Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Blog Tour Review with Author Interview and Giveaway: Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton

Book info:
TitleSmoke and Key
Author:  Kelsey Sutton
Genre:  YA Supernatural
Release Date:  April 2nd, 2019
Publisher:  Entangled Teen
Source:  Finished copy received from publisher which did not influence my opinion
My rating:  3 stars

“Full of dark mystery and unexpected twists.” —Meg Kassel, author of Keeper of the Bees

A sound awakens her. There's darkness all around. And then she's falling...

She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she's dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names—from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and secrets, and Key is determined to discover the truth of her past in order to escape it.

She needs help, but who can she trust? Ribbon seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. Doll’s silence hints at deep sorrow, which could be why she doesn't utter a word. There's Smoke, the boy with a fierceness that rivals even the living. And Journal, who stays apart from everyone else. Key's instincts tell her there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can't remember why.

Then the murders start. Bodies that are burned to a crisp. And after being burned, the dead stay dead. Key is running out of time to discover who she was—and what secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden—before she loses her life for good…

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Purchase links can be found HERE.

 My Review:
So, honestly even though it started with what was supposed to be a pretty exciting or sudden frightening event, I felt as if it started a bit slow for me. It took a bit to get in.  A third of the way through it did pick up, and I became invested in the characters and what was happening.  As I continued to read I started thinking of what might be the twist.  While I thought I knew what it might be, the author definitely kept me guessing till the end with the true motivations.  There was at least one twist I did not see coming, even as who certain characters were fell into place, one or two still were surprises when I found out who they had been in the world before.  While I get who and why all of this happened, I feel like the twists and turns made it harder for me to believe exactly how it all went down.  It was original in how it ended and its overall plot, but I wouldn't put it as a top read of mine for the year.  However it did keep my attention for the most part, and had some good moments and interesting character development, it maybe be more for you than it was for me.

Author Interview:

1.  What does your writing process look like? Do you know the whole story when you start?  Or do you just start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)?  If you plan it out, how do you do that?  Outline, notecards, post-it-notes, etc.? 

Whenever I begin a story, I have a general idea of where I want it to go. The big scenes are fairly clear in my head—the beginning, the climax, the final scene. Those are what I write first, so I know what I’m aiming for. Then… yeah, the rest is pretty much winging it! Haha.

2. Do you edit as you go, or wait till you’re finished before you edit?  How many times would you say you go over it yourself before having another set of eyes look it over?

I definitely edit as I go when it comes to sentence structure, word choice, etc. But I save the big stuff—plot, character development, timeline consistency—for later.  

3.  Are you part of a writer’s group that gets together and helps each other with their writing?

I wish; it’s actually been difficult for me to both find a group and also carve a spot out of my insane schedule that matches up with meeting times. NaNoWriMo is about as close as I’ve gotten to a regular, consistent group.

4.  How do you come up with your ideas for your stories?

It’s different for each one, really, but I always begin with a half-formed concept. For example, with SOME QUIET PLACE, it was emotions as physical beings. I’d typed something totally cliché, like, “Fear rooted me in place.”

I sat back, frowning, and wondered how I could make this utterly unique from other moments consumed by fear. Somehow, that fear became a tall, blonde, snarky creature that roams the earth and instills terror into every human being simply by touch. It became Fear, who is now one of my favorite characters.

So once I had this idea I asked myself questions that lead this concept to becoming a story. Who is the main character? What makes her different from all these people the emotions see every day? What is the main conflict? How do the emotions play into it?

5.  What tips do you have for aspiring writers?

This past year, my biggest piece of advice has been the lesson I only recently learned myself—write your book like it’s never going to be published. Like no one else but you is ever going to read it. There was a long period for me in which my writing was more difficult and felt less sincere to my readers because I was doing exactly that. It added so much pressure to the work, and this is a process that doesn’t need any more pressure. Writers are already hard on themselves. In the beginning, the story should be purely yours and what you want for it.

Thank you so much for having me, Lisa. These are wonderful questions. Happy reading!

About the Author:

Kelsey Sutton is a young adult and middle grade author. She lives in Minnesota, where she received a dual bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing from Bemidji State University. She will soon have a master's degree from Hamline University. Her work has received an Independent Publisher Book Award, an IndieFab Award, and was selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013. When not writing, Kelsey can be found watching too much Netflix, ordering a mocha at the nearest coffee shop, or browsing a bookstore. 

You can visit her online at, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook 


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