Tuesday, June 30, 2015

August Author Spotlight Catch-Up

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 11:51 AM 0 comments
I have been sick. I think everyone pretty much knows that by now because I've posted it on instagram and facebook a few times. But with illness came a horrible thing called "falling behind on work" which is just a terrible thing for a person with OCD. I hate being late and I hate when others are late. So I will be playing catch-up with my author spotlights in august. So if you have sent me a book and we haven't done a spotlight yet please feel free to email me so we can get the ball rolling.

July Summer of Reviews

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM 0 comments

I wanted to do something special during Summer so I came up with Summer of Reviews. The entire month of July will be nothing buy YA Summer Romance type book reviews. So if you are looking for some good YA Summer books please check back through-out July and see if any book catches your eye.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mini Review Monday[48] Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 6:47 PM 0 comments

Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge


Growing up, Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite fairytales. How the right women can change a man into a better version of himself. So I was excited when I heard about a retelling of it. I haven’t read retellings much, if any before.  In hearing such good things about it, that made me want to read it more. 

Right away I was drawn to the story. Greek mythology was made part of the story and I am one for anything about Greek mythology. 

Nyx has been training for most of her life to kill her husband that she will be married to at seventeen to save her kingdom. But one thing she didn’t expect was to fall in love with him. She has a choice to make. Either save her kingdom or the one person she wasn’t supposed to love. 

From the very beginning things were a big puzzle that needed to be put together. Very slowly those pieces did. From Nyx sneaking around trying to succeed in her duty, Shade helping her and Ignifex just being him. 

The story didn’t fully show itself until the end. It made it fun for everything to come together in the end. Not everything went the way it should, but in the end it was happy.

I had such a great time reading this that I didn’t want it to end and just want more.

I rated this book 5/5 stars.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Mini Review Monday[47] Unforsaken by Sophie Littlefield

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Title: Unforsaked
Author: Sophie Littlefield


I loved Banished and couldn’t wait to read its sequel. We are not only in Hailey’s point of view, but also three other characters. Due to this, you are able to see schemes from different angles. 

Hailey, Prairie and Chub were on the run and have now settled down to start their lives over. They think they are safe, but it starts to go wrong for them. Once again, they are captured and fighting for their lives. 

Hailey didn’t know about her family history in Banished, until it was thrown at her. By the end, she had a little more of an understanding. She grew into herself and who she is and it was good to see her develop throughout both books. 

Things ended nicely, but I feel more could be written about her father and her family history. It’s not a full ending for me. Overall, I really did enjoy the conclusion, but more could have been done about it.

I gave the book 5/5 stars.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Author Spotlight: Elusion + Etherworld by Cheryl Klam and Claudia Gabel

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments


Cheryl Guttridge grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, and received a degree in political science from the University of Michigan. A romantic at heart, she never pursued a career in politics. Instead, she immediately tossed her diploma in a drawer and went in search of love and adventure.

She found work as a professional actress and model and traveled the country, appearing in an eclectic mix of B-list TV shows, commercials, movies and auto shows. Eventually, she landed a job at National Geographic Television in Washington, D.C., writing video box copy and titling films. It was there that she finally realized what she wanted to do when she grew up: write.

After short, unprofitable stints as a poet, a playwright and a screenwriter, a teacher told her to write what she knew. She immediately began writing a romance. In 1996, she sold that first novel as part of a three-book deal as Margaret Allison and never looked back. Now, she writes as Cheryl Klam.

Cheryl lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and two daughters. She firmly believes that love conquers all and never tires of hearing stories that support her theory.


Claudia Gabel is the author of several young adult novels published by Scholastic Inc and HarperCollins. The In or Out series consists of four novels--In or Out, Loves Me Loves Me Not, Sweet & Vicious, and Friends Close, Enemies Closer.


Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam are the authors of Elusion. They met when Claudia edited Cheryl's previous novels, Learning to Swimand The Pretty One. Claudia works as an editor in New York, but she's also the author of several books for tweens and teens, including the In or Out series and the mash-up Romeo & Juliet & Vampires. They liked working together so much that they decided to write a bunch of things together, including movie proposals and TV sitcom scripts. And then one day they had the idea forElusion, and the rest is the future.


Title: Elusion
Author: Claudia Gabel + Cheryl Klam
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication: March 18th 2014
Cover Rating: 5/5

I’m not one for dystopian, but the few I have read, I have enjoyed. I’m happy to say that this has been added to that list.

The earth is in bad shape. The main character, Regan, her dad, David, created Elusion. People are able to go to a place that has clean air and a land that is beautiful.

I haven’t read anything like this before and I was intrigued. To a point it felt realistic to me because a lot of the time these people were in this world that he created. Which to me felt like how everyone today is always on their phones or technology in general.

Another thing this book showed was how bad our planet can get in the future. We don’t take good care of it and it is a problem now, which will only get worse.

There were many twists and turns. You didn’t know what to believe or not. Information came at you from different sources. You don’t know who to fully trust either. Each character gave some kind of betrayal to Regan. She went to wherever the clues were dad left took her.

Regan is a smart character. She followed her dad’s clues because she knows him. She knew he was trying to tell her something. I liked Patrick in the beginning, but when Josh started to hang with Regan, I didn’t like him so much because he changed. Josh on the other hand, I love. Yes, he does some things, but I love him either way.

Overall, this was a very interesting read and I can’t wait to see where the story leads.


I rate this 5/5. 



Title: Etherworld
Author: Claudia Gabel + Cheryl Klam
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication: March 31st 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5

I enjoyed Elusion and with how it ended, I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen in Etherworld. Which blew me away.

Etherworld was a faster pace and more things were happening. The roller-coaster was crazier. There were many bumps in the road with twists and turns. Friendships are stretched, while others got stronger.

During this whole book there is a mess and the mess gets bigger and bigger. Regan does everything that she can to try and fix the problem and help everyone. Regan is a strong character. She does what she can, whatever it may be and it doesn’t matter what she has been through. She fights for things to be better.

Zoe was a minor character in Elusion and she came back with a bigger part. She became the friend Regan needed when no one else in the real world, that she trusted, believed her. Zoe helped Regan with what she needed. Zoe gained respect from me for doing what she did for Regan when her best friend Patrick thought she was sick.

Patrick really made me mad. He is supposed to be Regan’s best friend and when she really needed him, he wasn’t there for her. It took her going to Zoe and doing other things for him to realize she has been telling him the truth the whole time. He went to great lengths to earned everyone’s trust back and I liked seeing that.

Overall, I thought Etherworld was better than Elusion. The ride was so intense and crazy and I loved it all. The ending was so great. It had its bad moments, but things worked out.


I rate this 5/5. 


I would recommend this book to people who have read and enjoyed A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. These books are very sci-fi heavy so anyone who enjoys a great sci-fi book should check these out!


1. What inspired you to become a writer?

Cheryl: I grew up acting in plays and the short films of my friends. I loved the idea of escaping through a story and seeing the world through a character’s eyes. I began writing plays, switched to short stories and eventually graduated to books.

Claudia: When I was in second grade, my teacher read a chapter of A Wrinkle in Time to our class every day and I really got hooked on the magic of books. I’d already been writing my own stories down on loose-leaf paper, but after I encountered the awesomeness of Madeline L’Engle, I couldn’t help wanting to follow in her footsteps one day.


2. Why did you choose the science fiction genre as the setting for the Elusion series?

We’re both action/adventure, sci-fi fans (in fact, Claudia has an excellent picture of her meeting George Takei when she was a kid!) We had each written contemporary young adult books, and we were anxious to write something different, more ambitious, than our previous work. We were brainstorming ideas and when we hit on the story for Elusion, three teens who discover the virtual reality game sweeping the nation is much more dangerous than anyone suspects, we both agreed we had to write it! We knew it would be a lot of fun, and it was.

3. What genre do you want to write about next?

Cheryl: I’m working on a high fantasy/sci-fi book. (I have to admit, I got hooked on world building while working on Elusion!) 

Claudia: As a mother of a newborn baby, it might take me a while to write a full-length novel again! We’ll have to see what the future holds, but I can’t help but wonder what it might be like to work on a book aimed at adults…

4. Which character was the easiest to write?

Claudia: Josh. On the surface, he seems like a tough guy, but in reality, he’s a smart, loyal, honest person who values family above all else. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for the people he loves. What girl couldn’t be attracted to all that?!

Cheryl: Patrick. Even though he seems like the kind of guy who has it all, he really doesn’t. Sure, he’s got money and power, but he’s kind of emotionally stunted and has a lot of growing up to do. His heart is in the right place, though – and ultimately, that’s what saves him.



5. Do you have a favorite character from the Elusion series?

Our favorite character would have to be Regan, the heroine of the novel. We wanted her to be a real person making difficult choices – and like all of us, she’s not perfect. When the series begins, Regan is a bit lost. Her dad has just died, her best friend is a workaholic with little time for her and her mom has succumbed to grief. Regan is struggling to hold it all together and make it through the day. But as the book continues, Regan really matures, and as she gains confidence, her inner strength and courage shine through. She is the type of girl both of us would love to have as a friend, vulnerable enough to fall in love yet courageous enough to attempt to save the world!


6. Is this a duology or will there be more books in the future?

A duology. Elusion and Etherworld are it.


7. What inspired you to create a world with an alternate reality and the earth in peril?

We were inspired by the amount of time we all spend online and on social media sites. It’s becoming such a big part of all of our lives. And it’s understandable. With just a few key taps, we can connect with friends, see their latest pictures, read, watch movies…the possibilities are endless. We wanted to take that experience to the ultimate extreme: what if there was a virtual reality that was so easy to access, that people could use it to “escape” whenever they wanted? Only this would be a virtual reality that could take you to exciting locales where you could be as adventurous as you wished…

As for the earth in peril, science fiction writers tend to look at the worst-case scenario. That’s when it gets exciting! ☺

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Life Is Short Reviews

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 2:58 PM 0 comments

So, I've been wanting to try something new for the blog. I had no idea what I wanted to do but I wanted it to be unique. Then I started reading Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and it had this really awesome way of 'reviewing' books. I know some people don't like reading long reviews. Sometimes a person just wants to see a quick reviews or little tidbits of information to see if the book is something they would want to read. So I am going to be doing something called Life Is Short Reviews. Basically, I will make up some tidbits that came to mind while I was reading a book. They will be funny little things or just small things to try and catch someoens attention really quickly. I will still be doing full reviews for my books but this seems really awesome. All credit for this idea goes to Nicole Yoon! Thank You!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mini Review Monday[46] The Elementals by Saundra Mitchell

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 1 comments

Title: The Elementals (book 3)
Author Saundra Mitchell


I was excited to read this because I wanted to see where the story was going to go for Amelia, Nathaniel, Zora and Emerson’s children. 

During this trilogy, I enjoyed how the elements were magic for these characters. 

We got to see them come together, fall in love and finally start a family. In the beginning, we saw friends coming together for a night. Years later, when they had their children, we saw their powers, making a show for the first time at a young age. Then, both being almost eighteen, their story started. 

Kate, daughter of Amelia and Nathaniel, wants to be a director, but can control time. Julian, son of Zora and Emerson, wants to show he is more than what meets the eye, but can bring others back to life and can survive death. Each has a cost. 

I knew that eventually these two characters would meet, but I felt that it took far too long for them to meet. Which made the end suffer because I felt it was too rushed and wasn’t much of an ending. 

I found both characters were strong. They were willing to do what they had to in order to get what they wanted. 

Saundra Mitchell didn’t just focus on Kate and Julian, but also their parents and a character from The Vespertine made appearances. We switched between all of their perspectives. Though I did like that, it became confusing at times. 

The ending has left me frustrated. It was anticlimactic. All these different things lead up to it and it just ended. Not all of my questions were answered. More could have been written for the other characters that were part of the story. 

As a whole, I did enjoy this trilogy. The storyline and the characters, but for me it wasn’t executed all that well.

I rated this book 3/5 stars.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

REVIEW: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments
Title: P.S. I Still Love You
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon + Schuster
Publication: May 26th 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5


P.S. I Still Love You was such an amazing continuance of the previous book. It picked up about a week or so after To All the Boys I've Loved Before ended and it didn't miss a beat. In fact, I enjoyed this one better than the first one. I thought I gave the first one this amazing 5 star review but after I picked this book up I went back to read my review as a refresher and found out I have the first book 3 stars! I think if I reread it now the rating would be higher but I am so glad I enjoyed this book.

Lara Jean matures a bit throughout this book. In the previous book she was very childish and the entire book was based on lies. In this book Lara Jean is very truthful and a lot stronger. She sticks up for herself and she even goes after Peter instead of the other way around. I am not sure how this book would have turned out if Lara Jean hadn't pushed herself to go talk to Peter on New Years.

Peter was a jerk but he was also very loyal. I knew he still had feelings for Gen but he was there for her as a friend and that had to be hard for him. Lara Jean didn't take any of that into consideration. She just jumped to conclusions and ended up ruining their relationship. While I do understand why Lara Jean felt the way she did I also would have liked to see a little bit more character development with her confidence. 

Gen was a thorn in Lara Jean's side. Although there really wasn't anything more than friendship between her and Peter she kept pursuing him and making Lara Jean feel like she would never have Peter to herself. Gen posted a nasty video that could have ruined more than just Lara Jean's reputation. Gen just isn't a very nice person and I don't see how she could have done these things to someone that used to be her best friend. Sisters before Misters?

There were so many other side stories going on in this book. I enjoyed them all though. There was Kitty's plot to get her dad together with this one woman. Then there was GoGo and her situation with Josh and moving on with her life. Then there was Josh and him getting a new girlfriend. I feel like Josh went about things all wrong. He tried to get back the friendship he had with Lara Jean but when they started talking again he randomly got a new girlfriend and blocked her out of his life again.

The nursing home played another big part in this book. It tied Lara Jean together with a feisty resident named Stormy. Then through Stormy Lara Jean is pushed together with a guy she had written one of her love letters to that moved years ago. John Ambrose was a very nice plot twist. If he wasn't Stormy's grandson I don't think Lara Jean and John would have gotten as close as they did. But I really could have seen Lara Jean being happy with him. But her heart was just being pulled in too many directions. 

This book actually made me cry. I can honestly say this is the first book where I have had tears on my cheeks. All the talk of Lara Jean's mother and how difficult it truly was for her to grow up without a mother just hurt. I could never imagine my life without my mother. I think the book made me think of myself in Lara Jean's position and I really didn't like it. 

I did like how the book ended. I didn't want Lara Jean and Peter to break up but I also wanted to see what would happen with John. I would love to see an alternate ending where her and John ended up together. 

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Author Spotlight: Feral by Holly Schindler

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments


Holly Schindler is the author of four traditionally published books; her work has received starred reviews in Booklist and Publishers Weekly, has won silver and gold medals in ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year and the IPPY Awards, respectively, has been featured on Booklist’s Best First Novels for Youth and School Library Journal’s What’s Hot in YA, and has been a PW Pick of the Week. Fifth Avenue Fidos is her first independently published book. She is owned by a Pekingese named Jake and can be found working on her next book in her hometown of Springfield, Missouri. She can also be found at hollyschindler.com, @holly_schindler, and facebook.com/HollySchindlerAuthor

Title: Feral
Author: Holly Schindler
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: August 26th 2014
Cover Rating: 5/5

Holy crap on a cracker... This book is a mind f**k from hell. I don't think I have actually EVER read a book like this. Even when I used to read adult horror and crime novels.

Claire was assaulted because she defended her best friend. But after the assault her best friend wasn't so friendly anymore. Rachelle acted very stiff and too on edge. Claire just wanted everything to return to normal. I think it is kind of selfish that Rachelle acted the way she did before Claire moved. She wasn't the one who got assaulted. Granted, she probably felt pretty guilty about the entire situation.

Serena was so much like Claire that is was kind of scary. After the first two scenes with Serena I got the picture that she was a sweet and caring girl. It didn't make sense that Sweet Pea acted the way she did. If she was truly possessed by Serena then she should have been a sweet cat. I found it to be strange that Serena was apparently so cruel and spiteful. I figured it had to be something Claire was making up but then again Serena had died and she could have been out for revenge.

Becca, Chas and Owen all seemed to have a lot of issues going on. Chas was a cheated, Owen was changing his personality and physical appearance and Becca was torn up about Serena because she hadn't treated her best friend the way she should have. Why is it that AFTER someone dies is when people try to repent and make things right? If you didn't have the balls to be a better person when your friend was alive then you deserve every bit of guilt and grief you feel. After someone is gone IS NOT the time to regret. Change NOW so you can be at peace in case someone dies.

Rich was so awesome. He seemed like such a caring guy. I almost think that his attachment to Claire was because she was so similar to Serena. I was so hoping something would happen between Claire and Rich. I was very disappointed when the book ended and they were still "just friends". It actually drove me kind of crazy that they didn't date or kiss or anything!

Through-out the entire book I kept making guesses and building up different plots for how the book would go. But none of them were right. I went through all the cats actually being the souls of the towns dead people, Owen cheating on Becca with Serena, Owen killing Serena, Casey killing Serena. Oh the possibilities that ran through my head. But nothing I guessed was ever completely right. This book was unpredictable and very creepy.

By the end of the book I started piecing things together. I was kind of hoping Serena's death would have been something more that what it was. It wasn't as sinister as the book led up to, honestly. 

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.


Disclaimer: I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.




COMING SOON...


1) What was the inspiration behind FERAL?

I’m a big fan of old movies—black and white psychological thrillers. And, as my first release (A BLUE SO DARK) revealed, I’m really interested in the workings of the mind. All that came into play with FERAL; I was also really thinking about friendship. About what would happen to a friendship if one person stepped in to save another—and was scarred for life as a result. I mean, we all say we do literally anything for the people in our lives. But what would happen if we actually did? If we stepped in to save our friend, and our own lives were changed because of serious injuries and our friend was not? Wouldn’t there be resentments? How would those resentments impact the healing process? Those were some of the issues I explored in FERAL.

2) Do you own any cats?

I don’t right now, but I grew up with two that I adored—Pete, and his mother, Tuffy. Tuffy was, as her name implies, born feral.

3) Are you currently working on any new books?

I’m always working on something new! My next YA is set to release with HarperCollins in ’16. My next MG (based on a family story) is on sub now. And I’ve also moved into the realm of independent publishing. My first indie release, FIFTH AVENUE FIDOS, is comedic women’s fiction:

Ever felt like a dog? I mean a real mutt. So did Mable…until she realized she was the princess starring in her own fairy tale: http://www.amazon.com/Fifth-Avenue-Fidos-Modern-Day-Fairy-ebook/dp/B00UCI9ED4/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

I’m also now working on PLAY IT AGAIN, the sequel to PLAYING HURT, my YA romance. I’ll be releasing sneak peeks, giveaways, writing tips, etc. on my newsletter: tinyletter.com/hollyschinder.

4) Besides Claire, who was your favorite character to write about?

Probably Auggie, the main character of my MG, THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. Auggie’s of the age when she realizes that she lives in the “poor” section of town—and to make matters worse, a newly-formed House Beautification Committee’s targeting Auggie’s neighborhood for improvements…and a junior member of the committee’s now got Auggie’s best friend for her own! To make her mark, Auggie begins to decorate her home with found object sculptures she makes with her grandfather (a trash hauler). Auggie’s just so sweet—so positive. She’s a character that was always so fantastic to come back to.

5) Do you think Serena and Claire would have been friends?

Absolutely! Both writers, both curious. Both also tried to stand up for their friends—one was seriously injured in the process, the other killed. They’re such similar creatures. It’s one of the reasons why Claire is so instantly intrigued by Serena’s story, why she wants to find out what really happened to her.

6) If the book were to continue, do you think Claire and Rich would have ended up together?

There’s definitely something between those two, isn’t there? Sometimes, there’s just too much going on with a character to incorporate a romantic element in the book itself. I felt that way about Aura in A BLUE SO DARK—that she couldn’t really explore her feelings for Jeremy while she’s dealing with the central conflict: a mentally ill mother, her fears that her own creativity might lead to mental instability for herself down the line. (It’s pretty obvious at the end of that book that she’s with Jeremy, though.) It’d be interesting to pick up with Claire and Rich later on down the road, see what happens between the two of them…

7) How did so many cats end up in Peculiar?

I’m a lifelong Ozarks girl, and I’ve been in rural areas where the “barn cat” populations exploded. It happens really quickly, actually (and the sound of unseen kittens scurrying around in a barn is kind of creepy). I imagine it happened just as quickly in my fictionalized Peculiar.
…You know, Peculiar really is a town in Missouri (my lifelong home state). I’ve never actually been there—the name of the city was just so perfect! I always knew I was going to include it in a book. One aspect of the setting I did barrow from real life was the ice storm. We were hit with a one-two-punch in SW Missouri in ’07 and ’08—both winters, we had really brutal ice storms. I kind of figure any rough patch in life will always have the payoff of eventually helping out with writing a future novel…

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pre-pub Review: After Hours by Claire Kennedy

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments
Title: After Hours
Author: Claire Kennedy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication: June 16th 2015
Cover Rating: 3/5

This is probably going to be a rather short review. I read this book in one night and I questioned why I even read it for the next two days after. And now, three days later, I still have NO idea what the heck I just read.

The book centers around 4 different teenagers that all work at this restaurant. There is something called Tips that they do, kind of like a dare system, and whoever wins gets 20% of each persons tips for that week and whatever other money is in the pot. The dares can be anything and I just didn't see a true point to any of the crap in this book.

Isa started a new job as a waitress to save up for "college" because she was no longer doing beauty pageants. I still don't even really understand her story. Famous singing parents, beauty pageants and living in a trailer. Her parents win the ass-hats of the year award. 

Finn... What the ever loving hell? His situation is just... NO. Wrong. Why would someone even do that crap? Just thinking about him makes me skin crawl.

Xavi is an annoying little piece of crap. She thinks she has it so much worse than everyone and that the world owes her a favor. She is rude to the people who love her and she is just, overall, not a very likable person. She also does some pretty unsavory things to get her her way.

Then we have Peter. I sort of liked him but he still wasn't that great. He is in love with his step-sister, no blood relation, and his father doesn't approve of him becoming a chef. 

They have a sleeze-ball for a boss and some other weird co-workers but the book just wasn't anything special. I found myself wondering what the point was and where everything was heading. 

Also, the book is being pitched for ages 14+. NO. Hell no. I wouldn't let anyone under the age of 16-17 read this book. 

Overall, I gave the book 1/5 stars.

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