Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Tour Stop: LOSS by Jackie Morse Kessler - Review, Guest Post & Giveaways


Today we are so excited to have Jackie stop by the blog with a fantastic guest post as part of her LOSS blog tour!  She will talk to us about ... BOYS! 
Writing in a male Point of View, that is...
But first a little about LOSS and my review of this completely awesome installment.

Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on, from the school bullies to the teachers. But things change drastically when Death tells Billy he must stand in as Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now armed with a Bow that allows him to strike with disease from a distance, Billy lashes out at his tormentors...and accidentally causes an outbreak of meningitis. Horrified by his actions, Billy begs Death to take back the Bow. For that to happen, says Death, Billy must track down the real White Rider—who is lost in his memories.

In his search, Billy travels through White Rider’s life: from ancient Phrygia, where the man called King Mita agrees to wear the White Rider’s Crown, to Sherwood Forest, where Pestilence figures out how to cheat Death; from the docks of Alexandria, where cartons of infested grain are being packed onto a ship that will carry the plague, to the Children’s Crusade in France—all the way to what may be the end of the world. When Billy finally finds the White Rider, the teen convinces the man to return to the real world.

But now the insane White Rider plans to unleash something awful on humanity—something that could make the Black Death look like a summer cold. Billy has a choice: he can live his life and pretend he doesn’t know what’s coming, or he can challenge the White Rider for his Crown. Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground—and the courage to save the world?
** This book was provided to us by the publisher for an honest review and we were in no way paid for it.
The review was done simply because we support and believe in the author's works**

“If you’ve ever been pushed around and no one seemed to care, then this one’s for you.”

Loss is one of those books that I just can’t get out of my head.  I shed many tears, held my breath at different points in the book, felt angry, felt happiness – another emotional rollercoaster ride!  In this installment of the Riders of the Apocalypse series, Jackie Morse Kessler brings us right into the heart of bullying.  I am a huge anti-bullying advocate.  Anytime I read about it, see anything about it, hear anything about it, a little something inside of me snaps and my emotions are visible for all to see.  Loss brought out all of those emotions for me. If there’s anything that I try to cement into my kids’ head, it is not to be mean to anyone.  If they see someone who is eating alone, or is sitting alone, to befriend them!  Ask them to join…make them feel not as lonely.  One of the things that my friends always say about me is that I always include everyone.  I don’t leave anyone out, and I was always the one in school who stuck up for the ones who were being bullied.    And I’m proud of that.  And I want my kids to say the same thing when they grow up. 
Loss is similar to that of the other 2 books of this series, Hunger and Rage BUT it is so different in so many different ways.  In Loss we see Billy Ballard not only fight his own personal battles with bullying but also has an epic battle in which he has to fight to save the entire world.  HUGE weight on his shoulders!  We also get to see the past life of The White Rider (the Conqueror), Pestilence, and how he came to be one of the Riders.  Jackie Morse Kessler also weaves a creative, ingenious twist on King Midas, whose touch (as we know it) turned everything into gold. 
In the past books, we see the main characters having their Titles imposed upon them due to the deaths of their predecessors, but in Loss, the White King lives and it is up to Billy to have Pestilence continue his duties as the White Rider or to have the Title himself.  An interesting aspect of this book was how Kessler weaved the thoughts and memories of Pestilence into a dreamlike state where we are treated with memories of his past, and his feelings and thoughts of when Death appointed him as Pestilence.
Of all the books, THIS ONE is the one I can see as a movie.  Every page played out the movie in my mind, complete with the fast forward fast action memory sequences to slow motion play by plays.  The book itself is divided into three parts; one where we see the bullying of Billy and how he ends up being chosen to be Pestilence, one where we see the thoughts and memories of the White King where Billy learns what he needs to know to save all of humanity, and one where we see the epic battle unfold and where we see Billy make his ultimate decision.  Kessler’s writing in Loss is unforgettable and surpasses the first two books.
Fans of the Riders of the Apocalypse series will totally devour Loss and will bear witness to Billy Ballard, a boy who has been bullied for most of his life, save all of humanity.
Photo by Michelle Rowen
All About Boys
By Jackie Morse Kessler

Let’s talk about boys.

Actually, I need to be more specific, because otherwise this blog post would be me babbling about Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. (I’m a very new fan of Supernatural, can you tell?) Let’s talk about writing a boy protagonist when I’m not a boy and never have been.

I’ve written male POV protagonists before. For my adult series Hell on Earth, the third book was first-person POV of a bona-fide evil male demon who was also the protagonist—i.e., the Good Guy—and believe me when I say that was writing way outside of my comfort zone. (It’s also my favorite Hell book to date.) In Shades of Gray, the superhero novel I coauthored with Caitlin Kittredge, I wrote in close-third-person POV for the characters Night and Garth, but those characters were less about being male and more about being people with super powers in a world that had gone to hell. But neither of these books got into a teen boy’s head—and in LOSS, that’s exactly what I do.

Any author needs to get to know her characters and really understand them. When I was trying to figure out who Billy Ballard—the protagonist of LOSS—was, I had to push aside the fact that OMG HE’S A BOY. I mean, duh, yes, he’s a fifteen-year-old guy. Got it. But who was he? So the first thing I had to do was stop thinking about writing about a boy, and start thinking about who was he as a person.

At first, he was supposed to mostly be a caretaker character. His grandfather, a beloved figure, was suffering from Alzheimer’s, and Billy and his mom took care of him. From the beginning, I knew that Billy didn’t have a father living in his house, which made what was happening to the closest father figure he had even more powerful. But as I started writing, I realized that Billy was more than a caregiver: Billy was bullied. Horribly. He’s the kid that nobody liked, the one everyone picked on. And that’s why, when he got the chance to become powerful, thanks to a magic Bow and a hasty promise, he could finally swing back—with devastating consequences.

And that’s when I really found out what sort of a person Billy Ballard was. Because it wasn’t about the girl he was madly in love with or the conflicted relationship he had with his grandfather or about how he coped with being bullied. It was about how he found his own inner strength and took his first steps from being a teen to being an adult. And that’s something that transcends gender. Yeah, Billy thinks about the girl he loves, a lot. And he thinks about his grandfather a lot, and his absentee dad and overworked mom and the kids at school who make his life miserable.

So the key to writing male POV for young adults—for me, at any rate—is not to stress over OMG IT’S A BOY.  And from there, it flows.

And if it stops flowing, well, then it’s time to watch more Supernatural. :)

LOSS by Jackie Morse Kessler comes out March 20, 2012!


GIVEAWAY: One lucky commenter below will win a small cover poster of LOSS—and will be entered in the grand prize drawing! The grand prize winner will receive signed copies of HUNGER, RAGE, and LOSS—and will get to name a character in BREATH, the fourth book in the Riders of the Apocalypse series. The grand prize winner will be picked on Sunday, April 1, 2012. No foolin’.

Thanks so much for stopping by Jackie! 
I can't wait to see what you have in store for us in BREATH!

You can read my review of HUNGER here!
You can read my review of RAGE here!


Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Hee! It's awesome to know that Jackie is a fan of Supernatural as well :-D I loved the first two books in the series and I cannot wait to get to Loss. Thanks for the review and the guest post!

Christina Fiorelli said... Best Blogger Tips

I love a boy's POV and it's awesome that Billy sounds like such an awesome character, with his own bullying and his grandfather and the girl he loves.

Thanks for the giveaway!

ccfioriole at gmail dot com

Vivien said... Best Blogger Tips

I'm completely in love with the story of the horsemen. I'm so enthralled by the whole thing. Can't wait for this one!

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Sarika said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow! This seems very interesting. I haven't read any books in the series, but I sure am looking forward to reading them all! This is great. :)
Thanks for hosting this super giveaway!
Email- sarikapatkotwar@gmail.com

chi101 said... Best Blogger Tips

I haven't read any of the books, but it seems like something I would read! Thanks for this give away! chichinglamp at gmail dot com

jay.uppal said... Best Blogger Tips

Hey this is a great giveaway. I've wanted to read this series for a while and it looks great. Thanks for this

Maegan Morin said... Best Blogger Tips

I have never heard of your books before but now I am DYING to read them. As for writing from a males POV I totally get what your saying. How the heck am I supposed to know what actually goes through a guys head. With my husband for example its hard to tell because he always puts on a "tough guy" and you just never really know whats going on back there. So i guess kudos to you because I dont think I would be able to write that way. Anway im rambling now... Thanks for the giveaway

megnate at telus dot net


Reviewing Shelf said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you soo much!


Liese2 said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks so much for the giveaway!
I haven't read any of the books in the series, but they sound great! I am definitely putting them on my TBR list!

And, I LOVE Supernatural!

yoits0111 said... Best Blogger Tips

I read the first two books a little while ago but it is soo good that I could not forget what it is about. It was amazing!! I actually helps us understand some of the lives that people has. Thankx for the give away!!! Love your blog.^_^

Sayomay said... Best Blogger Tips

omg thats awesome! XD I loved Rage! I cant wait to get my hands on this one!

The Haunted Rose said... Best Blogger Tips

Omg this books summary sounds awesome. But if I was given a bow of disease I would strike all my bullies with menigitus too. Lol I just put this book at the top of my tbr list cuz I love young main characters who have their own inner demons. I actually cant stop thinking about this book cuz I wonder wat I would do in his place. Thanks so much! I love supernatural as well!

Iloveninjas101 at yahoo dot com

Puie said... Best Blogger Tips

The greatest prize is to be in a book :D
Thanks for sharing the giveaway!
email: puieread at yahoo dot com

kimba88 said... Best Blogger Tips

AWESOME! I haven 't read this series..but you have me excited about it. My email is kimbacaffeinated@gmail.com ..thanks so much.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

these books are now on my TBR list. Thanks for the chance to win!

catherine0807 at hotmail dot com

Megan said... Best Blogger Tips

Ooh, horsemen of the apocalypse! If I could choose one fantasy-type person/thing to be, one of the horsemen of the apocalypse would be right near the top!

Lioness said... Best Blogger Tips

These books are all on my TBR list, and I can't wait to read them(:
Thanks for the post


avry15 said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the post and giveaway...I'd been wanting to read these books..:)


Maya said... Best Blogger Tips

I can't wait to read this book!!! I loved her first two and am so excited for this one. Keep it up, Jackie!!

Thanks so much for the review and guest post, they were both illuminating. And for the giveaway too. :)


Moirae(thefates) book reviews said... Best Blogger Tips

Ah! I love Supernatural!


FireStarBooks said... Best Blogger Tips


catchingashootingstar{at}hotmail{dot} ca

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Ohh I hadn't heard of these books until now but now I have 'em on hold at the library!! And ohh the boys!!! askfhsrgaksdjhf keysmashing.


ame1184 said... Best Blogger Tips

I haven't read any of these books, but now i must! you've got me very interested in them : ) thanks for the great interview and giveaway!!

ame1184 at gmail dot com

bn100 said... Best Blogger Tips

I enjoyed the review. The book sounds very good.

Teresa said... Best Blogger Tips

Rage was on my to be reads but i guess it doesn't hurt to add Loss to it! :)


Chrystal said... Best Blogger Tips

I am a huge fan of this series! Loss is going to rock my socks off by the sounds of it. Great review and what a great guest post topic. PS I just started getting into Supernatural too.

I cannot wait to read Loss. :)

Rhee said... Best Blogger Tips

I love boy POV books. They're always fun to read, and this book sounds so good!

Oh Supernatural... Used to be my absolute favourite show.

Thanks for giveaway!


Jacquelynne said... Best Blogger Tips

I have said it once and I'll say it again - these books sound FANTASTIC! I really need to get my hands on copies of all of them!! :) And once again fantastic review MaryAnn! You never disappoint :)

Alabell said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow I love this serie! I am from Czech Republic and with Hunger I am started to read in english, so Hunger is my...something like guide to english books I think :) or starter? Don´t know. But I like it. And I am looking forward for Loss cause Rage was amazing. War and Pestilence are my favourite riders. And Death of course. I like this way like Jackie writes about Death. Looking forward for his book too!
Good luck with writing Jackie and I wish you lots of fans!
And thank you for this amazing competition :)


Chenise Jones said... Best Blogger Tips

I haven't read any of this series but I'd definitely like to start! Thanks for the giveaway!


RhinestoneBatReviews said... Best Blogger Tips

That sounds like an amazing giveaway :) and I want to read these lol

Reading mind said... Best Blogger Tips

get to name a character??? I'd really love to! Finger crossed ! these books are addictive and very oriiginal!

aliasgirl at libero dot it

Katrina said... Best Blogger Tips

I usually never pick up books that are about boys. Why? I have no idea. I love boys. Appearantly I should read them more. In fact, I usually don't even read books written by boys. lol Weird fact. Anyways. Thanks for the giveaway!
oneagainst at hotmail dot com

Danielle Smiley said... Best Blogger Tips

Loss sounds AMAZING!!! Great giveaway! Good luck, everyone!!!


Nicole@The More the Merrier said... Best Blogger Tips

I love that this series deals with such difficult topics. It brings to light subjects that most don't write about.
I can't wait to read Loss, especially since it seems so different from the previous novels.


Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Don't know if it is international or not. If it isn't then... Just pretend that you haven't seen me

Sound like a great read and a great series :) It's a great giveaway, too


Kaerah said... Best Blogger Tips

I've read the first two books and so far has been a interesting series my fav books was the second rage


Natalie said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the great review! I haven't read them yet, but they sound good! Thanks for the giveaway! natalie152[at]gmail[dot]com

Von @ Mr. Book Wonder said... Best Blogger Tips

I really wanted to read this book a long time but haven't got the chance. So I'll take this opportunity to get this books. Hey Maryann, thank you so much for this giveaway! mrbookwonder(at)gmail(dot)com

Brittany C. said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for taking the time to do this giveaway :) This is such an awesome giveaway!!

Dea S. said... Best Blogger Tips

Great review and post! I'm totally addicted to Supernatural too!

sauvadeavelle @ yahoo dot com

rpratt said... Best Blogger Tips

Looks great! I hope I win.

Sharmaine Chan said... Best Blogger Tips
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Sharmaine Chan said... Best Blogger Tips
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Sharmaine Chan said... Best Blogger Tips
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Sharmaine Chan said... Best Blogger Tips

I haven't read the series, but when I saw the covers, I immediately added the whole series on my Goodreads TBR list. I can't believe I haven't read this series yet! Thanks for the giveaway!

me_winy AT yahoo DOT com DOT ph

Anette said... Best Blogger Tips

These book are in my wishlist a long time! Thanks for the chance to win!

SarahSerenity said... Best Blogger Tips

This sounds like a great series! I don't know how i haven't heard of them yet.
Thanks for the giveaway! I'm not sure if this is international, if it's not then ignore this comment!

avry15 said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow..this is an awesome giveaway...:0

Denise Z said... Best Blogger Tips

I so want to know more about Billy. Thank you for sharing about this awesome read and for the fun giveaway opportunity.

Alec said... Best Blogger Tips

I haven't actually read the series but I really want to. SOunds very interesting...

♥Katrina @ Kindred Dreamheart♥ said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the giveaway!


Evie said... Best Blogger Tips

Let me start off by saying: I love you, Jackie Morse Kessler! I, too, am a HUGE fan of Supernatural and it's always so AWESOME to see other fans (especially when they are wicked cool authors of a wicked cool series!). Love, Love, LOVE that!!! If I were to name a new character in your series I'm afraid that would be either Sam or Dean, and there's just nothing I can do to help myself.

Thank you for the fabulous guest post - It's always so interesting to read about writing from male POV! Male POV happens to be my favorite - you don't see it very often, especially in YA these days, which makes it that much more precious. I haven't read any of Jackie's books yet, but with all they hype they're getting I am DYING to get my hands on them ASAP! :)

Thank you so much for the lovely post, ladies! And for the chance to win the poster and be entered in the draw for the big prize!:) Fingers crossed!!!


Mariah said... Best Blogger Tips

Cant wait to read these!

Hushed Paradox said... Best Blogger Tips

Aww yeah~ Supernatural~ I think I have found one of the coolest author ever. Thanks for this giveaway and the books sound amazing.


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