I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Series: The Energy Series
Published by Untold Press on 4 November 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA Romance, Young Adult
Source: the author
For seventeen-year-old Lena, living in the trailer park with the rest of town’s throwaways isn’t exactly paradise. Dealing with a drunken father who can't keep his fists to himself doesn’t help matters either. The only good thing in her life, other than track, is the mysterious man who visits her dreams, promising to find her.
When a chair burns her arms, Lena chalks it up to stress-induced crazy. Yet as bizarre incidents escalate, even being crazy can’t explain it all away… until one day dream guy does find her.
Tarek lost Lena seventeen years ago after she was accused of treason and marked Tainted. He finally discovers her reborn on Earth into a life of suffering as punishment for her crime. However, someone else has already found her… and wants her dead. Willing to sacrifice everything, he fights to keep her safe so she can live the only life she’s ever known—even if that life doesn’t include him.
Excerpt:A movement at the edge of the forest caught my attention, causing me to grip the railing. At first, I thought it was Wilma, but the shape was too big, too masculine. Maybe one of the potheads decided to come back without his friends? Nope. The size of the guy didn't match any of the skinny boys who walked in minutes before.
When he made it to the edge of the woods, twinges of...something...prickled my skin.
"Finally." His voice was a whisper, but that didn't stop what he said from carrying across the road as he moved closer. Sadness covering his face gave me an odd urge to reassure him, let him know everything was okay.
His hand covered his heart. "It's been so long."
I took sporadic, small steps off the porch, not wanting to spook him. That's when I noticed his clothes.
Dressed all in black, the tight shirt and pants made his blond hair glow. I'd never seen anyone outside of actors in movies wear what passed for a leotard, which moved with him as though his clothes were a living organism leeching onto his body, needing it to survive.
"Who are you?" My nails dug into the wood.
He shook his head as the sadness surrounding his eyes tightened to anger so vivid waves of it floated in the frosty air.
The sudden change definitely helped erase any desire to soothe him. I had no clue what pissed him off, but sticking around to find out didn't sound like a good idea.
The ripples and sways of his shirt as he stalked across the road were beautiful, graceful, but the look on his face said I should forget about his grace and run.
My hands pushed down the air in hopes he understood the universal signal for calm down.
If he understood, he didn't listen because he ate up the rest of the space between us in seconds.
I took off, running to the back of the park, not wanting to lead him to my doorstep. He was right behind me, so close I imagined his breath hitting the back of my neck when he spoke. "Wait!"
Mature Content Rating: Abuse, Language, Mild Sexual Content, Mild Religious Debate
Tainted Energy is a take on reincarnation where instead of deciding what creature you deserved to be, your life is dependent upon what dimension you deserve. Some worlds are greatly evolved, others are still in infancy; each with a Warden to watch over and protect its dimension.
Lena is seventeen and living on Earth as a punishment, fallen from grace that is Exemplar, the highest of dimensions, and forced to live out her cycle in an abusive home with no memory of who she really is.
Three other dimensions were mentioned in this book: Exemplar, Arcus, and Empyrean. Exemplar we don’t see very much of in this book, but Arcus and Empyrean are extraordinary worlds built by the author. Arcus is a very low level dimension filled with vibrant, almost cartoon quality colors and a mishmash of not-quite-right creatures. Empyrean is a medieval-ish quality dimension with cities that float in the air.
Lena’s character is strong, sharp, and a bit hardheaded. She does seem to what things her way most of the time, but not in a “spoiled” sort of way. Tarek is a big, cocky, teddybear who can be very protective and jealous. The romance between the two was mostly light, but does have a few fluff filled moments for long sighs and girly giggles.
The baddies were delightfully evil and fun to toss thoughts about. Casimir makes many valid points but goes about things wrong. I’ve already made several guesses about the villain/s for the next book!
Overall, Tainted Energy is a great start to a promising new series. I recommend it for anyone who likes to read paranormal romance that hints on the side of soulmates.
1. Tell me about Tainted Energy. How did you come up with the idea?
My daughter actually put the idea in my head. She’s fascinated with the notions of reincarnation and pantheism, and we’ve had many discussions on those subjects over the years. So when Lena’s character popped into my head, I thought of having her go through many lives in different worlds due to the hours and hours of conversations our family has had on the topic.
2. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
I write both fantasy and contemporary, but I always gravitate toward young adult, particularly upper young adult. To me, this age category is the most tumultuous, exciting, confusing, and fantastic time in one’s life. I love to explore all those emotions and how characters handle them internally and externally.
3. Were you writing to publish, or did that idea come later?
When I first began to write seriously, the thought of publishing never entered my head. I write because I love it and because I can’t not write. If I were never published, I’d still write, every day. I first dipped into the publishing world with flash fiction. I submitted a few stories, had a couple published, and it gave me some confidence to go further.
4. What’s more important to you: characters or plot?
Character will always trump plot for me. Although plot is extremely important, if a reader doesn’t like the characters or can’t connect with them, an amazing plot won’t encourage someone to stick around to find out how those characters deal with obstacles.
5. This is the first book in a series. Is it going to be a trilogy?
The Energy Series is a set of four books.
6. Can you tell us a little about the second book/ when it may be available?
The second book, Lost Energy, will be out February 3, 2015. Lena realizes her past refuses to stay gone, and it will take more than a few people this time to make sure her past enemies stay away. What happened it Tainted Energy will have consequences.
7. Have you written a book that you did not publish?
Oh, yes! A few, actually. They will forever stay in my document graveyard.
8. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
So many authors have influenced and inspired me. But I can say Stephen King has been a huge influence on my writing. His On Writing is my absolute go-to writing guide. I’ve read that book enough to times to memorize it. His writing is concise and natural. I also love James Baldwin. His prose is so lyrical and fluid.
9. Do you have a favorite character/chapter from your book?
I love all my characters, even those who might seem terrible. If I had to choose, I would say Lena is my favorite. I love her strength, and I admire how she deals with obstacles in her life.
10. Is there anything you would like to say to the readers?
If it were not for readers, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to give my characters life outside of my own head. I love sharing them, and I appreciate those who care enough about them to read their stories. So, the biggest thing I’d like to say to readers is thank you! Thank you so very much!