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Wow this is a lot of stuff to cram into one post! A Review, a Guest Post, and a Giveaway!!
We are excited to be the 7th Stop on the Anathema Blog Tour, and thankful to K.A. Tucker, the author for putting it all together!
The Casual Enchantment Series #1
Rating: 4.5 Birds
Evangeline has spent her teenage years in obscurity. Her foster parents have the emotional aptitude of robots and her classmates barely acknowledge her existence. About to turn eighteen and feeling like a social pariah, she is desperate to connect with someone. Anyone.
When Evangeline meets Sofie after literally stumbling upon her café, she believes she’s found that connection. Willing to do anything to keep it, she accepts a job as Sofie’s assistant and drops everything to fly to Manhattan, where she is thrust into a luxurious world of Prada, diamonds, and limitless cash.
With such generosity and kindness, it’s easy for Evangeline to dismiss certain oddities . . . like Sofie’s erratic and sometimes violent behavior, and the monstrous guard dogs. She’s even willing to dismiss her vivid dreams of mob-style murders, beautiful homeless people living in caves, and white-eyed demons that haunt her each night as figments of her imagination—especially when one of those figments is the gorgeous Caden. When she wakes up with bite marks on her neck, the fairy tale quickly turns into a nightmare. She slowly unravels the mystery surrounding Sofie and friends, and the reality of the bites and the “dreams.” What she discovers is far more mysterious and terrible than anything she could have imagined.
In a world where everyone has motive to lie for personal gain, Evangeline must decide which deception is least likely to get her killed.
My take: From the beginning, this book pulled me in. It was a mysterious prologue that led me to wondering “what does that have to do with the premise of this book.” The first thing we meet is a backstory for Sofie – at least in a sense – and then it goes into meeting Evangeline. With that in mind, it was looking into Sofie’s past that made you wonder what it had to do with Evangeline in the near future of the book.
Starting out, the little explanation that the book offered seemed odd. However with the whole trust issue being something that is encapsulated by the book (what with having Evangeline question her trust of others throughout), it made me start wondering if I could trust each character myself. That being said, my trust for Mortimer and Viggo in the beginning was very lacking. It was even lacking with who is my now favorite beast/animal – Max. Sofie was questionable, but I felt like throughout, her intentions were there and that there was a level of trust I could hold with her.
Evangeline is that character that is really kind of the unknown. I never knew what she would do next or where she would go with her own trust. Could she really keep trusting without knowing, or would she throw herself all in for everything she did? Naïvety sometimes gets the best of Eve throughout the story and I think that’s what drew me most to her character. She’s only eighteen, and I think at that age, everyone seems to be at least a bit naïve. Everything she does is questionable, but everything she does is also with a bit of abandon.
Not knowing the whole story during the book was a bit bothersome at times because I wanted to know who I can trust, or what level of trust I could give out. The backstory to a few different characters is explained, like Caden, Fiona, Sofie, Mortimer, etc…and it made me see them in different aspects of their own universe. The whole two universe thing was sort of complex as well, but understandable as the story went on.
I can’t really give much more of a review to this without divulging too much information, but I have to say, I really can’t wait for Asylum (aka the next in the series). I gave the book 4.5 birds because there were parts that I got really frustrated with and it infuriated me to no end, but I also loved it so much that I couldn’t bear to give it anything lower.
Fine KA Tucker on
Click MORE for the Guest Post AND Giveaway! -------------->
Hi all! I want to thank Me, My Shelf, and I for giving me a day to loiter on their awesome site for my Anathema Book Tour. I love the blog name. It’s catchy, it’s creative, and Jim Carrey always pops into my head when I see it.
Rosmelie suggested I talk about what my biggest life lesson and what it has taught me. That’s a deep question (these bloggers love deep questions ). Well, a few important lessons immediately come to mind: “don’t eat the yellow snow”, “electric fences around horse pens don’t tickle”, and “grass does not taste good. It just doesn’t” (those last two were hard lessons learned, thanks to my older brother). These are all important lessons but they’re not the biggest for me. My biggest lesson is basic but all-encompassing: Understanding and accepting who you are as a person can help make you better at everything you do. I’ll explain and I’ll relate it to writing, seeing as this is a blog about authors, writing, and books.
It’s only in the last few years that I’ve begun to understand and accept who I am as a person. I’ve always been this person and I will always naturally be this person. Sure, I’ve grown up, I’ve evolved, I’ve learned that biting people is not an acceptable form of communicating anger. But, deep down, I’m still that independent, impatient, practical, direct six year old, only more polished (slightly, some may say). Could I force patience? Sure. Could I learn to dance around a topic instead of just coming out and saying it? Of course. Notice I use words like “force” and “learn” here. A person can force and learn to be all kinds of things that they’re not if they’re self-aware. It takes effort and focus. And to be someone or something you’re not all the time sounds exhausting to me. In the end, is it really worth it?
Well, my answer is yes, sometimes it is worth it. But you need to know when and you need to decide what being “better” or “the best” means to you (side note - if you’re a mud-slinging, fire-starting, puppy-torturing person, then YES, please exhaust yourself by being who you aren’t every waking moment of your life. My lesson is for the civilized two-legged creatures. See? My bluntness, in action...)
If I want to be the best parent I can be, I must focus on being more patient, even if it’s only with my kids. If I want to be the best team player I can be, I need to focus on not being quite so independent. If I want to be the best fiction writer I can be, I can’t be quite so direct.
When I began plugging away at what would become Anathema, I had no idea what my voice or ‘style’ was (I was afraid I had no style… much like my wardrobe lately). But I did know that, in life, I’m very direct. I don’t beat around the bush and I’m generally a ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ kind of person. It’s how my brain works. It’s how I speak. It’s how I think. I would need a filter on me at all times to be anything but and that sounds drag-me-across-a gravel-road-because-I-can’t-move-a-muscle exhausting. But... being direct can make writing a decent novel really difficult. Why? Well, if the character is angry, just say he’s angry, right? Straight-forward, clear... but not very interesting if you’re a reader. Another example? A well-planned plot includes foreshadowing. I can’t just come out and tell a reader what they will eventually find out. That kills the suspense.
So I can’t be ‘blunt- Kathleen’ if I want to be the best writer I can be. I must change the way I think to tell the story through a different lens. I must use all of my senses. I must not throw the simple, short answer onto the page. I’m sure that for some, this is how they think when they write. For me, it’s not. It takes effort. Loads of effort. It’s what I spend the majority of my revision doing.
Now, when I was going through this process- figuring out my writing voice without being ‘blunt-Kathleen’ - I began to worry that it was impossible. I knew I needed to find a balance, to figure out how far I could go before I wasn’t ‘me’; before what I read back to myself was uncomfortable and not true to myself. I got there after a 110K word first draft minus 50-60K words of crap plus 30-40K words *hand wipes across sweaty brow*. What I learned? You’ll never find me writing a page-long description about my character’s appearance. My favourite author of all time, George R.R. Martin, will easily spend a page or more describing a person down to the stripes in his belt. That’s Martin’s style, it’s what makes him George R.R. Martin. But it’s not me. I also learned that my direct nature is a benefit to me when writing scenes like the climax scene in the atrium. It helps deliver shock to the reader, something I REALLY enjoy.
So, lesson learned. I knew who I am as a person, I figured out how that would impact my writing, and then I adjusted to find a happy medium between giving readers what they wanted/needed and telling the story the best way that I could, in my own voice. With my own style.
There are plenty of other examples of how knowing who I am helped shape how I wrote Anathema and how I will continue to write. I could go on for days but I don’t think Amber and team wants me squatting here So I will leave the budding writers out there with this question - do you know WHO you are and are you using that knowledge to be the best writer you can be?
Thanks to Me, My Shelf, and I (yup... there’s Jim Carrey’s goofy face in my head again!) for hosting me on their blog today!
We have 2 giveaways' to go with this epic sized post:
The first one is for an eBook version of Anathema
To Enter for the eBook please Click --->HERE<---
The Second, and the BIGGEST prize is
Kathleen is giving away a signed, print copy of Anathema to one lucky winner at the end of the blog tour. Anyone can enter by visiting her site at www.katuckerbooks.com (read giveaway rules posted).
Do you want up to 10 extra chances to win? Visit each blog stop for an Anathema Quiz question. Answer it correctly and your name is entered! Simple!
Here's your quiz question for today, Blog Stop #7:
What anti-vampire plant-like substance does Evangeline bring back to Earth that enrages Mortimer?
To submit your answer & enter for the autographed book, click --->HERE<---
PHEW! We made it through! That was a lot in one post!!! Click the image below to find links to the other 9 blogs on the tour with me, and thanks for stopping in!