Category Archives: New Releases

June Reading Wrap-Up

Kind of an eccentric mish-mash of books this month…¬†
A little something for everyone? ūüėČ

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Dare Me by Megan Abbott – I picked this one up after it was discussed on Christa Desir & Carrie Mesrobian’s most excellent The Oral History Podcast. While this story’s about a group of high school cheerleaders, it’s definitely an adult novel, and it’s fantastic — a twisty, disturbing spin on competition and how far girls will go to get to the top (of the pyramid, literally), as well as a mystery and a study in decomposing friendships. Megan Abbott’s writing is seriously beautiful, but also like a sharp kick to the gut: Sometimes you stand under the hot gush for so long, looking at your body, counting every bruise. Touching every tender place. Watching the swirl at your feet, the glitter spinning. Like a mermaid shedding her scales. You‚Äôre really just trying to get your heart to slow down. You think, this is my body, and I can make it do things. I can make it spin, flip, fly. Big recommend if you’re looking for a book that will have you compulsively turning pages, and questioning everything you think you know about cheerleaders.

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Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn (July 18, 2017) – This forthcoming debut was everything I was hoping for in a summer read: voice-y, witty, and swoony, but with depth I always appreciate. Quinn’s summer is becoming quite a mess: her grandmother is suffering from Alzheimer’s, her father has gambling addiction that’s costing him a lot more than money, she’s lost her shot at a band trip to England, and her friend-turned-nemisis, Wesley James, is back in Seattle after years spent in Portland. Quinn makes it her mission to punish Wesley for a mistake he made years before, but along the way, she starts to realize that maybe she doesn’t hate him quite as much as she’d like. Quinn and Welsey have fantastic banter and flirty chemistry, but their relationship is deeper than that, too, and I loved watching it rekindle, and then develop into more. I also loved this story’s setting: Seattle and, more specifically, Quinn and Wesley’s workplace, Tudor Tymes, which is full of charm and ridiculousness. Pick this one up in a few weeks if you’re looking for a fun, smart, romantic poolside read.

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Hold Still by Nina LaCour – I’m a Nina LaCour super fan, but somehow I’d neglected to read her debut before now, despite the fact that it’s been sitting on my bookshelf for years (I bought it at Borders!). Hold Still is a beautiful book about loss and revival; if you read and enjoyed Nina LaCour’s latest, We Are Okay, I suspect you’ll adore this one as well. Caitlin’s struggling to come to terms with the suicide of her best friend, Ingrid, by attempting to reclaim their joint hobby of photography, gradually letting in a few new friends, and building a treehouse. Caitlin’s recovery is slow, particularly as she learns more about the depth of Ingrid’s depression through her journal entries, making for a largely sorrowful story. And yet, it’s a hopeful story, as well — one that shows the importance of family, and friendship, and the acceptance of our personal limitations when it comes to the mental health of those we love. Nina LaCour’s prose is just lovely — spare yet lyrical, and at all times affecting. Read Hold Still if you gravitate toward novels that are literary and moving, with a focus on friendship, and a hint of romance.

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Speak of Me as I Am by Sonia Belasco – One of my favorite debuts of the year, and another novel that deals with suicide and grief and recovery. Speak of Me as I Am¬†is told from the points of view of Damon, whose best friend, Carlos, recently took his life, and Melanie, whose mother recently died of cancer. Both protagonists are wading through unimaginable sadness when they meet, and while they don’t miraculously fix each other, they do begin to heal through conversation about shared emotions and experiences. It’s really beautiful to witness, and set against a school production of Othello (Damon is the lead, and Melanie works on set design) the characters’ arcs feel particularly profound. Two other things I loved about Speak of Me as I Am: It’s set in D.C., a city I’m really growing to enjoy, and its secondary characters are as well developed and complex as its protagonists. Tristan and Carlos, especially, leap of the page. Speak of Me as I Am is gorgeously written and poignant, and I highly recommend it to all readers.

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Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance – Not my usual fare, but this one’s a book club pick, and I’m glad I gave it a read. Hillbilly Elegy is a sociological study, definitely, but more often than not, it reads like a memoir. J.D. Vance’s family is historically white, working class (on the low end of working class, really), and descended from the Appalachian region. While detailing his family’s origins and his own upbringing in the Rust Belt, he muses on how and why “hillbillies lost faith in any hope of upward mobility, and in opportunities to come.” An affecting and insightful read, especially considering the current social and political landscapes.


Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener (July 18, 2017) – I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, but I was immediately drawn to this novel’s beautiful cover, as well as its summary: Earth girl Delaney is mistaken for alien princess Olena, then dragged to a faraway planet, where she’s imprisoned in a castle and forced to impersonate Olena in order to maintain galactic peace. Amid Stars and Darkness is a fast-paced space opera with cool world-building and a swoony romance (I adored Ruckus!), plus some well executed humor, thanks to Delaney’s spectacular voice. If you’re not sure whether you’re into sci-fi/space fiction, this book is a great way to dip your toe in the water. It reads as vast and futuristic, while still feeling accessible. While Amid Stars and Darkness wraps up neatly, it leaves off with a big hook for the second book in this planned trilogy — a book I’m already itching to get my hands on! Check this one out when it releases in a few weeks.

BONUS…
I haven’t read either of these myself, but my daughter has, and she adored them both. In fact, she hasn’t stopped talking about them, and she’s given them both the coveted 5-star rating. So, if you’ve got a middle grade reader, hand them copies of¬†Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure and The Infinity Year of Avalon James!

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

May Reading Wrap-Up

May has been a super varied month of reading,
and I’ve got lots of good stuff to recommend…

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The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – This one¬†is the June pick for my book club (I’m actually ahead for once!) and it really impressed me. It’s based on the life of historical figures Sarah and Angelina Grimke, early abolitionists and feminists,¬†but also tells the (almost entirely fictionalized) story Hetty “Handful” Grimke, a slave who comes of age in the Grimke household. I was worried that this tale would center on Sarah helping Handful to freedom, but it doesn’t. Both Sarah and Handful are strong women with agency, and their evolving relationship is¬†fascinating. The Invention of Wings¬†is a difficult read, as it holds little back in the way of depicting the severe realities of slavery, but it is also a beautiful story about love and sacrifice and standing up for what’s right. Recommended for anyone¬†with an interest in American history, and fans of sweeping historical fiction.

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The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles – This is a cool book — it calls back to those 2007-2009 paranormal romances we all loved so much, but it definitely has¬†its¬†own unique spin. I bought The Edge of Everything because of its fabulous¬†cover, but didn’t know much about what I was getting into until¬†I started reading. The gist: Montana¬†girl meets underworldly (yes) ¬†boy; mayhem, mystery, and romance ensue. I love Zoe for her stubbornness and sass, and I love X for his vulnerability¬†and sense of chivalry, and I love the two of them together because, despite¬†the completely bonkers situation they find themselves in, they just… make sense. The voice of this debut impressed me, too. While the story¬†is action-packed, author Jeff Giles has infused some smart¬†humor into, too, which made it a super entertaining read. Pick this one¬†up if you’re nostalgic for paranormal romance, or if you like¬†captivating characters and evocative prose.

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The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo – I’ve loved all of my Swoon Sister¬†Karole’s books, but this one is definitely my new favorite. The Truth About Happily Ever After¬†is everything I wanted it to be — fantastic writing, layered characters who are¬†so easy to root for, and super swoony romance. Protagonist Alyssa is relatably flawed and instantly likable, and I’ve got a new favorite Book Boy in Miller. This NA novel¬†takes place at Enchanted Dominion, a stand-in for Disney World (my favorite!). Alyssa and her friends are character actors — Alyssa plays¬†Cinderella with passion and perfection, and expects life and love to be the fairytale she presents at work. Of course, it doesn’t work out that way, and Alyssa is forced to come to terms with some pretty unexpected challenges. Her character arch is steep and satisfying, while still feeling magical and fun. Perfect for those wanting an authentic-feeling romance between college-aged characters, with a delightfully enchanting setting.

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The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan – I’m not even gonna lie — this book is full of smutty goodness, so if that’s not your thing, probably steer clear. But if you’re looking for a guilty pleasure read about an NFL quarterback and the utterly endearing¬†photographer he falls for, this is the book for you. I recommend reading the first three books in this series¬†first; I found them all unputdownable!

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – It’s hard for me to chat about this third and final book about¬†Jenny Han’s adorable Lara Jean and her winsome boyfriend Peter K because to admit that I loved this story¬†probably gives a lot away. But yeah. I LOVED IT. Always and Forever, Lara Jean¬†tackles the very real challenges of a high school senior: college applications and acceptances, stretching friendships, shifting¬†family dynamics, and tested¬†romances. It’s all very authentic, but still very charmed, as Lara Jean’s stories¬†tend to feel. She’s matured in this¬†book, which I appreciated seeing. She’s a better communicator, she’s less naive, and she’s even more thoughtful when it comes to the people she loves. And Peter’s grown too — he’s basically the world’s best boyfriend. ‚̧ԳŹ I could rave about this one all day. Read it if you haven’t yet, and if you’re waiting around to start this series, now’s the perfect time!

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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena – May’s book club selection, and I was captivated. This one’s about a couple who leaves their 6 month old baby, Cora, asleep in her crib while they have dinner/drinks with (you guessed it) the couple next door. They’ve got a baby monitor and they’re checking on her every half hour, but of course something horrible happens:¬†Cora is kidnapped. This novel is fast-paced and full of twists and turns; it kept me guessing through its final pages. My only two qualms are the writing style — for me, it felt flat and at times tell-y — and the conclusion which, as far as baby Cora is concerned, I thought to be incredibly implausible. Still, this is a great¬†summer read, sensational as it is. Recommended for those who like mystery and psychological thrillers.

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Fireworks by Katie Cotugno – Oh my goodness — this book exactly what I needed in nineties-set novel about a fledgling pop girl group and the dreamy boy band they come to know. Y’all, if you’re not reading Katie Cotugno’s books, please start now. She’s so good. I adored my time with this third novel of hers very much. Main character Dana is cool and layered and easy to relate to, and her love interest, Alex, is fantastic. I loved the way their relationship unfurled — it’s equally romantic and realistic. I also enjoyed how the demise of Dana’s best friendship was portrayed; her “break-up” with Olivia rang very true, and is an issue¬†I don’t see addressed often¬†enough in young adult literature. Fireworks¬†is another excellent summer story, perfect for the beach or pool, and a must-read for contemporary lovers, particularly those who were teens in the nineties. ūüėė

So? What’s the best book you read in May?

February Reading Wrap-Up

Six fantastic novels for your To-Be-Read list…

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If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo – What¬†a relevant, necessary, wonderful book. If I Was Your Girl is¬†thought-provoking, and¬†helps to give¬†a candid¬†and relatable face to the trans community. Its prose is¬†spare but emotive, and¬†it’s #OwnVoices — it reads as such. More than anything, though, this nuanced story of Amanda, who’s trying to make a place for herself at a new school, as well as navigate the relatively unfamiliar¬†experience of living life fully as the female she’s always known she is, is absorbing and¬†entertaining. I was rooting for Amanda from page one, and cheering on the friends she made and the new romance she pursued. And when things got tough, well, my heart broke right along with hers. An important and engaging novel.

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Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman (May 2, 2017) – This book is delightful — a¬†charming and romantic beach¬†read, but with depth. California girl Anise’s summer plans are turned upside down when she’s forced to make an extended¬†trip to Nebraska to help care for her young cousins. There, she meets dreamy¬†skateboarder, Lincoln, who challenges her in both silly and significant ways. She also begins to confront the baggage that’s come along with her mother’s abandonment. There’s even a mini road trip in this story, cementing its status as a Katy Book. Laura Silverman’s prose¬†is an unusual but appealing¬†blend of lyrical and gritty, dropping me right into Anise’s world. If you’re a fan of Sarah Dessen and Emery Lord, definitely pick up Girl Out of Water¬†in May.

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Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock (August 1, 2017) – Tiffany and I share a publisher and a release date, which made me all the more excited to get my hands on an¬†ARC of her forthcoming debut. Just Friends is everything I wanted it to be: cute, angsty, and fun. Main characters Chance and Jenny become friends thanks to the ultimate meet-cute, and they share adorable chemistry. This one’s a romance so the conclusion is expected, but the path we get to travel toward Chance and Jenny’s happily ever after has all sorts of unexpected twists and turns, and it’s populated by an excellent supporting cast. I love how Chance and Jenny grow and change over the course of this story, all the while supporting and caring for each other. Snag Just Friends¬†this August if you love to read contemporary YA romance √† la Kasie West.

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne – I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: If I can get behind a couple’s chemistry, I become blind to any and all flaws a book might otherwise have. Such is the case with The Hating Game. Is it a technically perfect novel? Who knows! I was so completely¬†mesmerized by the legitimately hilarious writing, the I-hate-you-wait-actually-I-might-love-you¬†nature of the plot, and the¬†heat¬†between main characters Josh and Lucy.¬†Their back-and-forth is utterly flawless, their characterizations are deep, and Lucy’s narration is so bright and sparkly and fun and funny, I literally could not put this book down. I know there’s all sorts of hype surrounding The Hating Game¬†which, for me, can be a turn off. But in this case? YES. BUY THE BOOK. #NewFavorite

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Watch the Sky by Kirsten Hubbard – This book is so lovely and melancholy. It’s a middle grade novel about Jory, a boy who lives a mostly secluded life with his stepfather, mother, sister (who has a fascinating backstory all her own), and baby brother. After a meteor shower, Jory’s stepfather, a war vet who’s always talking about “signs,”¬†insists the family descend into the nearby canyon every night to dig a hole in the dirt. As Jory begins to make new friends at school, he starts to question his stepfather’s edicts, and his family’s way of life.¬†Watch the Sky‘s themes–family and loyalty and secrets and fear–are profound, but the story is narrated in a way that feels both accessible and safe. My nine-year-old read this novel a month ago, then immediately put it into my hands. So, it’s earned both of our stamps of approval. Big recommend for middle grade fans.

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner – A few things you should know about this debut novel… First, despite what I’d pegged as a fantastical cover, this is¬†a Tennessee-set contemporary about three very different teenagers with a host of diverse struggles. Second, it’s a tale of¬†friendship, and how friendship (and first love) can help a person¬†overcome what might otherwise be a tragic fate. Third, Jeff Zentner’s writing is extraordinary; I listened via audiobook, and the voices of Dill, Lydia, and Travis were so authentic and distinct and vivid, I was blown away. Fourth, I think Jeff Zentner must take a tiny bit of pleasure in shredding hearts, because by the end of this story, mine was in tatters. I see now, why The Serpent King won the Morris Award this year. It is an exemplary novel.

So? What’s the best book you read in February?

Authors-I-Already-Love-Must-Preorder-Can’t-Wait-For 2017 Contemporary Young Adult Novels

Laziness alert!

This morning I tweeted about some of my most-anticipated 2017 contemporary YA releases written by¬†already-established authors. I wanted to share here, but I didn’t so much feel like drafting a whole post and searching for links and, you know, doing any additional work. Which is why embedded tweets are my friend.

Hopefully you’ll find some recommendations to anticipate right along with me!

Tell me!
What books are you most looking forward to in 2017?

August Reading Wrap-Up

I read some amazing books this month, and I’ve been so excited to share them here. Big recommend to all of these novels, guys!
{As always, covers link to Goodreads pages.}

Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu – My nine-year-old daughter and I read this middle grade novel together, and we loved it. It’s a story that tackles weighty issues (a mother’s alcoholism, most notably), but it’s a fairy tale as well, a book¬†about¬†sisters and magic and imagination and secrets and unbreakable bonds. Silly is the youngest of four; she and her sisters are deftly drawn — each unique, with her own strengths and flaws. While they lean on each other, there’s distance between the girls, too, due to their mother’s drinking and their father’s inattentiveness and the general discord a pair of inept parents bring to a household. Silly and her sisters have their closets, though — extraordinary¬†places full of magic¬†and beauty¬†(mostly),¬†where¬†they can escape their unhappy¬†reality. Corey Ann Haydu combines Silly’s authentic, youthful¬†voice with charming insight and enchanting¬†descriptions, while¬†creating a world that is both vastly¬†sad and infinitely hopeful. I feel so lucky to have shared this one with my girl, and I highly recommend it.

The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber (March 14, 2017) – I added this 2017 debut to my list of Katy Books immediately upon finishing — it’s everything I hope for when I pick up a YA novel. Wing is a fascinating character: often uncomfortable in her skin and full of longing, yet¬†strong in¬†spirit, too. When Marcus, the big brother she idolizes, kills two people (and almost himself) while driving drunk, Wing steps out of his shadow and into a pair of running shoes in an effort save both her sanity¬†and her family’s home. While The Heartbeats of Wing Jones features touches of magic, it’s a story rooted in reality, in family and friendship and first love (Aaron — you will adore him). It’s beautifully written, nuanced, and full of lovely, evocative language, the sort of descriptions that make you want to start¬†the story¬†all over again the second you finish¬†(that first kiss, man…). Definitely pick up The Heartbeats of Wing Jones when it debuts in March — I loved it!

Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood – This book is so lovely. It’s a quiet story about a girl named Ivy who, thanks¬†to her talented (and¬†troubled) lineage, is striving to meet¬†her granddad’s sky-high expectations. Ivy’s such a great protagonist. She’s smart and sporty and incredibly¬†kind, though she doesn’t exactly excel at any one thing — a problem, considering the¬†gifted women¬†who’ve come before her. Along with her perceived mediocrity, Ivy’s¬†also trying to come to terms with the sudden return of her absolutely awful mother, and the two sisters she knows little about. My favorite aspects of Wild Swans are its setting (a small town on the Chesapeake Bay), its friendships (Ivy’s got two awesomely supportive girl friends), and its romance, which is equal parts sweet and steamy. Love interest Connor is the hottest YA boy I’ve encountered¬†in a long while (hello, ink! ūüėć ). ¬†Give Wild Swans a read the next time you’re in the mood for a heartfelt¬†contemporary with gorgeous writing¬†and a wonderfully relatable protagonist.

Gilded Gage by Vic James (February 14, 2017) – The marketing material on and inside the¬†Gilded Cage‘s ARC makes some big promises about its excellence and let me tell you — it’s not kidding around. This book is so cool; its concept is unique, its world-building is outstanding, and its characters are captivating. It’s set in a fantastical version of modern England, where those with magical abilities rule, and commoners¬†serve in the way of a ten year slavery stint. Main characters Abi and Luke are a sister/brother pair who have very different experiences while enslaved. Their voices are marvelously¬†vibrant, as is Vic James’s third person narration; her prose is enviable, her style somehow both classic and accessible. Gilded Cage is full of twists and magic and rebellion and romance, and to be honest, I had a hard time putting it down. Mark it To-Read now, and snatch it up when it debuts in February.

Fear Me, Fear Me Not by Elodie Nowodazkij (September 27, 2016) – Ooh, this book is chilling, in the best way! I think it might be¬†my favorite Elodie Nowodazkij novel, and I know¬†Erin and Dimitri are my favorite Elodie Nowodazkij couple. They have a long history, and amazing chemistry, and I loved all of their swoony scenes. But¬†Fear Me, Fear Me Not is not just¬†a romance; it’s a murder mystery, too, and it’s bursting with¬†suspense. Elodie manages to pull off three distinct points-of-view, including the killer’s, while keeping the tension high and the thrills coming. I love the roles family and friendship play¬†in this novel, rocketing the stakes up and up and up, and keeping me turning pages (or scrolling through the document — whatever ūüėČ ) late into the night. If you’re ready for a book that’ll have you searching for clues, while giving you a few good¬†scares, featuring characters who are easy to cheer for, check out¬†Fear Me, Fear Me Not¬†at the end of September.

On the Fence by Kasie West – I read this romantic contemporary while on a camping trip, and that’s exactly what the¬†story¬†is — the perfect vacation read. I found MC Charlie to be endearing and relatable, while simultaneously full of spunk and delightfully flawed. She spends the novel coming to terms with her athletic body and tom-boy-ish sensibilities (not to mention hazy memories of her deceased mother), while discovering that the Charlie she’s always been is not¬†necessarily the Charlie she has to be forever. I love the family dynamics in this novel (Charlie’s big brothers are excellent), and I thought the romance was so sweet. Boy-next-door Braden is a love interest worth rooting for; he appreciates Charlie for exactly who she is and stands in as a constant source of support. Recommended for fans¬†of contemporary YA.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornoll (US edition out January 3rd, 2017, UK edition¬†available from Book Depository now)¬†– This debut is masterful in its balance of dark and light. Main character Norah battles agoraphobia, as well as OCD and frequent urges to self-harm. Basically, she’s trapped in her house, her only companions¬†her doting mom and her frank therapist. She’s stifled and scared, emotions that are conveyed brilliantly through Louise¬†Gornoll’s evocative language.¬†Norah’s challenges absolutely wear her down, and her sadness and frustration are palpable, but she’s full of wit and sarcasm, too.¬†It seems she’s¬†gained a certain level of acceptance regarding her mental illness — until cute new boy Luke moves in next door. While Luke’s¬†not a savior, he challenges Norah¬†in this gentle, respectful way that¬†pushes her¬†to begin confronting¬†her fears. The final quarter of this book surprised me; it’s¬†action-packed¬†and rather creepy, and it allows us to see¬†the true scope of Norah’s strength. Under Rose-Tainted Skies is an affecting and beautifully written book — big recommend.

What’s the best book you read in August?

Currently…

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

Currently

Loving

Watching my daughter compete with her swim team. It’s been such an amazing¬†experience for her, and she’s improved SO MUCH in two months. Her times are dropping and her strokes are looking better and better, and I’m just really, really proud of her. I swam in high school, and it’s awesome to see her enjoying (and beginning to excel at!) a sport I love.

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Reading

I just finished Escaping Perfect by Emma Harrison. While I enjoyed the setting and found the secondary characters to be super likable, I don’t think the “Gone Girl meets the TV show Nashville” comparison is at all fitting. Also, that ending, man… ūü§Ē ¬†In other news, my girlie and I are reading Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu, and whoa. Equally¬†beautiful and heartbreaking and magical. It’s also initiating a lot of interesting conversation. We’re loving it so far!

Watching

Parenthood. Still obsessed. Also, my husband and I recently started watching United States of Tara, about a woman struggling with her family and her dissociative identity disorder. Toni Collette is so good!

Listening To

Invisibilia, an NPR podcast about “the invisible forces that control human behavior ‚Äď ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.” The topics are fascinating, and they’re discussed in a very accessible and entertaining way. Recommend!

Thinking About

Camp NaNoWri Mo. I‚Äôm participating, and I’m chipping away at my 15K word goal. Currently sitting pretty at 8,471 words, and I just passed 60K on my WiP — whoop! Now I need to figure out how to wrap the story up (why are endings always so hard?!)

Anticipating

Remember the¬†annoyingly vague “top-secret” news I mentioned two weeks ago? Well, I can finally share about one of the things I’ve been anticipating… The Uppermans are an officially approved foster family, and we recently received our first placement. I can’t share details or photos of the child, and we’re not yet sure how long the placement will last, but I can say that we’re very happy. Also, very tired. ūüôā Here’s my cat resting on a Boppy pillow, in case you’re wondering how she’s adjusting…IMG_4178Wishing

You‚Äôll¬†sign up to receive my monthly newsletter,¬†chock full of current favorites (reads, shows, movies, recipes, products, quotes, etc), plus occasional updates on¬†my own book-ish pursuits. It‚Äôll be all kinds of fun ‚ÄĒ promise!

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Making Me Happy

All of the well wishes we’ve gotten regarding our decision to become foster parents. I’m overwhelmed by the kind words of family and friends from afar, as well as the support and excitement¬†and help we’ve received from our local friends. Makes my heart full. ‚̧

Did you post a ‚ÄúCurrently‚Ķ‚ÄĚ this week?
Let me know in the comments, and I’ll be sure to visit!

Currently…

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

Currently

Loving

Everything about the photo below: dark chocolate espresso beans and iced chai lattes and pink roses and blush peonies, all of which I splurged on after my very first school¬†visit. My daughter’s teacher invited me to speak with the 3rd graders about writing and publishing and while I totally wanted to do it, I was SO nervous. I mean, I know a lot of the kids and I’ve learned a thing or two about writing over the years, but an actual school visit? Luckily, it went really well. The kids were great listeners and participators, and they asked some really thoughtful questions. I’m super thankful, and already eager to do it again!¬†13413424_1578444175781472_822276646_nReading

I’ve been doing lots of reading lately. I recently finished Wonder by R.J Palacio (holy crap — amazing) and The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (predictably mesmerizing). Also, how fun is the #FlipThatBook tag on Instagram?!

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I’m currently reading The Last Boy & Girl in the World by one of my favorite authors, Siobhan Vivian, and it’s fantastic. It’s a romance with a compelling hook (its setting is a town that’s about to be sunk by a dammed river), and it’s full of interesting¬†girl friendships and swoon and surprises. I’m loving it!13398444_503108083216522_1676210314_n¬†Watching

Parenthood.¬†I’m only, like, nine episodes in, but yeah. It’s fantastic. I love¬†Peter Krause (Six Feet Under — best show ever) and of course I adore Lauren Graham. The writing is perfection and dialogue is amazingly¬†authentic and the relationships all feel so genuine and complicated and lovely. Thanks, Riley Edgewood, for insisting I watch this one; you were right — I love it!

Listening To

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. It’s very clear why this debut won the William C. Morris Award last year — it’s smart¬†and funny and awesomely voice-y. Protagonist Simon is immediately likable, and the audiobook narrator is extraordinary. Recommend!

Thinking About

Our recent vacation to¬†Smith Mountain Lake, which is¬†gorgeous.¬†We shared a condo with friends (our next door neighbors from our time in Monterey) and had so much fun swimming, kayaking, inner tubing, sunning, and eating. I’m already ready to go back!

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Anticipating

Copyedits! Kissing Max Holden has finally reached this important step (YAY!), and I’m weirdly excited to see all the ways I’ve misused commas and semicolons and em dashes. ūüôā

Wishing

You‚Äôll check out the recently revealed Swanky 17 covers! They‚Äôre all so gorgeous ‚ÄĒ my fellow Swanks are winning the cover lottery all over the place! Find the YA covers HERE and the MG covers HERE.

Making Me Happy

My girlie played Somewhere Over the Rainbow on her guitar during her school’s Talent Showcase and it was pretty much the most adorable thing ever. I’m so proud of her courage and her dedication. She did so well!

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Did you post a ‚ÄúCurrently‚Ķ‚ÄĚ this week?
Let me know in the comments, and I’ll be sure to visit!