E-ARC Review: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Hi guys! Today, a solar eclipse is going to happen right over my home here in Tennessee! Woo hoo! A lot of my friends around the state are going to watch it, and I am super excited! To celebrate, why not post my review of a sci-fi book that is beyond the stars? Nyxia is obviously the best choice! In addition, in a few weeks, I am going to have the author of Nyxia, the wonderful Scott Reintgen, on the blog, so be on the lookout for that.


About the Book27426044

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden–a planet that Babel has kept hidden–where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Goodreads


5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic ARC copy of this book from the publisher through Penguin First to Read in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.

Nyxia was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, and I literally ran to my computer when I found out that it was on Penguin First to Read. Let me tell you, this series is going to be amazing. I have really high hopes for it, which means a lot. I really needed this book because I was in a slump of average/good (but not amazeballs level) novels, and this got me out of it. Nyxia is going to be one of the best YA releases of Fall 2017. I won’t be surprised if it hits the bestseller lists like The New York Times Bestsellers; I’m actually anticipating and hoping it will. You just need to read this book. It was a roller coaster of emotions and events, and although I could predict a few things, there was still so many surprises in store. For a book I had really high expectations, it did not disappoint, which shows how amazing it was.

Continue reading “E-ARC Review: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen”

ARC Review: Post-High School Reality Quest by Meg Eden

Hi guys! Today I have for you an ARC review, and this was one of the first ARCs that I was ever sent! Woo hoo! I hope you enjoy it! Today also marks the start of my first full week at school, so what better to celebrate than a book that explores the reality of life after high school!


About the Book:PHSRQarccover

Buffy is playing a game. However, the game is her life, and there are no instructions or cheat codes on how to win.

After graduating high school, a voice called “the text parser” emerges in Buffy’s head, narrating her life as a classic text adventure game. Buffy figures this is just a manifestation of her shy, awkward, nerdy nature—until the voice doesn’t go away, and instead begins to dominate her thoughts, telling her how to life her life. Though Buffy tries to beat the game, crash it, and even restart it, it becomes clear that this game is not something she can simply “shut off” or beat without the text parser’s help.

While the text parser tries to give Buffy advice on how “to win the game,” Buffy decides to pursue her own game-plan: start over, make new friends, and win her long-time crush Tristan’s heart. But even when Buffy gets the guy of her dreams, the game doesn’t stop. In fact, it gets worse than she could’ve ever imagined: her crumbling group of friends fall apart, her roommate turns against her, and Buffy finds herself trying to survive in a game built off her greatest nightmares.

Goodreads


Disclaimer: I received a free physical ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I also received some swag outside of the trade agreement. These will not affect my review.

Overall Thoughts: This is probably one of the most creative books I have ever read. From Buffy’s mental illness portrayed as a text adventure to the format itself like a text adventure, it definitely would stick out over other books. Now, I had really high expectations, but this book just didn’t click with me. I did not enjoy it as much as I wanted to or thought I would, unfortunately. I really wanted to love it, but I have to be honest that I didn’t.

Continue reading “ARC Review: Post-High School Reality Quest by Meg Eden”

My July Reading Re-Cap!

Hi guys! July has been a crazy but amazing month for me. I finished my Goodreads challenge of 52 books (yay me!) with Tash Hearts Tolstoy, so now I don’t have to worry about being behind on my challenge! I know I didn’t get much reading done this month since I was gone for a week to engineering camp (which was such an amazing experience) and a small vacation in the mountains afterwards, but I’m back! School has just started for me, so I’ll be less active here due to me prioritizing school work and school-related activities, but I’ll still do my best to post for you! Here’s what I read in July, and I hope you enjoy!

July Reading Re-Cap


4 Stars

The Fever Code by James Dashner

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This is How It Happened by Paula Stokes

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Jaded by K. M. Robinson

Jaded

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Lucky Few by Kathryn Ormsbee

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3 Stars

The Government by Peter Gulgowski

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Tash Hearts Tolstoy
by Kathryn Ormsbee

-3

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So I’ve only read 6 books this month, and no 5 star books sadly. Hopefully August gives me a few new favorites like June did!

What have you read in July? Have you read any of these books? Comment below, and let’s chat!

Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Contact | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin

Summer of Authors Finale!: Exclusive Interview with Patty Blount, author of The Way It Hurts

Hi guys! Today is the last day of July, so that means that the Summer of Authors has come to an end! Wow, 16 interviews and guest posts in 2 months? In the upcoming months, we’re limiting the number of guest authors we have on the blog, but we’re still going to have some amazing authors, so you don’t want to miss them! To conclude the Summer of Authors, we’re having Patty Blount, award-winning author of Some Boys and Send! Tomorrow, she is releasing her newest book The Way It Hurts, and you don’t want to miss it! I’m so glad I’m having her on the blog today to talk about her latest book and some other fun stuff, so I hope you enjoy!


About The Way It Hurts32841616

There may be two sides to every story, but sometimes there’s only one way to set things right…

Music is Elijah’s life. His band plays loud and hard, and he’ll do anything to get them a big break. He needs that success to help take care of his sister, who has special needs. So he’d rather be practicing when his friends drag him to a musical in the next town…until the lead starts to sing.

Kristen dreams of a career on stage like her grandmother’s. She knows she needs an edge to get into a competitive theater program―and being the star in her high school musical isn’t going to cut it. The applause and the attention only encourage her to work harder.

Elijah can’t take his eyes off of Kristen’s performance, and snaps a photo of her in costume that he posts online with a comment that everybody misunderstands. It goes viral.  It goes viral. Suddenly, Elijah and Kristen are in a new spotlight as the online backlash spins out of control. And the consequences are bigger than they both could have ever imagined because these threats don’t stay online…they follow them into real life.


Patty Blount

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

PB:  I loved reading. Books are magic! Books that make me cry, break my heart, laugh, or breathe hard in fright are incredible mystical feats.  Books have been my escape, my bliss, my friends and my hope since I was little. I’m not sure when I began dreaming of writing books of my own. It’s always been there. But I never thought I was good enough. And then one day, I decided I had to try and find out for sure. I guess I wanted to be the kind of magician who could make other readers cry, laugh, gasp, or fight.

2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?

I read all genres. I grew up on Nancy Drew mysteries and later Harlequin romances. I’m a big Nora Roberts fan. I love science fiction – particularly Jeff Somers. I adore Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits series. I think every author I read influences me a little.

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

Writing is fulltime but I also have a fulltime day job. I write instructional materials for a large corporation. When I’m not writing or working, I’m probably reading!

328416164. Your latest novel The Way It Hurts releases tomorrow August 1st, and it features two teens whose lives revolve around music and their goals for fame and success. Is music a big part of your life like Elijah and Kristen? What are some of your favorite bands?

My taste in music is pretty broad. I’m a big Neil Diamond fan. I love hard metal, too. Drowning Pool, Thousand Foot Krutch, Disturbed, Skillet, Metallica. Still love Bon Jovi. And lately, I’m loving The Zac Brown Band. I’m not the least bit musical but music does influence me. It sets my mood. Like there’s NO way to be sad after you listen to Shut Up and Dance; it’s just such a fun song.

5. Many of books, such The Way It Hurts and Some Boys, explores the themes of cyber-bullying, online trolling, sexism, and rape culture. What made you passionate about these topics, and how do you want your novels to impact readers, regardless of gender?

I almost lost my oldest son to suicide back when he was in sixth grade. He was bullied so badly, it’s left lasting scars. But back then, he didn’t yet have a phone and wasn’t online. I am so grateful for that because I’m sure if had either, I would have lost him. I think social media exacerbates the impact by extending the reach of bullies and I want readers to understand it’s not a game when they use social networks to spread hate.

6. If you were to form a band, what role would you be, and what would you name the group? Which genre of music would you probably perform?

If I were musical, I’d play lead guitar in a rock band. We’d be called Serial Comma. Or maybe I’d sing.

7. You’ve already written and contributed to nine books! That’s amazing! Out of all of them, which one is your favorite? Which novel was the most challenging to write?

Ooo, this is hard. They’re all my favorite at some point. I think I love NOTHING LEFT TO BURN the most. The most challenging to write is always the one I’m currently working on. Always! I reach a point where the words all suck and the characters annoy me. But I soldier on and do my best to write past that doubt.

Patty-Blount_052_F-240x3008. What about contemporary romance novels drew you as an author and reader to start writing books in that genre?

I would love to write other sub-genres like suspense, horror, etc. I adore romance because it fills me with hope. I have a ghost story that’s still unpublished. And a bit of a rom-com called Crossing the Line that’s about teen race car drivers. I may self-pub them one day. As much as I enjoy reading about magic, I am drawn to contemporary romance because I think that’s the kind of magic I can believe in after I’ve closed the book. It endures.

9. In addition to be an author, you are also a blogger and contributor at YA Outside the Lines. How did you become a part of YA Outside the Lines, and what is it like being a part of the blog?

Oh, I love my Outsider family! It’s by invitation. The incredible author, Kimberly Sabatini, author of TOUCHING THE SURFACE, invited me. This is a fantastic group of YA authors and I’ve only met a few of them in real life. We’re all at different stages of our writing careers, so collaborating on the blog is a great way to learn from masters. Take Bill Cameron, for example. He’s a gifted author of mysteries who just released his first YA. He has the most imaginative ways of showing you the seedy underbelly of life. I find his phrases stick in my brain .

1850968310. Which emojis would you use to describe your reaction whenever your books are nominated for or win an award or accolade, such as a Firecracker Award and a RITA Finalist for Some Boys and a Junior Library Guild Fall Pick for Send? Explain (with words 😉) your choices.

Smiling face/ Astonished face with open mouth/ hearts and lots of exclamation points!!

11. What are you currently working on, and what can we expect from you in the future?

I’m working on a companion story to Some Boys that’s not yet titled. It’s based on the Brock Turner sentence. In this story, the dual narrators are brother and sister and though the book has romances for both characters, it’s not the main focus. The family bond is the story…and how surviving a rape and managing the lack of justice impacts everybody in that family.

12. Do you have any tips for aspiring authors or writers?

Read. Read as much as you can and decide what you like and why. Pay attention to the books that make your pulse pound, your eyes tear, and your heart ache. Then study how those authors did that to you. That’s magic right there. Learn and incorporate their magic into your own. For example, I love how Jeff Somers writes a fight scene. He deliberately slows down the action so I feel every hit. I’ve closed his books sweating like I ran a marathon.

And I like how Nora Roberts write a love scene so it feels like I’m the one being kissed. She immerses you in pure emotion. So now I try to make my characters’ emotions that deep, that intense.

If you want to be scared, read Dean Koontz and Stephen King. Study how they develop their monsters.

You don’t copy and you don’t mimic. You learn which means you figure out how to incorporate those results, those impacts, into your own narrative voice.

Thanks so much Patty for coming onto our blog!!! 🙂


About the AuthorPatty-Blount_052_F-240x300

Patty Blount grew up quiet and somewhat invisible in Queens, NY, but found her voice writing smart and strong characters willing to fight for what’s right. Today, she’s the award-winning author of edgy, realistic, gut-wrenching contemporary and young adult romance. Still a bit introverted, she gets lost often, eats way too much chocolate, and tends to develop mad, passionate crushes on fictional characters…and Gilles Marini….and Sam Heughan. Let’s be real; Patty’s not nearly as cool as her characters, but she is a solid supporter of women’s rights and loves delivering school presentations.

Patty is best known for her internet issues novels, including SOME BOYS, a 2015 CLMP Firecracker winner and SEND, a 2012 Junior Library Guild Fall Pick. Visit her website at pattyblount.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter. She blogs at YA Outside the Lines and is also active on Twitter and Facebook. When she’s not writing, Patty loves to watch bad sci-fi movies, live tweeting the hilarity, and scour Pinterest for ideas on awesome bookcases. Patty lives on Long Island with her family in a house that, sadly, lacks bookcases. She loves hearing from readers, especially when they tell her she’s cool (even though she knows it’s not true), and is easily bribed with chocolate. Never underestimate the power of chocolate.

Patty is highly visible online. Follow her here:
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr | Wattpad | Goodreads


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Are you excited about The Way It Hurts? Have you read any of Patty’s books?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

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Brooding YA Hero Challenge: Why I Love YA Contemporary! + ARC Review: This is How It Happened by Paula Stokes

Hi guys! So I’m back from engineering camp, which I miss so much! I had such an amazing time learning how to program lasers and coding software, and I made so many great friends that I wish I could see soon. Because school is starting up in exactly a week, I’ll be less active here on the blog and on social media since I’ll be working more on my extracurriculars and academics.

Speaking, of social media, let’s talk about this week’s Brooding YA Hero Challenge: YA Contemporary! YA Contemporary is a genre everyone either loves or hates, but I love it! It’s such an amazing genre and many of the books I’ve read and LOVED this year (When Dimple Met Rishi, The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett, This is How It Happened, The Female of the Species) are YA contemporary.

YA Contemporary actually is a genre that could easily relate to you. It touches upon topics that are prominent in today’s modern world. The characters can easily connect with your situations and challenges because you can possibly go through that same thing. Today I’m going to review Paula Stokes’s This is How It Happened, which talks about the dangers of online shaming, a topic that needs to be addressed. Why I love this genre so much is that it can change the readers’ viewpoints on these issues in a context that could possibly happen today. Contemporary shows me that you don’t need an elaborate fantasy world or futuristic sci-fi technology to change someone’s life; you can do it in the backdrop of a normal high school, where someone is being bullied, or where someone is going through an addiction, or someone is going through financial troubles. It’s a genre that a reader can go “I know how you feel.” This is How It Happened is one of my favorite YA Contemporary reads of 2017 because it accomplishes that. It shows me the consequences of our actions in OUR world. I hope you can love YA Contemporary as much as I do because it truly is an impactful and powerful genre.


About the Book30289938

Somehow I’ve become a liar. A coward. Here’s how it happened.

When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.

As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.

Incredibly thought-provoking and beautifully told, Paula Stokes’s story will compel readers to examine the consequences of making mistakes in a world where the internet is always watching…and judging.

Goodreads


4 Stars

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

Overall Thoughts: This book is a must-read, and I mean it! The Internet is such a big part in our everyday lives that we do not know a lot the consequences of our actions on their and what effect they have on others, and we teens especially have a lot to learn. This is How It Happened opened my eyes up to online shaming and how even just one hurtful Tweet can build up to hurt not only those who are being targeted but others around them. This is actually my first Paula Stokes book, and I’m very impressed with not only her writing style but also the messages she had in the books. I urge you to pick up this book because it truly can change your life and what you do both in real life and on the Internet.

Thought-Provoking Messages: Stokes will definitely change your view on online shaming, and she shows how people can easily judge others online without knowing the full facts. Throughout the book, the author adds in comments and Tweets about articles and events in the novel, and they will definitely open up your eyes. I know mine did. I saw how hatred towards someone who people deem as “evil” can lead to all sorts of unintended consequences. What the book emphasizes is that we may not think that our one Tweet will do a lot, but when it combines will thousands of other people, they can drastically affect the lives of those targeted. Stokes shows that victims are not only labeled and shamed, but are driven to even the point of suicide. She shows that people who are acquainted with the victim, whether it’s friends, family, co-workers, etc., can have their lives change for the worse. This is How It Happened is an unforgettable thriller that you cannot put down and that will stick with you for a while. She also talks about another topic (it’s related to impaired driving) that if I talk more about, it could spoil the book, but please, once you’re done, read the author’s note!

Writing Style and Prose: I loved the writing style of Paula Stokes. She made me think, a LOT, and I love that! I failed at stopping and saying “Just one more chapter” because she ends each chapter with such a thought-provoking sentence that makes you go “What happens next?” Her writing is so thought-provoking that I have page flapped a ton of passages because I loved how uniquely she wrote the book. She combined both articles and comments to show how online shaming has gotten very out of hand, and it’s an amazing and accurate portrayal of what actually goes on the Internet. It’s a one of a kind book that is very unforgettable! She truly transported me into the book, as if I was reading the articles on the computer or sitting in Zion National Park looking out at the view. It is a very memorable book!

Slower Beginning: It took me about half the book to get really into it, which is one of my only problems with the novel. I truly didn’t get the “I’m transported into the book and the outside world disappears” feeling until the middle, and then from there, I just could not stop. I think it had to do how the main theme of online shaming didn’t really punch you in the gut until the middle, but overall I enjoyed this book. Once I got nearer to the end, it was if I was actually in the book and watching it unfold before my eyes! Although it may not be a favorite, it still is a book that I will treasure on my shelves.

Concluding Thoughts: I really recommend this book to EVERYONE! It will change your life and help you be careful of what you say both online and in reality. The author wakes up readers to how what we say online may not seem much, but they could have drastic consequences on those targeted and those around them. It is a stunning, thought-provoking thriller that you will not be able to put down. Now I’m really looking forward to reading more of Stokes’s books in the future because she is such an amazing and talented writer. I know I’ve said this already many times, but This is How It Happened is a book that will stick with you for a long. It’s a must read for not only teens, but anyone on the Internet.


About Brooding YA Hero33799449

Have you ever wished you could receive a little guidance from your favorite book boyfriend? Ever dreamed of being the Chosen One in a YA novel? Want to know all the secrets of surviving the dreaded plot twist?

Or maybe you’re just really confused about what “opal-tinted, luminous cerulean orbs” actually are?

Well, popular Twitter personality @broodingYAhero is here to help as he tackles the final frontier in his media dominance: writing a book. Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a “self-help” guide (with activities–you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love.

As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat.

Goodreads


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Do you love YA Contemporary? Have you read This is How It Happened?

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Lucky in Love Blog Tour (+ Summer of Authors #15): Exclusive Interview with Kasie West + E-ARC Review + Giveaway!

Hi guys! Man, I only have two weeks until school starts! I can’t believe Summer’s already gone by that fast! At least I have a ton of posts scheduled for now! But today, I am so glad to have Kasie West here on the blog! Here’s my review and interview for Lucky in Love, which is my first Kasie West book!

BANNER


About the Book30285562

Title: Lucky in Love

Author: Kasie West

Publisher: Scholastic

Release Date: July 25th, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Synopsis: In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture.

Maddie doesn’t believe in luck. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment —

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun… until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.


About the Author5027236

I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels are: PIVOT POINT and its sequel SPLIT SECOND. And my contemporary novels: THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US, ON THE FENCE, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND, PS I LIKE YOU, and BY YOUR SIDE. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.


Kasie West1. Your latest book Lucky in Love revolves around the relationship between Maddie, a girl who recently won the lottery, and her co-worker Seth, who is unaware of Maddie’s recent win. As a YA contemporary romance writer, how do you manage to avoid overused clichés and stereotypes to make your love stories into unique and memorable ones?

Well, I don’t know if I avoid that completely. Ha. But I think the way I work on avoiding that is to really focus in on the characters. That way, even if a situation feels like something that has happened before, I can focus on how the character would handle it or react to it differently than anyone else would. If I can think of the characters as real people the story feels more original.

2. What about young adults inspired you to write romances between teens, rather than adults or children?

I love the themes of young adulthood. This time is full of firsts and firsts are so fun and exciting. First loves, first heartbreaks, first moves, first jobs, etc. etc. It’s so fun for me to explore these firsts. And teens feel everything so strongly. It’s a time of change and “big-ness”.

3. Have you had any exciting or funny experiences with lottery tickets, or other chance games and events?

You would think that maybe I’m a big lottery player after writing a book like this, yes? But no, I’m actually not a “game of chance” type girl. I like spending my money on things that are a little more guaranteed. That said, when I pass through Vegas I occasionally give myself a $5 budget and play a couple of slot machines. In the past I’ve won $20! I shouldn’t be so excited about that, but I was. It was fun.

4. If you were in a situation similar to Maddie’s, where you won $50 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?

I’m a beach bum and I live in a place where the summers can reach 115 degrees. So, if I won that much money, I’d love to buy a home on the beach. That sounds like heaven to me.

5. Have any of the events in your most recent book or your past novels been based off of your personal experiences or people you know?

I wish this book was based off of my real life! That would be awesome. But no, my books are mostly from my imagination. I always say that I don’t base any of my books off of my personal experiences, but I’m sure that some of my experiences have spilled over into my books in some way or other. Especially the emotional experiences I’ve had in past relationships or friendships or things like that. It’s nearly impossible to keep myself out of my books, since I’m the one writing them.

6. How do you want to impact readers with Lucky in Love? What are a few themes that you want readers to take away from the novel?

I hope readers will realize that money isn’t everything. That maybe sometimes we think “if only I had this or that … I’d be happy”. But it is so important to be happy where we are, in our moment. Also, I think hard work is way more important than luck.


Here’s my review of Lucky in Love!4 StarsDisclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this book from Edelweiss via the publisher and the Flying Fantastic Book Club Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Overall Thoughts: This is actually my first Kasie West book I have read (I know, how could a YA contemporary romance guy not read a Kasie West or Morgan Matson book?) and I actually really like the book. It did start off a bit shaky for me since it was very light, but it’s the perfect summer read to take to the beach. It definitely is a cute overload! It’s a book thay not only will make you swoon and go “Awwww” at the romance and characters, but it’s also one that explores life lessons, especially ones about money, friendship, and family. Now, I want more Kasie West books!

Romance and Life Lessons: Certainly, West has blended romance with dilemmas to create a book that will leave you with both a smile and thoughts about life. Although I wished there was more romance, the book was so cute! I mean, it’s like as if I’m watching a rom com (like Legally Blonde but a high school version with no innuendos). If this was a movie, I would certainly watch it! I love seeing the fire slowly ignite between Maddie and Seth. It was definitely a ball if cuteness in book form!

Regarding the life lessons, it definitely shows you the power money has when it comes to changing your life. Even though you can question some of Maddie’s decisions are very clear cut that they’ll be bad choices (like of course, if a relative calls asking for an “investment,” he’s probably just scamming you, an I right?), it does portray correctly how teens can be a bit reckless with their money sometimes. (I’m more of the “overestimate all the costs” type of guy.) It leaves you definitely with lessons about money, friendship, and family that some contemporary romances don’t have, which I really like. I think that it’s good when a book has a moral, so it not only entertains you, but teaches you at the same time. That’s how you change a life.

A Few Things: Now like I said, it did start off shaky for me a bit. I had to get used to the light writing style because I love reading deep, descriptive stuff. I could have felt a bit more of emotional connection and seen a little more vivid imagery, but because this book is meant to be a quick read, I didn’t mind it. I also wish there was more romantic parts! I would love that! Regardless, it was a great read, and I just didn’t want to put it down!

Concluding Thoughts: I really want to read more Kasie West books right now! Lucky in Love was such a fun, light, and cute that I’ll be looking forward to more of West’s upcoming works. I finished it in two days because it definitely got me hooked and feeling happy. Lucky in Love is a book you’ll fall in love with like a good scoop of ice cream on a hot Summer day. It’s the perfect summer read to bring anywhere you go!


Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule here!


Giveaway

  • 1 ARC of Lucky in Love
  • US only
  • Follow the tour for more chances to win
  • Runs through July 31
  • Please read Rules & Regs in Rafflecopter

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

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Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

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Summer of Authors #14: Exclusive Interview with Sheba Karim, Author of That Thing We Call a Heart!

Hi guys! Today I’m leaving my summer engineering camp, and I’m so nostalgic right now! These past few days have been super fun (I hope, I’m writing this two weeks ahead.) To celebrate the end of camp (and the end of summer approaching so soon!), today I’m welcoming Sheba Karim, author of That Thing We Call a Heart (which I really loved), on our blog today! I met Sheba- who is a local author in Nashville- twice, the first at the SE-YA Book Fest and the second at Sandhya Menon’s signing and launch event for When Dimple Met Rishi! I was so glad to win an ARC of TTWCaH and I’m so glad to have the chance to interview Sheba! Enjoy!


About That Thing We Call a Heart25752164

Shabnam Qureshi is a funny, imaginative Pakistani-American teen attending a tony private school in suburban New Jersey. When her feisty best friend, Farah, starts wearing the headscarf without even consulting her, it begins to unravel their friendship. After hooking up with the most racist boy in school and telling a huge lie about a tragedy that happened to her family during the Partition of India in 1947, Shabnam is ready for high school to end. She faces a summer of boredom and regret, but she has a plan: Get through the summer. Get to college. Don’t look back. Begin anew.

Everything changes when she meets Jamie, who scores her a job at his aunt’s pie shack, and meets her there every afternoon. Shabnam begins to see Jamie and herself like the rose and the nightingale of classic Urdu poetry, which, according to her father, is the ultimate language of desire. Jamie finds Shabnam fascinating—her curls, her culture, her awkwardness. Shabnam finds herself falling in love, but Farah finds Jamie worrying.

With Farah’s help, Shabnam uncovers the truth about Jamie, about herself, and what really happened during Partition. As she rebuilds her friendship with Farah and grows closer to her parents, Shabnam learns powerful lessons about the importance of love, in all of its forms.

Featuring complex, Muslim-American characters who defy conventional stereotypes and set against a backdrop of Radiohead’s music and the evocative metaphors of Urdu poetry, THAT THING WE CALL A HEART is a honest, moving story of a young woman’s explorations of first love, sexuality, desire, self-worth, her relationship with her parents, the value of friendship, and what it means to be true.

Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Sheba Karim

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

When I was young, my love for reading prompted me to try to create my own worlds and stories, and I began writing.  I loved writing, and still do, because it’s such a powerful and expressive use of the imagination.

2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?

Growing up, I loved British lit, Austen, the Brontes, E.M. Forster.  I also loved a lot of seminal YA literature like The Chocolate Wars and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  In college and beyond, I started reading a lot of South Asian and diaspora fiction, Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Rohinton Mistry. I read YA and lit fiction pretty broadly now, though I don’t have as much time to read as I’d like.  I’m always inspired by literature that skillfully incorporates humor.

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

I write full time.  When I’m not writing, I’m playing with my daughter, cooking, reading or catching up with a show on Netflix.

Continue reading “Summer of Authors #14: Exclusive Interview with Sheba Karim, Author of That Thing We Call a Heart!”

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”

Summer of Authors #11: Excerpt from The United Continuums: My Author Q&A with Jennifer Brody!

Hi guys! I have some exciting news! I did an interview that is going to be printed in a book! Yes, an actual book! A few months ago, Jennifer Brody (who is super amazing) asked me to do the questions for the Q&A that will be featured in the back of The United Continnuums, which is the last installment in her award-winning The Continuum Trilogy, which is also my favorite series (and TUC is the best book and one of my top 3 favorites!). The United Continuums releases tomorrow July 11th, 2017, and I urge you to get it or enter the giveaway for a signed copy below! I definitely recommend reading all three books because they are so awesome! If you need reasons why to read them, check out my three reviews below! Now, to celebrate the release of TUC, Jennifer, her publisher, and I have agreed to release this exclusive interview excerpt, along with a giveaway of her book!

And thank you so much, Jennifer, for letting me do these questions and featuring me in your book. It is certainly a dream come true and an amazing honor to do the interview for The United Continuums, which is one of my favorite books of all time. I’m so happy for you that the series is finally complete!

The 13th Continuum Review

Return of the Continuums Review

The United Continuums Review

Warning: There are some spoilers in a few of these questions below, so I will give a *SPOILER ALERT* before these questions!


About The United Continuumsthe-united-continuums-cover

In the epic conclusion to the award-winning Continuum Trilogy, Aero leads a group insurgents from the Second Continuum to overthrow his rival Supreme General Vinick and unite his space colony s military forces, while Seeker takes on a secret mission back to her home colony to reinforce Earth’s defenses and defend the First Continuum against an even greater threat. Meanwhile, Myra s nightmares have become a reality as the Dark Thing hurtles toward Earth with designs on eradicating the planet s fledgling populace. The only thing standing in the way are the three Carriers and those who would join them to fight against a second coming of the Doom.

Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Jennifer Brody

Author
This is going to be printed in The United Continuums! My name is in a book!!! Doing an interview for a book is a dream come true! Thanks so much, Jennifer!!!
What inspired you to write The Continuum Trilogy? the-united-continuums-cover

Originally, I came up with the idea during the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I was sitting at home and watching the TV news coverage of the oil spreading over the top of the ocean and suffocating birds and fish. As I stared at the dark sludge, feeling horrified, I started to wonder what would happen if we couldn’t live on the surface anymore. I couldn’t shake the idea. I kept asking myself more and more what if questions. In this way, the idea for the Continuum Universe started to form in my mind. At first, I thought of having underwater colonies, but quickly realized that we would build Continuums in multiple environments to maximize our chances for long-term survival—underwater, underground, and in outer space. In this way, the idea kept growing bigger and bigger, until I knew the story needed to expand into three books.

Your books take place throughout many of the Continuums, and each one had a different history and culture to it. How did you build each Continuum so uniquely? 25739965

Exactly, the original concept involved putting different societies into extreme isolation and exploring how they evolved differently. I had the idea for the underwater Thirteenth Continuum first (due to inspiration from the BP oil spill). I’ve always been fascinated by the deep-sea environment and how we know more about the surface of Mars than our own ocean trenches. Often when I’m worldbuilding, I rely on historical allegory to guide me. In this case, I based the history of that colony on the Dark Ages. I was interested in exploring how we went from a pinnacle of civilization with the Roman Empire and fell into a dark age, losing knowledge and technology. I also wanted to show how a democratic society modeled on the United States of America could devolve into a totalitarian state ruled by an oligarchy named the Synod. That’s why I included the constitutional amendments in the beginning of the first book.

For the Second Continuum—the lone surviving space colony, or so we think—I wanted to make them a military colony ruled by discipline and order, very different from the religious, superstitious Thirteenth Continuum. So, I turned to ancient Sparta for guidance on how to build that colony’s world. I realized along the way that while they had advanced technology and remembered their history, they still suffered in a different way. Their overreliance on logic and systemic organization led them to suppress their emotions and revile romantic love.

With each colony, each new environment, came a chance for me to build a different society. The underground Seventh Continuum devolved significantly, living in complete darkness with no technology. In their desperation to survive, they even turned to cannibalism. Influences included Lord of the Flies and also Gollum from the Lord of the Rings (who is also a devolved hobbit). This aspect of the trilogy that involves the different colonies really makes it stand out.

Continue reading “Summer of Authors #11: Excerpt from The United Continuums: My Author Q&A with Jennifer Brody!”

Summer of Authors #10: Exclusive Interview with Pintip Dunn!

Hi guys! Last month, I had the wonderful opportunity to read and review Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn (in which you can find the review here!) and I loved it. Definitely one of the best thrillers I’ve read! I know have the amazing honor to welcome Pintip today on our blog, so I hope you’ll enjoy this special interview!


About Girl on the Verge31428017

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

Goodreads

Learn more at http://www.pintipdunn.com/gotv/

Or buy it below!

Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Kobo   iTunes   Book Depository   Books-A-Million


Pintip Dunn

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

I love writing because I feel like my truest self when I write. I’ve wanted to be an author ever since I was six years old, but I didn’t write my first book until the first year after college (which was many years ago!) 

2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?

I love all books and will read anything, but I have a particular affinity for young adult and romance. I’m a big fan of Suzanne Collins, Stephenie Meyer, Gillian Flynn, Orson Scott Card, Kristan Higgins, and of course, JK Rowling. I could go on, but those authors have written my favorite books. Reading Suzanne Collins’ books taught me the most about the craft of writing, and Stephenie Meyer’s The Host showed me the kind of books I want to write. 

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

I have three kids, which is the equivalent of a full-time job! I used to be a lawyer, but I no longer practice.  31428017

4. Your newest book Girl on the Verge just released on June 27th, and it revolves around Kan, a Thai-American girl living in a small town in Kansas, but she feels like she’s stuck between the worlds of her Thai ancestry and her surrounding American culture. Are there any parallels between you and Kan? Were any of her experiences and feelings based off of any you’ve had before?

Absolutely. I was a Thai-American girl who grew up in a small town in Kansas, so a lot of Kan’s feelings of not belonging were derived from my own experiences. At the same time, however, I want to emphasize that the feeling is where the similarity ends. Kan’s story is wholly fictional and was born entirely in my imagination! 

Continue reading “Summer of Authors #10: Exclusive Interview with Pintip Dunn!”