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Layoverland Review

Layoverland by Gabby Noone
Overview: Bea doesn't know what's going on. One second she's battling with Siri who insists on playing "Hey Soul Sister" the next she's flying through a windshield and waking up on a weird airplane. She quickly realizes that possibly the worst day of her life was also a last, and now she's stuck in an airport otherwise known as purgatory. If living in a horribly boring airport isn't bad enough, Bea has to work in the memory department to help move other souls on to heaven to make up for the bad things she did in her life. They weren't worthy of sending her to hell, but she's certainly been less than nice to quite a few people. Told in chapters that fill in the catastrophe of the last day of her life and her experiences at the airport, Bea goes on a real journey that teaches her what's important about life, even though she can only apply it in death. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Bea makes the book. She's a character…

Into YA with Hannah Capin

Today I have Hannah Capin on the blog to talk about her new book, out next Tuesday, called Foul Is Fair. I reviewed it a while back, so if you're looking for a recap or to learn more about the book, you can find that here. I also ask questions about her last book Dead Queen's Club and you can find that review here. Beyond that, enjoy my interview with Hannah! 

1) Your book has a very interesting tone. Jade's emotional state at the start of the book really comes out in the tone and the way Jade tells her story. Did that voice come to you from the start or was it something you had to cultivate? The voice is usually the first thing that comes to me when I’m working on a new project, and FOUL IS FAIR was no exception! The very first bit I wrote wasn’t an outline or a character sketch: it was a scene, written in full, and it started with the line “Sweet sixteen is when the claws come out.” That’s still the first line of the book, and in fact the entire first chapter is almost unc…

Should Books Be Adapted?

This is going to be a post you'll either whole-heartedly agree with or completely disagree with because that's how movie/TV adaptions of books work. You either love them or you wish they were never even imagined. We love the idea of them most of all. We all want to see the books we love on the screen, and, from what I've seen, we regret wishing for it in the end a lot of the time.
Movie and book adaptions are so tedious because some stories aren't made to be relayed through a screen. Books are so full of emotional subtext that's hidden in tiny details and in the voice and precise words spelled out on the page. There's so much more to a book than what you can portray on a running film of actual video even with voice overs. There are deep internal ramblings that make characters who they are that are hard to put on a screen because there are only so many tools to get internal during a movie.
Also, there are books that play out like movies in your head or make you…

How Not To Die Review

How Not To Die by Michael Greger
Overall: 5 
I picked up this book not knowing what to expect. If you're unfamiliar with its premise, Michael Greger is a doctor who has made it his life's mission to educate people about the ability of a plant based diet to prevent and heal the leading causes of death. He's a proponent of the plant based diet, but it's not a book about a specific diet. He isn't trying to sell you something. I was surprised to learn that all the profits he gets from the book goes to charity. He really goes above and beyond to assert that he's not doing this to make a buck or push a system. It's purely based on the idea that knowledge is power, and, even though I went in dubious, I walked out shocked and compelled.
The way that the book is broken down, it's focused on two parts. The first half moves through the leading causes of death and how eating a better diet, generally a plant based one, can cause skyrocketed protection from these horr…

Guest Post Claire Bartlett: Unpacking Fairytales

This week I want to welcome author Claire Bartlett to the blog to talk about the fascinating history of fairy tales throughout culture and how they play a role in her new book, The Winter Duke (out March 3). I've been a huge fan of fairy tales my entire life (I even wrote a giant paper on the Brothers Grimm for a school project once), so it was so much fun to read about the history of a couple tales that Claire uncovered in her research. If you missed the last time Claire was on the blog to promote her debut, you can find that post here.


I always wanted to write a fairy tale retelling, and it only makes sense to me now that I'd combine fairy tale, history and fantasy to create The Winter Duke. Fairy tales have long been intertwined with history, and in fact it's now estimated that fairy tale tropes go back thousands of years, being retold and reworked to fit audiences. Many of them were somewhat cemented in the public mind after being written down by the Grimms, among oth…

Reckless Daughter: A Portrait Of Joni Mitchell Review

Reckless Daughter by David Yaffe
Overall: 3.5
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this biography of famous musician, Joni Mitchell. I haven't heard a lot of her music, and I didn't know anything about her life story at the time. After reading Serving The Servant, though, I was inspired to read more biographies of musicians. Going in, I only knew that Taylor Swift had referenced Blue many times in her journals and Harry Styles had gone on a quest to find the woman who made Joni Mitchell's dulcimer so he could play one on his new song "Canyon Moon". I wanted to learn more about the person who made such an impact on two of my favorite artists.
It's taken me a while to figure out how to write and frame this review since I finished the book with such mixed feelings. Tackling it from a purely writing prospective, I feel like the pacing and distribution of story could have been better. When I started it, I was hooked. I really enjoyed the writing style …

January 2020: A Month In Review

After my long, really personal set of blog posts at the start of the month where I did a lot of reflecting and outlined my new approaches to the blog, and life in general, I thought I'd follow it up with this post (links at the end). Today, I'm going to check in with my blogging goals, talk about the new ideas I've been working on for new content, and discuss my new posts! I used to write posts similar to this where I discussed my posts from the last month and then went into the posts to expect for the next month. I used to be a lot more organized back then. In this version, it's going to be a lot more personally focused (I was surprised to find that you liked these kinds of posts when I did the survey) and about specific goals I'm working towards and that I'm achieving.

First off, what did I read in January? I wasn't sure how reading this month would go because I've been in such a slump lately, but, luckily, I started off the month by reading a book I…

One of Us Is Next Review

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus
Overview: Bayview was rocked by Simon's death and his gossip app, but everyone thinks that things might be going back to normal until Truth or Dare gets texted to everyone's phones. The game offers players two choices- pick truth and have a secret of yours texted to the entire school or pick dare and be told what prank you have to pull. Pick dare because none of them are worse than the truths the anonymous texter possesses. He also seems to be targeting specific people at Bayview, Phoebe who is kind of a golden girl and is hooking up with the star football player on the down low, Brandon, that football player, Jules, Phoebe's best friend, Sean, Brandon's best friend, and Maeve, Bronwyn's younger sister who was involved in cracking the Simon case. When the game starts to move from extremely annoying to actually threatening, everyone involved is locked in a stand-still about how to confront the issue. And when Phoebe ends up with …

Serving The Servant Review

Serving the Servant by Danny Goldberg
Overall: 5
This is a biography about Kurt Cobain written by his former manager Danny Goldberg. I decided I'd give it a shot because I really enjoyed Me Elton John which I'd read last year, and I'd recently seen clips of Nirvana's MTV unplugged in a music documentary and was intrigued. Like with Elton John, I knew the basic details about Kurt Cobain before I started the book, but, beyond that, I had no clue what to expect. I'm actually listening to Nevermind for the fist time as I write this (though the more I listen the more I feel like I've heard a lot of it before without realizing it).
Anyway, I was immediately sucked into the book. It captured my attention in a way that nothing had been able to for almost a solid month. I really like Danny Goldberg's writing style. It's extremely conversational and makes the reader feel like part of the story or the discussion. He's telling Kurt and Nirvana's story, but h…

Every Other Weekend Review

Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson
Overview: Adam and Jolene are both stuck at their dad's apartments every other weekend and neither of them are happy about it. That is, until they meet one another. They learn to get through the worst times of their lives together, and, soon, they don't dread the mandatory visits. While they fall for each other fast, it takes a long time for them to admit it. Overall: 3

Characters: 3 The book is split POVs between Adam and Jolene. Adam is very passive. He cares too much about how everyone else is feeling so he doesn't process his own feelings very well. He fades into the background, and that's okay. Jolene is loud and brash and sometimes flat out mean. She appeals to Adam because she feels fresh and different. Jolene walks a fine line between a character with a singular personality trait and being a manic pixie dream girl. I think I land more on the one note side, though, because that's the problem with most of this book. Adam, …

Into YA with Emma Lord (Tweet Cute Blog Tour)

I'm so excited to have Emma on the blog today to answer a couple of questions I have about her new book, Tweet Cute, out January 21st. I posted my review a while ago, so if you haven't read it or need a reminder, here's my review. It's so much fun, and I'll be posting a short except below the questions so that you can get a taste of the story. 1. Social media is obviously a huge part of this story. Were you ever hesitant or concerned about trying to capture internet culture in a book? Did you do any kind of research to prepare? Oh boy, I did almost zero research. I was working as an editor who wrote and assigned daily content based on things going viral both in the social media and food space, so I was already aggressively online. I think my primary concern was mostly trying to keep the book from feeling too hyper specific to the time I was writing it, but also keeping it fresh — I was careful to try and choose the more “lasting” memes than the memes of the week.  2…