BOOK REVIEW & PROMOTION: VISITED by Janine Caldwell

We at Just My Opinion Book Reviews are thrilled to be a part of the VISITED Promotional Event for Janine Caldwell! We will review the book and also give you some promotional FUN!! You’ll see character bios, the dream cast as well as our final review of the book.

VISITED

AUTHOR: JANINE CALDWELL

AGE GROUP: YOUNG ADULT

GENRE: ROMANTIC SCIENCE FICTION

RELEASE DATE: MAY 25th, 2013

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Seventeen-year-old Joanna Murphy has lost faith in her life. Vying for her mom’s attention, she’s resentful of her stepdad’s intrusion to their family. Her best friend, Tommy, has no clue she’s in love with him as he dates girl after girl without noticing how it tortures her. The final kicker, though, is God’s sick joke to make her freakishly tall when everyone knows boys prefer petite girls.

 

Then in a bizarre accident Joanna meets James, a breathtaking teen who appears to her after an unusual falling star sighting. Suddenly, her dream for an alien encounter becomes all too real. But when she finds her life has been made unrecognizable, she’s forced into an explosive study of the original design for her life that just may have her regretting every wish she ever made.

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Janine was raised in the Bay Area and has a B.A. in English from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After 30 years in California, she and her husband moved to Arizona and are currently raising their two sons in Anthem. Janine has always had a passionate love for literature—anything from the classics to the hottest YA series. Inspired by her visits to Sedona, she wrote her first YA series (The Vortex Series) based on the romance and mystery of the red rock formations. She is also grateful for the students in her life who remind her what the teenage years are like, good and bad. When Janine is not writing, she’s practicing yoga, spending time with friends, and taking care of her family.

 

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

 

JUST MY OPINION’S REVIEW: Rating: ★★★★☆

“Star light, Star bright….will my dreams REALLY make me happy tonight???”

Janine Caldwell, once again, very graciously provided me with a copy of this book for review and I’m forever grateful. Thank you so much Ms. Caldwell!

Visited is the first novel in what I am hoping will be a new series. The plot line, characters and creative premise pulled me into Visited even as I was wondering if I was too old to be reading Young Adult. The science fiction aspect added so much to the story I was shocked at how what seemed a small event could change the characters’ lives and futures so significantly.

Visited is an eternal struggle for the characters to live this new life they have be gifted while fighting against memories of a more perfect past. In the end, is this a case of the “grass is always greener on the other side” or do you have to experience this plane to truly appreciate the other?  And which one will you pick in the end?  More importantly, will you have a choice or will you lose those you’ve come to love?  It is an incredibly well developed Coming of Age story which engages you right from the first scene.

Combine fantastic and intriguing characters with lots of teen drama and a “once in a lifetime” love story and what can you expect other than that warm fuzzy feeling? As with all of her books, Ms. Caldwell loves her characters and you can feel her love poured into their development as well as a very well thought out plot line. She keeps you focused and interested at all times and you’ll find yourself finishing this book in hours rather than days!

You will once again find angst, romance, science fiction, some shady characters thrown in and just plain fun in this book. You are continuously pulled into the story and have a strong need to know what is going to happen next and why. I love that the desert once more the backdrop to this novel-you can just feel Ms. Caldwell’s love for the area at every turn and with every detail. I will tell you, this book is extremely predictable.  However, even though I had the premise figured out right at the beginning, I still took the journey and thankfully, found more at the end than I had bargained on.  There are surprising revelations and inspiring lessons to be learned from the story as a WHOLE.

Somehow, Ms. Caldwell manages to keep the characters very diverse and complex and continues to explore those secrets and desires you are introduced to right from the first pages. You never find yourself getting bored with either the story or the characters-the supporting cast is just as intriguing as the main characters.

I am anxious to read the next installment, if there is one, as the ending to Visited leaves you wondering if there isn’t MORE out there to explore. What’s very interesting, however, is that the same questions you are left with are also questions you’d be comfortable with not knowing the answers to. As a stand alone novel, this is a GREAT read. If the series continues into a second installment, that’s just all the better! Brilliant novel, once again, Ms. Caldwell! I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

  • +  Well developed storyline with believable characters
  • +  Holds your attention from start to finish
  • +  The science fiction aspect is a total surprise at the end
  • +  I truly loved the supporting cast just as much as the main characters
  • –  A bit too young for my tastes, but exactly where it should be for a Young Adult novel

 

 

WHERE TO BUY “VISITED”:

AMAZON

 

ADD “VISITED” TO YOUR GOODREADS SHELF:

 

CHARACTER BIO OF JOANNA MURPHY

Meet 17-year old Joanna Murphy. A spunky, sarcastic redhead with clever blue eyes who is more tomboy than prom queen. When she’s not blogging or reading about all things sci-fi, she’s playing competitive volleyball or hanging out with her best friend, Tommy, who also happens to be the secret object of her heart. What holds Joanna back from confessing her feelings, and even from shining in other areas of her life, is her general lack of self-esteem. Losing her father at a tender age to cancer and having to suffer through a rough childhood of cruel ridicule for her unusual height, has made Joanna insecure. She’s become a girl who always believes the grass is greener and wishes she could be anyone but herself.

 

MS. CALDWELL’S DREAM ACTRESS FOR JOANNA

 

For Joanna Murphy, I chose Jane Levy currently starring in Suburgatory. She has the wit and charisma of Joanna, the red hair and clever blue eyes. Not sure how tall she is, but Hollywood can make anyone what they want these days.

 

 

CHARACTER BIO OF TOMMY DURANT

Introducing Tommy Durant, Joanna’s neighbor and lifelong best friend. Tommy is a laid back, typical teen who loves to play video games when he’s not logging hours in the pool with his swim team. With his athletic swimmer’s body, electric blue eyes, and disheveled black hair, he has no problem attracting the ladies. However, he has a horrible time figuring out what they want and understanding them. It’s no wonder then he’s clueless that Joanna pines for him and fantasizes about becoming more than platonic friends. Not that he takes advantage of their friendship, but he has his own hangups and trust issues to master before he can see anything else clearly.

 

MS. CALDWELL’S DREAM ACTOR FOR TOMMY

 

I truly see Logan Lerman, AKA Percy Jackson, as Tommy Durant. That boyish charm, electric blue eyes, and black hair that can hang low in his eyes, is just perfect for Tommy.

 

 

CHARACTER BIO OF JAMES

And then there’s James. A visitor from another dimension who can heal with his hands. He often emanates a supernatural glow behind a set of powerful gray eyes that are impossible to stare down. But James appears more like a California surfer with tanned skin, neck-length golden curls, and a physique that could blend in with the Olympic water polo team, than some alien creature from outer space. With confidence and ease, James persistently threads his way into Joanna’s life, eager to complete his mission. He isn’t easily intimidated by anyone or anything, joyful for his time on Earth. The only moments he ever appears rattled is when his enemies attempt to sabotage his mission.

 

MS. CALDWELL’S DREAM ACTOR FOR JAMES

 

For James, I see Alex Pettyfer. Good gracious that guy is hot. He has many looks, but when his hair is blond and bleached out on the ends, he is how I imagine James. A strong jawline, almost unnaturally good-looking, and Alex almost has James’s gray eyes as well.

 

 

Thank you to Janine Caldwell for including Just My Opinion in this Promotional Tour and Review for VISITED.

BOOK REVIEW: THIS GIRL: A Novel (Slammed #3) by Colleen Hoover

THIS GIRL: A NOVEL (SLAMMED #3)

AUTHOR: COLLEEN HOOVER

AGE GROUP: NEW ADULT

GENRE: CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: APRIL 30th, 2013

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

There are two sides to every love story. Now hear Will’s.

Colleen Hoover’s New York Times bestselling Slammed series has brought countless readers to their knees with a whirlwind of love, passion, and heartache. Layken and Will’s love has managed to withstand the toughest of circumstances and the young lovers, now married, are beginning to feel safe and secure in their union. As much as Layken relishes their new life together, she finds herself wanting to know everything there is to know about her husband, even though Will makes it clear he prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong. Still, he can’t resist his wife’s pleas and so he begins to untangle his side of the story, revealing for the first time his most intimate feelings and thoughts, retelling both the good and bad moments, and sharing a few shocking confessions of his own from the time when they first met.

In This Girl, Will tells the story of their complicated relationship from his point of view. Their future rests on how well they deal with the past in this final installment of the beloved Slammed series.

 

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Colleen Hoover is the author of New York Times bestsellers, SLAMMED, POINT OF RETREAT, THIS GIRL, HOPELESS and LOSING HOPE. Her next standalone, MAYBE SOMEDAY, will be released in March, 2014.

Colleen enjoys blogging, writing, creating pointless Instagram videos and placing random words where they don’t belong.

 

WEB SITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

 

JUST MY OPINION’S REVIEW: Rating: ★★★★½

“Ms. Hoover just SLAMMED us all with how to write a POV novel!”

I was provided with a copy of this novel by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Colleen Hoover’s debut novel “Slammed” was referred to me by several authors I have come to know through my reviews.  I decided to give it a try and was incredibly surprised!  If any of you know how I feel about Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park (my all-time favorite and most inspirational book I’ve read to date), you will be shocked to know that “Slammed” CLOSELY rivals FOL in my opinion.

When an author can grab my attention in the first few lines of their novel, I am intrigued.  When they can continue to keep me vested in not only the plot line but also the characters and their development, I am shocked.  When they can put it all together to create a book that inspires me, I am head-over-heels in love with the author!  Colleen Hoover….I adore you!!!

The Slammed Series is a story about fate-plain and simple.  If you ever doubted whether or not fate exists, read this book.  After facing incredible personal tragedies, both main characters (Will and Layken) find their lives fatefully entwined in ways they cannot deny nor ignore.  I was immediately shocked with the ethical dilemma they are faced with and even more so when it turns into a very intricate moral dilemma.  The main characters are so well defined and have such incredible back stories, it shouldn’t seem believable…yet it does.  So much so, you just lose yourself in the story and forget everything around you.

With “This Girl”, Ms. Hoover manages to tell the same story from Will’s perspective with out even one time making me feel like I was reading the same story again!  It was incredible.  While it’s written from Will’s POV, it’s set in the present.  You are with Will and Layken as together they explore all the trials and tribulations they went through in Slammed, but with emotions and experiences you never knew about when reading from Layken’s POV.

Once again, the supporting characters have their own back stories which make them equally intriguing and help add to the plot line and its’ development.  As the book progresses, every character is faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges; yet they all continue on their road of development and their experiences contribute to the story in such amazing ways.  Again though, from Will’s perspective, even these supporting characters have new life breathed into them by Ms. Hoover.

You will feel each and every emotion the characters are feeling.  You will cry, laugh, furrow your brow in worry and sometimes just smile shyly to yourself at the sweetness.  Don’t get me wrong…this is NOT all romance here.  While the underlying story is a romance, there is so much more to the story I really hesitate to even label it a romance.  This is a drama through and through with a romance thrown in to balance out the emotional impact it makes on you.  Reading it from Will’s POV was one of the most refreshing experiences I’ve ever had in a POV story.  I even watched as Layken’s emotions and reactions changed based on Will’s side of things which she is experiencing for the first time.  It never once felt forced or compromised Will’s masculinity which is an incredibly difficult accomplishment.  Well done Ms. Hoover!!

This book is fantastic-like the whole Slammed Series.  From the first page to the last page, the story is utter perfection and instilled so many emotions and inspiration in me.  I will carry this story with me forever.  I’ve never said this before on a POV novel, but THANK YOU Ms. Hoover for giving us Will’s story!!

+  Watching Will tell Layken his story was incredibly touching

+  I was very emotional listening to Will’s feelings

+  So much angst and upheaval you never get comfortable or bored with this relationship

+  Incredible way to tell a different POV – truly ingenious Ms. Hoover

–  Honestly, it was just over too fast

???  Will we ever get to read about the boys once they grow up  ???

 

 

ADD “THIS GIRL” TO YOUR GOODREADS SHELF:

 

BUY “THIS GIRL”:

AMAZON

 

Thank you to Colleen Hoover and Atria Books for providing me with a copy of THIS GIRL and for the memorable opportunity to review this novel.

 

BOOK REVIEW VS. BOOK REPORT

BOOK REVIEW VS. BOOK REPORT??

Are you writing a book report when you mean to write a book review?  Do you know for certain which is which?  Hopefully, these tips will help you decide.

So when I was in the fourth grade and my teacher, Mrs. Krabappel, assigned us a book report on “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, it came along with a sheet telling me what to write.  Was it daunting?  Absolutely!  Who liked book reports?  They were scary and detail oriented.  Sometimes, you even had to perform the dreaded oral report!

We won’t go there for now though.  If you look back on it with adult eyes though, it was actually pretty easy….assuming you read the book that is.  🙂

While book reports and book reviews are comparable, there are distinct differences.  Book reports are more descriptive; tell what the book is about in detail, and a book review is more influential; trying to convince a reader WHY they should or shouldn’t read the book.  However, both offer a combination of summary and observation.

While most teachers have their own requirements and expectations for book reports, for the most part, in school, you could expect to be assigned something like this:

Not so daunting, right?  I want you to specifically notice the main section which TELLS YOU to summarize the book; tell the beginning, the middle and the end.  This is a RED FLAG that this is a book report and NOT a book review.  You actually give the details of the book back to the teacher in a book report.

In many ways, you will retell the story and then explain it’s effect on you.  This is a book report.

A book review, in contrast, should NEVER re-tell the story.  While many of the above objectives should be met, you need to be certain you are not giving ANYTHING away.  Something as simple as telling how the events in the prologue play out can spoil a book for future readers.  Your objective here is to convey your feelings about the book in a constructive manner.  Length is not important here; content is what counts.

Having a reviewer re-tell their novel, give out spoilers, write in quotes from the book, give away secrets or twists and turns is an author’s nightmare.

It’s wonderful that you’re excited about a book and want to share it with others, but remember to reign it in.  Don’t be specific.  Don’t tell WHAT the characters have done….speak about their development.  Explain the story arc but don’t reiterate scenes from the story.  Do NOT give out spoilers no matter how much you’d like to.  Just, never.

As with a book report, having actually READ the book is critical.  If you started it, put it down and didn’t finish it-for WHATEVER reason-you should NOT be reviewing it.  If you don’t know the full story arc as well as character development from beginning to end , you shouldn’t review the book.  How can you form a constructive opinion about the book if you don’t know the entire story and it’s details.

Always include both the book title and the author’s name as many times as possible through your review.  Try NOT to use the term “the book” or “the author” as this will not help the novel or author’s name stick with the person reading your review.  Remember, you want to sell your review; whether it’s positive or negative.  Having said that, it is imperative to remain professional at all times.  Even if you despise a book you’ve read, you should be able to find some positive aspects to point out.

I know of many authors who read the reviews of their novels and actually make changes to their manuscripts based on feedback.  It’s so important that you give constructive criticism and feedback at all times.

Using the book summary as part of your review is a cop out.  If you want to include it in a blog post, that’s fine, but know that it is NOT part of your review.  When posting on retail sites, readers can get the book synopsis simply by looking up the book.  The blurb is NOT your review or even part of it.

If there is a topic the book relates to; such as abuse, politics, religion etc., please discuss your thoughts and opinions of the topic.  This helps readers of your review get a true “feel” for the book.

Whether you like the book or not; do not make your review personal to the author. Under any circumstances. This is NEVER acceptable.  The author wrote the book, the book is it’s own entity.  Review outlets are never a place for you to voice your personal opinions of the author.  You are reviewing the book, not the author.  Always be fair and professional.

Make sure to consider the genre the book is placed in when writing your review.  You shouldn’t expect the same story arc from a paranormal novel as you would from a horror novel and you should review accordingly.  Set your expectations realistically so you can review in a constructive manner.

I also suggest taking notes while you read when you come across events in the book which make an impact on you so you don’t forget your feelings by the time you write your review.  If you can wait two to three days after finishing the book before writing your review, you also allow the story to “marinate” within you and full feelings to emerge.

The most important section in a review is your conclusion.  Please make sure to give an overall summary of how you felt about the book and it’s content.  Would you recommend the book?  Is there another author or book you would compare it to?  Is there a different age group or genre you feel it may fit into as well?  Sometimes a die hard fantasy reader may pick up a romance or horror based on your feedback.  You just never know.

Most importantly, always know that the length of your review is not relevant.  A one paragraph review, if done properly, is so much more influential and helpful than a three page review that is not constructive or educated.  In the end, know that you are helping authors tremendously when you post a review.  Whether you liked the book or not, the author WANTS to hear your feedback.  I’ve never known an author or publishing house that didn’t appreciate it when a reader posted a review and helped others learn more about their novel.  Ever.

Please make sure you are never writing a book REPORT when you should be writing a book REVIEW.  They are very different entities and if you’re uncertain of the differences, please ask someone for help before you post it online.  There are many of us who have been doing this for years and we are always here to help individuals new to reviewing.  If you’re following these guidelines, you can be assured that you’re helping the author and your review will be a success!