Hannah has a pretty amazing story -- she started writing her book when she was just 12 years-old. Fast forward, 8 years later (today), Hannah not only had her book published, but it recently won a gold award in the prestigious 2017 Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Franklin Awards™. She is still pinching herself! The first-time author won in the Children’s/YA-New Voices category.
Kirkus Reviews called Ascension: “an exciting and fast-paced YA paranormal romance with an intriguing plot, well-drawn settings, and solid character development.” Ascension also won first place in 2016 for Young Adult Fiction in the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards.
Now a 20 year-old college student in Tennessee, Hannah is already in the editing stages of the next book in the trilogy (Due out Jan 18).
When she’s not thinking about hybrid human-vampires and the witches they love, or writing a "Geisha-inspired" Bardugo cocktail list, Hannah leads a creative writing group at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, volunteers for various nonprofits, and transcribes “snake handler sermons” for the college’s special collections department.
Here is a recent interview with Hannah from BEA:
Life is supposed to be perfect after Cheyenne Lane's Ascension ceremony, but it turns out awakening her vampire half only complicates things more. Burdened with a patronizing family and constant surveillance by the Vampire Council, Cheyenne welcomes a summer vacation to the magical city of New Orleans. But Cheyenne quickly realizes that she can't escape her problems, no matter where she goes. After seventeen years of fearing exposing her secret to humans, Cheyenne's world is rocked when she starts to fall for a witch named Eli. When he shows Cheyenne how complex the world really is, she must accept that everything she thought she knew about being a Deuxsang is a lie. As if all this isn't problem enough, Cheyenne finds herself the pawn of a conspiracy hatched by those who should be protecting her. Her whole life Cheyenne is told what to believe and who to trust. Now, she's forced to choose for herself who and what is right. No matter which choice she makes, it will cost her everything.
A special thanks goes out to James T. Wood for being my first patreon supporter. I'm sorry about the delay of your recognition. I'm still learning how to use the patreon page. Again, my deepest thanks for helping me to buy books. I bought my share of them this week. I have a book to review, but it took reading the first few chapters of three other books before I got to this one.
Maybe I should make that my secret Patreon subscriber reward...I'll tell you the names of the books I didn't like. I've said before that I'm trying to make this a positive podcast where I tell you about why I like the book I'm reviewing this week, rather than telling you what I didn't like about the books I gave up on. I mean really, you don't want to listen to a half hour of a book that you won't want to read after I'm done giving it a negative review.
So. the three books I passed on, one I didn't like because the first fifteen pages was just telling the reader about the cute reasons why each of the characters had their given nickname. No plot. No conflict in fifteen pages, just story background. That doesn't work for me.
The second book was just boring and the third had constant unexpected point of view switches. You might call it omniscient view point, I call it confusing and frustrating.
Anyway, enough about what I don't like.
This week I'm going to talk about Dark Creations: Gabriel Rising by Jennifer and Christopher Martucci. They have a ton of books out, and this book is the first of six in a paranormal romance. It was first published in December of 2013. It has 4 out of 5 stars on 263 reviews. It only has 140 pages in the first book, but I just picked up a set of the first 3 on Kindle for free.
Here is the cover copy:
When Gabriel James mysteriously appears in seventeen-year-old Melissa Martin’s English class, she is not prepared for what she experiences, how she feels the first time they speak. With otherworldly attractiveness, gallantry, charm and intelligence, he is everything boys her age are not.
But Gabriel has a secret, a dark secret.
His secret threatens to rip them apart and unleash an evil on the world so horrific, humanity will be forever changed.
In this deeply romantic and captivating young adult paranormal romance novel, Gabriel and Melissa will risk everything – their very lives – to guard their love. Together, they will be forced to confront mankind’s darkest creation.
The Amazon preview has the prolog and most of the first chapter. I'm going to read you everything they gave:
(Read the chapters)
So, this is where the Amazon preview ends. The chapter goes for another few pages, so I know what happens next.
What do you think it will be?
Will this Gabriel mentioned in the cover copy be there to intervene?
What was the yellow eyed beast in the prolog? Was that Gabriel, or something else?
Is that monster waiting at Melissa's home to great her?
There were allusions to the prolog in the first chapter, the unusual darkness, the strange wind. What did it mean?
I like the way the authors set up the conflicts.
I always say that good thrillers take smart characters making dumb choices. I like Melissa's character. She's obviously a smart young woman, and I know we've been told that her friend talked he into going out with Kevin. She should have bailed on him as soon as he insisted on going to the Rec center. But then we wouldn't have had any of the fun conflict about shutting him down in the car. Plus, I give Kevin better than even odds that he will turn up dead some time very soon. (I haven't read that far. This is just my speculation.)
You haven't met the father yet, but I have, and I think he's a little over the top when it comes to protectiveness. But then again, there isn't a lot of conflict if he's understanding and settles with "lesson learned" about Kevin.
One thing about the authors' writing style that I find distracting is the avoidance of contractions. I know there are regions of the US, like in New York and around there where they don't use contractions. Maybe this is a regional characteristic of the authors. I have a friend from New York who writes like that and we've had to learn to agree to disagree when critiquing each others writing. To me it make everything sound too emphatic.
Anyway, I give Dark Creations a strong recommendation to read further. It looks like a thrilling ride.
In this episode I talk with first time author, Caitlin Lynagh from the UK.
We talk about studying biology and physics in England, her book, "Anomaly: The Soul Prophecies", The science of Anomaly, and more...
In this episode I talk with E.B. Wheeler about historical landscaping and restoration in national parks and historic sites. We talk about her book she has out, others she is preparing, and working with Cedar Fort Press.
E.B. Wheeler grew up in Georgia and California. She has graduate degrees in history and landscape architecture, and wrote about history and historic preservation before focusing on fiction. She is the author of THE HAUNTING OF SPRINGETT HALL and BORN TO TREASON (forthcoming May 2016). She lives in the mountains of Utah with her husband, daughters, various pets, and as many antique roses as she can cram into her yard. You can find more about her at ebwheeler.com