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

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


About the BookStrong Inside

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

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


A 5 Star

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

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

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

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

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

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


About the AuthorAndrew Maraniss 1

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


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

Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

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

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


About the Book: BeLightLikeaBird

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


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

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

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”

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!”

Soulmated by Shaila Patel

Hello! Last Saturday, I finally got to meet one of the nicest and best authors at the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival (post to come soon)! Her name is Shaila Patel, and she is an amazing romance writer! I am so glad I got to meet her, and her debut book Soulmated just released in January! Go buy it and check it out!

Goodreads Summary: **Winner of the 2015 Chanticleer Book Reviews Paranormal Awards in YA**soulmated_shailapatel_1600x2400_seriestitle

Two souls. One Fate.

Eighteen-year-old Liam Whelan, an Irish royal empath, has been searching for his elusive soulmate. The rare union will cement his family’s standing in empath politics and afford the couple legendary powers, while also making them targets of those seeking to oust them.

Laxshmi Kapadia, an Indian-American high school student from a traditional family, faces her mother’s ultimatum: Graduate early and go to medical school, or commit to an arranged marriage.

When Liam moves next door to Laxshmi, he’s immediately and inexplicably drawn to her. In Liam, Laxshmi envisions a future with the freedom to follow her heart.

Liam’s father isn’t convinced Laxshmi is “The One” and Laxshmi’s mother won’t even let her talk to their handsome new neighbor. Will Liam and Laxshmi defy expectations and embrace a shared destiny? Or is the risk of choosing one’s own fate too great a price for the soulmated?

DISCLAIMER: I received a free electronic ARC copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I have also received swag from the author. These will not affect my review in any way.

Rating: 10/10 stars

Overall Thoughts: Soulmated was actually one of my most anticipated releases of 2017, and I was so excited when I got an e-ARC of it from the author! This book was really impressive for a debut author; it definitely exceeded my expectations and grabbed my attention! It’s not just a normal lovey-dovey romance, but instead, it infuses a unique relationship with an air of tension, mystery, questioning, and suspicion. This is not your average young adult romance. It is one of the best I have ever read!

Humor and Relatability: I have not laughed in a book more than this one! There is a lot of humor in what the characters do or say that both teens and adults will laugh at! I know because I’ve chuckled quite a few times. The ethnic diversity of the characters are so authentic that at times it’s funny! I could hear Liam’s Irish accent, and I loved it when Laxshmi corrected her mom’s grammar. I was going “Same!!!” Even the Irish and Indian terminology in the book is great; I had the urge to go “What’s craic?” (which is Irish for “What’s up?”) to some of my peers!

Romance: There are many reasons why the romance between the two protagonists is so unique and amazing!

1) Diversity. The author embraces each of the character’s ethnic backgrounds and portrays it so well in the book. The interracial romance breaks boundaries, yet it uses Laxshmi’s Indian heritage as an important element of this story. You just have to read to find out how it is both helped and harmed their connection.

2) Ups and Downs. The two went through many trials (not spoiling the ending). Both questioned whether it was right to pursue a relationship with the other, yet the still harbored feelings for each other. The dual-POV definitely added a layer of internal conflict that really works with this storyline. 3) Fantasy. Liam being an empath prince adds a ton of tension on the relationship. He is forced to find his “soulmate,” yet he questions whether Lucky (his nickname for Laxshmi) is the one. He at times feels dead-set that she is “the one” but at other times he doesn’t. The empath politics that surround this romance also adds a new sub-plot to it. There are some twists and surprises in store! Read it to find out what they are!

Some Details: There were, like many books I have already read, some parts where I had to think or read about what happened. I had to re-read the ending to grasp the events that were unfolding, but once I realized what was going on, I was shocked. There is a weird time-jump in the middle of the book that actually made me think the Liam at the time was an impostor (it was Liam for real by the way), but other than that, I don’t have a problem with anything!

My Review in a Nutshell: The ending definitely shocked me. I was like “What???” and “I need to read the next book!” I literally want to know what happens next! Overall, I enjoyed this book! I love it so much! Patel did not disappoint in her debut book, and I am so glad I was able to read it!

Recommendation: 100% Yes! I think you will be “soulmated” to this book! (Ha! Get it? No. Tough crowd.)

+ J.M.J.

Til next time!

~ Kester

These Ruthless Deeds Blog Tour: Review of These Vicious Masks (Which is Really Awesome!)

Hi guys! I am so glad that I am a part of a blog tour for one of my most anticipated releases of 2017! Below you can find my review of These Vicious Masks and why it is so awesome that I have such high expectations for These Ruthless Deeds! I hope you enjoy!



These Ruthless Deeds
Kelly Zekas, Tarun Shanker
(These Vicious Masks #2)
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: March 14th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

England, 1883. Still recovering from a devastating loss, Evelyn is determined to use her powers to save other gifted people from those who would harm them. But when her rescue of a young telekinetic girl goes terribly wrong, Evelyn finds herself indebted to a secret society devoted to recruiting and protecting people like Evelyn and her friends.

As she follows the Society’s orders, healing the sick and embarking on perilous recruitment missions, Evelyn sees her problems disappear. Her reputation is repaired, her friends are provided for, and her parents are newly wealthy. She reunites with the dashing Mr. Kent and recovers the reclusive Mr. Braddock (who has much less to brood over now that the Society can help him to control his dangerous power). But Evelyn can’t help fearing the Society is more sinister than it appears…

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

These Vicious Masks
Kelly Zekas, Tarun Shanker

(These Vicious Masks #1)
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: March 14th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

England, 1882. Evelyn is bored with society and its expectations. So when her beloved sister, Rose, mysteriously vanishes, she ignores her parents and travels to London to find her, accompanied by the dashing Mr. Kent. But they’re not the only ones looking for Rose. The reclusive, young gentleman Sebastian Braddock is also searching for her, claiming that both sisters have special healing powers. Evelyn is convinced that Sebastian must be mad, until she discovers that his strange tales of extraordinary people are true—and that her sister is in graver danger than she feared.

Author Bio:

Tarun and Kelly met in a freshman year writing class at NYU and started writing These Vicious Masks a few years later.

Tarun is a writer living in Los Angeles whose idea of paradise consists of kung-fu movies, David Bowie and chai tea. Since completing his first horrible screenplay in high school, he’s written everything from one-act plays and film criticism to humor pieces and strongly-worded emails. He’s also magnetized, crushed and burned the hard drive where that first screenplay can be found.

Kelly is a writer and actor living in NYC. YA is her absolute favorite thing on earth other than cupcakes and she has spent many hours crying over fictional deaths. She also started reading Harlequin romances at a possibly too early age (12?), and still loves a good paperback romance.

Links (Tarun):

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Links (Kelly):

Website / Goodreads / Twitter

My Review of These Vicious Masks

DISCLAIMER: I received a free electronic copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours and Swoon Reads in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.

Rating: 11/10 stars

Overall Thoughts: I think I found a new favorite of all time! These Vicious Masks is such an amazing book. I read it all in two days- TWO DAYS!!! I finished 80%, the equivalent of 240 pages, in a single day. I devoured it so fast yet I savored each page. I am in love with this book! I really did not expect the book to be this good! It was such a pleasant surprise, and I love it so so so much!

Characters: I love the characters! I have not found a set of characters that are so lovable! The wit and dry humor and sarcasm of Evelyn and Mr. Braddock is hilarious! I mean, I laughed a lot whenever they try to say something witty or sarcastic. I find Mr. Kent to be like me a lot! He would create a complicated explanation for something simple and be like “No. I just did this and it worked!” Readers will definitely fall in love with the characters! Since the book is pitched as Jane Austen meets X-Men, the group that tries to find Rose is definitely a dream team!

Plot: This book has a lot of action, and it is really fast-paced. There’s so much suspense and thrill that is embedded in the storyline that the reader will get hooked from the beginning. I enjoyed the story from start to finish; from the suspicion arising at the beginning to the shocking revelations towards the middle and the end, I literally could not put the book down.

Some Details: I got lost in just a few pages since I couldn’t grasp certain details, but this did not stop me. It was so minor that I was like “It’s no big deal.” I still love this book! Yes, I had to re-read one or two sections, but the action-packed plot balanced it off. There’s so many great things about this book that greatly outweighs the weaknesses.

My Review in a Nutshell: I want to read These Ruthless Deeds so much right now!!! Why can’t I get a Netgalley account so I could read TRD??? I am really looking forward to continuing Evelyn’s story! TRD is now on my most anticipated reads of 2017! These Vicious Masks is definitely one of my favorite books of all time! It was so amazing, and the authors definitely exceeded my expectations!

Recommendation: I recommend this book 100%! And go get These Ruthless Deeds if you can!

Convinced? Now go enter the giveaway!

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope you enjoyed! Have a great day!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

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

Review: Golden by K. M. Robinson

Hola mi amigos! (I know I don’t speak Spanish, but I do have some Spanish blood actually!) If you don’t know what that translates to, it means “Hi my friends!” Two more days til SE-YA!!! I am super excited! You might be tired of hearing me talk about SE-YA, but I am super excited! There are so many authors I want to meet, like David Arnold, Mindy McGinnis, Sharon Cameron, Tobie Easton, M. Tara Crowl, Brittany Goodwin, Shaila Patel, and Jennifer M. Eaton! But for now, here is my review of Golden by K.M. Robinson, which is one of my most anticipated reads of 2017!

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.

golden-cover-reveal-feb-9-2017-by-k-m-robinsonGoodreads Summary: When the girl with the golden hair betrays everyone, not even she has hope of surviving.

The stories say that Goldilocks was a naïve girl who wandered into a house one day. Those stories were wrong. She was never naïve. It was all a perfectly executed plan to get her into the Baers’ group to destroy them.

Trained by her cousin, Lowell, and handler, Shadoe, Auluria’s mission is to destroy the Baers by getting close to the youngest brother, Dov, his brother and sister-in-law and the leaders of the Baers’ group. When she realizes Dov isn’t as evil as her cousin led her to believe, she must figure out how to play both sides or her deception will cause everyone in her world to burn.

If her allegiances are discovered, either side could destroy her…if the Society doesn’t get her first.

Rating: 9/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: Golden was really one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 (along with Blood Rose Rebellion, These Ruthless Deeds, Caraval, The United Continuums, The Traitor’s Kiss… where was I?) I had really high expectations for this book, but it reached it like 211 degrees Fahrenheit. It was really good, like hot, but it didn’t exactly reach that boiling point to make it a new favorite. Regardless, I really liked it. There were times when I couldn’t put the book down and my eyes were glued on my device’s screen!

Retelling: So this book is a retelling on Goldilocks. I think I would prefer this book over the original fairy tale any day! It infuses the original naïve girl with romance, action, secrets, and espionage; it was really unique! Now everyone is human in this book, just a bit of a head’s up. It was a little hard for me to transition from actual bears to the human Baers, but it catches onto you after a while.

Action: This book will definitely give you thrills and chills. The author packed the book with some plot twists, and my jaw dropped at a few of them. I actually screamed once because I was like “Oh my goodness!” and “I knew it!” (I made a prediction and I was right! First one! Yes!) Those plot twists, oh my! I just love whenever a book includes them!

Plot: There were a few parts that didn’t exactly click with me. There were some things that were so sudden or so fast I was wondering where in the world did that element come from. I did think there were some scenes in the middle and end that could have been removed because it stalled the plot and some scenes that were a bit confusing to me. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it!

My Review in a Nutshell: I really liked this book. No doubt. I was hooked from the beginning! There’s not that many Goldilocks retellings out there, yet this one definitely put a unique spin on Goldilocks! This is a great start to K. M. Robinson’s writing career!

What are your favorite fairy tale retellings? What are you most anticipated reads of 2017? Comment below, and we’ll chat soon!

+ J.M.J.

Happy Reading!

~ Kester

 

Eden’s Escape, by M. Tara Crowl

Hi guys! I am so stockpiled with reviews… this is number 1 out of 5! So March will definitely be crazy full of reviews. I will do my best in the month of March to do as many reviews as I can since I’m so far behind! This one is about a book I read over a month ago! So I hope you enjoy this review on Eden’s Escape by M. Tara Crowl!

Important Kester Note: On my review and little promotion for Jennifer M. Eaton’s Fire in the Woods when it was free last week, I forgot to include the legal disclaimer. The post has been updated, and I am sorry about that. Don’t let that affect you reading the book!

Goodreads Summary of Eden’s Escape (Eden of the Lamp #2): edens-escape_finalEden’s new life on earth begins in New York City under the guidance of her new guardian: Pepper, a petite, bubbly genie alum who’s also a Broadway actress. Before she has a chance to settle in, though, Eden is whisked away for a granting–only to find herself trapped in a laboratory. David Brightly, owner of the world’s leading tech company, cares more about tapping into the lamp’s power than making a wish and starts performing tests on Eden. With Brightly’s plasma shield around the lamp, Eden has no way home. Left without a choice, she escapes the lab and goes on the run. After her daring exit, Eden finds herself on the streets of Paris–home to Electra’s headquarters. Left in a strange city with a price on her head (courtesy of scheming Brightly), Eden has to keep her wits about her. She dons a chic disguise and flits around Paris incognito, investigating Brightly Tech. Assisted by Pepper and her old adversary Bola, as well as some new friends, Eden embarks on a quest to retrieve the lamp and protect the secrets of the genie legacy.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in a giveaway. This will not affect my review.

Rating: 8/10 Stars

I liked this book! It was a fun and easy read that grabbed my attention at times! As I’m thinking about how the target audience will react to this book, I do think that middle-grade readers will enjoy running around Paris with Eden in her latest escapades. Although I loved the first book Eden’s Wish better than the sequel, Eden’s Escape is definitely a middle-grade book I would recommend to younger children!

Eden is one of the most relatable characters I have read in a middle-grade book. Crowl has portrayed her just like a 12-year old would, even though I sometimes forgot she was 12! I really connected with her: I could relate with her struggles and emotions. She was going through a short time where no one listened to her or understood her, and I know how that feels! The author definitely made Eden’s experiences similar to what middle schoolers would have gone through.

The plot is very interesting! As she’s trying to escape and defeat the Brightly forces, there is quite a bit of action and adventure! There’s also a few plot twists that had me go “Oh my goodness!” If you have read my past review, you know I love plot twists! The story definitely got me going. The beginning was really sweet while the end was full of surprises! The plot definitely resolved well, and I liked the ending.

I honestly didn’t love the sequel as I liked the original one. I wasn’t as hooked into this one because it felt a bit scattered to me at times. I was going “Why is the plot doing that?” occasionally since certain events didn’t mesh together as much as I wanted them to. But does that mean the book wasn’t great? Definitely not! I really liked it! It was cute and fun!

Eden’s Escape is great for young readers and even older ones! Although the target audience is for middle-grade readers, there’s a good possibility that older people will like it! I would recommend Eden’s Wish more, but if you want to continue the story when Eden is living outside of the lamp, then you should read this book!

Recommendation: Go for it!

Have you read this book? Are you interested in reading this? What do you like about books with magic in the real world? Comment below with your thoughts and let’s chat!

Free E-Book Today Only: Fire in the Woods, by Jennifer M. Eaton

Hi guys! I have another review posted up, and it’s on Fire in the Woods by Jennifer M. Eaton! I loved this book. And today’s a special day! Why? This book is FREE on Amazon Kindle today only! I repeat, this book is FREE on Amazon Kindle today! Go download it now! Here is a link!

Fire in the Woods on Amazon Kindle for Free 2/24/17

If you are not yet convinced to download it, then read my review!

 

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!

 

DISCLAIMER:  I received a free digital copy in exchange for a review from the EMBERS IN THE SEA Blog Tour.


Rating: 10/10 Stars!

 

My Overall Thoughts: I love Fire in the Woods! Yes, I know I’m writing this review a month after I read it, but who cares? A review’s a review! I’m still rating it 5 stars. Any hoo, I sometimes couldn’t put this book down! I laughed, I almost cried, and I was hooked. It felt like watching an action-packed sci-fi movie!

Continue reading “Free E-Book Today Only: Fire in the Woods, by Jennifer M. Eaton”