November Reading Wrap-Up

I wish I’d been able to do more reading in November. Luckily, the books I managed to sneak in were quite good…
(As always, cover images link to Goodreads pages.)

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers – I went into Grave Mercy expecting a light, fantastical read, but what I got was a rich, well-researched historical fiction with an ass-kicking heroine and a to-die-for slow-burn romance. Though many of my trusted book-ish friends have read and recommended this one, I put it off for a long time. The back cover summary mentions “assassin nuns” and that didn’t do much to snare my attention. I’m glad I gave Grave Mercy a chance, though, because it’s so good. There’s mystery, court intrigue, betrayal, and legit history presented in really interesting ways. Ismae, the novel’s protagonist, has a fascinating backstory and a wicked sense of humor. I found myself laughing out loud more than once, most memorably at this line: “I comfort myself with the knowledge that if Duval ever feels smothered by me, it will be because I am holding a pillow over his face.” Duval, of course, is Grave Mercy‘s romantic interest, and he’s equal parts brutish and charming. There’s a scene near the story’s climax where his survival is uncertain, and I experienced that unpleasant I’ll-throw-this-book-at-the-wall-if-he-dies feeling — so, basically I fell for Duval just as hard Ismae did. While historical fiction isn’t my first choice in genres, I found Grave Mercy enchanting. It’s got two follow-up novels (Dark Triumph and Mortal Heart), and I’m very much looking forward to picking them up.

The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan – Guys, there’s something about these Game On books that totally sucks me in. Rationally, I know they’re a tad melodramatic, but they’re also impassioned and entertaining and totally addictive — especially if you’re a football fan. While Anna and Drew from The Hook-Up will probably always be my favorite Kristen Callihan couple, The Game Plan‘s Dex and Fiona are close contenders. They’re freaking cute together, and their chemistry is super steamy. And, like all of the Game On couples, they’re kind and respectful and loving to one another, even during stressful (often terrible) circumstances. So, while the plots are splashy and the drama is sensational (in the case of The Game Plan, lifted from recent news headlines), these books never feel manufactured or insincere because the couples read as totally genuine. Specific to this third installment, I love Fiona’s spunkiness, Dex’s quiet strength, and the various settings — New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. I love, too, the appearances of Gray and Ivy, and Anna and Drew, and the kindred bond of the group. The Game Plan is a big recommend if you’re looking for a sexy, escapist book to read over the holidays.

Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz – I hadn’t heard of this one before I saw in mentioned in a Twitter recommendation. It’s not the sort of book I normally pick up (Fae — not really my thing), but the cover intrigued me and the story’s set in one of my very favorite cities (Monterey) and I’m weirdly drawn to “dead sister” books. Also, the prose I read in the sample pages was lyrical and evocative. Oddly enough, the Fae aspect didn’t end up bothering me — in fact, I thought Shattered Blue‘s world-building was very well done. Noa is a compelling character; I particularly enjoyed her interactions with her little sister Sasha. And Lauren Bird Horowitz’s writing really is gorgeous. The imagery and bits of verse sprinkled throughout the story… wow. The one thing I didn’t love about Shattered Blue was Noa’s intense and quickly developing feelings for the mysterious Callum and, later, an additional character. Young adult books (specifically paranormal, I think) catch a lot of flak for “insta-love” and love triangles; I wouldn’t go so far as to say that those devices kept me from enjoying this particular story, but I do prefer a slowly building romance and this… was not that. Still, I’m interested to see how these characters and unresolved plot lines develop over the course of the series, and I can’t wait to lose myself in Lauren Bird Horowitz’s beautiful prose once again.

Sloth by Ella James – I debated about whether to discuss this book on my blog. It’s really smutty and really graphic, and it explores marijuana dealing, as well as marijuana as a treatment for cancer-related side effects, among other adult themes. Even though Sloth is a story for a mature audiences and my blog generally focuses on sharing YA love, I want to mention it because it’s very good. Like, I-read-late-into-the-night-because-I-couldn’t-put-it-down good. Its mystery snagged my attention from its earliest pages, and the chemistry between its main characters, Cleo and Kellan, is intense. Despite this book’s serious subject matter, it’s tons of fun to be in Cleo’s head. She’s awkward and funny and transparent in the best way; she takes zero shit. And Kellan, for all his apparent flaws, is utterly captivating. It’s easy to see why Cleo falls for him, and why she’s willing to make big sacrifices to keep him. Ella James’s writing is lovely (even when what she’s describing is totally indecent), and she’s crafted characters who feel both relatable and extraordinary. Another recommend, and big thanks to Riley Edgewood for insisting I read Sloth immediately. 😉 Also, after reading Ella James’s Author’s Note, I feel compelled to share this important link, but maybe wait to click until you’ve read the story to avoid spoilers.

Tell me… What’s the best book you read in November?

August Reading Wrap-Up

Four young adults, an adult, and a classic. A varied month. 🙂

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – What to say about this novel…? First, I loved it. Second, it surprised me. Third, it’s gritty, and intense, and its cast is super diverse, and it boasts one of the biggest holy hell?!?! moments I’ve experienced in a long time. Like, really, I didn’t see… it… coming. But wow. (Ha! This is pretty much the vaguest review ever, right?) Anyway, MC Aaron’s had a really rough go of it. His father recently committed suicide and, shortly after, Aaron attempted to follow in his footsteps. He’s doing better now. He’s got a scar like a smile on his wrist, but he’s also got a great girlfriend, a supportive mom, and a fun(-ish) gang of friends. But then Aaron makes a new friend, Thomas, and sort-of-maybe-probably develops feelings for him. But Aaron likes his life the way it is, and considers the (fictional) Leteo Institute’s memory-alteration procedure to help him forget about his new and confusing feelings for Thomas, even if forgetting means letting go of who he truly is. More Happy Than Not asks  some really compelling questions about who we are and who we might choose to be — whether it’s even possible to choose. It’s a story about identity, family and friendship, love and loyalty, and it is smart. I highly recommend this one if you’re looking for a truly unique YA.

All We Have is Now by Lisa Schroeder – Reading this book was just… wonderful. It follows Emerson and Vince, two homeless Portland teens (absolutely believable BFFS), as they live out their final hours awaiting the arrival of a catastrophic asteroid. Inspired by a man who selflessly aided them, they spend their time helping others make their wildest dreams come true. And it’s lovely. I almost forgot, at times, that the end of the world was dawning, but then Em or Vince or one of this book’s many vibrant supporting characters would mention making the most of their time — the most of their lives — and the utter grimness of the situation would come rushing back. My favorite part of this story (surprise, surprise) is Emerson and Vince’s emerging romance which, considering the awful timing, feels dreadfully unfair. Still, watching Em come to terms with her feelings for kind and generous Vince gave me all the butterflies. They’re so supportive of each other, and so freaking cute, but they call each other on bullshit, which I love. I also love how this story concluded in a fresh and real and, for me, totally unexpected way. Big recommend.

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica – This book made me sad, sad, sad. I found myself thinking, a lot, about what I’d do in the multitude of messy situations presented in this beautifully written sophomore novel (I adored Mary Kubica’s debut, The Good Girl). Told from the point of view of three vastly different narrators (Heidi, an altruistic wife and mother; Chris, her driven but meandering husband; and Willow, a skittish runaway with an infant), Pretty Baby is character-driven, yet fast-paced and twisty. Early on, I knew I was dealing with at least one unreliable narrator, which made my reading experience feel like the unraveling of a tightly woven mystery. This is a dark book, and it made me tense. It made me worry about all of its characters, but particularly Ruby, the baby, and Zoe, Heidi and Chris’s preteen daughter (if there’s one thing I wanted more of in the pages of this story, it’s Zoe — I found her fascinating). Pretty Baby scared me, to be perfectly honest, because really… How well do we know the people we love? More than anything, though, this novel made me reflect on motherhood, family, sacrifice, and commitment. I’m so looking forward to seeing what Mary Kubica comes up with next.

Play On by Michelle Smith – What a fantastic debut! Michelle Smith writes an awesome male narrator. Baseball loving Austin’s got voice for days, and I really enjoyed being in his head. He’s all about baseball, and his knowledge of the sport and passion for the game feel genuine. He’s struggling with the loss of his father, but he’s super sweet to his mom, and he’s loyal to a great group of buddies, who charmed me almost as much as Austin himself. And, he’s falling head-over-heels for Marisa, a fellow baseball fanatic who’s struggling with depression. Austin is exactly the sort of YA boyfriend I love to read about — he’s kind and considerate and devoted, but he keeps his head about Marisa and their intensifying relationship. I love how thoughtfully and sensitively Michelle Smith portrays Marisa. She’s much more layered than The Girl With Mental Health Issues who I’ve seen in depicted in fiction before. I love, too, that while Play On‘s conclusion is satisfying, things don’t wrap up too tidily for Austin and Marisa, especially when it comes to her depression; their relationship feels as real as they do. Definitely give this one a read if you’re into contemporary YA, particularly if you like a well-drawn male narrator.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding – This book was not the summery poolside read I was hoping for. It was heavy, y’all, but that doesn’t mean I don’t hold it in high regard. Sometimes I have a tough time with “classics” because I prefer contemporary language and descriptions that don’t span twenty-eight pages, but the prose in Lord of the Flies didn’t bother me. In fact, I quite liked William Golding’s writing style, and I found myself taking mental notes on his vivid descriptions of the story’s setting and characters. It probably won’t come as a surprise when I tell you that a novel about a gang of boys trying to survive a deserted island isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but Lord of the Flies was riveting. Fun fact: My husband totally lied to me when he saw me pick this book up. I mentioned seeing something about how savage these marooned boys became, and how I’d heard that they basically took pleasure in killing each other off. He looked at me all wide-eyed and earnest and said, “Nobody dies on that island.” (Uh, yeah they do.) Lord of the Flies is many things: “an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse” (thanks, Goodreads), but more than anything, I found it to be an examination of how brutally kids can treat one another when left to their own devices. That is a very scary thing, which makes this a very important novel.

Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally – Aside from the first thirty or so pages, I read this novel in a day, and then I wanted to flip back to the beginning and start all over again. It’s a perfect music-infused, tons-of-banter, charged-with-swoon, end-of-summer read. Jesse’s Girl is mostly set in Nashville, which is one of my very favorite cities, it’s full of song references (country ❤ and otherwise), it’s got a narrator, Maya, who’s about as likable as they come (she’s confident and autonomous and forthright, plus she’s got a killer sense of style), and a love interest, Jesse, who’s sort of mysterious and really guarded and, oh-by-the-way, a world famous country music star. Jesse’s Girl bonuses: silly shenanigans, a The-Voice-like singing competition, and Sam and Jordan (!). Miranda Keneally writes fantastic romances. Her characters approach their relationships with candidness that’s refreshing and admirable. She lets her female characters act on their attractions in the same open and free way male characters have been doing for ages, and she shines a positive light on the choices that come with the physical aspects of teenage romance. And, she does this without coming across as awkward or preachy. All this to say that Jesse’s Girl is freaking fantastic and, quite possibly, my new favorite Miranda Kenneally novel.

What’s the best book you read in August?  

Currently…

(I plan to do a “Currently” post every other Tuesday, and I think y’all should join me… Find the origins of the idea HERE.)

Currently

Loving

Author Natalie’s Whipple’s (wonderfully transparent) When It Feels Like Everyone Is Getting What You Want blog post. Free (quick and intense) workouts on Cassey Ho’s Blogilates YouTube channel (thanks for recommending them, Jennifer!). Writerly/YA-ish podcasts: This Creative Life, First Draft, and The Oral History. This adorable dandelion travel mug (thanks for pointing it out, Jaime!). And old-school notecard plotting:

Reading

Last week I read Erin Bowman’s Forgedwhich was a fantastic conclusion to her Taken trilogy. I love when a series wraps up in a gloriously satisfying way. You can read my thoughts on Forged and all of my April reads HERE. Now, I’m finishing up Emery Lord’s The Start of Me and You, which I’m loving, possibly even more than her debut, Open Road Summer.

  

Watching

I’m nearly done watching the first season of Gilmore Girls, which I adore. Lorelai and Rory have such an interesting relationship, and I’m totally crushing on Luke. I’m still now sure how I didn’t catch this series in the early nineties, but I’m so glad to have found it now.

Listening To

Hozier… Take Me To Church is grossly overplayed on the radio, but I’m loving Like Real People Do and Someone New. Good writing music.

Thinking About

My WiP. I still haven’t started to draft, partly because I’m scared, and partly because I’m not entirely sure if I want one narrator or two, or if I want to use first-person or third-person. I know what my instincts are telling me and I know what is traditionally an easier sell. Unfortunately, this time instincts and marketability aren’t meshing, and I’m so torn! What would you do?

Anticipating

Home! My husband and I have been house-hunting for the last four days and I miss my girlie. Can’t wait to see her! ❤


Us, on one of our many trips to the hotel’s bar. Because finding a nice rental in Virginia is really freaking hard!

Wishing

That you’ll all be able to read my friend Elodie‘s latest manuscript soon. I’m beta reading it now and oh, my gosh… It’s uber creepy, in the best sort of way. She knows how to write a thriller, that’s for sure!

Making Me Happy

The beach. I’m going to miss living on the Gulf Coast — it’s truly beautiful.

What’s currently making YOU happy?

Happy VIP Day!

The first act of one of my very favorite new adult stories is out today!

VIP, Act 1 of Riley Edgewood‘s sexy NA serial Rock & Release, is available for eBook purchase RIGHT NOW, and you should hurry, hurry, hurry to Amazon or B&N or iBooks and order it this very second. It’s only $.99, and it’s so, so good!

Here are the details…

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When Cassidy Evans scores VIP tickets to a concert, she decides to use them for one carefree night before beginning a summer internship at her father’s Fortune 500 company. But one carefree night turns into a few too many martinis—with two unexpected twists: A steamy encounter with Gage Logan, sexy singer and guitarist, and a tempting job offer from Gage’s boss to work at the concert venue she now knows quite intimately. 

She can’t take the job. Her internship is an opportunity any business major would kill for. But the thought of working with her father, a man furious with grief over a family tragedy that struck six months ago, fills her with dread.  

Then there’s Gage. Working with him all summer could be hot. Cassidy can’t stop flashing back to their night together. Molten kisses. His hands smoothing across the skin of her belly. The weight of his body above her own…  

And suddenly the decision about how to spend her summer is much, much harder to make.

VIP is the first act of the three part sexy romance serial, Rock & Release. The final two acts, Starstruck and Show Stopper, will release on December 1 and December 15 respectively, and you won’t want to miss those either — trust me!

A teaser (borrowed from Riley’s blog) to get you — ahem — excited. 😉

Congrats, Riley! ❤ ❤ ❤

What’s Up Wednesday

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“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to. And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater, and it was predictably awesome. I have such a book crush on Gansey, and I love that we saw a more vulnerable side of him in this installment. I adore these characters and this world (man… it is so deep), and I cannot wait to read the fourth and final book! Now, I’m reading Loop by Karen Akins, which is a super fun time-travel novel. It’s making my morning elliptical workouts fly by.

What I’m Writing: I’ve cleared 31K on my WiP, which is sort of exciting and sort of scary. I have a basic idea of how the story is going to end, but I still haven’t done much plotting or mapping of how I’m going to get there. Yikes. But… I *think* things are moving along okay. I’ve got a protagonist who I adore. I’ve got a cute, swoony boy. I’ve got a lovely setting. I’ve got tension. And, I’ve got kissing (finally!). What more does a story need? 😉

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Over the weekend we went horseback riding and it was so much fun! I love horses (not horse books, though — go figure) and we got to explore some gorgeous trails. Cannot wait to do it again!

  
My horse’s name was Thriller, my girl rode Dusty, and my husband rode a badass black war horse named HoHo.


Last week I made Stromboli, which was much easier than it looks, and very tasty. We ate the whole thing in one sitting — yum!


I’ve been making all kinds of WiP notes in the gorgeous journal my CP, Alison, sent me. The title of the manuscript I’m working on (Stars Like Dust) is borrowed from a Rumi poem, and he’s significant to the story for lots of other reasons. So, new journal = most thoughtful gift EVER. ❤

What Works For Me: Inspiration in its many forms. The Rumi journal I mentioned above. The lyrics of Taylor Swift’s Out of the Woodswhich play into my WiP pretty damn perfectly (I’ve been listening to it on repeat while I draft), and this excerpt from Stephen King’s On Writing

Who doesn’t want to be emotionally flattened by an amazing book? That’s why I read, and it’s my goal when I write. Curious: What’s the last story to sweep you away? (For me, Blue Lily, Lily Blue and When Joss Met Matt — recommend!)

So… What’s up with you today? 

July Reading Wrap-Up

Here’s what I read in July…
As always, covers link to Goodreads pages. 🙂

Gated by Amy Christine Parker – When I first saw this novel’s hardcover image, I thought it was a story about zombies. Then I mentioned on Twitter that I’m fascinated by cults, and my friend Kristen recommended Gated. It’s a compelling look into zealotism and dynamic leaders and group-think, and it’s terrifying because it’s fiction based on troubling cases that’ve taken place in the real world. I found MC Lyla’s  journey engrossing, and I thought Gated‘s pacing was fantastic. The ending, especially, was a trip. Check it out if you like books with unusual contemporary settings or if, like me, you find cults captivating.


I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga – This book was SO COOL. I put off buying it for a long time because, while I’d heard it was Dexter for the YA set, I didn’t believe Barry Lyga would take Killers to the levels of gruesome and gritty and disturbing Dexter attained. But, he did and his story’s incredible as a result. MC Jazz is complex and tragic (worst childhood ever — seriously), but he’s also super smart and darkly funny, and he wants so badly to be normal — nothing like his father, the most notorious serial killer America’s ever seen. Jazz’s friends are awesome too. Howie is hilarious and Connie is badass and, along with Jazz, they make a fantastic mystery-solving, crime-fighting trio. One of the most interesting aspects of this novel was Jazz’s bond with small-town sheriff, G. William Tanner. He’s the man who put Jazz’s Dear Old Dad behind bars, but he becomes something of a father figure to Jazz. Watching their relationship unfold and deepen was riveting and incredibly satisfying. Big recommend!


The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo – A reread for me, because I wanted to share this gorgeous middle grade novel with my daughter. Once again, the final pages gave me chills. Edward Tulane‘s themes of giving and accepting love are relayed with such nuance, and main character Edward, a ceramic rabbit who likes fine clothing (yes), is so compelling. This book’s chapters are short and its language is accessible, but the story is so profound. If you’ve got kiddos, I recommend reading Edward Tulane with them.


Creed by Lindsay Currie and Trisha Leaver (November, 2014) – One of the most unique YAs I’ve read in a long time — this is true horror, friends. Creed is atmospheric, quietly (and then not so quietly) creepy, and shocking in too many ways to list. Every time I thought, no, the authors won’t go THERE, they totally did, and then I’d send Lindsay Currie frantic DMs that read, What?! No! Not THAT person! I imagine she read my messages while laughing maniacally. 😉 Here’s your pre-Creed warning: This book boasts a cast of well-drawn and (mostly!) likable characters, but don’t get too attached to anyone. *shudder*

  
Burn For Burn and Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian – Okay. How are these books not getting all the hype? I mean, some people are talking about them and they have awesome Goodreads ratings, but they’re not getting nearly the exposure they deserve. These books are aMaZiNg. I’m an unapologetic Jenny Han fangirl and I think Siobhan Vivian’s The List is fantastic, but I was in no way prepared for the awesomeness that is the Burn For Burn series. The plotting is tight, the writing is seamless, the voices are genuine, and the characters… I feel like Kat, Lillia, and Mary are are my friends — that’s how well I’ve gotten to know them. These books are full of bitterness and revenge and unrequited love and lasting friendship; they have a large, dynamic cast (Lillia and Reeve are my favorites!) and a twisty, jaw-dropping storyline. I HIGHLY recommend them. Read Burn For Burn and Fire With Fire back-to-back before Ashes to Ashes comes out September 16th. I can’t wait!

What’s the best book you read in July?

Happy Book Birthday, ONE TWO THREE!

Biggest congratulations to my friend Elodie Nowodazkij! Her debut young adult novel, One, Two, Three is out today, and I couldn’t be happier for her.

From Goodreads ~ When seventeen-year-old Natalya’s dreams of being a ballerina are killed in a car accident along with her father, she must choose: shut down—like her mother—or open up to love.

Last year, seventeen-year-old Natalya Pushkaya was attending the School of Performing Arts in New York City. Last year, she was well on her way to becoming a professional ballerina. Last year, her father was still alive. But a car crash changed all that—and Natalya can’t stop blaming herself. Now, she goes to a regular high school in New Jersey; lives with her onetime prima ballerina, now alcoholic mother; and has no hope of a dance career. At her new school, however, sexy soccer player Antonio sees a brighter future for Natalya, or at least a more pleasant present. Keeping him an arabesque away proves to be a challenge for Natalya and his patient charms eventually draw her out of her shell. When upsetting secrets come to light and Tonio’s own problems draw her in, Natalya shuts down again, this time turning to alcohol herself.

Can Natalya learn to trust Antonio before she loses him—and destroys herself?

***

Guys, I adore this novel. It’s an incredibly entertaining fusion of Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles and the movie Save the Last Dance. In other words, it’s angsty and sexy and fast-paced, full of diverse, layered characters who effortlessly won me over. I’m still thinking about them, and I’m still swooning.

Not only is One, Two, Three a fantastic book, but its author, Elodie Nowodazkij, is one of the sweetest, most supportive people I know. Her emails always make me smile, her beta feedback is thoughtful and encouraging, and she shares German chocolate! There are few as altruistic as Elodie, and few as passionate about writing and young adult literature. I am beyond thrilled to own a novel with her name on it! It looks so beautiful on my bookshelf. 🙂

Congratulations, Elodie! I can’t wait for the world to meet Natalya and Tonio!

One, Two, Three on Amazon
Elodie’s Website
Elodie on Twitter

What’s Up Wednesday

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“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun (September, 2014) and it’s now on my short list of YA favorites. It is gorgeous, guys, and I can’t wait for you to read it! My daughter and I also finished Katherine Applegate’s The One & Only Ivan. We both loved it dearly. Over the weekend, I read Tammara Webber’s Breakable (a companion to Easy, of which I am a fan). I was a little worried that it would be gratuitous retelling from Lucas’s point of view, but the story was deeper than that. It gave a lot of insight into Lucas’s past and his character. It was also, like, seriously steamy. Now, I’m reading Laini Taylor’s Dreams of Gods & Monsters, the conclusion to a series I’ve loved from day one. The writing is predictably beautiful and brilliant!

  

What I’m Writing: Still working on my Where Poppies Bloom revision and my The Road So Far first draft. For all the details of my last week of writing, you’re welcome to check out my RSW update HERE.


Knocking out words at the local music store, where my girl takes guitar lessons.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: My girl and I are off to Phoenix to visit my parents, so pardon my slow blog responses. We’re excited to see Nana and Poppy, and to leave the muggy heat for dry heat — yay!

  
Last week we visited the Gulfarium and met lots of water-dwelling creatures. It was tons of fun, and if you’re ever in the Destin area, you should check it out!


We also enjoyed a beach day with our neighbors/friends — I’m sure you’re shocked. 😉 My daughter and I are going to be in for a rude awakening if we’re ever stationed in a land-locked state. Yikes.

What’s Inspiring Me Now: This video, which I’ve watched about a dozen times. I adore a good deployment homecoming clip (trust me: there are few things better than seeing your significant other after a long stretch of time apart) and this one is up there with the best I’ve seen. The couple is adorable, they’re at a kick-ass fraternity party, the soundtrack rocks, and the girl is so obviously shocked… I bet you’ll cry happy tears for these two!


I also read two super inspiring blog posts this week. The first was from Jessica Love, who spoke about the death of her friend Laura (who was clearly an amazing person), as well as kindness and thoughtfulness and trying to be better. I love this beautiful post, and now I’m inspired to be kinder and more thoughtful. And the second, from Leila Austin at YA Highway, about writing and anxiousness and letting go of the things we can’t control. Very timely for this writer.

Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wedesday

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“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I finished my friend Elodie Nowodazkij’s up-and-coming YA debut, One, Two, Three, and adored it. It’s the perfect read for fans of Simone Elkeles and Katie McGarry — angsty and sexy, with layered characters, a quick pace, and ballet(!). Now, I’m reading Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun (September, 2014). Guys, it is gorgeous beyond description. I’m savoring every sentence — every word. I’m mesmerized by the way Jandy Nelson plays with language and spins a fairly basic plot into this lovely and arresting web of a novel. I’m so looking forward to purchasing a finished copy. And finally, my daughter and I are reading The One & Only Ivan together and oh my goodness, it is making my heart hurt. What a profound and beautiful story. (Fact: The Ivan in Katherine Applegate’s novel was based on a real silverback gorilla — also named Ivan — who lived in a tiny glass “domain” in a sketchy Washington mall for 27 years. That sketchy mall was close to where I grew up, and I have very vivid memories of visiting Ivan with my family and musing, even way back then, about what a sad life he must’ve lived.)

What I’m Writing: The same two projects I’ve been working on for months. I revised a couple chapters from Where Poppies Bloom, and added a few thousand new words to the WiP I’m drafting, The Road So Far. Slowly but surely, friends. Slowly but surely. (You can read more about my Ready. Set. Write! summer writing and reading [and tanning] goals HERE.)

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Well, I’m the proud mama of a SECOND GRADER. Not sure how that happened already, but I’m very excited for my girl.


I feel like she went from six to sixteen overnight! *sob*


She was awarded a Super Reader certificate, which obviously makes me all kinds of proud. She was also voted “Class Encourager” by her classmates, and my heart bursts with pride knowing that she’s sweet and kind to her peers. Also, her teacher named her Most Inquisitive, which she totally gets from her daddy!


First day of summer break. We love the beach!


I made Spritz Cookies, because when I’m stuck on a writing project, I bake. I normally make Spritz around Christmas time. I use tree, wreath, star, and heart shapes, and color them green, white, and red. My daughter suggested doing summery flowers this time, and I think they turned out so cute! The yellow flowers are lemon, the red are almond, and the blue are coconut. Yum!

What’s Inspiring Me Now: Oh, just THIS from YA author Trisha Leaver… 

“With the release date of CREED rapidly approaching, Lindsay Currie and I have been fielding questions about what our co-authored voice sounds like, how psychologically twisted our collective mind is, and do I need to read all of your co-authored pieces with the lights on?

Rather than simply answer those questions, we thought we’d take it one step further and actually show you! We toyed with writing a prequel-type novella to set the stage for CREED, but you know us…why write a novella to CREED when you can give them entirely different book to enjoy!

After much discussion with our agents and an enthusiastic ‘go for it’ from our publisher, we have decided to utilize Wattpad to give the world a sneak peek at what they can expect from our co-authored voice. So here it is, a new, psychologically twisted, co-authored YA Thriller.

SILO

“The darkness would’ve scared me years ago, but not anymore—if you couldn’t see it, then you didn’t know it was there to be afraid of.”

~Jake Holloway, SILO

Starting today, we will be sharing a chapter a week of our co-authored book, SILO, on Wattpad for the world to enjoy, hate, question our sanity, run screaming from… The last chapter of the book will drop the week of November 8th, 2014, the same week CREED releases!

So, go forth and be appropriately frightened as you realize just what our twisted minds of capable of. Spread the word, leave a comment on Wattpad or simply enjoy the book in the dark confines of your own home.”

SILO on Wattpad

Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather irreverent dog. Her co-authored, YA Psychological Horror drops November 8, 2014 from FLUX. Her solo YA Contemporary, THE SECRETS WE KEEP, releases April 28th, 2015 from FSG/ Macmillan.
www.trishaleaver.comGoodreadsTwitter, & Facebook

Lindsay Currie lives in Chicago, Illinois with one incredibly patient hubby, three amazing kids and one adorable, but irreverent Bullmastiff named Sam. She graduated from Knox College in the heart of the Midwest and has been writing for as long as she can remember. Today, Lindsay is an author, as well as a freelance editor for young adult, new adult and middle grade fiction.  She is a proud member of SCBWI, The YA Scream Queens and OneFourKidLit.
www.lindsaycurrie.comGoodreads, & Twitter

           Tell me… What’s up with you today? 

What’s Up Wednesday

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“What’s Up Wednesday” is a fun weekly meme started by my friends Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. From Jaime: It’s similar in some respects to the Currently… post, but it’s been whittled down to only four headings to make it quicker and more manageable on a weekly basis. You’re invited to join us if you’re looking for something to blog about, a way to let your blog friends know what’s been going on with you. If you’re participating, make sure to link your What’s Up Wednesday posts to the list on Jaime’s blog each week. That way, others can visit your post and check out what you’ve been up to.And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…And now, here’s what’s up with me this week…

What I’m Reading: I flew through Gayle Forman’s Just One Night, the eNovella follow-up to Just One Day and Just One Year, and it was a complete joy. I am so, so happy she decided to put a cap on Allyson’s and Willem’s story. I also read Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State, which was the exact opposite of joyful. To be honest, I feel sort of terrible recommending it because it is absolutely brutal. But, it is also brilliantly written and completely haunting (I had nightmares) and, I think, a must-read. Now, I’m reading my friend Elodie Nowodazkij’s up-and-coming YA debut, One, Two, Three, and I am loving it.

    

What I’m Writing: I’m still puttering away at my two related projects. I was going strong on my revision for several days, but then a plot element tripped me up and I realized I need to spend some time thinking on it. So, I’ve switched over to the WiP I’m drafting. I’m hovering at about 27K words and I’m still loving the story. It’s a road trip, so every scene is set in a fresh location and has new minor characters to be introduced. There’s also a mystery to unfold, and helping my main characters along as they discover clues is making it feel as though I’m flying through the drafting process. Also, the romance… This couple is my favorite of all the couples I’ve written. ❤

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Tomorrow is my girl’s last day of 1st grade. *sob* I’m struggling with how quickly she’s growing up, so I’ve been spending more time than usual helping at at her school. So fun to see her in her element!

  
Hula hooping at recess, and an end-of-the-year Water Day celebration.


Last week the Scholastic Book Fair was held at my daughter’s school, and then we took a trip to Books-A-Million over the weekend. We’ve amassed a nice little summer reading pile. (Thanks for the excellent recommendations, Temre!) Looking forward to diving into these with my girl! Where should we start?

What’s Inspiring Me Now: My friend Jessica Love, whose debut novel Push Girl (co-authored with Chelsie Hill) released yesterday. I adore this book, and I enthusiastically encourage you to read it. My Bookanista review is HERE. Also, Ready. Set. Write! Have you heard about the summer writing intensive I’m hosting with Alison MillerJaime Morrow, and Erin Funk? We’re setting goals and cheering each other on through a summer of fun and productivity… Join us!

What’s up with you today?