July was a complete and total blur for me! We were so busy I didn’t get to finish anywhere near as many books as I had planned, but I did get to discover a few really great new books and authors.
So here’s my July Wrap-Up of all the books I reviewed in July: Truth Seer by Kay L. Moody. Not only did I LOVE this book, but I also was able to interview the author. If you haven’t had the opportunity to do so already, be sure to check out the review and interview!
The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley. This was the first time I’d read anything by D.M. Pulley, but it definitely won’t be the last!
Mystic Dragon by Jason Denzel. For the first time ever, I actually jumped into the middle of a series and wasn’t upset about it!
Priceless by Jen Barrick. I wasn’t as blown away by this devotional as I expected to be, but it was still a good devotional for teen girls.
I also finished reading Beneath the Same Heaven by Anne Marie Ruff, which I absolutely loved, but I haven’t been able to finish up the review yet.
I’m looking forward to my August TBR and hopefully a more productive month!
If you read my review of Kay L Moody’s Truth Seer, then you know that I fell in love with the characters and the world created in the book. About a million questions popped in my head while reading, and Kay was awesome enough to answer some of them!
How did you come up with the idea for Truth Seer?
Truth Seer started out as a picture in my mind. I imagined a girl tiptoeing through a dark and winding tunnel. The tunnel was filled with all sorts of things, but everything was opposite of what it seemed. The girl traveled with another person, but only the girl could see what was real and what was fake. She had to convince the other person to trust her even though everything looked opposite of what was really there. I remember two illusions specifically: In the tunnel, it looked like there was a patch of daisies, but really it was a cluster of poisonous spikes. In another spot sat the world’s most comfortable bed, but it looked like a huge, never ending pit.
Most of my original idea had to be adapted as the story evolved, but I did manage to keep the never-ending pit. 🙂
How did you come up with the idea of hilas? Was it challenging to work through all the different hilas and decide upon which character gets which one, etc.?
I remember seeing a thing on Pinterest where someone said their superpower was being able to remove sticky labels off glass objects. I remember thinking that was funny. But then I started reading the comments and a lot of people were genuinely impressed and asked for tips. I thought it was really interesting how people could be impressed by such a simple thing. And then I thought, what if that skill was trained so intensely that it actually became a superpower? Or what if being hyper aware of smells was a superpower? If we focused in on these mundane abilities and trained them to become more than just mundane, what would happen? Then, I imagined what the world would be like in a hundred years where we’ve trained these powers and almost everyone has a superpower.
It wasn’t hard to decide who had what hila, but it was hard to keep track of what their hila was actually capable of. I worked really hard to make all of the hilas realistically plausible. At first, Siluk could create smells out of thin air. But I decided that didn’t fit any of the other hilas, so I had to give him that same ability, but make it scientifically plausible. So instead, I gave him spray bottles and he knew how to use them to create any smell he wanted.
Are there other female authors (or authors in general) in the genre that inspired you to write Truth Seer?
I was more inspired to write in science fiction because of the lack of woman. But since writing and researching the genre more, I have found a few authors that I love. When I was almost done with the 2nd draft of Truth Seer, I discovered The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I was completely blown away by the story and quickly became a huge fan of this strange genre where science fiction and fantasy are smooshed together. I’ve written a lot about science fantasy/soft sci fi on my website because the genre fascinates me. I really hope to see more books like this in the future.
Also, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, is basically my hero. For those who don’t know, Frankenstein is widely considered the first science fiction novel ever. And I love that it was written by a woman! I haven’t read Frankenstein yet, but it’s on my to-read list and I can’t wait to start it.
If you had to pick, who is your favorite character? Why? Were they also your favorite character to write, or did you enjoy the actual creating of another character more?
Imara is probably my favorite because she has such opposite forces working within her. She has the desire to protect other people, but she also thinks very little of everyone around her. She has to learn a lot about herself that she has tried to ignore for a long time. But of course, Abe was another favorite. Imara has pushed everyone away for so long, she hardly knows what to do when Abe comes in and forces himself in her life. Her instinct is still to push him away and instead of being offended, he tries to figure out why so he can help her.
I also had a lot of fun writing the side characters. I love all of them for different reasons, but my favorites are probably Mr. Nazari and Siluk.
If Truth Seer were made into a movie, who do you imagine playing the lead roles?
I love to imagine Lupita Nyong’o as Imara, especially since Lupita grew up in Kenya. And for Abe, I feel like Marc Casabani has the right look.
Can you give us a hint about what’s in store for Imara and Abe without giving away too many spoilers?
At the end of Truth Seer, we know a lot about Imara and her past, but we know almost nothing about Abe, other than what happens in the catacombs. In book 2 we’ll get to learn a lot more about Abe’s life and past, which I’m really excited about. There’s also a new antagonist in book 2. If you’ve signed up for my email list to get Keiko’s story, you’ll get a little introduction to the new antagonist. I don’t want to give away too much, but there will be lots of new technology and lots of crime. And there’s going to be a lot more at stake than just hostages.
What are your top 3 favorite books of all time?
I have a very eclectic list of favorite books. In no particular order, my very favorite books are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Cinder by Marissa Meyer
What was your favorite part of the writing/publishing process? What was your least favorite?
My favorite part was the writing and my least favorite part was the writing. 🙂 There were so many days when I’d stare at my screen and have no idea how to write what I was thinking in my head. I kept saying, “Why is writing so hard?” But I also loved the actual writing. When I got to my favorite parts, it was so fun to finally put on paper the ideas in my head. I guess the very best part was finishing and knowing that I had actually accomplished my goal of publishing a book.
What started you on the road to writing/why do you write?
I explain this in a lot more detail on my about me page, but basically my mom inspired me to write. And she graced me with the genetics to always have a story in my head. I started writing to escape the world. I loved creating worlds where my characters could overcome the struggles I faced and find happiness despite pain.
About Kay L Moody:
Kay L Moody is proud to be a female science fiction author. Her books feature cool science and technology, strong female leads, and a dash of romance. There’s a strong focus on character development and societal conditions. Kay loves books because they provide an escape from the world. She writes so that her books can provide both entertainment and edification. She believes that no matter how difficult life gets, a happy ending is never permanently out of reach. She likes to say, “If it isn’t happy, then it’s not the end.”
A world of lies. A cell of terrorists. When her sister is taken hostage, only the power to see the truth can set both of them free.
Egypt, 2121. Imara Kalu knows how she wants her future to go: Become a police interrogator in Kenya and then graduate as a truth seer in her last semester of the summer training program. But her plans fall apart when a group of terrorists take over the school and carry out a desperate kidnapping. Devastated that her sister is among the victims, Imara leads a rescue team and descends into the dangerous catacombs where the hostages are rumored to be hidden.
Although suspicious of others because of the truth she sees, Imara knows the rescue team will need her help as a truth seer to bypass the lethal illusions laid by the abductors. But as the terrorist traps escalate, Imara realizes how much truth she’s been ignoring and that holding back could get her sister killed. Throughout the journey, Imara confronts her past and amplifies her abilities as a truth seer only to discover that her sister’s kidnapping is just one piece of a much darker secret. Truth Seer is an enthralling YA sci-fi fantasy novel. If you like tenacious heroes, incredible mind powers, and futuristic tech, then you’ll love Kay L Moody’s fascinating world.
If you had the ability to see (literally SEE) others truths and intentions, would you really want to?
Before reading Truth Seer, I would have said “Um, Yeah!” without thinking twice about it. But now?!?!? I’m not so sure… Truth Seer takes place in the future, after we’ve tapped into innate abilities that allow us to basically have superpowers (hilas). It seems a little far fetched when I say it that way, but Kay L Moody actually had me thinking I could totally have a hila!
Basically, we’re currently in a world where we all have “abilities” we just haven’t tapped into yet. Are you good at nursing people back to health? You’re probably a healer. Have an incredible sense of smell? Yep, there’s a hila there! Can you predict when it’s about to rain? You’ve probably got the same hila as Imara’s sister, Naki. OR at least, you would…if only we’d figured out how to unlock our hilas already. Not gonna lie… I’M SUPER UPSET WE DON’T HAVE SUPERPOWERS!
Oops! I got distracted. I’m supposed to be telling you what I thought about the book…
The main character, Imara, is a truth seer. She’s able to see the truth and intentions behind what people say. I both thought this was awesome, and felt so bad for Imara that this was her hila! Because she knows anytime someone is lying, she can’t trust anyone. Everyone lies.
Imara and her sister, Naki, have some issues that go far deeper than most sibling rivalries. But when Naki is kidnapped by a terrorist group called “taggers,” Imara risks her life to save Naki and the others who were taken with her.
My favorite thing about Truth Seer was definitely the characters! I was drawn to Imara and loved how complicated she was. She is constantly seeing the truth around her, but the truth about herself is much harder for her to see. While Imara is my favorite character, there’s a mystique about Abe that has me dying to see what happens in the next book… I’m really hoping to learn more about him!
One of my favorite scenes was probably really only my favorite because I found it hilarious and could totally see the scenario taking place in the not so distant future. And I could totally see me talking to my grandchildren the same as Mr. Nazari talks to the students…
… “There’s writing on it. There’s actual writing on this paper. By hand!”
Mr. Nazari snatched the paper from Darius. “Let me see that.” He masked his curiosity with a patronizing look. “You children. Getting excited over paper. It used to be commonplace, you know.”
Because of Imara’s hila, no one ever questions her. They just go along with whatever she says. But she falls for Abe, who questions everything about both her hila and Imara herself. I loved their back and forth and they may be my new favorite fictional couple! So those are the pros, on to the cons…
While I loved the book, there were times when Imara rubbed me the wrong way. She said and thought things that just didn’t make sense concerning her sister. It really got to me – to the point that I started not to like her so much. But you are given an explanation later in the story and it’s this “AHA!” moment, where suddenly it all makes sense and you think “Okay, now I’m shocked she wasn’t having even worse thoughts.” (So I guess this wasn’t actually a con. But I put it here because Imara REALLY angered me a couple of times before I knew what was going on.)
There were quite a bit of typos in my copy, but it may have just been because I had an ARC and these may be taken care of. In case they aren’t, I feel I need to mention that it was a problem. There was also a couple of times when the dialogue didn’t seem quite right…it either wasn’t something I would have expected the character to say, or it didn’t sound natural to me.
But basically, I loved Truth Seer and I definitely recommend it for those that enjoy young adult science fiction/fantasy novels. Book 2 in the trilogy is coming in January and I’m excited to get my hands on it!
In case you’re wondering…my hila would totally be truth seeing, just like Imara. And just like her, it’d cause me to isolate myself from everyone… What would you’re hila be? Would you actually want one, or do you think you’d be happier without it?
Do you plan on reading or have you read Truth Seer? What did you think? Do you want a hila now? Let me know!
***UPDATE: Since the original posting of this review, it has been confirmed that the typos mentioned above were because they had not been fixed prior to my receiving the ARC from the author and typos were corrected prior to final version of book.