3 S.R. Johannes: January 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

CJ Omololu - my friend, Top Cancer Ass Kicker, and author of the new The Third Twin - Spread the Word!

I met Cynthia Jaynes-Omololu about 5 or 6 years ago in LA. We'd known each other for years online and built a great friendship. (I think it was in FriendMatch.com that connected us or Blogger :)

When we met, we s sat down to have a drink and I ordered my usual filthy martini. She laughed and said she was surprised. She went on to tell me this story she made up in her head - that she thought I was an Ann Taylor marketing business gal who only wore pink suits with matching shoes and purse who drank pink cosmos.Those who know me know I am far from pretty in pink. I am jeans and boots who drinks filthy martinis and coffee.

A few things stuck out to me that day that made me adore CJ -
1) I had to like her b/c she obviously spent many nights thinking about me ;) so I didn't want to hurt her feelings.
2) She is OBVIOUSLY creative as hell and makes up great stories - she did with me.
3) She's a little wackadoo too. Which sells me even more b/c I am far from normal on the bell curve.
4) She immediately made me feel comfortable and listened to my publishing woes, laughed at my bad jokes, and insisted on being my friend. (She's pushy that way ;)

Since then, we have:
 - Roomed at conferences where she has generously shared her portable Kuerig, flavored cream and strong coffee with me (and yes...she drags that dang thing with her everywhere. Where most people would have loves to snuggle, CJ sleeps with her mini-kuerig. In fact - Kuerig should call her for a commercial and pay all her med bills for the free PR she has given them!)
- Shared stories - funny ones and the ones we write. She has been a great CP in the past, always offering great suggestions (and twists) in my own work.
- Stayed with me at the Writers Police Academy where we fingerprinted each other and tested blood stains ( - so we also share a sick humored mind! only writers will appreciate this part!)
- Shared her lovely home and family with me. Her husband made me coffee too. I swear they probably grow their own coffee beans.
- Made delicious salmon and sauteed green been dinner for me.
- Introduced me to her lovely dog…ok I can't make this all rosy just b/c she's battling cancer! That "sweet" (he would never hurt anyone even if you came in the house with a key) kind of dog chased my butt upstairs and cornered me in my bedroom until Tae had to rescue me! (Thx Tae :)
- She has made me laugh, seen me cry over this strange industry, given me words of encouragement, and stayed up late with me talking b/c I could not go to sleep!

So the fact that some asshole named Cancer barges in and wants to take her away from me - pisses me off to no end.

Interrupted by bad movie clip from Independence day! -

"The world declared in one day! We will not go quietly into the night!" We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive!"


So - a bunch of us are throwing a launch party for her and spreading the word about her new book across the country. It is important that everyone in this world knows about CJ Omololu, The Third Twin, her total wacky awesomeness, and her deep resonating words.

Because as a writing community, that's what we do for friends, authors and books - we support them always no matter what!

So please share this flyer with your community. Join our Facebook page, preorder her new book, and come to the launch party to help CJ celebrate her new baby - The Third Twin.

And while you are at it - a couple prayers couldn't hurt either.

(Take that Mr. Cancer! jerk hat...)

Friday, January 23, 2015

News Year Resolutions for Readers

New Year Resolutions for Readers 

So the beginning of the new year has come and gone quickly, and the first month of 2015 is coming to a close! Most people have one new year resolution that they either accomplish or forget about, as the tradition goes. But what about some year-round resolutions for readers? If your'e an avid reader you know that your fiction doesn't stop for anything! So here are a few "all-year" resolutions for readers, ones that you can accomplish for each month: 

January: Read a New Genre

This is a good one! For the first month of 2015, try reading a new genre that you wouldn't normally pick up. Rather that be Sci-Fi, romance, fantasy, what have you, nothing is off limits! You might find that pushing your genre boundaries will be very rewarding.

(This is The Host by Stephanie Meyer- it's an amazing scifi novel!) 

February: Try a New Author

Never heard of this author before? Have no fear! Sometimes branching out and reading a name you've never heard of before can be a great, exhilarating thing. Before you know it you're praising your new find to all of your reading circles and ordering their other series.

March: Read Three Novellas

So it's the third month of the new year and I think some novellas are in store. There's nothing better than something short, sweet, and innovative- and novellas are just that! Whether it's a parallel story to your favorite series, or a few chapters from the POV of a side character, this is your month to explore!
 (A great novella by Tahereh Mafi! Spoken by the male characters' POVs).

April: Order a Random Book

Now this one would be hard for anyone- order a random book? Are you crazy? Of course, I'm not suggesting you play literary Russian Roulette on Amazon. Oh no. But look up a genre you like and read a synopsis, then order it! Take a chance! You may just like what shows up on your door. 

May: Try a Recommendation 

Corner your BBF (Best Book Friend) and ask that what their latest favorite read is. Then borrow it! They're your BBF for a reason, and I promise you that you'll probably love whatever they just finished. 

June: Buy Ten Cheap Paperbacks

Do it! Find one of those cheap paperback stores and grab a basket. Then, buy the first ten books that interest you, and read them throughout the month. It'll be the cheapest book excursion you'll ever make!

So there are some "all-year" book resolutions through June! Keep reading for the next 6 resolutions, and if you have any of your own please leave them below!

Best and happy reading! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cool Nature Reads

Cool Nature Reads 

So in honor of Grace's adventures, today I'm going to share with you a few nature/thriller YA novels that are amazing! These reads are fantastic and if you like Grace's story, you're sure to love these! 

1. Nature Catchers- by Cheyenne Lynnae

This YA nature thriller is full of elemental powers, shape shifters, and quite possibly everything you could ever want out of a novel! Not only that, but it delves into the realm of humans vs. nature, and ultimately what it means to be a part of nature yourself.

2. Maximum Ride- by James Patterson 

A classic. Maximum Ride is about a"flock" of teenagers who were born in a lab. They have both human and avian DNA, and spend their days running from their elusive creators. In addition, they help save the world from ecological disaster on a daily basis. Score. 

3. Origin- by Jessica Khoury 

This is a great new YA novel, set smack in the center of the Amazon Rain Forest. Pia, the first of a new race of human beings who are supposed to bring a stop to death, finds a way out of her forest prison. It's truly gripping begs to ask the question: "What is humanity?" 

So there they are, a few wonderful Young Adult nature reads that you'll love! Check them out on Amazon/goodreads, and let me know if you like them! 

Best and happy reading! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

YA Review- Gilded Ashes

Gilded Ashes (1.5)
by Rosamund Hodge

Perhaps many of you don't know this, but there is actually a second installment in the world of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. It's called "Gilded Ashes" and it's a take on Cinderella in Nyx's world of demons and Greek mythology- so, essentially, it's ridiculously good. It's available on Amazon for Kindle and ebook download, and it's such a great read! 

Basically, Maia is a servant in the home of her stepmother and two stepsisters, in the same world Nyx and Ignifex exist. Only heads up- the ghost of her dead mother haunts the house and protects her only daughter dearly (and sometimes fatally). 

It's an awesome retelling in a compelling world! Maia and Anax are wonderfully written characters, and I loved watching them develop. Not only that, but Hodge takes the evil stepsisters and makes them not only more likable, but more human as well. It truly is a creative turn from the classic tale- and the prince was a good looking dork with glasses. Um, yes. 

This retelling will leave any fairytale lover wishing for more!
Best and happy reading! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Shelf Friday!

Book Shelf Friday!

So in honor of it being Friday, I decided it might be entertaining to have a little fun with bookshelves! In this post you'll find pictures of ridiculously cool, (and downright unfair), book shelves- from the colorful to the tall, the zany to the straight up weird! So scroll down for some awesome shelf ideas and nerd fun: 

1. Buzzfeed: 20 Insanely Creative Bookshelves

2. Pinterest: Awesome Bookshelves Board

3. IncredibleThings.com: 20 Brilliant Bookcase Designs 

4. Audra's Ally: Bookshelf Envy 

5. LifeHack: 30 Awesome Bookshelves Every Book Lover Needs To Have

Hope you enjoyed these and happy reading! 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why YA? - with Ashley

Why YA? 

Hello, Ashley here! Today I'm going to focus on YA fiction and why we love it. There are a number of reasons why readers love the Young Adult scene- it's action packed, full of captivating plots, and, of course, the love triangles. Oh the love triangles. No matter what your ship or team, there is always room for more on the YA fan-wagon. So, in honor of this magnificent, fiction-filled world, I want to share with you a few of my reasons for loving Yound Adult fiction: 

1. Dystopian Societies to the Max

It's no secret that us YA fans love our dystopian societies- I mean, come on, futurist worlds ravaged by sections and kids with super powers? Freaking. Awesome. So of course one of my main reasons for loving YA is the fact that you can be transported to literally any world you like, and your imagination can run free in it.

2. The Love Triangles. So Much Yes. 

Every love triangle you could ever want, ever. That's what you get when you hop on the YA fan-wagon. Whether it be Katniss, Gale, and Peeta or Juliette, Adam, and Warner...let's face it, that dangerous triangle is anything but equilateral. And it's the most exciting thing ever.

3. The Covers

Okay, so maybe this is a little superficial (not really), but I absolutely adore YA book covers. They're shiny and brand new and sometimes holographic (oh my gosh the holograms). The best part is when you buy a hardcover copy of a new release and the words are raised from the cover like beautiful little cursive mountains. Essentially, if your bookshelf is a rainbow you're doing YA right. 

4. And, Lastly, the Community

The YA community is absolutely fantastic. Whether you're talking about fellow fans or authors, everyone on the scene is full of creative life and kindness. It's basically like this big cloud of awesome, where everyone is always writing and retweeting your EpicReads book nerd posts. Score.

This link says it all:

So there it is, a few of the reasons I absolutely adore YA fiction and the YA community. Below I've posted a few of my favorite reads for you, so you can see what I fan so hard over!

Best and happy reading,


Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Shatter Me Review

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi 

Recently I picked up Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, and all I can say is wow. Well done. This book is breathtaking in every way, throughout every chapter. The prose is captivating and reads like poetry in places, and the love triangle is dangerously addictive. So, in honor of this amazing trilogy, here are five things I loved about this debut dystopian novel: 

1. Juliette is so Human 

The main character, Juliette Ferarrs, has the gift of touch. That is, her touch is lethal. As would be expected of anyone who could kill without meaning to, she is terrified of her own power and other people touching her. Wow. The plot in and of itself is fascinating, but to be thrown into the POV of a character who can't be touched? It's heart breaking and intriguing all at the same time, and shows the reader just how human Juliette is (or wants to be). 

2. The Narration is Unique

Image courtesy of: http://www.mysteryscape.com/shatter-me-tahereh-mafi

It really is, because the whole story is narrated by Juliette and she likes to cross out words. In fact, she is obsessed with words, and has a hard time not telling us everything she is thinking, (even if she crosses out her true thought and replaces it, Mafi leaves it with the line through it for us to see). This is so cool, because the reader gets glimpses into Juliette's brain that Juliette doesn't want anyone to see. Or does she? 

3. The Love Triangle. Oh my. 

I love this triangle for many reasons. Warner and Adam are both devastatingly handsome (of course), and equally intriguing. What's best is that Warner is the kind of bad boy Adam looks like, and even though Juliette "hates" him, I have to say he's extremely persuasive. It's hard to know which guy to root for when they're both so equally fantastic...

4. The Prose

The way that Shatter Me is written is truly genius. Mafi's style is truly unique, a blend of poetry and modern prose, that leaves the reader absolutely breathless. She likes to write as if she is in Juliette's mind completely, oftentimes leaving out commas in lists and running her thoughts together. This makes everything so much more believable and urgent, and keeps you wanting to read more. 

5. And, Finally, the Pace

The pace at which the novel reads is wonderful. Every instant I feel as if something dire is about to happen, and Juliette's thoughts and feelings perfectly mirror this anxiety. There is always a sudden twist around every page, and many characters surprise you. It's definitely a roller coaster read!

So there it is! A short review of the book, and a few reasons why you should go grab it up now. It was an amazing read, and I can't wait to pick up Unravel Me and Ignite Me (the sequel and final installment of the trilogy). 

Best and Happy Reading!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Hot New Reads with Ashley!

Hot New Reads with Ashley 

This Week- Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Hello all! My name is Ashley- college kid, author's assistant, and professional stunt reader. This week I got a particularly amazing YA read in- Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge! It's a fantastic rendition of Beauty and the Beast that I am absolutely head-over-heels obsessed with. Not only does it take the reader into a whole new realm, it introduces you to a witty, dazzling, and just plain sexy demon lord. Um, yes please. So in short, here are five reasons why I love this book!

1. The Plot is Fascinating

It promises a love story with a killer twist and it delivers! Nyx is a powerful character with a goal that you can get on board with, not to mention her troubled past. The plot is so well done that it works to completely immerse you in the world that Hodge has created, Greek Gods and demons included!

2. The History is 100% Accurate

Hodge has a vast store of mythological knowledge and uses it! From Zeus to Kronos, Pandora to Leda, the book has hundreds of intricate Greek references that are completely correct. It's fascinating to delve into the world of Arcadia, and you even learn a little about the mythology as well. 

3. Nyx isn't Perfect

The lead protagonist, Nyx, is filled with negative thoughts and emotions- and this makes her oh so real! I loved that she was able to feel hate towards others and still make me love her, it felt true and raw, like something you'd encounter in everyday life. In the end, though, Nyx always tries her best to let love into her heart, and that struggle is a relatable one. 

4. Ignifex is... Just so Yummy

It's true. The moment he stepped onto the scene I loved him; the cocky demeanor, witty comebacks, and delightful tension that he brings to the book are all absolutely hilarious. He has a way of putting Nyx in her place and then loving it when she fights back, and it's ridiculously entertaining. 

5. The Little Details

Hodge has a way of weaving little details into the book that work so perfectly together. Everything is explained and comes around full circle, making the reader feel like she was taken on a journey. It's an experience that I'd love to take again and again.

And there it is! A few reasons why Cruel Beauty was one of my favorite reads this week. I highly suggest picking up a copy, especially if you are a fan of plot twists and sarcastic demon lords!

Best and happy reading,


Check out Ashley on social media! 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

First Page Down Approach

"First Page Down" 

All right everyone, I'm about to share with you a process I like to call the "First Page Down" approach (FPDA). This is where I know from the first page (give or take) of a book if I will be obsessed with it or not- and by obsessed, I mean obsessed. It usually works, and after a few paragraphs in the main character's POV I'm hooked. Here are a few ways the approach works: 

1. No Sleep 

After I read that first page, I know I'm doomed. No sleep for me tonight, I'm going to spend at least eight more hours blowing through the rest of this novel so that I can sleep peacefully knowing that I've exhausted all efforts. Not only that, but I'll spend at least thirty minutes laying awake in bed dreaming up different scenarios for the sequel. Yeah. First Page Down for sure. 

2. I Feel Like I Know the Character

After that first page, I already feel like the main character is a good friend of mine. I'm already in his or her head, and after I've read a page of their innermost thoughts and feelings I get some sort of separation anxiety. It's like I have a Fictional Abandonment Complex, (FAC- more about this coming), and I can't possibly stop reading now. Yep...that's the power of the First Page. 

3. And Finally, the Feels

If the first page of a book makes me laugh, cry, and wonder, all in a few paragraphs, it's got me. All of the feels. There's nothing better than the inner turmoil of a flawed main character with a snippy attitude and a mysterious past. Not to mention if there's any hint of supernatural powers/Greek Mythological secrets/dystopian societies...well, that's a darn good first page. 

Now, granted, getting all of those bullet points on the first page is not exactly easy. I usually extend the FPDA to the first 3-6 pages, give or take. Needless to say, we all know when those first few pages of a good book get us, and the end result is usually the same: little sleep, little food, and numerous fangirl episodes at the end of each chapter. 

Best and happy reading!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Books That I'm Reading This Week

Books That I'm Reading This Week

With Ashley Dawson  (aka: YAshley)

So in case anybody is interested, (and I hope that you are! And if you aren't that's okay, no judgement here), I wanted to go ahead and share a few new books with you that I bought on a whim and decided to read this week. I haven't started any of them (yet), but I can assure you that the YA obsession remains strong within my nerd soul. So without further ado, here is my list of my recent book buys!

1. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

This one hooked me the minute I read the words "southern belle" and "lethal fighting instincts" on the same book jacket. Convinced that I'd be reading the story of a homecoming queen gone ninja, I just had to order the hardcover off Amazon. Worth it? Absolutely. I'll keep you guys updated on the ninja fight scenes. 

2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Now this one, this one had my YA senses tingling. A girl whose touch kills instantly? Um, yes please. Not only that, but the debut novel promises "superheroes" and unrequited love. I was drawn in automatically and can't wait to read it. 

3. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Grey 

Of course, this one is on the top of every YA 2014 list. I've heard so much about this book that I can't wait to dive into Marguerite Cain's search for Paul Markov. The moment I read the synopsis I was intrigued by the mystery and alternate dimension-hopping action. 

4. Reboot by Amy Tintera 

And this one was one of my YA stocking stuffers. It was a random find, one of those books you happen upon in the store, pick up, and just have to have. I'm thrilled to read it, and am already in love with Wren Connolly, the newly awoken "Reboot" who has to figure out who she really is after death. 

I highly recommend all of these YA books, simply based on their amazing plots and reviews! As I read I'll let you know how they are, although I'm sure all of them will be simply YAmazing! 

Best and happy reading,


Check out Ashley on social media!