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Thursday, October 6, 2011

REMEMBRANCE: REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW, GIVEAWAY




TITLE: Remembrance                AUTHOR: Michelle Madow
PUB. DATE: July 2011              FORMAT: Kindle ebook
SOURCE: from author for review
Remembrance
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.





The idea of reincarnation and past lives fascinates me and is what drew me to Michelle Madow’s novel Remembrance. Because of my genuine fascination with the book’s subject matter, I had very high expectations for this book, some of which were met and some of which feel a little short.

In Remembrance we are introduced to high school junior Lizzie Davenport. Lizzie is your average teenage girl with a cute boyfriend, Jeremy, and a best friend Chelsea, dealing with all the ups and downs that come with high school. Basically, her life is pretty normal… until she meets Drew Carmichael, the gorgeous new guy at school. Lizzie feels an instant connect with Drew; a connection that is complicated by three factors: 1) her relationship with Jeremy 2) the fact that her BFF Chelsea starts to date Drew 3) Drew seems to want nothing to do with her. Lizzie tries to ignore this connection and her feelings for Drew, but finds that she cannot fight them, especially after learning that she and Drew were in love in a past life and may have a second chance to fix what was broken so long ago.

Remembrance is well written, especially for a debut novel. Madow write with a natural, confident talent. The story is a bit slow in the middle, but for the most part it’s well paced and has a nice flow, and the story kept my attention from beginning to end. I found the later chapters to be especially captivating and real page turners. Like I said, I was drawn to the paranormal/fantasy aspect of this novel dealing with past lives/reincarnation, and while I enjoyed how Madow approached and used this topic and found her idea to be unique, I didn’t find the book to be overly original. I was a bit disappointed that the book didn’t bring something excitedly new to the table where the paranormal/fantasy aspect is concerned.

The characters in this book are nicely developed and realistic. Lizzie is relatable and easy to like. She’s smart, thoughtful, and not afraid to speak her mind. But she is also flawed, which makes her dimensional and makes her actions, reactions, thoughts, words, etc feel organic and not forced. I particularly liked Lizzie’s conflicted emotional journey throughout the book and felt as if it were something that many girls could relate to on a personal and emotional level.  I found Drew’s character harder to like and get to know, because his personality is a bit all over the place and I feel like I never really got the chance to “know” his character. Lizzie’s boyfriend Jeremy and her BFF Chelsea are very realistic as teenage characters. They both exhibit attributes that, at times, can come across as shallow and selfish, but at the same time there’s obviously much more to them than this, they have their own underlying insecurities and issues. Even though Lizzie and Drew are the main characters, I think Chelsea and Jeremy prove to be the more realistic teenage characters.

At the heart of this book is the love story between Lizzie and Drew, and there is a real sweetness to their love that is easy to root for. But at the same time, the way the love between the two is presented and described in this book makes me slightly wary, because while there does exist a  sweetness and a genuine lovingness to their relationship, there is also a slight obsessive, all consuming-ness to it as well. I can surely appreciate the fact that Lizzie and Drew’s love has transcended time, but at the same time modern Lizzie and Drew’s love seems to develop quickly, perhaps too quickly.  I think I would have liked to have actually seen them fall in love and not just be told that they are in love.

Throughout the book, Lizzie references Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice a lot, and I really liked the way Lizzy Bennet and Lizzie Davenport’s lives parallel one another, especially since Lizzie and Drew’s past life was in the Regency era. This added a smart layer to the storyline.

 I was expecting there to be more of a conflict or some kind of obstacle in the way of Lizzie and Drew’s relationship, other than Jeremy and Lizzie of course, and when this conflict didn’t arise by the middle of the book I was a bit disappointed. However, towards the ending Madow adds a surprising twist and turn of events that I found intriguing and really added that much needed suspense.

Overall, I really liked this book and found it enjoyable to read. Madow proves to be a talented and promising new author. There are aspects of Remembrance that really grabbed my attention and some not so much. I think it will appeal to many YA readers, from Jane Austen fans to Stephenie Meyer fans.  In particular, if you are looking for a simple and sweet para-romance then this is definitely the book for you.

My Rating
3 Cupcakes
You can learn  more about and connect with Michelle Madow here:
You can purchase Remembrance from the following:

I received this ebook review copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Interview With Michelle Madow
 

If you were to describe or summarize Remembrance in a tweet using only 140 characters, how would you describe it?

Inspired by Taylor Swift's "Love Story," music video, Remembrance is about reincarnation and a love that transcends time.

Great tweet and a very attention catching description!

You’ve stated that Remembrance was inspired by Taylor Swift’s song and video “Love Story”, but did you find inspiration for this story from anyone or anywhere else?

Yes, I did! Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice also plays a role in Remembrance, and readers will find a few Pride and Prejudice parallels throughout the novel. Remembrance isn’t a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, but readers familiar with the story will be sure to find many references to it throughout Remembrance.

Being a huge Austen fan myself, I loved all the Pride and Prejudice references.

Your characters in Remembrance are quite realistic and well developed. Are any of them mirrored after real people in your life? Did you put a bit of yourself in any of your characters?

Thank you so much! The characters in Remembrance all come from my imagination. While all my characters are individual people, I do think there are bits of myself in Lizzie and Chelsea. As a whole, I don’t think I’m similar to any of them though.

I found that I related most to Lizzie and Chelsea, and even saw bits of myself in them too.

Do you have a favorite scene or moment in your book? Was there a particular scene that was difficult 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. I recently made a blog post featuring a picture of the music box and a clip of the song, which you can check out by clicking here.

As for a scene that was difficult to write, that would be when Lizzie and Drew have the big conversation at the swings. (I don’t want to say what they talked about cause I don’t want to give spoilers!) I edited that scene so many times because I needed to find the right balance between realistic and magical without it coming across as cheesy. I’m happy with how it turned out, but it took many tries to get it right.

I liked the scene between Lizzie and Drew in the car as well, and the swings scene came out great.

There are many YA books today that feature teenagers who fall in love quickly and who are even described as “soulmates” or “meant to be”. On the one hand this depiction of teenage love is pretty realistic because teens do fall in love quickly and often intensely so, and this kind of fated love often makes for very romantic and captivating stories. But, on the other hand there are those who believe that these portrayals can have a dangerous edge to them. YA books like Twilight have been criticized for depicting teenage romances that are almost obsessive, all consuming, and have female characters whose lives seem to be defined solely by those romances. As an author and a female what are your thoughts on this?

I see what you mean, but I think the majority of teens understand that the books they’re reading are fiction, and should not be confused with real life.

I agree that teenagers understand things more than we adults sometimes want to give them credit for.

Your characters Lizzie and Drew find out that they have past lives. Do you believe in past lives or reincarnation? I’m pretty sure that in my past lives I was an ancient druid, a 16th century witch (burned at the stake no less than 3 times!), and a tight rope walker in a 19th century circus ;)  Who do you think you were in a past life or who would you have wanted to have been?

Your past lives sound like something you should write a book about! J I don’t personally believe in reincarnation, but if I did have a past life, I think it would be in Ancient Rome during the Golden Age because I love the art and architecture from that time.

Ancient Rome and the Golden Age would have been extraordinary time and place to live!

One of things I love best about books is all the different worlds found within them.  I will always hope that every owl I see is carrying my Hogwarts letter and I will knock on the back of every wardrobe looking for Narnia. What fantasy or made up world would you love to be real?

Funny you mentioned Narnia—when I was in elementary school I used to play pretend games with my friends where the closets in my house were portals to Narnia! We would find one object from each closet that was a special key, and once we had all of the special keys could open the back door to enter the magical world of Narnia (which was actually my backyard), where we would have swordfights with sticks and battle dragons and such. (I was quite the imaginative kid).

I would love for so many fantasy worlds to be real; it’s hard picking just one! My top three are the worlds in Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan.

When I was little I used to pretend that I was Lucy! I would love to attent Hogwarts or Camp Half-Blood with you.

I love when my favorite books are adapted to the movie or tv screen. What book, other than your own of course, would you love to see on the big screen? Who would you cast as the main characters?

I would love to see a television show for Vampire Academy. (And I say television show instead of movie because there’s so much material in Vampire Academy, that I think it would be better fit for a long series). I think Nina Dobrev (Elena in Vampire Diaries) would be a great Rose, and Elizabeth Harnois would be a great Lissa. For the guys, Ben Barnes for Dimitri, and Tom Sturridge for Adrian.

I’ve also had some fun casting the celebrities I see as the characters in Remembrance. You can find that post here on my blog.

Great and good looking casting! ;)

I have thing for villains, especially a really well developed bad guy. Who’s your favorite literary villain? Who do you love to hate or hate to love?

I really like Caine from Micheal Grant’s Gone series, and can’t wait to see more of him as the series continues!

I've never read this series but the bad guy definitely has me intrigued now.

As a chick, I love strong, smart, capable female characters, especially those that prove to be good role models for girls. Do you have a favorite female character that fits this description? In your opinion, what makes them a good role model for girls?

Definitely Lissa from Vampire Academy! I think it’s easy to overlook her in the series because Rose is a great strong female as well, but Lissa is strong in a different way than Rose, and I admire her for it. Her character progresses so much in the series. She’s a determined, smart girl who has a good heart, and she accomplishes so much by the end of the last book.

I think a character who is confident about who they are and proud to stand up for what they believe in—whether they’re a vampire hunter, the key to saving the world, or the smartest girl in school—is the type of role model girls should look up to.

I wholeheartedly agree! And Lissa sounds like an awesome female character.

What is the one book that you think everyone should read at least once in their life? Why?

Just one?! It’s impossible to pick just one. But if I have to, I would say Harry Potter, because the world J.K. Rowling created is so amazing and I think everyone should experience it by reading the books.

I couldn't agree more! J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter is a magic that no one should live without!


Thank you so much for having me at Word Spelunking! I love meeting new people who love books as much as I do, so please check out my website to add me on all my social media sites.

Remembrance is available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and The Book Depository.

I want to thank Michelle for taking the time to answer my questions and for giving us all the chance to get to know her and her work a little better. I also want to thank her for offering 1 ebook copy of Remembrance to one of you. To enter for a chance to win, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. ONLY 1 MAIN ENTRY PER PERSON PLEASE











 


8 comments:

barmybex said...

Great interview!
I have a copy of this to read. I'm starting it this weekend. Really looking forward to it.

I haven't read Vampire Academy - but I'm adding it to my TBR.
I'd love to visit Camp Half Blood too!

amark012 said...

It sounds like a great read!! =D

Julie said...

Oooohhhh!!! I want to read this book SO bad! Thanks for the chance to win a copy:)

Liza said...

Thank you for the gret review and for the giveaway!

Julie said...

Awesome interview! I really liked your review, too. I can't wait to find out for myself if I like this book as much as I think I will!!

Jenna and Ashley said...

I love the author interview and the review. Good questions about teen romance being all consuming. Thanks for being honest in your review...it's hard to find a book that captures a person's interest the entire time.

The book looks great though! Thanks for the giveaway!
-Jenna @ Fans of Fiction

Diana said...

I would love to see a television show for Vampire Academy too. I agree for the cast. Thank you for the giveaway!
The book sounds great.

Emily said...

I am a little over half way through this book and I can definitely see the all-consuming love thing that keeps you feeling wary, which you were describing. I hope the ending leaves me a little less weary and flows smoothly into book 2.