12.29.2011

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Julie Cross

Today, I have the fabulous Julie Cross here on the blog to talk about her debut novel, Tempest! Tempest is a YA novel set to release in January 2012. I had an opportunity to read this novel, and let me tell you, it is awesome! I highly recommend you buy this when it's out on the 17th.
So you know, the book has already had film rights sold to Summit Entertainment (the makers of the Twilight movies), and foreign book rights have already been sold to 12 countries! Congratulations on the success, Julie!


Here's a little bit about her debut novel, TEMPEST:
The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.








Describe the Tempest series in five words!

Exciting, complicated, emotional, invigorating, exhausting....and I chose these words because this is exactly the roller coaster of emotions I'm going through while writing this series and I'm hoping those same feelings will be mimicked by readers. 

What was your inspiration for writing Tempest? How long did it take you to write?

Time travel is awesome...that's a big part of my inspiration. I also love writing romance and family relationships. The first draft of Tempest took about three weeks to write, but it took eighteen months (with some time devoted to other projects) to get a final version.

What was your favorite part about writing Tempest?

My favorite part is working with my editor at St. Martin's, Brendan Deneen. We have so much fun bouncing ideas around, making fun of each other's ideas...it's truly a one-of-a-kind experience.  

Did you know you wanted to write from a male's perspective from the beginning, or was that something that came about during the writing process?

TEMPEST has always been Jackson's story, but I had no idea that a male perspective would spark so much interest. It was an added benefit. 
Who is your favorite character you've written in the Tempest series and why?

My favorite character to write is one that is a minor character in TEMPEST, Jenni Stewart. She gets to say everything that a polite person would never say out loud. It's really a blast to have that kind of verbal freedom. 
How do you feel about the amazing response Tempest has gotten so far . . . and it hasn't even been released?

It's crazy! Of course I love it, but it's intimidating at the same time. I just want everyone to be happy with what's coming next in the series. 

Is there anything you can tell us about the second book in the trilogy? :)

The world of time-travel gets even bigger and readers will get answers to several questions that were left hanging in Tempest. There's also a few new characters to add to the mix. 
Do you know what's going to happen in the next two books? Have you started writing either of them?

I've finished the second book, started the third and yes...I know EVERYTHING that's going to happen :) 

What interests you most about time travel?

I love the idea of revisiting moments in your own life more so than traveling way far in the future or back to the stone age or something like that. It really makes a person think about growth, choices and domino effects those choices have had on our lives..."what if I wasn't at this place at this time and never met this person...." those thought provoking concepts are fascinating to me. 

Do you wish you could time travel?

This is like the infamous Spiderman tagline..."With great power comes great responsibility." It seems like it could be fun, but then would I have to deal with the repercussions later? But if the opportunity presented itself, I'd have a hard time saying no. 


And now a couple of Lightning Round questions:

1) Chocolate or Vanilla?


Vanilla


2) Hardcover or Paperback?

Paperback....I like to drag my books everywhere and they get lots of wear and tear.


3) Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?

Harry Potter! I'm a die-hard fan!

Thanks, Julie!





Julie lives in central Illinois with her husband and three children where she works as a YMCA Gymnastics Program Director. She never considered writing professionally until May of 2009. Since then, she hasn’t gone a day without writing. 

Check out her Facebook Fanpage:
https://www.facebook.com/FansOfJulieCros...

and her publisher's page for the TEMPEST SERIES: 
https://www.facebook.com/TempestSeries 

Review: After Obsession by Carrie Jones

Title: After Obsession
Author: Carrie Jones
Format: Hardcover ($17.99 US)

from the jacket copy:


ALAN
There she is. The dream rushes back to me. We were falling, clutching at each other, with twisting darkness all around us. . . . The girl looks up at me and I realize I've stopped walking and am staring at her. I see something in her eyes, something like recognition.
AIMEE

And in that second, I know, absolutely know, that something in my life has changed irrevocably. This is the guy from my dreams. Right here. And we are going to have to do something, save something, together. I just don't know what.
TOGETHER

Alan and Aimee have just met, but already they are bound to each other by something they can't quite name. Something that rattles the windows, haunts the waters . . . and threatens to tear them apart before they get a chance to find out what their connection means.
After Obsession reminds me a lot of Cryer's Cross -- same kind of deal -- the town is haunted by some mysterious being that possesses individuals and drives them insane. The only difference is After Obsession is double the length and takes twice as long to get into. I will admit that by the time I was halfway done I would have rather gouged my eyes out with a cafeteria spork that continue reading, but I pulled through, and I am way glad I did because after the shaky and slow beginning, I really began getting close to the characters, and -- hallelujah -- the action started to pick up.

The subject matter, and how it has to do with missing people and dead people shrouded in 
mystery, is one of my favorites. Not knowing how the book will turn out is something I really love, and with the story being so mysterious, it allows for plot holes, which I am not going to point out.

Alan is one of my least favorite names in the world -- it sounds so '50s -- but his character was really awesome. Aimee was also awesome, and a redhead. Alan kept calling her Red (which doesn't compare to Carrots, from Cynthia Hand's Unearthly books, but still made me go D'awwwwww). Their relationship was one of my favorite aspects of the book. I am pretty sure it's a standalone, but I'm going to bite my tongue. You can never be too sure (*cough cough* The Pledge *cough*).

The summary of the book inside the flap is very vague, and that's good, because I read the Goodreads summary which told a lot more (it was kind of spoilery) after I finished it, and if I would have read that before the book it would have ruined the book completely for me. So, guys, don't read the goodreads summary if you plan on reading this!

One thing that didn't quite click until I had read the book was the title. After Obsession? What did that mean? If you look at the back of the hardcover edition of the book, it has an explanation of what that title means. Basically, there are four stages of possession. Obsession is the third and possession is the fourth. Therefore, if you look at the one that is AFTER OBSESSION, you get possession, which I think the book should've been called.
After Obsession is an action packed book, but beware the first half! Don't lose yourself in the boringness. I promise it'll be worth it. 


Four Owls

Tempest review -- Julie Cross

Title: Tempest
Author: Julie Cross
Format: ARC (tbr in Hardcover, $17.99 US)


Jacket Copy (from the ARC):


Jackson thought he had all the time in the world with Holly.Until time took him away from her.Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy...who just happens to be able to travel through time. It's all just harmless fun until the day Jackson witnesses his girlfriend, Holly, get fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years and gets stuck in the past, but it's not long before the people who shot Holly come looking for him. And these "Enemies of Time" will stop at nothing to recruit (or kill) this powerful young time traveler. Jackson must decide how far he is willing to go to save Holly...and the entire world.
A lot of people bag on TEMPEST for having a MC that really gets around. Most of these people are die-hard feminists and don't appreciate his view on life, but the truth of the matter is that most teenage boys don't think with their brains. Believe me, I would know: I am one. However, I am one of the lucky few that can control their emotions and, therefore, I am not a mindless child running rampant looking for a good lay. The protagonist, however, is. That fact will probably make or break the book for you. 

I am a very open-minded person and when I read, even I'd I feel particularly strong about a certain factor, I can shut that emotion off and see it the way the main character does. This helps because even if the main character is a horny, sex-crazed teenager, I can see things the way they do and not think <I>Eww... run</I>.

Jackson Meyer is an interesting guy: even though he does talk quite often about his prevalent sex life, he does have the compassion and vulnerability to love his girlfriend Holly like none other. This is his redeeming quality. If he didn't have something good about him for me and other readers to appreciate, my wall of open-mindedness might crumble to the ground like a brick wall.


Holly was a great heroine, and the romance that unfolded between her and Jackson was perfect, not full of cliches like other YA books. It flowed naturally and I enjoyed getting immersed in it. The plot raced right along, starting interestingly from the beginning. For those who couldn't tell by the cover or weren't interested enough to read the blurb, this book is about time travel. Yes, you heard me: <I>time travel</I>. Really...as of that concept hasn't been driven into the ground. It's been the subject of movies and books and TV shows alike for an insurmountable length of time, yet Cross seems to create a fairly fresh take on the subject matter. It's not just moving the day back; it's more complex than that, and I respect that about the book. Cross didn't take the shortcut and not do her research. She took time and created an original version of the story that isn't a carbon copy of every other time-travel book ever made. It isn't a Back to the Future remake, either: it's fairly original and on its own agenda.

In the very beginning of the book, Jackson is plotting a way to discover something new about his gifts as a time traveler. He decides to jump back a certain length of time, still in that day, and flirt with a cashier, then jump back into the future and see if she remembers him. He's trying to figure out if the things he does in the past will impact the present/future. He doesn't know very much about his gifts as we enter the novel.

But, a problem arises: soon, Jackson gets stuck in the past after a tragic accident -- and he can't return to what he sees as the present. The novel grabs you from the very beginning and doesn't let go until the end.
The only thing that confused me about the novel was the ending, but I'm starting to think I read too fast and skimmed too much. It seemed like I missed something when I looked back and thought about the plot before this review.

The novel is chock-full of pitch-perfect teenage-boy humor. Cross does an excellent job entering the head of a nineteen-year-old boy, better than I think even I could do (and I <i>am</i> a boy!). Tempest will appeal to both boys and girls, boys because it is narrated by a boy and girls because of everything else. Tempest was a great way to spend a two-hour airplane flight, and I can't wait for the second one!


4.5 Owls

Coming up next . . . an interview with the author of this wonderful novel, Julie Cross! Stay tuned.

12.27.2011

I HAZ A FACEBOOK FOR MY BLOGZ

In case you couldn't tell from the title . . .

I have created a Facebook page for this blog.

I repeat,
I have created a Facebook page for this blog.

In case you didn't comprehend the first two messages,
I have created a Facebook page for this blog.

Thank you all for following this blog and for reading my reviews and watching my vlogs! I love each and every one of you! I couldn't appreciate you guys any more. In fact, once I figure out how postage works, I am probably totally going to host a giveaway!


WooT!

Have a great rest of your week, guys! I will post more reviews as I write them.

With Owls,
Hayden :)

12.21.2011

Before I Fall -- Lauren Oliver

Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Format: Paperback ($9.99 US)


Oh . . . Oh, my God . . .

Five stars. Five billion stars. Five quadrillion stars. Five infinity stars.

I don't think I'll ever read a book that'll touch me in quite the same way.

A lot of Goodreadsers didn't like Before I Fall because they couldn't relate to it at all and the characters didn't relate to them. Before I Fall did relate to me because the main character, Samantha Kingston, reminded me a lot of my best friend. I know, I know, that sounds bad, but I am in high school, and the things the people do in this book are scarily accurate to what I've come to know is high school over the past year and a half.

I never knew Before I Fall would have such an impact on my life. I saw it at Walmart about two years ago, and I kind of wish I would've gotten it then, because the book is indescribable in mere words. I don't even think any songs could describe it.

The teen voice in the novel is perfect. Oliver says things like I spot Amy Weiss -- probably the biggest gossip in the entire school -- making out with Oren Talmadge in the doorway like she's starving and his mouth is filled with Cheetos, and silly, corny stuff like that that only a high-schooler could say without sounding contrived. The book had some beautiful quotes, too, like Time and space recede and blast away like a universe expanding outward, leaving only darkness and the two of us on its periphery, darkness and breathing and touch.

Oliver wrote a truly beautiful novel that's touched me in more than one dimension. This novel shines through from the core, vulnerable, beautiful, transcendent. Before I Fall is a classic of this generation. It may not be 100 years old, but it has the emotional poignancy that deserves heavy praise. Please, people, if you only read one book in your entire life, let it be this one.


 x infinity
Infinite Number of Owls (Five Owls)

Ultraviolet review -- RJ Anderson



Title: Ultraviolet
Author: RJ Anderson
Format: UK paperback (in my school library. In the US. Coincidence? I THINK NOT)






At first, the concept of ULTRAVIOLET fascinated me: a girl with synesthesia being the main character? Totally going to be an awesome book! 
However, the concept of group confinement for being crazy is WAY overdone in YA lit. It's in lots of YA books I've read, and sadly this book doesn't offer anything new or original to the concept. 
The end, or at least what I read of it, was very good. It seemed very intense. I got to page 100 and decided I'd just leave it be. I flipped to the end and read the last chapter thing or whatever. It seemed like it was an interesting book, but I'd given it 100 pages and I wasn't enthralled. 



Two Owls

The Night Circus review -- Erin M.







Title: The Night Circus
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Format: library hardcover ($26.95 US)


























I AM Ultimately Conflicted

So, let's do this like an Amazon review for a skincare product:

PROS:
Beautiful Writing
Genius Premise
Entertaining Mystery
Fantastic Ending
Highly-Researched Worldbuilding

CONS:
Boring as Something Really Boring
Not-so-Connected Characters
Plot Confusion
Timeline Confusion
Overall WTF-Confusion

The Night Circus is one of those books that you love but at the same time you really don't, for the reasons lifted above. If you're okay with a plot that moves . . . well, not at all, but you can still maintain being enraptured from the gorgeous writing and the mysterious elements, this is definitely the book for you. If a nonexistent plot makes you want to throw a book out of your window, I recommend you find something else to read.



(Tentatively) Three Owls

Divergent review -- Veronica Roth







Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Format: Hardcover ($17.99 US)




























Way more than five stars. 

Divergent is the book that successfully brought me out of my reading rut. For a while, I was only reading a book every four or five days, not because I was busy but because I didn't enjoy it anymore. Divergent has successfully made that period of time a moment of the past. 
And what better book to do that than Divergent? 
The book instantly grabs you, almost from the first page. It's been compared a lot to the Hunger Games, considering it's in the same Dystopian genre and it's a similar topic in a way. Divergent is successfully engaging without the 100-page and quite frankly boring introduction of The Hunger Games. Quite frankly, before I hit the point of Katniss entering the Hunger Games, I was bored to death and contemplated putting the book down many times. 
With Divergent, there was no contemplation, no "ughhhh I'm only halfway through this thing *groans*". By page ten, I was so thoroughly immersed that there was NO WAY I was going to give up in the middle. 
I really don't want to say anymore, because you're just going to have to experience this masterpiece for yourself. It's fantastic.



Five Owls

Hallowed review -- Cynthia Hand





Title: Hallowed
Author: Cynthia Hand
Format: eARC (240 pages)
























Cynthia Hand is truly a gem in the world of YA lit -- she can weave stories that are believable and wonderful without the gimmicks and the wicked cliffhangers that most YA authors use to draw readers in. Hallowed is a delicious sequel to Unearthly, the book that got us all hooked and made us want some more of that Cynthia Hand goodness. While Hallowed may not be the most fast-pace YA book out there, it spends a lot more time focusing on the characters' emotional development, which in this case is just as good. 

Clara is one of my favorite protagonists of all time, simply because she doesn't just think about herself, like a bunch of others. 
Twilight: "Edward, I want you to bite me and change me! I don't care what others think about it--" Sorry, Bella. You're out. 
Hush, Hush: "Patch, I want you to become human. I don't care how hard it'll be for you or anyone else, I want it to happen." Sorry, Nora! Strike two. 
Evermore: "DAMEN I WANT TO BECOME AN IMMORTAL and I will stop at nothing, including my psycho, crazy aunt." And, you're OUT! 

Clara constantly thinks about everyone else when she makes decisions. She's not selfish and greedy and I'm-the-protagonist-so-it-should-be-about-what-I-want, like so many others. It's refreshing to see such good character development in YA. 

I'll confess it -- Hallowed is slow. The plot moves along steadily, a couple of really exciting things happening. Most of the book is about Clara's development with Christian and Tucker, and she learns a lot about herself. 

The plot is actually very interesting -- there are just some times that won't excite you as much as others. After reading Hallowed, I seriously can't wait for the third book in the trilogy -- Hand has this way of cliffhangers that's not a cliffhanger but still feels like it because the wait for the next book will be similar to a form of Chinese torture. With a lot of other YA series, the wait for the next book is solely for the reason of wanting to find out what happens. It'll be one of those "Is she dead or is she alive?" cliffhangers, and the only reason you're excited for the next one is because you want to know what happened at the end. With Hallowed, it's not like that -- well, sure, you want to find out what happens, but it's because of more than just that. The characters are constantly in your head, swimming around, saying "HAYDEN! Think about me! Aren't you excited for the end?" And then you totally forget about your Algebra homework because you're daydreaming about how the story will end. 

At this point, I'm counting down the seconds until the third book is in. The stinky part is because I got an advanced copy, I'm going to have to wait EVEN LONGER to get the next book! Hallowed is an excellent book, beautiful and haunting and scary and wonderful. The third installment better be in my hands soon. (*cough* *cough* Cynthia, if you ever need another crit partner . . . *cough*)



Five Owls

12.18.2011

In My Mailbox (9)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren that features books we've received "in our mailboxes" -- books we've purchased, received for review, gotten from the library, etc.

This week, I got quatre livres. Watch the vid to find out what they are!




By the by . . .
Today, I hit fifty followers!
WOOHOO!!!
*parties*

But, anyway, I just wanted to let you guys know how grateful I am for each and every one of you! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING AWESOME AND STUFF AND BEING ON THAT LIST.

12.12.2011

In My Mailbox (8)

Awwww, DRATS. I'm a day late . . . but oh, well! I think you'll really like my post this week. I got really creative with my video. I discovered the power of editing . . . and using a microphone.
I made so many technological advancements this week, I could just burst. And so will you!

So, without further ado . . . here's my IMM post for the week!


Hopefully, you can hear me better in this one! I'm still terrified about posting a vlog.


Dear Almost 50 Followers,
I am so grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for supporting me thus far in the blogging world. I know getting a high number of followers isn't easy, but I hope you love the blog and love posts like these. Comments would be appreciated.

Thanks!
-Hayden :)

12.03.2011

12.02.2011

The Space Between -- Brenna Yovanoff (5 owls)

Title: The Space Between
Author: Brenna Yovanoff
Format: Hardcover ($17.99)

Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?
Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped - and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie's whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.
This second novel by rising star Brenna Yovanoff is a story of identity, discovery, and a troubled love between two people struggling to find their place both in our world and theirs.
Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this? 

Brenna Yovanoff's The Space Between is the poignant and beautiful tale of a semi-confused and not-like-expected character resulting from the pair of Lucifer and Lilith. The story progresses quickly, the inciting event happening not too far into the book. The writing is gorgeous, as is the norm for a Yovanoff book. 

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped - and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. 

You'd think a daughter of Lucifer and Lilith would be trained to feel no good and only think evil, but Daphne is good at not playing the expected and stereotypical part. She's a very unique character, and she experiences a lot over the course of the book, especially the end . . . 

Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie's whereabouts. 

The Space Between unfolds slowly, containing many intricate and complex plot levels that only a master at the craft like Yovanoff could to. Truman (the human boy mentioned above) is a very complex person, buried under the many guilts he's had to bear over the years, drinking away his sorrows. Daphne has to withdraw him from the world he's immersed himself in before she can get to the one she needs. 

As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be. 

The world-building in The Space Between is fantastically done. The unique worlds of Hell, Heaven (yes, there is Heaven in this book as well) and Earth are all rich, developed places that the characters explore. The characters are developed richly as well. The Space Between is a fabulous book. 

Even though the plot isn't as quickly-paced as some other books and the writing is very rich and delicate, the book still stands strong with its plot. Yovanoff obviously spends lots of time in these worlds! 

And the ending. Gosh, the ending.



Five Owls

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