Friday, June 1, 2012

Review and Author interview- Breath of Air by Katie Jennings

The amazing author, Katie Jennings is stopping by Shadow Kisses Book Reviews today for an author interview and giveaway! Read after my review for her interview and Enter to win one of three FREE digital copies of Breath of Air!

Title: Breath of Air
Author: Katie Jennings
Published: 2012
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy
My Rating:
Her name was Capri, and she was Air.

She was born with a gift she didn’t understand. A gift so strange, so remarkable that she had kept it secret for as long as she could remember, despising that it made her different when all she wanted was to be normal, to belong. As an orphan, belonging to someone, anyone, would have been an incredible blessing, one she would have given up all that she had just to get a taste of.

But the truth was that she didn’t belong in the orphanage in Virginia, or even in the United States. In fact, she didn’t belong with human beings at all. Because she wasn’t one of them, not really. She was something much more extraordinary.

She could shift the direction of the wind, create billowing clouds out of nothing, and charm birds into dancing on her open palm. She belonged to an elite group of beings, responsible for preserving the balance of nature and the safety of Earth from an underworld that deserved to be feared, and needed to be controlled.

And after years of being lost, she had at last been found, and now the truth of how she had ended up so far from home was becoming horribly clear to her.

But there’s someone who doesn’t want her to return; someone who knows Capri was the only witness to an act of heinous treason and violent murder. And when she begins to search her memories for details of the night she was taken from her home, details that will implicate a killer, she finds herself the unwary target of an otherworldly dark force intent on silencing her by any means possible.

Breath of Air took my breath away!

Capri has lived without a family for as long as she can remember. Growing up in an orphanage has been hard and now on the day of her eighteenth birthday she wishes she had a family to celebrate it with more than ever. Capri has always been a little different. Although keeping her special talents a secret, manipulating a small breeze and controlling birds has always been in her blood.

Now, finally Capri can start to uncover the truth when she meets Liam, a water Dryad who sees her for what she really is and takes her to her true home, Euphora. Euphora is where all the Dryads, amongst others, live and work. They have the very important job of keeping the world in balance and welcome Capri with open arms.

Finally having a place to call home and being reunited with her father is amazing, but Capri is still haunted by the dreams of the day her mother died and she was taken. She knows she can never rest until she finds her mother’s killer…..but bringing up the past is more dangerous than she thought.

Jennings has created a world unlike any I have read about. Euphora is magical but has the very important purpose of keeping the earth running smoothly. I have never read a book about Dryads and it is not a secret that I love when a new character is thrown at me….something other than vampires and weres.

Capri is one of the purest souls I have ever seen. Although she has had a hard life she is so kind and sweet but not to the point of annoyance. Soon we start to see a young love blossom and the author did an amazing job of keeping the romance steady throughout the book instead of your classic “They see each other and fall madly in love” synario….fast pace puppy love can get a little sickening although entertaining. Capri’s romance evolves and she doesn’t know her true heart’s desire until closer to the end of the book. All the while a riveting murder mystery is being uncovered.

By the end of the book I wanted more of Euphora….and jumped straight into the next book in the quartet. I loved this story and hope you add it to your “To-Read” shelf today!
I LOVE/Adore this cover! It was actually the first thing that lead me to the book. The woman's Victorian hair style is beautiful...and the bird :) love it. Giving this cover an A+
I recommend this book to YA fantasy lovers....or someone who has a passion for murder mysteries! If you like this I suggest reading the second book in the series Firelight in Darkness.

About the Author

Katie Jennings is a mid-twenty-something year old girl with an imagination for days and a supportive husband who thinks she’s a colossal nerd. She writes because she loves it, and because breathing life into characters is the greatest escape she’s ever found. Most of her time is spent puttering around online, editing her latest book, or feeding people food to her cat. She lives just north of Los Angeles, and enjoys reading fantasy and romance novels, watching Once Upon a Time, playing around on Photoshop, and finding new music to fall in love with. She believes in, above all else, happy endings.

1. First off, welcome to Shadow Kisses Book Reviews! How has your week been?
Thanks for having me! I've been incredibly busy…writing, editing, promoting, watching American Idol. The usual :)

2. What is it that inspires you to write?
I feel as though I am a very character driven writer, if that makes sense.  When I have a basic idea for a story, what propels me forward to actually create it are the characters that suddenly pop up in my head as I start jotting notes down.  Some writers may focus more on establishing the plot or the setting first, but I really do start with the characters and their backgrounds and go from there.  In a way, I’m inspired by people, by personality types and their attributes and flaws.  I love exploring into the mind and heart of a character, and breathing life into them with words.  

3. Do you have any funny writer quirks?
I don’t know if this counts as a quirk, but I always think of my characters in terms of astrology. As in, the first thing I do when brainstorming is cozy up with my Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs book and think of what sign I feel like working with, and then I look it up and formulate a character from there. I really think it helps flesh out my characters better when I go in knowing so much about their personality and how they would react to certain situations. Plus, it’s fun to have people who have read my books try and guess what signs the characters are!

4. If you could live in any book, which would it be?
Harry Potter. I love the world JK Rowling created in her books, and have been fascinated by it since I was twelve and first read the Sorcerer’s Stone. My favorite part about it is that the entire wizarding world exists right alongside our world, and “muggles” are completely unaware of it. That’s probably why I incorporated that line of thinking into my own books. It sort of gives more possibility and life to the concept of wizards when you think of it in terms of, “wow, this could actually be happening and I would just never know.” Or maybe I’m just weird and that’s what I like to think!

5. Your book is filled with mythology, What kind of research did you do for Breath of Air?
Pretty extensive. I’m not a mythology expert by any means, but I have always been enchanted by it. What’s funny is that my original idea for the book did not start at all with mythology, but instead it sort of veered off into that realm as I went along. It actually started with me focusing on the four elements and wanting to write about people who had the power to control air, fire, earth and water. Then as I ran with that concept and began researching fairies and dryads, I found myself reading about Mother Earth, the Muses and the Fates. And then it all sort of came together from there. I knew I wanted to modernize it all and give it my own twist, so I took bits and pieces from mythology and fleshed out my own characters with it, giving them some traits commonplace in lore and then others that gave them a modern edge. Like the Furies, for example. In Greek mythology, the Furies are actually deities of vengeance and persecute those who commit horrific acts. So I made them somewhat of a “police force” on Euphora, protectors and seekers of justice, hunting down demons and so forth. It was a lot of fun to combine hints of legend and myth with my own wild imagination to create the world of Euphora and the people who live there, and I hope others enjoy it as much as I do.

6. Did your childhood affect you as an author?
In some ways, yes. Like most authors, I’ve always loved to read, and even back then I had a vivid imagination and lived a lot inside of my own head where it’s more fun than the outside world. When I was little, I owned pretty much every Goosebumps book ever written, and was enthusiastically addicted to the Animorphs. Then I discovered Harry Potter and a few years later Nora Roberts, and my reading habit became an obsession. When I was in my mid-teens, my parents got divorced and for awhile it was easier to lose myself in someone else’s story rather than dwell on my own problems. And somewhere along the line I gave writing a try and realized just how much I loved it. In high school I wrote short stories and even had one featured in our school’s Literary Magazine, and I've been writing as a hobby ever since.

7. What is the hardest part about being a new author?
Confidence. The industry is big and judgmental and intimidating, and it is so terrifying to put yourself out there and hope that you’re good enough to be in it. I think the biggest hurdle for me was getting over my doubts and putting my book up for sale on Amazon and running with it, knowing I had given it my best and that I would never know if I was good enough unless I gave it a shot. And so I did!

8. What lesson would you like readers to take from your book?
Oddly enough, I went into it not really knowing what the central theme was going to be. But as I was writing my outline and brainstorming ideas for the four books, I saw an underlying premise to the whole series that must have come instinctually because I did not do it on purpose. It was this concept of family; of focusing on the interactions between parents and children, siblings and friends. This idea that, when everything in your life falls apart, your family is still there. Capri started her life having a family, and then lost them. She grew up feeling so alone, and it ate away at her confidence and her self-worth. But, come to find out, they had been there all along, just out of reach until fate brought them together again. A lot of my extended family is broken apart like that, and in recent years we’ve come back together slowly but surely, so I guess I put a lot of my own feelings into it. I particularly enjoy exploring the relationships between parents and children, and each book in the series has plenty of intense emotional drama that comes into play for the characters regarding their parents.

9. What is your next project?
I just recently finished the first draft of a family dynasty fiction novel. It is about a prestigious hotel family (think of a classier version of the Hiltons), an American empire that has its roots in the Industrial Revolution and its home in the posh Upper East side of New York city. But the family’s past comes back to haunt the newest generation as their great grandfather’s suicide from nearly sixty years earlier is suddenly discovered to have been murder. Throw in a lot of hidden motives, lies, more murder, and a complex cast of characters that weave together to form the great Vasser hotel family. It’s a bit darker and more adult than the Quartet books, and runs more along the vein of a romantic/mystery/thriller novel. And after I finish with that, I have plans to write a book about a ghost hunter and a medium, which should be different and fun.

10. Is there anything else you would like the readers to know?
I think a lot of authors wish that readers could really, truly know just how much our books mean to us. For me, writing this series has made a mark on my life (in a good way) and I put so much of my time and my heart into it. Books are like our children, and we give birth to them and raise them as best as we can, and we put all of our hopes and dreams into them, always fearing in the back of our minds that they will let us down. But we give them life and send them off into the world anyway, and it isn’t an easy thing to do. It’s difficult, as all great things usually are to achieve, but we do it because we feel we have something special to share with others. Even if it’s just for a little while, I hope readers fall in love with the Dryads like I have, and that they enjoy the escape from reality I’ve created. Because it really did come from my heart.

Giveaway Time!
The author (because she is so awesome) is giving away Three (3) free eBooks of Breath of Air to three different lucky winners! You do not have to be a follower of this blog to enter, but as always, it is much appreciated! Please feel out the raffle below and Tweet/Follow for extra entries. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Watch the trailer for book two, Firelight in Darkness!


Pam said...

Sounds like a great book!

Eternal Curse Series said...

This isa really good review. The story, the author, and the review came off very well. The book sounds amazing. Good job all around.