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Within and Without Review

Within and Without by Deborah Marloulis 
Trigger Warnings: Sexual Assault; Eating Disorder
Overview: Wren’s life is turned upside down when she has to move out of her neighborhood and into her grandmother’s rural vineyard after her parent’s divorce. Even though she’s still at the same school, she feels detached from all of her friends. Her Bulimia intensifies as she struggles for control. And then the boy she’s pined after for years, Jay, calls her beautiful. As she charts unknown territories, falling for him blindly, the relationship gets increasingly abusive. Wren must find her voice and overcome her negative self image before she becomes  unrecognizable, even to herself.  Overall: 4
Characters: 4 Wren is funny and self deprecating, but, sadly, a lot of her charm and sarcasm stems from a place of self loathing. She feels she’ll never be thin or pretty enough to stand out at school or be worthy of a date. She fosters an eating disorder that gets progressively out of control as her body …
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The Lying Woods

The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston (327 pages)
Overview: Owen's biggest concern in life is dodging Jack's next prank until he finds out his father has disappeared with the entire company's funds. He is forced to return to Lake Crane in shame with his mother and live in his aunt's house. All of their possessions are seized. Everyone gives Owen dirty looks even though he just found out about his father's crimes. An entire town's been robbed, and the weight is on Owen and his mom's shoulders. Owen gets a job at the pecan orchard that Detective Hill directs him to, and he finds the owner, Gus. As he keeps working there, he starts to learn about their parent's romance on the orchard when they were his age... but the story doesn't amount to exactly what it seems. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 Owen starts off as kind of a jerk, but I can't really blame him. He feels as screwed over as the people in town who lost their retirement and life savings. He's also …

Somewhere Only We Know Review

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo (328 pages)
Overview: Lucky has taken over the world, or, well, the K-Pop world, but the rest of it is coming. Hard work, dedication, and sacrifice has gotten her there, but it also means she doesn't have much of a personal life anymore. Her life has started to lose it's luster. When she wanders away from her hotel after taking a mix of sleeping pills and anxiety medications, she meets Jack, a budding tabloid photographer. When he can't figure out where she came from or connect her to anyone who knows her, he takes her back to his apartment where he realizes that "Fern" is Lucky. It's the story that will launch his career; it's the day that will redefine her career, but they're in it together. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 Lucky is very sweet. She wants what's best for everyone, but that also leads to her leaving nothing for herself. Going out with a boy and seeing the world is something that's a totally new expe…

Into YA with Arvin Ahmadi

I'm so excited to get to finally be posting this interview. I read Down and Across in January and absolutely fell in love with the story. I never imagined that I'd actually get to talk about it with Arvin! He also has an awesome new book coming out called Girl Gone Viral which is out next week! I've posted reviews of both of his books, which I suggest you read if you're not familiar with his books before launching into the interview (Girl Gone Viral, Down and Across)! 

1. Girl Gone Viral is set in the near future which means that you got to build your own world based on our current framework. Brands like Tesla have risen in popularity while other elements of today’s culture like Instagram have faded into obscurity. How did you decide what made it into the future?
Quick story: When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Pok√©mon cards. (I promise this is related to your question.) They were all the rage on the playground. I collected them, traded them, pretty much made them my l…

Girl Gone Viral Review

Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi (May 21)
Overview: It's a new generation. All of us who are teens now are the adults. VR, self driving cars, and atomization has taken off, but racism, sexism, and the unfortunate repetition of history continues. What looks like a glossy, better world is really just a more tech savvy version of ours now. And at the center of it is Opal Hopper, a senior at the elite boarding school PAAST. Her father was prominent in Silicon Valley before is disappearance and likely death. Opal has to figure out what happened for her dad once and for all before Silicon Valley crumbles under the new anti-technology presidential administration. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 Opal is a bit lost in the world. She's smart and intentional, and she has a single focus- unlocking her father's truth. She wants to meet her father's former business partner, Howie, to question him, and winning a VR video contest could be her key. Growing her channel, begrudgingly, she earns fa…

Geekerella

Geekerella by Ashley Poston (319 pages)
Overview: Ella's life has been horrible since her father died and left her at the mercy of her stepmother and twin stepsisters. She's tasked with all the cooking and cleaning, and she isn't aloud to do anything for herself. Working at the Pumpkin food truck is her only chance at escape as she saves up the money she needs to leave. When her father's brain child, an Atlanta comic con, offers a costume contest that could give her access to the premier of her favorite TV show's reboot movie and $500 to kickstart her escape, Ell hatches a plan. With the help of her coworker Sage (and some lucky magic), Elle gets her chance to go home to the Con. Overall: 3.5 

Characters: 4 I have really mixed feelings about the characters. I liked Elle, Darian, Sage, and Cal, but, since the book is a fandom retelling of Cinderella, their fairytale source material really restricts their personal exploration. Darian is Prince Charming, but he's al…

Reasons to Preorder Books!

If you're connected into the book community and follow a ton of authors, I'm sure you're already well aware of why preordering books is so important, or maybe you just know it's good and aren't sure why. Maybe you haven't ever even considered preordering. I thought I'd write a quick post today about why preorders are good for you, your favorite authors, and the publishers who produce the book!
It's Good For You Preordering books works for you in a lot of ways no matter where you get your books from, even if you aren't a major reader. The biggest plus for me, and the main reason I preorder a lot of books, is that I can't forget to buy it or forget when its coming out. If one of my favorite authors has a book that's coming out or if I fall for a synopsis, I try to preorder it if I can. I hear about so many books that I often forget titles that I wanted to check out! Another benefit is that whether you forget or not, you'll have a book waitin…

How It Feels To Float

How It Feels To Float by Helena Fox (May)
Overview: Biz has a lot of sadness in her life. Her father died when she was age 7, her group of friends abandon her, and her best friend gets sent four hours away to live with her father. The world is too much, and Biz can't just float anymore. Exploring Biz's racing thoughts and grief, the book chronicles her discovering what it means to be honestly okay. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 The characters do come vividly alive but in a sort of passive way. Biz seems almost removed from herself, like she's telling the story about her life instead of speaking as they happen. Because of this, it's like seeing Biz through a foggy window and everyone else through a kaleidoscope.
I do love how supportive her mother is, her relationship with her younger twin siblings, and the mentorship and friendship she finds from an elderly lady in her photography class.
She also has an interesting relationship with her father who comes to her in hallucinati…

Into YA with Don Zolidis

I'm so excited to get to post this interview today. I absolutely love The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig. It's such an interesting, vibrant, emotional, honest, and fresh book. If you like nonlinear timelines or accidentally laughing out loud in public, you'll love this book. If you're not familiar with the book, I recommend reading my spoiler free review before coming back for the interview, and if you'd like to purchase the book, you can click my link here to buy it from Indiebound.
1. The book is set during the 1993-1994 school year. What made you decide to set it in the not so distant past instead of the present? Did that make it easier or more challenging to write? Do you think Amy and Craig’s story would be any different had it taken place in today’s world? 

The book is inspired by an autobiographical story of mine (although LOTS has been fictionalized) so I set it in the time period when the inspiration actually occurred. Since I was alive and a teenager in th…

Guest Post with Kristy Fairlamb

Today, I'm bringing you another guest post from an author! Kristy Fairlamb stopped by to talk about her top tips for writing and her writing process. Her novel, Lucid, recently came out. If you're interested in learning more or picking it up, check out my Indiebound link! (Affiliate Link).

Eight tips for writing a novel: Based on my vague understanding of the process after winging it and completing three manuscripts.  My first book, Lucid, has just been published, the sequel, Luminous, is mid-edits and the third, a standalone, is at the 2nddraft stage waiting until I’ve finished with the others. 
ONE:JUST WRITE I went to a writing class once and sat beside a lady who told me it was the sixth session she had attended. I asked what she was working on, she said nothing yet, she’s learning first.
I didn’t know how to write when I first started writing. I believe the best learning came after I’d written the first draft when I learnt everything I’d done wrong.
Don’t wait to write until yo…