J. L. Willow

Author ~ Blogger ~ Storyteller

This update is about giving you guys a heads-up that things may be a little different around here — ’cause I’m officially studying to be a mechanical engineer! I’ve been preparing for this time in my life for a very long time, and as I’m writing this, I am currently sitting at my new home for the next several years. Since you guys are along with me for the ride, I figured I’d give you a run-down on how things are going to change (and stay the same) for my platform and my work!

First off, I’m definitely still writing, so don’t worry about that. At the moment, I have two projects in the works, which I will continue working on around my class schedule. But if I go air-silent for a few days at a time on social media, that’s just because I’m working hard to stay on top of my courses 🙂

One thing I’ve gotten a lot of questions about is my YouTube channel: am I still going to be posting weekly videos? You’ll be happy to know that the answer is yes, as shown by the fact that I’ll be posting my official “Dorm Tour” tomorrow afternoon! At the moment, it still looks like I’m going to be able to keep up with one video a week. But as things start to get busier, I might have to change that to one video every two weeks. If that becomes the case, I will let you guys know, so just keep an eye out on social media!

Besides that, I’m really enjoying life in college! I’ve learned so much already, met a ton of new friends, and even put copies of my books on consignment at some local bookstores. This is only the beginning of what’s to come, and I can’t wait to see where life takes me next.

Thank you, as always, for sticking with me and supporting me! It truly means the world to me 🙂

— Julia

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Title: The Stolen Kingdom: An Aladdin Retelling

Author: Bethany Atazadeh

Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Retelling

Review: When I heard that The Stolen Kingdom was a retelling on the classic Aladdin, I was interested to see how Atazadeh would approach it. Some of the retellings I’ve read recently are less “retell” and more “rehash,” and I find that I enjoy the story more when authors take a risk with the original story rather than playing it safe. But I had nothing to worry about. The Stolen Kingdom takes a completely new direction to the classic fairy tale, one that is familiar, refreshing, and unlike anything in the current YA genre.

The Stolen Kingdom follows princess Arie, who is struggling with both protecting her kingdom and protecting the secret of her Jinni’s gift which, if it gets out, could mean certain death. When a king from a nearby kingdom attempts to force her into marriage, she realizes the only way out is to leave the safety of the castle she’s known all her life and escape into the surrounding lands. it’s there that she stumbles across a group of mischievous and (surprisingly) heartfelt thieves that may be her key to removing her gift — and, perhaps, finding true companionship along the way.

Atazadeh’s writing is clean and smooth, telling the story so effortlessly that there’s no effort on the reader’s part to keep the pages turning. There’s a collection of great quippy moments among the characters which contrast against some of the genuinely darker parts of the book. It’s clear from the carefully crafted balance maintained throughout that Atazadeh is seasoned in the art of storytelling.

A story that captures both the essence of a timeless classic and the intrigue of a new tale, The Stolen Kingdom is sure to wonder and inspire as it pushes the boundaries of how we define the fairy tales of our childhoods.

The Stolen Kingdom: An Aladdin Retelling will be released on August 20th, 2019. Pre-order it HERE.

Good Choice if You Liked: A Curse so Dark and Lonely, Cinder, Dorothy Must Die

Rating: 10/10

 

 

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Title: Long Way Down

Author: Jason Reynolds

Genre: Poetry, Paranormal Fiction

Review: To be honest, I’ve been in a bit of a book slump recently. I’ve had trouble connecting to what I was reading, and I was really hoping for something new that would draw me in and surprise me. Long Way Down was just what I was looking for.

Written in prose poetry, Reynolds uses format, repetition, and even anagrams to bring the reader into the mind of Will, a 15-year-old struggling to cope with the sudden death of his brother. In Will’s mind, there’s only one way to move on: kill the man who took his brother’s life. But as he descends on an elevator on the way to do what he feels must be done, he finds himself face-to-face with literal ghosts from his past. Each person that enters the elevator continues to challenge Will’s belief that this is the only way to find justice for his brother — and the other lost people in his life.

Although the book only took me a few hours to read, by the end of it, I felt like I knew Will inside and out. Reynolds’ clear, concise writing holds back nothing from the reader and starkly portrays the pain of grief and loss. He has a clever take on language that can’t be found on any other pages out there (expect, of course, his other work). It kept me enthralled from the very first page to the very last. It was one of those books that had me sitting there, mulling over what I had just read long after I closed the cover.

If you’re looking for a quick read that’s sure to keep you intrigued and perhaps even touch you in an unexpected way, I highly recommend Jason Reynold’s Long Way Down.

Good Choice if You Liked: The Graveyard Book, Crank, City of Ghosts

Rating: 10/10

 

Hello, everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve made a blog post and I feel like I owe you guys an update on how I’ve been doing — and, of course, what I’ve been working on!

Ever since the release of Missing Her, I’ve been quite busy. Not only with the continuation of the marketing for both my books, but also with going to BookCon and graduating high school! That’s right, I’m going to be heading to college in just a few short weeks, and that means there’s going to be some changes.

As I’m getting adapted to college-life, I most likely won’t be posting as much on my blog or my Instagram. I won’t go totally air-silent, but there is a chance that I might not be posting as much as I have been recently.

This also means that I’m not going to be able to keep my YouTube background! If you’ve ever watched any of the videos on my channel, you’ll know that I film in front of a bookshelf housing my collection of books. This will not be the case in the future as (obviously) I will not be able to take the bookshelves with me into such a small dorm. But I have a few ideas that I’m going to try out so don’t worry — to the best of my ability, I will continue to post weekly videos!

Now, the real question: what have I been writing? I’ve actually been working on two projects simultaneously (something I’ve never tried before, and it’s definitely taking some extra brain power) but I’m making steady progress on each of them. I actually made good progress on the larger of the two projects today when I completed Mandi Lynn’s 10k Writing Challenge! Keep an eye out for a video this Thursday to see how I did it.

Besides that, I’ve been having a great summer. I’ve been hard at work, but I’ve also definitely taken some time for myself to spend with family and friends. The weeks are going by really fast, but I’m trying my best to enjoy each day as it comes.

How has your summer been going? Let me know in the comments below! If you haven’t been hitting your goals for the summer, don’t worry! There’s still plenty of time to catch up 🙂

Just keep writing, just keep writing . . .

— Juia

I know I’ve said it a hundred times but I’ll say it again: what an amazing weekend!! If you had told me years ago that I would be signing and selling my books to excited friends among some of my best friends, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But that’s exactly what I got to do this last weekend. I am still on an emotional high after all of the love and support I was surrounded by. For anyone who was able to make it, you were all lovely!!

I’ve posted my full vlog from the weekend on YouTube channel (it was a LOT of footage) so if you’d like, you can check it out HERE!

I’ve also posted a bunch of photos from the weekend on my website, which you can check out HERE!

I already can’t wait til next year. Thank you all, for everything!

— Julia

Now that Missing Her is out in the world, many people (including myself) are asking the same question: what next? All of this time and energy has gone into getting this book off the ground, so what do I do now?

Lucky for you (and also myself) I have many plans! I’ve given myself a little time for a break, but I’d like to update you guys so you know what to expect from J. L. Willow next.

There are definitely more books coming in the future. My ideas right now are from a variety of genres: horror, psychological drama, perhaps even another paranormal. Right now, I’m spending some time with each of them, trying to decipher which one is ready to become fully fleshed-out. Several of them are the start of a series, which would be a change of pace from The Scavenger and Missing Her, both of which are stand-alones! I guess you’ll just have to wait and see . . .

But for now, I have some more exciting news! One of my short stories has been traditionally published by Z Publishing! It’s currently in a collection called Emerging Suspense Writers: East Region. My story is titled “The Lover’s Box.” If you would like to purchase a copy, you can HERE!

As you can see, there’s a lot of exciting stuff in the works!! I’m super excited for what the future has in store 🙂

— Julia

Woohoo! FINALLY it’s May 8th!! For a while, it seemed like this day would never come, but these last few weeks flew by! I’ve been busy doing giveaways, posting YouTube videos, and sharing the news that my second book is almost released. And now it is!

If you need to catch up on the behind-the-scenes videos I’ve been posting about Missing Her, you can check out my YouTube playlist HERE! I also did a special reflection about today, which you can watch HERE!

If you’ve pre-ordered Missing Her — thank you, thank you, thank you! I know you’re going to love it 🙂 I’m happy to send you a signed bookplate so you can turn your pre-ordered copy into an autographed one, so shoot me an email at jlwillowbooks@gmail.com if you’re interested!

Still need to order your copy? You can now!! It’s available in hardcover, paperback and eBook. Click HERE to check it out!

For everyone that’s been sticking by my side through this journey, I am forever in your debt. I’m incredibly honored that you would choose to read my work, and I truly hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoyed writing them.

Well, that’s a wrap on book two! Onto the next one!!

Just kidding, I’ll probably take a few months off … or days …

Or maybe just a few hours 😉

— Julia

 

You read the title right! Starting right now, you can pre-order your copy of Missing Her! I know, right?? Super exciting!! That means that your copy will show up on your doorstep (or your Kindle, depending on your preference) on May 8th of this year! So if you want to be the first person to read Missing Her, you’re gonna wanna pre-order right now!!

But wait!! There’s more!! If you pre-order Missing Her, you have the opportunity to get entered into the Missing Her pre-order giveaway! Every day in the week leading up to the launch of Missing Her, I’ll be giving away a prize to someone who pre-ordered the book! This could be anything from Barnes & Noble gift-cards to merch bundles to signed hardbacks of Missing Her! So if you want to get in on the action, make sure you pre-order Missing Her!

I talk more about the giveaway in my most recent video, which you can watch HERE!

Pre-Order Missing Her:

Missing Her - 3D

Hardcover: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/099925264X

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0999252623

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PHLKNQS

ENTER THE MH PREORDER GIVEAWAY: https://goo.gl/forms/eXwZIBafL0iy4Kn43

If you have any questions about anything, don’t hesitate to contact me at jlwillowbooks@gmail.com.

Alright, you’re released! Now GO PRE-ORDER MISSING HER!

— Julia

Title: Aurora Rising

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Author: Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Genre: Science Fiction, Action & Adventure

Review: Every time it seems that Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have reached their peak in storytelling, they outdo themselves. Aurora Rising is no exception. A masterpiece in descriptive writing and world-building, this sci-fi drama will win over the heart of anyone who’s ever felt like a misfit in a world full of “Alphas.”

Tyler Jones is the top ranking Alpha of Aurora Academy. He’s trained for years in leadership, flight and combat skills, receiving perfect scores on every one of his assessments. As he’s easily top of his class, he expects to receive a top-not squad from the pool of recruits ripe for the picking. But on the morning of the draft, he takes a joyride that leads him to a girl named Aurora — in the crash scene of an accident that occurred two centuries earlier. Tyler’s choice to save the girl causes him to miss the entire ceremony and lands him with the last choice picks for every member of his squad (not exactly best case scenario). With the mysterious Aurora by their side, the rag-tag bunch of nobodies ends up embarking on a mission that leads them down a path they never expected: one that causes them to unravel everything they thought they know about the galaxy and beyond.

It’s impossible to tell the book is authored by a duo. The story flows seamlessly, each perspective of the squad contrasting and complimenting each other. Each of the seven characters have a very distinct voice, and even if each chapter didn’t announce the perspective of that part, the reader would be able to tell within the first few sentences who was speaking.

The scale of of the world that Kaufman and Kristoff have created is massive. From “modern” technology to character dialect, each invention of Aurora Rising was crafted carefully and purposefully. They’ve included an incredible amount of detail, and it’s impossible not to become instantly lost in the story.

A thrilling science-fiction piece, Aurora Rising is filled with humor, excitement and a whole lot of heart. It’s an age-old story of a group of misfits that find themselves in each other, retold in an incredibly immersive space-setting. The book is perfect for anyone looking for a mix of feel-good friendship and adventure — or who longs to reclaim that reading-under-your-covers-past-bedtime feeling.

Aurora Rising will be released on May 7th, 2019.

Good Choice if You Liked: Illuminae, The Martian, Annihilation

Rating: 10/10

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