Burning Blog Tour! Review, Guest Post, & Giveaway!
I’m so thrilled that Jena Gregoire has invited me to be a part of her Burning Blog Tour! For those who don’t Jena Gregorie, you can connect with her at the Pure Textuality Blog or on Twitter. Now, if you don’t win a copy of Burning, you probably will want to buy one, because how else can you get a taste for Jena’s writing style and clever imagination? And if you love it, I have even better news: Jena’s working on a fully length now, titled The Devil You Know. So make sure you connect with her if you don’t want to miss exciting news! Now, I have to admit I’ve been a fan/stalker of Jena’s reviews for a while, and I just knew that her story would suck me in. That’s why I agreed to also include a review with this giveaway! So, let me share my thoughts with you . . . but FIRST, check out the awesome guest post Jena sent my way
There are two forms of storytelling I have always loved – books and film. Aside from being a hard core bibliophile, I am also a total movie buff with a serious jones for all things paranormal. I was never a big one for slasher-horror flicks (i.e. Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween) but if it involves ghosts, demons, possessions, hauntings or anything of the like, I am so there!
It all started with The Exorcist. To this day, this is still one of my favorite films of all time. The idea of spiritual warfare being real has always scared the pants off of me and for some reason, I love that feeling. The feeling of being completely creeped out by the unknown. From the first time I saw The Exorcist, I fell in love with the genre. I’ve seen some great ones like the Poltergeist series, Stigmata, Thirteen Ghosts, The Ring, Paranormal Activity, Devil and The Rite. I have also seen some HORRIBLE ones such as the epic failure of Drag Me To Hell.
I have tried to find books that give me that same feeling and it just hasn’t happened. I think the closest I ever came to a book really giving me that creeped out feeling was probably The Omen and even that was a bit of a letdown. When I started penning the Demon Legacy series, I knew I wanted to write what I love. I wanted to write urban fantasy but I wanted it to be dark. I wanted to write about demons.
To me, demons are probably the scariest of the paranormal creatures. Creatures with no humanity. Nothing but pure evil driving them. I also didn’t want to “Twilight” them in my book. By “Twilighting”, I mean taking these creatures with no redeeming qualities and making them…..well….sparkle. Demons should be scary. The moment I started writing my demon character, I knew exactly what I wanted him to be. Cold, calculated, ruthless and unfeeling. I didn’t want there to be even a shred of a chance that my readers would develop Stockholm Syndrome and start having warm fuzzies for him. This guy is bad news and I wanted my audience to really feel that when they read my series. I want the audience to be afraid for my characters going up against this guy because there’s a very good chance that, in the end, the black hats could win.
Review for Burning
What I Liked
Okay, call me shallow, but I gave immediate kudos to Jena for her name choices. Lucas. Natalia. I just freaking love those names!
Part 1, written almost entirely of narrative summary, introduces us to the two characters. I was immediately drawn to Natalia. Jena did an excellent job in creating her as a character, and I can see why Lucas was drawn to her! The moment they met was unique, though simple and real. It made me wish the scene had been written in scene instead of summary form because I so longed to experience their first moments together the way they must have experienced them! Truly just a great duo in Lucas and Natalia!
Part 2 brings us into Natalia’s point of view. This is also heavily in summary, so it’s really more about knowing what happens than experiencing what happens. I loved that Natalia’s point of view revealed Natalia in a way that “matched” the way Natalia was portrayed in Lucas’ point of view. This really made her character all the more “real” to me. In some ways, I have to say I liked this part more than part 1! Now, normally that would just be because I love reading a female point of view, but in this case, I really loved the scene we got to see between Natalia and Anthony. It was great to see this in scene instead of summary! Loved the tension and conflict! I really enjoyed seeing how driven all the characters were in this section (especially Anthony, the antagonist!), and Jena didn’t make it easy for Natalia! I mean REALLY int his section, the poo hits the fan! Also, in this section we get to see a lot of layers in Natalia. From her tender side to her inner spitfire. This girl has heart, but she’s also a fighter. I love it!
By the time we hit Part 3, Jena is really in the flow and the story is more heavily written in scenes than summary. This increases the tension and the intensity as you leave through Lucas’ thoughts and feelings alongside him as his perfect day goes down the drain, turning into his worst nightmare.
Spoiler (Highlight to Read)
The ending was HEARTBREAKING! It is set up in such a way though that a sequel could maybe restore our hope! I want to think that Natalia was strong enough to rescue herself and that she will reunite with Lucas one day! For now, though, she’s assumed for dead total bummer.
I admire Jena for writing her story with such truth and honesty instead of wrapping everything up in a pretty little bow, BUT in my mind I am adding onto the ending so it can be a happy ending. Aren’t those the best stories, though? The ones that stay with you after you read, as you imagine what could happen next? Jena did an excellent job with this plot.
What I Didn’t Like
Sometimes things got a little wordy. Nothing major. Example “Who would have thought it would have taken me four hundred years of existence to find her.” Could have been: “Who would have thought it would take me four hundred years to find her.” Little changes like these would have made the narrative flow more naturally for me.
There were a few cases of missing punctuation that didn’t come down to style guide, but nothing that interfered with my enjoyment or ease of reading.
Also, if I were the editor, I’d probably have made a few nitpicky changes to deepen the POV and make the story more of an experience for the reader. These things, however, are stylistic preferences I don’t think most readers will notice.
On a pickier note, some of the dialogue didn’t ring true. Not in sound; it sounded natural. More in that people sometimes said things I didn’t think they would really say aloud.
This is a short story. I feel like this always needs to be mentioned before anyone buys a book, because some readers don’t like short stories, for not fault of the story itself. For example, someone might feel there wasn’t enough time spent developing characters or that the story felt rushed, etc. I’m not saying I felt either of those things with this story. What I’m saying is, I went into this expecting a short story. Short stories are simply different from full length novels.
Also, this isn’t a criticism, just an FYI: The author doesn’t use oxford commas. Some readers prefer that, some don’t. I’m one of those people who think the oxford comma adds clarity, but I don’t mind reading the UK style without them. It used to bother me immensely, but I got used to it so now I kind of just mentally insert the commas as I read.
I noticed a couple boo-boos in formatting as well. Such as “didn’?t” instead of “didn’t”, then “hadn’?t” instead of “hadn’t” which can be caused by poor mobi conversion. (And this is why I am obsessed with having RP Krall format my books! Any errors in my book are always because of me haha)
Jena’s imagination is an awesome place to visit! I recommend this book for anyone looking for a fast, clever, intense read with fleshed-out, lovable characters. I’m glad I had the chance to read this one!
Now it’s your turn to snag copy of this book and see what YOU think!
Rebecca Hamilton is a USA Today bestselling Paranormal Fantasy author. Her bestselling Forever Girl Series is available at online retailers and has been optioned for film with Witten Pictures. The Hungarian edition has been published with IPC books and the German edition has been published with Darkiss, a Harlequin imprint.