January Black by Wendy S. Russo
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press (January 15, 2013)
Source: Author via blog tour
Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Matty Ducayn has never fit in on The Hill, an ordered place seriously
lacking a sense of humor. After his school’s headmaster expels him for a
small act of mischief, Matty’s future looks grim until King Hadrian
comes to his rescue with a challenge: answer a question for a master’s
More than a second chance, this means freedom. Masters
can choose where they work, a rarity among Regents, and the question is
What was January Black?
It’s a ship. Everyone
knows that. Hadrian rejects that answer, though, and Matty becomes
compelled by curiosity and pride to solve the puzzle. When his search
for an answer turns up long-buried state secrets, Matty’s journey
becomes a collision course with a deadly royal decree. He’s been set up
to fail, which forces him to choose. Run for his life with the challenge
lost…or call the king’s bluff.
Refreshingly intelligent and loads of fun!
I lost a few hours as I read this book. It’s a Young Adult novel that
is refreshingly and astonishingly intelligent, and the love story is
perfectly played out.
~Christine Ashworth, Amazon Review
The mystery was intriguing – I loved how Wendy Russo weaved in all
her secrets throughout the book, how she incorporated just enough to
keep you reading, while never actually divulging much of anything. I was
guessing for most of it and that’s pretty hard to make me do.
~Julie, Clean Teen Reads
Wendy Russo has created a masterpiece.
~Ivan Amberlake, Author
About the Author:
Wendy S. Russo got her start
writing in the sixth grade. That story involved a talisman with crystals
that had to be found and assembled before bad things happened, and
dialog that read like classroom roll call. Since then, she’s majored in
journalism (for one semester), published poetry, taken a course on short
novels, and watched most everything ever filmed by Quentin Tarantino. A
Wyoming native transplanted in Baton Rouge, Wendy works for Louisiana
State University as an IT analyst. She’s a wife, a mom, a Tiger, a Who
Dat, and she falls asleep on her couch at 8:30 on weeknights.
Interview with Wendy:
If you could visit any time or place, when and where would you go?
Rome during the reign of Caesar Augustus. I’d just like to people watch.
If you could only read 3 books for the rest of your life, what would they be?
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Diamond Age (Neal Stephenson), and Pollyanna
Do you have a favorite TV show?
What is your favorite season and why?
Season 4. That was the season that Window of Opportunity aired. As Colonel O’Neill drives a golf ball through the stargate, General Hammond yells at him. Jack turns around and yells back, “In the middle of my back swing?!” He also kissed Sam Carter during that episode. 2000 was a good year for that show.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere. People watching. Current events. History. Hollywood special effects. What ifs.
Is there anything about writing that you find particularly challenging?
As I get older, I find myself plotting more. It kills my productivity. Reigning it in and finding the right balance between planning and getting scenes fleshed out feels like its getting harder. Every once in a while, I just commit to writing off the top of my head without really thinking to get past the block.
When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
Sixth grade. I wrote a story for a county young authors’ contest. I didn’t win, but I was hooked.
What is the one book that everyone should read?
Diary of Anne Frank, for lots of reasons.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I don’t have a whole lot, between my family, my job, and a 50-mile daily commute. I try to devote my free time to writing, which usually turns into Facebooking. *hangs head on shame* I’m a mediocre gardener and a lazy cook. I love to read, too.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Ben and Jerry’s “Dave Matthew’s Magic Brownies.” It’s vanilla, with chunks of brownie and a raspberry swirl. If I can’t find that, Karamel Sutra is yummy-tastic, too.
The Red Violin. Beautiful film with a very well executed slow reveal. Samuel L. Jackson does a great job.
Any hidden talents?
I can shoot a clothespin from 25 yards with a .22 pistol. Been a while since I attempted it, though.
Misuse of the word “decimate.” It is not a synonym for obliterate, but that’s how it’s used. I have more, but that’s the one that comes to mind.
Is there anything that your audience should know about you?
I’m friendly. I love talking to readers. Well, in person I’m pretty shy, but online, I’m fairly talkative.
Judging by the cover and description, I had expected this to be either
historical fiction or fantasy. It is neither. It’s dystopian.
I enjoyed the story and the mystery surrounding the question of January Black. The world of Columbia was built and described in great detail. The
intricate plot line held many unexpected twists and turns that kept me interested. I did start to lose interest toward
the end of the book, however. I felt like it took too long to wrap the
The romance between Matty and Iris is very sweet and I really appreciated the way they were open and honest with each other about boundaries.
Parents: use caution with this book. I wouldn’t recommend giving this to
a child under the age of 15. There is strong language and sexual
situations with some details. It would still be considered
Content: strong language and sexual content.
The Cover: I absolutely love the cover. It is gorgeous and it makes me want to read the book again. The only problem with it is mentioned above – that I was expecting a different setting for the story.
Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal CashEnds 5/8/13Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an
Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified
prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or
older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be
chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will
have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway
is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any
other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries
received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy
from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.