I was rather reluctant about this book at first because of the fact that it was set in the past. Yes, it was an alternate past, but I am generally not a fan of novels set in the past because they don't hold my interest. This one was very different though, I was highly intrigued, even with all of the fancy dresses and the frippery. I'm not a fancy person nor am I one for fancy things but Jessica manages to make even fancy things fascinating to someone like me. The story was so original, especially in the setting. I was intrigued by how she managed to craft such a great world that was so real and as well as being different from what really happened. The characters were really great. Three head-strong sisters who are hiding a secret that could get them killed. Two guys, one of whom is hotter then the other. Jessica has managed to craft a magical novel with a plot that will have you riveted until the last minute even if you don't like period novels. It was elegantly written and reminded me of Cassie Clare's Infernal Devices Trilogy. There were twists and turns (I saw most of them coming) and very steamy kisses that would not have been acceptable had anyone found out about them. The spells really reminded me of those in Harry Potter because the names seemed magical but easy enough to remember that anyone could hold onto it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes period novels, enjoys books with magic, and really likes the kissy scenes. I know I really like the kissy scenes and the ones in this book were great. This whole book was just fantastic, I can't wait to see what happens next in the series (and I really hope there will be more kissing in books two and three!). Jessica is a debut author to look out for, and she really shows that women can get things done!
I've never read any of Courtney's other books but when I heard this book was about zombies I just had to read it. I FINALLY got granted a review copy on net-galley and I sped through it. If you don't know this already I have a crazy thing about zombies. I love zombie books, and even though Courtney regularly writes hard-hitting realistic teen fiction I had to give it a shot. In the end I was presently surprised. This is Not a Test was refreshing and new, and I think on some deeper level it's not about zombies, it's about the evils of the world and how even though we might not see them all the time they are there. Maybe I'm reading way to much into it, maybe it was all about zombies but the main character just wanted to escape from it all, or maybe the zombies were just the perfect way to go out. This book is about love and loss, about life and death, and about the things that give us hope, that show us how to life and what it means in the darkest of times. Yes, my favorite part was the zombies, but in reality there were a very small part of the book. It was facinating the whay Courtney spun the story around a girl who didn't want to live in a world where dying was as easy as falling asleep. There were great scenes in this book and some great quotes that really hit me hard, and no, not because I want to kill myself, but because sometimes it does come across my mind as to what exactly life is about. The characters were so real and living (until they weren't) and I think the best part is that people do die in this book. No, I don't enjoy people dying, but in a book like this, were life is not something that everyone has and the dead are no longer dead there are people that have to die. Getting away with all the chracters in tact would be wrong, and Courtney has done nothing but right in this novel. If you like zombies and I assume if you like Courtney Summers you will like this novel. When it comes out I suggest you pick it up for keeps, or at least to borrow and read.
Today on the blog I have the honor of hosting the lovely Veronica Rossi, who's debut novel Under the Never Sky came out on January 3rd. You can see my review here and now let's get onto the interview. Veronica's answers are in bold.
First off, thank you so much to agreeing to do this interview, I loved your book and I’m sure that it will be a big hit!
Thank you, Anna, for all your enthusiasm!
I think it’s customary to start off with a little about your book, so pitch your book in 140 characters, twitter style.
UNDER THE NEVER SKY is a post-apocalyptic adventure story about teens from radically different societies, who are thrown together by circumstance. They embark on a quest that forces them to overcome their differences in order to survive. There might also be a romance in there.
I think that's slightly more then 140 characters but that's okay!
Now that we know your book what about you, how would you describe yourself in 140 characters?
I’m a mother, daughter, wife, writer, painter, reader, sometimes-cook, vegetarian, always animal-lover. I was born in Rio de Janeiro, but I’ve been the US most of my life. I love rainy days, but not Mondays.
Again, more then 140 chracters, but I'm not gonna count them all.
You’re part of a group of 2012 YA debuts called The Apocalypsies, what books would you recommend we look out for in the coming year (no, you can’t pick your own Rossi, I’m watching you)?
This is so tough, Anna! Well, I’m going to make this easy and list the ones I’ve read, or that I have in my hands: BORN WICKED, by Jessica Spotswood, SLIDE, by Jill Hathaway, INCARNATE, by Jodi Meadows, EVERNEATH, by Brodi Ashton, GILT by Katy Longshore, SILVER by Talia Vance, SKINNY by Donna Cooner, SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL, by Trish Doller, TIME BETWEEN US, by Tamara Ireland Stone, IF I STAY, by Corinne Jackson… ok… this is getting ridiculous. I have to make myself stop. But you know what? You’ve just made me realize how amazing this group is. So much talent! It’s such an honor to be part of it.
You’re book, at its heart, is really a dystopian novel.What happened to make the Earth the way it is in your book?
That will be explained in the second book, THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT, so I’ll have to just pass on this one?
Do you think that dystopian is the new vampire?
Ummm…. No? I don’t think we need a new vampire J
There are also what I would call two worlds, inside and outside of the Pods.If you were dropped into the world you created which place would you most likely fit in?
Inside! As much as I think I’m “tough,” I’d prefer the safety and fun of the Dweller world.
If you happened to be a Dweller what would your favorite Realm to be in and why?What about if you were an Outsider, what Sense would you have, if any?
If I were a Dweller, I’d want to live in a Realm of Rome. It’s one of my favorite cities. I love everything about it. If I were an Outsider, I think I’d want to be an Audile.
In the Pods quite a few things have been eliminated, which we happen to learn in…oh I’d say the middle of the book (although not all of those things that are eliminated I would mind), can you name a few for us (maybe even some that aren’t in the book) and why you decided they weren’t needed in the Pods?
In the Pods, humans have been genetically modified for greater efficiency. Certain traits, like nail growth, facial hair, etc., have been eliminated. I didn’t so much decide they weren’t needed… It just made sense that, if you don’t need long nails, the Dwellers would have come up with a way to do away with that, as well as anything else that’s unnecessary.
In my mind there are really three parts of this book, and no, I don’t just mean the beginning, middle, and end.I would say the three parts are “Into the Death Shop”, “Surviving the Death Shop” and “Thriving in the Death Shop” (those are my words though, not yours, I could be wrong).If you had to pick a few songs that reminded you of Under the Never Sky what would they be?
I love the names you’ve given the three parts! There’s a playlist somewhere… Let me see if I can find a link.
Do you listen to music while writing or revising?Were there any songs that you played over and over again?
Here's a link to the playlist, it's on the Facebook page for the book. There are also some other cool features on the page for you to check out!
The title, Under the Never Sky, is, in my mind, the prefect title for this book, as is the tag line.Did you come up with the title and tag line or was that someone else’s idea entirely?
I came up with both, and thank you!
And speaking of titles and tag lines are there any ideas for book two?And the cover, do you think the cover will have Perry on it this time or do you think it will still be Aria (I assume that’s who it’s supposed to be)?
I’m going to have to take the fifth here, unfortunately. I think we’ll be announcing some of this in the coming months. (This just in, Veronica posted today that the title of book two will be, at this time, THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT!)
Perry and Aria have some hot scenes in this book; did anyone at the publishing agency suggest that you get rid of them?Was there something they insisted that you get rid of even though you loved it dearly?Did you fight to keep anything in the book?
I actually expected some of this, but no! My editor was fully supportive from the beginning. We just worked to hone things, sharpen them.
I’m sure you get this question ALL the time, but what was the inspiration for writing UTNS?Was there inspiration or was it all of sudden you were just like “That’s it!”?Were there any authors who inspired you?
The story grew out of a number of different inspirational sources. Non-fiction books, journaling, and just staring at the walls, imagining. I admire Kristin Cashore and MT Anderson’s books a great deal.
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer (because WOW you’re good) or was it one of those things that just hit you?
Thank you J I didn’t always know, but I’ve always been a creative person. I came to writing by way of painting.
There were several parts in your book that hit me like whoa, did you have a favorite scene to write or a quote you just loved?
There are many favorite scenes, but one of my favorites is the rooftop scene, where Aria sings to Perry. I feel like it’s their moment… like something really magical, and almost inexplicable happens between them.
I love that scene, it's great!
What about characters, your characters were so rich and developed (they also developed over the course of the book), did you have a favorite character to write?
No, not a favorite. Roar is lots of fun, but I also adore writing Marron and Cinder. And, of course, Perry and Aria.
I loved Roar too!
It’s been announced that your book has been optioned for film by Warner Brothers (whose movies don’t usually suck), do you have an idea who you would want to play Aria, Perry, and Roar? Or any other characters for that matter? (Actually, not Aria, cause I call her) ;).
J I don’t have any idea… I’d just like to see real artists take the roles. I appreciate that—when someone has a clear vision. When someone takes risks. And I’d love to see an actor take what I’ve written and really go for it, and make it theirs.
I think that’s it. One last question though, Team Jacob or Team Edward? We all know that this is the most important question, which is why we had to save it for last.
Team Finnick. Hah!
Thank you Veronica for answering all of my silly questions!I myself might be switching over to Team Perry, because, whoa, he’s got some moves!
Anna, thank you for having me, and for being absolutely wonderful!
Now, I have an extra copy of Under the Never Sky and I've decided to give it away to one of you in honor of Veronica's interview! All you have to do is fill out the form and answer a few questions based on the interview. The form is HERE. The contest will run until January 31st at 12:00 midnight and winnners will be anounced the next day. This contest is now over. Thank you everyone who entered.
I read Unearthly last year when it came out (was it last year...I read it right after it came out) and I loved it. I pined for Hallowed from my Harper contact and he came through, but I didn't get a chance to read it until a short time before it came out. Bad me! I have now decided that the whole point of the second book in a trilogy is reserved for sad things, because, what's a series without some sad things that make you cry? Obviously nothing. Hallowed didn't make me cry (although it was close!) but it was still one of those books that is hard to read. So many things happen in this book it's hard not to feel a little overwhelmed emotionally, but somehow Hand still makes it graceful. Of course, this book is about Angel-Bloods, so it has to be graceful, right? Right. There was kissing, there was flying (yes, literally, we're talking about Angels here people) and there was quite a lot of info thrown at you (or Clara I guess) and it will leave your mind reeling. I've always counted myself as one of those people that expertly figures out plot twists before they jump out and sucker punch you, and although I didn't see ALL of them this time I did get a fair number of them before I was rendered out of breath. Yes this book still blew me away, and it still leaves me speechless when I think about how in the world Mrs. Hand managed to sneak all of these things by me in the first book. I was a little disappointed with the way the love story went and if you are Team Tucker like me it might break your heart just a little to read the end of this book, but you have to, cause I'm sure it's very important for when the third one comes along. It seems like I will also end up pining for the last book in the series (please tell me there will be ARCs) because I need to know how this story ends up finishing. Bravo Hand on your lovely words and even lovelier story that you have managed to weave, and I look forward to the last book. If you enjoyed Unearthly you should definitely pick up Hallowed to continue on with the lovely adventure, and maybe even get your heart broken a little bit. Although I do expect it to be put back together by the end of book three. Got that Cynthia, it WILL be put back together! Okay? Okay.
If you like the facebook page you all know that yesterday I decided to do something fancy today, and for me fancy means a giveaway. If you follow the facebook page you also know that recently I went to see Andrea Cremer (she was awesome) and before the event I had acquired a hardback copy of her first book for $3.00. It's not in perfect condition, and by that I mean the previous owner appears to have spilled a little on it (nothing serious though), but it has that pretty ORIGINAL cover that you can't buy anymore and it's signed, which makes it doubly as rare. And to make this giveaway extra fancy I'll throw in an ARC of an upcoming 2012 release. So there will be two winners. Just fill out the form here and you're set. Due to time constraints of counting there will be one entry per person and to enter all you have to do is follow me in some way. On twitter, on facebook, or on the blog here. Easy peasy. The contest will end on Sunday at 12:00 noon Pacific time. Winners will be notified then. has ended. Good luck, and happy Friday the 13th.
So it's now 2012 and with a new year comes new resolutions, a whole new me, a whole new blog! Okay, so not a whole new blog, but some things are gonna be redone. First off, the monthly giveaway has been nixed. My mom told me that I'm not allowed to hold giveaways anymore unless I have the actual book to give away, which makes sense. But just because there are no more monthly giveaways doesn't mean I won't have giveaways! I have however decided that each month I'm going to post an interview with a debut author (and by debut author I mean one that has had no book published before). I can't promise a giveaway with each interview but there will be some interviews that have giveaways attatched. I'm also hoping to read 100 books this year and do some interviews with senior authors (and by that I mean authors with more than one book published). So this year I'm hoping to do a good 15 interviews, but wee'll see how that works out in the end.
So far the interviews I have lined up are as followed;
Jan- Veronica Rossi, Under the Never Sky + Giveaway
Feb- Jessica Spotswood, Born Wicked + Giveaway
Mar- Jill Hathaway, Slide + Giveaway
Apr- Elizabeth Norris, Unraveling
May- Kathleen Peacock, Hemlock
Jun- Trish Doller, Something Like Normal
Jul- Susan Dennard, Something Strange and Deadly
Aug- Suzanne Lazear, Innocent Darkness AND Katie McGarry, Pushing the Limits
Sep- Talia Vance, Silver
Oct- Emily Hainsworth, Through to You
Let me know in the comments what senior authors you want interviewed and any 2012 debut authors for thie missing monts y ou might like.
I just finished Bloodrose by the lovely Andrea Cremer and it got me thinking about a thing or two. The YA genre has been targeted lately because of the misconceptions that some people have about what the books are about and some of the content in them. I am a teenager, which is the direct audience publishers and such are trying to reach with their ads covers and other publicity ideas, but I am also a blogger and a person who has very strong opinions about things that matter to me. Books matter to me. Today I've decided to talk about three things (because I really love when things come in threes) that come up in YA literature. Death, sex, and love triangles with a little bit about fandoms and how people treat others inside them.
First, death. Readers get very attached to characters (myself included) and can get rather emotional when they die. I think that sometimes people forget that in books, just like in real life, people die. Most characters in fantasy series are struggling against some sort of life or death situation, and they generally have friends with them to help. I know that we all wish that everyone we love in a book could end up alive, but that's not how real life works, so that's how fiction must work as well. In my mind a book with fighting but no casualties in it isn't a good book at all, because that is not how war works, and anyone who has ever read a history book knows that as well. Just like everyone else I'm sad to see a character die but at least in most cases someone has to die. It's sad but it is life and to make the story as real as possible sometimes characters have to die. No one and nothing is immortal (even those that appear to be in our favorite books) and when it comes down to it some things just must end a certain way.
Second, sex. Sex and drugs have been a huge issue in YA books lately but if you think about it sex is generally a part of life at one point or another. Teenagers are at their sexual prime with all of those hormones raging in their body. It's also been scientifically proven that people who know more about sex and the consequences are more likely to be careful and things are going to be planned. In terms of rape and or sexual abuse you also have to remember that things like that happen in real life ALL the time. As much as we would love to block out that part of the world and pretend that it doesn't exist that does not make it go away. The more people know about things the easier it can be to stop unwanted consequences. Some parents want to shy their children away from things like sex and drugs in life, we as Americans think of it as something rather dirty, even just the thought of seeing it on TV is terrifying, but in other countries things like that aren't censored at all. Thousands of pieces of art were based off of intimate relationships between two people. If you are mature enough to understand the consequences of your actions you are mature enough to read about them. If you don't like them, don't read them, it's as simple as that.
Third, love triangles. Love triangles are a big thing in literature, the idea that two very attractive males (or females) are fighting over you (let's face it, we all wish we were a character at least once in our life, most of us more) is highly appealing. In my mind though there is always only one answer. I know there are people out there who always root for the underdog, and I'm all for the underdog, but in a book there is really never any doubt over who the main character will choose. Let's look at one that almost everyone knows or has heard of at one point or another, Bella-Edward-Jacob. Yes I know, Twilight is highly overdone and talked about to the point where most people can't stand it (although I enjoyed it, and I am not afraid to say that I enjoyed it. It was the book that got me reading for fun again, and even though it's not the best book out there it doesn't deserve all of the bad publicity people give it just because of some reason that no one really is clear about). I know there were people who were Team Jacob and there were people who were Team Edward, but was there really any question about who Bella would choose in the end? For me there was never ANY question about it. Edward was always the one that she would pick, and she would pick him again and again. Yes, there were people who didn't like this but seeing as this was how it was written there is no way to change it and if all of you Team Jacob people look back did you really think Jacob had a real shot at winning Bella? If you think about it that answer is no, and in my mind that's the way it is with all love triangles. You may want things to be different, but 90% of the time they end up with the person that was always expected.
Last but not least that leads me to people who talk smack about things. No, not people (but that's not nice either), I'm talking about books and fandoms. Twilight has gotten a lot of hate, and while I admit it's not my favorite series anymore there is a reason people liked it. I'm guessing that over 70% of the people who now bash it are the same people who liked it to begin with. And what's with all the author hate? An author decides to write another book in a series, to continue the story of our favorite characters, why should we get mad at them? If you don't like the series or think they're in it just for the money then don't buy or read the book. It's that simple. How would you feel if you spent a good chunk of time working on something that you hoped would make people happy, you spend months slaving away on it, only to be met with people bashing you for various reasons that are most likely untrue to begin with? I know I wouldn't like it very much. As for character hate, they're fictional people for God's sake, how on Earth does that require any type of animosity? They. Are. Not. Real. If you are taking things that happen to characters that seriously you should probably take a step back and think about what's going on.
So that's it for now, that's my two cents. I'll probably do more posts like this in the future but for right now that's all I have. I apologize if I seem to have disappeared but finals start in the next two weeks and it's very important that I don't fail any. I do promise to update as much as I can and read as much as I can in the time being. Let me know if you have anything you would like me to talk about and feel free to give your opinions on what I had to say in the comments.
I'm always sad to see a series end, it marks the end of a great adventure and the story of characters I've grown to know and love, but I'm also glad when they end right. Bloodrose was one of those books that ended right, and not because it was all happy squishy endings but because there was pain. Calla is such a strong heroine and I think that Andrea wrapped up her whole story perfectly. I must give her a huge round of applause for crafting such a great trilogy with such steamy romance and nail-biting action scenes. Her idea was fresh and new, taking a whole new level to the idea of werewolves. I have to say, I think this was my favorite book because this is where it all ends, and even though endings make me sad Andrea did so well at ending it I couldn't help but love it. All of my favorite characters were back and Calla was even more powerful then she had been in the past two novels. I love a good female lead and Calla fit that bill to a T. I can't imagine putting myself in her shoes and having to do everything that she did, she is a true heroine as well. The other thing I loved was how fast paced the story was, while at the same time it didn't seem too rushed so as the book was a jumble of action that made no sense at all. It took me a long time to read the book, but not because it was bad, but because I had so many other things to do. If you've read the first two books you should pick this one up right away. It may break a few hearts but I think the end has to be told, and if you don't read it you will be forever left wondering. If you haven't started the series I suggest you do that because this is not a series to be missed. You know that old saying "not with a bang, but with a whimper"? Bloodrose ends with a bang, and it's a big one.