Jaded Cover Reveal! + Extra Bonus Content

Hello! As I write this cover reveal post (you’re going to love this cover, I can tell), I am currently listening to the Gusty Garden Galaxy piece from Super Mario Galaxy while smelling hints of my dad’s barbeque… Oh how everything is slowing down! Finally, I can do things I love! I haven’t had days like these in forever. I’m now able to do more blogging, practice for music, and whatnot. Now, here’s our latest cover reveal!


Jaded by K. M. Robinson will release on June 27th by Snowy Wings Publishing!

Her father failed in his mission to take control from the Commander, a defeat that has cost Jade her life. She will die as punishment. Now she belongs to the Commander’s son—as his wife. Knowing his intent is to quietly kill her in revenge, Jade’s every move is calculated to survive—until she learns her death ensures the safety of her father and her entire town.

Roan doesn’t want to kill Jade, but once his family isolates her from her father and community, his only choice is to go through with the plan. Jade doesn’t make it easy as she tries to sway him into falling for her. Each misstep makes him question his cause. Each moment makes every decision harder, but the Commander won’t allow him to fail.

One chooses life. One chooses death. In the midst of the chaos, only one will succeed.

Continue reading “Jaded Cover Reveal! + Extra Bonus Content”

Review: Strong Inside (Young Readers Edition) by Andrew Maraniss – The Best Biography I Have Ever Read

Hi guys! In March, I met the wonderful Andrew Maraniss- a Nashville native (Nashville has such an AMAZING author community by the way)- and I had the opportunity to be able to interview him here and be able to review his newest book Strong Inside: Young Readers Edition. It is the Young Adult version of his New York Times bestselling book Strong Inside, which is a biography on the great Perry Wallace. Now let’s get onto the review!


About the BookStrong Inside

The inspirational true story of the first African American to play college basketball in the deeply segregated Southeastern Conference–a powerful moment in Black history.

Perry Wallace was born at an historic crossroads in U.S. history. He entered kindergarten the year that the Brown v. Board of Education decision led to integrated schools, allowing blacks and whites to learn side by side. A week after Martin Luther King Jr.’s -I Have a Dream- speech, Wallace enrolled in high school and his sensational jumping, dunking, and rebounding abilities quickly earned him the attention of college basketball recruiters from top schools across the nation. In his senior year his Pearl High School basketball team won Tennessee’s first racially-integrated state tournament.
The world seemed to be opening up at just the right time, and when Vanderbilt University recruited Wallace to play basketball, he courageously accepted the assignment to desegregate the Southeastern Conference. The hateful experiences he would endure on campus and in the hostile gymnasiums of the Deep South turned out to be the stuff of nightmares. Yet Wallace persisted, endured, and met this unthinkable challenge head on. This insightful biography digs deep beneath the surface to reveal a complicated, profound, and inspiring story of an athlete turned civil rights trailblazer.


A 5 Star

Disclaimer: I received a free signed physical copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in anyway. All thoughts are mine and mine alone, and they are my honest thoughts.

Overall Thoughts: My whole review can be summarized in this one sentence: Strong Inside is by far the best biography I have ever read. At the beginning of 2016, I was in a what I call a “memoir fad” when all I read were memoirs and nonfiction… thankfully it lasted for only two months. Yes, I found Martin Short’s, Tina Fey’s, and Amy Poehler’s memoirs hilariously funny (redundant, I know!) but Strong Inside tops them. I’m being serious. This book was so amazing that I’ve page flagged like 15-20 different quotes and excerpts. I mean, I devoured this book. I read half of it in a day (I know it’s for younger readers but still…) and finished it in three days!

The Life of Perry Wallace: Perry Wallace isn’t a big household name, but after reading his story, he’s like a celebrity to me. His story is very interesting and heart-wrenching. As a Tennessean, a Southerner, and an Asian in the 21st century, it’s hard to imagine what is was like living in the South in the mid-1900s. To see all this hatred and racism that happened to Wallace whenever he visited places in Mississippi, Alabama, or even in his hometown Nashville definitely makes you stop and think. I’m so surprised events like the Fisk University riots occurred in my state’s capital. It’s shocking! Wallace is also super relatable, yet his life is very interesting. No wonder why the adult version of Strong Inside is one of the required reading for all freshmen at Vanderbilt University! It definitely will change your viewpoint on the world and how racism exists in so many ways, whether it is violent or more subtle. Knowing what people like Perry Wallace had to go through definitely inspires me to treat everyone more equally.

Prose: Maraniss definitely transported me from a bus, library, and bed into Perry Wallace’s life. I mean, it’s like I could hear the taunts and racial slurs or see the games that Wallace played in. I could feel his struggles so much, and I wanted to reach out to him. It’s so haunting and chilling how Maraniss portrayed Perry Wallace’s struggles to be a pioneer in SEC sports. This is definitely a book that will last with you for a while. The author definitely sucked me into the book that I couldn’t stop! There were times I was debating on reading this book or finishing a 20-slide power on copyright. Of course I did my powerpoint, but it was hard to resist that temptation. I kept on saying “Just a one chapter or five minute break” a lot.

Just Perfect! and Concluding Thoughts: I have nothing against this book. And I mean nothing. This book is one of the best books I have read this year, no doubt. I’m not the biggest nonfiction fan, but this certainly has defied that. I would give this to younger readers if I had the opportunity to get a crate because it’s something I believe should be read everywhere. Teachers, go get this book for your classroom! You will not be disappointed. You don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy Perry Wallace’s conquest for “equalizing” and integrating the college sports industry. Reading Strong Inside will change your perception about the world and the racism that is unfolding everywhere, and it will inspire you to never give up in the face of oppression.

One of My Favorite Quotes: “I’ve got to adapt and look at things not as pressures but as challenges. Life has been a series of challenges for me. I’ve just tried to meet them as they come along. If I come through now, I’ll be a better man for it. It’s a hit or miss thing. Either I’ll make it or I won’t.” – Perry Wallace


About the AuthorAndrew Maraniss 1

Strong Inside is the first book by Andrew Maraniss. A partner at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations in Nashville, Andrew studied history at Vanderbilt University as a recipient of the Fred Russell – Grantland Rice sportswriting scholarship, graduating in 1992. He then worked for five years in Vanderbilt’s athletic department as the associate director of media relations, dealing primarily with the men’s basketball team. In 1998, he served as the media relations manager for the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays during the team’s inaugural season, and then returned to Nashville to join MP&F. Andrew was born in Madison, Wis., grew up in Washington, D.C. and Austin, Texas, and now lives in Brentwood, Tenn., with his wife, Alison, and their two young children. Follow him on Twitter @trublu24. 


Hope you enjoyed this review! Look out for upcoming reviews on Emerge by Tobie Easton, Embers in the Sea by Jennifer M. Eaton, Configured by Jenetta Penner, and many more. Plus, we’re going to interview some great authors soon and you don’t want to miss them!

Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Book Review: Sanctum by Madeleine Roux!

Wow. Just yesterday, I was saying how I was in the middle of this book (only on page 100 out of 340) and that it may take me a little bit longer to get it finished… boy, was I wrong.

I read until twelve at night, headphones in playing some creepy music to help the mood, so determined to find out that happens next.

Unlike my past review, this review contains NO SPOILERS. That’s right. No rant going on here, because I’m kind of satisfied.

Now, this book is actually the sequel to Roux’s Asylum, but honestly, these two books could be book by themselves. Sure, you would probably need to add in some information into Sanctum, change from history blah, blah, blah, but for the most part the plot is very unique from the first book.

Summary for Asylum

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux’s teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

Summary for Sanctum

Dan, Abby, and Jordan remain traumatized by the summer they shared in the Brookline asylum. Much as they’d love to move on, someone is determined to keep the terror alive, sending the teens photos of an old-timey carnival, with no note and no name. Finally, Dan receives a list of coordinates pointing to abandoned houses in the town near Brookline, and he is convinced that the only way to end this nightmare once and for all is to return to New Hampshire College and follow the trail.

But when Dan and his friends arrive under the guise of a prospective students’ weekend, they discover that the carnival from their photos isn’t just real, it’s here on campus–it has returned for the first time in many years. And as they sneak away from their undergrad hosts to visit the houses on their list, they find secrets far darker than anything they’d imagined.

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Would this be the book for you?

Romance? Some but not very much.

Humor? I dare say at the worst times possible… aka Jordan.

Scary? I’ll talk about this further, but it was not very creepy to me at first… until I got to the end.

Vocabulary? It talks a bit about medical terms that I did not understand at first, especially in the first book. But they are easily looked up and sometimes the characters will explain what something is. Other than that, very easy read.

How much will it pull you in? I personally did not get right into it until about the middle of the book, when it gets more in depth with the mysteries of Brookline.

My overall rating…

A 4 Star

If you’re a mystery fan and just looking for something small and easy, this book would be for you. As for me, I enjoyed it because of the creepy setting it gave off and the diverse characters; and I also wanted to learn more about Brookline Asylum.

I want to make a connection to this book and Miss Peregrine’s. If you really think about it, they both don’t have that much in common, but they do both create this ominous tone through their covers and pictures. Both use actual photos to create a story by putting the photos together. By doing so, it makes the whole thing seem so much more real. I love that about a story. I love a good picture book.

So in this story, we meet Dan, Abby, and Jordan. And when I said there is not much romance, it’s more like it’s not the main point the author is trying to get at. It’s obvious that there is something going on between two of the three main characters and it makes you kind of happy when they peck each other on the cheeks and whatnot, but in the end, it’s the friendship the trio have together that really matters in this book. They all stick together, because they know if they walk away on their own… bad things will happen.

What I think is most important about this book is its mood and tone. At first, I honestly did not feel frightened or practically anything… at first. Mostly it was just some small stuff. Oh, okay. You’re in a creepy, haunted house… that’s cool. Don’t die, Dan. That’d suck. But then I was reading yesterday and got this idea to put in my headphones at ten at night and play some creepy random music from Spotify.

Booooooooooyyyyyy, I chose the best time to play the music because that is when things started to go down. One moment we’re all having a good time and the next thing you know there someone is getting their eye stabbed out, someone else is dead, and we’re all sitting together trying to figure out how not to lose our minds. Pretty awesome stuff.

And that is when I started loving on the book. Doors were opened, problems were solved.  The conclusion did not leave off on a happy note, as I will probably figure out why in the next book Catacombs. 

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My predictions? No idea. I hardly understood what “Sanctum” meant when diving into this book. The title itself if a mystery.

The only big issues I had with this book were probably the random senses of humor, (even though it does lighten the mood a little bit but kind of needs to work on when the mood should be lightened and when it shouldn’t) and the reactions of the main characters. Some times I felt like their reactions to certain situation were a little off. They seemed chill at the very beginning. Oh, you see a little ghost boy? Just eat your cereal, Dan. We don’t have time for this. It did get better towards the end, but I mean if you see someone you were just talking to dead on the ground and don’t flip out, you probably do need to see someone about that.

If you have not read either of these books and you love a good mystery, mark this on Goodreads as a To-Read and play some creepy music in the middle of the night. I sure enjoyed it.

Catch the Sparks Within! Chapters 27 and 28 by Alex Abaz

Hey, guys! We’re close to finally finishing this amazing book. It has definitely been a journey.

Click the name of the title to see Kester’s recent review on Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schroder

Click the name of the title to see Kelsey’s recent review Bentwhistle the Dragon in a Threat from the Past by Paul Cude!

Click the name of the title to see Cayli’s recent review The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo!

Also, if you happen to be new to Abaz’s reviews by me click HERE to see the very first post and HERE to see Chapters 25 and 26 reviews! 

As I was linking the first ever review of this amazing book, I just looked at the editting and also looked back to where I was in that time. In retrospect, it was not that long ago, but I guess that’s the magic of time. I feel like I have learned a lot more about WordPress and about this blog as a whole. This is one of the best things I could ever do. I cannot wait to grow even more, and one day be able to moderate giveaways and interviews. I’m not there yet, but I’m willing to take it one step at a time. 🙂 I also noticed around the time I agreed to do these reviews, I also agreed to start a bible study group with three other great women. I feel myself growing a lot with Alex Abaz’s chapters and with the friendship I have in my bible study group.


Disclaimer: I have received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Chapter 27: Being single and independent is hard to do.

This chapter is about the importance of a romantically involved partner. Alex Abaz includes in the very beginning that people are shunned from society when someone chooses to not marry.

And this is honestly true when looking around my high school. People constantly date just because they are too embarrassed to be seen without someone. It’s getting to a point where there is no longer a commitment… They just love the fact that they are with someone. They are in love with the thought of them. I’m sure we have all read a book about this type of central idea. It stands true.

As for me? I have never dated anyone. I have never kissed anyone. And like Abaz (thought I should not at my age), I sometimes worry I will never find someone and everyone else around me will pass that threshold while I am still on the other side.

But even though it’s kind of sad, I don’t let it put me down, you know what I mean? I am not desperate. Yes, I have had boys who have come to me telling me I’m beautiful, telling me they like me. And I turn them down. And why do I do that? Because I have standards. This is not like applying for my first job. It’s deciding who will take care of me for the rest of my life. And yeah, maybe one day I will meet someone who meets my standards, and it may not work out, but at least we tried, right? Date to marry. Not to break up. That’s my number one standard. 

While we want to believe that love and passion are the emotions that bring two people together naturally, this is only true some of the time. 

Have you had a friend who thought they were completely in love with their new boyfriend they have had for a week? Who was so in love they ditch their plans with you to go hang out with them, or constantly talked about them? They post on Instagram of them kissing saying, “Love you, bae! Happy two week anniversary!” As I type this, two people are on my mind and I can’t help but smile. Kelsey knows who I am talking about.

But it is so hilarious, because they are guided strictly on love and passion. They have no standards. They believe love is all they need. Back to books and movies, we have all read or watched that movie where the main character and her/his lover are constantly arguing, constantly having different views, constantly mad at each other. Maybe I should throw Mal and Alina in as an example, but I rather not… Anyways, they go throughout the entire series, thinking love with always keep them together: Sorry to break it to you, but this is a load of toad crap. You need guidance, you need trust, you need to have a bond that doesn’t just draw you in romantically, but draws you into a healthy relationship where you two pick each other up in the down times, and you two don’t go to sleep until the argument is resolved. Going to sleep angry is the worse way to go to bed. There has to be committment. 

Now as the chapter goes on, Abaz mentions the role of marriage, and I agree when she says that marriage is not an obsession for me. Like her, I dream now of falling in love with someone and having that commitment, but the dream of growing up, going to college, and making a strong living for myself is so, so much bigger. I won’t work to please someone. When they want to step in and be like, “Oh, cool, you read books and are socially awkward? I like it!” I will happily accept it, but I will not stop and run away from my ultimate goal just to catch them.

Chapter 28: Loss in inevitable.

This chapter is about loss and the grief that comes with it.

I’m going to be completely honest: I have never had someone super important to me pass away. Sure, I’ve gone to funerals and I’ve known some of the people whom I went to see, but I never really had a high personal connection with any of them.

Which frightens me sort of. One day someone important to me will die, and it will be the first time that has ever happened me. How will I handle it? That’s a big fear of mine. I’m afraid of grieving. I see the way it hurts other people, and in truth, no one can make them stop grieving. I have heard from so many people that the pain in a loss never goes away, but it becomes manageable.

“One must feel and process the pain, the anger, and the grief until the hurt gradually subsides.”

Note that Abaz never said “until the hurt gradually goes away.” It just becomes less intense. 

But I do cry for others. Not too long ago, an unexpected death happened in my friend’s family and I went to pay my respects. She was crying when I went up to hug her and it took all of me not to cry with her. I didn’t even know the name of her grandfather, yet I understood how much he meant to her.

And I do believe in an afterlife. I believe in Heaven. I believe when I die, I will be granted the glorious gift to see Jesus, and to live my eternal life with Him. I am so scared at the thought of death. I will lay awake at night sometimes thinking about how one day I won’t be here and my name will wear through the fabrics of time until it no longer exists. That’s a scary thought. (CUE EXISTENTIAL CRISIS…) But I always calm down knowing when I die, I won’t be scared of anything anymore. And I know those around me: my brother, my mom, my dad, my grandmother, they won’t be afraid anymore either. That’s the most comforting thought.

 


So happy to have another review in!

I am currently reading five other books to review! Wish my luck, and look out for my coming up reviews. My next review on one of these books will be Sanctum by Madeleine Roux!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder – Has a Special Place in My Heart

Hey guys! You might have previously seen my interview with Monika Schröder, the author of Be Light Like a Bird, and today I am going to review her latest children’s book! But this book is not just for children; I highly recommend this for teens and adults. Now I’ll get onto the review! (By the way, here’s the interview I conducted with Monika earlier.)


About the Book: BeLightLikeaBird

After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she’s ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don’t deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family ― and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.


Overall Thoughts: This book got me out of a reading slump, and I have rarely had times where I just did not want to read when I was reading. After the SE-YA Book Fest, I couldn’t read because I loved the festival so much and didn’t want to leave! I realized the only book that could get me out of this hangover was Be Light Like a Bird, which was by a SE-YA author. And it worked! I was hooked ever since page one, and I finished it in a day! Yes, I admit is was short since it was more of a children’s/middle grade book, but I would have stopped and taken a break for the day, but I chose not to. It was really good.

Continue reading “Review: Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder – Has a Special Place in My Heart”

Guest Post with Kristin Smith: Is Dystopian Dead?

Hi guys! The school year is wrapping up, and last week, I got done with an entire EOC, an ACT practice test, and an orchestra concert. Whew! This year has gone by so fast, and I am feeling a bit sad that it’s almost over since I’ve made so many great memories and a ton of new friends (All Northwest and All State Honor Choirs, heck yeah!), but this summer is going to be filled with a lot of reading, blogging, and music, so woo hoo! Today, I have an amazing author on our blog today, and her post is fabulous! You’ll definitely enjoy it! Here’s Kristin Smith!

A Kristin
Guest Post by Kristin Smith:
Is Dystopia Dead?
 
In the wake of some bestselling series such as HUNGER GAMES, DIVERGENT, and THE MAZE RUNNER, some may claim that dystopia is dead—dried up and overused. Any author who writes dystopia nowadays knows that in publishing, dystopian is kind of considered a “dirty word”. Most literary agents and some publishers (especially the Big Five) are very hesitant to acquire new dystopian series because they feel the market is oversaturated. They believe the dystopian ship has sailed, and they’ve now moved on to the next trend.
But does this mean that readers want to read these books any less? Has the dystopian genre dried up? Or is there still a market for these books?
Let’s first take a look at the history of some well-known dystopian novels.
1945- Animal Farm by George Orwell

1949- Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

1993- The Giver by Lois Lowry
2005- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
2008- Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2009- The Maze Runner by James Dashner
2010- Matched by Allie Condie
2011- Divergent by Veronica Roth
2011- Delirium by Lauren Oliver
2011- Across the Universe by Beth Revis
2011- Legend by Marie Lu
2012- The Selection by Kiera Cass
As you can see from the timeline above, dystopian novels have been around (and been popular) for decades. Sure, their popularity may come and go in waves, but if you’re a lover of speculative fiction, that love doesn’t waver, does it?

I personally have a great love for speculative fiction novels. I like that they depict a futuristic or post-apocalyptic world that is different from what we know now. Some of the novels written in this genre have been ground-breaking in their plot development and world building. Take HUNGER GAMES for example. Suzanne Collins broke the mold and set the bar pretty high when she wrote this novel, creating a world in which children have to battle to the death in the annual Games. It has become a bestselling series AND an incredible movie.

 

As a reader, I would be disenchanted if I found out that dystopian novels were no longer being picked up by publishers because of this idea that the market is “too saturated” with them. Granted, I want to read well-written novels with incredible world building, but I certainly wouldn’t want authors discouraged from writing a dystopian novel simply because “that trend is over”. Mostly because I STILL WANT TO READ THEM!
So if you’re a spec fic lover, would you want a limit placed on the number of dystopian books you have access to? Or should a reader’s voice be more important than current market trends?
Given the timeline I showed you before, I strongly believe that dystopia is NOT dead. It may be taking a hiatus, but it will be back full force in the coming years. In the meantime, there are many authors who are still writing and publishing thrilling and innovative dystopian novels. You just have to find them!

Here are some great dystopian novels published in 2016.

1) On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis 

2) Genesis Girl (Blank Slate #1) by Jennifer Bardsley

3) The Road to Winter by Mark Smith

4) Black River Falls by Jeff Hirsch

5) Vicarious (Vicarious #1) by Paula Stokes

6) Catalyst (The Deception Game #1) by Kristin Smith

That’s right, you read that correctly. My own debut novel is a YA dystopian. So perhaps I’m a little biased…

Anyway, if you’re looking for a thrilling YA dystopian that has danger, deception, and swoony romance, CATALYST and FORGOTTEN are now available. (And here’s a little plug—To celebrate the release of FORGOTTEN, CATALYST is on sale this week only for $.99!) You can find them at the links below. 🙂

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Apple iBooks

NOOK

Kobo

Smashwords

Thanks for stopping by! What do you think? Is dystopia dead?

 

Author Bio:



Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels. When she’s not writing, you can find her dreaming about the beach, beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to chocolate, you can visit her at kristinsmithbooks.com.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

 


Thank you so much, Kristin, for coming onto our blog! This was a great post!

Here’s today’s quote of the day!

“Life isn’t one big holiday right now. I know it’s going to be rough, and I wonder if I’ll make it, but that’s when I get support from God.” – Perry Wallace in Strong Inside by Andrew Maraniss.


Happy Reading! Have a great week! 🙂

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

The Sky Throne Blog Tour: Exclusive Interview with Chris Ledbetter

Hello! Today we have another blog tour stop for you today! Please welcome Chris Ledbetter in this interview talking about his newest book The Sky Throne! Hope you enjoy it!

THE SKY THRONE


Title: THE SKY THRONEThe Sky Throne

Author: Chris Ledbetter

Pub. Date: April 18, 2017

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 292

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks

Goodreads Synopsis: Duality dwells at every turn, and an adolescent Zeus will learn that all too well when Hyperion attacks his family on Crete.

When the dust settles, his mother is unconscious and his best friend left for dead.

Stacking epic insult upon fatal injury, Zeus discovers the woman who raised him is not his biological mother. But to ensure her safety while she recovers, a heavy-hearted Zeus leaves her behind to seek answers at Mount Olympus Preparatory Academia.

Zeus embarks on a quest to discover who ordered the attack on his home, avenge the death of his friend, and find his birth mother. When some of his new schoolmates vanish, Zeus’s quest is turned upside down, and the only way to make things right is to access the power of The Sky Throne, confront a most dangerous enemy, and take his life back.

On his way to becoming king of the Greek gods, Zeus will learn to seize power, neutralize his enemies, and fall in love.

“Destined to have a sequel or two, young teens will appreciate the story, and teachers will appreciate that it instructs readers about the pantheon of gods.”–Kevin Beach, VOYA Magazine


About Chris: Chris

Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly “walked-on” to the best drum line in the conference without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.

After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He’s worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. He taught high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, and also coached football.

He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTubeGoodreads


Now here’s the interview!

A Chris

1.  In 10 words or less, how would you describe THE SKY THRONE?The Sky Throne

Zeus origin story. Actually, Greek Olympian gods: Origins.

2. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

The first thing I love about writing is what we all love about reading, which is the ability to escape the real world and experience life as someone else. When I sit down to write, I am immediately transported. It’s very much like sliding a virtual reality headset down over my eyes. I began writing in 2006, almost as a dare to myself and fell in love with it ever since.

3. Who are your favorite authors, and which ones have had an impact on you? Who has affected your writing style the most?

My favorite authors are James Dashner, Jennifer Donnelly, Dan Brown, Laini Taylor, Paulo Coelho, Heather Petty, Kim Harnes, Tracy Clark. They’ve all helped to inspire and shape my writing in one form or another.

Continue reading “The Sky Throne Blog Tour: Exclusive Interview with Chris Ledbetter”

Interview + GIVEAWAY with Stephanie Elliot

Hi guys! This past week has been crazy for me! I’ve been gone out of town for the All State Men’s Choir (which was super amazing by the way!) and catching up on a ton of homework… As I write this, I still got a 16-slide powerpoint, a one-page article reflection, and an essay on the US and USSR involvement in Latin America in the Cold War. But by the time this is posted I’m probably done with all that. I haven’t been able to blog that much recently, but I’m back! I’m not going to post as frequently as I was before because I am going to focus on many other things and activities, but I’ll still be active!

Also, Happy Easter!!! I did not post anything this weekend to honor the Triduum and the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the start of the Easter season, so here’s my latest post!


 

A Stephanie New

1. How would you describe Sad Perfect in your own words?SadPerfect_09e

A girl with a unique eating disorder falls in love and tries to hide her disorder from her boyfriend while trying to recover.

2. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

I love writing because when you write you get to create anything you want to. You can go anywhere you want to, you can dream up anything you want to. I think I loved reading first and then I loved writing.

3. Who are your favorite authors, and which ones have had an impact on you? Who has affected your writing style the most?

I don’t know if my writing style has been affected by any particular writer but I admire so many writers. I love writers who can write in verse, or who can make a sentence sing off the page. Someone who makes colors look completely different than you ever imagined just by their word choice. Writers who do that are magical.

4. What are your favorite genres to read and write? What are your favorite books?

I love reading contemporary novels—young adult and women’s fiction. Psychological thrillers are fun too. Emotional reads that can get your heart racing and your mind thinking are what I gravitate toward.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?

Writing is very part-time and I would love to write more. I’m a mom to three teenagers, and I love that job too—it’s my most important one.

6. What is ARFID, and what is the message or impact you want your readers to get through your book?DSC00461

I want readers to know that ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) EXISTS. Many parents think that kids are just picky eaters and don’t do anything to help their children with this serious eating disorder, which is the actual fear of trying new foods. It’s a mental disorder that can also cause severe anxiety and depression and lead to more serious issues if not treated. I also want readers to know that there is hope for kids with ARFID, that if someone has ARFID, and if he or she wants to get better, if they work at it, they can get better.

Continue reading “Interview + GIVEAWAY with Stephanie Elliot”

Bentwhistle the Dragon in a Threat from the Past (Bentwhistle the Dragon #1) by Paul Cude

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book for a honest review. This will not effect my review.

Goodreads Summary: Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Past is an adventure story children and adults alike will love, about the present day world in which dragons disguised as humans have infiltrated the human race at almost every level, to guide and protect them. Three young dragons in their human guises become caught up in an evil plot to steal a precious commodity, vital to the dragon community. How will the reluctant hero and his friends fare against an enemy of his race from far in the past? Fascinating insights into the dragon world are interspersed throughout the book. Ever wondered how dragons travel below ground at almost the speed of sound? Or how they use magical mantras to transform their giant bodies into convincing human shapes? In an action packed adventure that features both human and dragon sports, you’ll get a dragon-like perspective on human social issues and insight into what to do if you meet a giant spider grinning at you when you’re wearing nothing but your smile!

A 3 Star

The blending of human and dragon worlds is perfect and extremely detailed. Peter and his two friends were perfectly well formed and all had distinct personalities of their own. Each of the characters had their own story. The story is good, the world and character building are fantastic. The only downside is that there are few chapters. This means that each one is quite long and I work better with chapters that are shorter and allow me to pick it up, read a couple, and put it down again without having to cut my read short halfway through. That being said, when I did get to sit and read, I really enjoyed joining Peter on his journey.

I would happily recommend it to my friends that love dragons and fantasy fiction.

Book Review: The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (more like emotionally unstable rant)

series

I think I’ve died multiple times while reading this series.

Grishapicture

Before I get to the dying part, let me fill you in on the summary for the first book so you understand somewhat what it is about. If you have read these series (… help me), I’m so glad, because I really need to let all the rage and pain out.

 

 

 

 

Book One: Shadow and Bone

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Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal–and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.

Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destroy the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart–and her country–in two.

So yeah… 

Putting to use our new rating scale! I give this series a…

A 5 Star

I absolutely loved this series. I am going to go onto my bio shortly to change everything. It is definitely a top three types of series.

If you’re confused about the genre, it’s a fantasy-adventure. It’s full of action and romance. Everything I ever want in a fantasy series.

Bardugo does amazingly with every single character within the series. You fall in love with the darkest of characters. You will feel all sorts of emotions and FEELS. Everyone is displayed in a beautiful manner.

The dialogue can be absolutely hilarious when it comes time, but will have you in tears with the beautiful way they talk. They speak more poetic, full of metaphors and lovely arrangement of their words.

And the plot itself is so enhancing. It pulled me in on the first book, carried me through in the second, and threw me out the window in the third. U just got done with it not even two hour ago. I can already tell this is a series that I will never get over. I will always want more of it.

And it killed me. It downright killed me. I’m not alive anymore. I am a ghost. I can’t eVEN ANYMORE. This is a series that will betray you, will murder you, and will tear your heart into pieces. Just saying. :-l

I really encourage ANY fantasy fan to check this out. I recommend it 10/10.

Now I will go through each of the books, explaining my thoughts on each. Keep in mind, Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm I have read a long time ago, so my memory may be a little off–But I definitely know the large and most meaningful parts to me.

After my main point about each of them for those who have not read them, I will get into the spoilers.

Shadow and Bone:

Why you should read it: It is powerful and will pull at your heart. It will make you feel the same way the main character Alina feels, because the author does a real good job at describing everything that she is and what she goes through.

The beginning may be a little hard to get through, but believe me, it gets better real quick. So hang in there, and don’t be discouraged.


Spoiler time…

I felt so much betrayal. I never felt so hurt in my lifetime. Even when I was reading The Mortal Instruments and found out Sebastian was who he was. Not going into detail with that one, but…

THE DARKLING.

When we are first introduced to the Darkling, he was a charming fellow. He knew what to say, when to say it, and blew my mind away. And you must be wondering…

“Cayli, why did you trust someone with the ‘Darkling’?”

Well, I’ll answer that: No clue. Maybe I thought it was just a name. Like the Darkling drew Alina in with his charming smile and handsome face, he pulled my heart with his words. I trusted him, even when he used the Cut–in which I should have saw as a red flag. I was blind, just like Alina was. Then when Baghra said that he was an evil person… Like Alina, I could not believe it. I kept thinking, “No. She’s wrong. She must have messed up with something. She’s lying.” But no. Baghra was right.

My heart split in two.

I see a lot of Mal, but at the same time I don’t. He was the thought in the back of Alina’s head. He was the figure that Alina’s love and best friend. When seeing him at the end of the book, I fell in love with him immediately. I knew that whatever was about to happen, he was going cause some trouble, because he’s a “good soldier.” (lol… a late reference, but it fits him.) It hurt me to see him hurt. It hurt me to see Alina hurt.

I hurt a lot.

And it also delivered cold themes, I thought. Like at the end when Alina didn’t want to kill the stag, but then the Darkling ended up killing it. ALina saw its beauty, but in the second book (which I will get to) everything changes as the hunger and power grow.

Siege and Storm:

Now, when it comes to second books in a trilogy, it seems more like a bridge from first to second. It does not hold as much power or strength, but at the same time, we could not be without it.

Yes, this second book was kind of dull compared to the other two, but nonetheless, I fell in love with it. It focuses on the characters individually. You meet even more characters, and fall in love with them. And if you don’t fall in love with one specific character… oh, my heart hurts.


Spoiler time… 

NIKOLAI. NIKOLAI. NIKOLAI. *Raises poms poms in the air*

When we enter this book, we find ourselves quickly on this ship. The Darkling has Alina and Mal captured. The Darkling is making Mal track the second amplifier.

And that’s when we meet Tamar, Tolya, and Sturmhond.

I did not know at first how to approach these characters. They seemed okay enough, but I didn’t really notice them until Sturmhond spoke to Alina for the first time. I liked him in a way that made me suspicious — I had been betrayed once… not ready to do it again. I didn’t know who Sturmhond was, or what his goals were, so I wasn’t ready to give in just yet.

But then there’s another epic battle ans Sturmhond escapes with the Sun Summoner and Mal along with his crew. And then I fell in love with him.

I did not know what I was in for.

When Sturmhond revealed himself to be the Prince of Ravka, I think I screamed in joy. He was hot, he was lively, he was a prince. What else could I possibly want now?

Of course, I never really shipped Alina and Nikolai. They seemed more like the close-friend type. Whenever Nikolai started confessing how he felt, it felt kind of awkward, because I knew it would never happen, yet at the same time I was curious. How far would this go?

I loved how clever he was, how he knew how to say the right thing. He is my absolute favorite character of all time. When he leaves at the end of the book, I got so sad, not because I knew he could die, but because I wouldn’t get to see him for awhile.

And Alina really scared me in this book. I was scared she would actually go off the deep end, take a path that wasn’t what she wanted. Over and over, she would talk about the Firebird and how she wanted it, and Mal was pretty aware of this. He told her she was becoming obsessed.

I became more interested in Morozova and his story. Who was he? What did he accomplish? What did he leave behind?

Again, with Mal, I really felt angry at him throughout this story. He was being a big butthole. “I can’t be Alina.” CRY ME RIVER, MAL .YOU CAN BE WITH HER.

And that time he left his post, and Alina nearly died… I’m laughing now as I think about it, but I was so angry that I had to put the book down. (I am literally uncontrollably laughing right now… hold on.)

Okay, I’m back. But yeah, when he did that, I was so angry at him. I felt everyone’s pain in that one. Mal, why my man. Get your life togettthhherrr.

Ruin and Rising:

So in this book, it is the final part of Alina’s journey. It is filled with emotion and action. It was definitely one of my favorite. It will leave you smiling and hurting and dwelling over everything that just happened.

Bardugo is not kind when it comes to this story (well, maybe in the end). I was constantly worrying about the characters. One moment everything would be fine, and the next the person we were just talking is dead.

So yeah! Give it a read! 😀


Spoiler time… 

Pain.

Sorrow.

Why me?

We don’t really meet any new characters, but for the little cute boy Misha, which I really wish I got to know more. He was adorable.

We are in this underground place. The Apparat is getting on my last nerve, then Mal steps in and saves the day. Because Mal is Mal. And Mal is awesome.

I was so glad to get out of there and get to the surface. It was wonderful to venture out and explore what had become of Ravka since the Darkling took over.

AND THEN NIKOLAI COMES 😀

Okay, so I remember this part a lot, because I was so happy. If I wasn’t in class at the time, I would have been dancing around and singing.

So like the militia are surrounding our group. Looks bleak right? Yeah, it does.

And I don’t really notice it when a guy in the back goes, “How about we give them to Nikolai?”

I just shrug and go, “I mean, sure, that’d be great. But that would never happen.”

Then he starts talking… and talking… and talking.

And the minute he said, “Not bad looking? He’s [outstandingly] handsome.”

Then I smiled. Oh, my goodness. NIKOLAI IS BACK IN BUSINESS. And making quite the entrance. I expected nothing less from him.

It gets deeper and deeper into the story. The mood changes. It gets darker and darker. There doesn’t seem to be a clear way out. I’m freaking out, because I don’t want anyone to die…

And everyone goes downhill the minute Nikolai is picked up by the… *pauses as I look for the word* nichevo’ya (don’t ever ask me how to say that). I’m flipping out. Then Sergei is dead. Nikolai is transformed into some kind of dark monster and flies off. Like I’m dying over here. ALINA DO SOMETHING. MAL DO SOMETHIN-Baghra! She’ll help us!

But then Baghra dies. Thanks for that.

Then they go searching for the firebird. They realize Mal is the last amplifier. Then of course he is willing to die. When he is ever on my side? Never, because he’s a pain in the butt.

And the last battle scene… when they march into the Fold and take down the Darkling. Then Alina killed Mal for the power. I was internally screaming. But everything was okay, because I realized he can just be resurrected or something like that.

And this was when I really felt bad for the Darkling. We finally realize that he did love Ravka. He did want to rule it… he was just so alone. He was his own tragedy. I didn’t want to call him evil after that, because that wasn’t what he was. Yeah, he killed many people. He wanted to hurt Alina, but why? He was lost in his own eternal life.


If you’re still around, hey!

If you have read these books, comment down below about how you felt! I would love to talk to more about it. I will be reading Six of Crows soon. I’m so happy to have made this post for this series. I hope you enjoyed.

All the pictures taken were by me. I made this review out of my deep love for this series.