Sunday, March 22, 2015

Author Interview/Giveaway: Nenia Campbell

Hi everyone! For those of you who've been reading lately, you've seen that I've recently finished Nenia Capbell's trilogy, Horrorscope! If you haven't checked it out, you can read blurbs for all three books, as well as see my reviews in earlier posts below! Just as a small recap, this series is about a girl who gets involved with a psychopath who becomes obsessed with her. The books take place over a range of years, which makes it very interesting, and unique in comparison to most stories. I was lucky enough to the author to agree to an interview, as well as a giveaway! So, check the interview out, and sign up to be one of TEN lucky winners! The prize is an omnibus eBook version of the trilogy! That's right, you could win the entire trilogy!!! :) Sign up below and spread the word!

She's also currently hosting a giveaway for a signed paperback copy of book #2, Horrorscape. Here's the link so you guys can check it out:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/129080-fearscape






Interview:

 1.) When did you first start writing and what prompted you to do so?

I started writing around age fourteen, back when Quizilla was still a thing. I remember reading some of the stories people were posting and thinking, in all my teenage arrogance, "I can do better!" At sixteen I started posting on Fictionpress, which is probably where at least a quarter of my fanbase comes from. Their encouragement is a huge part of why I decided to pursue publishing. In spite of that aforementioned arrogance, I'm really very neurotic and self-doubting when it comes to my writing (and pretty much everything else). I never would have believed I was good enough without such loving support.

2.) what kind of writer would you describe yourself as?

The friendly recluse.

3.) what is your favorite book that you've written, published or otherwise, and why?

Probably Terrorscape. It pushed a lot of my personal boundaries as a writer, and I feel like it does a good job of rounding off the series.

4.) if you could pick any fictional character as your best friend, who would it be and why?

Anne, from Anne of Green Gables, ofc. We'd be "bosom friends" forevs.

5.) if you weren't writing, what else do you think you'd be doing?

Having a better social life. But between writing, my other job, and adulting, I don't have a lot of free time. ;(

6.) do you have a particular genre you like to read/write? Are they the same? Why or why not?

I like to read bodice rippers, science fiction and fantasy, pop science, memoirs, and literary fiction. I like to write new adult...which is weird, because I really don't like most new adult books. Toni Morrison has a great quote about writing the stories you wish you could read but don't exist, so maybe I'm just writing the new adult books I wish I could read - raw, edgy, and really twisted.

7.) what is your favorite book?

I have a couple books I've reread a lot. White Oleander, Don Quixote, The Last Unicorn, Fire and Hemlock, Poison Study, Ready Player One, etc. These are definitely my favorites.

8.) are you currently working on anything? Can you tell us anything about it?

I'm working on CEASE AND DESIST, which is the last book in my IMA series. It's basically about an assassin who ends up falling for his hostage in an unconventional way, and how much this ends up screwing up their lives while simultaneously making them both stronger people. Its Goodreads page is here. I'm pretty excited about finishing another series!

9.) to help them out, if readers are a fan of (______) they'll like your work.

I'm trying to think about who I've been compared to... People have definitely compared my IMA series to Anne Stuart's work, especially BLACK ICE, and to J.A. Redmerski's book, KILLING SARAI. Other comparisons, for various works: L.J. Smith, Aleatha Romig, V.C. Andrews, Karina Halle, Cassandra Clare, etc.

Goodreads has a list of authors who have been shelved similarly to me, which you can find here.

10.) where can we find out more about you and your work?

I have a Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/aficionenias

An Instagram
http://instagram.com/neniagram

A Twitter
https://twitter.com/NeniaCampbell

A reviewing blog
http://neniacampbell.blogspot.com/

And an author blog
http://neniasbooks.blogspot.com/

My books are for sale on Amazon, Smashwords, and (for paperback copies) Createspace:
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/vi...

http://www.amazon.com/Nenia-Campbell/...

https://www.createspace.com/pub/simpl...

I encourage people to contact me on any one of these sites. I love talking to people about anything and everything. My passions are many, and my love of friendship, limitless. :D


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Terrorscape (Horrorscape, #3) by Nenia Campbell

Review by Tempest.

Blurb:

He lost to her twice and it nearly consumed him. Now, it's time for another game. And this time, he won't let her go so easily. Val's not just fighting for her friends' lives this time: She's fighting for her own, too.

Warning: Contains rape, rape triggers, non-con, elements of BDSM, violence, and content not appropriate for those under 18.


* * * 




I really enjoyed this book. I liked the first two a lot, but this one was better in many ways. The style of the writing had improved (not that it was bad in the first two, it wasn't!) and the character development was well done. That had gotten much better in book two as well, but I feel like it was great in this book. New characters Mary, and Jade, had tons of personality, and it was easy to get to know them and understand them. I quickly fell for Jade, and I loved how realistic Mary came off, trying to be a supportive roommate but also containing the self preservation gene. The few times we POV jumped in this book, it was certainty necessary, and always entertaining. I didn't feel like any POV we experienced was just tossed in there to take up space, like unfortunately I did with a few of the jumps in book 2. This was all together a tighter, better composed story, with only a few minor issues that I found.

One of those is the that there's still a lot of sugarcoating going on. This being the final book, there are some things I'd like a bit of closure on. I understand they may be a prequel in the works (which would be awesome!) or something of the likes, but even if it's something that takes place after this book, there are still things that can't be explained there. For instance, weeks would jump by in a sentence. Just a sentence. Example: "Days passed, then weeks, and Val did not catch a single glimpse of the grandmaster". Ok...why? It just doesn't make sense to me that he'd show up, then let that much time pass while he did....what? It seems like pretty much nothing. And her? Why would she stick around once she knows that her stalker, who's tried to kill her before, has found her? The reasons behind her deciding not to run need to be emphasized in order to make it believable. There are a lot of moments like that, where I was a little jarred from the story because so much time passing with no one making a move didn't make sense. I also had issues with the beginning and end. It starts out in Gavin's POV, which I liked a lot, however, we see part of his family, which is odd because supposedly the police are looking for him (wouldn't they check his childhood home?) and they all seem to know that he's a psycho who terrorized Val....huh? It was weird, and we never heard/saw anything about it again. If that was the set up for another story (like a prequel) I much would have preferred we just see it in that other story. It left too many unanswered questions, and not of the good variety. It also made me wonder more about Gavin and where he come from, if he's screwed up because of some outside source instead of his own psychology like is implied in the rest of the book (and previously in the first two). Being that it's the last part of this tale, I don't want to question whether or not he was pressed into this mold or morphed into it himself. The author clearly knows these characters entire backstories, which is great, but I as the reader do not, so having quick bursts of stuff like this is more frustrating than interesting. Another thing that got sugarcoated over is the copy cat stalker. It wasn't clear enough in make instances who Val was talking to, Gavin or the copy cat. I feel like, over the phone, she would have recognized if it was his voice or not. That wasn't explained well, and could easily be solved by saying the line was crackly or something like that. Threads seemed to be left dangling, like was that the copy cat by the vending machines then? And if so, what was with the note? We see later that Gavin is the one who killed Jade, but then why did he want Vance's address if he wasn't going to do anything? How was Gavin able to find them out in the middle of nowhere? Why did he place henbane in her hand if he'd just made the conscious decision to keep her? And about that, I would have liked more of that train of thought as well. I would have liked to see her reaction to his choice. After spending all of this time with these characters, I would have liked more reaction between them, and conversation, than the few every three days meetings we got. And the game this book was confusing, and maybe pointless? I don't know. She had to guess who he was going to kill, except she really didn't try very hard, and it never really made much sense. The last two especially. I don't believe we ever even get an answer as to who Rook was supposed to stand for. And was Jade number 2? That being the case, when she didn't hear from him for a few days...wouldn't she have guessed that he could have been the victim? What was the point of this "game" and what was it leading up to? Questions like that, which seem pretty important to me, never really get answered.

Then there was the end. I loved how it ended, don't get me wrong. Honestly, I don't see how it could have ended any other way. However, it was way too rushed. It was like all of the details got glossed over, making it not only hard to follow, but hard to believe as well. Like, where did she get the knife? How did she get it hidden? How did someone as attentive and paranoid as Gavin not realize? I would have liked it described how she got it, and when this was happening exactly. They're in his room (I assume...?) so how long ago did the whole Vance thing occur? Had Gavin told her about his marriage plans? What's going on with the whole baby thing? He'd been cold and crazy throughout, but there were moments where he was somewhat ok, and at the very end there he just went one hundred percent crazy again. After having someone else almost kill her, effectively taking her from him, I expected more emotion, even if it was just of the crazy stalker possessive kind. It didn't really need to be in an epilogue either, just a final chapter, and then it would have been nice to see how Val was doing in an epilogue after. It just sort of ended in a page after three books, which was a bit dissatisfying to me. Again, I liked how it ended, just not how brushed over the events were. If the scene were flushed out, given more detail and description, then it would have been amazing, and I probably would have given this book a full five stars instead of four.

That all being said, I did add this book to my "In Love" bookshelf on Goodreads, despite the four stars, so take from that what you will. ;)




If you guys are interested in checking out this trilogy (and you should be!) be sure to check back within the next few days! We're going to be hosting a giveaway for all three books, as well as have answered questions from the author! :)

Horrorscape (Horrorscape, #2) by Nenia Campbell

Review by Tempest.

Blurb:

Val receives a calling card from a very dangerous boy who wants to play with her. It's a game without rules, logic, or consequence, and he'll stop at nothing to claim her as his—even if it means destroying them both.

Three years ago, Valerian Kimble got herself entangled with a burgeoning sociopath intent on adding her to his own columns of wins and losses. She managed to escape him, but at a terrible cost...

This time it's personal.

Now a high school senior, Val is a pale shadow of the girl she once was and still recovering from the terrible trauma she suffered at his hands. She is understandably reluctant when her friends receive mysterious invitations to a theme party being held in one of the old manor homes on the edge of town.

Right away, something about the party seems off. The other guests are secretive, and strangely hostile. Cell phones don't work. Doors lock and unlock, seemingly at will. And the festivities start to take a turn for the sinister as the evening progresses. Because their host loves games. Loves them so much that he's decided to make a little wager. The deadline is sunrise. The stakes? Their lives.

Let the games begin.


* * *
 
I started this book the night after finishing the first one. I was happy to find that many of the issues I found with book one weren't in Horrorscape. There were less grammatical errors, and the POV only switched at random one time that I found. The rest of the changes were done with page/chapter breaks, which helped the story continue to flow. The only problem I had with this was certain POVs didn't seem necessary. We got to see how much of a jerk James was, sure, but I sort of got that without all the inner commentary. And Blake? I don't see why being in his head ever was needed. I would have much preferred more of Gavin or Val. A lot of the events, their actions, etc. get sort of frosted over, and that time could have been better spent letting us delve deeper into their psyche instead. I also liked the character building more in this book. They're flushed out much better, so that they have more distinctive personalities. I found myself really liking Lisa (though there was that one reveal that then never got spoken about again...?) whereas in the first book I tolerated her at best. I also liked Val a lot more, which was nice. The author did a good job developing her paranoia, though I feel like it should be stressed in some places that it's been three-four years for Val. Because it wasn't for me, there was a time or two where I had to stop myself from being like, "Why would she be dumb enough to do that/go there?". All in all, I got swept up in the second part of Val's story just as quickly as I did the first. There were still things I didn't care for, however.

I really feel like Val would have flat out recognized Gavin. Yes, it's been three years, but no, generally people don't change that drastically. Possibly plastic surgery was jokingly mentioned, but I really would have liked that set in stone. I feel a better way around this might have been making it a masquerade time event instead. She was intimate with this guy, and then he turned into a psycho. There is no way she's going to forget his face, or go near anyone who even remotely looks like him. She would not have entered that house. Also, his voice? How did that change then? She would have recognized that I'm sure. A lot of details, like that one, were glossed over. Like, how did he find the white team? Did they all really need the money? Stuff like that. Because we don't really get to understand their situation, it's hard to relate any time they're on the page, which is often. Teams are also assumed based on color at random, almost right after Lisa and James make fun of the others for wearing white instead of black. How did they figure out this team thing then? And why would they assumed Gavin was on the white team when he's not only wearing both colors, but clearly not participating? There are a lot of moments like this that just don't make sense. Blake gets accused of being
"non confrontational" because he's not really ok with killing people. Then he actually goes into this story about how it's all because of his parents. What? I'm not ok with killing people either. Just cause. And when the first character dies...the others don't seem all that upset. I've lost a best friend before, and while obviously I wasn't being terrorized and running for my life so high on adrenaline and distracted, I spent almost all of my time thinking about it. Blake barely did at all. Right after in fact, we're in his head and he's busy thinking up other things. What?! I want emotion, which unfortunately, was something I found this book lacking a bit. Gavin says some things that come close to us really seeing emotion from him, then poof gone. Same with Val. And Lisa and Blake should have been way more messed up after that. I don't mean we get pages and pages of mourning, but at least have them mention they'll deal with it once they're safe or something. There's a part where Gavin threatens Val with the game Seven minutes in "heaven" and yet they end up playing anyway even though she does what he says. When this happens, it should be explained he's a cheat or something, because not even Val recalls the deal. Also, why would you ask the creepy guy if he's Gavin? Because he's going to tell you. Not. I wanted a smarter Val, not necessarily stronger, because I understand after what she'd been through, she wouldn't be. Weaker was a great angle, however, she should have been a bit more intelligent. And ok, she's supposed to be a bit naïve, but that much? She mouths something to Lisa, with Gavin right in front of her. Dumb. Which brings me to my biggest issue with this book: Gavin.

He spent ALL OF THIS TIME and energy, carefully planning this entire thing out (which also, the "games" could have been a bit better orchestrated and dire) then in literally five seconds decides to kill instead of keep her. I get that she almost slit his throat, but he's smart, he had to expect that. He even says himself he was curious to see how far she'd go. He was surprised, ok, but still. After all of that time, he doesn't even bother actually sleeping with her? Just kills hers? From what I understand of the third book, we'll get more of that, but I still would have liked better closure for the second. He's crazy, and I don't believe or secretly wish for him to be a good guy or anything like that, but maybe just having him be a little more invested when this entire time that's all he's come off as. He could have just done this at the beginning of the party. It's not like he really got much out of waiting. She wasn't that much sport.

Basically, some scenes/information was so important they should have gotten more time. I would have much rather read more about why Val didn't think it was Gavin, or what Gavin planned for this party event wise, than that Blake has a crush on Lisa and that Lisa is pissed she hid behind a fake plant for an hour. Some of Lisa's insight was necessary, but not nearly enough, so while it was better having the POV sectioned off, it was still a bit tedious jumping into characters who I didn't find interesting/important enough. And....whatever happened to that last guy on the white team? I mean, I assume he was in the house but...we literally never saw him. At all.

I still really enjoyed this book, just feel there should be tightening in places and better explanation in others. But there were some pretty good lines, like, shiver inducing ones that my Kindle copy kept telling me a billion other people highlighted as well. The strong moments are strong, and intense, and they're what kept me flicking page after page desperate to see what happened next. They were just too few, and often far between. More of those, more explanation, description, character building (on the two mains I mean, Val and Gavin) and I would have given this book five stars hands down. Honestly, even with everything else that bugged me, I would have given it four except for that ending. So abrupt. The enticing and terrifying thing about Gavin this whole time has been how meticulous he is, how he plans out every little detail which allows him to continuously be three steps ahead of everyone else. At the end, it was like he sort of fell apart. He wasn't as scary, or, sadly, enticing. Fingers crossed he returns to that guy in book three, which I'm reading next!!!

Oh, and one last thing, were there (Val didn't see any), or were there not (James thought he did) fish in those tanks?! I have to know! (For my own curiosities sake ;) ).
 

 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hey everyone! Just wanted to stop by and let you know that one of my books, Within a Dream, is currently available as a FREE read on Swoonreads.com! The book is up in its entirety, so please go and check it out! This is a good opportunity for those of you who've always wanted to read one of my books but didn't have the means/money to do so!

If you haven't heard of the site, Swoonreads allows authors to post their completed books up for readers to read/rate/comment/etc. ! The books with the most shown interest get checked out by the site runners, and are possibly given a publishing contract! That being said, it would really mean a lot if you guys could go check it out! The link is below, along with the blurb and a cover image! :) For more information on this and other books, please check out my personal author blog: http://tempestchani.blogspot.com/

Thanks!

Blurb:

Lily likes being a witch. Sure, aside from floating pencils and telepathically communicating with her three best friends, there aren’t many real perks. Until it brings two of the hottest guys she’s ever seen into her life. Of course, there are always strings, and this one comes in the form of a prophecy foretelling her saving, and eventually ruling, a realm she’s never heard about in this lifetime. With dark fey suddenly hunting them down, Lily and her friends are forced to make a decision, complete the prophecy or turn their backs. If that isn’t enough stress, Lily also has a choice to make of her own. Trust in their brooding dark haired guide, Larkin? Or the golden dream stalker Ronan? One claims he’s her soul mate. Both want her back in a realm she can’t recall. What’s a girl to do?

http://www.swoonreads.com/m/within-a-dream

Fearscape (Horrorscape, #1) by Nenia Campbell

Review by Tempest.

Blurb:

He followed her because he wanted to own her. She trusted him because she wanted excitement. There's a saying that curiosity can kill … but Valerian Kimble is beginning to learn that satisfaction might just be worse.

Fourteen-year-old Valerian lives in an age where antiheroes and bad boys are portrayed as the romantic ideal, and good guys are passe and boring. So when Gavin Mecozzi, the school's brilliant but twisted loner, begins to show an interest in her after a chance meeting in a pet store, Val is intrigued. He's charming and poetic and makes her feel things that she thought were only possible in books--

Fear.

Because somebody is stalking Val. Somebody who wants to hurt her. Own her. Possess her. Maybe even kill her.


* * *
 
This one was hard for me to rate. I actually had to take a couple days to think about it even. I ended up giving it three stars because the story was very interesting, despite all the things I didn't like about it, and I immediately wanted to delve into the second installment the second I reached the last page of this book. That being said, let me point out all of the things that I didn't like, which made me want to give the book only two stars initially.
 
For one, there are some grammatical issues, like missing words, which isn't too big of a deal really. It's annoying, but I believe these are self published, and most have errors like this that slip through the crack. There were enough to be tedious, but not jarring, so I wouldn't let that deter you from reading. The second thing, however, was that randomly a bit more than halfway through the book, the tense changes, and with no warning or page breaks at all. One paragraph we're in the main characters head, the next it's her mom or her teacher. Not only was this unnecessary, it was also very frustrating. If we'd gleaned some important information through it that we couldn't have possibly gotten from anywhere else, that would be one thing, but that wasn't the case. Another thing that really bothered me was how quickly the drama escalated. One second, she likes this guy (and we never really get a chance to understand why because we don't see enough of him or them together) the next she thinks he's her stalker simply because no one at the school likes him. Yet she still continues to hang around him, and get into cars with him, and go to his house....yeah. That was also pretty dumb. I feel like there has to be a better way to get Val to go over his house than simply have her go to search for clues. I understand she's only fourteen, but I feel like the author didn't give her intelligence enough credit, and because of that, I ended up liking Val a lot less. If I don't like the main character, generally that means I'll end up hating the book as a whole. More scenes between them without him being completely creepy would have been nice, because then we would have gotten to see what she saw in Gavin. All we got were the strange moments, that totally gave away who he really was. A bit more mystery would have been nice. Making me fall for him a little before pulling the rug out from under me would have been awesome. All of these things added up to me finding the characters annoying, vapid, and dumb. There wasn't a single one that I can actually say I even liked eighty percent of the time, including Val. 
 
Still, with all that being said, the overall plot of the book was good enough to keep my attention. Once the ending was revealed (aka the stalkers identity) things got really, really good. I loved the fast passed action, the dialogue, and Val's reactions. I do feel like the very very end could have been a bit better, being that it was obvious and not very realistic, but still. I'm reading the second book right now, which means that even with all of these issues I had, I went out and bought the next book. (I bought the third too!) so something but be right about it!
 
It was also a super quick read, so if you're looking for something to pass a short amount of time, and like a bit of thrill, then you should check this book out.