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June Wrap-Up!

June Wrap UpSo my next post was supposed to be my review of Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star, but I’ve decided to try a little something different. June has been an exciting month for me! Not only have I finally been able to dive back into my world of reading now that school is over, but I’ve been able to start taking on freelance writing and editing projects as well.

I am thrilled that I’ve been able to blog at least twice a week this month. I love sharing new books that I’ve discovered, and I’ve really enjoyed sharing writing and editing tips, too. Now that I’m back to posting regularly and will have several posts each month, I’ve decided that going forward, I will do a month end wrap-up post, recapping my posts from that month, giving readers a chance to catch up where they might have missed one or two, and highlighting my favorite read from the month. If you were looking forward to my review of Sisters One, Two, Three, don’t worry – it will be my next post – I promise! So, here we go, my first official month-end wrap-up!

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ARC Book Review: Hello Sunshine by Leila Howland

Hello Sunshine

Cover art is copyright of Disney-Hyperion

I was absolutely thrilled when I received an advanced reader copy of Hello, Sunshine from Disney-Hyperion because I’ve loved all of their young adult novels that I’ve read in the past. Hello, Sunshine did not disappoint. While this was the first book by Leila Howland that I’ve read, I can assure you that it will not be my last.

The synopsis of this book intrigued me right away. An eighteen year old prep school graduate finds herself doing the walk of shame through her school hallways and pretty much all over town when she is not accepted into any of the colleges she’s applied to. So she decides to do the next best thing and most logical thing in her eyes – move to L.A. to become an actress. What could go wrong?

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Writing Tips: Showing vs Telling

Showing vs TellingAll writers hear the phrase “show, don’t tell.” I know I’ve certainly heard this and although I feel like I’ve gotten the hang of doing just that, this phrase inevitably creeps its way back into my writing critiques. So, what exactly does it mean when an editor, reviewer, or colleague says these words to you? What do they mean “show and don’t tell”? Isn’t writing all about telling a story? Fortunately for me (and all of you!) I’ve had wonderful creative writing professors who have helped to break down this little dilemma for me.
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Book Review: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

Lost in a BookThe title alone drew my attention to this new read from Jennifer Donnelly. Getting lost in a good book is one of my favorite things in the world. There is nothing more relaxing than escaping inside the pages of a good book. That’s what Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) thinks as well when she discovers a magical book called Nevermore in the Beast’s library. At first, Nevermore seems like the perfect escape from the lonely castle where she is being held prisoner. But Belle soon learns the dangers of judging a book by its cover.

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Review: Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

Serafina and the Twisted Staff

Cover art is copyright of Disney Hyperion

Let me start this post by saying a HUGE thank you to Disney Hyperion for an Advanced Reader Copy of this book through NetGalley. I absolutely loved Serafina and the Black Cloak, and if you missed that review, you can read it here. I was so excited to get a sneak peek of the next adventure, and it did not disappoint!

*Please note: if you have not read the first book, spoilers lie ahead! Please come back to this post after reading Serafina and the Black Cloak!*

Serafina and the Twisted Staff picks up where the first book left off, three weeks after Serafina has defeated the Man in the Black Cloak. I enjoyed this timeline because I felt there was a lot of mystery still lingering at the end of the first book. For example, we now know the truth about Serafina’s mother – that she is a catamount! –  but what exactly does that mean for Serafina? Will she continue to remain with her Pa at the Biltmore Estate or will she embrace a new life with her mother? Like the first book, the action and adventure start right away and kept me guessing and anxious to keep reading. Keep on Reading!


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Review: Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

SerafinaI am so excited that I have FINALLY had a chance to read this book! Let me start by saying that it surpassed my expectations and is one of the most original stories I have read in a long time. I was drawn to this book by two things. First, the cover. It is eye-catchingly beautiful with a silhouette of the young heroine against the night sky over the Biltmore Estate. Second, the Biltmore Estate itself. Having been born and raised in the southeastern United States, I recall a trip to the Biltmore Estate in my younger days and simply being in awe of this “castle.” No child has ever visited Biltmore Estate and not wondered what it would be like to live there, even in the basement, and be able to sneak around and have your run of the place at night. This story sounded like a wonderful adventure and childhood dream come true! Keep on Reading!