Friday, May 31, 2013

Review for Darkness Kindled by Samantha Young

A Captivating Conclusion to a Wonderful Series

4.5 Stars. I have loved this series from the very beginning and this book did a nice job of wrapping it up in a satisfying way. I could also tell that Samantha’s writing has grown in some wonderful ways which made the experience of reading this book all the better.
As usual Samantha Young does a wonderful job of including twists and turns. There were more than a few unexpected moments that kept the story moving for me. I also loved the way she described the fight scenes in this book.
One thing that I wished this book had gone deeper into were the relationships between the characters. The first three novels in this series sucked me in to Ari, Charlie and Jai’s lives, but I felt this book didn’t pull me in as deep as the first three. For example, the sexual tension between Ari and Jai was great in the beginning. I loved that this book started out with them in a fight, but it felt like both their fight and the sexual tension between them got resolved too quickly.
Also, in the first book in this series, Smokeless Fire, I was captivated by the love triangle between Ari, Charlie, and Jai. By this book it was pretty obvious that Ari and Jai were going to end up together, and for some reason that made me want Ari to have more time with Charlie all that much more. His story has been heartbreaking from the very beginning and there are some great moments between him and Ari in this book. I really loved all the little flashbacks where Ari remembered life with Charlie when she was young, but I couldn’t help want a few more.
For me, it felt like this book had the best writing out of the series, and it really did wrap up all the loose ends.
I did feel a little like Ari was a little too impulsive when it came to cashing in her deal with Azazil. I wished she would have taken more time to think about what the consequences could have been, even though I do believe she would have made the deal regardless. However, I loved the direction that this story took after the consequences of that choice were revealed. I also loved the ending with Asmodeous, and the moment Ari gets with the White King. By the end of this book you truly understand exactly who all of the characters are and all of the battles they’ve been fighting in their lives come to a conclusion.
Overall I greatly enjoyed this series and will be looking into more works by Samantha Young.
To read my reviews of the first two books of this series Smokeless Fire, Scorched Skies or Borrowed Ember click here.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Into the Deep Dream Cast

With "Hidden Beneath" in the end stages of publication I thought I'd look back at the first book in the Ivy Daniels series, "Into the Deep".

Lately it seems like every movie being made started as a book. (The Hunger Games, Warm Bodies, City of Bones, and the list goes on...) So, it's not a stretch as a writer to daydream about who would play my characters if my book were ever adapted to the big screen. Granted the liklihood of this happening is slim, but it doesn't hurt to dream. So, just for fun, here are my picks for the cast of "Into the Deep" if it were ever made into a movie or TV show.

Ivy Daniels - Diana Argon

Brant Everett - Chase Crawford

Charlie Olsen - Gia Mantegna

Tiana Bello - Keke Palmer

Eliza Hall - Megan Fox

Christy Noonan - Bridget Mendler

Friday, May 17, 2013

First Look at Hidden Beneath (Into the Deep 2)

My first novel "Into the Deep" ended with Ivy Daniels coming to terms with her telepathic ability. The sequel "Hidden Beneath" will be out this summer and it picks up roughly a year and a half later. Ivy's junior year of high school has come and gone, but mysteries and dangerous situations havn't completely left her behind. Now as Ivy prepares for college she'll find herself pulled into a whole new adventure.

For more information on the first book of this series, "Into the Deep" check out it's Goodreads page here. And, for a (unedited) sneak peak at "Hidden Beneath" keep reading.


My chest felt weighted as my breaths grew more labored. I ignored the heat that raced up my calves, ignored the frightened shivers that traced down the back of my neck, screaming to turn and run the other way. I hadn’t had the dream in months, and in truth I thought that I was free of it. Maybe it was having my emotions running high that brought it back out, maybe it was seeing Brant again, but for whatever reason as I napped in the car, the memory of that day at the school morphed into a horrific nightmare, and played over in my head.

I was running. The hallway seemed endlessly long, as if it were being stretched out with every step I took, as if I could never reach the other end. My heart was pounding, my lungs heaving, and a bead of sweat rolled from my hairline to the tip of my nose. I could see the gym, it was just ahead of me but I felt like I’d never reach it. I needed to run faster, I was too slow, it wasn’t enough. Panic pulsed through my body and I tried to run faster. My shoes squeaked against the tile floor. I tried to do better. The smell of basketball rubber, and wood floor cleaner reached my senses.

“Wait,” I shouted, and for a moment the distance between me and the gym door lessened. I had to get there, I had to get in. He was in the locker room, and I had to stop him. I had to save him. I pushed forward. My hand was on the door to the gym. Then with a deep breath I pushed it open.

“Ivy, wake up,” a voice said.

I felt pressure on my arm and then quickly the dream vanished into a blur. My eyes opened and I realized I was in the Camaro. The smell of warn leather floated into my senses and my head was slumped against the window. Shooting pain coursed through my neck as I straightened myself out. I was in desperate need of a good stretch and rolled my shoulders back and cracked my neck to try and make up for not having enough room to do it properly.

Looking around I saw that we were parked outside a small motel. Endlessly tall trees shot up out of the ground and pine cones littered the dirt parking lot. It was called the Fernwood Motel, and while it appeared to have a fresh coat of paint on its surface nothing could hide the retro 70’s architecture with its tilted roof and small windows.

“I figured we’d rest for a bit here, get cleaned up then maybe get a bite to eat?”

I nodded. “Yeah, okay.”

Find out more about Hidden Beneath, and add it to your "to read" list on Goodreads.

Purchse "Into the Deep" at...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Vampire Diaries just like Buffy?

The Vampire Diaries has been giving me some serious dejavu. I’ve heard a few remarks comparing TVD to Twilight, but these days anything with vampires in it is being compared to Twilight, which I don’t understand. Vampires existed in literature long before Twilight, not every vampire story that comes out is a Twilight rip-off, and certainly not TVD. There is no honest comparison that can be made between Twilight and TVD in my opinion, other than to say they are both vampire love triangles (and really Twilight is a “love-V” since there’s no love between Edward and Jacob). But there are some crazy comparisons to be made between my new favorite vampire drama, The Vampire Diaries, and my favorite show of all time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now, to be completely fair TVD predates not only Twilight by over a decade, but also Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, I’m in no way saying that L.J. Smith has ripped of Buffy (although I am comparing the shows here, not the books – so it may be possible that Buffy inspired some of the changes that have been made to the small screen version of the story). What I really want to point out is how these two shows were set up and that maybe in their similarities is a formula for success.

Blonde, cheerleader, just some girl who seems insignificant but turns out to be extraordinary…
Elena/Buffy: Both Elena and Buffy were spunky school girls who fell in love with vampires. Neither wanted to become vampires themselves and they dealt with all the drama of loving a man who would never die. Damon even called Elena “Buffy” in one episode, and while the Elena we know from TV isn’t blonde, her counterpart in James’ books is. Both Elena and Buffy put their friends and family first. They’re strong female leads willing to fight and at times even sacrifice themselves for the ones they love.

What makes Elena different: Evil Elena has been fun to watch on the show, and while Buffy had her bad moments even during her brief stint as a vampire she was good to the core. Elena’s character has been taken to a darker place than Buffy’s ever was and I enjoy that about TVD.

What makes Buffy different: She’s The Slayer. Elena was just a girl and often in need of saving whereas Buffy was the one doing most of the saving on BtVS. However, new vampire-Elena is stronger.

Dark, mysterious, brooding, vampire who turns into a psycho maniac if he loses control…

Stefan/Angel: Both Stefan and Angel were vampire protectors for the human girls they fell in love with. They both had dark histories they were trying to make amends for, both fighting against their very nature to be good. But, they also both slipped up at times. For Angel it was losing his soul that turned him into a deranged killer, for Stefan it was his overpowering bloodlust and shutting off his humanity.

What makes Stefan different: He’s not crippled by a curse that prevents him from ever being happy. He’s often brooding and serious but what I love about him is that he’s capable of having fun and being happy. This makes his character a little lighter and his relationship with Elena a little easier than it was for Buffy and Angel.

What makes Angel different: Stefan’s whole world seems to revolve around Elena whereas Angel was a bigger picture kind of guy. In the end Angel was going to do what was best for the whole world, in one episode he’s even cured of vampirism and made human, but he gives it up and gives up a chance to be with Buffy knowing he can make a bigger difference in the world as a vampire. Stefan on the other hand would gladly take the cure with Elena and be human with her so they could live out the rest of their lives.

Impulsive vampire bad-boy who stars out wanting to kill every one of our main characters, but ends wanting to be good…
Damon/Spike: Julie Plec called Damon their “Buffy” because of his snarky comebacks, but I think his character is much more in tune with another blue-eyed hottie – Spike, whose snarky commentary kept up with Buffy’s and created great sexual tension on the show. Much like what we see between Damon and Elena. Even the love triangle matches up perfect. Angel – Buffy – Spike, and Stefan – Elena – Damon.

The progression in character development of these two vamps followed a similar path. Both Spike and Damon were impulsive, selfish bad-boys who originally appeared on their respective shows as villains. Later they became allies with the good guys when it suited their needs, and then as they developed feelings for the heroine of the show they began to truly change their ways. Spike became a good man for Buffy just like Damon became a good man for Elena. It’s a story of redemption, and it’s our heroine’s love for them, and her trust and faith in them that changes them.

What makes Damon different: Damon is okay being the bad guy, and not that Spike wasn’t but Damon dealt with his guilt better. In Season 7 of Buffy we got to see a rather crazed, soul-full Spike who was ultimately being torn apart by his guilt. He truly wanted to be completely good. Damon has his guilt-ridden moments every now and then, but at the end of the day he accepts the bad things he has to do as necessary even if that means he’ll never completely be good. Damon never wanted to live up to anyone’s expectations, whereas Spike wanted to prove that he could be good.

What makes Spike different: Spike had an easier time connecting with the people around Buffy than Damon did with Elena’s friends. He quickly bonded with her mom, Joyce, and younger sister, Dawn, and put their protection and his care for them high on his list. Spike may have put all of Buffy’s friend’s lives in danger at one point or another, like when he kidnapped Willow and Xander, but he never actually killed any of them. Damon on the other hand didn’t even think twice about tearing into Elena’s circle. He turned Vicki, killed Alaric (multiple times) and even snapped her brother, Jeremy’s neck.

Witch, and best friend to the main character, who’s bargained with the spirits to bring a person back from the dead…

Bonnie/Willow: Willow was Buffy’s best friend, and a witch, just like what Bonnie is to Elena. They were both usually the level headed influence of the show, but also both had their dark sides as well. Currently Bonnie seems to be falling off the deep end with her magic much like Willow did in season 6 of Buffy. After the death of a significant other both Bonnie and Willow got a little scary, for Willow her magic became addictive with time, and we’ve seen small pieces of Bonnie’s magic taking control with her. Also in the books Bonnie was a red-head, just like Willow.  

What makes Bonnie different: Bonnie quickly develops into her own independent person on TVD, whereas Willow struggled to figure out who she was for much longer. Because of this Bonnie is often the voice of reason. She still makes bad decisions, but she’s much more grounded and stable than Willow was.

What makes Willow different: Willow realizes in season four that she’s a lesbian which added to the complexity of the things her character had to deal with.

Popular, blonde, airhead, turned vampire…
Caroline/Harmony: In season 1 on The Vampire Diaries Caroline was just as conceited and self-involved as another blonde cheerleader, Buffy’s Harmony. Also the relationship that Caroline and Damon have in season 1 of TVD is very similar to the relationship that Harmon and Spike have in seasons 4 and 5 of Buffy. However, at times I think Caroline is more like Buffy’s Cordelia, especially when you look at how her character develops over the seasons.
What makes Caroline different: Caroline grows up; she matures and becomes a more well-rounded person. Harmony on the other hand stayed pretty much an air-head through the shows entire run. She did grow some, but not to the extent that Caroline did. I loved that Caroline was a much deeper character than Harmony. No one ever really took Harmony seriously, but Caroline was a force to be reckoned with.
What makes Harmony different: Harmony never had the depth that Caroline did which also made her more bubbly. She often came across as a bit of a comic-relief, but her ditzy ways made you smile.

Loving, brother figure to the main character…
Jeremy/Xander: Xander may not have been Buffy’s brother, but he fell into a brotherly role with her as the series went on. Both Jeremy and Xander always wanted to be in the fight but Elena and Buffy were always trying to protect them. Even Jeremy’s relationship with Bonnie mirrors Buffy in regards to Xander’s relationship with Willow in season 3.
What makes Jeremy different: Jeremy became a hunter, developing his own set of supernatural powers, unlike Xander who remained completely human through the entire show.
What makes Xander different: Since Xander wasn’t Buffy’s actual brother the crush he had on her in the beginning of the series created an interesting dynamic. In some ways Xander may even be a little more like TVD’s Matt.

Mentor with a dark past...

Alaric/Giles: Alaric isn’t quite as old and stuffy as Giles was at times, but he does fall into this mentoring role with Elena that reminded me of Buffy’s relationship with Giles. Alaric even starts training Elena to fight, just like Giles did as Buffy’s watcher. They’re both also occasional drinkers with bad luck in the romance department.

Out of control party girl…
Vicki/Faith: Vicki’s untimely death means that we won’t know if her character will evolve like Faith’s did, but her careless attitude is very similar to the Faith from season 3 of Buffy. And both characters come from broken homes.

Villain who can take on the face of other characters to manipulate and confuse them…
Silas/The First: The First was the embodiment of all evil, and somewhat confusing to understand. Silas is an immortal warlock. What they have in common is their ability to look like anyone (well, any dead person in The First’s case) which causes some really emotional scenes as the big bad pretends to be a loved one of our characters.

Other noteworthy similarities:
  • Some of the dialogue in The Vampire Diaries closely resembles the quirky ways the characters of BtVS would speak.
    -Elena: "It's the fog, It's making me foggy. And then back there, there was this - this bird, and it was all very Hitchcock for a second. That is the bird movie, right, the Hitchcock? . . . I'm Elena.

    : "It's a doodle, I do doodle. You too! You do doodle too!"
    -Buffy: "I didn't say I'd never slay another vampire. It's not like I have all these fluffy bunny feelings for them, I'm just not going to get way extra-curricular with it." 
    -Spike: “Great love is wild and passionate and dangerous. It burns and consumes.”
    -Damon: “You want a love that consumes you. You want passion and adventure, and even a little danger.”
Obviously there are HUGE differences that remain between these two shows, but the connections between the characters is very similar, and if you have a complicated story you might want to look at the webs of characters for these two shows.

If you liked this post you may also enjoy Why We Love Vampires

or Finding Inspiration in TV's Sadest Moments

Indie Book Goal 2018