Blog Tour for Haze- Guest Post by Paula Weston

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I am honored to once again be part of the blog tour for Paula Weston’s series The Rephaim. Thank you to Tundra Books and Paula Weston for including My Friends Are Fiction on the tour again this year and sending me a copy to review.

Just a couple of weeks ago (September 9th to be specific) the second of the series Haze released in the US. I absolutely adored Shadows and so I knew I wanted to read Haze as soon as possible. I loved this second installment even more than the first and if you’ve not started this series I consider it a must for paranormal fans. You can check out my interview with Paula from last year where she talks about the Rephaim and her research as well as my review of Shadows.

For my stop on the Haze tour I knew I had to ask Paula this question that I’ve been pondering since starting the series (and falling in love with her characters):

Who you feel that you are most like? Do you take parts of yourself for each character or is there one you’ve related to the most?

This is an interesting question. There’s definitely a lot of me in Gaby, or – more accurately – Gaby has allowed me to channel my nineteen-year-old self to tap into certain aspects of her personality.

When I was a teenager, I was impulsive, argumentative and confrontational and may have had some anger issues. 🙂 But whereas I was extroverted, Gaby is far more restrained socially, which makes sense for who she is at the start of the series (a girl covered in scars grieving for her twin brother). It also makes sense she’d be guarded, given she finds herself surrounded by people she doesn’t remember but who remember her – or, at least, a different version of her.

The interesting thing for me in writing Gaby, is that I need to know her on two levels: who she is now and who she was before she lost her memory. The latter is important to explain why those who knew her before react to her the way they do now. That’s definitely something that I explore more in Shimmer and Burn. Much of Gaby’s frustration comes from the fact people keep judging her on a past she doesn’t remember. All she wants them to judge her on is who she is now. Which raises the interesting question of how she will feel if she ever remembers that old life.

Unlike Gaby, I remember my past, and I’ve had some interesting ups and downs. Everything I’ve done and experienced – including my many mistakes – add up to who I am today. But I’m not always proud of who I used to be or some of the mistakes I made. But, like Gaby, I’d prefer people form opinions about me based on who I am today, rather than who I was in the past.

That’s not to say there aren’t parts of me in other characters. As a writer, it’s interesting (and sometimes fun), to draw on less visible parts of our personalities to flesh out particular characters. In many ways, it’s like acting: the character doesn’t have to be anything like you, but you need to find their truth if they’re to be believable, and to do that, you have to find something you can relate to.

I will admit, that if there’s a character I wish I was more like, it’s Ez. She’s rational, empathetic and measured. She’s slow to anger, and yet is deadly in a fight when necessary. I’d like to think I’m more Ez than Gaby these days, but I’m well aware I still have my Gaby moments…

Thanks for the great question. 🙂

———

I love this answer! I think we all struggle with lining up our past and present self, obviously not to the level that Gaby does. I feel that Paula’s ability to really draw on Gaby’s frustration behind not remembering is one of the most fascinating aspects of the story. I know as a reader I actually fear and question that once I learn of Gaby’s past-will I be able to accept her for who she is now? I love that these characters have become so real to me.

As a fun side to the tour Tundra put together a little quiz to see which character each of the bloggers are most like. My results didn’t surprise me…

IAmGaby

Be sure to check out this series if you’ve not done so yet! I’ll be posting my review of Haze very soon so keep your eye out for it. If you’ve missed any of the blog tour here’s the line up (be sure to check out this link to learn about a giveaway):

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2014
Wendy at The Midnight Garden
Jo Ann at Journey of a Bookseller
Lee at Rally the Readers
Stephanie at The Bevy Bibliothèque

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2014
Lynne at Words of Mystery
Alexandra at Collections
Leslie at Michelle & Leslie’s Book Picks, Part 1 and Part 2
Ashley at Book Labyrinth
Jen at The Starry-Eyed Revue

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2014
Summer at MissFictional’s World of YA Books
Jillian at Centre of the Universe
Jen at Perogies & Gyoza
Crystal at WinterHaven Books
Lisa at Turning Pages

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2014
Bethzaida at Bookittyblog
Krystal at Krystal’s Stellar Book Blog
Jaime (and her sister Erin) at FictionFare
Marianne at Escape Club
Christina at The Paperback Princesses

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2014
Joy at Joyousreads
Crystal at Crystal in Bookland
Andrea at Cozy Up With A Good Read
Kristen at My Friends Are Fiction

Review of Shadows by Paula Weston

ShadowsShadows (The Rephaim #1)
By: Paula Weston
Release Date: September 10th 2013
Publisher: Tundra Books
Purchase:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary (via Goodreads):
It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn.

And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams—he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.

Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?

The Story:
Unlike many readers I actually get excited when I see a book is about angels, the Fall or Fallen. I love the topic of the Nephalim and am so interested in learning different people’s take on the subject. Sadly, I’m often disappointed by the majority of young adult novels featuring one of my favorite topics. Thankfully, Shadows was very well done, the characters intriguing and the subject matter well researched (you can read about Paula Weston’s research in my interview with her).

Shadows focused less on the Fall and more on what affect it would have on the children of the Fallen and what it would look like in present day. This is a wonderful backdrop for the story Weston has created. Her main character has been deprived of some of her memories and is thrown into a world that seems out of her imagination. Memory loss stories can go wrong fast but Weston is selective with what Gaby doesn’t remember and how she uncovers these memories.

The story is well paced with just enough action interspersed to keep you engaged as you uncover the mystery of what happened to Gaby and why. Really, the beginning is all building up for a really wonderful ending that left me desperate to get my hands on the second book, Haze.

The Characters:
Weston excelled with her dialog and interactions between the characters. Rafa and Gaby had a wonderful chemistry. Their relationship is made even more interesting because of Gaby’s memory loss. Since her relationship with him was lost with her memories she is having to relearn who he is and how she feels and many of her emotions are in stark contrast what she’s been told she felt. It’s an interesting concept to consider- how would you feel about the people in your life if you couldn’t remember them?

For me, the characters in Shadows were the strongest aspect of the book. Even Weston’s secondary characters are well crafted and each have detailed histories that I can’t wait to learn more about.

Final Thoughts:
Shadows by Paula Weston has set up a wonderful beginning to her four part series. I can’t wait to see where she’ll take her story and characters.

Extras:
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I was part of the Shadows Blog Tour last week. Check out the tour here.

Shadows Blog Tour: Interview with Paula Weston + Giveaway

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Paula Weston has created one of my favorite books with Shadows. I was impressed with the level of research I could tell she did to give her book a wonderful atmosphere and history regarding angels, their fall from grace and the affects it would have over time. This topic really grabbed me and I had the chance to ask Paula about her this, character development and upcoming plans.

I have always been interested in Nephilim and the lack of details the Bible provides regarding them.  What drew you to creating a story including them and their children (Rephaim)?
I found the story of Semyaza and the two hundred fallen angels when researching mythology for what would become the Rephaim series. I already had the idea of a guy and girl with a complicated history that only he remembers (including the fact they had been on opposite sides of a broader conflict) and was trying to work out their story. I wasn’t originally planning on making it about fallen angels or their offspring, but when I read the Semyaza story, it sparked a rush of ideas.

For me, the real fascination wasn’t in why Semyaza and the others fell in the first place, but what the consequences would be for their offspring – particularly if something happened to the Fallen to take them out of the picture.

I wanted to put these half-angels in a very modern setting, having already been alive for almost a century and a half, still dealing with the consequences of their father’s actions. So, on one level, the Rephaim series is about Gaby and Rafa’s complicated relationship and the mystery of what Gaby and her brother, Jude, did a year ago. And on a broader level, it’s about how the Rephaim see themselves in the world – and the tension created when they disagree on what their role should be.

You quote the Book of Enoch and share a very comprehensive history. You must have done extensive research in theology and mythology. What was the most interesting thing you encountered while researching?
Once I’d made the decision to write a story about angels, demons and fallen angels, I read everything from biblical texts, medieval teachings, and apocrypha (including the Book of Enoch, which was a major influence) to Dante’s Inferno and New Age websites. I found it fascinating how much of our contemporary imagining of angels and demons comes from sources other than the bible.

The story of Semyaza comes from the Book of Enoch, which is a text written more than 2,000 years ago. It’s not accepted as doctrine by the church, but it has an important place as an apocryphal writing – and at some point in history, a group of people believed it was true.

(The term ‘Nephilim’ appears in the Old Testament, but not all translations agree on the context. Because the term has been used in other books about fallen angels, I thought I’d give it a twist and use ‘Rephaim’, a name that also has conflicting translations in the Old Testament. In researching theories/mythology about the offspring of fallen angels, I came across other ideas and concepts that helped me build a unique world of the Rephaim. But a fair chunk of their world is straight from my imagination.)

There a couple of things I found particularly interesting in my research. The first was the diversity of ancient Jewish and Christian texts that were rejected for inclusion in the Old and New Testaments in the Christian bible (and it’s in these apocryphal texts that most references to fallen angels and their offspring occur). I was also surprised at the level of information available from New Age sources, where belief in angels has nothing to do with traditional religion.

Beyond the interesting paranormal aspects included in Shadows the real driving force revolves around the characters: Gaby and Rafa. You’ve created such a tangible chemistry between these two and I love their dialog with each other. Did either of them surprise you in regards to where their stories and personalities went as the story progressed?
I actually had a good feel for both these characters from the moment I started writing them. Gaby’s voice particularly flowed well and I think it was because – after many years of writing in third person – I wrote in first person/present tense for the first time. It helped me channel my 19-year-old self to capture some of Gaby’s attitude (I was a tad quick-tempered and easily frustrated at that age). Rafa, too, came fully formed. I think it was because I’d spent a lot of time thinking about these characters, imagining scenes in my head long before I started writing Shadows (even when I didn’t know their story or history).

I think the nicest surprise with them as the series is progressing is the complexity and layers of their relationship: there’s the relationship they had back when all the Rephaim were still together, the relationship they had after the big split at the Sanctuary, and the relationship they have now – which of course is the only one Gaby remembers. I’ve particularly enjoyed Rafa’s journey, which gets even more interesting in Haze.

Shadows is book one of a four part series. Sadly for us in the US and Canada we will have later release dates than those in the UK. Can you tell us when Haze (book 2) will be released in the US/Canada? Can you give us any teasers?
Tundra Books has scheduled Haze for release in Fall 2014. As for teasers…readers will learn more about the Outcasts (including Mya, who we only hear about in Shadows), more about Jude, and more about the world of the Rephaim. There will be a new threat to both the Sanctuary Rephaim and the Outcasts, more clashes with demons, and, of course, more of Gaby and Rafa sorting themselves out.

What’s up next for you?
I’ll be working on revisions for Shimmer (book 3) over the next few months and have made a start on book 4 (very early days!). Beyond that, I’ve had another idea bubbling way in the back of my mind for a while now (still YA with a paranormal/urban fantasy twist, but not involving angels), so once the Rephaim series is finished, I’ll be exploring that some more.

I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.  Thank you so much for joining us!
Thanks for having me. 

Be sure to check back Monday for my review of Shadows.

The Shadows Blog Tour
Click the picture or HERE to see the other blogs on the tour.

Giveaway:
Tundra Books is providing a copy of Shadows for one lucky US/Canada Resident. Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Teaser Tuesday #17

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Grab your current read

  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

ShadowsI am reading Shadows by Paula Weston. I am lucky enough to be part of the blog tour so check back September 20th for my stop.

 A demon materializes in front of me. It’s more good luck than skill that I get my sword up to block the first strike.

Summary (via Goodreads):
Love. Nightmares. Angels. War. A fast-paced, compelling debut novel from a fresh new voice in YA.

It’s been almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant.

It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn. And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams, he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense.

Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth – and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.

Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly – who can she trust?

 

ARC August Week 3

The third week of August has just passed and we are getting close to the end of Octavia’s (Read, Sleep, Repeat) brain child ARC August. I feel that I’ve done well and I feel less stressed about my TBR pile. Here’s what I did this past week:

ARC’s Read:
Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano, Horde by Anne Aguire, Thin Space by Jody Casella and More Than This by Patrick Ness

 Perfect Ruin (Internment Chronicles, #1)Horde (Razorland, #3)

  Thin SpaceMore Than This

I posted reviews for Delia’s Shadow, Thin Space and Overpowered

ARC’s to Read:
Shadows by Paula Weston, What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang and attempt Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart (which I had given up on after not liking the writing style) again.

 Shadows (The Rephaim, #1)What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)Eat, Brains, Love