Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review: Collide by Ashley Stambaugh

Collide, by Ashley Stambaugh
2014, 256p, NA Urban Fantasy
My Rating=4 Stars
Source: Received copy from author for an honest review

Melina Rowe never thought her quiet, simple life could change to one full of fear and confusion just by accidentally bumping into someone. But after she collides with an elderly man named Walter, she starts to hear people’s thoughts and have unsettling visions.

Walter reveals himself as a guiding angel and explains to Melina that she’s a rare type of human who can absorb angel powers. But her special ability is more of a problem for her than a gift.

The powers are too strong for humans and will eventually kill Melina unless she can successfully use them to help a select individual who’s in need of guidance. Her chances are slim, though, seeing that the handful of other humans this has happened to before didn't survive.

Scared for her life, Melina desperately tries to help a young man named Lee, but his continual resistance and her struggle with the powers make it almost impossible. Her situation only grows worse when a trio of soul-snatching demons is sent by an unknown entity to take her soul and kill her.

As a determined Walter sets out to discover who sent the demons and why, Melina must defend herself from their relentless attacks all while trying to use powers she doesn’t fully understand to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. If she can’t figure out how to break through to Lee, the powers will ultimately destroy her. But if the powers don’t kill her first, the demons will.  

While out jogging one morning, Melina bumps into an elderly man named Walter. She felt a powerful surge of energy pass through her and was stunned. He's surprised, too, and tries to explain what happened, but she doesn't want to hear it. Walter has to shock her again to get her to believe who he is and what it was that passed between them and Melina's life will never be the same again.

She learns that she needs to embrace her new powers and help someone in trouble and in need of guidance, but it has to be a particular person. She starts a search for that person and finds Lee, who isn't open to her help at all. Melina starts getting attacked by demons and her powers are weakening her and the only thing that can save her is to help Lee.

I don't always enjoy reading angel and demon stories, but this one held my interest and I liked that it was different. I liked Melina. Her parents have both died and she's running their bookshop. It wasn't necessarily her dream, but she's willing to do it. I also liked her relationship with her best friend Tessa. Tessa stood by Melina and helped her when she needed it.  

I wasn't too sold on Melina and Lee's relationship throughout most of the book. Lee seemed afraid of her, with good reason, and I wasn't sure if there would actually be a romance between them. I started to buy into it more towards the end and I'm hoping to see even more of a connection between them as the series progresses. 

I liked Melina's relationship with her guiding angel, Walter. Walter didn't know everything and he had to search for some answers, too. Walter and Melina were both in for some surprises as they tried to figure out what was happening.

There were times when I felt the story jumped around and would have liked some scenes to be described in more detail. The ending is satisfying and I'm interested to see where the author goes with the story from here!

I was able to interview the author so keep reading to find out more about her and this series!

Author Interview

1. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve loved to read and write since I was a young girl, but I never took it seriously until I was older. It was always more of a hobby for me until after I graduated from college. That’s when I realized that I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be one of those people who could truly say that they did what they loved for a living, so I set out to make it come true. I finished my first manuscript back in 2009, and that's when I first considered myself a writer.

2. What inspired you to write Collide?
I’ve always been intrigued with stories about the supernatural, especially angels and demons. So I thought to myself, “Instead of just focusing on angels and demons interacting with humans, why not give a human angel powers and see what happens?” Then the story just developed from there.

3. How many books are you planning to write in this series and when is the next one scheduled to be released?
Collide is the first book in a planned trilogy. I'm still working on the second book, and it will hopefully be released sometime during the first part of next year.

4. Who is your favorite character to write?
Hmm... that's a tough one. I like to write them all, but I guess it's sort of fun to write the demons. We all have different ideas about what we think supernatural creatures could look like, so my imagination really gets fired up when I write about the demons - what they look like, how they act, how they talk. I get to make it all up, and that's one of the aspects I love most about writing fantasy/paranormal books!

5. What are some of your favorite books and what book are you reading now?
I have too many favorites to name, but they all have paranormal or fantastical elements in them. I love paranormal and fantasy books, can you tell? With that being said, I've actually just started to read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, and so far it's really good.

6. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Well, I have two young children, so a lot of my spare time is spent with them, but when I get some time to myself I like to read and go for long walks out in the country.

7. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t ever give up. I know a lot of authors say that, but there’s a reason why a lot of authors say that. Because it’s true. Don’t ever give up on your writing. That doesn’t mean that you may not have to rewrite your manuscript a couple of times, or maybe even put that one aside and move on to your next piece of work, but you’ll eventually find success if you don’t ever give up.

8. Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I hope that my readers enjoy Collide, as well as the rest of the books in the series, because that's what I want most from this whole experience. I want my readers to enjoy and be entertained by my stories.

Thanks, Ashley! It was fun getting to know you better and I'm looking forward to your second book!

Ashley Stambaugh grew up in a small town in Illinois where she and her two siblings created some of the best memories playing on their family’s farm. She stayed in the southern region of the state to attend college where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and also met her husband.

Now, she and her husband live in central Illinois and spend their time creating new memories with their two rambunctious boys and their comical black Pug. She also enjoys reading, taking long walks, and finding great bargains. When her sons are a little bit older, she has a great desire to travel with her family. Oh, and she also has a slight obsession with chocolate.

When she’s not busy chasing after her two young children or losing herself in a good book, you can find her curled up on her couch with her laptop, writing.

Her debut novel, Collide, is the first book in a new Urban Fantasy trilogy.


Ashley said...

Thank you, Melanie, for taking the time to read and review my book! I really appreciate it, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Unknown said...

Awesome interview. I love the cover :)

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