Where reading is a way of life

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Strings by David Estes Blog Tour

"A wonderful retelling of the Pinocchio story…I simply couldn’t put this book down."  Rysa Walker, bestselling author of TIMEBOUND
Strings Written by David Estes Add Strings to Goodreads Purchase Strings eBook Paperback Audiobook
Sometimes the strings that tie us down are the same strings that set us free. Sixteen-year-old Pia has always lived in a mysterious facility where mechanical strings control her existence. She plays apprentice to her father, Gio, in performing nanotech designs for the Company, and she soon suspects there are diabolical human forces behind the manufactured reality of her world. Though her childhood memories and the origins of the strings remain strangely elusive, she begins to find solace with the introduction of two unlikely friends: daring, irrational Sofia, and calm, tender Marco. As the truths of the past and present unravel together, Pia must find a way to free herself from her strings and escape the facility before facing the wrath of the unstable head of security, Mr. Davis. But to gain her freedom, she must navigate the dangers posed by Davis and by her suspicious new friends to find the real identity of the puppeteer. If Pia can succeed in revealing the secrets of the Company, she may very well find the independence she so desperately seeks. But in her controlled world nothing is as it seems, and the closer she gets to the truth, the graver the consequences.


About the author

David Estes is the author of more than 20 science fiction and fantasy novels that have received hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide, including The Moon Dwellers, Fire Country, Slip, Brew, and his new SciFi Pinocchio retelling, Strings. He lives in Hawaii with his inspiring Aussie wife, Adele, rambunctious son, Beau, and naughty cat, Bailey. When he's not writing, you'll likely find him at the beach swimming, snorkeling, or reading under an umbrella.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Get Real--Strings by David Estes Launch Party!

Monday, February 15th, I am throwing a party to celebrate the launch of David Estes's new YA SciFi Pinocchio Retelling, STRINGS! Join ton of awesome authors, including bestsellers Rysa Walker and Caragh O'Brien, for a night of giveaways, games and fun! The party runs from 6pm-Midnight EST time.

One of the prizes given away will be this handmade Pinocchio themed Mini Album! 

I hope you can join us! See you at the party :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Instagram Pics and Updates--Week of February 8th

Random Books and Bookshelves

Currently Reading

Book Hauls

I love sharing my Instagram pics with you all! So fun. You can also follow me on Instagram, my user name is @juliababyjen

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Lunar Chronicles Readalong

One of my goals this year is to work on finishing series I've already started. I've decided to focus on a series a month and do a readalong to reread the first books in the series, and finish up with the remaining books.

February is The Lunar Chronicles! I'm doing a fun readalong on my Instagram, feel free to join me if you want, using hashtag #TheLunarChroniclesReadalong My Instagram is @Juliababyjen

I've just finished Cinder, it was wonderful to reread it! Next week I'll be rereading Scarlet. I'm so excited to finally get to Winter!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset

YA Paranormal
Otherworld #1
My Rating: 4 stars


THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.

My Quickie Thoughts

I love fairy stories in general, and I just loved this one! This was a nice, quick, fun read. It reminded me a bit of the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. Very strange world within our own, and very interesting characters!

Worst Thing About the Book: The hinted at romance was not that believable

Best Thing About the Book: Originality of the plot and world

Books It Reminded Me Of: The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

Friday, February 5, 2016

Quick update on 2016!

Hey everyone! Its been a really long time since I've done a blog post! I've sort of been doing most of my "blogging" on my Facebook Page and my Instragram...honestly its a lot faster, and I like the picture format. But, I don't want to let my blog die, so I'm going to try to get a post up at least once a week for 2016!

I also haven't been writing too many full book reviews, mainly because of time issues. I've really gotten back into my art over the last 2 years, and that takes up a lot of my free time. What's left is reading time, and I actually want to use that time for reading! You'll see lots of artsy things in the picture above--that's what my favorite bookshelf looked like at Christmas! I lot of those are papercrafts I received from other artists. Fun!

Anyways, I thought I'd do a quick update on what I read in January. I read a total of 18 books: 12 YA books, 2 nonfiction, 3 adult, and 1 children's book.

The Opal by Jennifer L Armentrout          4 stars
The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin        5 stars
Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray          4 stars
Erased by Jennifer Rush                                                    4 stars
The Human by Keary Taylor (reread)                             4 stars
The Sketchbook Project                                                     4 stars
Rogue by Julie Kagawa                                                      4 stars
Nikki Powergloves and the Power Trappers by David Estes  4 stars
Wildflower by Drew Barrymore                                        4 stars
The Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa                                   4 stars
Erebos by Ursula Poznaski                                                 4 stars
House of Pawns by Keary Taylor                                       4 stars
After Alice by Gregory Maguire                                         3.5 stars
Origin by Jennifer L Armentrout                                       4 stars
Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young                                           4 stars
The Conjurer's Riddle by Andrea Cremer                        4 stars
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)  5 stars
Soulless by Gail Carriger                                                      4 stars

Not bad for January! These are my yearly goals, and my progress so far:

Read 20 adult books

1. After Alice
2. The Cuckoo's Calling
3. Soulless

Read 10 Nonfiction reads

1. The Sketchbook Project
2. Wildflower

Finish 30 series I've already started

1. Mara Dyer
2. The Iron Fey

Read 80 books off my bookshelves

1. The Retribution of Mara Dyer
2. Ten Thousand Skies Above You
3. Erebos
4. Origin

My yearly goal is 200 books total read

So as you can see, not doing too bad so far! Wish me luck the rest of the year :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Flip by David Estes

YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian
Slip #3
My Rating: 5 stars


In a scared and broken world where someone must die before another can be born, one family has been torn apart by fate and a ruthless government, only to find themselves suddenly thrust back together with one chance to save their struggling nation.

Benson and Harrison Kelly and their newfound allies within the rebel consortium are finally fighting back, but the Department of Population Control and its ultimate weapon, known as the Destroyer, won't rest until they're all dead. The task will take them into the belly of the beast and force them to face a secret about their past that will change everything.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Lifers, Jarrod, has a new weapon, in the form of an angry, desperate twelve-year-old boy, and he won't hesitate to use him to destroy an entire city as part of a hidden agenda only just starting to be revealed.

The fate of humanity hinges on a series of impossible choices made by those with nothing to lose. One family. One chance to flip everything they know on its head. One action-packed finale that will leave you breathless.

My 2 cents

"Don't cry because its over, smile because it happened." --Dr. Suess

And that's exactly how I feel as I am now at the end of this fantastic story. The Kelly family's journey through this trilogy was just amazing, moving from one extreme to the other. Although I'm sad its over, I'm thrilled I got to experience it!

Flip was all I wanted and then some. Everything that was good about the first two books continues here in the finale. The stakes have been upped, and the read was even more intense, with even better action sequences. But Flip stays true to the basic story of a family trying to be together and free in a terrible world.

**I should mention now that there might be spoilers for Slip and Grip, but none for Flip. **

Things I love about Flip:

The Kelly Family My absolute favorite thing about this trilogy, from beginning to end has been the theme throughout about family. This is such an important theme, and one that is missing a lot in YA. My family is the most important thing in the world to me, and I'm sure is the same with most people. How great to see a series touching on this in such a relevant and realistic way. This family is not perfect. They love each other and drive each other crazy at times. But in the end, it is their loyalty to each other that makes all the difference. 

"“Family doesn’t go one way. It goes every way. We help each other, we protect each other, and we die for each other, if that’s what it takes.” 

The Characters I'm not going to touch on each one, as they are all really good in this book. I feel that any character development that was lacking in the previous books (especially the first one) all comes together here. These characters are all complex, with moments of both highs and lows. And all of the main characters had a complete story arc that made sense and fit into the story perfectly.

The World Building One of my absolute favorite things in any series is when the world building just builds and builds with each book. The world building in Flip jumps leaps and bounds from the first two books. We get to see a lot more of this crazy world, and most of it is done through the ads and articles in between each chapter. Like before, it really gives us an insight to the public's viewpoint, as most of our characters are in hiding and almost in the dark themselves. Just really brilliantly done.

Comedy Hour Despite this being a very dark, intense story, I was LOLing through a lot of it! I love the humor throughout, and think its a perfect balance with action and suspense. A few of my favorite lines:

"Eventually, Simon shifts his position, grunting lightly, and then says, “Nice makeover.”
“Are you hitting on me?” Harrison jokes.
“All I want is to be your frienemy,” Simon jokes back.
“I’m not ready for commitment,” Harrison says. “Too young for that. "

"Minda says, “Yeah. Just do what Janice does and you’ll be fine.”
“You want us to all wear tiger-striped dresses?” Harrison asks.
“Sure. So long as you laser your legs first,” Minda says." 

The Twists Again, lots more of them happening in the finale! I'm not sure I've ever seen a twist written as well as the big one in Slip, but the ones in here I think have topped it! MIND BLOWN!

The Writing Loved it. Just beautiful writing. I'll give you a few examples:

"“Words can split logs and start fires and break stones, but they can also hug you and warm you and fight the wars you don’t have the strength to fight.”

"But then I realized that life is a gift that can’t be replaced. Life is the purpose. Life is always worth it, no matter how terrible you feel, no matter what mistakes you've made, or others have made. This world isn’t for running. It’s for standing. It’s for fighting."

Need I say more?

The Action I mentioned it before, but these were AWESOME action scenes! They went on for pages, were very detailed, and the pacing was perfect. Really made the pages fly!

The Ending One of the best endings to a trilogy EVER. Everything tied together nicely, it all made sense, and we got a wonderful epilogue that tells us what's up with our favorite characters a year after the story. Really loved that! 

Flip was an EPIC finale and I loved every minute of this book! After the last page, I was in a book fog, and it took me a bit to come back to the real world. These characters were just so real to me. Slip is one of the best trilogies I have ever read. I will be thinking about it for a long while.

And I'll leave you with another favorite quote:

"It’s not the power of the universe rallying against him, but humans. Just men and women full of hate and evil and ignorance. Nothing more, nothing less. And humans can be defeated, no matter the odds. In the end, good has a chance to prevail if those who wield its mighty sword do not lose hope."

You can buy Flip here:

And don't miss the first two books in the series!

Author Photo - David Estes

About the Author:
Author of popular YA dystopian series, the Dwellers Saga and the Country Saga. Voted books to read if you enjoyed the Hunger Games on Buzzfeed and Listopia.

Join 2,700+ David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite in David Estes' official fan group at:

David Estes was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when he was very young. David grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually he moved to Sydney, Australia where he met his wife. They now live together in their dream location, Hawaii. A reader all his life, he began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010, and started writing full time in June 2012. Now he travels the world writing with his wife, Adele. David's a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefers writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table.

You can find and contact David here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads