Revenants: The Odyssey Home by Scott Kauffman 

Hi everyone! This week is spring break so I’ll try to get a lot of reading done. In the meantime, here’s another book review. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy from the authors or an honest review. This will not effect my review. 

Goodreads summary: A grief-stricken candy-striper serving in a VA hospital following her brother’s death in Viet Nam struggles to return home an anonymous veteran of the Great War against the skullduggery of a congressman who not only controls the hospital as part of his small-town fiefdom but knows the name of her veteran. A name if revealed would end his political ambitions and his fifty-year marriage. In its retelling of Odysseus’ journey, Revenants casts a flickering candle upon the charon toll exacted not only from the families of those who fail to return home but of those who do. 

Rating: 8/10

Although I am not a big fan of Historical Fiction, I really enjoyed this book. The concept is wonderful yet heartbreaking. The character development of both Betsy and her family was well done. It was interesting to read about her working as a candy-stripper with veterans from the war and was very well written. The whole story was superb even if I had a hard time getting into the story on the first few chapters. Nevertheless, it didn’t destroy the story. Overall, I thought the plot and story were interesting and well written, the characters were well written and the book kept my attention. 

Recommend: Historical Fiction Readers

Catch the Sparks Within! By Alex Abaz-Chapters 19 and 20

I’m here, and ON TIME, for the next two chapter reviews: chapters nineteen and twenty! With my pizza (with ranch…yummm…), I am ready to tell you my thoughts.

Chapter Nineteen: Fear causes a fight-or-flight response but shock stops us in our tracks.

I always liked the idea: Fight or flight. I never knew why. Maybe because he held options. If you run away, that’s your instinct. Nothing wrong with it. Sometimes all you can do is run away, create distance to plan everything over. That’s me in some cases. In other cases, I tend to fight. Not as in fist-fight. More like my anger gets the best of me and I snap. I chose to fight.

Then Abaz adds a new word: freeze. I have definitely frozen more than I have flown away or fought. When the anxiety kicks in, all sense of movement disappears. I’m left breathless and unable to process any kind of information. I am doing this more often now that we’re talking about the mission trip to Ecuador. They are all telling me I’ll have to get up and tell people my testimony. I will have to get up and speak to people and actually make sense. Public speaking is one of my worst fears. Telling me I have to do… you’ll have to wait until the end to tell me that or else I won’t listen to another word you’ll say after that. Just asking me, “Are you nervous?” makes me zone out immediately. I’m a hard person to deal with, I know… I have to deal with myself everyday. Lol.

Abaz does a wonderful job, outstanding even, at expressing what it is like to be caught in the “freeze” response. It’s a good in between the “flight” and “fight.” Sometimes we have no idea what to do with ourselves. People will act out when they feel backed into a corner. We all know what an animal does when it’s uncomfortable. It’s more than likely to bite you.

“Shock can paralyze us,” Abaz says. We need that predictability in ours lives. I agree that we often find ourselves desiring that. I can say this now, ever since I gave my life to Christ, it has not been predictable. One day I will act completely out of character. The next moment I’m back to my shy little self with my head in a book. Christ calls me to do things I would normally say no to. It makes me uncomfortable, but I still try because I understand it’s for the best. And guess what? I make it through it every single time. I take a deep breath, just like Abaz says to do, and I reset my thoughts and my perspective. Sometimes, you need to start from the beginning to understand the situation at its full extent.

I guess this is a good transition to move into the next chapter…

Chapter Twenty: Some Events are meant to change the directional flow of our lives.

To what I said about Christ changing my life… I did not expect to be where I am now. I really don’t. The directional flow of my life changed forever because of Him.

And it goes for a lot of other instances. Choosing to do something, like signing up for something you’ve never done before. Things happen: getting into a fight with a friend, having a close one pass away… when it happens, it’s like there are a millions arrows pointing in every direction. It gets crazy and you have no idea how you’ve come out of all. But either way, it changes you–for better or for worse. That’s for you to decide.

“A storm can blow things apart.” Yes, a storm can. It’s wild, you can’t predict it. It switches what you once knew around and around until you’ve lost complete sight of them.

But don’t worry. Abaz says it perfectly: “A new beginning is a chance at a better life.” Take that beginning as a way to grow stronger. Once something falls down, you don’t build it back up the way it was. It’s just going to fall over again. There are no specific steps on how to get over the storm that turned your life around, but there’s always a way. Never say you can’t get back up, because you can. And you tell yourself that you will.
Are you willing to adapt to the new beginning placed before you?

Catch the Sparks Within! by Alex Abaz -Chapters 17 and 18

I have received a free book in exchange for a honest review!


Yikes! Where have I been? Tuesday was a mess, I dare say. I wanted to post Wednesday, but the schedule didn’t allow it until today. Let’s just get to the review, shall we? 

Chapter Seventeen: “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure.”

The minute I read the title of this chapter, Skyrim instantly popped up in my head. “Some may call this trash… Me? I call them treasures.” This is said by the clerks in shops, a phrase you end up saying with them because they will say it all the time.

But how true is this simple phrase. Abaz mentions how wasteful people can be… how unappreciative we can be. This is so true. It has been said over and over and over again. People throw away everything, just so they don’t have to mess with it anymore. Even today, there are people who go without food every day, who would love to take that sandwich you’re throwing away because you said you hated turkey.

I see this a lot in school. Every day at the end of my lunch period (we’re the last lunch) my friends and I will watch the lunch ladies throw away buckets of good food into the trash bins. Like I’m talking about bananas, pickles, lettuce… good food that no one ate so therefore they throw it in the trash where no one will be able to eat it now. My friends constantly say that it’s so wasteful, and I agree. Lately, our Leo Club has been collecting items to bring to a nearby homeless shelter. We wondered if all this extra food could be brought to people like them. It would do them a service.

Chapter Eighteen: “Laundry is an Endless Chore.”

Sadly, I am not old enough to share my experience with the change in technology. To me, technology has always been there. I’m used to it (well, somewhat… I have horrible luck when it comes to electronics).

And yes, Abaz, I hate laundry day also. I do my own clothes, but knowing me, I never know which one is dirty and which one I left on my bed because I was frustrated with finding nothing to match it. I HATE folding clothes. It’s something I end up losing patience over. Blah.

And while I have no say in the evolution of technology, I do have to say we have have gone a long way. I’m going to go to gaming systems just as an example… and it’s something I have actually been around long enough to understand.

At first, my type of gaming was following people around and asking for food from random people who would stop by our house to hang out. Of course, with my cute, little face, no one could say no.

My next was the Nintendo. Not the handheld ones, but the big gray box that had two buttons in the front with a huge cord connecting to a small controller. I would play Super Mario on that thing for hours with my dad. Sadly, it’s so old now that it doesn’t work… I wonder if I even still have it…

Then I also had the PlayStation 2, now that I know we still have. I have some of its games on my bookshelf. I had a blast playing Mortal Kombat on it.

Then I got an Xbox one year. That’s when they started having the Kinect Adventures. You could move in front of the sensor, and it would respond. That was pretty cool to me. I also 

Now I have a Xbox One, which is similar to the Xbox, but allows more commands and such.

And think, now they have a Virtual Reality gaming systems now. Not jsut the one you put on your head and look around, but where your chair moves to motion of your character. Isn’t that so cool? Where you can see around you, and it’s like you’re there. I never got to try one before, but I know one day I will have to try it out. I cannot wait!

And it just gets bigger from there. Around us, the world is changing. It’s gone so far from 2000. Not just with gaming systems… cell phones, home appliances, computers, education, medicine…Our expectations have risen, and now we are just waiting for someone to come up with something else that is even grander.

Abaz is right… We have come a long way. It’s so exciting to imagine where the world will be in a couple years.

 

 

The Lost King by Devorah Fox

I have received a free copy of this book for a honest review. This does not in any way affect my review in any way.

My rating for this unique tale would be a four out of five. Great job, Devorah Fox, for this intriguing story about a king discovering himself and the truth about the world around him.

If you haven’t read this book and just happen to skim through this review, I’ll say this to summarize the book: A king has found himself deserted in a land he does not recognize. To find his kingdom and his wife, he must venture through unknown lands, meeting people to help him along the way. I would encourage you to pick this book up if you love medieval ages. This is a perfect book to learn more about that time.

Characters? Appealing and very interesting. Robin’s friends are hard to dislike.

Humor? It was okay. I chuckled a couple times. I also found humor in the smallest things but that is literally me– I will find the most serious things funny.

Romance? It doesn’t overflow on the plot, but you’ll catch it easily. You’ll ship it before you even realize what’s happening.

Action? Very little, mostly dialogue, moving around, stuff like that.

Language? A little hard, but fairly easy to understand.

I think you should really pick it up. It mostly deals with finding a way to get his kingdom back while also finding himself through his adventures. I highly recommend being open to the characters and King Bewilliam’s interactions with them. It’ll make the story ten times better in this way, as it focuses a lot on relationships.

I enjoyed it a lot. I was very interested in where things were going. By the end, I was questioning what the next book will reveal.

Good-bye, non-spoilery people!


 

The characters. I really loved them to the extent that I kind of did not want anything to happen to them. Later in this series, I feel like I would grow more attached to them, as I would get to understand them even further. I absolutely love Meeyoo, the little kitten that follows Robin around. I thought having Meeyoo in there was the story’s comic relief in a way that made you happy when Meeyoo showed up. “No one hurts the kitty!” I loved the other animals as well, like Duncan and Charger. I could just imagine their personalities.

Now I’m usually very critical about what I read, about what I like to read. At first when I was reading the animals almost speaking to Robin, I got a little skeptical about it. I kind of felt like I was reading a younger children’s book…But I have to say it did grow on me. I found it pretty hilarious, actually.

Queen Alexandra… when we first see her, she’s fighting a dragon, which was pretty great. I love a strong woman. I enjoyed her personality, how she wasn’t strict and represented the kingdom she reigned. I enjoyed that. I ship her and Robin so much. Like at the very end, I kept thinking: “Just kiss…please.” I trust her completely along with David.

Speaking of David, we didn’t get to see him much, did we? Just the very beginning and the very end. I really loved the fact that he was a barber. I don’t know why, I just loved that diversity. When we got to go back to Riverington, I got all excited. “Off to see David, the wonderful barber of all…”

And finally Bernard. I feel like I should talk about him since he is was reason everyone is in debt and the reason DAVID HAD TO LEAVE HIS SHOP… But I’m not salty about it. No, no. I kind of felt bad for him, but that’s my personality showing. I always somehow end up feeling bad for the villains. I mean Bernard put everyone in debt, he lied, he borrowed too much money to make himself look better… He was a complete mess. Then when we actually get to see him, he’s completely lost his mind. I wanted to hug him. Yeah, I was angry at the fact–that David can’t be a barber–that everyone was going downhill. Robin’s own kingdom was completely washed away. Like what on earth was Bernard thinking? As I type, I’m actually in Personal Finance; and, sir, that is not how you finance.

The romance… As I said before the romance in this book is very mellow, but it is there. I ship Queen Alexandra and Robin so much. But on the topic of romance, Robin is not very wise. Throughout the book, he admits to sleeping with other women, like Dolores. While I don’t agree with what he does, it does make his character a lot more real. He does have his flaws, something I did not see in the very beginning. But no, he’s a king with a broken marriage. I really, really hope that his relationship grows with Alexandra later on as they completely deserve each other. I mean, come on.

Okay, the one thing that did bug me in this book was the lack of action. That’s probably just me, though. I love a good detailed fight. I enjoyed the dragon fight for the .5 seconds that it happened. In the back of my mind, I feel like this could be a book that could hold that type of action. Like if it was wanted in the story, you could easily bring it in and it wouldn’t look out of place. A lot of the running around that Robin did really kind of killed the mood that I would have enjoyed the transitions better if there was a bit more conflict involved in between the moving around. The bandit thing really made me happy. Go, Robin! Show them who’s king around here! Then again, the author has every right to put what she likes in her book and make it how she wants it. If she feels like the fighting was unnecessary and she enjoys it as it is, then that’s her decision.

Overall, I enjoyed it. It will be something I will look into later on after all my other books are taken care of. I really enjoy the writing style of it all. It kind of reminded me of The Chronicles of Narnia. It was very different than what I’m used to which may be why I had to open up a lot more than usual. That’s how it was when reading The Magician’s Nephew. I soon came to enjoy it and appreciate the uniqueness she threw in there.





Thank you, Devorah Fox for letting me review this book! I encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing with this story! It has a lot of potential.


 

Catch the Spark Within – Chapters 14 and 15

I have received a free copy of this book. This does not affect my review in any way.

Hey, guys! I am back, bringing on the next review for Alex Abaz’s inspiring book. Let’s get started!

Chapter Fourteen: “Wit and Humor are So Underrated.”

I really enjoyed this chapter, because it made the point that in the deep sadness of life, it’s so important to know how to bring smiles to other people. I love making people smile. It brightens my day.

Alex Abaz talks about her uncle and all the things he had went though in his life. If some people were in his position, humor would be hard to come by. But he does it anyway. He keeps doing what he does best, and he does it in spirit. How beautiful.

It really encourages to have a sense of humor, even on those not-so-great days. Appreciate life with an open mind and heart. Be better than your situation.

Chapter Fifteen: “Fear can be Debilitating.”

We all have a fear of something. Mostly all of us have some kind of phobia… “a severe and irrational” fear.

Mine? Bugs. I hate them. They’re not a phobia, but they sure do make my skin crawl. A phobia of mine would have to be shots. I HATE shots. Never liked them. Never will. The thought of them make me anxious and uneasy. While others may call me pathetic for having a fear of shots, it doesn’t change the fact that I have an irrational fear of them. “You’re petrified… you can’t breathe.”

But we have a face our fears, as Abaz writes. When I found out I was going to Ecuador, one thing they mentioned was that I would have to get vaccinated so I would not get the diseases they have. In seconds, I was tense. I was shaking. Every day after that I would think about at least once a day about how I would have to get those shots. (Even I think I’m pathetic.) Even so, I never said I wouldn’t go to Ecuador. After all, in the long run, they are just shots. Shots over helping so many children. Of course I would take that. There’s no doubt in my mind. My fear is still there, but I will NOT let it affect how I choose to do something.

I’m also pretty shy. If I’m not comfortable around someone, I can be so silent. I hate public speaking. I hate being in public in general, to be honest. I’m as introverted as they come. But I will not let my fear of being around other people, my fear of not being good enough, my fear of people not liking me, my fear of failing in every way possible, to keep me from trying for my dreams. I constantly try and train myself to express myself more and more each day. I try to regain this confidence I haven’t had since I was a little kid. It’s so scary, especially when I look around and see other people living life so easily. But I will get out of my comfort zone. I will try.

And though I try, I will fail. I’ll get scared and turn away. Thank you, Abaz, for reminding me why fears are an obstacle that can be overcome with the right ambition. It reminded me to keep at it. 

Liebster Award

Hi guys! We’ve been nominated for our third blog award, and this time, we were nominated by four amazing people: Becca from Book Review Becca, Krysti from YA and Wine, Rendz from Reading with Rendz, and Not-so-modern girl! The LILbooKlovers team would like to extend to each of them a huge thank you for their support, and I urge you to check out all their blogs. I love them all! Now, here are the rules and questions they gave us with our answers! liebster

Rules

1. Thank the person who nominated you and answer the 11 questions they’ve written for you.

2. Nominate 11 people and give them 11 different questions to answer.

 

Becca’s Questions (Answered by Kester)

1. If you could be best friends with any fictional character, who would it be and why?

Can I be friends with Thursday Next? If there was a book world, I would ask her to take me with her and introduce me to all of my favorite characters!

2. What is the first book or series that made you love reading?

In elementary school, it probably was the Magic Tree House or Hardy Boys series. I loved reading those! But then I didn’t like reading during middle school.

It wasn’t until last year as a freshman when I started to love reading again, so I would say that Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich was the book that first made me go “Reading is so cool and fun!”

3. If you could go to one fictional place for a single day, where would you go?

I would love to go to Hogwarts for a day, regardless of whether I can use magic or not! It’s so pretty, but I think that it would be better in person than in the movies!

4. What is your favorite TV series that is based on book or series?

Fresh Off the Boat! It’s my favorite TV show! It’s based off of the memoir with the same name by Eddie Huang, but I haven’t read it yet.

5. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

It would be my Bible! There’s so much in the Bible that can nourish me both mentally and spiritually! Fictional wise, I would choose… ooh this is tough… Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. It’s so beautiful and so deep that I would uncover new details about the characters if I kept on re-reading it! Either that or The United Continuums by Jennifer Brody. The story will never get old! Oh, I can’t choose just one!

6. What made you decide to start blogging?

My friend Lilly (the LIL in LILbooKlovers) and I thought that book blogging looked really fun, so we just made our blog! Our hunches were true!

7. If you could interview any author, living or dead, who would you choose?

Ruta Sepetys. I just want to meet her and just talk to her personally. I would love an interview with her. So many people say she’s the nicest person you’ll ever meet, and her books are just so amazing!

8. If you could turn any book into a movie, who would you pick to direct it?

Hey Jennifer Brody! For the Continuum Trilogy, would you like George Lucas to direct it? Because the series is a sci-fi one, I think George Lucas will do the job right!

9. Who would be your dream cast for this movie?

I think Jennifer knows the dream cast better than me. And she’s turning into The 13th Continuum in a movie soon!

10. Would you name a pet after a fictional character?

Yes! I’ve been wanting to have a pet pig named Hamlet for a while! That would be my dream! And I would dress him up in Shakespearean clothes and take pictures with him and a skull.

11. Do you like to write outside of blogging?

I am honestly not a writer. I like to write reviews and blog posts and that’s just it. I usually don’t have the time. But my author friend  Erin Beaty (whose debut book The Traitor’s Kiss you should pre-order right now) told me I should write more, and maybe I’ll try it out in the future. I’m probably going to do short stories like one of my other author friends J. L. Pattison, who writes some of the best short stories, does. I think it’s better for me to make a little anthology than an entire book!

 

Krysti’s Questions (Answered by Kester)

1. What hero from a Dystopian novel do you think our world needs right now?

I think we need Myra, Aero, and Seeker from The Continuum Trilogy by Jennifer Brody. They are the perfect examples of how stronger we are together, yet weaker we are if we are divided.

2. What book have you read that has lifted you up and made you feel stronger?

Although it made me cry, I think Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys definitely strengthened. It changed my life and my viewpoint on the world!

3. Name one book that has made you better understand a different culture.

Detour by Devorah Fox. I learned quite a bit about the Jewish culture in it and enjoyed reading it!

4. What’s your favorite diverse book you read in 2016?

I feel so bad since I’ve only read like one or two diverse books last year and didn’t enjoy them, but I know I’m going to read some more in 2017!

5. What diverse book are you most looking forward to reading in 2017?

Redemption time! As of now, my favorite diverse read of 2017 is Soulmated by Shaila Patel. Laxhsmi, an Indian girl, and Liam, an Irish guy, meet together in this cute romance that I loved so much!

6. What book would you make required reading for everyone in the world if you could?

I think everyone needs to read Salt to the Sea. It’s so inspiring, beautiful, poetic, and elegant that there’s so much to learn from it! Writers can definitely learn from Ruta’s style, and readers can learn lessons from the characters’ narratives!

7. What book quote do you find most inspiring?

I can’t just pick one, so I got to list a few that I think are inspiring:

“We don’t deserve to be hurt by the ones we love.” – If You’re Gone, by Brittany Goodwin

“There is pain on Earth. But it’s worth it anyway.” – Eden’s Wish, by M. Tara Crowl

“The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you give.” – All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven

“The problem with people is they forget that most of the time it’s the small things that count.” -All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven

“Fear isn’t the measure of our true worth. It isn’t even the measure of our abilities as a soldier. Fear is simply a normal emotional reaction to danger- and we are in grave danger now. We only become cowards if we give in to the fear and let it dictate our actions.” – The United Continuums, by Jennifer Brody

“United we are strongest.” – The United Continuums, by Jennifer Brody

” ‘I can survive on my own.’ His voice took a harsh turn. I didn’t like the hurt in his words. bo
‘I’m sure you can, Dov. But the point is you don’t have to.’ ” – Golden, by K. M. Robinson

8. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose?

To multitask. I can literally get so many things at once if I can multitask multiple things at once… did you know humans actually can’t?

9. Pick a genre: Contemporary, Fantasy, Dystopian, Mystery, or Science Fiction.

None of the above! Historical fiction is my genre! (I know you wanted me to pick out of the five, Krysti, but I’m sorry!) I love history and older cultures and time periods! It transports me to a time that has already existed, but totally different than today’s society!

10. What is your favorite book series of all time?

The Continuum Trilogy, hands down! If you want to know why, just read my reviews!

11. And because I just have to, if you could have a chat with any book character over a glass of wine, who would you choose?

Yes, Krysti!!! I love this question!!! So even though I’m underage by a little more than 4 years, if I could chat with a book character over wine for him and sparkling grape juice for me, it would be David from the Fire in the Woods Trilogy by Jennifer M. Eaton. I want to know more about the Erescopian culture! I think alien cultures are fascinating!

 

Rendz’s Questions (Answered by Cayli)

1. Name a place you wish to one day visit. (Real/fictional)

I would love to visit Narnia one day. That would be SOOOOO epic. Or maybe a loop from Miss Peregrine. Oh man, that would be AWESOME.

2. What is the best movie quote you know?

Oh no. I honestly have no idea. I don’t have any inspiring quotes from movies, but I will always treasure the Mortal Instruments movie when Alec was sure they were all going to die, and Jace’s actor said, “Have a little faith” even though it wasn’t scripted. It fit perfectly with Jace’s character, and I laughed so hard at the awkward looks he was given.

3. Do you ever buy books you never read? 

YES. 100% YES. I say I’m going to read them, but then I buy books that I plan on reading the moment I get them, so I never have time to read the ones that are not as important.

4. What is your favourite non-book related activity?

I was about to say writing, but I guess that’s book-related… I love art. Painting. Sketching. Crafting. I get a lot if my ideas off of Pinterest (Love it so much!)

5. Do you read a lot of non-fiction?

Not really. It depends on the book. I love non-fiction that is about WWII, mostly. It’s really interesting and heartbreaking to see the people go through that time period.

6. Do you take a book wherever you go?

Yes, I do. And I end up forgetting to read it because I’m having too much fun or I’m just too busy. But I do bring one just in case.

7. What is/was you favourite subject in school?

I would say English right now if I wasn’t stressing out about it right now. I love my pathway Digital Arts and Design. It’s very interesting and it allows me to make art over a computer; I’m not too accustommed to it, so it’s really fun

8. Cats or dogs?

Dogs all the way!!! (Love you, Alli <3)

9. What would be your super power?

Like the famous wizard Justin Russo once said… Read in the dark! That, or transportation. That’s be nice, too.

10. Which character would you go on a lunch date with?

OH BOOOOOYYYYYY. Who do I pick? It’s between Jacob Portman, Will Herondale, and Simon Lewis… Simon…??? I don’t know 😥

11. What is your favourite sweet?

Chocolate covered pretzels. LOVE THEM.

 

Not-so-modern girl’s Questions (Answered by Kelsey)

1. What three words best describe your reading habits? 

Contemporary. Relaxing.  Crying. 

2. On average, how many books do you read a month?

2-3

3. If you could visit any time in the past, where would you go and what would you do?

Renaissance. Go to a masquerade ball. 

4. Which character in a book has the same name as you?

Kelsey from The Thing about Truth by Lauren Barnholdt

5. What is your best reading memory?

Staying up until 2 o’clock in the morning crying my eyes out over a fictional character. 

6. Who is your favourite classical author (if you have one!)?

C. S. Lewis

7. If you could only have one type of weather forever, what would it be?

Slightly Cloudy. 

8. If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

Tank tops, jean shorts, and converse

9. If you could swap places with one character from a book, which character would it be and from which book?

Violet Markey from All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

10. Have you ever borrowed a book and never given it back? Or has someone borrowed your book and not given it back?

No. I’m too paranoid that I would ruin the book. Or they would. 

11. Cats or dogs?

DOGS!!! 🐶🐶🐶

 

Our Nominees

Kourti from Kourtni Reads

Mandy from Book Princess Reads

Jannin from The Booknerd Dragon

Stephanie from Teacher of YA

Olga from Olga’s Oddish Obsessions

Melanie from Mel to the Any

Janelle from A Rogue Librarian

Megan from ::bookslayerReads::

Orang-utan Librarian from The Orangutan Librarian

Payton from Payton’s Book Thoughts

Tiana from The Book Raven

 

Our Questions to Our Nominees:

1. Have you ever read a book that made you cry? What was it?

2. What do you eat or drink while you read or write?

3. If you were in charge of making a soundtrack for a movie adaptation of a book, what songs would you choose, and which book would it be?

4. What is one thing about book blogging you love and one think you wish could be improved?

5. What book is your most anticipated book that is releasing or has been released in 2017?

6. Out of all the books in your collection, which one do you prize the most?

7. Who is an author that lives in your state (or country if outside the US) that you love his or her books or are looking forward to reading?

8. If you could travel back in time to meet any author and ask that person one question, who would it be and what would you ask?

9. Who are some bloggers that you’d like to meet in person?

10. Do you have a favorite musical? What is it, and what are some of your favorite songs?

11. If you could live in any book world for a year, which book would you transport yourself to?
If you were nominated, you don’t have to do this award, but I would love to see you do it! Please tag me when you’ve posted yours! If you’ve already been tagged, you don’t have to do this, but it’s a little token of me saying “I like your blog!”

Thanks for reading! Have a great week!

 

+ J.M.J.

Happy Reading! ~ Kester

 

 

Sweet 16 Special!

So I was told that a birthday post was in order. Happy birthday, me, I guess lol. Anyways, I decided to do something special for tonight….

And that special thing is a nice run down throughout my reading life. Catch everyone up on how I became a reader and what led me into the reader I am today!

I’ll tag a couple of bloggers that I follow to do this as well when their birthday rolls around. Hopefully, you guys will enjoy! (UPDATE: If you end up seeing this before I fix it, no one is tagged as of right now. I have no idea how to tag people 😥 Me + Technology/computers/the mix = lol wat.

Here we go…

Elementary,

The reason I didn’t put a specific age for this one is because it isn’t all that important to the topic of reading. I just wanted to point out that I did read at this time, but I never really saw reading as a great past time. Read-Around-the-World-Day was the day I had to sit there all day pretending to flip the pages.

When I was doing my AR tests, I read a bunch of Magic Tree House and Judy B. Jones. They were my all time favorite. I also enjoyed reading about supernatural things like ghosts and the Bermuda Triangle. Those made me mad crazy for more information. Imagine my face when I was told the Bermuda Triangle was nothing but an area that was lost to towers (I am not very caught up with this information so do not take my word for it.)

Age: Eleven-Twelve,

Around this age I was in middle school. I did not have many friends. I was that girl who thought she had to fit in to… fit in. I was that girl who turned her back on the friends who were willing to be there, because I thought they were not cool enough. Yet I cried about how lonely I was. I pushed everyone away, thinking I could get better.

Truth was, I didn’t need better. Because I already had better. I meant one of my best friends today while sitting down for a middle school movie… Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. 

I sat next to my friend as she told me how much she loved the books. I was all into the movie, too.

“Who’s the dude with the goat legs!?”

“So when you cut a head off, two more grow back?”

“His shoes are flying!!!”

And my friend told me that this was nothing compared to the books. I was a bit iffy about it, but I was so into the movie I asked to borrow her book. This our relationship grew. Reading opened my eyes up. It helped to see the world in a different perspective. 

I fell in LOVE with Percy Jackson. I don’t think I ever read a series so quickly in my life. One moment I’m reading about the Sea of Monsters (which, by the way, explained the Bermuda Triangle in a whole other light haha!), and the next I’m onto the next series: The Heroes of Olympus.

I got to The Mark of Athena, and stopped there… why? Because it was the LAST BOOK UNTIL THE FOLLOWING YEAR. *tears*




Age: Thirteen?

Still in middle school. By now, I have my own groups of friends. They accepted me, and I called myself lucky to have them. I still read, but I usually kept to my one genre: YA fiction. To be honest, if it wasn’t Percy Jackson related, I hardly looked it’s way.

Hey, but it was a start.

I joked around with my friends about the books. We have inside jokes that I’m sure they would get the moment texted them: “I hope your eye twitches.” (PJO fans, I expect you guys to understand this.) Life was great!

I was a bit of a fangirl over these books. I swear, I knew almost everything about Percy Jackson. I loved Greek Mythology. I was thirteen, and I watched documentaries on this stuff. Like, you know how there are Twilight fan girls out there? Hanging posters of Edward on their walls and screaming every time his name pops up? That was me. But with this series.

Age: Fourteen,

This was my eighth grade year. Stuff started to get really awful for me. I got in fights with my close friends over stuff I deeply regret today. It was a year that I felt like every night I would cry. Lunch hours were spent in silence. (It got better, though!)

I was on the House of Hades I believe. I was still very much a fangirl. Very much. (CRIINNNGGEEE.) I remember one of my friends telling me in the ninth grade, “You used to be so crazy.” I’m so sorry, fellow classmates.

I was a bit distracted from reading due to the fights. But I do remember reading The Mortal Instruments. I fell in love with this series too. I got a couple of my other friends to read them, and still today we joke around about Sebastian and Jace and whatnot. Talk about major geek alerts!

This series really opened my mind to other books. It made me realize how big the reading world is. I should go explore it.

Reading really kept my mind off of things. Reading also saved me. Without Jesus in my life, in that moment in time, I would not have changed, and I would not have been able to see all my wrongs.

This series really opened my mind to other books. It made me realize how big the reading world is. I should go explore it.

Also… this was around the time I decided I wanted to become a writer. I wanted to write books and make people smile just like my favorite authors could do for me. I wanted to put a smile on someone’s face. I wanted to make someone’s day. Just doing that would make it all worth it for me.





Age: Fourteen-Fifteen,

High school. Oh, boy. Freshman year was a little tough at first. I’m such an introvert that it kept me from making other friends. My close group of friends moved away, others did not have a problem talking with other people. I felt alone.

But no pity party here, because I sucked it up. I ended up falling in love with reading. I read all sorts of fiction. I loved historical fiction, I loved dystopians, I loved contemporaries, I loved anything that felt good in my hands. Freshman year was also when I read The Chronicles of Narnia. It was presented to me by my youth pastor. It may have took me the entire year, but I did enjoy every minute I spent reading and analyzing every word of it.

I fell in love with The Infernal Devices. Today they are still a top favorite. I started watching book-tubers on YouTube like PolandBananas and JessetheReader (Many others as well). I wanted to start reading books to get their meaning other than just reading them. So I did.

Since the day I decided I wanted to start writing, I came up with this story that only a few people know about. It is one story I hope to write about one day, once I have modified it. And man, has it gone through a lot. Name changes. Plot changes. Setting changes. Same concept, but every year it evolves into what I want it to be.

I have practiced writing. I studied websites on tips and good writing habits. I had people read tiny prompts that I wrote. The passion continually grew and grew. But I hardly ever published any of my work. I was too scared… am too scared.



Age fifteen-SIXTEEN,

We’re getting close to the end! Sophomore year has been by far one of my favorite years in a long time. I forced myself out of my shell, and I actually made friends with a lot of people. I met people who shared common interests. I met people who knew what I was talking about half the time!

For the first semester, I was in Art. Throughout art, I would make fan-art symbolizing my favorite books. My art teacher thought they were beautiful, and I even remember one person going, “Hey! I love that series!” Thank you, Brad.

My genres expanded greatly. Around this time I joined LilBooKlovers. Thank you, Kester, for this wonderful opportunity! I have always wanted to review books and to talk about them. This blog was one of the best things to ever help me.

Again, I wrote and I wrote. I showed a friend of mine. And I wrote. Took a long break. Wrote. My story was still changing by the things I experienced.

By the next semester, my story was something completely different. Today, it is something I feel like cannot go to waste. It has come so far. I haven’t wrote the book. Far from that, but I think about it all the time. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to share it to the world.


This is my Reading Story. Not too grand, but it’s what got me into reading!!!

I want to tag the following people to do this when their birthday comes around or if they would like to modify to fit something closer, feel free! If you would like to do this tag, feel free to do so!

I tag: 

Jannin from The Booknerd Dragon

Rendz from Reading with Rendz

Aaron from Swords & Spectres

 

BOOK HAUL!!!😍😍😍

I recently bought five books on amazon and they finally came in today!!!

Disclaimer: I bought all of these books with my own money. None of them were sent to me. 

1. A Monster Calls by Patrick NessBook Description: The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

Reasoning: I really liked the cover of the book and the description sounded interesting. 

2. The Love that Split the World by Emily HenryBook Description: Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves. Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right. That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau. 

Reasoning: I’ve heard great things about this book so I decided to try it out for myself. 

3. Girl in Pieces by Kathleen GlasgowBook Description: Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you. Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge. 

Reasoning: It was a recommendation from a friend. 

4. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy Book Description: What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission. Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she caused irreparable damage to the people around her—and to the one person who matters most?

Reasoning: I’ve been wanting to read this book for awhile but have never gotten around to it. 

5. Milk and Honey by Rupi KaurBook Description: Milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. Milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

Reasoning: I love poetry and when I heard everyone talking about this book I knew I had to get it. 

Have you read any of these?Are any of these on your TBR?

Catch the Spark Within – Chapters 12 and 13! By Alex Abaz

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

Hey, back and better than ever! These following chapters were very short, therefore the reviews may be short. But they were wonderful nonetheless!

Chapter 12: Crises are not fun but they do present opportunities to do more than just rescue and repair matters.

Crises are never fun. They cause tension between people that probably wasn’t there before. But are they necessary? Yes, sometimes they are.

Alex Abaz assures that crises bring opportunities to heal relationships and to grow personally. A fight with a best friend, we’ve probably all have had one, can strengthen the bond between two people, if it all ends well. You learn more about someone and understand each other a little more.

They can be hard to get through. They make you want to give up mid-fight. Voices inside your head tell you to give up. To walk away and pretend nothing ever happened.

Don’t do this. All you’re doing is hurting those around you. All you’re doing is making it worse. Try to find that finish line. Find the resolve to all of it. “Put aside the hyrt and reach out.”

Chapter 13:  Our Children are Entrusted to Us for such a Short While.

Now, I’m not a parent. Far from one actually. I still have parents whom I trust to take care of me until I’m responsible to take complete control of myself. 

But I do agree with Abaz that children take after their parents. They sponge off their parents’ actions and habits. 
Let’s just say if my parents decided to follow the ways of their own family and didn’t raise me the way they did, I’d be a completely different person. They both changed so my brother and I could have a chance in making a difference in the world.

Parents should be open to the child’s interests. Discipline their child to do what is right. Don’t lay off raising them until it is too late. Be their parents so when they are ready, they will fly high. 

Station Fosaan Blog Tour: Interview with Dee Garretson

 

Hi guys! Welcome to my tour stop for the Station Fosaan Blog Tour! Today we are hosting author Dee Garretson on our blog with a great interview with her! Hope you enjoy and check out her newest book!

station-fosaanstation

Title: STATION FOSAAN

Author: Dee Garretson

Pub. Date: February 14, 2017

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 300

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

Synopsis: Scientists and their families stationed on the remote planet of Fosaan were promised a tropical vacation-like experience. But Fosaan, devastated from an apocalyptic event nearly three-hundred years ago, is full of lethal predators and dangerous terrain.

Earthers are forbidden to go beyond the safety zone of their settlement and must not engage the remaining reclusive Fosaanians, native to the planet. Sixteen-year-old Quinn Neen is about to do both of those things.

During an unsanctioned exploration of the planet, Quinn discovers a beautiful Fosaanian girl named Mira stealing food from his family’s living unit. But before he can convince her to show him around, scientists are taken captive, leaving Quinn and the other young Earthers at the mercy of space raiders.

Quinn must go from renegade to leader and convince Mira to become an ally in a fight against an enemy whose very existence threatens their lives and the future of Earthers stuck on Fosaan and at home.

STATION FOSAAN is THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND meets STAR TREK: THE WRATH OF KHAN.

About Dee:dee-garretson

Dee Garretson writes for many different age groups, from chapter books to middle grade to young adult to adult fiction. She lives in Ohio with her family, and in true writer fashion, has cat companions who oversee her daily word count. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, watch old movies, and attempt various kinds of drawing, painting and other artistic pursuits.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Now onto the interview!

dee

Hi Kester, Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog.

1. If you had to introduce your book Station Fosaan to someone, what would you say?station

First, I’d try not to babble, which is what I usually do when someone asks me about one of my books. I like to describe it as STAR TREK The Wrath of Khan meets Jules Verne’s MYSTERIOUS ISLAND with some romance thrown in. And it also has a parrot. I like to add that because how many science fiction stories have parrots?

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

I love writing because I’ve always told myself stories in my head. It was the way I put myself to sleep as a child. I look at writing as a challenge to make the stories in my head come to life for a reader. When I was about twelve, I started trying to write stories, but I’d start and stop and never really finish anything. I was probably about sixteen before I finished a short story. It’s not something that came easily to me, and sometimes life would just lead me down different paths. The good thing about writing is that you can always come back to it, and the more you experience in life, the more it adds to your writing.

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

Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors because her writing style is completely unique. I reread PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at least once a year and never get tired of it. J.K. Rowling is another favorite. Like Austen, her writing style is all her own, and both are true storytellers. There is good writing and then there is storytelling, and the books I keep going back to read combine the two.

When I was trying to develop my own writing style, I decided to pick an author whose style I would like to emulate and study what they did. I loved a mystery series by Martha Grimes so I sat down with her books and analyzed them to determine what I liked so much. I realized she had a very easy uncluttered style, and even though the books are murder mysteries, there are some light touches here and there. Those bits of humor made me invest in the characters all the more and made me want to read each new book as it was released. That’s what I’ve worked to develop in my own style.

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

Favorite genres to read are science fiction, epic fantasy, historicals, mysteries and thrillers. I switch around a lot, partly because if I’m writing in one genre, I don’t read in that genre. It fogs up my brain too much if I do. The books I mentioned above are certainly favorites, but my other favorites are DUNE and a mystery series by Elizabeth Peters. DUNE for the sweeping scope and world building and the Elizabeth Peters books because they are just fun to read, plus they are about archaeologists in Egypt, and I used to dream about being an archeologist.

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

Writing is a full-time job for me. When I’m not writing, I’m reading or watching movies or hanging out with my family. I also love to travel-we took a trip a few months ago to England and did the Harry Potter Studio Tour. It was basically the perfect vacation, combining books with travel!

6. Since your book takes place on the planet of Fosaan, how did you come up with your setting? Do you have any tips on world building?

I knew I wanted Fosaan to have a tropical climate, but it had to be different from the tropics on Earth, so I decided to make it more of a Jurassic world. I took inspiration from the plants and animals of that time period to create Fosaan. To do the world building, I started with a list of all the elements I had to pull together: history, environment, family structure, societal structure, culture (art, music, etc.) and religion. I sketched out some basic ideas, but then added elements as I pulled together the plot, so that it all tied together. For a unique world, a writer can’t just take an existing or historical culture and rename some elements or change up a few aspects.  The world has to be built bit by bit.

7. Do you believe aliens exist? Would you want to meet one?

I hope aliens exist! There is so much about the universe we don’t know, that is seems possible. I would like to meet one, as long as they weren’t related to Jabba the Hutt. No alien crime lords for me.

8. Would you move and help colonize another planet even though it would mean you would leave all your loved ones on Earth forever?

No, I’m too attached to people here. I might have done it when I was younger and had fewer ties, but not now. I really admire the people who are planning to apply for the Mars mission. I can’t even imagine how overwhelming it is to make a decision like that.

9. Who was your favorite character to write in all your books and why? 

In WOLF STORM one of the characters, Raine Randolph, has been a successful actor since she was a baby, which has sheltered her from the real world. Because she has been so sheltered, she has great fun doing ordinary things. She’s also a bit of a diva but has learned to stand up for herself in an industry where people try to take advantage of her all the time. I really enjoyed trying to imagine what she would be like and how she would react to situations.

10. How did it feel to be chosen to write some of the Boxcar Children books? Which ones did you write? I used to love those books as a kid!

It was incredibly exciting to be chosen to write for the Boxcar Children. I loved series books when I was younger, and it’s kind of like being part of the history of children’s literature to write for them. The ones that came out in 2015 and 2016 are titled THE SLEEPY HOLLOW MYSTERY and THE ELECTION DAY DILEMMA. I’m most excited about the new miniseries, THE GREAT ADVENTURE, out this year to celebrate the 75th anniversary. I helped plot out the five books in the series and wrote the first three. The first book came out February 1st and is called JOURNEY ON A RUNAWAY TRAIN. I’m also excited to have my name on the inside pages as the author of these, though of course Gertrude Chandler Warner’s name is on the front covers.

11. Pick three emojis to describe how you feel whenever your books were nominated for awards and picked for selections, like the Junior Library Guild and the Scholastic Book Club.

I’m not much of an emoji user, but I definitely like the confetti one, especially for the Scholastic Book Club. I remember being so excited as a kid when the Scholastic orders would come in, so to have my book in that was an incredible feeling.

12. How do you cure writer’s block?dee-garretson

I tell myself I don’t have to write perfect sentences. In fact, if you read my first drafts, they’d all sound like random gibberish. I write bits of dialogue, actually a lot of dialogue, interspersed with bits of description, and I jump all over the place. My main goal is just to get the story down and then go back and look at each sentence. My philosophy is that it’s better to have something down on paper. You can fix that. You can’t fix a blank page.

13. Have you written any other works? Out of all your books, which one is your favorite or the one you’re most proud of?

I’ve been writing a long time so I have several books out in the world. I have a middle grade adventure, WILDFIRE RUN, about a U.S. president’s son who gets trapped at Camp David after a disaster, and I have another adventure that is upper middle grade/lower YA called WOLF STORM. It’s about teen actors on a movie set in the mountains who find themselves in the middle of a blizzard. My favorite of my own books is STATION FOSAAN. It was the biggest challenge though it was also the most fun to write. That’s why it’s my favorite.

14. What are your current plans for your writing career?

I have four ideas for stories I’d like to write next, but it’s going to be hard to choose which one I’ll start first. I can’t imagine ever not writing, so I’ll just keep going as long as I can.

15. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Study the books that you love to figure out why you love them, then practice those techniques. Everyone gets discouraged, but keep going. Stubbornness is a writer’s most important character trait.

Thank you so much, Dee, for coming onto our blog! It was fun reading your answers!

 

Now onto the giveaway!

Giveaway Details:

(1) winner will receive a Perfectly Posh, Posh To Meet You Set ($20 value), US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

If you want to go check out the rest of the blog tour, check out these fabulous posts here!

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

2/13/2017- S.E. Muir– Excerpt

2/13/2017- Book Review Becca– Spotlight

2/14/2017- Bibliobibuli YA Interview

2/15/2017- LILbooKlovers Interview

2/16/2017- Lisa’s Loves(Books of Course)– Guest Post

2/16/2017- Omg Books and More Books– Review

2/17/2017- So Few Books– Interview

2/17/2017- Month9Books– Excerpt

Week Two:

2/20/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Interview

2/20/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Review

2/21/2017- Susan Heim on Writing– Excerpt

2/21/2017- Book-Keeping– Review

2/22/2017- Wishful Endings Interview

2/22/2017-Hidden Worlds BooksGuest Post

2/23/2017- Always & Forever Fangirling– Excerpt

2/23/2017- the Blacksheep Reader– Review

2/24/2017- I am not a bookworm!– Review

 

Thank you so much for reading this tour stop for Dee Garretson’s Station Fosaan! Go check out her books, and remember to subscribe and share our blog to get the latest blog tour stops!