Friday, September 30, 2011

Remembrance by Michelle Madow: Review, Interview & Giveaway

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I’m very happy to have author Michelle Madow stop by Xpresso Reads to talk about her debut novel, Remembrance – which you must definitely check out if you haven’t already. To add fun to the mix, Michelle has offered up an ecopy of her book to one of YOU! That’s right! *Throws confetti*

Interview with Michelle Madow

Q.What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always loved writing, but decided to write for the goal of publication about two years ago when I turned the first chapter in for homework in my Intro to Creative Writing class. I was surprised when my classmates and teacher loved it and wanted to read more! Their enthusiasm made me believe I could succeed in finishing a novel if I put my mind to it. I wrote 1,000 words every day, and eventually completed Remembrance. Reaching that goal and writing “the end” was one of the best feelings the world, and I love being able to share my stories with readers.

Q. I know this idea came to you when you saw the video by Taylor Swift, but is it all imagination, or is anything in this book based on a real life experience?

The majority of the book is from my imagination. There is one scene that’s based off a real life experience though, and that’s the foreign country misunderstanding in Lizzie’s French class. That same thing happened to me in Spanish class in ninth grade, and it was one of the most embarrassing situations of my life! I hope that people from my ninth grade Spanish class read that scene and realize that I never actually thought Hawaii was a foreign country.

Q. Did you ever think to send a copy of Remembrance to Taylor Swift?

Yes, I did send it to Taylor!
Along with this letter –> Click here to read the letter.

Q. What was your favorite chapter/part to write? 

I loved writing the scene where Lizzie is with Drew in
the car after the soccer game. It was an intense scene to
write, and one of the first times they were alone together.
Another of my favorites was the music box scene,
because it was so sweet and romantic <3

Q. Who do you imagine you were in your past life?

Although I’m not a believer of past lives myself (even though it is fun to write about them ;), I imagine that I would have been reincarnated from Ancient Rome during the Golden age, because I love the art and architecture from that time.

Q. If this book ever becomes a movie, who would you like to see
playing Lizzie and Drew?

I love casting celebrities to play my characters! I’ve always seen Lizzie as Taylor Swift (although Taylor is WAY taller than Lizzie), and I think Drew Roy would make a great Drew. I even have a whole section on my blog where I cast celebrities to play the characters in Remembrance, which you can find here.

Q. If you could be any fictional character, who would you be and

Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I love fairy tales, and I love that while Ariel went through a lot to get what she wanted, it all worked out for her in the end. She’s living in a palace with the man she loves, and she has a big family that loves her. She’s also a princess, which has gotta be fun! 😉

Q. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

KEEP WRITING and don’t give up! The people who make it have all been rejected at some point, but they were successful because they kept going anyway. If you continue to work at it, you will improve, and you will eventually make it.

Q. You’re at Starbucks: What do you order?

I order depending on my mood, but either a cappuccino or a vanilla latte. I  also love the peppermint drinks in the winter!

Thank you so much, Michelle, for dropping by Xpresso Reads and taking the time to answer my questions. I really enjoyed getting to know you!

Now that we all know the mind behind Remembrance, let’s check out what this book is about and why you should all add it on your must-buy list; here’s the blurb and my review:

Michelle Madow
Released date: July 25th, 2011
Format: ebook

New Hampshire high school junior Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England … but she doesn’t know it yet.

Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie’s school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can’t stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can’t she seem to get him out of her mind?

Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, the pair of them soon find that fighting fate isn’t going to be easy.

*A copy was provided by Michelle Madow for review purposes*

Inspired from the Love Story music video by Taylor Swift, Madow created this wonderful unique love story that will make you want to be young and fall in love all over again.

I really loved the characters in this novel. I completely connected with Lizzie. She wasn’t the most popular girl at school, nor was she a complete loser. She was your average American girl with normal teenage problems and worries. She has great friends and a not so perfect long term boyfriend – we’ll get to him in a second. I could relate to her in a lot of ways. I had the same concerns as her when I got a bad mark, I would sit there and contemplate how it would affect my final grade. I also had a similar long term relationship where the spark just faded and the guy wasn’t very… kind.

Now on to Jeremy. I really enjoyed her portray of a dwindling relationship. At first I was really wondering why the heck Lizzie was with this guy. I wanted to slap him! He was so mean and selfish with her, but then we learn that they were friends since they were kids and that he wasn’t always this way. Relationships evolve and people grow apart. I found it very accurate of how most teenage relationships turn out – in my experience anyhow.

Apart from the main characters. The supporter characters – Chelsea, Keelie and even the smaller roles of Shannon and Amber – were very distinct in the story. They all were great additions to the story and actually acted like real friends; real people with flaws and personalities.

I enjoyed the original premise of this story. Lizzie is having flashbacks of her past life with Drew. I always wondered about reincarnation and find the possibility intriguing. It gave a sweet twist to an already cute love story. I did have a problem with her reactions to finding out what her vision was. She accepted it too easily like it happens to everyone. I’m a bit of a skeptic myself. If anyone would tell me we met in a past life, vision or not, I’d be like “You, sir, are bonkers!”. While Lizzie just went “Oh ok, makes sense”. This was the only issue I had with the story though. I really enjoyed the love story. It’s definitely an adorable, feel-good type of book.

For a debut, the writing is excellent. It had a great flow and the story progressed at a nice pace. It never felt too rushed or too sluggish; It kept me absorbed the whole time. If you love romantic stories, this is definitely not one to miss.

4/5 hot espressos

Giveaway is now Closed. Winner is Lulu of The Bookworm is Here.
Michelle has offered an ecopy of her wonderful book to one lucky winner.
This contest is international

Must be a GFC follower
Leave a comment with your GFC follower name and email address to enter.

Extra entries:

+1 if you follow Michelle on Twitter @MichelleMadow

+1 if you follow me on Twitter @Giselleco
+1 if you follow Michelle’s blog

+1 if you like the Remembrance Facebook page
+1 if you tweet about this interview

Leave me the links and user names in your comment. Giveaway ends October 8th at 10:00pm AST.
Winner will be picked by random number generator.
Winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen.

Thank you all for dropping by! 

Review: Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

Posted by on 09/30/2011 • 5 Comments

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, #2) Darynda Jones First published August 16th, 2011 St. Martin’s Press

When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife…

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Posted by on 09/29/2011 • 18 Comments

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)Cynthia HandFirst published January 4th, 2011 HarperCollins

In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at…

WoW (3)

Posted by on 09/28/2011 • 76 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.  My pick this week:                                    Dearly Departed                                    Lia Habel                                    Release date: October 18th, 2011

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?   The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But…

Dusty Reads (1)

Posted by on 09/27/2011 • 21 Comments

Dusty Reads is a weekly post featuring a book that has been sitting unread on my home shelf for some time. This book is exclusively chosen by Giselle.

This is my first Dusty Reads post. I find that blogs often feature new and upcoming books, so we tend to forget about the great books that we planned to read back when, but never got around to. So this may help someone discover an older book that is just as good as all the ARCs everyone is dying to get a hold of. Here’s what I picked:

     Twenty Boy Summer    Sarah Ockler

“Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it.” “Okay.” “Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?”…

Shatter Me ARC Winner

Posted by on 09/27/2011 • 0 Comments

Thank you to everyone who entered to win my giveaway. I’ve selected a winner for a signed copy of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. Winner was picked by random number generator.

Congratulations to Brenna of Esther’s Ever After

Be on the lookout for my email.

Shatter Me is Tahereh’s debut novel that will release on November 15th, 2011.It’s a great dystopian that I hope you all enjoy. If you’re interested in what more I had to say, click here for my review.

Don’t forget to check out my other giveaways: One Woman’s Trash 100 Followers Giveaway Thank you so much to all my followers. I hope you’re enjoying my blog. 🙂

Review: The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Posted by on 09/26/2011 • 13 Comments

The Host (The Host, #1)Stephenie MeyerFirst published January 1st, 2000

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that takes over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves – Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she’s never met. As outside forces…

Review: Wayward by Ashley Girardi

Posted by on 09/26/2011 • 8 Comments

Wayward (The Witch Wars Saga, #1) Ashley Girardi First published March 27th, 2011

Born without magic, seventeen-year-old Helena “Hex” Wayward is an embarrassment to her power-hungry relatives.

As the weakest member of the world’s most deadly magical family, Hex learns early how to avoid confrontation. There’s no defending herself against an errant curse or the pit-demon that her cousins like to summon during family reunions.

When the dark magic inside of her — magic that she never dreamt even existed — erupts in a violent display, it kills a member of a rival family. Now, Hex’s family hopes to use her magic for their own sinister purposes and their enemies just want her dead. Abandoning her magic will leave Hex defenseless but she’s seen how quickly power corrupts even…