Friday, April 15, 2011

Guest Post: Author Rebecca Ryals Russell

Today I welcome author Rebecca Ryals Russell to My Reading Room to talk about her new book, Odessa, Book 1 of The Seraphym Wars series which came out March 29, 2011.

Creation of Myrna and her backstory
Ever since the idea for this story began, thirty years ago, I knew the protagonist was a teenaged girl. She always had waist-length black hair, slim but muscular figure, piercing emerald green eyes and non-stop badass attitude. The only things that changed over the years were where she came from and who she was, deep inside.

By the time I finished six to eight (lost count) rewrites and revisions, Myrna’s name and home location had changed about six times. Finally, she landed in Jacksonville, Florida, because I consider that my home and know it intimately. I know the climate, streets, neighborhoods—and they say write what you know. Although Myrna Ashlin Watts grew up in Jacksonville, she doesn’t spend much story-time there because she is immediately whisked away to the planet of the demons, Dracwald, where the story unfolds. However, she leaves a family behind—a family she worries about constantly and feels she must get back to protect.

At the time of the story, Myrna is seventeen-years old and a senior in high school. Two years ago she was walking home from a friend’s house one street over, but it had gotten dark. Despite her father’s warnings, she takes a short-cut through an abandoned property and is attacked by three red-eyed teenaged boys she doesn’t recognize. She is rescued by her younger brother, Quinn, before the boys could do more than terrorize and beat her up a bit. But, just before the story begins, she sees those same boys in a vision and is forced to watch as they do horrifying things to her brother Quinn. The next day, she wakes on Dracwald and is informed of her destiny.

Book Review: Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Night RoadNight Road by Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publish Date: March 22, 2011
Hardcover, 400 pages 
 ISBN: 978-0312364427

My Review:
Why I read this: I love Kristin Hannah since I read Firefly Lane several years ago and I squealed when I received this ARC in the mail.

My thoughts:  I loved this book.  I did not want to put it down and honestly felt like I could see every character's point-of-view.  That's not to say that I liked all the actions of certain characters, but I honestly could see why they acted the way they did.

Night Road is all about the characters as is typical in a Kristin Hannah novel.  I like that this time she used two different generations in the book.  First there is the mom, Jude, and then there are her children Mia and Zach and Mia's best friend Lexi.  The first half of the book revolves around the teenage years of Mia, Zach and Lexi with the most emphasis on their senior year of high school when the unthinkable happens.  I really liked each character.  They were different from each other, yet worked well together and I could see the storyline falling into place.  Of course tragedy strikes and life changes and that is what the second half of the book is devoted to.  Seeing how the characters changed was very interesting and I liked seeing the growth of some and the stagnation of others.  I really understood the characters better than any of her earlier novels (which were all excellent to me) so this one stood above the others because of this.

The storyline moves at a nice pace, I never felt like it was too slow or too hurried at the end.  Of course I would have loved for it to go on longer, but felt the ending was fitting and a good place to end.  Ms. Hannah does a wonderful job plotting this one out and I love how she moves from one time period to the next without feeling like you missed too much.

I can't say anything but good things about Night Road.  It's an amazing book and I loved every minute.  The characters will stay with me for some time as well as the storyline.  The storyline actually taught me a few things and I am thankful for these lessons in such an entertaining read.  If you love Ms. Hannah's earlier books, I say run out and get this one.  If you like authors like Jodi Picoult, Elizabeth Berg, Emily Giffin and others like them, then try out Kristin Hannah's Night Road - I don't think you will be disappointed.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About the Book:

Lexi and Mia are inseparable from the moment they start high school. Different in so many ways - Lexi is an orphan and lives with her aunt on a trailer park, while Mia is a golden girl blessed with a loving family, and a beautiful home. Yet they recognize something in each other which sets them apart from the crowd, and Mia comes to rely heavily on Lexi's steadfast friendship. Mia's beloved, and incredibly good-looking, twin brother Zach, finds life much less complicated than his sister. Jude thought she'd never have to worry about her son, that he'd always sail through life easily achieving whatever he, and his family, wanted and expected - but then he fell in love. The summer they graduated is a time they will always remember, and one they could never forget. It is a summer of love, best friends, shared confidences and promises. Then one moment one night changes them all forever. As hearts are broken, loyalties challenged and hopes dashed, the time has come to leave childhood behind and learn to face the future.

About the Author: 

Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen novels including Firefly Lane, True Colors and Winter Garden. A former lawyer turned writer, she is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii. 

Great Interview with Kristin by Shelf Awareness
FTC Information: I received this book from the publisher for a honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

You're Invited to the A Thread of Sky E-vent hosted by BookTrib

 Come join BookTrib as they throw an E-vent for the paperback release of A Thread of Sky by Deanna Pei - see the information below and come join BookTrib on April 26th at 3pm - I know I'm going to be there!