Brooding YA Hero Challenge: All About Music! – ARC Review: Starswept by Mary Fan

Hi guys! This week’s Brooding YA Hero Challenge is “All About Music,” and the best book to write about is one that I loved so much and is dear to my heart: Starswept by Mary Fan! This was the first ever ARC I was sent from an author/publisher for review, and I’m so happy to be able to review it and feature it for the Brooding YA Hero Challenge of the Week!


About the Booka0258-starswept-8002bcover2breveal2band2bpromotional

Some melodies reach across the stars.

In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.

Starswept will be released on August 29th from Snowy Wings Publishing!

Goodreads


A 5 Star

Disclaimer: I received a signed ARC in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review at all.

Overall Thoughts: This is the first book in a while that will receive a 5 stars from me! I am truly “swept” away by Fan’s debut book. I literally could not put it down because it was so stunning! It definitely exceeded my expectations, and this is a series that I want to continue so much! There is literally nothing wrong with this book; I can’t think of anything against it. Plus, I felt such a very close personal connection because it revolved a lot around music, and music makes up a very influential part of my life. Incorporating music and the music school inside the book is ingenious! I just want to give the book a very big hug because the main characters share the same love of music and the arts as I do. I just didn’t want it to end!

Continue reading “Brooding YA Hero Challenge: All About Music! – ARC Review: Starswept by Mary Fan”

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Review: Ashes in the Sky by Jennifer M. Eaton

Hi guys! Tomorrow, I am going to attend the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival in Murfreesboro, TN, and I am so excited! Because it’s tomorrow, I am posting this review of SE-YA author Jennifer M. Eaton’s Ashes in the Sky, which was really good!

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this book for being a part of the Embers in the Sea Blog Tour from the publisher. This will not affect my review.

ashesinthesky-v6-book2-final-v3Goodreads Synopsis: After inadvertently saving the world, eighteen-year-old Jessica Martinez is ready to put adventure behind her and settle back into the familiar routine of high school.

Though when she’s offered an opportunity to photograph the inside of an alien space ship, Jess jumps at the chance. After all, she’d be crazy to turn something like that down, right?

Spending time with David on the ship has definite advantages and the two seem to pick up right where they left off. But when Jess discovers a plot to sabotage David’s efforts to establish a new home for his people on another planet, neither David’s advanced tech nor Jess’s smarts will be able to save them.

ASHES IN THE SKY is an action-packed, romantic Sci Fi adventure that will leave readers screaming for more.

Rating: 9/10 stars

Overall Thoughts: Ashes in the Sky continues Jess and David’s adventure on the Erescopian ship outside of Earth. I definitely felt as if I was sucked into the books. I read through most of this book in one day since I could not put it down! My eyes were glued to the screen, for the story kept me hooked! The author definitely didn’t let me down in the sequel to Fire in the Woods!

Plot and Action (Strength): The book is so fast-paced that I tore through it with lightning speed! Eaton packed so much action, adventure, thrills, plot twists, and surprises galore that you never know what happens next! I never felt bored with the storyline since Jennifer packed so much action, adventure, and surprises into it! At times, I felt like as if I was watching an action movie! It was that great!

Characters (Strength): I loved Jess’s POV! At times I felt the same emotions she felt and wanted the same things she wanted. You could really feel her angst, her sorrow, and her tension, and this made me feel very sympathetic to her. I wanted what she wanted and became angry when she was angry! I love it when you could feel what the main character is feeling.

Similarities to the First Book (Weakness): My only pet peeve with this book is that it the story arc felt really similar to Fire in the Woods. It was so similar that it really didn’t feel too unique or as if it added something new to the story. As much as I liked reading this book, there could have been more to added to the arc in the entire series. In The Continuum Trilogy by Jennifer Brody, each book, even though they were all fast-paced, had their own touch and feel. The Fire in the Woods books just seem similar to me. The reason why I’m removing a star is that it could have been varied more so it would not have a similar feel like its predecessor, but I did enjoy them both equally.

Concluding Thoughts: Jennifer M. Eaton did a wonderful job continuing Jess and David’s escapades outside of Earth! I am definitely looking forward to ending the trilogy with the newly released Embers in the Sea! I have a great feeling that it’s going to be really good!

Have you read the Fire in the Woods Trilogy? Do you sci-fi books with aliens? What about trilogies? Comment below with your thoughts, and let’s chat soon!

+ J.M.J.

Happy Reading!

~ Kester

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!

Embers in the Sea Blog Tour: Interview with Jennifer M. Eaton

Hi guys! Welcome to the my tour stop for the Embers in the Sea Blog Tour! There are two things special about this book and blog tour stop: 1) This is the last promo post stop! Woo hoo! We’re ending the blog tour off with a bang! 2) I’m planning on meeting Jennifer M. Eaton at the SE-YA Book Fest in Murfreesboro, TN, this March! I can’t wait, and I am so glad that I am part of the blog tour! Hope you enjoy my stop, buy her books, and share this blog tour stop with all your friends! 🙂

embers-in-the-sea

Title: EMBERS IN THE SEA (Fire in The Woods #3)embers-in-the-sea-ebook-final

Author: JenniferM. Eaton

Pub. Date: January 31, 2017

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 300

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

Synopsis: Alien scientist David has dealt with disappointment his entire life, but failing to breathe life into the planet Mars is his greatest regret. Out of options and in need of a new home for their people, the alien Caretakers rekindle their plan to inhabit Earth. First they will have to eliminate the human race, including Jess, the only human David holds dear.

Humanity has one final chance at survival. David needs to emulate Earth’s precipitation on Mars. But the catalyst to make it rain lies in the fathomless depths of Earth’s ocean.

The clock is ticking down to humanity’s last hours as Jess and David face a world more alien than either of them can imagine. The sea hides secrets, but some secrets don’t want to be found.

Title: FIRE IN THE WOODS (Fire In The Woods #1) fire-in-the-woods

Author: Jennifer M. Eaton

Pub. Date: October 28, 2014

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 331

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon |B&N | TBD |  iBooks | Kobo | Books A Million | Google Play | IndieBound

Synopsis: When a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally.

But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel. But her father runs their house like an army barracks. and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere.

Ever.

So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met? Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David.

That doesn’t mean she won’t do it.

It just means she can’t get caught. Helping David get home while protecting her heart—that’s gonna be the hard part.

After all, she can’t really fall for a guy whose not exactly from here. As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But all is not what it seems. David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs as alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she’s to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it.

FIRE IN THE WOODS is Star-Crossed meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind!

Title: ASHES IN THE SKY (Fire In The Woods #2)ashesinthesky-v6-book2-final-v3

Author: Jennifer M. Eaton

Pub. Date: March 15, 2016

Publisher: Month9Books

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 331

Find it: Goodreads | Amazon |B&N | TBD | iBooks | Kobo | Books A Million | Google Play | IndieBound

After inadvertently saving the world, eighteen-year-old Jessica Martinez is ready to put adventure behind her and settle back into the familiar routine of high school.

Though when she’s offered an opportunity to photograph the inside of an alien space ship, Jess jumps at the chance. After all, she’d be crazy to turn something like that down, right?

Spending time with David on the ship has definite advantages and the two seem to pick up right where they left off. But when Jess discovers a plot to sabotage David’s efforts to establish a new home for his people on another planet, neither David’s advanced tech nor Jess’s smarts will be able to save them.

ASHES IN THE SKY is an action-packed, romantic Sci Fi adventure that will leave readers screaming for more.

About Jennifer: jennifer-m-eaton-promo-protrait

Jennifer M. Eaton hails from the eastern shore of the North American Continent on planet Earth. Yes, regrettably, she is human, but please don’t hold that against her. While not traipsing through the galaxy looking for specimens for her space moth collection, she lives with her wonderfully supportive husband and three energetic offspring. (And a poodle who runs the spaceport when she’s not around.)

During infrequent excursions to her home planet of Earth, Jennifer enjoys long hikes in the woods, bicycling, swimming, snorkeling, and snuggling up by the fire with a great book; but great adventures are always a short shuttle ride away.

Who knows where we’ll end up next?

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

jennifer-m-eaton

Hi Kester! Thanks so much for having me today.

1. Congrats that your most recent book Embers in the Sea, the finale to your Fire in the Woods trilogy, just released!embers-in-the-sea-ebook-final

Thanks! Woohoo! I can’t believe the story has grown so much.

In your own words, what is your Fire in the Woods series about?

In general, Fire in the Woods is a fun story about running for your life while stuff blows up, but there are deeper themes, like friendship, honor, tolerance, racial equality, and striving to do what’s right against the odds.

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

I’ve been making up stories since I was a little kid. (No-not to get out of getting in trouble.) I can’t remember a time when there weren’t little characters running around in my head on silly or extravagant adventures. When I was in high school, I started writing a story down for the first time. I wrote a chapter a night and let my friends read it the next day at school. They loved it, and I was hooked. Writing is sort of like therapy. It is an amazing escape to lose yourself in a world you’ve created.

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

My favorite authors are Jennifer L. Armentrout, (YA Spec romance) Jocelyn Adams,(YA/NA Spec Romance) Jess Acardo (Contemporary YA thriller romance) and Suzane Brockman (Adult Navy Seal stories)

I think all of them have had somewhat of an impact on my writing. Armentrout has a way of drawing you into a story and not letting go. Adams writes with a unique voice that really connects you to a character. Acardo writes with fantastic pressure and pacing. Brockman is a master of creating fantastic ensemble casts of characters where you love the secondary characters as much as the main characters. I try to emulate some of what they do when I write. Finding a balance of these elements is a tricky process.

Continue reading “Embers in the Sea Blog Tour: Interview with Jennifer M. Eaton”