Monday, September 8, 2014

Interview with Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith, authors of STRANGER, YA post-apocalyptic thriller

Stranger (The Change, #1)Welcome back, everyone! Just a quick update before I get to this wonderful interview. This will probably be my last post before the Fierce Reads event in October. I'm glad I got to get in one big set of posts before I deliver, because these authors are amazing and deserve every bit of promotion they get. I hope you'll love STRANGER as much as I did! Without further ado...

Goodreads Book Description:
Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, "the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. "Las Anclas" now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.

Stranger stands on its own, but there will be three more books in the series: Hostage, Rebel, and Traitor.


About Sherwood Smith: Sherwood Smith began her publishing career in 1986, writing mostly for young adults and children. Sherwood Smith studied in Austria for a year, earning a masters in history. She worked many jobs, from bar tender to the film industry, then turned to teaching for twenty years, working with children from second grade to high school.  She specialized in literature, history, and drama.  To date she’s published over forty books, nominated for several awards, including the Nebula, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and an Anne Lindbergh Honor Book. 

Sherwood blogs at LiveJournal (http://sartorias.livejournal.com) and Book View Café  (http://bookviewcafe.com/blog/author/sherwood/). She has a Facebook account but only visits it two or three times a year, and does not do Twitter.

About Rachel Manija Brown: Rachel Manija Brown is the author of Stranger, a post-apocalyptic YA novel co-written with Sherwood Smith, the collection A Cup of Smoke, and the memoir All the Fishes Come Home to Roost: An American Misfit in India. She wrote the graphic novels The Nine-Lives and Spy Goddess for Tokyopop. She has also written television, short stories, plays, video games, and poetry.

In her other identity, she is a trauma/PTSD therapist.

Rachel blogs at LiveJournal (http://rachelmanija.livejournal.com). She rarely visits Facebook or Twitter.

Author Duo Interview
1. It's not often that I get an author duo on my blog. Can you tell us about how you guys met, figured out you wanted to write together, and a little about the process of co-writing a book?

Sherwood and Rachel: We first met online, back when there were only one or two social media venues, so pretty much all the science fiction and fantasy world was interacting with each other.

Rachel was working in Hollywood, and had been at the Jim Henson Company for a number of years, so the company contacted her with an interesting offer. They wanted her to create a TV series in partnership with a children’s book author who met the following criteria: the writer had to live in or near L.A., had to be well respected in the field, and had to be someone Rachel thought she could work with, but couldn’t be so hugely successful and famous that the Jim Henson Company couldn’t afford them.

Rachel immediately thought of Sherwood, and e-mailed her to ask if she would be interested. Unbeknownst to Rachel, Sherwood had also worked in Hollywood. So they met for the first time and started creating a TV series. The series didn’t sell, but the Jim Henson executives loved it, and gave them a standing offer to come in and pitch anything any time. Sherwood and Rachel found that they enjoyed working together, and it was a very good offer, so they created a new series: The Change. That series didn’t sell either, so they turned it into a novel, taking advantage of all the things you can do in a novel that you can’t afford to do—or are not allowed to do—on TV.

Sherwood: Our process is completely different than the processes of any of my other collaborations.

Rachel: The way we work is unusual in the book world, but more common in television, where writers will sit together in a room and create first the story of a script in discussion, then write it by speaking the dialogue. Sherwood and I sit down and discuss the plot of the entire story, taking notes.

Before we write a chapter, we discuss what will happen in more detail. Then we sit side by side at a computer and write the chapter, usually Sherwood typing but either of us providing text. The result is a book where any given sentence was probably written by both of us together. When we have a first draft, we pass it back and forth for rewrites and polishes and additions.

2. You have a whopping 5 POVs in your book, and all of these characters are really interesting. Do you each have a favorite or one you love to write? Do each of you write each character or do each of you write certain characters?

Sherwood and Rachel: We had to laugh at that “whopping 5 POVs.” This is a common reaction to our book, but the idea that a “normal” book would only have one or two POVs is a very recent one. Up until the mid-twentieth century, POVs were usually some form of omniscient, which meant that the narrative voice could slide in and out of everybody’s mind as needed for the story. Lord of the Rings is written in omniscient. For two sentences, we get the POV of a fox watching the hobbits head toward Bree.

We chose not to write this book in omni POV, in favor of third person limited. But we felt that this was a story about community, not about the more modern-standard lone individual. To convey that, we needed multiple points of view.

Sherwood: As for characters, I don’t have a favorite to write, but for some reason I get a real kick out of reading Mia’s POV after we’ve done the chapter. Her cluelessness reminds me so much of myself, though I was also clueless about science as a teen!

Rachel: I don’t have a favorite to write overall, but my favorite person to write dialogue for is Mia. I love her jittery stream of consciousness way of speaking.

3. I love how you write about all relationships, including LGBT relationships and even a threesome as mainstream in your book. What made you guys decide to do this, and do you expect (or have you already received) backlash?

Sherwood and Rachel: To dispose of the backlash first, we did receive objections for writing a major sympathetic gay character when searching for an agent. However, that is such a long story that we don’t want to recap it here. Here’s the gist of it: http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/genreville/?p=1519

We have gay/lesbian/bisexual teenagers in our books because we know a lot of them in real life. Why shouldn’t they get to read about heroes like themselves?

The reason for the Mia/Ross/Jennie relationship was that we were tired of predictable love triangles in YA novels. In many of them, it would have made more sense for the characters to simply discuss the situation and work out a solution that made emotional sense, rather than lying and cheating and angsting for 300 pages. We felt that Mia and Jennie were so close that they would have talked about their feelings, rather than ending their friendship over their attraction to some guy. The resolution they come up with was one that we felt made sense for the characters.

Also, in real life, people’s relationships don’t necessarily fit into neat little boxes of one heterosexual woman plus one heterosexual man at a time, and neither of us felt that the implication that they should is emotionally honest.

4. Name some of your favorite authors/books.

Sherwood: I have so many favorites that it would take too long to list them all! Here are a few.

Books that influenced me as a kid: Enid Blyton’s “Adventure” series, where I finally found girls who got to adventure as well as boys. Mara, Daughter of the Nile, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw sparked a love of history and other cultures. Lord of the Rings, which validated my love of writing fantasy at a time when fantasy was disapproved of.

Shifting to modern times, there are so many wonderful writers these days! I’ll mention some books I loved that don’t have publicity pushes from big publishers: Pen Pal, by Francesca Forrest, which is kind of YA and kind of not, about a pen friendship between a girl and a woman, both from cultures under stress. It’s such a wonderful book. Then, for sheer fun, Australian writer Andrea K. Höst’s series beginning with Stray, a high school girl who suddenly finds herself in another world. She has to cope, though she assumes she is perfectly ordinary . . . but somehow the change of world changes her. Delightful, exciting, and romantic!

Rachel: I have too many favorites to list, so I’ll just recommend some books that you might not already know about.

The Rifter, by Ginn Hale, is an intricate and epic portal fantasy that’s full of surprises— one of the most engrossing and well-constructed fantasies I’ve read in years. The beginning is a little weak (and also darker than the book is overall), but it picks up quickly and keeps getting better and better. On a completely different note, Prater Violet, by Christopher Isherwood, is a novella about the relationship between an American screenwriter and a Jewish European director, who are thrown together on the eve of WWII to make a fluffy musical comedy. It packs a tremendous amount of comedy, atmosphere, and emotional weight into a very short space. (Spoiler: Nobody dies in the Holocaust.) I also second Sherwood’s recommendation for Pen Pal. It’s a unique, atmospheric, moving novel.

5. Rachel, this book is completely different from your first book, and Sherwood, while this is closer to what you've already written, it's also different. Can you guys talk about branching out and why you decided to write a YA book?

Sherwood: I don’t really decide what I’m going to write. Being an intensely visual person, I always begin with the image. Then I try to figure out whose story it is, and why they are telling it. The category (fantasy? Non-fantasy? YA? Middle grade? For all readers?) comes last.

Rachel: I’ve written in a whole lot of genres, so this didn’t feel like branching out to me. I’m always branching out.

6. Which Hogwarts house would you be in and why?

Rachel: When I lived in India, I briefly attended a military school that had a house system similar to the Hogwarts houses. The houses weren’t based on characteristics, but simply divided the students into four groups named after major Indian rivers. It was intended to foster friendly competition among the students, not unhealthy rivalry, and so every year the students switched houses. So to me, the house system brings back fond memories of being passionately attached to my house of the year.

On that note, I think I would be in Gryffindor. I think of the Hogwarts house characteristics not as exclusionary—Hermione is obviously intelligent enough to be in Ravenclaw—but is tapping into the most basic and essential facet of the self. For me, courage is more of an essential characteristic than intelligence, loyalty, or sneakiness.

Sherwood: When I was a teacher, I loved the students’ enthusiasm for the Harry Potter books, and of course I read each as it came out. But I was reading as a post-fifty-something Baby Boomer, who was a product of overcrowded schools and the late fifties-and early sixties hardline emphasis on conformity. So while my students compared the houses and imagined themselves in this one or that one, I nodded and smiled, but I secretly thought that if I’d read the books as a kid, I would have been leading a revolution against the house system altogether!

7. Can you give a few words of advice to aspiring writers?

Sherwood: Read, read, read.  Read as widely as you can, about everything.  Observe real people doing real things, and try not to get ideas on behavior from TV and movies because the actors are following a script. They know what’s coming next, which in real life we don’t, and they are moving according to direction. A writer needs to try to understand the world before she can reflect it—and maybe even change it.

Rachel: 1. Don’t worry about breaking the rules. There are no rules. Write what you want to read. 2. Don’t worry about making the first draft perfect. Just get the story down, even if it’s terrible. You can fix it later. Trying to get every bit perfect or even good the first time is a recipe for never finishing anything.

8. Can you let us know a little of what we have in store next for the characters in Stranger in the sequel? Do you plan for this to be a duology, trilogy, or longer?

Sherwood and Rachel:  It’s a four book series. Ross, Mia, and Jennie have POVs in all four books, but the other POVs rotate, with a new POV character in each book.

The sequel to Stranger is Hostage. Ross is kidnapped and dragged to Gold Point, King Voske’s city. Voske’s teenage daughter Kerry is the new POV character. While his friends in Las Anclas desperately try to rescue him, Ross is forced to engage in a battle of wills with the king himself. And he’s not the only hostage . . .

In book three, Rebel, Ross’s past comes back to haunt him, while Las Anclas battles mysterious fires. The new POV character is someone you first met in Stranger, but probably not someone you would expect to get a POV. And that’s just one of many surprises.

Book four is Voske Strikes Back—er, no, it’s actually Traitor. Everybody you’ve been wondering about returns, all with important parts to play in a battle for Las Anclas’s very survival. The new POV character in this book is someone whose perspective you may have been waiting for.

I don't know about you guys, but I'm dying to get my hands on the next book!

Don't forget to enter into this great giveaway to either win their book (US/Can) or a bunch of great swag that I got from many authors at the last event I went to (INT)!
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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Review of Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith and US/CAN Giveaway!

Hey guys! I know I've been MIA for over a month, but things have been insane with my baby girl making an appearance very soon and trying to get everything done at work before I left. So blogging and reading unfortunately had to take a backseat this month. That said, behind the scenes, I've not completely stopped working on things for the blog! First, I just want to let you know that I'm going to have the immense privilege to be the Fierce Reads blogger for the St. Louis event in October, so tune in then for a chance to win books for 4 different authors and to see my interview with them! I'm really excited to be a part of the event.

But now let's get to business. A few months ago, I read a really wonderful book called Stranger by an author duo, Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith. My sister has been following Rachel's blog for a while and really enjoyed her writing, so she connected the two of us. I'm so glad she did because I really believe in the deluge of post apocalyptic YA novels, this duo brings something new to the genre. 

Stranger (The Change, #1)
Goodreads Book Description: Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, "the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. "Las Anclas" now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.

Stranger stands on its own, but there will be three more books in the series: Hostage, Rebel, and Traitor.


My Rating: 4.5 couches out of 5

My Review: I was given this book by one of the authors after my sister recommended she send it to me in exchange for an honest review. I'm glad my sister knows my taste because I really enjoyed this book! I award it 4.5 stars.

Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith has FIVE POV's in the tale. Usually, this is a tactic that is totally lost on me because there's either not enough story for these characters (and this may play true a little bit here) or it's just not well done. But don't be deterred by the number of different points of view-- the reasons for them become clearer, and I think they'll play an even larger role in the future books. There are a few characters that stand out as main characters, however. Ross is one, who is a prospector in this dystopian/paranormal like YA novel. In the beginning, he is staggering through the desert getting chased by a bounty hunter and ends up in a town, Las Anclas, with a precious stolen artifact. He never intended on settling down, but he may end up calling this place home. We get introduced to many many different characters and the world in general as well as the political setup.

I really enjoyed this book, and it's really unlike a lot of books that I usually gravitate towards. It wasn't the most fast paced of books, but I definitely wanted to pick it up again the next day to see what was going to happen with the rest of the characters. Ross, Mia, and Jennie are all very likeable characters, and we see each of their viewpoints. There are other supporting characters that we see into the heads of, which I am not going to talk too much about because there are definite surprises in store. One of my favorites is one of the town's mean girls, and I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more of her in future books. There are multiple homosexual couples, and I love how this is dealt with as completely normal in this world, nice to see, and even one relationship that is M/F/F, and I'm fascinated to see where that's going to lead. I wonder what naysayers are going to say about this. The book is very clean, and I hope we won't see any outrageous outcry about how the relationships are portrayed in this book.

The only issues I had with this book is that the pacing is sometimes slow, but I was willing to take the ride, and sometimes, the multiple POV's did hinder my enjoyment of the book, only because it even further slowed down the pace sometimes. I'd be really interested in what one character was doing and thinking and then get stuck in the head of another not as important character. That said, I obviously greatly enjoyed it even despite my personal preferences.

Overall, I was impressed with this first installment co-written by these two writers. I definitely am highly anticipating the next book already, and I think this is a worthy read that will be snapped up by those who are looking for something a little different in the dystopian, post-apocalyptic genre with fascinating characters and a really interesting world setup.


The publisher is generously donating a hard copy of this book for you guys! Don't forget to tune in tomorrow to see an amazing interview with both of the authors! 
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Transcender Trilogy Blog Tour: Character Interview with Jaden and INT giveaway!

Hey, guys! Welcome back! I wanted to repost one of my favorite character interviews that I did with Jaden herself a while ago, because I'm sure that some of you who now have had a chance to read the books, or take a look at the blurbs will enjoy this more than before!

Also, I'm thrilled to introduce Kat from The Art of Midnight, who draws amazing pictures, and drew some great ones of Jaden!


Interview with Jaden, Transcender and Princess of Domerica

Jaden, thanks so much for joining us at Ensconced in Lit! It's not often we get a Transcender here
Can you tell us a little bit about Transcenders?
Thanks for having me. This is my first interview, so I hope I don’t suck at it. I’ll tell you what I can about the Transcenders, but I’m sort of in the learning phase myself. Apparently there’s something in Transcenders’ DNA, a defect maybe, I don’t know, but it makes us able to release the electromagnetic fields holding our atoms together. It’s like we just lose our mass and transform into a kind of wave. It allows us to travel faster than light speed through walls and also through dimensions to parallel worlds. It’s really astounding. I’ve been to a few amazing places recently—some on purpose and some accidentally. I’m still getting the hang of it. Anyway, the whole thing is kind of scary awesome, if you know what I mean.

Wow, that's so cool. I wish I were a Transcender. Back to Earth, for a little bit. Tell us about where you grew up in Connecticut and your family.
Oh well that’s easy enough. The town I grew up in, Madison, is exactly what you think of when someone says New England. Quaint, charming, tons of trees. We have a busy little town square, and lots of pretty and close-knit neighborhoods. My dad’s a senior cardiac nurse at St. Ignatius Hospital, and my big bro is studying pre-law at Duke University. My mom was a Superior Court judge, but she died in a car wreck a few years back. I had kind of an idyllic childhood up to that point. Since then … things have been like a roller coaster ride.

What are the best and worst parts of Connecticut? Of Domerica?
The best part of Connecticut is that my friends are there and I’ll always think of it as home. The worst part is that it can be a bit provincial. Translation: boring. The best parts of Domerica, for me at least, are all the fantastic perks of being part of the royal family—great clothes, great food, being sort of pampered. Also, the countryside is storybook gorgeous and the weather always perfect. The worst parts: no iPhone, no music, no TV, no internet. Oh, and it seems like somebody’s always trying to kill me. That can be annoying.

What was your favorite dress in Domerica and why?
Well, I kind of have a weakness for pretty clothes, and I got to wear some killer outfits when I was in Domerica, but I’d have to say my favorite was this white gown, covered with crystals. I wore it to a feast in Unicoi. It was awesome. The crystals cascaded in diagonals all the way down the skirt, and it had a little train in the back. But it was pretty tight—one of those dresses you have to wear sans panties, so it wasn’t the most comfortable thing to sit in. In fact, by the end of the night, the crystals had made little indentations on my butt. Oops, is that TMI for an interview? Anyway, I still loved it.

Tell us a little about your gorgeous horse.
Oh man, I used to be afraid of horses because they’re just so big. But in Domerica, horseback is the major mode of transportation, and the princess, my mirror in that world, was supposed to be this accomplished horsewoman, so I had to get up close and personal with them whether I wanted to or not. The first time I saw my horse, Gabriel, there was this kind of a soul connection between us. And then when I took him for a test ride, I knew I had to make him mine. It was such an adrenaline rush. His coat is glossy and jet black, his mane long and silky, and he’s fast as lightning. I have to admit, I’m kind of partial to tall, dark, and handsome.

We think that Ryder is totally hot. Can you tell us a little about the first time you met him?
The first time I laid eyes on him, I thought he had to be an angel or something, because no normal guy really looks like that—flawless golden skin, gleaming raven hair, and bottomless blue eyes. He stole my breath away. Once I realized he was in the process of kidnapping me, though, his six-foot-five frame, black armor, and wicked long sword, made my heart race faster for a different reason—stone cold fear. Weird as it sounds, even though he was holding me against my will, his kindness and decency shone through, and I couldn’t hate him. In fact, I was kind of crushing on him that first day, and I worried it might be some bizarre Stockholm Syndrome thing. But it turns out he really is a great guy.

Have you ever played a joke on Ralston? If so, tell us about it!
Seriously? I’m always playing jokes on Ralston. He’s not what you’d call gullible, but he’s a little stuffy, so I can’t resist ruffling his up-tight British feathers from time to time. Once I “borrowed” his glasses without asking. They don’t have corrective lenses, but they do have some very interesting capabilities that I was hoping to try out. He was furious! I won’t be doing that again.

We LOVE your Skorplings. Will you tell our readers a little more about them?
Fred and Ethel are amazing. A Skorpling looks like a cross between a koala bear and a monkey, furry, gray, and cuddly. Plus they can actually speak. Their vocabulary is limited and they can’t pronounce certain letters, but they’re adorable, and different as night and day. Ethel is a sweetheart, always smiling and kissing me. Fred is a total prankster, always getting into some kind of mischief. But I love them both so much. I highly recommend them as pets if they ever make their way over into this dimension.

Since you can Transcend anywhere, what's on your to see list and why?
There are rumors circulating in the Transcender community about a parallel world where people actually have wings and can fly. I don’t know if it’s true, but that’s something I’d really like to see. Also, I want to visit Venice, Italy. During carnival time. I can't imagine anything more romantic and exhilarating than losing myself in a sea of beautifully masked faces and dancing my way along the Grand Canal at midnight.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope we'll see you again soon!
Thanks for inviting me. It was fun!

Question for the giveaway: What do you think of the great pics by Kat and/or Jaden's Interview?

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Don't forget the rest of the tour!

July 21  Ensconced in Lit - review 
               Crystal in Bookland – Transcender Character quiz
July 22 Pandora's Books - Transcender movie wish list
              Ensconced in Lit – character interview with Jaden

July 23 YA Book Nerd Reviews - review 
               Wonderland of Reading - review
July 24 The Whimsical Mama – guest post
                Fly to Fiction  – Review
July 25 Tea and Fangirling – Review
                A Reading Nurse – guest post
July 26 I Heart YA Fiction – Author Interview
Mary Had a Little Book Blog – Character Interview with Ryder


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Monday, July 21, 2014

Transcender Trilogy by Vicky Savage Blog Tour: Review and Huge Giveaway!

Welcome, everyone, to the Transcender Trilogy blog tour! I'm so thrilled to be able to host this for one of my all time favorite indie authors, Vicky Savage, who not only has written books that I'm in love with, but she's become a dear friend over the past few years. I've been a huge fan of the Transcender Trilogy from the beginning, and I'm stunned that it's finally over! But now it's time to celebrate her tremendous accomplishment and share these books with all of you!

Book Blurb of Transcender: First-Timer: 
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005DR94EI

Suddenly plucked from her quiet Connecticut life and dropped into a post-disaster parallel world where most of the earth's population resides in enormous domes, eighteen year old Jaden Beckett lands in the middle of a kidnapping—her own!

Undercover Agent Ralston of the Inter-Universal Guidance Agency helps Jaden escape from her captors and promises to return her home as soon as he can arrange it. But he conceals from her the fact that she is really a Transcender, capable of traveling among alternate worlds at will. While waiting for passage home, Jaden assumes her parallel identity as a princess in the nation of Domerica. She discovers her mother is alive in this world—a miracle she never dreamed possible. But perhaps even more compelling is her blossoming, breathtaking romance with Ryder Blackthorn, her once and future soul mate.
When it comes time for Jaden to leave, she flatly refuses. IUGA claims the welfare of the entire galaxy depends upon her timely return. Jaden contends that, in this case, eternal love trumps destiny. Who will prevail?

Book Blurb of Streaming Stars: 
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AVY3FXY
 
Jaden Beckett makes the journey once again from her home in Connecticut to the nation of Domerica on an alternate earth. The Inter-Universal Guidance Agency has granted her thirty days within which to choose her ultimate destiny. She may remain in Domerica, return to Connecticut, or join the other Transcenders in Arumel.

On her arrival, Jaden finds that all is not perfect in paradise. Her mother, Queen Eleanor, is ill and grows frailer with each passing day. Her scheming uncle has moved into the palace and assumed the role of Lord High Steward of the land. But even more troubling are events that took place in Jaden’s absence which have caused her to question the depth of her fiancé’s love.

All the while, Jaden's friendship with a handsome, young Transcender from Arumel deepens. He teaches her how to use her astonishing gift to travel to exotic parallel worlds and introduces her to others in the Transcender community.

When the time draws near for Jaden’s final decision, her choice is anything but simple.

Book Blurb of Illuminosity: 
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KC7IVPW 

Jaden Beckett has a secret unknown to those in her adopted homeland of Domerica: she is a Transcender, capable of traveling among parallel worlds at will. When the powerful Inter-Universal Guidance Agency's sophisticated computer models predict that Jaden will eventually cause the downfall of that agency, IUGA decides to destroy her first. In order to save herself, her family, and the man she loves, Jaden must fake her own death and leave Domerica for good. The plan seems sound, but on the day of IUGA's attack, things go terribly wrong.

Heartsick and alone, Jaden ventures to Arumel, a progressive nation on an alternate earth, where Transcenders conduct valuable inter-universal research. Just when she thinks she's found a safe, new life, IUGA makes its presence known. This time, Jaden is determined not to be driven away. She will fight to discover her place in the multiverse, the true meaning of destiny, and the keys to the mystery of eternal love. 


About Vicky.

Vicky Savage grew up gazing upon the beauty of the Wasatch Mountain Range right outside her family’s kitchen window. She thought the Rocky Mountains would always own her heart, until she moved to sunny Florida for law school and instantly fell in love with the ocean. Her passion for new adventures and exotic locales led her on a circuitous path to writing science fiction/fantasy about strange new worlds and parallel universes. Although she has lived in seven different states and London, England, the siren call of the ocean always brings her back to her beloved Florida, where she currently lives with her husband, son, and two dogs.

Contact Vicky through her website: https://www.vickysavage.com, follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SavageVicky, and visit her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/vickysavageauthor.


My overall rating for the trilogy: 5 couches 

My review of the trilogy: 

I won't talk about the blurbs since you can see them above, but I wanted to talk about the trilogy as a whole.

I remember reading book one, and I've recently reread it and its sequel, Streaming Stars, to prepare to read Illuminosity, and marveled that both have definitely stood the test of time. Even though I've read hundreds of mostly traditionally published books, Vicky's trilogy still remains a favorite even in comparison, which is hard for a self published book to do in this day and age. 

First, there's something so magical and riveting about the world that Vicky has created. While there may be nothing new about the possibility of alternate universes, Domerica is still one of my favorite worlds to travel to. I love all of Vicky's lush description of the land, the politics, and the intrigue that surrounds this location. 

While none of the books are tiny or by any means short, the pacing is great, and it didn't seem to be as long as the weight of the paperback. I just thoroughly enjoyed myself from start to finish and this was the case with all three books, which is a hard feat for an author-- to stay consistently good from first book to third in a trilogy.

I loved the world building, and in particular, all the descriptions of the palace and how Jaden tries to integrate into the world of a princess. Again, while the idea may not be new, what girl/woman hasn't wanted to play dress up just for fun? I devoured the descriptions of the rooms, dresses, meals, and of course, want a Skorpling of my own.

As for the characters, Jaden is a very likeable, resourceful, and intelligent protagonist. She is a strong character, and goes through a lot of turmoil over three books, but I believe comes out even stronger. I like how we discover the world through her eyes, and experience the other worlds through what she goes through. The other key characters include both of her parents-- I appreciate Savage doesn't fall into the trap of both parents being completely absent, Ralston who may be my favorite character in the whole series, Asher who is a mysterious stranger but also plays in a hint of a love triangle, Ryder who is sexy beyond belief, and several other characters who you'll meet in the last two books, but I don't want to ruin the surprise. :-)

There are some great twists and some of the books end in cliffhangers that you'll need the next book right away to satisfy your craving for MORE!

I just can't say enough about how wonderful these books are, and I hope Vicky Savage continues to write for a long time to come. She not only is a terrific writer who is always looking for ways to improve, but she also is an amazing person, and I've been lucky to develop a friendship with her over the past couple of years. 

Now that I've taken time to be all mushy about Vicky and her great trilogy, please enter the giveaway below! The more you visit the different posts over the week for the blog tour, the more likely you are to win! Plus, all the posts are great, so you won't want to miss out.  

Question for the giveaway: What elements of this book look interesting to you?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour!

July 21  Ensconced in Lit – review
Crystal in Bookland – guest post
July 22 Pandora's Books - guest post
                Ensconced in Lit – character interview
July 23 YA Book Nerd Reviews YA Book Nerd Reviews- review
                Wonderland of Reading - review
July 24 The Whimsical Mama – guest post
                Fly to Fiction  – Review
July 25 Tea and Fangirling – Review
                A Reading Nurse – guest post
July 26 I Heart YA Fiction – Author Interview

 

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