Above The Flames – It Starts With L Book Reviews + Author Q&A with Cassandra Fear & Giveaway!

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A little over a week ago, I started reading Above the Flames by Cassandra Fear. I really enjoyed the writing, so after finishing it, I dove right in to It Starts With L which was just released.

Cassandra was willing to share some of her time with me to discuss her books and writing. In addition to the Q&A below, you can read my book reviews for Above the Flames and her new book It Starts with L. Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway toward the bottom of the page to win eBook copies of both books!

Above The Flames

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Blurb: Jasmine’s sixteenth birthday was the worst ever…

All in one day, her dad died, she met a demon, and her mother rejected her existence forever. After all, the demon who killed her dad was there to take her, and all because of her stupid powers—the ability to conjure blue flames.

Two years later, she’s happy. But happy never lasts…

After moving to Idaho to live with her grandparents, Jasmine has a new life. Almost nobody knows about her powers, and she’s just a normal teenager with normal problems. Then comes her eighteenth birthday—and the earthquake that changes her world forever.

An army of demons rise from Hell. And Jasmine is right in the middle of the battle…

When demons claw their way to Earth, Jasmine is surrounded by hundreds of fire-eyed beasts. Worse, she is captured by a big-shot demon named Bael. He’s a tricky foe with a chip on his shoulder—and the desire to make Jasmine use her powers for evil.

Amon is a fallen angel with an attitude—and everything to lose.

Successfully escaping the underworld undetected, Amon is on a quest to regain God’s grace when he rescues Jasmine from the clutches of a particularly nasty demon he knows all too well. The attraction between him and the not-entirely-human captive is instantaneous. Heavenly sparks fly, but ideas of romance will have to wait. First they have to stop the demon race from wiping out the mortal realm. Humanity’s fate rests in their hands.

Can two troubled angels rise above the flames to ensure a future for mankind? Or will Jasmine and Amon’s souls be bound together—in hell?

  • Series: The Flames Trilogy
  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Limitless Publishing, LLC (April 7, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1680585851
  • ISBN-13: 978-1680585858

 

My review

I wasn’t sure what to expect because I haven’t read many paranormal books and certainly haven’t read a story including angels and demons with this plot, so it was a fun read and different from what I’m used to.

I was pulled into the story right away. Jasmine is a 16-year-old teenager dealing with a mother who simply doesn’t care about her. An unforeseen wicked event causes an accident with her father and because her mother doesn’t want her, she’s relocated with her grandparents. Ma and Pa love her so much and all seems to be going well with Jasmine as she lives a fairly normal life with her boyfriend Beau, until demons appear and hunt her down. They’ve been released and plan to take over all mankind. Jasmine doesn’t know it yet, but she’s going to have to figure out how to control her powers while she trains to defend against the evil demons.

I really liked the characters in the book. Jasmine, Beau, and Amon were my favorites. Jasmine is very strong and confident and the majority if the time she wasn’t afraid despite all the evil events unfolding around her. At times I didn’t like the way Jasmine treated Beau as their relationship started to change due to Amon’s introduction, but everything came together eventually. It wasn’t a predictable read! It was difficult to tell what decisions the characters would make and there were times I couldn’t differentiate between friends and foes as more characters are introduced. I don’t want to include a bunch of spoilers, so for the most part, I enjoyed the book. I felt like there were some slow parts with mainly the beginning and the ending remaining my favorites. The ending was a complete total shocker.

I love the way Cassandra Fear Writes. I found it very easy to read from cover to cover. I would’ve liked a tad more romance and maybe faster pacing, but understand this is YA. I’m looking forward to the next book!

4****

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It Starts With L

 

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Blurb: High school is tough, and Arielle knows this all too well.

She’s slightly chubbier than most of the other girls and gets reminded of this every day. And the fact that she’s never had a boyfriend makes her prime meat for the bullying crowd.

But then in walks Blake, the cute new boy who sweeps her off her feet and stands up to her bullies. Instant swoon.

Now with a guy at her side, and the promise of a blooming love, Arielle realizes it’s easy to lose sight of what is important. Her best friend, Jess, is on a downward spiral toward disaster, and Arielle needs to find a way to help her.

Unfortunately, Arielle discovers not everything in life is simple. Sometimes things happen, tragedy strikes, and it leaves you with wounds that might never heal.

  • Series: The Letters of Love Series
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Limitless Publishing, LLC (July 12, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 164034151X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1640341517

My review

 

Arielle is a teenager dealing with typical high school drama and bullying, but won’t let it change her. She’s a simple girl from a good family, but deals with a few insecurities about her weight and appearance, until she meets Blake.

Blake stands up for her and makes her feel more confident. As their relationship blooms, everything seems to be perfect, until Blake starts thinking about the future and becomes unsure of their relationship. She’s not prepared to deal with the uncertainty, but doesn’t want to give up. On top of all her relationship problems, her best friend is making poor decisions and her home life takes a turn for the worse. Arielle is on a slippery slope, but will she be able to regain happiness again?

*Mild Spoilers* I liked all of the main characters in the book, but I wasn’t pleased with Blake. He’s one of those characters that at times you sort of “grrr” over, but you still admire him at the same time. Arielle was confident enough to stay true to herself and I loved that. I didn’t feel like the story was too predictable and really looked forward to finding out how these characters would end up. It was a pleasant surprise and not like the one I expected.*

I’m giving this book 5 stars because I was never bored and I really enjoy this author’s writing as it’s smooth and easy to read. This book reminds me of something I would’ve enjoyed reading in high school and I think this is a perfect book for teens. There really isn’t anything inappropriate and overall it’s a great YA book. I can’t wait to read the next one!

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Continue for the Q&A and Giveaway!!

 

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My Q&A with Cassandra Fear

 

Q: Can you tell readers something interesting about yourself that they may not already know?

A: When I am in the car with my kids, I pretend to be the singers of every different song. My favorite to try and imitate is ACDC. Dirty Deeds, well let’s just say my kids will never, ever hear that song and not think of me. I am the world’s most horrible singer, too, but I love to make people laugh. Especially my family.

AC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Q: Did you enjoy writing in your school years and have you always wanted to be an author?

A: I never thought I was any good at writing, but I’ve always loved it. A lot. I wrote on the school Newspaper and entered poetry contests when I was younger. I wrote in a journal every night, too. So, writing has always been in my blood, just not the confidence I needed to know that I’m talented and capable. That took a while to get. Once I did, my dreams were realized and I wanted to be an author, to publish my first book, and so I worked hard and I did.

Q: Is there anything you’re working on now?

A: I’m always working on something. Right now, I’m working on my epic fantasy series, Book One titled Land of Strength and Sorrow. I did have a contract with a brand new publisher, but things didn’t work out, so I’m back in the market and working to find the right fit. But, I do believe this is the best book I’ve ever written to date. I can’t wait to get it out in the world.

Q: What has the publishing process been like for you and how do you market your books?book-publishing.jpg

A: It’s kind of been a roller coaster ride, honestly. I’m with a small publisher, and while they do some things, most of the marketing is up to us. I honestly had no clue what I was doing in that department, but really, for me, it’s not about selling a ton of books right now. It’s about letting people see who I am, what I represent and getting to know people in the industry. I give more books away now than I sell, and I’m okay with that. I believe down the road, my time will come, and I will learn the ins and outs of this world, but it takes time. Luckily, I have plenty of that.

Q: Would you say that writing is energizing or exhausting to you?

A: I guess a little of both. It’s energizing because it makes my mind come to life in ways I never thought imaginable. And exhausting because I can literally sit behind a screen the whole day, forget to eat and write my little heart out until I fall over. Good thing my kids are older or I’d be in trouble.

Q: What are your literary goals and what do you consider success?

A: I consider right now success for me. I have three published novels. I never thought I’d have one. My goals are simple. I want to keep writing and I would love to make it to the best seller’s list. I’m sure that is every writer’s dream, but even if I don’t get there, I’m proud of what I have accomplished. I’m following a dream inside my heart. I had the courage to put myself out there in the world. That right there is success.

Q: What are some of your favorite books or favorite authors?

A:  It’s like asking me to pick which of my kids is my favorite. LOL. Impossible. But, I will34826332.jpg start here. I love Sarah J Maas and love to submerge myself in every book she releases. Karen Marie Moning is another of my favorites. She is brilliant, amazing and can pull me in with only one word. And, anything by Jane Austen. There is also a new author coming out with her first book in July, H.L. Roberts. Her book 23:27 is amazing, and real and so, so good. I would highly recommend getting your hands on it when you can.

Q: Do you think your writing will stay in the fantasy and romance YA genres and what is it that you love about writing in these genres?

A: I do. I’m sure you all will laugh, but YA is my comfort zone for many reasons, one of which I can’t write a sex scene that isn’t awkward to save my life. Go ahead, laugh it up. I know…but…the YA world is so much fun. I mean, there are so many different ages and tones of voice and so many things to explore. My husband used to tease me because I watched so many young adult shows, well, I guess I know why.

I will stick to these two genres, yes. I love fantasy. It’s my thing. But, I love a good heartfelt story too, so these genres have my heart. For now.

Q: What is the hardest task when it comes to writing?

A: Outlining. For me, I cannot follow an outline to save my life, and it ends up making so much more work for me during the editing process.writing-style--tojpeg_1468247517451_x2.jpg

Q: How do you begin writing a book? Do you use an outline, paper and pen, or computer?

A: The beginning is the funnest for me because that is when I just let my fingers move over the keys. I never outline. I never use paper and pen, but my laptop is my best friend. 

Q: Do you have any advice for those who want to write, but just aren’t sure of themselves?

A: Believe in who you are. Believe in your words. Believe that you CAN do it. And never, ever, let anyone tell you differently. Sure, it’s scary putting your words in front of the world, but if you love it, do it. Each time you write a book, edit one, whatever, it makes you better. Research your craft and let it take you where it wants to. No matter what, believe in yourself and be confident in your words, no matter if it’s your first book or twentieth.

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-Questions regarding Above The Flames-

Q: How long did it take you to write Above The Flames?

A: Give or take, about two years. I also rewrote the whole book about four times, the first chapter about twenty five times. And took a lot of breaks. I wrote the whole rough draft in a week and it was long. Then, I let it sit for a year and learned how to edit.

Q: Is the second book out now and when can we expect the third?

A: The second book is out, titled Surrounded by Flames and available on Amazon. Because these books are so intense to write, I took a little break from book three, but am planning on publishing it in a year or two. The characters just aren’t speaking to me and I am an author who listens to her characters. 

Q: What influenced you to write a trilogy with supernatural characters?

A: The Discover Channel. I was watching something about Yellowstone National Park and calderas and went to bed that night and had the wildest dream. Each character was vividly detailed and I woke up, grabbed a pen and wrote the idea down. Then, after I explained my vision to my husband, he bought me my first laptop and the rest is history.

Q: Where did you get ideas for the character names in the book?

A: I googled so many sights, angel names, demon names. Jasmine is actually my niece’s name, Cole is my son and Amber is my daughter. I steal names from my family a lot. It turns out they all want to be in my books haha.

Q: Who designed the cover and did you have a part in it?

A: Deranged Doctor Design has designed all my covers through Limitless Publishing. I did have a cover sheet I filled out, but ultimately, Deranged is amazing and really doesn’t need my vision because their own far exceeds mine. They are amazing!

Q: Who would you recommend read Above The Flames?

A: Everyone! No, seriously though. I would recommend Above the Flames to anyone who loves a different spin on angels and demons, who loves sassy, strong heroines and humor. My books are filled with sarcastic characters and sometimes they’re a bit stubborn (sometimes too stubborn). It is an older YA book, so if you like paranormal and a bit of fantasy and are within the age of, let’s say, 16-40, you might just love this book. Give it a try.

Q: I have to say, the ending shocked me and I never saw it coming. Did you struggle with ending the book the way you did?

A: I did, yes. It was a hard one for me to figure out, but ultimately, this series is not a series you can pick up a book in the middle and understand what is going on. I get beat up about that a lot, but in my head, this is one book, not three. Unfortunately, it would have been way too long as one, so I had to split it up, but the story continues in each one right where the last book ended. And, I’m a huge fan of cliffhangers, although I really do try to make sure they aren’t too extreme. I think my idea of “too extreme” doesn’t match a lot of people’s though. haha.

Q: Can we expect new characters in future installments?

A: Of course. We will lose some characters and gain new ones. In fact, in the next book, Surrounded by Flames, you get to meet an angel with a ton of attitude named Charmeine.

-Questions regarding It Starts With L– 

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Q: How many books will be in “The letters of Love Series?”

A: There will be four total. And the titles are all picked. It Starts With L, It Starts With O, It Starts With V and It Starts With E, The Letters of Love Series:) I’m pretty proud of the titles! My 13 year old son helped me pick them, too, which was amazing!

Q: Will the subsequent books include the same characters?

A: Each book will be a standalone, and L was Arielle’s book. She may make appearances, but the next book will be about Jess and will focus on Obsession, to go with the letter “O” theme. I will be introducing a new character in O that will carry to the next book, and finally, “E” will be Blake’s book.

Q: Can we expect to see any more of Blake? (maybe a spoiler) I have to know! 🙂

A: You will. I know a lot of people can’t wrap their heads around the fact that he just disappeared, but “L” was Arielle’s story and Blake was a part of it when he was, but then he wasn’t because Arielle found who she was. 

Q: I noticed there isn’t an age recommendation for It Starts With L, but I personally didn’t think any of the content was inappropriate for teens. For what ages would you recommend this book?

A: I would recommend it for anyone 13-45 and maybe even older. Anyone who wants to relive a part of their lives, to reminisce about the past and remember what you once went through, and of course to anyone going through these things now.

Q: Are any of the characters or situations in this book based on true people or events?

A: Yes. Every one of them are based on true events from MY life. I wrote this book based on the year my dad died. In fact, SPOILER ALERT, but the poem Arielle reads at the end, well that was a poem I actually wrote after my dad passed away. I changed some things, but this whole story is based on my past and that is what made it so hard to share it with the world. At the same time, it was almost therapeutic getting those words out of me, so I’m glad I wrote it, even if some people might not get it. This book follows a year in Arielle’s life. It isn’t about what went on before this book starts, or what happens after. It’s about this year because that is when everything changes for her.

Q: What are your writing goals for the future.

A: My goals are to never stop. Writing is a form of therapy for my anxiety to me. It helps me so much. Plus, I love it. I want to put 2-3 books out every year, but we’ll see if I can manage it. I am certainly going to try.

Q: Do you have any favorite TV shows or movies?

A: The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are my favorite shows.

The Walking Dead

 

Game of Thrones

My favorite movie is Pride and Prejudice. I also have a bit of an obsession. I own like every single one that comes out, including a mini series that aired on Masterpiece Classic. It was also very good, too. But, Pride and Prejudice is also a book I’ve read at least twenty times, so I’m a bit obsessed with more than just the movies haha. 

Also, anything by Shirley Temple, which are old, but hold a special meaning in my heart.

Q: Do you have any favorite music artists or specific songs past or present?

A: I Love Journey and almost every bit of Classic Rock I can find. And I listen to a lot of Country music, along with everything in between.

Journey: “Faithfully” referenced in It Starts With L

 

Q: What other activities do you like to do outside of writing?

A: I love hiking. I am a fish hobbyist and my husband and I have a 55-gallon tank we maintain some beautiful fish in. And I adore spending time with my family every chance I get.

Q: Where can readers find you? 

www.facebook.com/cassandrafearauthor
Instagram @cfear_27
Twitter @CassieFear
And of course, follow me on Goodreads under Cassandra Fear.

I’d like to thank Cassandra Fear for taking the time to complete this Q&A.


RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY! Starts at Midnight 7/22/17 and ends 7/29/17

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About the Author

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Cassandra Fear lives in Ohio with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Hiking, taking care of her fish tank and reading are her favorite hobbies. She loves chocolate, hates driving in the snow and could eat macaroni and cheese every day. In her spare time, she loves to write, and has always dreamed of becoming an author. Her dreams will become reality with her first book, Above the Flames. – Goodreads

Find Cassandra Fear @

Goodreads | Amazon | Website 

 


Surrounded by Flames – The Flames Trilogy Book 2

33644223.jpgThe gates of hell have opened, demons are ravaging the Earth, and no one is safe…
Only Angel Blessed like Jasmine Reynolds can keep demons from burning the corpses of the damned in the streets, and turning Earth into Hell. But are the angels powerful enough to defeat the evil horde?
The demon Bael hasn’t given up his quest to use Jasmine’s powers for evil…
Bael kills her estranged mother before she can make peace with her, then takes her friends hostage. When Jasmine tries to save them, Bael assaults her mind and brings out a dark side she never knew existed. He corrupts her soul and turns her into a weapon against the ones she loves.
Is their love strong enough to defy evil?
When Jasmine attacks her boyfriend Amon, not even a soul-healing can banish her guilt. She wonders how she can go on living with this evil inside her. But she has to find a way to reconcile herself with the evil within, and with the truth of her parentage, or all is lost.
The souls of Earth are surrounded by flames, and Jasmine must find the strength to quench the fire before they all burn.

Add Surrounded by Flames on Goodreads by clicking HERE

 


 

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to comment below with thoughts or suggestions.

13 thoughts on “Above The Flames – It Starts With L Book Reviews + Author Q&A with Cassandra Fear & Giveaway!

  1. starjustin

    These books sound really interesting. The authors Q & A was really informative and personal. I like that a lot. I think I’ll enter the giveaway even thought they’re YA. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nel

    Thanks for this Mischenko! She seems like such a down to Earth author and she gave some great writing advice for those looking to publish her own works. Great review and interview!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nel. She does seem very down to earth and I really enjoyed interacting with her. She’s very kind. I learned a lot and there’s some great advice here! I hope that it will help other aspiring writers. Thanks for sharing, Nel! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Cassandra Fear

    Thank you so very much for those amazing reviews and for having me as a guest for an interview! I had a blast answering those questions!! And, of course, I am so glad you liked my 📚!!

    Liked by 1 person

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