THE KATY RECEIVES AN AWARD

I am truly humbled and excited today because this blog was given an award by UrbanEpics for being one of the best YA blogs of 2015. Check out my best of 2015 post to see which books I really recommend.

Thank YOU for making this blog a success. Please check out the link to find some other awesome book blogs!

BEST YA BOOK BLOGS OF 2015

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To celebrate, I am giving away a $5 Amazon gift card (that’s enough for possibly 5 ebooks)! Enter below.

And THANK YOU AGAIN for being such an amazing group of people.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Catalyst by Casey L Bond

I am so behind on reviews. Can you believe we are almost done with January already? Amazing.

Anyways, I finished Catalyst by Casey L Bond in December and am finally getting around to posting a review. Since I helped spread the word about her new book yesterday with it’s beautiful cover reveal, I thought it fitting that I write a post about one of Casey’s other books today!

Synopsis: The city of Confidence is surrounded by a thick, concrete wall. These walls are built to protect those within and to keep dangers outside. What happens when the only danger to the citizens within is its leadership?

When a young man on a suicide mission meets a young woman with a terminal illness, both of them use one another as a means to their own ends. They never expect to become friends. They never expect to become so much more to each other. Their backgrounds and the secrets they uncover are more dangerous than any plans they could make together or separately.

Review:

I loved everything about this book. The Romeo and Juliet feel of forbidden romance, the secrets people keep, bucket lists, and finding joy in things you were told were bad. This dystopian tale truly weaves an amazing prequel for Casey L Bond’s series, The Harvest Saga. I actually forgot that I was reading a prequel for awhile, even though it connects beautifully to those books. The characters were engaging, lovable (or easy to hate, depending), and awesome. In this dystopian world, people outside of the walls are considered unequal to those inside. Some even keep the outsiders as pets or slaves. Casey weaves a believable world of inequality. Some fight for what is right, but will they win?

Read it. Also, read The Harvest Saga.

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THE KATY’S BEST OF 2015

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday season and New Years! I took off of one of my jobs so that I could spend more time with my little family. It was awesome.

Now that I’m back to the grind, I thought I’d share some of my favorite books, posts, and other highlights from 2015!

This may get long…2015 was a great year!

Let’s get the longest category out of the way: BOOKS.

2015 Fave books

I’m not really sure if I had a completely #1 favorite book of 2015. There were so many to choose from that I could talk about for hours, so in no particular order here are my top ten! …They are pretty much all Sci-fi/dystopian lit!

  • Killshot by Aria Michaelsbookcover
    • Aria was my first author interview EVER. She wrote such an awesome book, I knew I needed to hear more about it. I’m so happy she agreed to answer a few questions!
    • Killshot is about a girl named Liv and how she goes from being a normal high school girl (with legit problems) to fighting for her life and the lives of those around her. Read more in my review.
    • Buy link
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    • I’m sure this book is on everyone’s “best of 2015” lists, but I had to add it. It’s awesome! (See review) I added it to my “read yearly” list on Goodreads, which only has two other books on it right now. I received “Ready Player One” from a LootCrate! Best month ever!
    • Buy link (At time of post, the paperback was cheaper than the kindle edition!)
  • UPDATED EBOOK COVER WITH TAGLINESThe Treemakers by Christina L Rozelle
    • This one is classified as YA, but definitely has some scarier parts. I loved it. It was definitely dark, yet remained hopeful through all of the horribleness. Read my reviews and interview with Christina here.
    • Christina is a great author, but also a kind and generous person. She agreed to an interview and I look forward to getting to know her more over the years!
    • Buy link
  • Prep for Doom anthology by Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans
    • This anthology was unique because all the stories intertwined even though multiple authors wrote them! (I was lucky enough to be asked to join the Band of Dystopian team as an assistant in 2015 too. I love BOD!)
    • See my review here.
    • Buy link
  • Tails of the Apocalypse by various authorstsils
    • One of my favorite anthologies I’ve read by far! Not sure if it’s because it followed animals or what, but I loved each story in a different way. Review here.
    • Buy link
  • Anything written by Sarah Noffke in 2015
  • Between Life and Death series by Ann Christy
  • halfwaydeadHalfway Dead by Terry Maggert
    • A story about a witch. I’m usually not “into” witch books, but this one is awesome! It gave me an “Odd Thomas” vibe, which is one of my all time favorite books!
    • Read more HERE and see Terry’s interview here.
    • Buy link
  • Dark Bishop by Casey L Bond and Rachael Brownell
    • This is a suspense-type romance released as a serial series. It is NOT YA. But I love it. Check out Casey’s other books as well. She writes in all different genres and I loved each world she’s created.
    • Interview with Casey here.
    • Buy link
  • Sand by Hugh Howey
    • This one was SO good. I think I liked it even more than Wool. Hugh has a way with words. I felt like I was buried in the sand, in a good way…if that’s possible.
    • Buy link

AGH! That’s ten already? How about some honorable mentions? I really could go on and on. Last year was a great year for books and I cannot wait to read more in 2016!

MORE GOOD BOOKS

Interview with Author Christina L Rozelle

Please welcome Author Christina L Rozelle to THE KATY today!

Check out my review for Soultakers here!

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Author Christina L Rozelle! Woo!

Thank you so much for having me, Katy! My name is Christina and I write stories. I’m also mother to a toddler, a teen, and two middles, as well as a Chihuahua from hell. I love chocolate, blueberry Redbull, Daryl Dixon, clouds, and storms, and am entirely obsessed with end-of-the-world scenarios.

Here are my main social media links. (I have a ton, so the rest are listed at the end of the interview)

“The Treemakers” on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B015DC4Q5E/

“The Treemakers” on Audible: http://amzn.to/1EZvvlP

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1HYTjRo
“The Rozelle Army” Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/68sS9

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1f4Km1u

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/cl.rozelle

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/clrozellesouth

Twitter: @CLRozelle

Instagram: christina.l.rozelle


 

How did you decide to become an author? Any books, movie, or people that inspired you to pursue your dream?

I started writing poetry when I was 14, and from that point on I knew I wanted to write. But it wasn’t until I saw how enthralled my eleven-year-old was with “The Hunger Games” that my intrigue with YA Fiction was sparked. Before then I had never thought of myself as someone who’d one day write a novel. I was terrible at finishing things. I was a short story, poetry, and prose kind of girl. But my daughter and I started toying with plotlines and scenarios, characters (a group in particular known as shadow animal people… *giggle*), and the bonding this created between us was an amazing experience. I sat down and started writing . . . something. Haha

That story went down in flames fast, but another—“The Butterfly Prophecy”—was born. I finished that dystopian scifi in nine months, and although it wasn’t publishable, many of the themes and some of the characters and settings were transplanted into my third novel, “The Treemakers.” (Emerson and Ms. Ruby were two of my faves from “The Butterfly Prophecy” who were transplanted.)

About halfway through “The Butterfly Prophecy,” my daughter twisted my arm and made me read “The Hunger Games.” I devoured that series in two weeks, and that’s when I knew for a fact—I wanted to write some badass YA Fiction.

UPDATED EBOOK COVER WITH TAGLINES

Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you choose to go that route?

I finally decided to give up my search for an agent and self-publish The Treemakers last year. I tried a small pub for a couple months recently and decided I prefer doing my own thing. I love the independence, the confidence, and the control being an indie gives me over my own work, my writing career, and my future.

But if someone from the Big Five offers me a ton of money, hell…

*Packs kids and bags*

*Ditches Indie*

Are you a plotter or a panster? 

I once was a complete pantser. I just wrote and hoped it went somewhere good. LOL

I plot now, but considering I’m about to dive into the third book in my series, and my plots tend to be super complex, I kind of have to plot to make sure all loose ends are tied up. But if while writing the story wants to go in a direction that wasn’t plotted, I follow it where it leads me. Those dark alleyways and side roads, I’ve found, are often where the best scenes are hiding.

Interesting factoid about The Treemakers: When writing it for the second time after scrapping the first 100k word story, I had this kind of dark, but still mainly innocent idea of what I wanted it to be when I rewrote it. But it kept wanting to veer off into super dark territory that made me uncomfortable and nervous at first. In hindsight, I see that those are some of my best, most heart-wrenching scenes and the story wouldn’t be complete without them. I was so worried about what others would think at first, but eventually I just said “f*** it. This is the story that wants to be written and I need to honor that . . . And actually, I really don’t have much of a choice if I want to be a happy writer.”

That’s when I learned to walk the fine line between plotting and pantsing.

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What draws you to writing in the Dystopian genre?

The light in the dark, the mystery, the adventure, the coming together of strangers to become unlikely families, and so much more . . . When society crumbles, the ‘weak’ can become strong, while the ‘strong’ can collapse. Everyday people become heroes. Our slate is wiped clean and we are all on an even playing field of sorts. Now we get to see who we really are. When faced with the bare bones reality of survival of the fittest, people change. They are pushed to the limits, to the edge. We get to see if we will fall . . . or fly.

This concept fascinates me. As does the idea of a still world. Everything stops, crashes down, dies. And the strong will rise again to recreate the new world. What will it be like? What will we do? Will we survive? Will the world be a better place? Or will it become a hell like none we could ever even imagine? These questions have spawned a thousand amazing stories.

What does the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans group on Facebook mean to you?

I love BOD. It’s honestly the best group on Facebook. I love the camaraderie, the bond we share because of our fascination with all things end-of-days. And zombies. Let’s not forget those guys. 😉

BOD is a place where lovers of the genre, both readers and writers, can hang out and talk dystopia and post-apoc with others who “get it.” And we aren’t being spammed with constant sales posts, so… fist bump to Cheer, ER, and Angie for their superior admin ninja skillz. Love those ladies!

Oh, and their release parties are amazing. And free! Though, IMHO, they should charge because they’re outta this world fun and fab. ❤

May I ask where the inspiration came from to write The Treemakers? It’s such a unique and interesting storyline. 

On October 24, 2013, the Treemakers came to be during a perfect storm of various muses. My children and I lived in a bad neighborhood near these gigantic powerline towers, and I’d always think how they looked like mechanical trees. We had just ended another terrible summer (we live in Texas) where the kids stayed inside to play most days (bad neighborhood, plus heat) so the idea started brewing that summer. These orphan kids were in my head, and they were responsible for building these mechanical trees. They couldn’t go outside because of the bad air and the heat. The world was destroyed. Their lives were full of misery and despair, but they had each other, and their love for one another would pull them through….

In my house during that time we hung pictures of different paradises everywhere, to remind us that there was a better life somewhere, waiting for us. We’d get there one day, but first we had to weather the storm, push through the darkness of poverty and other obstacles to find the light. This was the emotional inspiration for the story, I think.

As far as the characters directly: my Nana was an orphan who was a mother figure to her twin baby sisters, and later she became a foster parent at the orphanage she grew up in. We’d go visit on Thanksgiving and I remember being fascinated with these orphan girls, inspired and in awe of my Nana’s ability to love so much, to feed and care for 10-20 girls on a daily basis, and do so with grace, strength, and nurturing.

And The Treemakers were born…

Another interesting factoid: The first edition cover of The Treemakers was actually a slightly modified version of an original painting by my Nana. (You can win a copy of it, or other cool prizes in my Rafflecopter here: http://gvwy.io/wcegq9)

Do any of your characters represent you as a whole or someone you know? Or are they qualities you admire in others?

As with all of my characters, they just kind of hop into my head and say “okay, it’s my turn now.” So far I’ve only based one character off of an actual person, but I can’t tell you who it is because it’s a character from book two, which some of you have yet to read. 😉

I think my characters are a montage of everyone I’ve ever met in my life. Different qualities, traits, quirks, looks, habits, etc., originated from someone, somewhere in my life, but they flesh into their very own special beings in my head, becoming their own unique selves.

Are there any genres of literature or movies that you won’t read or watch? What’s your favorite genre to read/watch? 

I’ve always had a hard time with anything historical. For me, it’s a snooze-fest. I prefer speculative/future/scifi/fantasy because the possibilities are endless and my imagination can run wild. I’m honestly quite hard to appease, as far as books are concerned. The books I like most are well-written in first person present, and yank me into the story by my heartstrings against my will. If a story does this, I don’t care what genre it is.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

#1. Go to that place inside you which scares you the most, set up a little desk for your laptop, and write your heart out from there. Write things that scare you. Make yourself laugh, cry, get angry—whatever. Just make sure you are feeling whatever you’re writing. If you aren’t feeling anything the reader won’t either.

#2. Get an amazing editor. I hear all the time “I can’t afford one.” And to those of you I say “How bad do you want this thing?” If you want to be a successful author you HAVE TO HAVE AN EDITOR. Sure, there may be what others perceive as exceptions to this rule. Maybe they are very clean and superior word-slingers. But I promise you they’d be twice as successful if they had an editor who helped them polish their writing and cultivate their craft.

#3. Quit making excuses. If you love something you make time for it, and you make a way for it.

P.S. Kimberly Grenfell (my editor) is amazing. Her prices are beyond reasonable and she’ll work with you on payment plans, if needed. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without her. No doubt in my mind about that. Here’s her FB link. Feel free to shoot her a friend request and a message. She’s super sweet, too. https://www.facebook.com/kimberly.grenfell?fref=ts

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share?

I’ll be busting my butt on the third and final book in the Treemakers Trilogy for the next year. Other than that, though, I’m constantly taking notes for new stories. So far I have 16 files on my computer of stories spanning a wide variety of speculative fiction—and other—genres. What will I write next?? I haven’t quite decided yet. Guess you’ll have to stick around and find out!

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Anything else you’d like to add?

I want to thank everyone who is reading this, and those who have read my work and shown their love and encouragement by sharing and reviewing, and saying such beautiful, uplifting things. Knowing people enjoy reading what I write means the world to me, and helps to push me forward every day.

Thank you for joining me on THE KATY today, Christina! 

Thank YOU for inviting me to be here, Katy! I appreciate it so much, you’re a sweetheart, and I love that you are such a supporter of the indie author community.

More links:

Wattpad: http://w.tt/1GW0lW2

The Treemakers on ifList: http://bit.ly/1QYc7a6

Google+: http://bit.ly/1Kua9Mb

A Spark in the Dark Blog: http://bit.ly/1NmGJQl

A Spark in the Dark Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/1JSEmWz

The Fansite of Christina L. Rozelle: http://christinalrozelle.com/

Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/user/christinalrozelle

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thetreemakers/

 

Review: The Soultakers by Christina L Rozelle

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

“What a journey you have been on, Joy Montgomery. But it isn’t over yet . . . . No . . . I’m afraid you have much farther to go.”

Joy Montgomery is a hero. The Treemakers are finally home, safe and free in a well-deserved and long dreamed of paradise. The children can now settle into normal, carefree lives. Or so they thought.
Troubled by secrets their newfound paradise reveals, coupled with tangled feelings toward those she loves, Joy sees the painful truth: they’re still prisoners forever wounded by the effects of a traumatic past. An ominous warning from a trusted friend strengthens her resolve to never let down her guard, to always be prepared, to be ready for war . . . both inside and out.
Once again, the Treemakers are faced with escaping disaster, and Joy’s strength is pushed to its limit, her sanity pushed to the brink of collapse. Just when their situation couldn’t get any more desperate, they’re thrust into a series of shocking tribulations that are nothing short of nightmarish.
Will the Treemakers of Greenleigh annihilate the forces of evil that seek to capture and control their souls? Or will the magic Joy thought she found turn out to be just another illusion?

This is the second book in the Treemakers Trilogy. This series is intended for mature YA audiences, as there are certain mature themes (abuse, character deaths, etc.,) which may be too emotionally intense for younger readers.

 


Find Christina L Rozelle online

Goodreads
Twitter
Facebook
Amazon
Her website (more social media links here)


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Review:

A light in the darkness. Hope when there should be nothing to hope for except an untimely end. Joy and her little family is in danger. She knows this paradise is too good to be true (because it isn’t), but wants to illusion––the lie––the continue as long as she can. The kids have had too many painful moments and deserve some happiness. Happiness eludes them again. The illusion shatters. The magic is gone.

I loved this book. One of the main reasons I read dystopian is because the characters can find the tiniest glimmer of hope in the direst of situations. Even when the pain sends them to their knees, they find their footing again. And again. And again. Joy is the embodiment of this genre. She takes on the guilt and pain from making promises she can’t keep, even though she’s doing everything she can. A lesser person would break after carrying the world on her shoulders for so long.

I enjoyed watching the hidden truths unravel and secrets becoming exposed. I loved Joy’s horrible adventures in trying to find herself again and watching as she again tried to protect those dearest to her.

A great read and awesome storytelling, The Soultakers makes an amazing sequel to The Treemakers. Check it out!

Related…isn’t her cover amazing!? I love it.

 

Review: Warriors (The Reverians Book 3) by Sarah Noffke

26404752Synopsis:

Austin Valley appears as it always has, but Em Fuller knows that appearances aren’t what they seem. She knows under the surface, that cracks are starting to form in this seemingly well-manicured society. She’s responsible for creating these cracks and for planting a slow dissension among many of the residents of this once happy city. Broken in a way Em never thought possible, she turns into a well-calculated, strategic leader. With the help of the brightest minds in Austin Valley, Em begins building an army whose only purpose is to protect the population of Austin Valley from their President, Victor Vider. Em firmly believes the success of her army is inevitable, that is until a new blow strikes her heart and she questions whether she has the tenacity to go on.


FIND SARAH NOFFKE ONLINE!

Visit Sarah Noffke on her website, Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

An interview with Sarah Noffke, here!

PARTY ALERT!

Saturday (11/14/2015), I will be hosting a release party for Warriors in the Band of Dystopian Authors and Fans Facebook group (5-7 PST)! Stop by for a chance to win a copy of Warriors or other prizes from Sarah Noffke!


Review:

A thrilling end to a great series. I really enjoyed seeing how one person can go from shouldering all the weight of the world and the tragedies that she had no control over, to letting friends help her. No one can hold the burden of guilt by themselves and Sarah Noffke shows that really well in Warriors. Once Em decides to accept help, she is able to be a better leader. Character development is on par in Warriors. I loved seeing everyone rise to the occasion and do what they must for freedom or for each other.

Another thing I enjoyed, was seeing what abilities each new dream traveler had. Especially since Em is a leech, we were able to see more dream traveller abilities than ever. It was awesome!

I love Zach. He is such a sweetheart. I said that in a previous review, but I am happy that he can finally let go and be happy. (Is that a spoiler? No…I think we’re good)

Now, the hardest part about finishing a great series…getting over it and finding something new!

Cover reveal! “Catalyst” by Author Casey L Bond

Catalyst Cover Reveal

Catalyst

By- Casey L. Bond

Genre- YA Dystopian

Expected Publication Date- June 3rd,

2015

 

The city

of Confidence is surrounded by a thick, concrete wall. These walls are built to protect those

within and to keep dangers outside. What happens when the only danger to the citizens within is

its leadership?

 

When a young man on a suicide mission

meets a young woman with a terminal illness, both of them use one another as a means to their

own ends. They never expect to become friends. They never expect to become so much more

to each other. Their backgrounds and the secrets they uncover are more dangerous than any

plans they could make together or separately.

Revolution begins with a spark.

 

 

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