In Which Tahereh Mafi Invades My Blog!

You guys! I’m very, very excited about who has stopped by the blog today.

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TAHEREH FUH-REAK-ING MAFI!

She’s the author of the Shatter Me trilogy ,which I love, and she is one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter because she always makes me giggle. I also got the chance to meet her when I went to Chicago and she is the SWEETEST ever and she needs a shoe cam to follow her every move because she has the COOLEST heels ever. (I’m jealous that she can walk in them so well).

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I’m very excited to have the opportunity to ask Tahereh some questions in celebration of Ignite Me‘s release this past Tuesday!!

 Shatter Me series cover

1. Describe the Shatter Me series in six words or less for people who have no idea what it is about (are there people out there? I give back my blogging card if readers of this blog don’t know about Shatter me)

first of all, you are very sweet! thank you for that! but hmmm..

shatter me can be described in a million different ways, i think. but at it’s heart, for me, it’s always been about a girl trying to find herself.

2. Out of the many series out there, I’d have to say the “Team” debate I hear most often is Team Adam vs. Team Warner. Fans are PASSIONATE about this but also quite divided. What are the most convincing arguments you’ve heard from fans about THEIR ship?

oh man i don’t think i can answer this question. i’ve heard incredibly articulate arguments from both sides, and often the most compelling have been, these, like, massive essays and phd theses. brilliant, really. and fascinating. and i have to say: i’m extremely flattered anyone would take the time to write such complex arguments for characters who live in my head.

3. With creating such a compelling SHIP debate and an amazing story in general (seriously HOW IS THIS GOING TO END?), how hard is it to conclude a series knowing you are going to make one team/fans in general upset potentially? How do you still write the story you know needs to be written with the fan pressure I’m sure you get? It’s been such an interesting phenomena to watch reader’s reactions to series endings and I’m sure you are hyper aware of that as an author.

i’m generally not a plotter with first books, because i like to use those pages to get to know my characters — to hear their voices and understand their needs. but every book after that has to follow the rules of the world you’ve created, so there’s a lot more plotting and outlining and deliberation. after writing the first book — while plotting the second — i knew exactly where the story needed to go. and at the end, i looked deep into the hearts of these characters i know and love — and have lived with for three years — and searched for what was most important to them, to their happiness, to their future. once i found it, i tried to give it to them. they may be fictional, but i love them, and i want them to be happy.

but it’s hard to meet readers’ expectations. it really is. i get heartfelt, heartbroken messages from both sides every day. my inbox, flooded. my twitterfeed, flooded. facebook, tumblr, instagram, everywhere. so it’s hard. how can i not love those who love these books? it’s my heart in those words, on those pages, and the journey of author and reader is so very, very intertwined. but ultimately, i realized that, in the end — no matter what happened — the third book would be very controversial, because it’s impossible to please everyone, no matter my intentions.

4. What has been your most favorite minor character to write? Is there a character who has emerged as more popular than you originally thought they would?

kenji! without a doubt, kenji. he has become more real to me than any of the other characters, because — well, because he’s based on my brothers. i have all these older brothers i adore, and i squished all their personalities into one person. he’s the easiest character to write, and the most fun to write, because a lot of what he says and the way he says it is ripped directly from conversations and interactions i’ve had with my brothers. i’m thrilled people like kenji so much. he’s my favorite.

5. You’ve created one of the most complex villains EVER in Warner. It’s easy to hate him but we also learn a lot about him that makes us sympathize with him and connect to him as a human. Where did your inspiration come from with him/how do you create such a compelling villain? Do you enjoy writing baddies?

i’ve always been fascinated by the way in which human beings judge each other. we’re quick to make assumptions about a person, even with very little information. often this is a good thing — a survival mechanism, instinct we should trust — but sometimes we’re just wrong. this is what’s happened to juliette when we meet her at the beginning of the book. a girl who, in black and white, has killed a small child, and been locked up for it. but was it really that simple? what really happened to her? who is she — really? i ask this same question of adam and warner and kenji, too. there must be more to who they are, and why they are the way they are.

i feel very deeply that there exist entire worlds of feeling and experience in the people we meet every day; it’s just that we seldom get to see any of it. with this series i wanted to explore complicated characters with complicated lives; i wanted to explore the impact of change, opportunity, love, success, self-confidence, and loss. i don’t believe things are ever black and white. in villains, especially.

 

6. We’ve all seen your new collab Youtube channel with Ransom (you guys are the cutest and my most favorite ship ever) but I’m curious, besides that, what’s up next for you? Can you give us any hints on what you are working on next? Shed any lights on your plans for further world domination?

yes! (and thank you for the kind words about the youtube channel :D) i’m working on something new that i can’t talk about yet — but will very soon, i hope — and it’s my favorite thing i’ve ever written. that’s really all i can say at the moment, but yes, yes. new books! more soon!

I decided to bring my readers in on the fun instead of hogging all the questions for myself because YOU, lady, are in demand so here are some GREAT questions from my readers.

 

1. Where did the shoe hobby/obsession start? What are the craziest pair of shoes you own? (From @novablogder & @smokeandbone13)

 

i’m not sure! i’ve always loved shoes, but i quickly found i was never quite satisfied with a simple pretty pump or a normal, practical boot. but i love fashion in general; it’s real, live, wearable art. i find it fascinating. and i’m not sure, re: the craziest pair of shoes i own. i don’t really think i own any “crazy” shoes (at least not in my own estimation), though someone else might look in my closet and think all my shoes are crazy. haha. but i like my heels high, i do.

2. Do you feel a sense of loss now that your first series is done or are you overwhelmed with excitement for your next work? (From @lilreflects)

 

i gave these characters an ending that i feel really, really good about, so it’s easy for me to move on. i feel like they’re exactly where they need to be now, and ready for a world of adventure on their own. so i am definitely overwhelmed with excitement for the next thing.

 

3. I LOVE THIS QUESTION SO MUCH. Would you ever consider writing a book with Ransom? Why or why not? What type of novel do you think it would be? (from @jennadoesbooks)

maybe! we’ve definitely talked about it. but ransom and i have very, very different writing methods (he’s a big-time plotter and i’m more of a pantser) so i’m not sure how that would work out. haha. but maybe!

 

Rapid Fire Questions:

1. I do this with all the interviews I do…kiss, marry, kill time!! Adam, Warner, Kenji

i really wish i could play this game, but i’m afraid people will think my answers are indicative of the end, so i will have to abstain!

2. If Shatter Me had a theme song it would be….

Can’t Touch This.

3. If you could do a mashup of any tv-show/movie with a book what would it be? (example: Twilight meets celebrity death match)

Gilmore Girls meets Anne of Green Gables

4. When I need to have a dance party I turn on this song:

hmmm.. you know, mostly i listen to pandora, but recently i’ve had a soft spot for The End Has No End by The Strokes. it always makes me want to run around the house and dance with the cat.

5. Ransom’s most annoying habit is: 

i say this at the risk of making everyone throw up in their mouths a little, but honestly, he does nothing to annoy me. he’s really quite exasperatingly wonderful.

6. Last book I bought:

Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh

7. One of my most favorite books is:

The Sky is Everywhere, by Jandy Nelson  (mine too, Tahereh!! God that book is perfection)

8. A movie that made me cry is:

12 Years a Slave. i sobbed like a baby.

9. Favorite place I traveled:

ahhhhh.. this is hard! i don’t know if i can choose! my three favorite places so far have been santorini (a greek island); cappadocia (in the countryside of turkey), and palawan (an island off the coast of the philippines). magical destinations.

10. If this food stopped existing I’d be grumpy:

persian food. i can’t live without it.

Thanks for stopping by the blog, Tahereh! And thank you for bringing life to such a wonderfully complicated characters and taking us on their journey! Cannot WAIT to see what is up next for you!

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi | Book Review (NO SPOILERS!!!)

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi | Book Review  (NO SPOILERS!!!)Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #3
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen- February 4, 2014
Genres: YA Dystopian, YA Science Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Shatter Me (Book 1) & Unravel Me (Book 2)

I received this book for review, as part of the Dark Days blog tour,  in exchange for an honest review -- my feelings were not swayed in any way. Pinky swear! Also check out the blog on Thursday for an interview with Tahereh Mafi!
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book synopsis Ignite Me is the conclusion to the Shatter Me trilogy. I don’t want to give any more info really then what the official synopsis said on Amazon, ” With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.”

good books to readHere’s what I’m not going to tell you in this review:

1. Who she ends up with
2. How it ends.
3. Specific spoilery things

To be clear. I will however have a video with me FEELINGS at the end.

Oh, Tahereh Mafi. You made me cry. You made me laugh. You made me blush severely. You made me nervous. You also did not do what I thought you were going to do. Nope. I definitely went into Ignite Me with some pretty strong predictions for what was going to happen but neither of them happened.

So basically Ignite Me pretty much starts off where Unravel Me leaves off with Juliette getting shot and Omega Point being destroyed. She’s clued in to what has happened and now Juliette becomes even more determined to take down the Reestablishment — at whatever cost — and she needs Warner to do it. In Unravel Me, she largely is learning about her powers and trying to OWN them and is also trying to heal mentally and overcome everything that happened in Shatter Me. In Ignite Me, Juliette stops feeling sorry for herself and goes balls to the walls with wanting to really 100% understand and control her powers for the good of the people.

I loved watching Juliette start to feel this confidence and finally become her own person. I felt the fire lit under her and I was ready for her to start making things happen and stop being so passive about everything. I loved watching her become more badass by the turn of each page and mentally stronger too. Learning the extent and the ins and the outs of her powers was interesting to me. I also loved watching her really decide what SHE wanted — for so long everything had been decided for her and she pretty much was resigned to it — so it was nice to watch her continue to grow.

Obviously the other huge thing in all this is Juliette’s struggle to figure out things with Adam and confront the feeeeelings from Unravel Me’s chapter 62 with Warner. I am not going to spoil you here but I felt this struggle HARD. I was team nobody coming out of Unravel Me as a reference. And I’m just going to tell you that, this shocked the hell out of me, but early on in Ignite Me I KNEW what I wanted and I didn’t waver. I’m not going to tell you if it was the right move or not in relation to what happens in the book but my heart wanted what my heart wanted but I felt the conflict within Juliette SO INTENSELY. The more information I gathered of both Adam and Warner, as well as some important interactions with both of them mixed with past interactions, and I just knew my feelings on who Juliette should end up would never change no matter what. I’d go down with that ship if that’s what it took. I was committed!

Let’s also talk about how Tahereh Mafi made me blush harder than I ever have reading a book –especially YA. STEAMY MCSTEAMY. Holy crap. If Tahereh Mafi wrote an adult romance novel, YEP I’d be reading it.

OH ALSO. Kenji continues to be my favorite EVER.

Now, if I’m being honest, there were a few things (mostly small-ish things besides the one I’m going to talk about) that weren’t perfect for me but it was one of those reading situations where it didn’t really matter for me. The heart of the story, my feelings, and just my love for the series/characters made my brain gloss over them. I have no regrets.

But I will just tell you the one thing I feel I have to note:

I felt like the ending was pretty rushed. I never felt like Shatter Me/Unravel Me were action type novels. They had their bits of WHOA ACTION moments but a lot of what was happening was Juliette really becoming a PERSON again and finding her strength after being in her situation and then learning about her superpower and seeing it in a different way than she had. Lots of pages were in Juliette’s head. The Reestablishment and all the crazy stuff happened in Unravel Me was pretty action-y but I was waiting for the ultimate OH SHIT, explosive type action in Ignite Me since it’s the end. Much of the book was the characters putting their plan into action and also Juliette working things out with herself and with the guys but then I could feel the pages REALLY thinning and I’m like WAIT the plan still needs to happen! So I felt like the ending and a BIG scene were rather rushed for my liking. This is PURELY PURELY speculation (or just me never wanting this series to end) but the ending left me feeling like there could be another book maybe some day in the future? I know that’s probably an irrational and stupid thought but I just…I don’t know. Most things felt resolved and I was satisfied in most ways but there were ways there could be MORE.

Spoilery video: Not FULL spoilers bc it’s the end of a series and it JUST came out so I don’t want anything leaked while people are just getting their books! From my phone before bed because I AM LAAAZY so sorry for the bad quality.

 

book reviewsI’m so, so sad to let this series go. I’m in denial. I loved Juliette’s story throughout and I was pleased with Ignite Me overall. I was happy with the resolution to some of the bigger plot lines (namely the romance because I just FELT it in my hearts of hearts and made the most sense to me despite me being Team NOBODY coming out of Unravel Me). There were a few things I didn’t find to be “perfect” but I was so immersed in the story/the writing that I didn’t care. The only exception to that is my feelings on the ending being pretty rushed. It was resolved but rushed and I can’t explain it without spoilers so I’m going to just stop now.

short book review

Ignite Me Tahereh Mafi

 

Let’s Talk: PLEASE warn readers of spoilers in the comments should you talk about any! (THANKS!). What did you think of this one?? Were you pleased with the outcome? With the resolution to the love triangle? Are you sad for the series to come to an end??

 

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Come back on Thursday when Tahereh Mafi invades this blog!! I may have even asked her what the most annoying thing about Ransom is :P

The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (No Spoilers!)

13104080Book Title/Author: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year
: HarperTeen 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: Yes, read my review of  Shatter Me — book 1 in the series!
Other Books From Author: Shatter Me (book #1 in series)

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

** Some spoilers for Shatter Me (book 1) may be lurking around here **

We pick up where Shatter Me leaves off and Juliette, Adam and Kenji have escaped the Reestablishment and are underground at Omega Point. Juliette is trying to learn the strength of her abilities and power and learns more about the gifts of all the other people who are at Omega Point. She realizes that the freedom isn’t all that she thought it would be and that simply loving Adam isn’t as easy as it sounds with the power that brews inside her. The Reestablishment is still reeling from Juliette’s escape and will stop at nothing to find her and silence the spirit of a resistance they’ve only heard about.

“There was too much kissing in this book.” — SAID NO ONE EVER. Seriously, Tahereh Mafi. You upped the sexy in this book. I had to fan myself quite a few times even if I didn’t always LOVE what was going on. I wish there was an award for good kissing scenes because Tahereh has a whole arsenal of them in Unravel Me that proves why she would win this award. As much as I enjoy swoon and kissing and romance, I don’t know that I’ve ever started a review out talking about the kissing nor have I devoted an entire paragraph in a review to it. But, here we are. You need to know it.

So Unravel Me. WOW. What an incredible follow-up to Shatter Me — it was sexy, daring, gripping and certainly didn’t lack in excitement.  I really enjoyed learning more about this underground resistance and watching Juliette trying to learn how to fit IN with other people and come to terms with her abilities. There are some explosive moments in this book and I was constant state of being riveted and then completely blindsided by THINGS — aka a huge twist that is a BIG deal and a certain chapter that definitely changes the course of this series.

I love the way all of these characters are written. Tahereh isn’t afraid to lift the curtain and make us see characters in a different way — even if it makes us have conflicting feelings. Juliette becomes my least favorite character in this series — she is whiny and acts stupidly sometimes and just has way too much self loathing going on…but at the end of the day I’m still rooting for her to realize her own strength and feel comfortable in her skin. I love Adam but he becomes stale for me this time around and I’m left wondering what is so special about him but I STILL LOVE HIM SO MUCH and want Juliette to be with him when she can sort her damn feelings and emotions. Kenji doesn’t really change but just becomes my ALL TIME FAVE and so incredibly awesome! And Warner…oh Warner. He is so complex. I got that feeling from Shatter Me and most of my suspicions were true in terms of there is something else within him and that he probably had a hard childhood that hardened him. I’ve never had such polarizing feelings towards a character. I will say, I am NOT a person who switched to Team Warner but I do understand him more and believe he can be redeemed but not quite on board with a romance (because ew he was her captor and he has done some beyond horrible things and is manipulative). I believe there is more to him but could not even entertain anything romantical. But HOLY EFF, Tahereh. I have never ever before seen such a passionate switch of teams by readers and an even more passionate resounding HELL NO by others.

The emotions she brings to Unravel Me just astound me — I seriously felt a myriad of things. Things I never knew I felt. It was kind of like how after you work out or do a new workout and the next day your muscles are so sore because you are using muscles you’ve neglected or barely worked out but never realized. That’s how my heart felt — these deep aches and soreness from places in my heart that have rarely seen the light of day. It’s amazing the kind of emotions I felt reading this book — sadness and aching and anger and longing and ALL THE FEELS. My heart was a volatile organ while reading this and I just always felt I was on the brink of uncertainty.

An amazing sequel to a book that captivated me from the start.  Suffice it to say — my mind is reeling and in complete and utter awe of Tahereh Mafi and everything about this series — the realness of the characters, her exquisitly unique writing style that just captivates you, the KISSING, the depth of emotions she unearths and the risks she is just willing to take. If you haven’t read Shatter Me, get on it so you can experience things that your heart might not experience every day — including being smashed to pieces, writhing in agony and possibly this polarizing feeling when it comes to the boys in this series.  I love that I could hate characters or be frustrated by them and even be opposed to the direction that the story was going but I still undoubtedly loved this book and BELIEVED it wholly.

 

 

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of the series?  If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it?? Are you Team Adam or Team Warner? EXPLAIN YOURSELF IF YOU ARE TEAM WARNER!! Did anyone else just fall in love with Kenji?? I OH SNAPPED when he told Juliette off basically. ALSO, did you see the REALLY BIG SHOCKING TWIST COMING?? I did not. At all.

Review Of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

YA dystopian for Hunger Games fanBook Title/Author: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen 2011
Genre: YA Dystopian
Series: YES!
Other Books From Author: None!

Amazon| Goodreads | Tahereh Mafi’s Website
I purchased this book with my own money!

Juliette’s been locked up in solitary confinement for 264 days. She’s been locked away for incident which resulted in murder because her very touch is deadly but nobody knows why. While she’s locked away for being a hazard to the general population, the world as she knew it is deteriorating even more than it had been before. Food is rationed, the weather is strange, birds don’t fly anymore and it seems like trouble is brewing between the Reestablishment and the rebel movements. Juliette doesn’t realize just how important she could be on the outside until she finds out that though she’s been in solitary people have taken notice of her and want her use her power for their gain.

Do you ever have a book that you hear everybody talk about it and rave about it and it just somehow turns you off? Is that weird? I don’t know but that’s the case with this book. I heard too much about it and wasn’t intrigued enough by the summary and I thought I’d be let down. Then a few blogger friends told me I HAD to read it so I purchased it this past April when I went to Chicago for RT Convention and a Dark Days tour stop. It’s been sitting on my shelf ever since until Jen from Makeshift Bookmark demanded recently I read it when I asked for a rec!

I was nervous that it wouldn’t blow my mind like it seemed to do to everyone else. BUT FRIENDS, mind = blown. I mean, it kind of looks like a CSI crime scene around here. Shatter Me was pretty unlike things I’ve read recently and I so enjoyed it — the worldbuilding, the characters, the writing, the romance, the fast paced page-turning nature of the story. It was a book I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish. Something I haven’t been doing lately. You would have had to pry this book from my cold dead fingers before I’d have given it up to go to bed. I mean WHAT IF I DIED IN MY SLEEP AND NEVER FINISHED IT??! Morbid, I know, but I just needed to finish it that bad.

Immediately you know this novel is going to be different from the first page by the writing style. Lots of crossed out sentences, tons of stream of consciousness type writing. It takes some time to get used to. I found that I had to reread some parts again but it was so beautiful and it totally hones in on the state of  Juliette’s mind. I felt like I was there imprisoned with her in solitary confinement. The writing just set the mood really well. You felt kind of crazy like I’m sure she did — never speaking but your brain is a lively dialogue and picture show just barreling along. I knew I was going to like this book within the first few pages. I will say that some of those elements do peter out as we get in the story but it makes sense to me as the story progresses. Juliette changes and gets out of her own head.

I found the characters (even the hateable ones — I’m looking at you WARNER) to be so intriguing and I’m excited to learn more about some of them. I’ve heard a lot of Team Warner’s being thrown around and I didn’t understand it though I’m hearing that my mind will change if I read the novella Destroy Me (which you know I have reservations about novellas) and then Unravel Me (book 2). I don’t know.

I also am incredibly drawn into this world that Mafi created — curious about how it got to the point it is, what’s up with Juliette’s special power, what Warner has planned for Juliette, where Juliette’s family is etc. etc. Everything just made me SO CURIOUS. I had a million thoughts running through my mind and I am even more anxious for Unravel Me!!

Moral of the story: When all of your blogging friends tell you to read a book, just do it. Because it might end up being one of your most memorable, favorite reads of the year! I was getting so series weary but this one is invigorating and worth getting sucked into!

 

I see why this book was SO very popular! It’s addicting and the ultimate page-turner filled with intriguing characters, a completely scary and imaginative dystopian society and a love story that didn’t feel out of place and haphazardly thrown in there like “OH HAI ROMANCE SELLS. GOTTA INCLUDE IT.”  It’s breathtakingly different and some of Mafi’s prose is just enchanting. I’ll say it does take a little bit to take to the style of writing at first but I promise you that you’ll get to a point where you just PLOW through it. Lots of feelings happened while reading this book — rage, hope, sadness, etc.

 

You May Also Like: Touch by Jus Accardo, Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Legend by Marie Lu, Eve by Anna Carey

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - teen dystopian

 

Let’s Talky Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What did you think if you have read it? And I have to ask, did you read the novella Destroy Me? Is it worth reading?

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