ARC Tour Review: Wonderland

Wonderland by Joanna Nadin: Book Cover

Product Details

  • Pub. Date: February 2011
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Format: Hardcover , 224pp
  • Age Range: Young Adult


She’s back. Jude’s childhood friend — sexy, daring Stella— returns to their stifling hometown, and life will never be the same again.
Sixteen-year-old Jude has to get out of tiny Churchtown. She has to escape her outcast status and her pathetic dad, who hasn’t gotten past her mother’s death. The one bright light is drama, her way out, if only she can get into the Lab, a prestigious program in London. Then Stella, Jude’s childhood best friend, swaggers in after years away. With bold and magnetic Stella by her side, Jude knows she’s capable of anything. But Stella’s influence extends well beyond the theater. Soon Stella’s wild and dangerous streak begins to cause trouble for Jude — yet Jude can’t bring herself to abandon Stella and the attention she’s always craved. And besides, now that Stella’s back, there’s no stopping her. In Jude’s dark and tangled story, British author Joanna Nadin plumbs the aftermath of loss and the consequences of becoming the person you always wished you were.

My Thoughts

This book had a great opening.  The flash to what is the end of the book draws you in and make you want to know more.  Jude, after the song, is struggling to make it through school, without a mother, and at the butt of the Plastics jokes.  Just when things are looking terrible, Jude’s friend, Stella, reappears seemly out of nowhere.  Jude knows that her father and good friend, Ed, will not approve of Stella returning as she always leads to trouble.  Stella encourages Jude to do things she never would have done, smoke, drink and just get into a lot of trouble.  Jude is torn between Stella and Ed.  Sometime she just needs one of the other and Stella has the tendency to just disappear for days at a time.  Jude applies for The Lab, her dream of drama school, but once she gets there she can’t go on and Stella goes in her place.  Once accepted, she tells Ed and their romance begins to bloom.  Jude realizes that her relationship with Stella must end, but can she make this happen or will Stella suck her back in as always.

I thought that this was an okay book.  The most frustrating part for me was that I knew at least part of the ending about half way through the book.  While there were still a few twists and turns in the story line, I was disappointed that I figured part of it out.  Despite this, I still enjoyed the story and the depth of the characters in the story.  There is a lot of drink drugs and sex in this story.  More than I would have expected from a YA book.  This should be kept in mind when making decision for who should read this book.

My Rating

3 out of 5 stars

*This book was provided to me by I Read Banned Books for my review.  All opinion are my own and I was provided no compensation other than the opportunity to read the book.

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Waiting on Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
I cannot wait for March 1, 2011 and this book!
River Marked (Mercy Thompson, Book 6)

Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now.
An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River-one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…
What are you waiting on?

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Author Interview: Jennifer Laurens

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Jennifer Laurens after reading her book, Heavenly.  Please watch for my review to this book very soon (Most likely before Friday). Thank you Jennifer for taking the time to let me get into your head.  

Readers – if you have any questions for Jennifer, please let me know and I will see if I can get you answers.  Without further delay – 

What inspired you to write this book? 

A couple of things: First, my family struggles to live with a child with autism are a daily challenge we still live with, but also one that has taught us so much and unified us in ways I thought might be of help to others. Also, I hoped, in a small way to educate people about what living with autism is like. Lastly, I wanted to put something on the market that offered light and hope in a world where so much entertainment revolves around vampires and dark creatures that don’t really have a redeeming value.

I learned that you have a daughter with Autism, what assumptions do you think people make about Autism?  What would you tell people about Autism to help them understand? 

People are afraid of people with autism because of the unpredictable nature of it in each person. Anytime someone isn’t conforming in a social setting, people notice. I hope folks won’t stare, that they’ll be more tolerant and even reach out to parents and caregivers of children with autism.

How much of your personal experiences make it into Heavenly?

 Um, ALL. Literally every thing  that happened to the family has happened to us. Including the partying teenage daughter and drug addicted son.

If you could describe Heavenly in just one sentence – What would it be? 

Uplifting literature with a redeeming message.

If people want to learn more about Autism and how they can help, what would you tell them? 

Read: Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin – a fascinating story inside the head of a person who grew up with autism. Also: a person IS NOT autistic. It’s not WHO they are. A person HAS autism. They are still an individual with their own likes and dislikes, personality, interests, etc.  I never refer ( except on the book back, in the blurb – and that was for space – to someone as autistic.

What about this book was the hardest to write? 

Luke, because my son was deep in the middle of his using at the time I was writing.

What books have influenced your life the most?

 Scripture. Some fiction: Endless Love is beautifully written. 

Who has encouraged you the most in your career? 

My two daughters hands down. They always believed I could do whatever I chose to do.

What are you currently working on? 

A book I wrote years ago that I’m re-writing for the YA market.

What have you learned the most from having an Autistic child?

  You mean a child with autism??? lol.  Well, that’s another fifty blog posts. Seriously, you can’t nutshell the layers and layers of learning here. It’s been one of God’s great gifts to us: patience, compassion, real, unconditional love, service the list is endless.

Is there anything you would like to tell our readers? 

I write to lift the heavy hearted, to open eyes and to make you smile. And sometimes cry. Thank you for reading my work. I give away copies of Heavenly on Facebook to all my friends for their birthday. Join me there if you’re on FB.

Where can people find out more about your books? 

I’m on Facebook all day while I’m writing, and I have a website:, and

Please offer that any blogger who wants to host a party, chat, interview can read Heavenly for free!
Now a couple of fun questions –
Night owl or early bird? 

Early bird.

What is your favorite snack? 

theater popcorn

What do you need to write (music, food, ect)?

 A tall glass of Vernors Ginger Ale atm

What book is currently on your nightstand? 

My NOOK has: Endless Love by Scott Spencer and Honest Illusions by Nora Robers – my two fav books.

What would be your dream vacation? 

Going on a cruise around the world with 2-3 days per port.

If you could have any wish come true, what would it be? 

In-store distribution for my books, so more readers could have access to them.

Thank you, Jennifer for taking the time to answer my questions.  I can’t wait to read more of your books as this one touched me very deeply.  I could not put the book down.  

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