Mundie Moms

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Naturals Blog Tour: Author Guest Post / Giveaway

Welcome to today's Naturals blog tour stop. Today I'm thrilled to have author Tiffany Truitt on the blog! Take it away Tiffany......

I am so excited to be stopping by Mundie Moms today as part of my blog tour for Naturals, the second book in The Lost Souls Series.

Today, I am here to talk about my love for all things YA….and to play a little game…The If You Like Naturals, You Might Like….game. What does this mean exactly? It’s simple. Below, I will be talking a bit about some of my favorite YA books. These books have all been a great inspiration during my writing process, and I hope that if you like the books below, you might find The Lost Souls Series enjoyable as well.

If You Like Naturals, You Might Like…

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Plot Summary: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.(Source)

Connection to Lost Souls Series: One of the things I love best about Green’s writing is that he doesn’t talk down to his audience. Despite his work being labeled YA, Green discusses literature and philosophy without worrying he will alienate his teen audience. He knows that teens are smarter than people give them credit for. I aimed to do the same thing in The Lost Souls Series. I respect my readers too much to condescend to them. Chosen Ones and Naturals both reference Shakespeare and popular 19th century literature while asking the reader to ponder life’s great mysteries.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Plot Summary: Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. (Source)

Connection to Lost Souls Series: Naturals, finds Tess, the protagonist from Chosen Ones, setting off into the wild to find a group of people called the Isolationists. These people ran from the over-bearing control of their government. Much like the rag tag group of survivors is Meyer’s work, Naturals offers the reader a slew of colorful characters that live outside society, people willing to do anything to protect their own.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Plot Summary: A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray. (Source).

Connection to Lost Souls Series: Like this amazing, crazy-good series, The Lost Soul Series mixes modern day questions and concerns with 19th century fashion, d├ęcor, and  manners. Seeking what they believed was a more refined time, the council, the governing body of the series, forces the naturals to dress and live the part of the 19th century citizen. While not steam punk, The Lost Souls Series playfully mixes genres and time periods.

Thank you Tiffany for stopping by today


Ripped away from those she loves most, Tess is heartbroken as her small band of travelers reaches the Isolationist camp in the mysterious and barren Middlelands. Desperate to be reunited with James, the forbidden chosen one who stole her heart, she wants nothing to do with the rough Isolationists, who are without allegiance in the war between the Westerners and Easterners. But having their protection, especially for someone as powerful as Tess, may come at a cost.

When James returns, Tess’s world once again feels complete—until she discovers her sister, Louisa, has taken up her old post at Templeton, the dangerous chosen ones training center and the site of Tess’s loss of innocence. Tess will do anything to protect her loved ones—but will the price be more than she can give?

This second book in Tiffany Truitt’s dystopian series is a thought-provoking, thrilling story that asks who the true enemy really is—the chosen ones who are different, or the naturals…who are just like us.

About Tiffany Truitt: 
Tiffany Truitt was born in Peoria, Illinois. A self-proclaimed Navy brat, Tiffany spent most of her childhood living in Virginia, but don’t call her a Southerner. She also spent a few years living in Cuba. Since her time on the island of  one McDonalds and Banana Rats (don’t ask), she has been obsessed with traveling. Tiffany recently added China to her list of travels (hello inspiration for a new book).

Besides traveling, Tiffany has always been an avid reader. Tiffany spent most of her high school and college career as a literary snob. She refused to read anything considered “low brow” or outside the “classics.”

Tiffany began teaching middle school in 2006. Her students introduced her to the wide, wonderful world of Young Adult literature. Today, Tiffany embraces popular Young Adult literature and uses it in her classroom. Tiffany is proud to call herself an educator and Young Adult author. 

Enter to Win: Don't forget to enter to win 1 of 3 copies of Naturals being given away during the tour. Enter below:

I'm on BlogLovin'

With GoogleReader ending this Summer, I've decided to make the switch now so that I can still follow all of my favorite blogs through BlogLovin'. I've recently joined, and am still trying to figure it out, but so far so good. The only thing I've noticed that's really annoying about this site, is that it's got my OLD graphic from 3 years ago, and the name I first had in the blog before it was ever made public, from 4 years ago. Hopefully I can get that updated soon.

If you're on here, let me know so I can follow you!

Cassandra Clare talks TMI Movie Casting & More with Collider recently sat down and chatted with Cassie at WonderCon about her books, the TMI Movie, the cast and more. You can read their interview here, and I've posted it below (all credit goes to Collider).

Collider:  When you started receiving interest about turning your book into a film, were you immediately excited about it, or were you hesitant about the idea?
CASSANDRA CLARE:  I was a little hesitant.  I was excited about the idea, but I also was a little freaked out.  I grew up in L.A. and I worked for The Hollywood Reporter.  I knew enough about the business to know that the usual role of the author on a movie is to get out of the way and not say anything.  So I thought, “How do I feel about turning this whole project over to people and letting them do what they want with it, not even knowing about it?” And then, Unique Features approached me – and that’s Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, and they did The Lord of the Rings, which are my favorite movies in the world – and I thought, “Well, if I’m going to sell this to somebody, it should be the people who made my favorite movies.” 
Collider: With so many young adult books being turned into movies, what would you say to people to get them to understand that this is a very different type of story with its own mythology? 
CLARE:  I guess I would say that this is a story that is, in part, about teenagers, but it’s not for teenagers.  It exists on double levels.  There’s the whole story of the teenaged characters, Clary and Jace, played by Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower, but there’s also a whole story about the adults – their parents and what happened with them.  And I think it’s just a very universal coming of age story.  In the same way that everybody could relate to Harry Potter coming of age and figuring out who she is, this is about a girl coming of age and figuring out who she is. 
Collider: With so many elements to this, and all of the layers to the story and world that you’ve created, there are so many things that could have gone wrong.  Did anything specific give you that sigh of relief?
the-mortal-instruments-city-of-bones-lily-collins-jamie-campbell-bowerCLARE:  I think it was really when I first walked onto the set in Toronto and I saw that they had built the sets from the ground up.  I knew that you don’t always.  There’s so much you can do with CGI.  But (director) Harald [Zwart] wanted to shoot on film, not digital, and he wanted to build the sets.  So, books were shipped in and manuscripts were hand-illuminated to make them look medieval, all the weapons were handmade, all the signs were hand-down, every little detail of everything in the apartments were perfect.  I felt like I was walking into my books, and that reassured me.  I was happy, but I was completely freaked out, and that made me feel really happy.
Collider: When you decided you wanted to talk to the casting director, were there specific things you wanted to convey?
CLARE:  Oh, yeah!  I’m super bossy!  Any of the producers or Harald will tell you.  I have no official role in the movie.  I’m not a producer.  But, they were really open to hearing what I had to say, so I called the producer and said, “Can I talk to the casting director?”  I think technically he’s supposed to be like, “Heavens, no!,” but he said, “Sure!,” and he gave me her phone number.  So, we talked for hours and it was just a great talk about how we saw each character, what kind of actors would work for each character, what they would bring to the role, how the mosaic of characters would work together.  It was a fascinating experience.  They were really open with letting me be a part of casting.  They let me watch all the auditions and have a voice in the process, and they didn’t need to do that, so I was really grateful. 
Collider: Lily Collins is clearly excited about this because she’s such a fan of the books, and she’s said she hopes she gets to play this character as long as possible.  Since you didn’t have any say in casting her, was it a relief to know that she’s a fan and that you’d at least be on the same page? 
CLARE:  Yeah, I feel really lucky about Lily, like we won the lottery.  She was just coming off of doing The Blind Sideand Screen Gems really loved her, so they attached her to the project.  That was the first person who was attached.  I hadn’t even known they were looking.  I learned about it from Collider!  I was like, “Wow!”  So, I went and looked at her work.  I watched Priest and I watched The Blind Side, and I was like, “She’s really incredible.  She’s going to be a great Clary.”  But, it was a relief to know that she was such a fan of the books and a fan of the character.  She really understands the character.  It made me feel a lot safer.  So, I feel like I lucked out with Lily.  Everybody else, I pretty much had a voice in casting them. 
Collider: What was the first time you saw Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower together, doing scenes as Clary and Jace?
CLARE:  Oh, my god!  It was at their audition.  Well, it wasn’t her audition.  She was already on the project.  It was his audition.  She had auditioned with a ton of other guys.  They brought in young Hollywood by the truckload, with every blonde guy between the ages of 20 and 30.  I just kept watching them all and thinking, “No, none of these guys is Jace.  Not that they’re bad actors or there’s anything wrong with them, but they’re not Jace.”  And then, I thought, “Maybe I’ve written a bizarre character that no one can play.  Maybe I’m crazy.”  It wasn’t working for anybody else either.  All of the producers and the director were all watching, and nothing was clicking.  I was getting really worried. 
the-mortal-instruments-city-of-bones-jamie-campbell-bowerAnd then, they were like, “Will you watch this audition for Jamie Campbell Bower?”  And I was like, “Jamie Campbell Bower?  The little guy fromSweeney Todd?”  That was the only thing that I knew about him, and he was like 14 in that.  I was like, “Okay, I’ll watch anything.”  So, I turned it on and he just came in and lit it up.  He was Jace.  He got the humor and he got the passion.  The chemistry with him and Lily was really incredible.  I was just blown away.  I was like, “This guy!  I love this guy!  You guys must like him, right?  I’m not crazy, am I?”  And then, everybody started coming in with their votes and being like, “Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!”  It was really great!
Collider: Was it difficult, then, to start seeing such negative fan reaction to him being cast in the role, especially since you’d seen what he could do?
CLARE:  It was difficult, and I worried about him, too.  I thought, “What kind of impact would this have on me, if it was stuff about me?”  It’s really hard to deal with.  And I know that, in a way, negative fan reaction is a good thing because it means people care.  The worst thing you could do is make a casting announcement and everyone’s like, “Who cares?,” and then wanders off.  So, the explosion of, “I love him!  I hate him!  He’s wrong!  He’s right!,” is actually what you do want, but it is very hard to deal with.  I felt like, “I saw this audition and he is so perfect and he’s so great and I want you guys to see it too,” but they couldn’t.  I was like, “You guys just have to wait and see what he can do.”  I know they’ll love him. 
And I watched what happened with the casting for Twilight, where the reaction to Robert Pattinson was initially so terrible, and then with The Hunger Games, where the reaction to Josh Hutcherson was initially terrible, and Jennifer Lawrence.  I know the editor of The Hunger Games, and I remember him saying something like, “If I had a dollar for every letter we got, saying that she was the wrong choice . . .,” and now everybody loves her.  I think it is a cycle that we’re just going to see over and over and over again.  As long as they’re making beloved books into movies, people are going to be like, “That’s not my mental image of them.”  It takes that moment for it to click and become their mental image.
Collider: Is it weird to know that the last book is set to come out in 2014, while the movie version of the first book is coming out in August?
CLARE:  It is weird, especially because I was working while I was on set.  I was writing the sixth book, so I was sitting there writing the end of everything for these characters while I was watching the beginning of everything for their characters.  That was really strange. 
the-mortal-instruments-city-of-bones-robert-sheehanCollider: At what point, along the way, did you come up with the characters for The Dark Artificesseries, which takes place five years after the end of The Mortal Instruments books?  Had you always planned to continue working in this same world, in various forms? 
CLARE:  It wasn’t what I initially expected, but the world is such a big world.  And then, I went and did this prequel series, The Infernal Devices, that I just finished, that was set in 1878.  Creating connections of family between the characters was just something that I really enjoyed, so I started to think about what I would want to do after The Mortal Instruments.  What happens in the sixth book is that the whole world of the Shadowhunters is really changed.  A fundamental thing about it is altered.  And I thought, “What is it going to be like to live in this world, after this thing happens?”  I don’t want to tell it from Jace and Clary’s point of view because I feel like we’ve done their story.  We know their beginning, middle and end, so I needed a new generation of kids.  I started to think about who it would be, and they’re actually mentioned briefly in the fifth and sixth book of The Mortal Instruments.  So, we’re going to go to their point of view for the next series.  I’m looking forward to it.  It’s sad to say goodbye to characters that you know, but it’s great to get involved with characters that are new.  

Jamie Campbell Bower Talks Playing Jace with Showbiz Junkies at WonderCon

ShowBizJunkies has an awesome interview with Jamie from WonderCon, talking about playing Jamie. Check it out here.... Yes, I swear I've fallen in love even more with Jamie playing Jace.

Thoughtful Thursday: Book Ratings

(I couldn't find a cute ratings graphic, so I took my Mundie Kids one to feature in today's post. Amber with Page Turners Blog made it for me.)

Welcome to this week's edition of Thoughtful Thursday. This week's topic is book ratings. I don't know about you guys, but each year I find myself becoming a tougher judge on books. Even though my star ratings are staying the same, I find I've become pickier and pickier with each new year and the specific rating I give each book. What I rated as a 5 star book 3 years may not hold up to my standards of a 5 star book this year. 

At first I had a hard time with the fact that each year I find myself becoming stricter on 5 stars, until I realized that it was okay. It's okay to become a tougher critic on books, because the more I read, the more I except out of the books I'm reading. This past year is the first year I've realized how very few 5 star ratings I've given out, compared to years past. I guess I should back up and share with you my rating system:
  • 5 stars = I LOVED IT! This book swept me off my feet. These are the books I'll be comparing the other books to I read through out the rest of the year. This is a book I want everyone to read.
  • 4.5 stars = I Really Enjoyed It! I really, really wanted to love it, but I needed just a little something more to give it a 5 star rating.
  • 4 stars = I Really Enjoyed. It's a good, solid read. 
  • 3.5 stars = It was a good read, but I needed a few more things from this book to really enjoy it like I wanted to.
  • 3 stars = It's a Good Read. There are some books I'm going to love, and other books I'm just going to think they are good. There's nothing that can really be changed about them to make me love it. It was simply a good read.
  • 2.5 stars = I'm torn on this on. Usually anything below this rating means that it definitely wasn't my cup of tea. There were a few things I might have liked out this book, but not enough for me to enjoy like I was hoping to.
  • 2 stars = I needed more of this book to really enjoy it like I was hoping to.
  • 1 stars / unrated books (which are mostly on Goodreads) = are books I wouldn't even bother picking up.
What makes a book a 5 & 4 star read? There are some specific things I look for in a book. These elements could be anything, depending on the type of book I'm reading, from the world building, to the romance, the writing, fantasy elements, paranormal elements etc.  For me it depends on the story. Some times I like realism, other times I like the believability of something that doesn't seem possible in the real world, and of course without fail I love a storyline with a rich romance, and a little bit of action.  When I sit down to read I want to read a book that sweeps me off my feet. I want a rich storyline, in-depth characters that make me wish they were real, and I want to get lost in a vivid world that takes me out of all that I have going on around. Essentially I want to get lost in the book I'm reading. 

When I get lost in that book, and feel like nothing else exists during the time I've spend reading that book then that's a 5 star book in opinion. That means not only is the writing flawless, but the world building/setting is vivid and becomes real to me, and the character become people I wish I could hang out with, and the storyline is one I wish wouldn't end. For example, here's a few books I've read this year that have been just that for me:

Here's the thing, just because it's not a 5 star book, dose not mean it's not a good book. It's okay to just enjoy a good read (my 3 star books). This might sound odd, but I don't want to LOVE every single book I read, but I do want to enjoy them and at least like them. It would be boring to love every single book I read. In all honesty if I knew I was going to love every single book I read, I'd probably stop reading. It wouldn't fun any more. Instead I look for things in every book I read to love. Sometimes that turns out to be a scene, a character, a moment etc. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts. What are your thoughts on ratings? Do your ratings change every year? Do your taste in books change each year? Do you find yourself being a harder critic than you were the previous year?

WonderCon TMI Movie Interviews

I realize I'm a bit behind on sharing some of the fabulous WonderCon TMI Movie interviews that were shared this past week, but better late than never. Here's a few of the videos I recently watched and enjoyed.

Cassie talks to the WonderCon Press line:

 Collider Interviews Jamie:

 Our friends at Page To Premiere interviewed both Jamie and Kevin:


 The Daily Entertainment News interviews Lily: