Review: Possession by Elana Johnson

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Possession (Possession #1) by Elana Johnson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: June 7th 2011
Hardcover, 416 pages
Challenges: 100 Books in 2011, YA Series, 2011 Debut Authors

Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them…starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous–everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Elana Johnson’s Possession is my first exposure to the Dystopian genre that is taking the literature world by storm.  I can honestly say I am not disappointed and see many more Dystopians in my reading future.

Imagine not thinking for yourself, all of your decisions are made for you by a voice in your head, having your future spouse chosen for you even though are not allowed to be with them let alone talk or walk with them.  Unless you know any better the Goodlands is the perfect place to be.  But Vi does know better, or at least knows that she doesn’t want to be controlled.  During a secret meeting at night with Zenn, her future chosen, Vi is caught and taken to jail where she meets Jag.  Jag is nothing like Zenn or herself…. the exact opposite of everything that Vi is and wants… or is he?  


From the moment that Vi and Jag meets, Vi knows there’s something about him.  She just can’t quite put her finger on it.  With his help she is able to discover who and what she really is.  With Jag’s help Vi finds out what she once thought she knew was completely different.  But jag comes with his own past, and secrets.

Dystopian novels have never held any lure for me.  I always thought that every Dystopian novel was the ‘end of the world’, ‘post-apocalyptic’ mystery.  Elana Johnson’s Possession is NOT that – while there is plenty of thrills and mystery.  This is a fantastic novel for those like myself who were afraid of reading Dystopian novels.  As Possession is told from Vi’s point of view, you learn the many truths of Vi’s past, present and future with her, and you get confused and angry with her.  This in particular really made this novel enjoyable.  


Then of course you have the love triangle: Zenn-Vi-Jag.  I will have to say I loved Jag and Vi together, even though sometimes I was right next to Vi when it came to wanting the ‘ring’ his neck.  But at the same time you cannot help but feel for Zenn.  While at times it was frustrating to not know what was going on, pretty much all the time, this confusion was one of the best things about this novel – the suspense really keeps you on the edge of your seat.  Elana Johnson has created very delicate and intricate relationships, tied together in ways you will never see coming.  For those already fans of Dystopians or for those who are timid to read them, this is the perfect novel to add to your reading list.  


My Rating:
** Disclosure: I was given the opportunity to read this book in ARC format, in exchange for an honest review through Around The World ARC Tours.

Releases This Week: August 28th – September 3rd

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Dust and Decay (Benny Imura #2) by Jonathan Maberry (8/30/11)
Fury (Fury #1) by Elizabeth Miles (8/30/11)

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley (8/30/11)

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson (8/30/11)

The Predicteds by Christine Seifert (9/1/11)
The Witch Song by Amber Argyle (9/1/11) ** 2011 Debut Author

Mist by Kathryn James (9/1/11)
Enthralled; Paranormal Diversions by Melissa Marr, Kelly Armstrong (9/1/11)

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle (9/1/11)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (9/1/11)

#YAlitchat – Banned and Controversial Books Con’t

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In continuation of the amazing #YAlitchat that took place on August 24th, here are more reactions to the discussion on Banned and Controversial Books
(don’t forget to check out yesterday’s post with more reactions and discussion)

Review: The Dragon Saga by J.F. Jenkins

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The Dragon Saga: Legend of the Oceina Dragon by J.F. Jenkins
Publisher: Astraea Press, LLC
Published February 21st 2011
Kindle, 183 pages
Challenges:  100 Books in 2011, YA Series

Darien Oceina is the youngest son of the Great Dragon Lord of the Water. For years he’s loved and cherished Tai Dawson from afar. Tai is a simple, ordinary girl who doesn’t even know Darien exists. On his eighteenth birthday, he chooses her as his wife. But there’s one problem: She thinks his choice means she’s going to be offered as a sacrifice to the Dragon Lord, but instead, she’s forced to move to his home, far away, to give up her life and be his bride.

When she first sees Darien after the ceremony, she doesn’t expect to feel anything but hatred toward him. The two are struggling with the complications of a new marriage when their nation is attacked by a rival dragon species. Together they learn to love one another while they struggle to stay one step ahead in a game where the prize is their survival.

Dragons oh my!  I’ve never had the desire to read a book about Dragons.  And I never thought I would enjoy it as well.  J.F. Jenkins’ The Dragon Saga breaks the mold of all the stereotypes I created in my head about Dragon books – just goes to show you that you really can never judge a book by its cover.  

The Legend of the Oceina Dragon is a wonderful tale about the humanity of dragons with a splash of old world magic – they are not just beasts who breath fire.  Darien is a dragon while Tai is not, but the moment Darien saw Tai he fell in love with her.  He knew she was “the one”.  Tai is thrust into Darien’s world without a choice.  To be blunt Tai does not want to be in Darien’s world, but over time this changes.  Tai sees firsthand the magical and even happy world that Darien lives in with his Dragon family.  That is until trouble threatens to tear them and their world apart. 

While the novel is told between the two main characters, Darien and Tai, this is really Darien’s story. Darien is just like any normal teenager in that he learns about love, friendship, and at times just wants to fit in.  But Darien has a destiny that will not allow him to be just a normal teen ‘dragon lord’.  J.F. Jenkins use of the paranormal creates a magical tale of human quality.  While at times the plot was a bit rushed and I would have loved to learn more about our characters, J.F. Jenkins’ characters were real, despite their paranormal attributes. 

 I for one cannot wait to read what happens next in the world of the Dragons!  A must read for any paranormal fan. 

My Rating:
J.F. Jenkins’ WebPage  / Twitter

You can also check out my Interview with J.F. Jenkins!




** Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book from The {Teen} Book Scene in exchange for an honest review.

#YAlitchat – Banned and Controversial Books

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Did you catch the #YAlitchat discussion last night?  It was AMAZING!
The discussion topic was 
Banned and Controversial Books

This topic alone is very serious and prevalent today, but it also affects many different aspects of literature, reading, and readers are affected in turn, not just teens.  And what better guests are there than Cheryl Rainfield, Ellen Hopkins, and Laurie Halse Anderson – each who write on very tough topics which in turn  ‘disturb’ the calm waters that people are afraid of stirring up. 

Can I just say that I am personally moved and ecstatic about the craze on Twitter and fellow blogs that have been going on lately, especially since the WSJ fiasco, with #YAsaves and now #YAlitchat.  Not only are many topics being discussed that are long overdue, but they are being done so in a very fair and adult manner (minus a few). Of course we do not all share the same opinions, but the fact that we are able to openly discuss something so prevalent and affecting means that much more to the future of literature.  Furthermore, I love seeing the mix of younger and older audiences coming together.  #YAsaves and #YAlitchat do not just affect the YA’s, it affects everyone!

(You can check out my posts about the WSJ articles as well as my weekly #YAsaves posts HERE)

Now back to topic… Banning Books is nothing new.  People tend to ‘ban’ what they don’t understand and/or what scares them.  Of course this is not a definitive statement but in general this is the case.  So why does a book get banned?  According to Laurie Halse Anderson:

This makes sense.  Especially in the U.S. we DO NOT, or better yet not allowed, talk and think to about sex, sexuality and everything that comes along with it.  Then there are those behaviors that we are not supposed to have or know about: bullying, cutting, suicide, etc.  So how do we get these books to become more known?  Does banning a book actually create more sales and more awareness?  In #YAlitchat people seemed to be on the fence about this…

I think we can all agree that awareness helps is great and small ways – sales, personal satisfaction in writing a banned book, teens who want to read banned books just because they are banned, reaching out to that teen that otherwise would have never known they are not alone, etc. Of course, banning books is not always black and white; many thing help contribute to reasons people feel a book needs to be banned: values, traditions, community makeup, age, gender, race, etc. And we all know our guest authors are no strangers to being banned.

You all know my opinion so I won’t go on but now let you read some of the reactions to this weeks #YAlitchat: 

AND THAT THEY ARE!
Come back tomorrow for more amazing Tweet Reactions on Banned and Controversial Books.
~~~~~~~~~
Thank you to the wonderful Guests!

Author Chat with J.F. Jenkins

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I am very honored to have with us today an amazing new YA author, J.F. Jenkins.  Her first YA novel is The Dragon Saga: Legend of the Oceina Dragon.  If you have not read this book, you are missing out!
As far as I know, Dragons in YA Literature is a rather new and a unique idea (your novel is the first one I have read about Dragons) – they are definitely different from the Vampires and Werewolves.  What made you want to write about Dragons? 
I had the basic plotline before I had the species when it came to writing this story. I wanted to write about a supernatural creature of some kind that could also be worshiped as a deity of sorts. Dragons made the most sense to me. Plus I really like dragons, and they’re so mysterious that there’s a lot of room to play around with. 
As an author, why did you choose to write YA Literature versus Children’s or Adult?
I don’t think I could ever write a children’s story. My plots are usually too dark to fit well with that audience. More importantly, I like to write about the coming of age story and the transition into adulthood. I’ve tried writing a few adult books as well, but even then my characters are usually 18-25 years in age. For whatever reason, it’s the age group I like to write about the most.
For those that may be a bit unfamiliar, or are just living under a rock, can you give us a brief synopsis about The Legend of the Oceina Dragon?

I’ll give you the back book blurb:  Darien Oceina is the youngest son of the Great Dragon Lord of the Water. For years he¹s loved and cherished Tai Dawson from afar. Tai is a simple, ordinary girl who doesn¹t even know Darien exists. On his eighteenth birthday, he chooses her as his wife. But there’s one problem: She thinks his choice means she¹s going to be offered as a sacrifice to the Dragon Lord, but instead, she’s forced to move to his home, far away, to give up her life and be his bride.

When she first sees Darien after the ceremony, she doesn’t expect to feel anything but hatred toward him. The two are struggling with the complications of a new marriage when their nation is attacked by a rival dragon species. Together they learn to love one another while they struggle to stay one step ahead in a game where the prize is their survival.

Your first installment of Dragon Saga is absolutely amazing! I cannot wait to find out what happens with Tai and Darien.  Can you give us any hints about the next installment?
I can give you a few! The second installment is going to show a completely different perspective in the culture of the dragons. Much like how the Matrimonial Mayhem short gave a glimpse into the life of the Aero Dragons, the second book gives a rather in-depth exploration of the Inero Dragons. Darien does make another appearance in this novel though. The story focuses on twin brothers and the two women they care for. One brother marries his childhood sweetheart, while the other decides to care for and protect a girl he’s never met. Throw in a dark prophecy, war, and some family drama, and that’s the book in a nutshell.

I love Love-Triangles! I can’t wait to read it!
While I will miss Darien and Tai’s relationship I love knowing we will get to read about others!
You mix religion, history, a bit of folk lore, and modern twists all together in your novel, which not many authors are able to do successfully.  How did you ‘attack’ this? 
It was all a part of the world building for the big plot. I wanted to create a different world, and with that came the task of writing my own back story and legends. It was a lot of fun, but it was a pretty daunting task. I based a little of it on mythology I’ve heard from “our world”, and started to tweak and explore other avenues for it.

You have included a Dragon Saga short story in Matrimonial Mayhem – can you tell us what it is about?

It’s called “Legend of the Aero Dragon” and it tells the story of Etz and his family. He’s the son of the dragon lord of the air, and is forced to going to a party where he will meet the girl he’s been arranged to marry since he was young. The girl he meets is named Zani, but she is posing as her twin sister Tia. The deceit was only to last a night, so that Etz wouldn’t think he was being stood up at their first meeting because Tia suffers from horrible social anxiety. What happens is a whirlwind of love, loyalty, and breaking the rules as Etz finds himself torn between two women. I can’t say much else about it though because that would be spoiling.

I personally find it very hard to ‘let go’ of a series that I have fallen in love with – many authors have been creating novella and prequel to satisfy our ‘obsessive needs’.  Outside of Matrimonial Mayhem have you ever considered doing the same? I personally would love to read more and more and more about Tai and Darien and all the other characters!

I have another short story I plan on writing. I’ve been thinking about writing a prequel to the saga, showing some of the stuff from before Darien and Tai met. Things with his family, how his dad and mom fell in love, etc. But The details are still in the works and it will probably happen after the series is completed. I promise though that Darien, Tai, and all of the other characters will have a satisfying end to their story.

As a new YA Author, what are some things you have enjoyed and not-so-much enjoyed about the process of getting your novel published?
I’ve loved sharing my work with a new audience, meeting fans, interacting with them, and creating the stories in general. The not so great moments were doing the edits, putting in the long hard hours to get the story done, and taking my constructive criticism.
Any hints, suggestions, etc. you would like to include?
I have a new series coming out soonish. I can give you a cover image for it, but I don’t have an approved synopsis.  All I can say is it involves Nymphs, Satyrs, the angel of death, and an ancient contract made between a secret society of mythological rulers. A contract that is now to be fulfilled.
I’m reachable on Twitter at: jfjenkinstweets
My Blog has exclusive stories and contest information: http://jfjenkinswrites.wordpress.com
I have an exclusive blog story that’s a collaboration with another writer: http://introv3rsion.blogspot.com

Releases This Week: August 21st – 27th

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Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1) by Richelle Mead (8/23/11) 

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