What You Wish For by Katherine Center

Publication Date: July 14, 2020

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

“The story’s message, that people should choose joy even (and especially) in difficult and painful times, seems tailor-made for this moment. A timely, uplifting read about finding joy in the midst of tragedy, filled with quirky characters and comforting warmth.”—Kirkus (starred review)

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.


Samantha Casey is a school librarian who loves her job, the kids, and her school family with passion and joy for living.
But she wasn’t always that way.
Duncan Carpenter is the new school principal who lives by rules and regulations, guided by the knowledge that bad things can happen.
But he wasn’t always that way.

And Sam knows it. Because she knew him before—at another school, in a different life. Back then, she loved him—but she was invisible. To him. To everyone. Even to herself. She escaped to a new school, a new job, a new chance at living. But when Duncan, of all people, gets hired as the new principal there, it feels like the best thing that could possibly happen to the school—and the worst thing that could possibly happen to Sam. Until the opposite turns out to be true. The lovable Duncan she’d known is now a suit-and-tie wearing, rule-enforcing tough guy so hell-bent on protecting the school that he’s willing to destroy it.

As the school community spirals into chaos, and danger from all corners looms large, Sam and Duncan must find their way to who they really are, what it means to be brave, and how to take a chance on love—which is the riskiest move of all.

With Katherine Center’s sparkling dialogue, unforgettable characters, heart, hope, and humanity, What You Wish For is the author at her most compelling best.

My Review:

I have loved everything that Katherine Center has released recently and this is no exception. Sam is a beloved school librarian that has a tendency to run when life gets too complicated. She has finally found a little nook in the world where she has made a home and found a “family”. She is content and ready to start a new school year when tragedy strikes and her first instinct is to flee.

As the school community bands together to save their beloved institution and what it stands for, Sam struggles to stay grounded. Katherine has a way of taking some heavy topics and bringing them to light in a very readable and understanding way.

This was another great read! It is very well done.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E- ARC from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

One to Watch by: Kate Stayman-London

Publication Date: July 7, 2020

Description from Goodreads

Real love…as seen on TV

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.

My Review

I won this ARC from a Goodreads giveaway and decided to review it on my blog as well. This was such an entertaining read. Bea is a force to be reckoned with on the outside but on the inside she is insecure and hurt. Bea has lived her whole life in the body of a plus sized woman. She is used to the stares and nasty comments but she wants to find love.

When her remarks towards a reality show called Main Squeeze go viral, she is asked to join the show. This book read like a cross between episode transcripts of the Bachelorette and Bridget Jones’ Diary. I laughed out loud and my heart hurt for Bea. Her struggles with low self esteem and insecurity were very realistic.

I gave this book 4 crowns.

Terraforma By: Colleen Houck Blog Tour & GIVEAWAY

http://www.jeanbooknerd.com/2020/05/terraformer-by-colleen-houck.html  

SYNOPSIS

A new dystopian sci-fi YA series from the New York Times bestselling author Colleen Houck

Warning all Astronauts:
COLONY BOUNDARY WARNING!
PERMISSION TO ENTER ALIEN FOREST IS REQUIRED
NOTE: NO RESCUE ATTEMPTS WILL BE MADE

In the future, a terraforming ship lands on a perfectly green planet.
Two perfect young men, one a budding colony leader, the other an engineer, compete for the affection of one perfect young woman training as a botanist.
The only problem?
She’s not perfect.
Astra has a secret.
A big one.
And someone or some thing just maybe trying to kill her for it
.

Deadly toxins can be hidden inside the most beautiful flowers.

That’s what Astra Meador’s famous biophysicist mother taught her.

As her mother’s apprentice, Astra has developed skills in botany, chemistry, medicine, and, most importantly, in keeping secrets.

In fact keeping Astra’s secret was the reason her family decided to leave the Earth and join a terraforming mission to colonize a distant planet called Crillain IV. But when Astra wakes early from hypersleep, she discovers that her mother never made it onboard, her father died in transit and his body has been ejected from the ship, and she suspects that she’s not the only one awake.

When the ship finally lands and she’s reunited with her brother, Nash, Astra hopes to settle into a new life, especially when she meets the charming young engineer, Jax, and is recruited by the mission commander to train alongside his handsome son to be a future leader of the small colony.

Then Astra learns that she’s not the only one with a dark secret.

As both young men contend for her affection, Astra searches for answers, trying to determine who to trust. But with theft and murder occurring in the colony along with the sudden disappearance of her beloved brother, Astra can’t listen to the whisperings of her heart, especially when someone or something else on the planet is whispering to her mind even louder.  

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY
Praise for TERRAFORMER

“I was rooting for Astra and entranced by the seamlessly crafted world of TERRAFORMER! Colleen Houck gives you a chilling glimpse into what can happen when technology and nature collide.” —Kimberly Derting, author of award-winning young adult novels The Body Finder, The Pledge, and The Taking

“A richly imaginative page-turner!” —Melissa Landers, bestselling author of Blastaway, the Alienated trilogy and the Starlight duology  

My Review:

I am not a reader of Science Fiction. It is not my favorite genre in the least bit. However, my husband is a Sci-Fi fan and I often find myself watching Sci-Fi movies and TV shows. My favorites so far is Passengers and The 100. Terraforma is the perfect mix of these two shows and with a hint of murder and romance. I loved this book. I am a fan of Colleen Houck’s writing to begin with but this was a bit different.

Astra is a character that is easy to love. Her life is anything but easy in this new world but she is strong minded and determined. Her relationships with Jax and Thane are important to her but she is aware that not everything is as it appears. Her brother Nash, is acting strangely as well and she is alone when it comes to expressing her thoughts. Who can she trust and what is happening on this planet?

I gave this book 5 crowns.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she’s not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.  

PHOTO CONTENT FROM COLLEEN HOUCK
WEBSITE: https://www.facebook.com/ColleenRayHouckTWITTER: @ColleenHouck
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3097905.Colleen_Houck
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ColleenRayHouck
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/colleen.houck/

GIVEAWAY

Giveaway is open Internationally | Must be 13+ to Enter

 1 Winner will receive the TERRAFORMER Storytellers BOX.

– 1 Winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Enter here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e849f7751832/

ENDS: JUNE 29, 2020

Check out the book trailer here:

BOOK TRAILER
LINK:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A449GhVJkqE&feature=emb_title

JBN_TourHost.jpg

Hands Up by: Stephen Clark

Description from Goodreads

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.

My Review:

Published in September of 2019, this book couldn’t be more relevant than it is today. After a young black man is killed by a white cop, the world tries to take matters into their own hands through protests and in some cases, violence. With alternating points of view between the white cop, the victim’s sister and his estranged ex- gang member father, this story visits the crime scene from all angles. The story is heartbreaking and the emotions are strongly felt.

I appreciated the fact the the victim’s parents stepped up before a protest turned violent and asked what the violence would prove. I feel the author, who is a black man, made the point that not all cops are bad and that it is the actions of a few that should not lead to the “punishment” of all. In today’s cultural unrest, this was a tough read but I found it to be something that was important. It is not a book that will take you a long time to get through as the story was written very well.

I urge you to pick this up. I gave this book 4 crowns.

I received an E-Book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Mall by: Megan McCafferty

Publication Date: July 28, 2020

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty returns to her roots with this YA coming of age story set in a New Jersey mall.

The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places. Megan McCafferty, beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.

My Review:

I read this book as a buddy read with my friend Sarah from the YouTube channel Sarah’s Nightstand https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBVf70DmzIEP4MCMz5MvJaQ

We both received this in exchange for an honest review and decided it would be fun to read together. Set in the stereotypical 1991 mall backdrop, Cassie is a young high school graduate about to set off to college with her boyfriend. They have a plan to work for the summer to pay for textbooks and living expenses but very quickly, Cassie’s life starts to unravel and those plans are about to self destruct.

This book was full of nostalgic references and allowed Sarah and I to talk about and relive the 90’s. That aspect of it was a ton of fun. Remembering the stores and layout of our local malls and the popular culture of that time allowed me to enjoy the book. However, Cassie, as a teenager was a bit immature and her actions were questionable for her age. She made some decisions that were thought out and some that were straight up hurtful. Yes, she was young but she should’ve been smarter than she was portrayed.

The other issue that both Sarah and I had was the intended audience for this book. It is a YA read that would not translate well for that audience. My daughter is 20 years old and she would not get any of the references or humor. If the YA genre is geared for 13- 18 year olds, this book would fall flat for them. I found that is was a “fun” read for me and I’m 40 years old.

For these reasons, I am giving this book 3.5 crowns.