Review: Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

Hey guys! It’s the last day of March, and to end off this month, here is my review of Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney! Man, Summer is almost here! And what does that mean? More reading!

Goodreads Summary: The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen.

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory’s arrival she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows.

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book from Rockstar Book Tours along with the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review.

Rating: 4 Stars

Overall Thoughts: Let me tell you about me and fantasy in general: I’m honestly not the biggest epic fantasy fan. It’s not a genre that I’m the biggest fan. I find there’s so many characters, places, and subplots to remember that I forget half of them! It’s just not my type of book. I’m usually all for contemporary and historical fiction, but I decided to pick up this book because it looked good. Black Dawn was definitely a pleasant surprise! I think for a person who does not like fantasy, I enjoyed reading it! (P.S. I did love the Chronicles of Narnia; now I don’t know who’ll not enjoy them!)

Continue reading “Review: Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney”

The Enemy Within by Scott Burns!

Hey, guys! I’m back with another review. I kept having to delay this one due to changes. As for delays, I just wanted to talk about Catch the Sparks Within for a quick second. I know I said would do them ever Tuesday, but it’s been getting hard and harder to do that. This week there was a change where Tuesday was taken. I have no idea if I will have the chance to post my review for this week. So sorry…

the enemy within

But let’s get onto the review you clicked on!

I am so thankful to have gotten this chance to review this book, The Enemy Within! I am a lover when it comes to sci-fi novels. Interested? Here’s a quick summary!

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Max has always felt like an outsider. When the agonizing apocalyptic visions begin, he decides suicide is his only escape. He soon finds himself in an institution under the guidance of a therapist who sees something exceptional in him. Just as he begins to leave the hallucinations behind, Max discovers the visions weren’t just in his head. There are three others who have shared those same thoughts and they’ve been searching for Max. Like him, they are something more than human. Each of them possesses certain abilities, which they’re going to need when a covert military group begins hunting them down. As the danger escalates, Max doesn’t know which side to trust. But in the end, his choice will decide the fate of both species.

My rating for this book: 3.5 out of 5

This story holds a bunch of potential. The idea with the Eye was so intriguing. What does it do? What is it even? What is its purpose?  I enjoyed the four characters: Jamie, Vincent, Noah, and Max. I was very interested in how their friendship would turn out.

Though Max was the main character, I think Vincent was my favorite (for those who have read it may have just went why like him? Lol…) Max to me was a little annoying to me at times. I never understood why he chose to do something. It felt like his thoughts were a little rushed and unrealistic to me. Vincent was the same way, but I guess since I never really got to see into Vincent’s thoughts, he felt like a better character. towards the end, I really did not understand the reasoning behind Max’s actions to have done what he did. It moved the story along very rapidly, and I am guessing it was just part of his character.

Speaking of mind reading–Oh, boy I was constantly scared of Jamie. Every single time Max would think something, the first thing I think of is how Jamie can hear every word you’re saying. She gave me the cchhhiiillllss… (I love those kind of characters by the way lol!)

Honestly, I really felt like this book could have gone on a lot longer than it did. It felt very rushed. The plot was amazing! Don’t get me wrong, but I thought if given enough time, this story could have been enhanced so much more. That’s really my big issue with it other than the decision making.

The loved the whole concept of them being the offspring of alien and human. I really wished I could have gotten more information of their parents. I was really wondering how it all worked. I understood the Eye was what protected them, but I kept wondering what was beyond the Eye.

AND THE ENNNNDDDDDIINNNNGGGG… I really do not want to spoil it at all, but the ending made me want to cry and punch something at the same time. In about one paragraph, I am going to start ranting after this non-spoiler part so prepare yourself….

But anyways, yeah, this story could go a long way. It’s concept is so interesting. It really makes you think about a lot of things. You begin to like the characters Max meet. I actually liked it when Max said he liked his doctors. I don’t know about you, but I have seen a lot of stories where characters say their teachers and doctors and parents are just cruel. It was really interesting to see a different point of view.

 

Now for the rant…

 

ATTENTION. SPOILER WARNING. PROCEED WITH CAUTION… LOL. REALLY. 

why. Why. WHY? HOW DID THIS EVEN HAPPEN? I DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND. ONE MOMENT EVERYONE IS ALIVE AND THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW SHE HAS A SPEAR IN HER CHEST AND MAX IS LEAVING TO GO SEE HIS ALIEN FAMILY. IT WAS SO UNEXPECTED. LIKE I WAS SEEING THEM BECOMING A FAMILY BUT NOOOOO VINCENT HAD BE A JERK AND DESTROY ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS. WHY NOAH. NOAH DID NOT DESERVE IT. HOW WHEN WHY WHERE WHAT.

Summoner Rising Blog Tour: Interview with Melanie McFarlane

Hello! Welcome to my tour stop for Melanie McFarlane’s Summoner Rising Blog Tour! As an honorary member of her Street Team, I would like to present you this wonderful interview! Can you also believe March is already over? I know right! This year is going by so fast! Well, here’s the blog tour!

SUMMONER RISING

Title: SUMMONER RISINGSUMMONER RISING by Melanie McFarlane (1)

Author: Melanie McFarlane

Pub. Date: March 28, 2017

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 300

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play Books | Indiebound

Synopsis: Excerpt from, The Book of Summoning:

Law One: A summoner is responsible for all creatures it lets through from the netherworld.

Dacie Cantar wishes someone had explained the Laws of Summoning to her before she watched a shadowy creature crawl out of a painting at the local arcade. At least it explains the strange things she’s witnessed since moving in with her great-aunt, after her mother’s untimely death. But who wants to be followed by shadows the rest of their life? Add that to being stalked by a strange boy at school, who just might be her Tovaros (aka soulmate), it’s about all Dacie can handle in her new life.

As she nears her seventeenth birthday, will she be ready for her new responsibilities, or will the shadows that stalked her mother until her death, finally consume Dacie, too? And then there’s Law Two…

 

About Melanie: Melanie

Melanie McFarlane is a passionate writer of other-wordly adventures, a little excitable, and a little quirky. Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, she jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Though she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie has focused her powers on her YA debut There Once Were Stars, and her YA urban fantasy Summoner Rising.

She lives with her husband and two daughters in the Land of Living Skies.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | InstagramGoodreads

Continue reading “Summoner Rising Blog Tour: Interview with Melanie McFarlane”

Golden Release Day Celebration: Guest Post with K. M. Robinson – How to Score a Killer Author Interview

Hi guys! Today marks the day that Golden by K. M. Robinson releases into the world! Woo hoo! I liked reading the book, so now you can finally order it! There will be links below to any online retailers where you can buy this fabulous book! If you need some convincing, here’s my review and my interview with K. M. She’s come back onto the blog for this wonderful guest post for not only bloggers, but for any avid readers! Author interviews are very very very important to us as bloggers, so being able to interview our favorite authors is a great help for both bloggers and authors! It’s a great way to get to know them better! So if you want to know how to interview authors, K.M.’s got some tips for you!

Katie.PNG

How to Score A Killer Author Interview: The Art Of Making Your Blog Irresistible To Authors

All Goldilocks wanted was an interview. One simple interview. But Goldilocks played her cards wrong and ended up with no interview and a rather upsetting send off.

Here are 6 steps on how bloggers and booktubers can score a killer interview with their favorite authors with tips from Goldilocks and the Three Bears on the art of making your blog irresistible to authors.

Continue reading “Golden Release Day Celebration: Guest Post with K. M. Robinson – How to Score a Killer Author Interview”

Review: Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano – Gave Me Thrills and Chills!

Hi guys! Today we are transitioning from a 10-star review scale to a 5-star review scale. I think it is much easier to review with 5 stars since I find myself too lenient with ratings. So, I’m doing a 5 star review system! We are still figuring out what our rating theme should be- ooh! We’re gonna do something teenish since we’re all a bunch of teens here! So be looking forward to that! Here’s my latest review on Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the author in exchange for a review. I also got some free signed swag- this is outside of the trade agreement. None of these factors will affect my review.

Goodreads Summary: John “Smoke” Conlan is serving time for two murders but he wasn’t the one who murdered his English teacher, and he never intended to kill the only other witness to the crime. A dangerous juvenile rehabilitation center in Denver, Colorado, known as the Y, is Smoke’s new home and the only one he believes he deserves.holding-smoke

But, unlike his fellow inmates, Smoke is not in constant imprisonment. After a near death experience leaves him with the ability to shed his physical body at will, Smoke is able to travel freely outside the concrete walls of the Y, gathering information for himself and his fellow inmates while they’re asleep in their beds. Convinced his future is only as bright as the fluorescent lights in his cell, Smoke doesn’t care that the “threads” that bind his soul to his body are wearing thin-that one day he may not make it back in time. That is, until he meets Pink, a tough, resourceful girl who is sees him for who he truly is and wants to help him clear his name.

Now Smoke is on a journey to redemption he never thought possible. With Pink’s help, Smoke may be able to reveal the true killer, but the closer they get to the truth, the more deadly their search becomes. The web of lies, deceit, and corruption that put Smoke behind bars is more tangled than they could have ever imagined. With both of their lives on the line, Smoke will have to decide how much he’s willing to risk, and if he can envision a future worth fighting for.

Continue reading “Review: Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano – Gave Me Thrills and Chills!”

My Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival Recap

Hey guys! A couple of weeks ago, I went to the best book festival in the world: the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival in Murfreesboro, TN! SE-YA was so amazing, and my dad and I managed to brave the snow and see 35 out of 40 amazing authors! Here are some pics and highlights from the festival!

img_6688img_6692

 

So I got this poster signed by a ton of fabulous authors, and I got four books signed: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis, Emerge by Tobie Easton, The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron, and Mosquitoland by David Arnold. Both the books and authors are amazing, and I loved reading the books and chatting with the authors! They are super nice!

 

img_6687
Sharon Cameron

 

img_6685
Mindy McGinnis

 

img_6684
David Arnold

 

img_6677
Tobie Easton

I also met some of the most amazing authors I’ve been wanting to meet for a long time! They are super nice and fun to talk to, and I loved reading their books!

 

img_6678
Shaila Patel

 

img_6686
Jennifer M. Eaton

 

img_6675
Brittany Goodwin
img_6674
M. Tara Crowl

I also got to meet a ton of other authors that I’m so glad I got to meet! I didn’t take pictures with all of them, but I’m certainly glad I got the opportunity to meet them!

 

img_6682
Monika Schroeder

 

img_6673
Nicole Castroman
img_6679
Cinda Williams Chima

I also got to meet Kym Brunner, Andrew Maraniss, E. Katherine Kottaras, Kathryn Ormsbee, Tracy Barrett, Brooks Benjamin, Jenn Bishop, I. W. Gregorio, C. J. Redwine, Beth Revis, Megan Shepherd, Lois Sepahban, Megan Shepherd, Sheba Karim, and more!!!! The full list of SE-YA 2017 authors is here: SE-YA 2017 Authors.

Well, that’s my 2017 SE-YA Recap in pictures, but if you want to know more, comment below, and let’s have a chat! Did you go to SE-YA? Have you read any books by these authors? Comment your thoughts!

Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catch the Sparks Within! by Alex Abaz: Chapters 21 and 22

I have received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. 

Spring break, guys! So happy to have this week to work on everything. To be able to read and just have a week where I can just catch up on everything outside of school. It’s amazing!

I am here with the next two chapters of Abaz’s outstanding book. I encourage you to go check it out whenever you can. It’s an easy read, and it really opens up your mind.

Chapter 21: My Heart is Your Harbor and My Arms Your Shelter

I love the name for this chapter. I’m a sucker for metaphors.

In this week’s first chapter, Abaz starts to talk about Gypsies. Believe it not, their neglection is still happening today. In third-world countries, Gypsies are left poor and in shabby homes. I honestly never knew why exactly. I always thought they are a group people just did not like. I kind of knew that people thought they had magical powers or whatnot, but I never truly understood it all.

Abaz clears this up. People don’t like them because they are afraid of them? Because of that fear, people do not like to step out there and help these people. They are scared they will get pulled into something they cannot get out of.

But this is where the kindness of heart shows. With kindness, you go out of your way and you help those in need, no matter what their background is. No matter what they have done. No matter what other people think of them. It’s  picking up the books the bullies knocked out of nerdy kid’s arms. It’s also telling someone who has done something horrible that they can overcome it.

I’m going to quote another book real quick. This is a devotional guide that I do every week. All Things New by Kelly Minter. This is what she says…

“Kindness can mean moral goodness in action. While patience is reactive, kindness is proactive. It is often related to helpfulness, actions or words that benefit others, or having a generous spirit.”

I really love reading from authors like Abaz and Minter. They really express their thoughts on a subject. As for me, I like to soak it all in. I love to see what I connect to and what I need help on. Kindness? In some ways, yeah, I have kindness. I want to help everyone. The minute their life goes downhill, I forget everything and just want them to get better. But how far does my kindness go? I have no idea. To have kindness, I better not have lost my patience. If my patience is gone, my kindness is right on its heels.

Abaz actually mentions this in this chapter. When someone drops by to live in your house, you’re okay at first. Yay, I have people over. We’re going to have a great time. But then they are still over after a week or two. You just want your house back. You just want to be left alone. The patience and kindness are drifting away.

But you want to help. You desperately want to help. You want your arms to be their shelter. You want them to trust in your love for them. Abaz gets it. WIth kindness, you have to be willing to go all out. It’s honestly worth it in the end.

Chapter 22: “If One Day is Cummy, the Next has to be Better.” Is That Right?

This chapter actually a different turn than I thought it would. It was talking about mental illness.

When it comes to mental illness, it always makes me feel awful. Mental illness is a whole other branch in the medical field. It’s a branch that is still unsolved in most cases.

.Just like a physical disability, it affects your daily life. It makes it harder to live a normal life. You see a lot of people today, especially in my age group do I see this a lot, suffering from Anxiety or Depression. Some are not about to comprehend as easily as others. And it’s a medical part where doctors are always stumped.

So some people, they find the happiness in their daily lives even if the the last one was crummy. I’ve seen people do it. I’ve seen people making the best out of the worse and it is so inspiring.

Alex Abaz talks about the brain and how complex it is. And it really is.

“While it may be hardwired to the rest of us, it is elastic with a virtual capacity. It is known now that the brain can regenerate and if necessary can transfer a function to a different part of itself-real metamorphosis.”

It’s almost like there is no limit, not stopping the way the brain works. Constantly, our minds are reshaping ourselves to fit our experiences. These memories are forever inside of us. Abaz is correct when she says that if we lose our memories, we lose ourselves. It’s hitting that restart button. I could not imagine what it would be like for me personally to wake up one day and not know who I am, where I am.

The one show that pops in my head is Beyond, which I think comes on after my show Shadowhunters. I actually tried watching the first episode, and it’s actually pretty good. If I remember correctly, he doesn’t lose his memories, but he goes into his coma for most of his childhood, waking up when he’s like seventeen. And knows his parents and his brother, but then he doesn’t. Things have changed around him, and his mind is constantly trying to cope to things. (I really need to get caught up on that show, now that I think about it…) He’s disconnected from everyone because his mind is still progressing the lack of information.

Then you have all of these other stories that I can compare to. Like the book I am currently reading The Enemy Within by Scott Burns. He sees things no one else can. The girl Jamie can actually speak into his mind. I’d honestly be scared if the person beside me could read my mind. Like my mind is my mind, stay out of it. Anyways, he is obviously different from everyone. His mind is something that is unique from everyone else’s. A talent unlike any other.

Authors can literally do anything if given the writing prompt to use the mind. There are even more stories out there that involve the mind, how it works, what it is capable of. It’s so interesting to me.

And as Alex says in the end of this chapter….

There is magic and malice in the mind. It’s the source of our smiles and our sorrows.

 

 

 

 

 

Exclusive Interview with Andrew Maraniss!

Hi guys! Welcome to today’s special Friday interview! A few weeks ago, I went to the SE-YA Book Festival in Murfreesboro, TN, and I met some of the nicest and best authors there. I am so glad I have the chance to interview one of them today, and he is also a local author! Yay for TN authors! Andrew Maraniss is the author of Strong Inside, a biography about Perry Wallace which is in both the regular edition and the Young Readers’ Edition, which just came out this year. Go check them out!

Andrew Maraniss

1.     What is your book STRONG INSIDE about?Strong Inside

The easiest, shortest description is to say that it’s a biography of Perry Wallace, the first African American basketball player in the Southeastern Conference. But the book is about a lot more than just basketball. It’s about the civil rights movement, what it takes to be a pioneer, how a university struggled to become a more diverse and welcoming place, and how a teenager overcame tremendous obstacles to live a happy, successful life.

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

 I enjoy everything about writing – including the parts that aren’t actually writing! For my book, I spent four years doing research and interviews before I wrote the first word. I love digging through old newspaper articles and archives looking for little nuggets of information that add rich detail to the story. I have loved writing ever since I was a kid. I would create my own sports magazines when I was in middle school.

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

My father has been a journalist my whole life, and he has been writing books ever since the time I was in college, so he has had the biggest impact on me as a writer by far. He was writing for a great newspaper, The Washington Post, when I was growing up, so I had the good fortune of reading very good journalism since the time I was five years old. I enjoy narrative non-fiction the most, so authors such as Erik Larson, John Feinstein, Bob Woodward, David Halberstam, Bill Bryson, and James Swanson are my favorites. I really enjoy reading a book where I feel like I am existing right beside the characters; I’ve been placed directly in their world.

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

My favorite genre to read and write is narrative non-fiction. Some of my favorite books are Son of the Morning Star, Devil in the White City, The Breaks of the Game, The Perfect Storm, and Manhunt. As far as my dad’s books go, I have loved all of them, but I will mention When Pride Still Mattered (a biography of Vince Lombardi), They Marched Into Sunlight (about Vietnam), and Rome 1960 (about the Summer Olympics). I don’t reach much fiction but I really enjoyed Stephen King’s time-travel book, 11/22/63.

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

Writing has become my full-time job. I wrote STRONG INSIDE as a side-project outside of my ‘real’ job at a public relations firm in Nashville. But now I am working on books or writing freelance articles for magazines and websites for a living. Also, because Vanderbilt University has selected the ‘adult’ version of STRONG INSIDE as the common read for their first-year students each of the last two years, I have worked on special projects for the university related to the book.

1974409_10153111065632743_6718783467156551887_o6.     How much research did you have to put into STRONG INSIDE? Have you ever had the chance to meet Perry Wallace?

I spent four years on the research for STRONG INSIDE. That included interviewing around 100 people and visiting numerous libraries and archives. I loved the research part! I interviewed Perry Wallace in person dozens of times, and also talked to him on the phone or emailed him questions. The first time I ever interviewed him was actually many, many years before I started writing the book. I actually wrote a paper about him for a history class when I was a sophomore at Vanderbilt in 1989. I didn’t start writing the book until 2006.

7.     What about Perry Wallace’s life speaks to you the most? Why did you choose him as the subject of your books?

I think Perry Wallace is the smartest, most interesting person I’ve ever come across, and his story of overcoming racism is extremely relevant today. I admire his courage tremendously. As I mentioned, his story is about a lot more than just basketball. It’s about concepts such as courage, love, hate, honesty, patience, isolation and loneliness, perseverance, reconciliation – things anyone can relate to.

8.     Why did you decide to write a Young Readers Edition along with the regular biography? What are some of their differences?

It wasn’t my idea initially to create the Young Readers version of STRONG INSIDE. I was encouraged to do it by two wonderful women – Ann Neely, who is a professor at Vanderbilt, and Ruta Sepetys, an amazing author who lives in Nashville. With their help and encouragement, I was able to present my book to Philomel (a young readers imprint at Penguin), and they really liked Perry’s story. The main difference is the length of the book. The Young Readers version is about one-fourth the length of the original, so it’s a much quicker read. I enjoyed working with the editors at Philomel to shorten the story, while also keeping the main storyline intact. This version of the book gets right to the heart of the action a lot quicker than the original, which builds up to the tension more slowly.

9.     If you could play any sport for any college or professional team, who would you choose and why? Do you play any sports as a hobby?

I grew up playing baseball, and my favorite team is the Milwaukee Brewers. So, if I could play for any team, I’d be a pitcher for the Brewers!

10. You graduated from Vanderbilt University and later worked there! Go Commodores! What are some of your favorite things or experiences from Vandy?

I was fortunate to earn a full-tuition sportswriting scholarship to Vanderbilt, which completely changed and shaped the direction of my life from that point forward. I lived in Austin, Texas in high school and had never really heard of Vanderbilt. There’s no way I would have gone to college there or moved to Nashville if not for the scholarship. My favorite building on earth is Memorial Gym, where the Commodores play basketball. It’s the same place Perry Wallace played. My wife and I got engaged the same day we saw Vanderbilt beat the No. 1 ranked team in the country there, and we also had our rehearsal dinner the night before our wedding at Memorial Gym!

11. As a biographer, what were some challenges you faced when you wrote both editions of STRONG INSIDE?Andrew Maraniss 1

I wanted my book to be taken seriously by sports fans, historians, civil rights experts, and book reviewers, but also be an entertaining read that anyone would enjoy, whether they are big sports fans or students or history buffs. So it was a challenge to balance all of that. It was also a challenge just sticking with a project for so long: eight years to create the original version, and then almost another year creating the young readers version.

12. How do you want your books to impact or change your readers? What message do you want both your younger and older audiences to get?

The biggest thing is probably empathy. I want people to put themselves in Perry Wallace’s shoes and experience what it was like to be a young, African American man encountering tremendous hatred and hostility just because of the color of his skin. He was the valedictorian of his high school. He practiced his trumpet four hours a day. He taught Sunday School. He never got in trouble. He spoke numerous foreign languages. He was a great athlete. He was kind to his sisters and parents. And yet when Vanderbilt announced they were recruiting him, people sent death threats to his home, said they would never go to another Vanderbilt game again, and harassed him on the basketball court. Every time he stepped out on the court, he was concerned he might get shot and killed. On campus, he felt very lonely and isolated. I want people to experience that, and see how wrong racism is. For those who have experienced racism themselves and had experiences similar to what Perry endured, I hope they will take some inspiration from his life, and how he overcame these challenges.

13. Have you ever had writer’s block, and if so, how do you get out of it?

My dad gave me great advice. He said he stops writing for the day already knowing what the next sentence or next paragraph will say, rather than stopping when he’s stumped. That way, the next time he gets started, he already knows what he’s going to say next. It helps keep momentum going and avoid writer’s block.

14. I am so glad I got to see you at the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival in Murfreesboro, TN! It’s great meeting a local author! How did you like being an author there? Did you enjoy it? I know I did!

17212020_10155128500247743_5534080503796664787_oI loved the opportunity to participate in the SE-YA festival. I have spoken at numerous book festivals with adult version of my book, but this was the first time I had a chance to speak at a festival for students. It was awesome! I love meeting and speaking with young people. There is nothing better than seeing kids excited about reading and writing. I also really enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with so many amazing authors. I have found the young adult book world to be a really friendly scene full of helpful, kind, supportive people.

15. Have you written any other works? What are your current plans with your writing career?

STRONG INSIDE was my first book, but I hope to write many, many more. And I will continue to write for ESPN’s The Undefeated website. Here’s a link to the stories I have written for them so far.

16. Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers?

Keep reading and writing! My parents told me whenever I was bored, read a book. And when you’re writing, don’t forget to spend time editing. Eliminate unnecessary words and clichés. Show rather than tell.

Thank you so much, Andrew, for coming onto our blog! It was fun writing your questions and reading your answers!

If you want to check out Andrew’s social media accounts, contact him, or buy his books, click the links below!

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  YouTube  |  Bumpers

Strong Inside (Regular Edition)

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Parnassus Books

Strong Inside Young Readers’ Edition

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Parnassus Books

Thanks so much for reading this interview! Have a great weekend!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

 

 

Guest Post with Devorah Fox! Pros and Cons of Fantasy Writing

Hey, guys! Its Spring Break for the crew and I have had a fun couple of days. I tried to go to the our lake nearby and it started storming! I tried to get my friend to go a contemporary moment with me by standing in the middle of the park’s road and raise our hands to the blasting winds and stormy lightning, but she just ran to the car. Then I got to drive to Dairy Delight and get my a Hot Fudge Brownie Supreme. Yummm…. So today and tomorrow are my working days. Today I’m working on these posts and then later read as much as I can for reviews I will post as soon as I can. I’m excited to get my thoughts out there!

Remember my review on The Lost King by Devorah Fox ? Well, I’m so happy to post her own guest post on this very here blog!


About the Author

Devorah Fox has written for television, radio, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet. Publisher and editor of the BUMPERTOBUMPER books for commercial motor vehicle drivers, she has branched out into developing smartphone apps including the Easy CDL apps for the iPhone. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives in the The Barefoot Palace in Port Aransas on the Texas Gulf Coast where she writes the “Dee-Scorveries” blog at http://devorahfox.com


The Lost King is an adventure filled story I’m sure any fantasy reader would appreciate the hard work put into it. I know I loved the story and really loved the aspects of her fantasy world.

The Lost King Summary: img_6090-1

When all you have owned, everyone you have loved and everything you have done are gone, who are you? King Robin Bewilliam awakens one morning to find himself mysteriously transformed from a beloved and respected ruler to a homeless vagabond. His quest to uncover and break the bewitching spell that plagues him and regain his kingdom sets him on a journey of adventure, romance, and self-discovery.

Devorah Fox.PNG

Fantasy Writing: Pros and Cons


Setting The Lost King, Book One of The Bewildering Adventures of KinBewilliam, in the Middle Ages was an example of heeding the Muse. Im not an avireader of stories set in that time period, although I do have a few all-time favorites such as Rebecca (Sir Walter Scott) and Stealing Heaven (Marion Meade). For the most part I read contemporary mysteries and thrillers. However, from my first imaginings, KinBewilliams story demanded to be told in a “once-upon-a-timefashion. I planned taddress traumatic life issues such as divorce and career displacement and felt that the reader would find them more accessible in a fairytale setting

History was never my best subject in school and I did not have years of study to call upon. At first I had no plans to research the Middle Ages. I was simply going tmake up a world set in a “time long ago.I was writing a scene in which King Bewilliaaka Robin takes something from his pocket and found myself wondering if they hapockets in those days. I did a little research and sure enough, they did not. They hacountless clever devices for waging war, for killing and maiming each other, but thehad yet to invent on-seam pockets. Instead, they carried their belongings in pouches and purses. I rewrote the scene

From that moment on, I couldnt write a syllable without researching it first. Did they have that? Did they say that? Did they eat that

The downside was that The Lost King and all the other King Bewilliam novels were National Novel Writing Month projects. National Novel Writing MonthNaNoWriMo, for short—is an organized marathon that challenges writers to writ50,000 words in 30 days. Thats about one-half to one-third a commercial length novel. Im not a speedy writer to begin with, and having to conduct research made it a reachallenge to meet the daily goal of 1667 written words. On occasion I would leavmyself a digital note to look this upand I would move on to the next scene. However, for the most part, I had to do the research before I could write. I couldnt just writaround it. I had days during the marathon when I didnt reach my word count goal until mid-afternoon, after which I still had hours of work to do for my day job.

The upside was that the research often inspired me. I did not know what I walooking for until I found it. That meant a lot of surfing the Internet and I washed up osome truly foreign shores where I found hidden treasures. For example, in Book Two, The Kings Ransom, I wrote myself into a corner. King Bewilliam had to find a way tescape an enemy fortress. I got him in with no plan for getting him out. Researchincastle construction turned up a solution and saved the day, not to mention the kingI have since found that the need to do research doesnt end even when Ive set stories in contemporary time. My Mystery/Thriller stories take place in the US in th1990s. I lived through those times but its long ago enough that I dont remember everdetail, especially with regard to technology. I had to look up when certain devices ansoftware first made their appearance. In some ways it was harder to research what didn’t happen than to investigate what did happen

Someday perhaps I will write a story that’s a complete invention. However my current works-in-progress that my planned stories all require research. My history teachers are probably having a good laugh.”


The Heart of Stone Guest Blog Post and Review! 

I have received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. 

Logo 2014 Email

Hey, guys! I’m so excited to be bring to you The Heart of Stone by Ben Galley! He has come to me to read this very, very excellent story. I was very grateful to have the opportunity to be able to read it.

My rating? A nice 5 out of 5!

I’ll try my best to keep the spoilers out of this review, but just know there is so much that goes down in this book!

The Heart of Stone is a story of war and humanity, told from the perspective of a 400 year-old golem – Task. As a war-machine, he’s been purchased by the losing side of a civil war that has been raging in the far reaches of the Realm for almost a decade. He’s withdrawn, cold, and resentful of anything and everything human, until a waif of a stable-girl decides to prove him wrong.

Romance? Not much

Humor: I chuckled here and there

Action: EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU TURN THE PAGE

Characters? Diverse and hard not to love! (Except for Huff. Everyone should hate Huff.)

Easy to read? Eh. There are a lot of new words due to it being a new world, and there are some vocabulary that I didn’t understand. 

When I read a fantasy novel, I always find myself loving it. It’s so different because there is no room for cliques at lot of times.  You can expand so greatly, and I’ve read so many books that are so different from one another. Dystopians? They get pretty repetitve sometimes, I dare say. 

This is exactly what I got from Ben’s book The Heart of Stone. It was special in its own way. I persoanlly never read a book in a golem’s point of view.

The characters were my favorite part in all of this. I loved Task so much. He goes through so much change in this story, and it all starts with Lesky. Lesky is so adorable in my mind. She’s so strong and so full of spirit. And did I mention her heart shows Task a new light? 

Galley did so well in playing out the plot. There was never a dull moment. One minute you’d be talking to a guy, and the next thing you know he’s dead. 

I felt so many emotions. At first, I felt so angry at how people treat Task (like some animal). But then as the story progresses and you get to understand more characters, I began to change my thoughts about a lot of them. Like Alabast. At first I did not like him, but as the story went, he became one of my favorites because he was that comic relief. Yeah, he’s can be a messed up man sometimes, but he’s hilarious! (And also I kind of felt bad for him.)

I’m so happy to have this review up. I’m been so excited to tell people to read this book if they’re a hardcore fantasy fan. I was not disappointed. I can’t wait for its final release. Go check it out on March 30th! 


Guest Blog Post!


 

About the Author

Find his website here: Bengalley.com 

Ben Galley is an award-winning fantasy author from the UK. He is the author of the epic Emaneska Series, the weird-west Scarlet Star Trilogy and the brand new standalone The Heart of Stone. When he’s not dreaming up lies to tell his readers, Ben works as a self-publishing consultant, helping fellow authors to self-publish and sell their books at www.shelfhelp.info


So I asked him a question that I am honestly very curious to understand. I asked him about the diversity in characters. In a story, like I said above in my review, I look for good character development. If a story is mellow and cheap, I would probably blame it on how the characters looked at their own world. For the most part, we are retaining information through the eyes of the characters inside the book. Even in third person, in what way do the characters think that make them different from everyone else? I asked Ben how he makes his characters so diverse from one another and this was his response:

“In regards to diversity, I try to work out characters based on their desires, and that usually ends up creating different and overlapping intentions that define the character. I also use Myers Briggs personality matrix to work out traits. Other than that, it’s whatever feels right in the scene.”

Now I actually had no idea what the Myers Briggs personality matrix was, so obviously I looked it up. Quite interesting actually. I hope I will think of this in my own writing.

Basically, it’s to show your personality in the form of a four letter code. I will put the link down below so you can go check it out for yourself, because the Myers Briggs has a lot more to it than just a test.

Myers & Briggs Foundation