Book Review: Reversal Zone

Nothing is as it should be.

After weeks of boredom, Andi is excited when the Surveyor is called upon to rescue a freighter that mysteriously vanished in uncharted space. Excitement quickly turns to unease when the ship encounters an unknown phenomenon—a cloud that appears not to exist. But with the freighter’s crew in danger, the Surveyor has no choice but to venture into unknown territory.

As soon as they enter the cloud, its unstable effects wreak havoc on the ship. They’re flying blind. Every piece of equipment is malfunctioning. And every member of the crew is unable to think straight or act like themselves—except Andi.

Now she’s expected to guide them through the predicament with no previous command experience and no one to turn to for support. And with each passing hour, it becomes clear that if they don’t escape the cloud soon—they won’t escape it at all.” (from Goodreads)

So, this was amazing. It tied together all the strands that had been set up in the previous books and just blew my mind. (I stayed up too late reading. I have almost no regrets.) Almost like a series finale, actually, though fortunately for us there are more books. 😀

Pro tip: Don’t fly into creepy, non-existent-to-instruments clouds if you can help it.

At first, I found everyone’s personality switches a little bit funny, but as time passed, things grew more urgent, and Andi began to get more and more tired from the weight of it all, I was like, okay, I see the seriousness. Also, um, apparently at least one person on the ship has an inner villain? O.o. (But the motivations, oh, I loved the whole thing about motivations staying the same, and I honestly couldn’t completely hate the villain, and I need resolution of that, and everything.) XD I really loved how Andi got to work together with her brother and her cousin again in this one, and as someone with multiple chronically ill family members, the radialloy storyline was special to me. 😉

(I also really, really loved how even when Andi was necessarily thrust into a role of leadership, she tried to do it respectfully and honor her Captain and her dad. Yay to that!)

Just a note, the team–Major Spoiler Here!–board another ship and find the entire crew dead which is a disturbing scene.

Altogether, this was fantastic, and I’m excited to see where that cliffhanger leads. 😉

Author Down

I’m on day three of the flu.

I’ve watched more movies than I should number. XD (And part of a vlog webseries and skimmed a little fanfiction.) Some of them have been really good and some of them have been really cringey.

I have a delightful buddy read waiting for me to kick my headache and start reading it. (Thanks for your patience, Mikayla!)

All I want to eat is Oreo ice cream, a.k.a. the last thing I need right now. XD

I know I’m feeling a little better when my creativity grabs me by the collar of my pajamas and demands I do something with it. (Seriously, last night I was getting tons of ideas for blog posts and the next few scenes in my WIP.)

Not my favorite update to give, but I’m grateful I seem to be on the mend and I thought you should know why I’m not keeping to my blogging schedule.

Prayers for anyone else who is sick!

Halfway, HOORAY!

I’ve been working more on my fantasy novel, and I’m so happy with how it’s going so far! Something weird just happened and somebody evil probably did it, and the MCs are low on food, and also they’re finally talking to each other a little more which is nice. XD

By my nearest count, I just hit 25/26,000 words, and that’s halfway!!! 😀 To celebrate, here’s a teeny, tiny excerpt. Disclaimer: It’s a very rough draft, have mercy, please.

His knowledge of geography didn’t account for not using the roads, but until they were a safe distance away from the main province, Arrow didn’t want to risk it. A question or two to the innkeepers they had encountered was enough to confirm they were headed east.

He glanced back at the Queen, riding silently a tail’s length behind him. So far she had followed him without a question to where they were going, but soon he would need to come up with a better direction than away. 

She hadn’t questioned because she had barely spoken. Even to the child when she thought he couldn’t hear. With each passing day of the journey, she seemed to sink farther into herself, only eating when he reminded her by handing her food. He never needed to remind her to feed the child; the child reminded them both. 

He broke off a stray branch and threw it to the side. The dog skittered off after it, grasped it in his mouth, and returned to his place beside the horse, carrying the stick triumphantly in his mouth. Arrow smiled slightly and felt his spirits lift.

I love that dog so much. XD

What do you think? Are you currently writing? Tell me about it. 😀

Book Review: Machiavellian

“On their way back to Earth from the newly discovered world of Kainus Ge, the Surveyor rescues the personnel of a malfunctioning science station. Young medical assistant Andi quickly befriends the newcomers, particularly the charming captain, but things get complicated when the scientists offer the impossible–a way to improve the barren planet and the lives of all its inhabitants.

There’s only one problem: their solution requires the Surveyor to enter the one area of the galaxy which is off-limits to travel.

As the Captain struggles with his decisions, Andi and her father become suspicious of the “accidents” that keep happening on the ship. Could it be coincidence, or is someone trying to sabotage their mission? Can they uncover the truth in time to stop the Captain from wrecking his career and losing his ship forever?” (from Goodreads)

I have a confession to make… I wasn’t sure I was going to continue reading this series, and then I forgot about it entirely… Until the Indie Black Friday sale when I picked up a couple more of the books.

Y’all, this was sooo amazing. I loved how it tied into the last story, and the intense, twisty mystery all within the confined space of the ship was awesome. 😉 Think Murder on the Orient Express except in space. With a subtle coup, and some weird medical mysteries, and an absolutely inscrutable villain. Oh, and the ticking clock of what was going to be sabotaged next… Also, I really loved that Andi had to wrestle with her beliefs, and the deeper development of some side characters was great too. ❤ (And kudos for having August’s condition play back into the story!)

Just a note, there was some mild peril, SPOILER! a disturbing murder, and some claustrophobic scenes.

Altogether, I found this third installment thoroughly satisfying! (And I read the fourth book almost immediately after. XD)

10 Random Facts About Sincerely, Jem

1. It’s a quadruplet. This novella is one of four originally published in the limited edition anthology A Very Bookish Christmas last year. (Thanks so much to Sarah Holman for coordinating this! ❤ This book exists because of you.) 

2. It’s loosely inspired by a classic. The pen pal relationship, Jessie’s aspiring writer-ness, and their pen names are inspired by Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster. 

3. There are two Doctor Who references–one was intentional. See if you can spot them. 😀

4. Did I mention cheesecake? I feel like I mention this everywhere, but cheesecake is in the book a lot. Not just any cheesecake, though–mini cheesecakes. (Which I can confirm are superior because MORE CRUST.)

5. It’s not a romance. XD

6. It’s slightly inspired by real life. I won’t spoil all of the anecdotes for you, but when Jessie accidentally burns Snickerdoodles then grates them for ice cream topping? We did that once. XD 

7. I called in backup for Longfellow’s letters in the form of guy beta-readers. I wanted his “voice” to sound authentic, so I had them particularly check that for me. (Thanks, guys!)

8. I designed the cover for this one. O.o. First time ever. 

9. Jessie is an introvert (like myself), and while she has some growing to do, she stays an introvert.

10. It released today!! Check it out on Amazon in Kindle. 😀

Short Story Review: Right Number

“Cousin Beth and Izzy bring Christmas to Emily’s apartment even though it’s August and over 100 degrees! Brent has disappeared and Emily hasn’t been able to reach him by phone for several weeks. She guesses he’s off on an assignment and can’t make contact for safety reasons… or can he?

This short story takes place a few weeks after the end of Book 6, Once Upon a Dime and can be read for free on my blog at” (from Goodreads)

Okay, this was the absolute cutest thing ever! I loved Emily’s dynamic with Izzy and her cousin Beth, and it was fun to see more of Brent’s POV again. 😉 I loved the little hints of possible things to come in season two, and I think now I need to celebrate Christmas in summer sometime. ❤

Batteries and a Book Club

I got batteries for Chanukah (eight nights x one gift per night = eight traditionally practical gifts), and it’s been so amazing. 😉 My Dana Alphasmart electronic typewriter is delightfully ancient and completely useless without batteries, so I’m super happy to have it back in comission. I’ve already writen 5,000 new words (distraction free!) on my fantasy story these past two weeks alone. ❤ It’s been going really well so far, and I’ve been loving fleshing out these characters and their motivations. (More needed on draft two, of course.) I just finished part one this weekend, so now there’s going to be a completely new setting and character dynamic to figure out which is SO. MUCH. FUN.

Also, I really, really love this dog side character that decided to be more important in the story than originally planned. *shrugs happily* And I’m really, really sad about what I’m about to do to some characters in just a couple hundred words. 😦 The life of an author is a complicated mess… (Especially when you accidentally lose two scenes. 😛 Don’t worry, it’s all good now.)

I get to go to a book club this week! *grins hugely* As a guest speaker! *smile falters* Which is honestly so cool, and I can’t wait to meet the girls and answer their questions about my writing and Kiera. 😉 (Don’t tell, but I’ve also put together a few minibook copies of my Kiera short story to share with them. Thanks to a Staples run and Perry’s legendary stapler. ❤ ) The book they’re discussing this month is Resistance by Jennifer Nielsen, so I’m gonna get up to speed so I can follow the discussion. Pray for me that I won’t get too tongue-tied and am able to bless the girls. 😀

Last week, I spent a ton of time* trying to write a synopsis for Sincerely, Jem. The anthology was limited edition, so I needed an individual synopsis for releasing it on its own. Skimming, an hour phone call with back up, and a gazillion drafts later, I posted it on Goodreads. With a release date. And much happiness. 😀

Dear Reader,
My name is Jessie. I’m an expert at introversion and cheesecake eating. (#skillz) I’m trying to become a writer, but gathering inspiration = social interaction, so… no.

The world’s best mail carrier suggested I get a pen pal, so this is the story of that pen pal experiment and the beautiful way it opened my eyes.

Merry Christmas and much cheesecake to you!

This lighthearted novella is inspired by Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster and originally appeared in the anthology A Very Bookish Christmas.” (from Goodreads)

And then it was time for FORMATTING! It’s not as scary as it looks, and I was actually able to do it all on my own this time. My sister Perry has helped me with it multiple times (#ninja), and Draft2Digital is really intuitive and easy to use, so yep. 😀

It’s releasing NEXT MONDAY, a.k.a. 1/20. 😀 (I really can’t wait.)

Book Review: Kate’s Christmas

“Can they save Christmas for a town?

Kate and the team couldn’t be spending the holiday season in a more picturesque town. They are in Franklin, Tennessee to find the person setting off bombs at random. Or could it be that the explosions aren’t as random as it appears? Can the team stop the bomber in time for Franklin’s big holiday festival? Kate herself is having a hard time dealing with the fact she can’t go home for Christmas… or can she?

Patrick is finding this case difficult. Promising leads just end up leading into dead ends, and Brian is getting on his nerves. On top of his own problems, Kate asks for his help to get home for Christmas, and it isn’t going to be easy. Can they solve the crime in time for everyone to have a merry Christmas?” (from Goodreads)

I have been eagerly awaiting this book, and it has the honored privilege of being the first one I’ve ever preordered. 😀 You have no idea how happy of a surprise it was when it appeared on my Kindle. XD

The book started of a *little* bumpy for me, but it quickly grew to be amazing, and I think it’s probably now a favorite in the series. One of my favorite aspects of this case was how much they were undercover. Brian and Patrick were a hilarious, dangerous duo. (Brian’s teenager hair. XD ) I also loved Patrick and Kim’s double-talk while they were on their “date”. So clever. Thomas broke me again in this one. I feel for him and love his honesty, but I’m also rooting for him to come home.

As always, the message in this one was something I needed to hear; I just didn’t know it beforehand. XD Making close friends isn’t something I’m naturally good at, but the reminders of how God uses friends in our lives and our need for that input was convicting.

The case in this one was very tragic/sobering, given that it’s heavily inspired by recent events, but I loved the “half-case”. It wasn’t perfect, but it was soooo perfect. Did I mention? I love character growth. 😀

Just a note, there were mentions of deaths from explosions SPOILER! including a child. 😭

Best quotes: “There are always spies in the church,” Logan said, grabbing her jacket from the back seat. “There are people who come, wondering if Christianity is really all it claims to be—if the followers of Jesus really have love and grace for others. We have to remember that we might be the very best example of Christianity that anyone might meet.”

“Must be time to watch all the Captain America movies,” Patrick said. “There is no way I’m letting Jamie’s movies stick around in your head for long.” “You’re a good friend.” “Anything for you, buddy. Any word from Thomas?”

Altogether, I loved this book, and I’m already excited for the next. ❤

A little note… in the past books, a historically racist word was used to describe an Asian woman’s eyes. I am sure it was not the author’s intent to be offensive, and I was pleased to see the absence of that word in this book with a positive clue to the character’s heritage instead.

My 2020 Bookish Goals

Happy New Year, again! 😀 

I’m seriously loving how the numbers “2020” look. It’s satisfyingly symmetrical. XD 

For the past two years, I’ve been setting word-related goals and sharing them here on my blog, (see how I did on last year’s here), so I thought I’d do it again. 😀 And this is more of a get-this-done-maybe-yes-no-i-hope list than a the-world-will-end-if-i-don’t because I know God has goals for this year I know nothing about yet. 😉

Blogging goals…

  1. Stick to my topic schedule. Early on in blogging, I set up a weekly schedule of what types of posts I would do, and I really love it, so I hope to stick to it more this year. 😉
  2. Collab with you all more. If you have an idea for a collab post, comment and we can talk. 😀

Reading goals (besides my Goodreads goal :D)…

  1. Consciously feed my heart and mind with books I can learn something from or find some rest in. 
  2. Read less. This didn’t go so well last year, so we’ll see. 😀

Writing goals…

  1. Finish drafting my fantasy novel. I am loving this project sooo much right now, and I can’t wait to finish it. 😉
  2. Begin The Twin Arrows #3. Whether this just means brainstorming and plotting this year, I hope to get somewhere on it. 😉
  3. (Prayerfully) Find beta readers for “Imperfect”. This one deals with some sensitive issues, so I want to be sure to be respectful to everyone, so finding the right beta readers is gonna be a big deal. 😉
  4. Write some fanfiction. XD I’ve got one planned, y’all, and I’m absolutely in love with it. xD

Those are my bookish goals for the year! What are yours? I’d love to hear what you’re excited about in the comments. 😉

2019 in Review ;)

A long time ago in 2016, some friends and I were commenting on a sci-fi looking outfit. “Woah, that looks like it’s from 2020 or something.” Seconds later, we all freaked out when we realized that sci-fi-sounding date was only four years away.

And now 2020 is today. O.o.

Start practicing writing it on papers now, y’all. 😀

At the very beginning of this year, I want to take a few moments to share some of my highlights from the last one. 😉

(Such a silly Kate)

In the blogging sphere…

2019 felt a little bit different for me as far as blogging goes. With all the writing/publishing deadlines I had this year, there were some rough patches with fatigue and a lack of inspiration, but I’m excited to see that fading. 😉 Thanks for sticking with me through it! I also did my first vlog with My Face in it and got to reveal a ton of really pretty book covers. 😀

I looked up my stats for the top five posts of last year (minus giveaways/collabs cause those naturally get more hits), and here’s what the numbers show…

  1. Shipping Is the Best is actually one I posted in late November 2018. It was super fun sharing memes about shipping (as in wanting two characters to get in a relationship) and sharing my tips for shipping books in the mail. XD
  2. Do I Have That Book? Challenge was super fun. I enjoyed searching through my books to find ones that answered the questions.
  3. The End of the Line: My Thoughts on Avengers Endgame. Okay, this one took so much work to write and put together, and I loved every moment of it. The movie was definitely a highlight of my year. ❤
  4. I Love Book Thrifting (and You Can Too) was disguised as a thrifting tutorial, but it was really just an excuse to get to go book shopping. 😛 😉 (Also another one that was posted late 2018 and took off the next year.)
  5. A Smorgasbord of Writing Music is a collection of some of my favorite songs to write to. (Obvious from the title, but this needed a description to match the others, right? XD)

And if I had to choose two favorites, they’d probably be #3 and My Shoes Have Bows. 😉

(Books, books, books…)

In the reading sphere…

Last year (it feels so weird to type that!), I found soooo many good books! Some really fun experiences this year were my very first buddy reads with my friend Mikayla, getting to finish reading some serieses (wooohooo!), and trying Kindle Unlimited for the first time. 😉 Goodreads put together a fun summary of my reading year (you can view it here), but I’m gonna go ahead and choose five keep-these-in-my-heart-forever books to highlight. 😉

  1. Legends by Denver Evans was something I was absolutely not expecting, and I still struggle to review it properly. Is it too cliche to say that it broke my heart and put it back together? Knocked my socks off? Asdfjkl; and other random gibbering? It’s full of ordinaryness and identity and identity found in Christ. 
  2. The Mysterious Benedict and the Prisoner’s Dilemma by Trention Lee Stewart is one of my favorite books out of the trilogy (I haven’t read the new book or the prequel yet), and it’s here happily representing all of them. Guys, I love the feel of these books and the characters and the themes so much. ❤
  3. Red Rover, Red Rover by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick. So, I already warned you all that I read a lot of series this year, right? 😀 My summer was full of this book and the other five that followed in quick succession. So satisfying and brilliant and hilarious.
  4. In 27 Days by Alison Gervais gave me so much to think about and I absolutely love the cover. Also, it is reaaaallly heartbreaking. 
  5. Remarkables by Margaret Peterson Haddix… How do I explain it? It messed with my classic sci-fi expectations and have me a big dose of hope. 😉

And because I read quite a few picture books this year, I want you all to know that Hair Love and How to Bake a Book are amazing. 

(That moment when you upload the book!)

In the writing sphere…

My writing year in one word: surprising. I’m so grateful for all the writing that I’ve gotten to do this year, and the places God has taken it that I could never have imagined. Some favorites…

  1. Completing the first draft of my novella “Imperfect”. I love this book soooo much, y’all. 😉
  2. Finally publishing The Night Archers, sequel to The Twin Arrows, and taking it to the homeschool convention with some fellow writing friends. ❤ I’m so happy to have this book out in the world, and I’m so grateful for everyone who has cheered me on (and given me the hard truth XD) as I revamped and edited it.
  3. Brainstorming, drafting, redrafting, and finishing a brand new novella in just eight months. I’m so excited to have been published in A Very Bookish Christmas with some of my favorite authors, and I’m so grateful to Sarah Holman for inviting me. ❤
  4. Getting to write some spur of the moment essays to process and/or enjoy some things I was thinking about.
  5. Writing ¼ of my fantasy novel. I AM SO EXCITED about this one! I didn’t expect to be able to get this far on it so soon, so it’s been a nice surprise. 😉
(I went to a cookie decorating party at a local coffee shop this year. So much fun!)

Besides the things I regularly talk about on this blog, life has been full of new experiences. A mixed bag for sure, but I’m sooo grateful for it. We joined a new church, and I’ve been loving the healing/convicting sermons, getting to sing in the choir, and doing volunteer childcare. I also started another online job (which has been a stretching and wonderful gift) and discovered gluten-free flour which is pretty fun. XD 

I’m sure that’s a pretty incomplete sketch of all the gifts I’ve been given last year, but God has blessed me so much, and I feel very loved. ❤ Here’s to the rest of this year! 😀

How was your 2019? And what are you grateful for?