson


Ashley Dotson is the Author of four
Young Adult Novels (and counting)
She loves all things paranormal,
her four kids and teaching high school
English in her home state of Texas.
Hey guys! I am super stoked about this little interview I've got for you today!


Ashley Dotson has been a close friend of mine for four years now! She has given me countless writing tips, life advice and is a genuinely awesome human.


So without further delay, lets jump in!





Sarah: Hey, Ashley! Thank yo so much for finally agreeing to come on the blog! Lol! So, you're working on  something new, what can you tell us about it?

AD: My newest book is called Only the Guilty Sleep. It is a sequel Novella to my book released in 2016, called Black Bayou Road. It is a young adult paranormal tale of, Finola, a girl who loses her mother and has to move in with her grandmother to Black Bayou, Texas. In the second part of the story, Only the Guilty Sleep, Finola is now not protecting the people of Black Bayou any longer. She is faced with the reality that she alone must end the curse that has plagued the town for over a century. She must kill the faerie that has cursed the city. She must kill her grandmother.

Also I have a nice summary on my own website, under the Black Bayou Road tab.
 


S: What inspired the Black Bayou story for you?

AD: I was inspired to write the Black Bayou story because of my husband, who grew up in Bloomington, Texas, where Black Bayou road is a real place. Small towns are where the action is at! There are so many secrets, and the only people who know them, are the people residing in them. I wanted to delve into a small town from an outsider's perspective. And I love all things Supernatural! I love the idea of the impossible being possible.


S: Having a family and full time job, when do you find time to write?

AD: I write in the middle of the night. When the world is quiet, and my children are asleep, and only me and my dreams are wide awake.


S: In general what inspires you to write? 

AD: I'm inspired by so much that I see and hear around me. My last book, Black Bayou Road was, in part, inspired by a conversation I overheard two ladies having, about a man that went missing in Black Bayou road. Apparently all they found was a bloody shoe. His body was never recovered. As you know, my favorite show is Supernatural. I fancy myself a member of the fandom cult. But what I tell my students, and what I do myself, is trying to draw inspiration from other writers and other storytellers. I am a vicious reader I love love love stories of all kinds. I think that the best place to draw inspiration is from others who are inspired and excited about their own craft.


S: What is your favorite type of scene to write and why? 

AD: Wow, I don't know what my favorite type of scene is. I like to write them all. I think writing and describing elaborate scenes, and setting up imagery is important. Dialogue might be the hardest for me to write. I think I am bad at making things funny. I think I do a good job at drawing out the angst between characters. I am finding that it is easier and easier to get in the heads of my older characters. I think this speaks to the age that I'm at. Sarah, you and I have talked about how awkward writing love scenes are!! We never know if we're good enough, or when enough is enough. I'm a firm believer in saying less, and letting the imagination so in the blanks.

S: Ha! Totally!!

S: If you could write any already existing character from another book into one of your stories which character would you pick? 

AD: I don't know if I would bring in an already established character. Like from a different story? From a different author?

S: Yeah! Like, place Harry Potter in The Beacon for example. 

AD: Like fandom writing? 

S: Not like Fanfiction but incorporating them into your own books! Haha! This is a flop question.

AD: I don't know if I would be any good at that. I would hate to worry that I didn't do the character justice. One of the greatest things about writing stories is actually creating characters. I do love love love to turn them into actual beings, it might be even dorky to say I turn them into friends, and two pieces of myself. Or maybe it's that I pull out pieces of myself to create characters. It's almost like having children. I'm creating a life!

S: I agree. There is a part of me in every character I write. 


S: Do you have a favorite snack or drink you HAVE to have while writing? 

AD: When I write, I don't really eat too much because my hands are busy. I do drink coffee when I write, because it keeps me awake, and especially because it's the middle of the night or early early morning.


S: This is more of a silly question but, what's your favorite color?

AD: Purple. My favorite color has always been purple. I do love Indigo as well- not teal, not green, but indigo.


S: And what is Finn's favorite color?

AD: I don't know what Finola's favorite color is. I'll have to ask her.


S: Other than Only the Guilty Sleep are you working on any other writing projects?

AD: Right now, I am working on a project. I would like to write something contemporary. Contemporary is very popular right now, and although I hate being trendy, a story has been weighing heavily on my heart and mind, and I think I'd like to get it out.

S: Awesome! I cant wait to hear more and or the soon to be released ENovella for Only the Guilty Sleep on January, 26th, 2018! Thanks so much again for stopping by my blog! 




Other works by Ashley: The Finding Justus series. You can find reviews and links to all three here on my blog!

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Book Review: Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

Violet Grenade

Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

Violet Grenade is about a seventeen year old girl named Domino Ray. She lives in an abandoned house with her person, Dizzy. Together they steal what they need to survive and rely on each other. But under her vibrant wigs, tattooed skin and piercings, Domino has a secret living inside her, a deadly secret. When times get harder than expected, Domino has to come up with money she doesn’t have as a teen on the run. Then enters Madam Karina, a pretty older woman with a smile that promises hope and a home.

Madam Karina offers Domino a place in her home for girls and a job. Domino accepts, being in need of the money, but when she gets there she realizes that this house of hope for girls is a house of secrets and imprisonment where nothing is free and the cost is high. Then there’s Cain. The sweet, quiet boy who lives in the basement of the home for girls.



Why would he live in her basement? And why don’t any of the girls go into town? Domino knows a lot is off about this girl’s home and so she decides to leave as soon as she has the money, but it won’t be easy. Madam Karina doesn’t like when her girls leave her. But Madam Karina doesn’t know about the secret living inside of Domino. She doesn’t know about Wilson.

WOOOO! I LOVE THIS BOOK! It’s my kind of weird and suspenseful. (Okay one of my kinds of weird)  This book does deal with super heavy topics, though. Wilson is hands down my favorite character. Domino is fabulous, relatable and interesting. Victoria Scott did a really great job at being inside the mind of a teen with mental issues and baggage.



Recommended age:
15+


On to the ratings!

Stars..
0 = None 10 = Tons


Emotional factor:
This book had emotions for sure, I felt bad for characters, hated some and rooted for others.
7/10

Violence:
There is a good bit of fighting and bullying. This is your official trigger warning. If self-harm, bullying or the topic of mental illness triggers you then please don’t read. Some scenes may be too much for some readers.
9/10

Sexual content:
Kisses are shared with, some wanted and some unwanted. At one point a character is nearly raped. Again here’s a trigger warning.
7/10

Crude language:
Several of each major and minor “curse” words are used.
6/10

Other elements/comments:
Self-harm, drugs and underage drinking are present along with human trafficking. These topics are heavy and I personally think warnings should be on this book.

Overall:
Over all it was interesting and had me hooked on what would happen next.
9/10

Xoxo

- Sarah

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Book Review: Last Stand by Rachel E. Carter

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Last Stand by Rachel E. Carter
For the past couple of months I've been reading and reviewing Rachel E. Carter’s The Black Mage series and I've got to thank her for sending all four books and the Non-Heir novella to me for free because this has become my favorite YA Fantasy series.

Last Stand, the last book of the Black Mage series, is about Ryiah and her fight against herself, the Crown, and almost everyone in the Kingdom of Jerar. War is impending and Ryiah has chosen her side but not everyone she loves is beside her.

From the moment the book starts, we find Ryiah marrying Darren, the prince of Jerar, but her life in the palace will be nothing like a fairytale. People closest to her have been killed as the rebels rise and Ryiah has a plan to save the kingdom but it involves betraying the most powerful mage in the kingdom, her husband. Ryiah battles her own mind to save the kingdom or throw the cause away and confess her betrayal. But when the truth comes out, she and Darren are on opposite sides and there is no choice but for one or both of them to go down. A sacrifice must be made, someone will die and Ryiah has always been the one who was too reckless.

Heartbreaking, beautiful, gut-wrenching, romantic, adventurous and horrifying are words I’d say fit this book. Last Stand was a beautiful conclusion to a fantastic series! Rachel E. Carter is so talented and I can’t wait to read more of her work in the future!


Recommended age:
14+


On to the ratings!

Stars..
0 = None 10 = Tons


THE FEELS:
Last Stand made me cry at least twice. So much pain and heartache litters this story and I felt it all with the characters. Each character was believable and I think that made it even easier to slip into the emotions they were feeling.
8/10

Violence:
There is a lot of fighting, gore, and torture.
9/10

Sexual content:
Ryiah and Darren are now married in this book. They sleep together, but nothing is too detailed once they finally have sex.
6/10

Crude language:
Minimal.
2/10

Other elements/comments:
This book deals with depression a lot and I think it does a good job at conveying it without going into too much triggering detail. Lying is a theme throughout Last Stand.

Overall:
Overall this was probably the most emotional instalment of the series. The characters go through absolute Hell and its heartbreaking but it made for a beautiful story! The Black Mage series will forever be one of my favorites now.  I loved how realistic the characters are and how Rachel made me feel like I was a part of the story too.
10/10

Xoxo
- Sarah

Monday, April 24, 2017

Book Review: Candidate by Rachel E. Carter


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Candidate by Rachel E. Carter

Okay, I want to keep this short and sweet because I don’t want to spoil anything!

BUT THIS WAS MY FAVORITE SO FAR! Oh my goodness! The drama, stakes and action are absolutely sky high in Candidate! This, the third book focuses on Ryiah and her training, and journey as she reaches for her dream of becoming THE Black Mage. Ryiah works so hard and is facing new heartaches, promising promotions and so many new experiences, including being a part of Jerar’s royal family!  Ryiah has been so focused on her personal goals and Darren though that she almost misses the worst thing happening right under her nose, the start of a rebellion. The enemy lurks and draws closer to overthrowing the kingdom of Jerar, but only when tragedy strikes does she get a closer look and starts to see that there are more than two sides to the war which is about to break out.

This book is full of action, which is why I loved it so much. Rachel has a true talent for writing fighting scenes that are believable and are at the same, easy to follow along with. She continued to make me feel as if I were right there with Ryiah in the arena fighting with my magic! The training and competition for becoming the Black Mage is so interesting, entertaining and, although it feels a bit reminiscent of The Hunger Games, it stands on it’s on. Which is another thing I am really impressed with. Rachel is in a HUGELY popular genre and somehow manages to outshine the other fantasy//dystopian stories for me. I may have to petition her for an interview! ;)

Recommended age:
13+



On to the ratings!

Stars..
0 = None 10 = Tons


THE FEELS:
So many feels! This book seemed to be way more emotional than the first two. There were several times where I was gasping and shouting at the book. LOL! I was happy and very sad at a lot of things and that doesn’t happen often with me while reading!
9/10

Violence:
There is a ton of good classic battle-style fighting! If you're into it like myself you'll appreciate the realistic feel. If you're not keen on fighting and realistic fighting and gore then this book isn't for you.
9/10

Sexual content:
Talk of potions for preventing pregnancy are present in a scene where Ryiah and Darren are making out, but nothing further.
4/10

Crude language:
Very mild.
2/10

Other elements/comments:
Like I said, a ton of violence. Blood, death and fighting.

Overall:
Over all I loved this book! It’s the best book I've read in a while and I can’t wait to read book 4!
10/10

Xoxo

- Sarah