Why I recommend rather than review…

If you’ve been hanging around this blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I don’t write negative book reviews. It’s certainly true that I don’t love everything I read; I don’t even like everything I read. And yet, I almost always* choose to highlight the positive.

Here’s why…

1. I’m a writer — part of the writing community — and I don’t feel comfortable offering unsolicited public critique of my peers’ work.

2. I believe every book has its readers. Even if I don’t connect with a story, I can almost always point to its positive attributes, and hope the right reader picks it up.

3. There’s plenty of unpleasantness in the world as is, especially these days. I don’t have time or energy to waste on negativity. I prefer to celebrate books I love, rather than bash books I don’t enjoy.

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This isn’t to say that negative reviews are bad. While I appreciate enthusiastic praising when it comes to stories, I also see great value in thoughtful criticisms. That’s just not what I do here.

It’s simple, really. I boost books — particularly the books I love.
And you know what? It feels really good. ūüíô

*If I notice problematic (racist, sexist, homophobic, etc) content, I’ll say so.



(I plan to do a ‚ÄúCurrently‚Ķ‚ÄĚ post¬†every other Tuesday. You should join me! Find the origins of the idea HERE.)



My¬†New York & Company 7th Avenue Design Studio Knit Pants, which look like dress slacks and fit like yoga pants, currently buy one, get one free.¬†The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, which I bought because my writing descriptions are starting to feel quite stagnant; I’m loving how this craft book gives me fresh perspective. Shenandoah National Park, which we’ve now hiked twice — so beautiful. The YA Buccaneers, who invited me to guest post about my experience submitting to Swoon Reads. And my new Erin Condren notebook, which I’m using to compile family recipes and my go-to Pinterest favorites; it’s mostly filling up with desserts.


I finally finished¬†Grave Mercy by Robin LeFevers. It took me for-freaking-ever to get through, but that is in no way a reflection of my feelings about the book — I loved it! Ismae is a badass, and her story transported me to 15th century Brittany completely; I was totally caught up in the political intrigue and, of course, the most excellent romance. Now, I’m reading Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz, a romance involving a girl and a Fae — not usually my thing. But this recent release is set at a Monterey boarding school, which is so totally my thing. Plus, the writing is gorgeous. I’m really liking it so far!


My new favorite You-Tuber, Ashley at That is All. I discovered her a few months ago while pouring over planner reviews (her review was a big part of the reason I bought an InkWELL Press planner for 2016), though¬†the main focus of her channel is makeup. She’s delightful and she has cute kitties and I’ve¬†picked up a few excellent skin care products on her recommendation.

Listening To

Am I the only gal¬†who ends up with an anthem for each manuscript she drafts? For my current WiP, I’m listening to Matt Nathanson’s Faster on repeat, all the time. It’s inspiring all the romance. ‚̧

Thinking About

The tragic terrorist attacks that occurred in France and Beirut last week. My heart is broken for everyone affected.


The holidays. My husband and daughter love the many foods associated with Turkey Day (I love the pie) and my parents are coming for a¬†visit during Christmastime. Looking forward to getting¬†started on my seasonal decorating and shopping. Our Elf on the Shelf will be here before we know it. ūüôā


That she will always fall asleep with a book in reach.

Making Me Happy

I have a job! Well, sort of. I recently joined the pool of substitutes in Fairfax County, hoping to work two or three days a week at my daughter’s elementary school. But on my first day of eligibility, I was offered a multiple-week position as an instructional assistant in one of the¬†resource rooms. So, I get to visit various classrooms and work with kids on various subjects, including reading and writing, which is awesome.¬†The only downside is that my daily drafting¬†time has all but disappeared. Who wants to do nighttime sprints with me?

What’s currently making YOU happy?

Quick: Three words!

I’ve been following mother/Australian/social-media-maven Fat Mum Slim¬†(AKA Chantelle)¬†for awhile now. Her Instagram feed is fantastic (she created #FMSPhotoADay) and her blog is an inspiration — full of tips on photography, entertaining, travel, and building a platform, as well as some very thoughtful reflections on parenting and life. I recommend following if you’re not already.


The other day, Chantelle posted the following question:

How would you describe your blog in just 3 words?

I’ve been blogging for over three years, and I love it. I’ve found my personal blogging style mostly through trial and error. While I’m sure I’ve made a few mistakes along the way, I’m very proud of what my blog has become. Through it, I’ve learned a lot and made some wonderful friends. I look forward to many more years of posting.¬†Here’s how I’d describe my blog in 3 words:

Cheerful, conversational, bookish.

Tell me: What 3 words would you use to describe your blog?

What’s Up Wednesday

Today I’m jumping in on “What’s Up Wednesday,” 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.

Fantastic, right? So, here’s what’s up with me…

What I’m Reading: I just finished Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster. I’ll share more about my thoughts tomorrow, but I have to say… I was entertained by all the angst. Trav and Abby’s dysfunctional, co-dependent relationship kept me captivated. Yesterday I started Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, which is predictably awesome so far.

What I’m Writing: *sigh* There’s the epic rewrite I’ve mostly sidelined but still think about often, and there’s the SNI WiP (the one that’s inspired by a Tim McGraw song), that I love, LoVe, LOVE, but has also put on the back burner. Mostly, I’m working on a requested revision of Cross My Heart that has mad potential thanks to notes from my amazingly brilliant and insightful agent. Motivation and inspiration and excitement are beautiful things.

What Else I’ve Been Up To: Running. No surprise there. I ended up with 171 total miles for the month of April, putting me at 665 miles for 2013. Not too shabby. We’ve had gorgeous weather lately, so my girlie and I have been spending lots of time at the various parks in our neighborhood. Also, I’ve been watching Game of Thrones obsessively. I love that show SO MUCH. Daenerys is so compassionate, yet such a badass. I’m swooning over the recent romantic developments in Jon Snow’s storyline (though I wholeheartedly agree with Forever YA’s comment about the bath coming first). And King Slayer Jaime Lannister, once one of my most loathed characters, has turned out to be so very complex and fascinating (that final scene with Brienne on Sunday night… Whoa.). If you’re not watching this show, start now!

What Inspires Me Right Now: Last month I flaked on Fat Mum Slim‘s Photo a Day Challenge, but I think I’m going to jump back on the bandwagon this month. I’m finding these prompts quite inspiring…

And, since I’m doing lots of writing and revising these days, I’ve been listening to plenty of emotional country music. I’m particularly loving Lionel Richie’s Tuskegee, and Tim McGraw’s Southern Voice.

In Other, Far Sadder News: Yesterday we had to say goodbye to our sweet dog, Lucy. My husband and I adopted her when she was six weeks old, just after we were married nearly ten years ago. She’s been with us through several military moves, the adoption of an additional dog (Daisy, who is currently very sad), the birth and subsequent growing up of our daughter, and several deployments. Lucy was spunky and sassy and loved peanut butter with unrivaled passion. As much as I’ve complained about her shedding, her sneaky naps on the couch, and her shrill litte bark, I adored her. She was a loyal and wonderful pet. We will miss you very much, Lucy Goose. ‚ô•‚ô•‚ô•

What have you been up to lately?

Thanksgiving Greetings…

I am thankful for my husband, who is supportive and loving and witty, and the *best* daddy out there. 

I am thankful for my daughter, who is sweet and bright and adorably funny, and has the most thoughtful little heart. 

I am thankful for  both the family I was born into, and the family I married into. I am very lucky.

I am thankful for my friends, spread all around the world. Today, on a holiday meant to be spent with those we love, I am especially thankful for the friends I’ve made since moving to California! Can’t wait to celebrate Turkey Day with you!

I am thankful for a creative mind, and the opportunity to write every day. 

I am thankful for books!

I am thankful for my CPs and beta readers and writer friends, who offer invaluable feedback, answer my fanatical emails, and email me just to check in. You all keep me sane. 

I am thankful for the writing community, especially the YA writing community. I am thankful for the amazing people I’ve met through Twitter and this blog. I can’t describe how much your friendship and support have meant to me, especially in the last few weeks. ¬†

Happy Thanksgiving!

MAY I ask something about you?

First, an important bit of business: The announcement of the FIVE winners from my Reading is Sexy giveaway, chosen randomly. Congratulations to…

Charissa, Jaye, Jillian, Yahong, and Doreen!

The first winner to email me at katy(dot)upperman@live(dot)com will have her choice of ONE of the following: A signed copy of The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour, a copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, or a Reading is Sexy bumper sticker. The second winner to email will have second choice of the remaining prizes, the third to email will have third choice, and so on. (Also, please don’t forget to include your mailing address in your email so I can get your book or sticker to you!)

Congrats again, Charissa, Jaye, Jillian, Yahong, and Doreen, and thanks so much to everyone who entered and helped spread the word about this giveaway!


Second, my first post over at YA Confidential is up today, a review of the fabulous This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (out next month!). I’d love it if you’d drop by to check out all the reasons I LOVED this book!

This Is Not a Test

Third, I’ll be taking a bit of a blog-cation over the next couple of months. Yep… April and May were chock full of blog posts around here, and I had a blast writing them, reading all of your thoughtful comments, and visiting your blog in return. But, I’ve decided to dedicate my free time this summer to my family and the rewrite I’ve been working on. Blogging is a blast, but it’s also quite time-consuming, and if I don’t take this break, I won’t be able to prioritize my time in a way that will best allow me to complete my rewrite. That said, I’ll still be reading your blog, and I’ll still do an occasional Bookanista review. I’ll also still be posting over at YA Confidential. But all in all, things around here will be pretty quiet. Never fear, though… I’ll be back early August when school starts and my girlie begins spending her days at –*gasp*– Kindergarten!

Relaxing Summer

I leave you with this question: What are YOUR summer plans?

Z is for ZOMG!

Today is the final day of the A-Z Challenge!

I honestly can’t believe it’s over and that I completed it successfully. And guys, I have such fun news to wrap the challenge up with…

I’ve been invited to become an Operative over at YA Confidential!

If you’re unfamiliar with YA Confidential, the short story is this: It’s a fantastic teen-centered blog featuring everything from YA book recommendations, roundtables, teen interviews, critiques, advice, shared wisdom, giveaways… Really, there’s something for everyone! And the Operatives — they’re all kinds of awesome:¬†Cristin Terrill,¬†Copil Yanez,¬†Alexandra Shostak,¬†Cambria Dillon,¬†Sara McClung,¬†Karen Amanda Hooper,¬†Alison Miller,¬†as well as my fellow new Operatives:¬†Jessica Love and Matthew MacNish.

So… Are you curious about my Operative Profile?

Operative: Katy Upperman

Codename: K-Sizzle

Legend: Once danced onstage at a Korn concert… in a lavender GAP button-down. Now a soldier’s wife, a princess’s mama, and a writer of young adult fiction chock full of cute boys, intense romance, and steamy kisses.

Known Whereabouts: katyupperman.com and @katyupperman, as well as bookstores, country-western bars, and shopping malls spanning the globe.

Known Accomplices: Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst Literary Management


You should most definitely check YA Confidential out if you haven’t already. I’m honored and thrilled to be a part of it!

N is for Noteworthy

First, an important bit of business: The announcement of the TWO winners from my Lucky Me, Lucky You book giveaway, chosen randomly. Congratulations…

Jaime Morrow and Sophia Richardson

The first winner to email me at katy(dot)upperman@live(dot)com will have her choice of either a signed copy of John Green’s The Fault in our Stars¬†or a free book of choice from The Book Depository, up to $20. The second winner to email will¬†receive¬†the remaining prize. (Don’t forget to include your mailing address in your email so I can get your book to you!)

Congrats again, Jaime and Sophia, and thanks so much to everyone who entered and helped spread the word about Lucky Me, Lucky You!


And… Here’s a super fun idea you might be interested in participating in, especially if you’re looking to¬†rejuvenate¬†your blog, or get into (or back into) the habit of blogging regularly:

Gorgeous banner created by crazy-talented Tracey Neithercott! 

The brainchild of writer/blogger/all-around-awesome-person¬†Sara McClung, Blog Me MAYbe is¬†a weekly blog format for the month of May, an easy schedule to follow with topics built right in. Of course, if posting every day sounds like too much, or if you miss a few days, or only do a couple posts a week, no biggie. Blog Me MAYbe is all about ease and fun!¬†You don’t have to worry about following every blogger who participates or commenting on everyone’s daily posts (though if you want to do that, feel free!). The intent of Blog Me MAYbe isn’t to gain followers — although that could very well happen —¬†but to branch out, make a few new friends, share information, and get into the¬†head space¬†where ideas for blog posts flow freely.

Here’s the schedule:

  • Mondays:¬†May¬†I tell you something about writing?
    • This can be anything writing-related. A post on craft. A post on your process. A snippet of your WIP, if you like to share. A book on craft that you want to recommend. Things you struggle with. Things you rock at. ANYTHING at all!
  • Tuesdays:¬†May¬†I tell you something about myself?
    • Pretty self-explanatory… Share something about yourself that your followers might not know. Or, maybe they do. It doesn’t matter–this is just so people who read your blog can get to know you a little better.¬†
  • Wednesdays:¬†May¬†I ask something about you?
    • Ask your followers something about themselves.
  • Thursdays:¬†May¬†I tell you something about someone else?
    • Make this post about someone else. A writing friend. A critique partner. A person from history who’s fascinating. A character from a book. Have a guest poster. Give an interview. Get creative, but let the spotlight shine on someone else!
  • Fridays:¬†May¬†I share something funny?
    • Fridays = The start of the weekend… BOOYA! A reason to celebrate and laugh on its own — plus, who doesn’t want to see something amusing after a long week?

Fun, right?! I’m already committed to participating, as are Sara, Cambria, Tracey, Jessica, Lola, Alexandra, and Alison.¬†Blog Me MAYbe begins on the first of May, so head over to Sara’s blog if you’re interested in signing up, and feel free to grab our banner or the button in my sidebar to use on your own blog.

Tell me: Will you participate in Blog Me MAYbe? 

L is for Lucky Seven

Have you entered my¬†Lucky Me, Lucky You Giveaway? A ¬†signed copy of John Green’s¬†The Fault in our Stars¬†and a free book of choice from The Book Depository are up for grabs for TWO winners. The giveaway ends tomorrow night… Click¬†HERE¬†to enter!

Happy Friday the Thirteenth!
Fittingly, I’ve got a LUCKY Seven post to share with you…

The Rules:

  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
  2. Go to line 7.
  3. Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they’re written. No cheating.
  4. Tag 7 other victims …er, authors.

Fun, right?!

So, I’ve been tagged three times now… Thanks to fabulous¬†Kate Avelynn¬†for tag #1. If you haven’t visited her blog, I recommend it. Her upcoming debut Flawed¬†is one of my most favorite contemporary YA stories EVER. And thanks to adorable Sara McClung for tag #2. The seven lines she posted¬†for Lucky Seven are absolutely fantastic, and you should definitely check them out! And thanks to Kris Asselin, one of my agent sisters and a lovely contemporary YA writer. Please do check out her sweet Lucky Seven post¬†as well.

It just so happens that for my Lucky Seven post, you’re getting seven steamy lines from my WiP, Cross My Heart. I hope you enjoy!

When he pulls away, for one horrible second I think it’s over. But then the softest groan escapes him and he walks me backward, presses me against the wall, and opens his mouth over mine. I taste candy cane peppermint on his tongue, mingling with beer.

Will I ever know what he tastes like sober, under normal circumstances?

I immediately shove that particular musing out of my head, content to focus on the here and now: Max Holden is kissing me like it means something. Like he wants to keep kissing me, forever.

And now I get to tag seven friends… You’re up, Tracey Neithercott, Alicia Gregoire, Yahong Chi, Kat Owens, Rebecca Behrens, Kris Asselin¬†(who’s getting tagged back because she promised a snippet from her MG!), and Taryn Albright!

In celebration of Friday the Thirteenth, tell me: Are you the superstitious sort?

I is for Ice Cream

Have you entered my¬†Lucky Me, Lucky You Giveaway? A ¬†signed copy of John Green’s¬†The Fault in our Stars¬†and a free book of choice from The Book Depository are up for grabs for TWO winners. Click¬†HERE¬†to enter!

Ahh, ice cream… One of my favorite foodie indulgences. I could eat it daily (some weeks I do!), but I try to stick to the healthy-ish¬†Dreyer’s Slow Churned, No Sugar Added variety. The Butter Pecan tastes pretty darn amazing, especially with a few crumbled pretzels and some Smucker’s Sugar-Free Hot Fudge drizzled on top. What can I say? I like the extra add-ins almost as much as the ice cream itself. ūüôā

Lately, I’ve had the urge to experiment with making my own ice cream, and I’ve hunted down a few recipes that look promising:

chocolate cookie dough ice cream, cookie dough ice cream, gluten free cookie recipe, homemade chocolate ice cream, chocolate ice creamHomemade Chocolate Cookie Dough Ice Cream (vegan & gluten-free)
from My Man’s Belly,¬†a newly discovered and awesome food/relationship blog.

Easy Homemade Ice Cream without a MachineEasy (Creamy!) Homemade Ice Cream (not exactly healthful, but without a machine AND without rock salt!) from Kevin and Amanda, another cool and creative food blog.

low calorie peanut butter ice creamLow-Cal Peanut Butter Ice Cream (gluten-free and sugar-free, also without an ice cream machine!) from Chocolate-Covered Katie, a healthy dessert blog featuring tons of vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free treats.

Traditional Ice Cream in a Bag (great to do with kiddos!) from 2 Little HOOligans, a fun craft/cooking/mommy blog.

Tell me: What’s your favorite dessert?

And, have you ever made your own ice cream? Do you have a fantastic recipe to share? 

Oh, and a quick FYI: This Thursday I’m going to Rock the Drop. Please do click the image below for more information on this awesome literacy initiative!