Friday, August 18, 2017

Blog Tour: Ferocious By Paula Stokes
Destination: Jeju Island

Today I'm joining the blog tour for Paula Stokes' latest book Ferocious! 

This is the sequel to Vicarious and takes Winter on a journey across the world from California to Seoul.

Each stop on this tour is a different travelogue of places in South Korea that Winter visits in the book. 

About the Book:

by Paula Stokes
Published: August 15, 2017 by Tor Teen
Series: Vicarious 2/2
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound

Book Description: Paula Stokes returns to the world of Vicarious in this sequel, a high-action psychological thriller with a protagonist out for vengeance.

When Winter Kim finds out that her sister is dead and that she has a brother she never knew about, only two things matter―finding what’s left of her family and killing the man who destroyed her life. Her mission leads her from St. Louis to Los Angeles back to South Korea, where she grew up.

Things get increasingly dangerous once Winter arrives in Seoul. Aided by her friends Jesse and Sebastian, Winter attempts to infiltrate an international corporation to get close to her target, a nefarious businessman named Kyung. But keeping her last remaining loved ones out of the line of fire proves difficult, and when all seems to be lost, Winter must face one last devastating decision: is revenge worth sacrificing everything for? Or can she find a spark of hope in the darkness that threatens to engulf her?


Winter's Travelogue - Destination: Jeju Island


Paula: “Do” means island in Korean, and that means we’re heading to an island! Yay, I could use a vacation ;) Jeju is located off the Southwest corner of the Korean mainland and is home to over six-hundred thousand people. The photos for today’s blog post were all taken by Christina Franke (@Reader_Fictions) at A Reader of Fictions blog. She was kind enough to share some of her trip photos since I was unable to go to Jeju-do while I was living in Korea or on my trip last year.

The island has traditional white sand beaches as well as black sand ones. There are flat areas as well as steep, rocky volcanic areas as well as green meadows. Winter ends up here near the end of the story.

The swelling in my ankle has gone down a lot, so Jesse and I spend part of the day walking the beaches of Jeju. I marvel at the rock formations and the mountains off in the distance, wishing I had a phone so I could take some pictures. We could always go back to the hotel for my ViSE headset, I suppose, but the thought of ever putting that on again after what happened at UsuMed makes me feel slightly nauseated.
It’s warmer here than in Seoul, but still quite windy and cool—much too cold for venturing into the water. Jesse and I stand looking at the waves for a while. Cottony clouds float in the bright-blue sky above our heads. I think about what I’m going back to—the bitter cold of St. Louis, the unforgiving ice storms, the dark memories.
“Hey,” Jesse says excitedly. He points into the distance.

I won’t spoil what Jesse is pointing at or what brings Winter and him to Jeju Island, because I want you to find out when you read the book. Be sure to check out the first book before this one. If you like dark and twisty mysteries where everyone has secrets and you’re not sure who to trust, you’ll love Vicarious. If you like globe-spanning stories of justice and vengeance, with strong girls fighting back against their oppressors, you’ll love Ferocious.

Thanks for joining me for this mini journey around Seoul and Jeju Island, and thanks again to all of my Korean beta-readers who helped me make Winter feel as authentic as possible and fact-checked the cultural elements in this duology. And of course, thanks to Tor Teen for helping me share this story with the world.


About the Author

Paula Stokes is a mental health nurse and the author of several novels, most recently Ferocious and This is How it HappenedHer writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at or on twitter as @pstokesbooks.

Find Paula Stokes: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram 

Follow the Tour 

Mon. Aug 14: Itaewon Jen Ryland Reviews 
Tues. Aug 15: Gangnam-gu Beauty and the Bookshelf 
Wed. Aug 16: Namdaemun Market Snuggling on the Sofa 
Thurs. Aug 17: Namsan Tower Owl Always Be Reading  
Fri. Aug 18: Jeju Island Love is not a Triangle 



Win one set of this duet, including Vicarious and Ferocious

Giveaway for US and Canada residents (sorry, other international readers!)
You must be at least 13 years old to enter
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Thursday, August 10, 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi
by Sandhya Menon
Read: July 17 - 19, 2017
Published: May 30, 2017 by Simon Pulse
Source: Galley from BigHoncho - TY!
Category: YA, Contemporary, 

Book Description: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.


After hearing so much about When Dimple Met Rishi, I finally picked the book up, and I'm so happy that I did! What a great read this was!

It seems like the 'forbidden love' trope is everywhere, but what if two people who are supposed to fall in love, actually do? This is such a fun example of that. Dimple is not interested in an arranged marriage. She's excited for college and getting away from her meddling mother. She can't believe her parents have agreed to send her to a summer program where she'll get to develop her own app. However, as soon as Dimple arrives at SFSU ready to begin her future, she meets Rishi, who basically introduces himself to her as her future husband. It all becomes clear, then, why her parents were so happy to send her to the program. Of course, she's furious at her parents scheming, and the fact that she can't help like Rishi despite it all. 

While it took me more time to warm up to Dimple than Rishi, who was totally my type of guy from the start, I could also understand her dedication to her studies and her complete freak out when she met Rishi. I can't even fathom my parents having tried to set me up for marriage when I was 18 and going to college. Speaking of that, I love the way this book weaves in Dimple and Rishi's Indian heritage and culture through this book and within their lives in California. I really liked that both of their parents are part of their lives, but we also watch Dimple and Rishi begin to forge their own paths forward too. That struggle is such a relatable and true part of that transition from life in high school and at home to college and out in the world. 

I had so much fun watching Dimple and Rishi fall for each other through the course of their 6 weeks at Insomnia Con. Despite how different they seem at first, these two really get each other. And so much of this book was the sweet and swoony building of first love. Rishi is the best date planner, btw. However, where the story fell a for me was in the Big Break section. I never like that part of a book, but I found what happened here to be extra frustrating [spoiler: Although I cannot relate to the pressure she was perceiving from her parents to pick marriage or a career, she was so incredibly mean in how she handled the whole situation. I had trouble getting back the warm fuzzies at the conclusion after all of that.] But still, this is a fantastic book, I couldn't help but root for Dimple and Rishi, and I totally get why everyone is praising it so much! 

Love Triangle Factor: NONE
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone. A companion book from Rishi's brother's POV is to come in the future.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

Blog Tour organized by First Second Books
See the full schedule HERE

Last year I was part of the blog tour for Mighty Jackand today I'm excited to be featuring the second book in this series, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King.

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King
by Ben Hatke
Read: August 4, 2017
Published: September 5, 2017 by First Second
Source: Galley from publisher (TY Macmillan!)
Category: MG, Jack and the Beanstalk Retelling  
Series: Mighty Jack 2/(?)

Book Description: The garden behind Jack’s house has gone wild with creatures set loose by the magic beans Jack and his kid sister Maddy planted. One particularly mean creature has kidnapped Maddy and carried her off. Now Jack and his neighbor Lilly must follow her to a world between worlds beyond the vines and stalks, where giants grind the bones of human children to feed their beast in the castle up above, and a fearsome goblin king rules down below. It'll take more than Lilly’s bag of concoctions and tricks, and more than one hero, to rescue Maddy, reunite Jack's family, and bring them all safely home again.


My now 6 year old son and I read Mighty Jack together last year and he could not wait for the sequel to come out. Once again he claimed this book as soon as we received it. 

Where Mighty Jack begins this series' retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk by incorporating magic and adventure - and a wildly growing garden - into the modern world, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King takes the story into the world of giants, goblins and other surprising creatures. At the end of the last installment, Jack's sister Maddie was stolen by a terrible giant. Determined to rescue her at all cost, Jack and his neighbor Lilly, too, trek into another world to find her. 

While the first book in this series focused more on the discovery of the beans and what grew from them, this one starts right away with action. Overall, it had a more intense tone of danger to it that felt a little darker than the last one. This is a Middle Grade series and the characters are in upper middle school (or even entering high school). For that, the book was a little above my 6 year old, and he definitely noticed the greater intensity to the story. But I highly recommend this series for kids that are a few years older than him (maybe 8+), and older Middle Grade readers will get some of the more subtle deeper themes. 

The artwork in this story continues to be bright, imaginative and descriptive. It is easy to read without most of the words. And though the book is titled after Jack, I love how much this story features Lilly and Maddie as well. I definitely felt the girl power in this retelling. Jack and Lilly have their own paths in this story, and I enjoyed how their stories diverged and then converged, as well as how protective they both are of Maddie. 

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King wraps up its story well, while also ending on a bit of a reveal that leaves things open for more books in this series. Thankfully it's not another cliffhanger in the "oh no!" sense, but more of the "I can't wait for what's next!" sense. 

Love Triangle Factor: None (only a tiny hint of any romance)
Cliffhanger Scale: Low. This story completes itself, but epilogue sets up another story to come. 


About the Author

Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator of the New York Times–bestselling Zita the Spacegirl trilogy, the picture books Julia's House for Lost Creatures and Nobody Likes a Goblin, and the graphic novels Little Robot and Mighty Jack. He lives and works in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and their boisterous pack of daughters. 

Find Ben Hatke: Website | Twitter 

Watch a video of Ben Hatke talking about living creatively. 

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