Short Story: Daemon Academy by Danielle Rose

daemon academy

Title: Daemon Academy
Author: Danielle Rose
Genre: Horror
Age: Young Adult (although this will depend on the maturity of the reader to some degree)
Is This Part of a Series?: No

Summary: (*taken from the Daemon Academy page on Goodreads)
Kemper Academy is over a hundred years old, but it has only recently reopened after a series of murders and stories of hauntings shut it down. Avlynn, a new student, refuses to let the rumors scare her, chalking them up to a bit of friendly freshman hazing. But when night falls and screams draw her from her room, she finds the truth is much more horrifying than any ghost story.

Overall Impression:
This was a quick read with just the right amount of scariness to make me tense, but not induce bad dreams.

The Nitty Gritty:
I enjoyed this story from the very first sentence. Ms. Rose clearly put thought into finding heavy duty words. Almost all of the sentences in Daemon Academy do more than just one job: character building, world building, atmosphere building, etc. Which is a very good thing, in this short story. (In any short story, really).

My favorite part of this story was the way it fits within the horror genre. There was plenty of tension and atmosphere, a spooky setting and a great legend to go with it, and even a set of well-developed characters. Despite all of these elements that were appropriate to the horror genre, however, the gore level (and by this I mean level of description of blood, ghosts, hauntings, etc that make horror so horrifying) was at the perfect level for me. It was scary and other-worldly, but not graphic.

The worst part of this story is that it ends. While nothing is as thoroughly developed as in a novel, the perception is that the depth exists for them. And then ending to the story certainly leaves me wanting to know what happens next (although this is a complete story).

Special Considerations:
As this is a horror story, I believe it is important for parents to read this before letting their younger teenagers read it. It is a quick read, so won’t take up too much of your time, and a read-through will allow you to gauge whether or not your child will enjoy this or be disturbed by this. You know your child best, after all.

Goodreads Rating: 4.86 Stars (7 Ratings)
Amazon Rating: 5 Stars (3 Reviews)
My Rating: 5 Stars

My other reviews of Ms. Rose’s work:
Blood Rose

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Author Interview: Danielle Rose

Danielle Rose headshot

One week ago, Danielle Rose released her debut novel, Blood Rose. My review of it was the first review I posted as the Busy Busy Bookwyrm (and you can read it here). In honor of a week of availability (both for her book and my review blog!), I asked her a few pressing, life-and-death (or maybe just interesting) questions. Here are her answers:

1) Where did the inspiration for Avah come from? Jasik?

It’s hard for me to answer this because I can’t pinpoint one place that was the root of my inspiration. I like to write novels with a strong female lead, but I also like there to be weakness and opportunities for growth. I also like to write relatable characters, and I needed Avah to stay strong, yet still fall apart when she lost herself after her transition. (Something I think anyone in her situation would have done.)

Jasik was the easiest character to write—though his tone was the hardest. It was easy for me to envision him, because he’s everything I’d want in a book boyfriend. He’s gorgeous and strong. He’s selfless and kind. He’s caring and devoted.

2) What was the hardest scene to write in Blood Rose? How did you finally push through it?

There were a few scenes that were difficult to write. It was hard for me to write the scenes in which Avah’s witch coven turns their back on her because of what she’s become. There are elements at play there that will soon come to light, and even though I knew this, it was still difficult for me. I’ve always had a very close relationship with my mom, and I’ve never been in a situation where I couldn’t run home. But that’s where Avah is in book one. She’s lost a huge part of herself, and she feels as though she has nowhere to turn. The one place she wants to go, she can’t, and the one place welcoming her, she doesn’t want to go.

It was also difficult to write the sex scenes. The sensual scenes were easy for me to write, but when it came time to write the sex scene, I had trouble. I constantly questioned myself: is this enough? Am I going too far? Should I add more detail? My series, Blood Books, does not consist of erotic novels, but they are new adult paranormal romance. There is a fine line between the two, and I needed to make sure I didn’t cross it.

In all honesty, I think pushing through was just trial and error. I worked through the issues with my editor, tossing what didn’t work and fleshing out what did. But that’s how writing goes in general, I suppose.

3) Your debut novel, Blood Rose, released on August 13th, 2015. What has been the most surprising thing that has happened since then?

In all honesty, the most surprising thing thus far has been the overwhelmingly positive feedback I’ve gotten. Everyone has loved it. Releasing a novel is terrifying, but I’ve had so much support, and I’ve gotten the most amazing comments from readers who can’t wait for the second book. I’ve received comments like “My monthly book allowance only allows for one book a month, and I’m using it to buy yours!” and “I bought the ebook, but I must have the paperback on my shelf, so I bought your book twice!” and “Please, please never end this series!” It’s been so amazing, and I’m incredibly grateful and humbled by everything that’s happened so far.

4) You have a very busy release schedule set for the next year or so. How are you planning on keeping yourself refreshed and energized? What do you do to keep your creative batteries charged?

I’m fairly prolific, so I try to keep myself on track with a big load. I am a full-time writer, so it’s easy for me to stay on track. I tend to write one book every two months. I could write more, but I also stay very active on my social media accounts because I love interacting with other writers and readers. Because of this, I limit how much I write every day. (That’s so I don’t get burnt out!)

To stay fresh and remain on track, I do several things:

  1. I stick to a realistic (and small) word count. I aim for only 1,000 words a day. It takes me less than one hour to write that many words.
  2. I try to work in my office, which is filled with lots of motivational items like my books, quotes on post-its, books on writing, and more!
  3. I stay in contact with a few writer friends, and we keep each other on task.
  4. I use to-do lists like they’re going out of style. I usually write one every day. I’m a HUGE fan of planning!
  5. I try to outline all of my books. That way, I know exactly what I’m working on when I hit the chair. When I have an outline, I can write my 1,000 words in less than 30 minutes. Because of this, I usually end up writing more than 1,000 words every day, too!

5) Finally, if you could be anything, what type and/or color of dragon would you be and why? More importantly, what would be the first book you placed in your literary horde?

I took a BuzzFeed quiz that says I’m a Hydrohius dragon, which according to this quiz, is a water dragon. This type of dragon has the ability to morph and change shapes. It says that people who are this type of dragon are a “gentle, but powerful, go-with-the-flow kind of person.” We “watch from a distance and spend much time” in our own thoughts. I couldn’t agree more! Water is my element based on astrology, too. I love the rain and the ocean. I’m at my most comfortable when around water. And my favorite color is teal! So I’d be a blue water dragon for sure!

I’d place Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series in my literary horde! Mead is my favorite author, and her book is a must on my shelf!

Purchase link for Blood Rose:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Ow76V0

My other reviews of Ms. Rose’s work:
Daemon Academy (Short Story)

Blood Books Series
Blood Rose (Blood Books 1) – August 2015

Blood Bound (Blood Books 2) – December 2015
Blood Books 3 – June 2016
Blood Books 4 – December 2016
Blood Books 5 – June 2017
Blood Books 6 – December 2017

**Novels to possibly continue based on story arc.

Author Bio:
Danielle Rose is writer of fiction and travel, as well as the owner of Narrative Ink Editing LLC. Danielle currently resides in the Midwest, where she spends her days at a local coffee shop planning her next vacation or plotting her next novel.

Danielle holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program. In addition to her Master of Fine Arts, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and certification in professional writing from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

When not writing, traveling, or writing about traveling, Danielle enjoys being outdoors, cheering for her favorite football team (Go Packers!), and spending time with her husband and their furbabies: two dogs and a cat. 

Places to find Danielle Rose:
Website: www.danielle-rose.com
Blog: www.danielles-destinations.com
Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/daniellerose
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/DanielleNRose13
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanielleNRose13
Twitter: www.twitter.com/DanielleNRose13
Instagram: www.instagram.com/daniellenrose13
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/daniellenrose13
Google+: www.plus.google.com/u/0/+DanielleRose13
Narrative Ink: www.narrativeinkediting.com

Blood Rose by Danielle Rose

Blood Rose promo 5-2Title: Blood Rose
Author: Danielle Rose
Age Level: New Adult
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Part of a Series?: Yes (the Blood Books series, Book One)

*I was provided an advanced reading copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:
Avah Taylor is a young witch, born with the power of Spirit, trained as a warrior, and chosen as the one witch in her generation to be gifted with The Power, which prophecy says will be the key to ending the fighting between witches and vampires. Although most witches to receive The Power die young, Avah has vowed to end the centuries old war.

Destiny, however, has other plans.

On the night Avah is to receive The Power, her coven is attacked by vampires. Injured in the fighting and left for dead, Avah finds herself rescued—and turned—by a vampire unlike any she has seen before. Disowned by her coven and her family for being a vampire, Avah is forced to join her maker and the group of vampires he is a part of.

The majority of the book is spent with the reader watching as Avah is torn between the “facts” she was raised to believe in and the realities that are unfolding in front of her. As she struggles between the old life and the new, Avah must decide who she is, what defines a family, and where her loyalties lie.

Overall Impressions:
This book certainly had both strengths and weaknesses, but when it comes right down to it, I gave it it’s rating based on the following things:

  1. Once I began reading it, I didn’t want to stop until I had reached the end.
  2. My breathing, my heart rate, and—most importantly—my emotions were all impacted by the story of Avah, Jasik, and the vampires under Jasik’s protection.
  3. The book was always moving forward, even when there were down beats.
  4. When I finished the book, I was already counting the days until December when the next book in the series will come out.

The Nitty Gritty:
Although this is Ms. Rose’s Debut novel, there is no doubt that she knows her craft. She writes with a fast-paced intensity that is liberally sprinkled with beautiful poetry and sharp commentary on life and the human condition.

The world she writes in is both fantastically foreign and comfortingly normal, and obviously thoroughly thought through. While the majority of the world the reader sees is full of magic and war and life-or-death choices, not to mention witches and vampires, there are fabulous intrusions of our every day world. Descriptions are detailed and precise, but never weigh down the foreword momentum of the story.  Yes, this is happening in a world that we will never know, but that world just happens to be just out of reach of our own, hiding in the shadows and forest clearings and middle-of-nowhere, fringe communities. If we could only look in just the right spot, at just the right moment, we would see that it is real, has always been real, and was merely waiting for us to pay attention. Thankfully, Ms. Rose is here to lend us her vision.

Although there are ten (by my count) characters important for the reader to recognize, they are all distinct from one another, with looks, attitudes, and ways of speaking that are unique to each character. I never had a problem following who was speaking or why they were acting the way they did.

That being said, character RELATIONSHIPS are one of the areas that fell short for me. Any relationships that Avah had with another vampire–Jasik, Amicia, for example, or even the vampire community as a whole–felt rushed. There seemed to be distinct phases, such as enemy/distrust and neutral, but no gradual shifting or active working on improving the relationship. Avah went from hating vampires, to hoping they wouldn’t hate her, to everybody liking everybody (more or less). This detracted some from the believability of the relationships. My experience is that, aside from very young kids, friendships and trust take a very, very long time to develop.

There is a caveat to this complaint, however! While re-examining the book, I realized that there were some moments that had initially felt like inconsistencies in the time line, but which were actually, I think, jumps in the timeline. If this is indeed the case, the confusion in how quickly things happen and the dissatisfaction in how fast relationships develop, could be fixed with a simple transition paragraph every time a jump occurs, or even a simple “time stamp” at the start of each chapter or scene.

Special Parenting Concerns:
Sex Scenes: This book is classified as a romance; there is a love interest for twenty-four-year-old Avah and there are several scenes of various levels of intimacy. They are all tasteful and most of them feature no more than intense kissing or strong feelings of attraction. There is one scene where they are in bed together, feeding off of each other, which is very sexual but includes no genital penetration, and one scene with actual penetration (and no “fade to black”). Keep this in mind if you don’t want your teenager to be reading such things or, keep it in mind as an area to discuss as a possible teachable moment if you are comfortable enough to have such discussions with your young adult or new adult children.

Violence: This book’s plot centers around a way between witches and vampires. There are vampires of varying degrees of violence. Fighting, blood, and death occur more than once in this book. However, there is never violence just for violence’s sake, nor is there a great deal of detail put into the gore. Keep in mind that Avah, the main character, is turned into a vampire very early on and blood becomes her source of food. There are some great, detailed descriptions of what she goes through in facing the thought of drinking blood, as well as her first and subsequent encounters drinking blood. The coven she belongs to does not hunt for their blood, though. Instead, they get their blood from willing donors via blood bag.

Language: No (or very, very little) swearing.

Book Club Chatter:
This book can open the door for a variety of discussions between parents and their high school and older children (or your book club!):

  1. A discussion of where identity comes from—the genes you are born with, the family you are raised by, or the choices you make?
  2. How do things we “know” to be true impact our choices and relationships? How could we—and should we—look for ways to challenge these “facts”?
  3. What makes a family?
  4. What makes a person, organization, or idea worth our loyalty?

You Will Like This If…:

  • You like Twilight, Chosen, or Blue Bloods
  • Authors such as Marjorie Liu and Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Books that blend more than one genre: this is a paranormal action romance, blending vampires AND witches, action AND romance.
  • As a New Adult novel, this book could appeal to those who love Young Adult, New Adult, and traditional Paranormal Romances

Goodreads’s Rating: 4.4 Stars (18 Ratings)
Amazon’s Rating: 4.3 Stars (19 Ratings)
My Rating: 5 Stars

You may be wondering why I would give this book five stars when I had several things that I did not like or wished were done differently. And I will admit, I was torn between a four and five star rating. However, what a five star rating boils down to for me is not a “perfectly written” book, but a book that provides me the perfect reading experience. If I select a book and it is well-written, fun, and I don’t want to put it down; if it is a book that I can sink into and forget the real world is around me rather than between the pages I hold in my hands…well, -that- is a five star experience to me, and -that- is most definitely what I received with this book.

*this book review is also posted on Goodreads and here on Modern Momology

My other reviews of Ms. Rose’s work:
Daemon Academy (Short Story)