Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review + Interview + Giveaway: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris (Blog Tour Stop)

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Series: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #1
Publisher: Entangled Teen (Entangled Publishing)
First published: September 11th, 2012
Source: Received from publisher
Format: eBook
Pages: 304
Goodreads Summary:
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

My Rating: 4.0 / 5

First thoughts:
Pulling its readers into a different time, a different world, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is a very entertaining and heart-felt read that is hard not to like. Rachel Harris' writing is incredibly easy to follow and the narration made me laugh often, which was a bit embarrassing when on the train. If you're looking for a fun and light-hearted story, this will be perfect for you.

More detailed:
I feel like time travel novels have one of the most difficult paranormal / supernatural aspects to write. It's so easy to get it wrong, or rather confusing, so I'm always a tiny bit scared when trying to get to a new time travel story. But my fears were completely unreasonable when it came to My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century. Without difficult explanations, this story has a magical feel to it that pulled me in immediately and made sure I enjoyed what I was reading.

As a main character Cat has a fun and entertaining voice to listen to and as a girl who has grown up in Hollywood she isn't the typical wallflower-kind-of-heroine we often encounter in Young Adult books. Nonetheless I sometimes felt as though her attitude towards certain situations was a little bit too nonchalant, but at the same time exactly that attitude ensured that I was laughing out loud quite a few times.

I'm definitely no expert when it comes to the sixteenth century, but I felt like Rachel Harris has painted a very believable and realistic image that made me feel like I could actually be part of her story. Beautiful dresses, a wonderful Italian setting, a very interesting love interest, but also a very saddening lack of female emancipation.

Another thing that I often don't like about meeting your Mr. Right in the past is that, usually, sometime toward the ending the heroine has to go back into the future. I won't give you any clues what exactly happens to Cat, but lets just say that I definitely liked what Rachel Harris did. And despite a tiny cliffhanger that will surely make me pick up the sequel, I liked the ending and could put away my Kindle with a smile on my face.

All in all, I'd recommend you to pick up My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century if you're looking for a fast and sweet read that has the ability to make you think a bit more about certain things at the same time. I definitely enjoyed it and even though I might have been missing a certain spark that would have made me rate it even higher, I'll be impatiently waiting for its sequel to find out more about what happened after that ending.



This post is part of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century's blog tour.



Interview

For all these Twitter-fanatics out there: Try to describe yourself in 140 characters.

Dorky, enthusiastic, authentic, chocolate-loving, homeschooling, Veronica Mars watching author who lives with her nose in a book #SoBlessed


How would you describe My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century to someone who’s usually not even fond of reading and how would you try to make them give it a chance nonetheless?

Wow! What a question. First, I’d tell them this is Cat’s book. It’s in her voice, first person, so very relatable. It’s also a quick read and pure fun. It’s not that there isn’t any serious moments (there’s lots), or real emotions, but the bulk of the story is an adventure to the past with a witty narrator. There’s something for everyone in it, too: humor, heart, romance, intrigue, conflict, a ball, embarrassment, kissing scenes, history, and magic. Who wouldn’t want to give it a chance? (he he)


What was your favorite part of writing My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century? What was the hardest part?

Favorite part was definitely a scene with Cat and Lorenzo where they are bonding over their mutual love of art. There isn’t any kissing in this scene or anything, but it is right after a day in the Tuscan countryside and they find themselves locked outside the city gates after curfew. They go to an inn and while Cat’s cousins go downstairs for dinner, Cat and Lorenzo are left alone with only a chaperone in the room. It isn’t a very long chapter, but it has everything I love about writing in it—Cat’s one-liners, swoony moments with Lorenzo, a turning point in her character arc, a sprinkle of back story and a few clues about the ending. And it ends with a big sigh…

Hardest? The ending. Endings are always hard for me. I love beginnings—new shiny things that are filled with potential. Middles are even fun for me, which many other authors think I’m crazy to say, but really I like them. What I hate are endings. Even though I am a total plotter and know the whole time where I’m going, and what I’m going to say when I get there, I think it’s a mental block, me not wanting to let go of my characters. I stumble, write and rewrite, and then write it again. And with this ending in particular, because there is going to be a book 2, A Tale of Two Centuries, we had to hit just the right note and kinda went to both extremes before finding the sweet spot. But I hope everyone likes it <3


How did you create the characters of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century? Are any of them based on people you know in real life? And did it take long for you to get attached to them?

It never takes me long to get attached to my characters…they are where I start. I am a character driven writer and reader, so when I start a new book, I always interview all my characters, get to know them, pick out images to represent them, plot their arcs and choose songs to reflect it.

As for being people I know in real life, not really. Actually, if anything, I’m kinda like the bubbly stepmother-to-be my main character doesn’t really like in the beginning. But the actors I chose to represent them in my mind are Lily Collins for Cat, and Alex Pettyfer for Lorenzo =)


As I read on your website, it was reading the Twilight series (and many other YA books afterwards) that made you start writing your own novels. What did it feel like for you to be planning and writing your own stories – and now, publishing them and knowing that many readers will get to see the world you created?

Yeah, that’s kinda crazy. And I absolutely love talking to other writers, especially aspiring ones, so if my books ever inspire anyone to write like Stephanie Meyer’s writing did for me, I think I’ll bust out into a happy dance and then faint in shock.

But when I first started plotting my own stories, it felt surreal, and frankly, I doubted I’d ever actually finish it, but it was exciting. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is actually my second completed book, and I had fun with the world building in this one, taking the world I know, adding one that existed 500 years ago, mixing in some magic and imagination, and poof, coming up with my own version of a fairytale. And that’s what writing this one felt like. It came to me so easy—it practically wrote itself—and if I could live inside that world, I think I would. As for knowing that other people will be (and some already are) now reading this book and the world I created…well, it’s awesome, and terrifying, and absolutely crazy. It makes me giddy and makes my stomach hurt at the same time LOL. But in the end, all you can do is try your best, put it out there, and hope it finds its way to readers who will love it as much as you do. =)


Despite dealing with the lives of teenagers, many people from various age groups love the Young Adult genre. What made you decide to write a YA novel and what do you like most about this genre?

I think I will forever be 17 in my head. It’s an age I remember very well, a time when emotions were heightened and felt full force, and the decisions I made then still affect me today. So many people say that the college years are the best of your life, and hey, mine were amazing…but it’s the memories I made in junior high and high school—my first kiss, first boyfriend, first heartbreak, best friends, first betrayals by people you thought were your friends—that molded the adult I became. Capturing that time again and sprinkling in ways for teens to know they aren’t alone in all this while also entertaining them while dealing with the stress and drama of it all? That just rocks. It’s the best job in the world.


As avid readers, we get to read many, many books every year. But what if you could only read one book for the rest of your life? Which one would it be?

My answer is going to sound like a total cop out because it’s probably what many people say, at least the ones who want to sound snooty, but it’s the truth LOL—Pride and Prejudice. I read this book once a year, at least, and watch the movies (both Keira Knightly and BBC, thank you) multiple times a year. Pure love.


So many authors have created amazing settings for their stories. If you could live in any fictional world for one day, which one would that be?

Saying my own is way too obvious (right? If not, mine, mine!), so I’m gonna say Anna and the French Kiss. Now that was the way to experience high school.



This or That?

Coffee or tea?
Uh, neither. Diet Mt. Dew LOL

Chocolate or fruits?
I should say fruits…but that would be a lie. Chocolate all the way =)

Vampire Diaries or True Blood?
Vampire Diaries!!!

Spring or fall?
Fall for the holidays and the fresh starts, but spring for the weather. It’s still hot here in the south during the fall—at least for most of it—but spring is actually pleasant lol.

eBook or physical copy?
Oh, I love both. Physical copies you can hold them and smell them and flip more easily, and there’s just something about holding it in your hand, staring at that cover, that is beautiful. But ebooks rock, too. The price is more affordable so that means my hubby lets me buy more at a time (score!) and I can bring hundreds of books with me wherever I go. And I do have hundreds on my year old Kindle LOL.

Swimming pool or the ocean?
Pool… I get freaked out thinking about what else is in the ocean with me LOL

Dogs or cats?
Dogs. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to cats, but they are cute. I have a Maltese / Shih-Tzu named Snowflake and she is precious.

Twitter or Facebook?
TWITTER! I live there. Find me anytime @RachelHarrisYA. I love chatting.



Giveaway

Also make sure to enter this awesome giveaway. It's US only for the grand prize, but the extra swag pack is international. The giveaway ends September 23rd and the winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chose.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10 comments:

  1. This book sounds sooo cute!! I saw it around on a fee blogs lately and ... adorable!!

    I sooo agree with Rachel on " I love beginnings—new shiny things that are filled with potential.".. I love to pick up a new book and dig into a new world and story! :)

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  2. Great review. It certainly looks interesting! Awesome interview, too. I love that you asked non-bookish questions. =)

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  3. Amazing interview! And I agree - the endings are really hard to write! Gosh I just love this book so much! :D

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  4. Superb Review... And awesome interview... :)

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  5. I love this interview! Should've added MSSSC to the wish list sooner! Beautiful cover! :D

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  6. Great interview, those were all really interesting and fun questions! Your review is also pretty good, I can't wait for my copy to arrive and read this book!

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  7. cool !!
    thx u for the giveaway...
    i bought this book from TBD...:)

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  8. Um, first things first... VAMPIRE DIARIES FOREVER! <3

    Okay, now that I've gotten that out of the way, I must say that I'm really looking forward to reading this book. It's got so many elements that I love, judging from the summary, and I can't wait!

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  10. I love, love, love interviews! these and guest posts are the best parts of book tours. Thanks for this! Had fun reading it :)

    Siiri

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