Indie Friday: Samantha Young

Welcome to April’s Indie Friday event!

This month Barbara and I are so pleased to have one of our favorite authors visiting, Samantha Young. My journey with her books started with Slumber, and the moment I finished, I immediately bought and read every book she’s ever written. I enjoyed every last word. Her Fire Spirits series is my favorite so far, and and I couldn’t be more excited to have her here!

Samantha Young is a 25 year old writer who resides in her home county of Stirlingshire, Scotland. She is a self-proclaimed book addict and kindle junkie, using fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi and paranormal novels to feed her addiction.

After graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in ancient and medieval history, Samantha returned to her main passion, writing, and often incorporates history and mythology into her novels.

Samantha’s first release, The Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy, was followed by a second series titled Warriors of Ankh. At present, she is a full-time writer working on a number of projects for near future release. She is the author of nine novels and one novella. Her young adult paranormal series’ are Amazon bestselling novels.

THE RULES OF ATTRACTION

Chemistry between your hero and heroine is extremely important. As an avid reader, who enjoys a good romantic subplot, I know I tend to give up on a book if I feel a lack of connection to the characters and between the characters, because there is nothing quite like an epic romance in a book.

As I say, I read a lot, so narrowing down favourite literary couples is tricky, but a few do spring to mind. Rose Hathaway and Dimitri Belikov from Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. We’re talking forbidden love, lost love, found love, lost love again… it’s epic! The chemistry builds up nicely between them through tension during their training sessions and from there escalates into an explosive love story that is hard to beat in the YA genre. Another particular favourite of mine is Tris and Four from Divergent. Their romance is a quiet, slowly creeping, ‘you get me more than anyone will ever get me’ kind of love, and the writing between them from Veronica Roth is just deliciously brilliant. I can’t wait to see how their connection develops in book two. And finally I adore the love story between Meghan and Ash in Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series. The chemistry between them is electric and fragile because this is the case of two opposites attracting. Ash’s character drives this love story, his fight within himself to stay distant from Meghan — someone he shouldn’t love and doesn’t want to because he’s already lost in love before. It’s butterfly-inducingly good!

As an author I love threading a great love story into my novels. There’s nothing quite as fun as building chemistry between two characters and letting the sparks fly — I spend half my time writing with a big mischievous grin on my face, knowing a certain scene will make my readers happy or frustrate the hell out of them! :-p

It’s difficult to create chemistry between characters if you don’t take the time to feel out their mannerisms or personalities. It’s the little things that tell a reader a character is truly attracted to another. In real life when you have a crush or feel deeply for someone, you notice things about them that other people don’t i.e. chewing a thumbnail when they’re nervous, a certain look in their eye when they’re trying not to laugh. You notice if they change their cologne or perfume, or notice the fact that when they wear red it means they’re in a good mood that day. You watch them, you study them, their hands, their mouth, their eyes, and the room literally blurs around you when they’re with you — your heart pounds whenever they stand too close to you. These are all the things I have to describe as happening to my characters if I want my reader to believe there is true attraction and chemistry between them. If a character begins to note the minute detail of another it should be a clear signal to the reader that an attraction is developing.

Deciding whether that chemistry can become more is all in the couple’s history and personality. For example, take Ari and Jai from Fire Spirits. Despite Ari’s many disappointments from the men in her life, she wears her heart on her sleeve. If she likes you, she can’t hide it. She doesn’t want to hide it. And even when her brain tells her she should run and put up a wall of defense, Ari’s heart tends to win in the end. As a character, Ari is extremely lonely. She has no real family support and she’s a pawn with no idea who to trust. Jai is similar in that he has no real family support either, and only one true friend. But Jai has never felt lonely because of his purpose in life. Where Ari has run from responsibility, Jai revels in it. As a guardian Jinn, he takes his job protecting people very seriously. It’s his life and his reputation. He has no time for the kind of connections Ari is looking for. However, Jai has never met a girl as openly kind and loyal as Ari, or one who doesn’t take his crap just because he’s ‘pretty’. Ari’s complex mix of strength and vulnerability are a lure for someone with Jai’s protective instincts, and Jai’s power and steadfastness is a lure for someone with Ari’s broken and unstable life. Together they are a couple whose attraction makes sense because they each have found something in the other that no one else can give them. However, they have enough differences in their outlooks to make for a realistic push and pull between them. And of course there are outside complications in their lives to make for a dramatic and hopefully epic love story.

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner:

-One copy each of Smokeless Fire and Scorched Skies (e-book copies)
-International – books will be gifted through Amazon
-Giveaway will end Thurs, Apr 12 at 11:59pm and winner will be announced Fri, Apr 13. That gives y’all a week.
-To enter: leave a comment on this post, with your e-mail address

Please note: Books will be sent from the US and if you’re outside the country, and the books aren’t available where you are you may need to contact Amazon support to have the title converted into credit.

Good luck y’all!

Find Samantha Young:

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Scorched Skies (Fire Spirits #2)

Samantha Young

Purchase: Amazon or B&N
Publication Date: Mar 16, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Purchased

FEAR THE HEAT…

The White King has crossed the line, sounded the horn, sent out the wolves.

When blood is shed and life is lost the reality of Ari’s position as both hunter and prey finally sets in. It seems her father will stop at nothing to force her will to his own and distracted by Charlie’s latest mistake and her seemingly misguided attraction to Jai, Ari never thought to fear anyone else but the Jinn King.

Blindsided and attacked, Ari learns a new wolf has joined the hunt. A dark sorcerer believes he knows a way to bleed the power of the Seal and wield it as his own, and he is even less patient than The White King.

The War for the Seal has only just begun… and it’s time for Ari to turn it on its head.

It’s time for Ari to stop acting like the hunted.

It’s time for Ari to become the hunter.

Goodreads Summary

Five Reasons Why You Should Read Scorched Skies:

1. Jai – You sexy, sexy man

Because life is all about hot guys, right? Right. Jai is definitely at the top of my favorites list of hunky heroes. He’s Jinn, powerful and all about protecting Ari. You can’t help but fall in love with his wounded side, which stems from a tragic childhood spent with his messed up family. In Smokeless Fire, Jai was a bit of a mystery and while I fell in lust with him there, it wasn’t until Scorched Skies that I truly understood how amazing Jai really is. When Ari’s enemies get a little bit too close for comfort and she needs to flee, Jai takes her to his family’s home in California to hide out for a while and regroup. We are able to get a glimpse into Jai’s past and his horrible family, and it’s awful and I cried and I wanted to take kid-Jai away and protect him from everyone who treated him so terribly. Only a truly strong person can overcome what he did and come out okay on the other side. Oh Jai, you sexy, sexy man.

2. The ballsy heroine

Ari spent a lot of time in Smokeless Fire waiting around for things to happen to her. Mostly because she’d been hit with a bomb shell and her whole life is turned upside down. Ari now has to learn how to use these powers she never knew she had, all while fighting those pesky bad guys who won’t leave her alone. Ari flipped the switch in this book, and instead of waiting for things to happen, she went out and MADE them happen. She didn’t let Jai and Charlie coddle her, and she worked her butt off to learn everything she could so that she could defend herself against whatever came her way. I loved her development in this book, and how she took everything that happened to her (the beginning broke my heart! SOB), and owned it. Ari used her loneliness and heartache to become a girl I’m proud of. A girl I can cheer for. A girl I would desperately want as my best friend if she were real.

3. Love triangle shenanigans

What a tough choice for Ari. There’s sexy Jai who sets her blood on fire by his mere presence, but wants nothing more than a client/guardian relationship. Or Charlie, the guy she’s loved for years, but who turned to drugs and sex instead of her when his brother died. Charlie, who went behind her back and chose to become a sorcerer even though he knew Ari would hate it. Each guy wants something else, whether it’s to maintain his professional reputation or to have revenge on the Jinn who killed his little brother. Ari wants someone to want her first, before anything or anyone else. All of this relationship turmoil helped Ari to focus on learning how to use her powers so that she could take care of herself.  She does make a choice, but my lips are sealed on who it is and how everything works out. Y’all have to do some work yourself. 😀

4. Gott love the Jinn, baby

One of the things I love most about this series is that it’s completely different from anything else out there. While I love books based on vampire or werewolf lore, sometimes I need a break. I love being able to escape into the world of the Jinn and all their genie glory. Seriously, every time Ari’s creepy father pops into the story I envision Mr. Clean. Or Yul Brynner in The King and I. The old version, not the one with Jodi Foster (which is called Anna and the King). Did I just age myself?

Anyway.

The magic and fantasy in this series is unique, and Samantha Young has an amazing ability of sucking me into the world of her characters. I can’t wait to read Borrowed Ember, which comes out May/June-ish. Speaking of which, have you seen the gorgeous cover for Borrowed Ember? The model she picked for Jai is freakin’ hot! If his gorgeous body face isn’t enough to make you read the series, I don’t know what is.

5. Because I said so

Ha. Just kiddin’ on that last one.

Maybe.

Slumber (Chronicles of the Fade #1)

SlumberBy Samantha Young

Publisher: Create Space
Publication Date: May 17, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: Purchased

A sleeping beauty may be the damsel in distress, but her White Knight? Why her rather un-knightish best friend of course. And the White Knight’s White Knight? Well… none other than her reluctant mortal enemy…

When Haydyn falls victim to the mysterious Sleeping Disease, the world of Phaedra is thrown into Chaos.

Rogan, Haydyn’s best friend and handmaiden, is the only one who can save her. Together, with the Royal Guard and their young Captain, Wolfe Stovia, Rogan must set off across the provinces to find the Somna Plant that will wake Haydyn from her dying sleep.

Beset on all sides by the chaos, Rogan tumbles into a dark world of kidnapping, prejudice, betrayal and love… a journey that will change her forever, and a journey that will change their world forever, if she does not retrieve the cure.

Goodreads Summary

I will be the first to admit that I tend to be a book snob. What I mean by that is that I make an effort to find out who the publisher is. If a book is published by one of the big wigs, then it obviously must be good, right? Uhh.. wrong. Not all books produced by a big name publisher are good, which means that not all Indie or self-published books are bad. It’s only been recently that I’ve been brave enough to try reading books by these authors. I started with Angelfall, which I loved, and then Barbara told me about Samantha Young and recommended Slumber to me. Really, y’all should listen to Barbara. She really knows her stuff. 😉

Rogan hasn’t always lived in the palace with her best friend and princess, Haydyn. When she was a child she very happily lived on a farm with her parents and little brother. One one horrific day – a day that still gives her nightmares – a mad man came to her home and killed her family and took Rogan for her magical powers. There’s a whole history behind why Rogan has magical powers, but it’s too extensive and involved to relate in the synopsis here. Truthfully, I got a little lost in the world building. I ended up skimming over it, but I didn’t feel like not knowing every detail (and there was a lot of detail) hindered my enjoyment of the story. Anyway, back to Rogan. She has been unwillingly thrust into palace life, and has now become the Handmaiden to Haydyn. The pair become fast friends and Rogan devotes her life to serving the princess and helping her prepare to become the queen.

Haydyn is suddenly struck with the mysterious sleeping sickness, and the royal healers announce that the only thing that can save her is a rare plant. Enter, Rogan’s magical powers. Whenever someone commands Rogan to find something, she immediately zooms in on the object (or in this case, plant) and knows the route to find it. It’s several days journey away through dangerous territory, and Rogan sets off on the journey with her arch nemesis, Wolfe. It’s not easy, and Rogan and Wolfe take a few unplanned detours along the way. Not only is this a journey to save her friend, but it also becomes a journey of self discovery for Rogan as she finds all her negative feelings regarding Wolfe growing into something else.

Slumber turned out to be a huge surprise for me. I was a little worried when I got bogged down by the set-up, but once the story actually began I was enthralled. I had a love/hate relationship with Rogan. At times she was whiny, stubborn and immature. She pushed every single one of Wolfe’s buttons, and it’s amazing to me that he stuck around and waited for her. I actually cheered out loud whenever she referred to herself as a grump, because it was so true. I’m not sure if the story would have worked if she was nice and sweet, but her personality did make it difficult to read at times. There was a few moments of intense eye-rolling and “oh my gooooosh“‘s on my part. Wolfe was absolutely adorable. He knew what he wanted and he was willing to wait for it. He saw something in Rogan that even I, as a reader, couldn’t see. They had a few adventures on their journey, and he was very protective and sort of alpha. It hit all the right spots, and if I was a young girl reading the story, I’d definitely be dreaming of Wolfe as I went to sleep that night.

My Summary: The characters sold the show for me in Slumber. The world that the author created was unique and detailed, and I felt it enhanced the characterization and the love story. Even though Rogan annoyed me in parts of the story, she was really a great heroine to read about and she and Wolfe together made a great pair. Once she succumbed to the inevitable, they just melted my heart. If it wasn’t for the extremely detailed and very confusing (at least to me) beginning, this book would have been a solid A+. I still highly recommend the book though. Perhaps y’all are smarter than me and will understand everything right away. 😉

My Rating: A-

Cait