blog tour · review

the fear of falling – amanda cowen [blog tour]

the basics.29851303Title: The Fear of Falling
Author: Amanda Cowen
Publisher: Amanda Cowen Books
Format: E-book
Release Date: October 8th, 2018
Pages: 310 pgs.
Genre: New adult, contemporary, romance

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When Ella Jones’ twenty-first birthday ends with a bang – literally – she never imagined it would be with her best friend since freshman year, Ryan Owen.
A year later, after their so called “mistake”, they’re still best friends and about to rock their Senior year at the University of San Francisco. But when Ryan returns from spending a summer in Australia and brings back a friend, Liam George, who takes an immediate liking to Ella, Ryan starts to question the Aussie’s intentions with his best friend. The trouble is, Ryan has a girlfriend of his own, and Ella and Ryan swore they would never cross that line again – until they do.

They try not to let their second slip up affect their friendship, but when Spring Break forces them to vacation under the same roof; and Ryan’s ex walks back into his life, Ella is shocked by a fierce stab of possessiveness. And when Ella continues to see Liam, Ryan finds himself plagued by unfamiliar jealousy. With their friendship strained for the first time, Ella and Ryan face an alarming truth: Maybe they can’t be just friends. Maybe they are falling faster than expected. And maybe, deep down, they want to.

Author Info:


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Amanda Cowen can be found eating cupcakes, singing off-key, or watching a good RomCom when she isn’t trapped on her computer writing stories. She is an “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” fanatic, a hater of roller-coasters and a country music junkie. She lives in Thunder Bay, ON where the summers are short and the winters are long.

Amanda would love to hear from her readers. Become a fan on Facebook, follow her on Instagram @authoramandacowen, or follow her on Goodreads.

the thoughts

I’ve never been the biggest fan of contemporary new adult romances for one big reason: they’re all so similar that I don’t just feel myself rooting for the main couple. They don’t have any kind of real chemistry that makes me feel like they absolutely belong together. Color me shocked, then, when I found myself breezing through Amanda Cowen’s newest novel, The Fear of Falling, while traveling to and from seeing a friend for a day trip. Does it transform the contemporary NA romance genre? No, but it’s a fun ride from start to finish and was actually capable of making me swoon just a little bit — all good signs.

In The Fear of Falling, the story follows college best friends Ella and Ryan, who are determined to prove that men and women can stay just friends. Ella is singularly-focused on completing her Bachelor’s program in Animation to live her dream working at Disney Animation Studios. Ryan, however, has big shoes to fill to succeed in his law program so he could one day be named partner at his father’s firm. Despite it all, they end up making one little mistake on the night of Ella’s 21st birthday and suddenly, they find themselves wanting to study each other instead of their books. Will they fall for each other or out of friendship altogether?

Okay, let’s address the biggest thing here: you know how this story ends before it even starts. Kind of. I’m not going to spoil how they get there, but know that this story does have a happily ever after. After all of the disgusting nonsense going on just a few blocks from my home right now, a happily ever after ending in my reading material is just what I need to maintain my sanity.

Again, plot-wise, we’ve all seen it before: boy and girl have some quirky meet-cute, they have a will-they-or-won’t-they friendship, there’s a random night of drunken passion, they end up dating other people, they finagle their feelings for each other. But there’s something charming in the way Cowen moves the story along. Scenes like the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes concert help give the readers a better understanding of exactly how much Ryan and Ella truly pine for each other and build some fun tension that birthed little butterflies in my stomach.

Books in this genre are usually rife with soulless main characters that want to do nothing but fuck each other silly; they’re mere vehicles for the authors to live out their wildest sexual fantasies. While that works for some people, it really does not work for me. However, I can certainly commend Cowen on creating a handful of interesting, fun characters with actual motivations, desires, and feelings. We’ve all been Ella, trying to weave our way through the uncertainty of early adulthood relationships. We’ve all been Ryan, trying to decide which path is right for us. We’ve all had Liam moments, where we drop everything holding us down to start fresh elsewhere. Because we can really see who these characters are, it makes it so easy and lovely to root for their victories and feel sad for their pitfalls.

What really brought me out of the reading, though, were the constant grammatical and syntax errors littered throughout the novel. I can understand using sentence fragments as a stylistic choice when wanting to emphasize a point. Authors do it all the time. Abandoned gerund phrases, however, are particularly egregious. For example, phrases like “His eyes travelling the entire length of my body from my feet to my eyes,” were used regularly, even though the sentences these phrases were intended to modify came just before their use. Furthermore, there were several instances of the wrong form of your/you’re used in many areas, as well. Yes, hiring a copy editor can be an expense that many authors cannot spare, but the majority of the errors that cropped up throughout the novel could easily be caught in Microsoft Word using the editing tools.

Also, a nerdy note: Ryan, the main romantic interest is supposed to be a huge Star Wars geek, yet he references “Hans” Solo a few times. “Hans” Solo, not Han. Though that’s not a major detail in the story, it was enough to make me bury my face directly into my pillow for a few moments.

I approached this book knowing that it wouldn’t contain anything groundbreaking for the contemporary romance genre — but that’s okay! Not every book has to be the most amazing thing I’ve read in my life. If Cowen’s goal was to write a fun, engaging story that keeps readers flipping pages to root for her main characters, then I say she absolutely achieved that goal with The Fear of Falling. If anything, she helped this old grouch reevaluate how much fun a contemporary romance can be.

the rating


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[top ten tuesday] longest books ever?

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

As I mentioned in my September Wrap-Up post, I accidentally missed the Top Ten Tuesday post last week, as my future mother-in-law was in town for her vacation. I still want to stay on her good side, so I spent last Tuesday out and about with her! It was honestly a good time and it definitely eased some of my anxiety about being a “good daughter-in-law.”

This week, Top Ten Tuesday comes at us with a topic that I’ve honestly never before considered: Longest Books I’ve Ever Read. The majority of the books I’ve read have definitely floated around the 250-300 page mark, but I’m sure there are quite a few in my Goodreads that are longer. (I know I have a few really long books currently sitting untouched on my shelf, too; I’m looking at you Alexander Hamilton, Infinite Jest, Illuminae, and 1Q84.)

Just for a point of clarification: a lot of the longest books I’ve read hail from the same handful of series, so I’m just going to combine all of the pages from the books that appear on this list. Let’s be real, Harry Potter definitely would take up almost half of the list if I didn’t.

If you don’t know how to check the longest books you’ve read, don’t fret! It’s super easy! Go into your “Read” category in Goodreads, hit “settings” in the “My Books” row, tick the “num pages” box, and hit “num pages” in the list so it’ll list your books by length in descending order. Et voila! A list of your books by length!

The Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (870 pgs.), the Deathly Hallows (759 pgs.), the Goblet of Fire (734 pgs.), the Half-Blood Prince (652 pgs.) by J.K. Rowling – 3015 pgs. total
    • WHO IS SURPRISED. NO ONE IS SURPRISED HERE. If you’re a millennial/gen z-er and these books aren’t at or near the top of your “longest books” list, then I think we need to have a talk. There are definitely books that are longer, but these are definitely in the canon of “kids’ first long books.”
  2. Twilight: Breaking Dawn (756 pgs.), Eclipse (629 pgs.), and New Moon (563 pgs.) by Stephenie Meyer – 1948 pgs. total
    • If the Harry Potter series falls at the top of your list, then it’s extremely likely that the Twilight series is likely to fall close behind. Twilight fever was at its peak in my junior and senior years of high school (2007-2009) and I know plenty of folks who asked to borrow my copies. No shame. They were entertaining.
  3. The Host by Stephenie Meyer – 620 pgs.
    • Stephenie Meyer released The Host in my senior year of high school and, like any other well-meaning Twilight fan at the time, I had to get my hands on a copy of the book. I think I even pre-ordered it? I haven’t read it in the ten years that have passed since this book was released, but I do remember not being impressed at all. A talented writer can make a plot line revolving around one specific location interesting; Meyer is not that writer.
  4. Modelland by Tyra Banks – 570 pgs.
    • There’s no witty or clever explanation for my reading this book. It was at the library and I thought it’d make for hilarious Tumblr liveblogging content. It was terrible. This book was 370 pages too long. Even Tyra’s ghostwriter couldn’t save it.
  5. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – 563 pgs.
    • The sleepy South Carolinian county in which I was raised, Berkeley County, very rarely gets any attention outside of the Greater Charleston Area. When I learned this book took place in a town just a few miles from my hamlet, I was thrilled to maybe see some familiar locales that I know would perfectly accent the overall southern gothic vibe of the book. Too bad that Garcia and Stohl completely got everything wrong about the area and, on top of it all, wrote some racist-ass bullshit. A mammy character? Romanticizing the Antebellum era? Really? CANCELLED.
  6. The Odyssey by Homer – 541 pgs.
    • I legit haven’t read this book since I was 14 and in Advanced 9th Grade English, but it was required reading, so I’m counting it. This might be revisited again in the future, who knows?
  7. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – 529 pgs.
    • This book absolutely formed important parts of my intersectional feminism when I was still in the process of unlearning some disgusting prejudices. I read Middlesex while stuck in the Air Force airport in Kaiserslautern, Germany — hooray space available flights! However, this was at a time in which I was completely ignorant of the struggles of transgender and gender non-conforming folks, but was recommended this by a professor to help expand my mind. It’s a gut-wrenching, emotionally difficult read, but I definitely need to revisit it.
  8. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – 528 pgs.
    • This is another one of those books I haven’t read in like 10 years. I think junior/senior year Amber was really attracted to thick-ass books. Looking back, I recall being really obsessed with this book as I was reading it, but my tastes have changed since then. Time to re-read this, too?
  9. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – 522 pgs.
    • While, on the surface, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is a supremely-meta take on the “magical school with a chosen one male mc” genre popularized by Harry Potter, I absolutely breezed through this book when I read it in 2016. I don’t tend to throw around phrases like “all the feels” lightly, but this book definitely gave me All The Feels. It didn’t feel like over 500 pages passed at all.
  10. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray – 503 pgs.
    • I’ve said this before, but it’s worth reiterating: I’m not the biggest fan of space opera novels. My tastes usually lean far more into the fantasy camp. However, I read this book after getting it on Netgalley in my previous blog and it absolutely made me reconsider the genre overall. Gray’s writing in Defy the Stars was made it easy for readers to immerse themselves in the universe before them and get lost in the action-packed story. It’s probably one of my favorite books now. Who knew?

What some of the longest books you’ve read? Would you be interested in reading any of the above?

Let’s chat in the comments!


[sign up & tbr] charms extra credit

The internet’s full of all of these thinkpieces poking fun of people who are extreme fans of Harry Potter. I’m sure screenshots of me have appeared in the “People Who Think Harry Potter is a Personality Trait Spotting” Facebook group because I’m such a zealous (and critical) fan of the series. Of course I’m going to participate in anything even tangentially related to the series that kicked off my love of reading.

When I saw Liz at Travel In Retrospect posting about the Magical Readathon O.W.L.s and N.E.W.Ts, I knew that I had to get on top of it, too. For those unfamiliar with the Magical Readathon, it was started by Booktuber Gi of the Book Roast and gives readers an opportunity to earn O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s based on meeting specific reading goals over the course of the readathon. While the main event isn’t until this coming spring, she decided to go ahead and get folks hype about it in the meantime by opening up some Extra Credit opportunities in Charms.

To qualify for the Charms Extra Credit, participants must share their “practice” of five spells between October 8th to the 14th. The more spells you practice, the earlier of a head start you get on the Readathon next year. Check the announcement video here and Professor Flitwick’s owl here!

The Spells:

Alohomora: Read the first book in a series.

Accio: Read a book at the top of your TBR.

Incendio: Read a book with the word ‘fire’ or ‘flame’ in the title/series name, or flame picture on the cover.

Rictumsempra: Read a book that tickles you the right way (exciting theme/trope/genre).

Lumos: Read a book with a light cover.

Have you participated in this Readathon before? What’s your Charms TBR? Let’s chat in the comments below!

feature · wrap up

[wrap-up] september 2018

Okay, yes, I know: I’m terrible for having this almost a week late. It’s been a bit of a hectic two weeks here in the Spacejamber Household. Between yelling at the Senate for their abhorrent choices, fretting over applying to jobs, and spending time with my future in-laws for wedding-related events, I just didn’t have more time to be able to work on my blog. (Though, honestly, yelling at the Senate with everyone was more important.)

September was filled with a lot of wild and crazy adventures. I quit my job and reported my boss for various forms of misconduct. I started taking time for myself that I’d been neglecting for years. And I dove right back in on reading. It’s been a tumultuous month and I didn’t get my blogging life back out on the strongest foot, but I think it’s a solid enough start to keep me motivated.  On top of all that, I do have quite a few (more) blog tours lined up and so I’ve got to make sure I keep up on my reading schedule. That’ll definitely be achievable for the rest of the month! It’s still young.

How did I do in September? Let us count the ways.

September 2018 Books Read: 3

  • The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  • Perfect Harmony – Emily Albright
  • The Fear of Falling – Amanda Cowen

Total 2018 Books Read: 11

September 2018 Pages Read: 1003 pgs

Total 2018 Pages Read: 3164 pgs

With me trying to get back in the saddle of reading consistently, I also took this month to get the books I need so I can keep bringing this quality content your way. As the norm in this realm, I got a fair amount of books this month from a variety of familiar sources: Netgalley, Edelweiss, various blog tour groups (Xpresso and the Fabulous Flying Book Club), and local used bookstores. Here’s what I’ve accumulated in September:

  • The Awakening – Kate Chopin
  • The Opposite of Loneliness – Marina Keegan
  • A Spark of White Fire – Sangu Mandanna
  • Life is Absurd – Michael Dirubio
  • Tardy Bells and Witches’ Spells – Sarina Dorie
  • The Tribulations of August Barton – Jennifer LeBlanc
  • The Confectioner’s Guild – Claire Luana
  • The Competition – Cecily Wolfe
  • The Fear of Falling – Amanda Cowen
  • Maiden – Teresa A. Harrison
  • More Than Words – Jill Santopolo
  • Perfect Harmony – Emily Albright

It’s a lot and I’ve only read two of these so far, but I’ve got a good chunk of time left in the month. I think I can make a good dent in this list by November, especially since I’m still funemployed. It helps that I’m almost done with another one of these, on track to finish it tomorrow morning. In the good words of Shia LaBoeuf, “JUST…DO IT!”

How was your reading life last month? Is there anything exciting you achieved? Share in the comments below!

blog tour

[blog tour] a spark of white fire – sangu mandanna

the basics.


A Spark of White Fire
Series: (The Celestial Trilogy #1)
Author: Sangu Mandanna
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Format: E-book
Release Date: September 11, 2018
Pages: 270 pgs
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Blog Tour Info: Fantastic Flying Book Club

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | IndieBound | iBooks


In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back. 

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: shell enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali. 

Its a great plan. Until it falls apart. 

Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.

About the Author:


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Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. The Lost Girl, a YA sci fi novel about death and love, is available now. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids.

Deleted Scene:

While writing and editing A Spark of White Fire involved far less cutting than my previous books have, it’s inevitable that bits and pieces of any novel will get trimmed out. One of those pieces was thescene I’m about to share.

In this snippet, Esmae and her best friend Rama stumble across a recording her father left for her before he died. This scene lasted about two drafts before I cut it. I decided that Esmae’s relationship with her father didn’t fit into this part of her story and that this wasn’t the way to explore it anyway. I still like the scene, though, so here it is!

(Note: because this scene is from an early draft, it’s out of continuity and doesn’t necessarily fit into the context of the final book. So it’s definitely not canon!)

“This is a terrible idea.”


“Esmae, I’m serious,” he says. “No good will come of this. Your father is never going to be what you want him to be. The man is dead, remember? It’s literally impossible for him to live up to your expectations!”

The video cube is likebroken glass in my hand, cutting deeper the longer I hold it. “I have to,” I say softly. “I have to watch it.”

Rama sighs. “I knew you’d say that.”

I slot the cube into my tech and pull the recording up onto my screen. My father’s face appears. King Cassel, with blue eyes just like Bear’s, his light bronze skin unusually pale. He looks exhausted and there’s an uncertain expression on his face as he looks directly at the camera. This is a version of him that public footage has never captured.

He clears his throat. “Esmae?” His voice is raw, cautious, and my breath hitches at the sound of my name in his voice.


“I don’t know what to say,” he goes on. “I’m not sure anything I say could ever make up for what I’ve done to you. I am ashamed every single day that I was so afraid of my own daughter that I stood by and watched as she was sent away. I am ashamed that I’m still afraid of you.” He pauses, his eyes shifting to his hand at the edge of the screen. At the king’s ring on his finger. “Duty,” he says, distantly, almost like he’s thinking out loud. “Duty and love make us do things we’re not always proud of.”

He stops, looks back at me, eye to eye. “No apology or platitude or promise of love will fix what I’ve done. All I have to offer you is one secret. When you were born, I held you. You held my finger in your tiny fist and looked straight at me. Grave and steady, like you knew exactly what we were about to do to you. I looked back at you and for just one moment, I wanted to keep you. Whatever the consequences.”

“But you didn’t,” I whisper.

“It was one moment,” he says, as if he heard me, “And then it was gone and I was afraid again.” He lets out a slow, unsteady breath. “I know you’re alive. Amba told us as much. I hope you’re safe. I hope you’re happy. Grow well, Esmae. Be braver than I was. Be better.”

There’s a crackle, and then the screen goes black.


1 hardcover copy of A SPARK OF WHITE FIRE by Sangu Mandanna

Open INT | Starts: 9/24 | Ends: 10/8

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