I listed a giveaway for a free paperback copy of Chasing Shadows on Amazon to get this little 1 Year Celebration started! But these things go by and reach their limit really quickly (I still don’t know how people find them, because I can’t), so hurry up and follow the link to enter to win. And share around with all your social media friends–just tell them to hurry! 😉
I contacted Ness a little over a month ago because I fell in love with the carefree attitude and sense of humor she portrays on her blog. The questions she sent me to fill out for the author interview did not disappoint–she immediately apologized if they came off too wacky for my taste, but they were awesome. I love a good rapid-fire round of Author Q&A! Her questions totally spurred on my wacky side (seriously? Nerverland isn’t real???I can’t marry my favorite book characters?!) and made this interview a lot of fun to work on. Click the link below for the full interview, and be sure to follow Ness and her awesome blog.
And, yes, Ness, you need to get cracking on that Writer’s Aid so I no longer have to edit my own works! #IdRatherBeWriting
Okay, so this could definitely be considered cheating, but I am DYING to share a little snippet from Book III in the Rising Shadows trilogy!
Yep, you heard right. I’ve been writing several pages each day, refining as I go, and spent basically all of yesterday working on an imperative, mystery-unraveling scene. I also had the opportunity—at last!—to pen the letters between Cadius and Alexis. . . . There aren’t any major spoilers within the actual letters (as long you’ve read Chasing Shadows), so don’t panic or get too excited.
… Or get excited—that’s okay, too! But if you are going into your second year of being cold turkey concerning spoilers, then you might want to back out now and wait for the book to release. I’d hate to be the one who set you back.
That’s right, go ahead. I’ll wait a moment for you to leave…
Ah, now that we’re all ready for some serious glimpses of the literary future, shall we continue on?
Nonsense, poopy pants! (a little shout-out to Ace Ventura) Without further ado:
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Sarah ran a tentative finger over the rough, discolored parchment she had found in the hidden compartment. With careful fingers, she removed the uppermost letter from the pile and set the box on the desk. Pausing to listen for the sound of footsteps and hearing only her own rapid breathing, Sarah reverently opened the letter, fingers shaking as she unstuck the seal, broken years before now. The ancient parchment crackled as she unfolded it gently, praying it didn’t disintegrate in her hands. Instinctively, her eyes roved the small letter quickly, catching glimpses of words that led her to believe it was a love letter, but her mouth swung open when she saw Cadius’ signature at the bottom.
We are nearing the end. You expressed your concern of my plans, but I assure you that I shall employ great care as my design unfolds. It will take time as I gather men who are willing to unseat the current monarch, but be patient, dear heart; I swear to you we will be free of this gilded cage soon. I shall release our souls from the tyranny of my brother by releasing his soul from this life, as I promised you I would. Your time is near, and the pieces are falling into place as planned. Patience, love–do not be so hasty as to try and rush our plan, as you proposed. All in due course, recall? Everything shall go into motion once the child is born.
Just a little taste of what’s to come later this year when the series comes to a close. You’re welcome.
I read Suzy’s title for the interview we worked on together and went all, “Aww, stawp!” Haha. This one actually got me thinking and got my creative juices flowing, which is one of an author’s favorite things. ^_~ If you want to find out how truly kooky I am, what my likes/dislikes are concerning writing and reading, and how I got inspired to write the Rising Shadows trilogy, then just follow the link below to Suzy’s adorable blog to check out the interview. You can also like, share, or leave a blog post comment.
Have a wonderful week, everyone, and stay lovely!
Meet your next book crush (and my forever fictional crush), Will Taylor from “Chasing Shadows.”
Will, so nice of you to—Oh, you can remove the blindfold now.
Yanks it off his head. “Where in blazes are we? And why did you cover my eyes?”
In my basement, and there are some things that would be … difficult to explain if you saw them, like my car and microwave. Now, we know that you’re 22, have super-human good looks–born with them!—and have a passion for saving people, but tell us a little something about yourself that we don’t already know.
*sighs* Will, honey, focus. You’re adorable when you’re being protective, but you’re fine, she’s fine, we’re all fine. I just need a few minutes of your time, and then I can return you to where you came from after we conclude our interview. Speaking of which, what do you like best about living in twelfth century Serimone?
Shifts uncomfortably. “Pardon?”
Too tough? Okay, then, what’s your favorite color?
“Green, I suppose.”
What is a fond childhood memory you’d like to share?
“Following my father through the castle and exploring the secret passages deep below. Every day was like an adventure, and my knowledge of every inch of Serimone Castle has helped in certain other ‘endeavors.’”
Like sneaking in to find evidence against the king’s assassin. Alright, now we’re getting somewhere. . . . Good Lord, you’re dreamy. Okay, stay focused, be professional.
“… Did I awake in a mental infirmary?”
What? *giggles nervously* No. Of course not! Anywho, moving on. Do you have any favorite hideouts?
“There is an enormous birch tree on the property near my cabin. I am very fond of watching the sunrise from there. Especially when the company is very fair.”
That’s a secretive smile. Care to share with the rest of us?
“Forgive me, but no. That memory is very close to my heart.”
You are just as private as Sarah. . . Ah, I get it now. Well, then if you could have any superpower, what would it be?
“To travel back in time.”
… Uh-huh, How interesting, and no hesitation. *clears throat* What would you see or change if you could?
“I would go to the past and stop my parents from being murdered.” Sighs. “Though Sarah would tell me that I can’t change the past, but should make the most of my present.”
I’m sure your parents would be proud of you. You took over your father’s blacksmith business, right? Do you want to do that permanently, or do you have other interests?
“Um, no, I do not wish to be a blacksmith forever. And I do have other hobbies…”
You mean being the Shadow, Serimone’s vigilante?
“How did you—“
Long story. Plus, I’m also a huge fan of yours—you know, running around the forest in a cloak and fighting for justice with a bow is pretty awesome—so I’ve been keeping tabs on you.
“Thank you? I took on the persona of the Shadow so I could seek out my parents’ murderer, and then I continued on with my pursuit for justice when I realized that I could truly help people.” Mouth tips. “And I kept on with it to a help a certain young lady stop an assassination.”
That reminds me, do you think you’ll ever be able to prove that Cadius killed his brother, the king?
“The two of us are doing everything we can to bring him to justice, so I suppose we’ll see someday.”
Speaking of Sarah, do you have long-term aspirations for your relationship?
Smiles very slowly. “My goals involve forever.”
*heart melts* I’m trying really hard to not ship you guys right now.
“Ship? I’m sorry…?”
Oh, it’s not like an actual ship-ship. It’s when you root for a fictional couple and combine their names. Like you and Sarah could be … Swill? Willah? Umm, Maylor?
“You do realize that sounds horrible.”
Yes, I’ll definitely think up something else, but you get the idea for now. I just have to be careful that I don’t get more attached than I am if I have to kill one of you off.
Eyes widen. “Kill one of—Hey, let’s not be hasty.”
Well, that’s all we have time for today. Thanks, Will, for traveling all this way. If you’ll just put this blindfold back on, we can get you back to where you belong. A little quicker now, if you don’t mind.
“And what do you mean fictional?”
… Houston, we have a problem.
Did you notice a little addition to the sidebar on the left? Ahem. That’s right—there is now an official “Chasing Shadows” tab. That means that I’ve added the playlist, summary, and, soon to come, all the blog interviews I’ve been and will be doing.
Next to writing, music is the other half of my life; it speaks what sometimes cannot be spoken or conveyed through words. I always listen to themed music when I’m working hard on the ivory keys—actually, I can’t play piano, but it sounds cooler than “keyboard”—to really get me into a scene. The songs below are ones that I religiously listened to while writing one of my favorite stories (my sisters were fairly sick of these songs by the time I penned the last page). So, when you’re reading “Chasing Shadows,” be sure to give these songs a listen to put you in the moment.
Avicii — Wake Me Up
Jason Reeves — The End
Schuyler Fisk — Waking Life
Ben Howard — The Fear
Nico and Vinz — Am I Wrong
The Script — The End Where I Begin
Switchfoot — Slipping Away
Penny and Sparrow — Brothers
Josh Rosenthal — No More Lies
The Workday Release — A Starlit Sky
YPPAH — Never Mess with Sunday
Levi Robin — Breathe Easy
Bastille — Bad Blood
Jason Walker — Down
Keith Urban — Stupid Boy
Hunter Hayes — You Think You Know Somebody
Need to Breathe — Won’t Turn Back
Danny Elfman — Oz, the Great and Powerful
Brand X Music — Sorcerer’s Secret
Hurts — Unspoken
Kacey Musgraves — Back on the Map
Lady Antebellum — Learning to Fly (cover)
Augustana — Borrowed Time
The Weepies — Can’t Go Back Now
One Republic — Feel Again
Hunter Hayes — All You Ever
The Civil Wars — Dust to Dust
Two Steps from Hell — Resistance is Fatal
X Ambassadors — Unsteady
Mads Langer — Fact-Fiction
Jan Kaczmarek — Finding Neverland
Gabrielle Aplin — Start of Time
Jimmy Eat World — Hear You Me
Florence and the Machine — Heavy in Your Arms
Sean Fournier — Goodbye
In the Nursery — Kryptka
Switchfoot — When the World Caves In
Parachute — Hurricane
Brand X Music — Curious Developments
Greg Laswell — Comes and Goes (in Waves)
Ray LaMontagne —Be Here Now
Ed Sheeran — Give Me Love
Abel Korzeniowski — First Kiss
Christina Perri — A Thousand Years
Bastille — The Draw
Two Steps from Hell — Black Blade
One Republic — Burning Bridges
Tom Petty — Square One
Avicii — Heart Upon My Sleeve
Husky – History’s Door
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus — Cat and Mouse
Adele — Skyfall
Sons of Sylvia — John Wayne
Brand X Music — All or Nothing
Blackmill — Journey’s End
Kodaline — All I Want
Of Monsters and Men — Silhouettes
Lord Huron — Ends of the Earth
Radical Face — Welcome Home
When I first read Lauren DeStefano’s “Wither,” I was enthralled. It was intriguing, fantastic, crazy, confusing, mysterious, and an all-in-all well-rounded book and story idea. Plus, every single book cover in her trilogy is A-MAZING! Then “Wither” ended on a sort of cliffhanger, so you can imagine my excitement when “Fever” came out last year. . . . . . . . Umm, yeah. Don’t judge a book by its bubblegum pink and carnival-themed cover. Two words: “Blek” and “Huh?”
But that wasn’t going to stop me! I figured that “Sever”—one of my top anticipated books of 2013 if you refer to previous Book Extravaganza posts—would totally redeem the series, be extremely refreshing after the disappointment of “Fever,” while also answering all of my torturous questions. Again: Umm, yeahhhhhh. My older sisters DeAnna and Elizabeth read it first, and DeAnna actually threw her brand new hardback copy—*GASP*—across the room when she was done. So obviously I had to read it for myself and wouldn’t allow them to give any spoilers, though their utterly shocked and irate reactions should have caused me to steer clear.
Now beware! This review and general rant about a could-have-been-great story WILL contain spoilers, and also some possibly graphic death sequences that may or may not involve sporks and letter writing.
Right off the bat I was intrigued by the first sixty pages of the book. I was glad that Rhine didn’t make me want to throw up and was actually a good character, that she and Linden were “back together,” however frosty he may have been at first, and that it seemed they were going to take that crazy-head Vaughn down. But then it just kept dragging on, so let me give you a brief rundown of the book’s plotline as though we’re actually in the story; it’s much more “riveting” this way. ~__^
We’re at Uncle Reed’s, though I actually enjoyed those parts because he ended up being my favorite character. Vaughn is still a crazy and manipulative, so let’s escape—the logical thing to do, UNTIL……
Oopsies, we’re back at Madame’s carnival from “Fever.” Seriously? We couldn’t have taken the I-8 instead of the 15? Lauren threw in some interesting twists in this portion of the book, such as the fact that Madame is actually the mother of Rose, Linden’s first-first wife. At this point, we’re still intrigued. That will quickly pass, I assure you.
Finally, Rhine gets in touch with her long-lost twin brother, who is now a crazy warlord that blows stuff up. . . . . AT VAUGHN’S BIDDING!!!! Yes, I know—close your mouth. He, too, is a puppet of the crazed scientist. And this is the part that really bothered me: An unnecessary lack of communication, which always curls my toes in books. Rhine’s brother is so enamored with the genius Vaughn that she doesn’t have the heart to tell him that this evil man has killed people and experimented on her. But, hey, why get between a mad scientist and his protégé? Let’s move on. After that, it’s sixty pages of Vaughn talking and the three of them traveling. No, seriously, I counted the number of straight pages, and there was more evil plan-recounting for long stretches later on in the book. Boring and monotonous, but at this point—despite the fact that our eyes are glazing over while he rambles on—I’m still like, “Okay, this isn’t so bad. Why were the girls freaking out?”
Then Vaughn brings her back to the mansion. Oh, and small side note: In “Fever,” Rhine had been drugged and kidnapped by Vaughn. She willingly left her and Gabriel’s safe haven in the middle of the night without telling Gabriel—again, lack of communication. So he didn’t know where she was. Oh, wait, yes he did! TWIST: He saw her leaving with Vaughn and sacrificed himself by going with her, unbeknownst to our unconscious heroine. Oh, yeah, and he’s been in the basement for the past couple months, which she finds out upon arriving back at the mansion in “Sever” and does nothing about it! This also bothered me, since the guy sacrificed himself for her and she can’t bring herself to take the elevator down two floors? Oy! Also another jump-ahead-side-note: You don’t see Gabriel, the love interest whom she ends up with, until the last six pages of the book, and even then she acts like he’s second best. Why, you may ask?
BECAUSE LINDEN WAS KILLED IN A RIDICULOUS ACCIDENT! Right after he and Rhine had this beautiful moment, and he told her he still loved her, and the sun was shining, and everything was going to be perfect. Then BAM! I knew by my Team Linden sisters’ reactions that he had to die or not end up with Rhine. But how ridiculous and unwarranted and awful could his death really be? Let me tell you: They go for a joy ride in a little plan, he pours out his heart to her, they smile (the kiss of death), experience some turbulence, he gets the teensiest bump on his head, and ends up bleeding out from his eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. Yes, literally every orifice on his head. I was reading it at dinner, because the girls saw where I was and kept nudging each other, so I knew I was close. But I was so shocked that I didn’t even know what to say. They were laughing at my reaction and said my mouth was open and that I was totally flushed. I kept waiting for him to come back to life. No such luck. And then about five minutes later, after just sitting in dumbfounded silence, I finally felt a spark of anger and was highly tempted to torch the book, literally, over an open flame, and you know how much I respect books.
I was so shocked and ticked that he dies without any warning that I, with Elizabeth’s inspiration, devised several other ridiculous and meaningless and horrible ways he could have died. These are about the same caliber as the stupid plane accident.
~Linden is writing Rhine a beautiful love letter, expressing all of his feelings and apologizes for being so frosty. He goes to put the letter in the mailbox, sees a cute squirrel, gets distracted, and accidentally gets a paper cut. Turns out he’s a hemophiliac. It wasn’t even the letter opener or wax seal that did him in. Yeah, that stupid.
Scenario #2: Linden is driving his convertible through a fast food drive-thru. He’s in a hurry to go meet Rhine because he’s finally going to tell her how he feels. He collects his food and plows through the drive thru when one of the attendants throws an unwrapped spork out the window to a waiting customer. The harmless plastic spork lodges in Linden’s eye, he swerves, and drives into one of those electrical donuts. Did I mention he drove his convertible despite the rain? You fill in the rest.
Scenario #3: I imagine this involves a sweet meet-and-greet with dolphins gone terribly awry at Sea World. Hint: He had packed a sack lunch of chips, an apple, and a mackerel sandwich in in his wetsuit pocket. (Kind of reminds me of the Lacramose Leeches scene, for those of you who’ve read the Series of Unfortunate Events)
Alas, my most anticipated book of the year made me want to shove a spork in my own eye. And they didn’t resolve anything until the last eight pages of the book, and even then it was almost like we were reading the author’s plot notes or special monologue. *Sighs dramatically* Here’s to hoping “Requiem” doesn’t disappoint! -__- (That is a very unfeeling emoticon, in case you were unsure of how high my hopes were that the other books I’m looking forward to will actually turn out well)
The progression of my many reactions to “Sever”: