Rating System:

For those of you who don't know, I rate books based on their ability to hold my attention. I don't really like to rip apart someone's hard work. If I don't finish a book, then I don't feel comfortable rating it. So you might see a lot of 4 and 5 star ratings. However, if I do have issues with a book, I will always tell you. Enjoy! (:

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Truly Devious ARC Review

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
5 Stars

First I want to thank the Epic Reads Insiders program for providing me with this advanced readers copy. I'm so very happy to have received it. I had been looking forward to Truly Devious ever since I first heard of it. I've entered giveaway after giveaway and lost each time. I was so eager to get my hands on it because I have thing for boarding schools and private schools. Not to mention mysteries.

For those of you who haven't heard of Truly Devious yet it follows Stevie, a teenager who is completely engrossed in true crime stories. Particularly the one that took place at Ellingham Academy which she is now enrolled in. She arrives at the school intending to solve the unsolved crime that took place in 1936. We follow her through her investigations and then someone dies. We get to watch as Stevie tries to piece everything together and I LOVED IT. I loved being inside her mind and watching this puzzle come together piece by piece.

My favorite part of this novel other than the boarding school aspect is that for a good chunk of the book it has flashbacks to the original crime. Those bits kept me pushing through at first and when they ran out I was worried that I wouldn't stay so into the story, but luckily I was wrong. Maureen really knows how to weave together the two timelines and drop off when it's no longer relevant to the story. I applaud her. Although that cliff hanger makes me angry that I have to wait a year for the second book. I need to know what happens next!

All in all I really enjoyed reading Truly Devious. I recommend it to those who can't resist a mystery. I myself plan to pick up a final copy for my shelves and I hope you do too. Does this sound like something you would enjoy? Have you already read it? Tell me in the comments. Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Blog Tour: The Key to Everything

Welcome to the fourth stop on the The Key to Everything blog tour! I am personally very excited for this book. Paula Stokes is not only one of my favorite authors, but also one of my favorite humans. I hope y'all enjoy this post as well as the book. And to those of you who enter the giveaway, I wish you the best of luck!

About the Book
College senior Oakland Fuller has always believed in signs and soulmates, so when both a therapist and a fortuneteller say that her repeated relationship failures are due to unresolved feelings for her high school boyfriend, Seth, Oakland tries desperately to get back in touch with him. Problem: Seth isn’t responding to her online messages.

To rescue Oakland from a pathetic Christmas break of sitting in front of the computer, her best friend Morgan books the two of them on a guided excursion of Thailand. When the girls meet a pair of American soldiers in Bangkok, Oakland takes Morgan’s advice and engages in a little harmless holiday hooking up. Sergeant Tyson Banks is the perfect mix of sexy and fun. Two weeks with him might just turn out to be the best relationship Oakland has ever had.

Until the day she spots someone familiar across a crowded temple complex—it’s Seth! Somehow the boy she’s been trying to reconnect with is in Bangkok too. If that’s not a sign, then what is?

Filed with friendship, romance, and gorgeous faraway settings, The Key to Everything is a book for anyone who's ever dreamed of finding love when (or where) they least expected it.

Purchase The Key to Everything

About the Author
Paula Stokes is the author of several novels, most recently Vicarious, Ferocious, and This is How it Happened. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She also loves interacting with readers. Find her online at authorpaulastokes.com or on Twitter and Instagram as @pstokesbooks.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Paula: After Phuket, Oakland and the others head north to Chiang Mai, where they go hiking in the jungle, have an elephant encounter, and then ride on a bamboo raft.

I promised you an elephant, so here you go. This is a long excerpt but it’s one of my very favorite parts of the story and I didn’t want to leave any of the context out. I also love this scene because originally the group of four went riding on elephants (based on my own experience when I was too young to know better) but I decided to rewrite the scene late in revision to make it more socially conscious because riding is widely believed to be painful and harmful to the elephants. So, good news: no fictional animals were harmed in this scene :)

Ten minutes turns out to be almost a half an hour, but when we burst from the treeline into a clearing I have to stifle a gasp. There, in a wide, grassy enclosure, stand eight glorious elephants. The two smallest ones seem to be playing with what looks like an old tire, while others are drinking from a long trough or probing the ground for food with their trunks.
A painted sign reads: Chiang Mai Elephant Rescue. There are several buildings—a long hut, a tall barn-like structure, and a few smaller houses, all of them made from wood. A group of men exit from the long hut and come to greet us.
The one is front is darker than the rest. He tells us his name is Tayza and that he’s from Myanmar. Tayza gestures at the other men. “We are all trained as mahouts, or elephant keepers. That is different from being an elephant owner. Mahouts love elephants. Owners love money.” He chuckles. “Traditionally, a mahout would work with an elephant from a very young age. He’d spend years constantly at his elephant’s side to build up trust, even sleeping next to it at night.”
“That’s heavy,” Morgan says.
Tayza’s gaze settles on her. “It was a serious commitment here in Thailand to become a mahout. If a mahout left his elephant, sometimes the animal would die of loneliness. But things are not as they were anymore. Many tourists come to Thailand to ride elephants and watch them perform circus tricks. Now sometimes mahouts are given very little training. Sometimes you will see bad pictures where animals are beaten. If the elephants do not learn quickly to do the tricks, the owner might want to get rid of them. Most of our elephants have been rescued from such owners. We did not grow up with these animals, but we love them as if we did.” His face melts into a smile as he looks out at the grazing elephants. Then he turns his attention back to us. “Come, let’s take a tour.”
Our group follows Tayza from the clearing into the long hut, which he says is used as sleeping quarters for some of the men, and also for tourists who buy overnight or multi-day packages. It’s very basic inside—a couple of picnic tables at one end for eating and working and a row of cots, some with curtains that can be pulled between them for privacy.
Next we check out the barn-like building, which has four individual stalls and a larger enclosure where elephants can be housed during bad weather or if they need to be separated for any reason. There’s a huge pile of green palm fronds at one end of this building. “That’s one of their favorite foods,” Tayza explains.
Chiang Mai Elephant Rescue also contains an official office that has electricity and internet capabilities, a couple of cabins for researchers or VIP guests, and a medical building where elephants can be monitored or quarantined if necessary. Tayza leads us from one to the next, occasionally stopping to point out special features or share anecdotes about the workings of the refuge.
After we finish the tour, we return to the clearing and stand outside of the elephant enclosure.  One of the other mahouts jogs over and opens the gate. Slowly the elephants begin to plod through the opening. They head in our direction.
“Do not be scared,” Tayza says. “But also do not ever approach an elephant on your own, They look cute, I know, but you must remember they are wild animals.”
A couple of people in our tour group laugh nervously. Frederik rests a reassuring arm on Staffan’s lower back.
“Today we will be going on a walk with the elephants. They need their exercise just like humans. The walk will last about an hour and will end at the edge of the Mae Taeng River. There you will take a traditional bamboo raft to a spot downstream where your bus will pick you up.” Tayza folds his hands in front of his body. “Any questions?”
“Where do the elephants sleep?” Virginia asks.
“When they are new babies, they sleep in the medical building or the barn.  Once they are older they sleep in the field, just as you saw them when you entered the camp.”
“So they sleep standing up?” Clive asks.
Tayza shakes his head. “They lay down.” He pauses. “Almost like a house cat.”
Jed raises his hand. “Do they snore?”
Morgan giggles. Tyson elbows Jed in the ribs.
Tayza beams. “First time anyone asks me that. Yes, they do snore. It is like sleeping next to a tuk-tuk sometimes.”
“Oh look, another thing you have in common with elephants,” I whisper to Tyson.
He grins. “You really know how to sweet-talk a guy.”
There are no more questions so Tayza assigns each pair of us to an animal and a mahout. Our mahout is named Aroon. He’s an older man with kind eyes and flecks of silver in his hair.
I look nervously from him to the elephant. “So we’re just going to walk right next to it?”
“Very safe, madam. Give her a pat if you like.” He reaches up and rubs the elephant behind the ear.
I reach out and stroke the elephant’s shoulder. Her skin feels rough, almost like tree bark. Coarse black hairs tickle my fingertips. “Prickly,” I say, turning to Tyson. “Kind of like your face.”
Tyson rubs at his beard stubble. “Yeah it’s been nice not having to shave every day.”
The elephants turn one after the next like trained horses and head for the treeline. Aroon walks next to our elephant, one hand on her flank.
“We’re going back in the woods?” I ask.
“Yes. Trail,” Aroon says. “Elephant is skilled hiker.”
Despite hearing this, I’m still shocked a couple of minutes later when the trail narrows considerably and the line of elephants begin to navigate a path no wider than the one we hiked in on. They move with surprising grace, one foot in front of the other, dodging rocks, stepping gingerly over felled trees. The jungle closes around us, vibrant green branches muting the rest of the world. In the distance, a stream burbles. A butterfly flits by, its bright blue wings a swatch of paint against the emerald backdrop.
I pull my phone out of my pocket. Predictably, there’s no service. I flip it on airplane mode so as not to drain the battery and then snap a couple of pictures of the line of elephants.
Tyson slides his own phone from the side pocket of his cargo pants. “For old time’s sake,” he says, wrapping an arm around my waist and pulling me close. We pose with a leafy bush as our backdrop.
I smile as he takes the picture. “That was really nice, what you did earlier,” I say as we keep walking.
“What did I do?”
“Well for one you didn’t say I told you so. And you were really sweet to me without taking advantage of the situation.”
“You’re setting your standards too low if that’s all it takes to equal nice in your book,” Tyson says. “But thanks. I like to think my parents raised me to be a gentleman.”
We follow our elephant down a steep incline. At one point she stops to wrap her trunk around the branch of a tree that’s invading the trail. She rips the branch in two like it’s a toothpick and tosses the broken pieces to the side.
“Bad. Ass. Elephant,” Tyson says.
Aroon hears and turns around with a grin. “Her name is Malee. It means flower.”
“Bad ass flower,” Tyson says.

Wanna read more? Right now you can buy a Kindle version of THE KEY TO EVERYTHING for the introductory price of $2.99. The price will go up after this week. A paperback version will be available soon (if not already).

I wanted to give away something fun for this blog tour that supports actual Thai people, so enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to choose between a wooden spirit shrine and an elephant print tote bag (or your choice of bag/purse up to $16.99 from Veradashop), both handmade in Thailand.

Ensconced in Lit has tomorrow’s post, which is the last stop on the tour. Do you like exploring ruins? Then you’ll love finding out about Sukothai Historical Park.  See you soon :)

Wow. I need to start reading my copy ASAP. What did you think? Tell me in the comments!


Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 Reading Survery

Wow, another year has come and gone oh so quickly. I feel like just yesterday it was January and I was filled with such hope for the new year. Now it's time to do it all over again so let's look back at how my reading was for 2017. Really just March through December because I didn't finish any books in the first two months of the year, such a shame. As always a thank you to Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner for putting this together.

Number Of Books You Read: 54
Number of Re-Reads: 2
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary probably. Maybe Poetry.

1. Best Book You Read In 2017? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2017 release vs. backlist)

I think my best book was Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I bought it because of the televsision show and not wanting to wait to see how it all ends. This book really surprised me and I absolutely loved it.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Releasing the Days by Stephen Meadows. This was my first finished book of the year in March and I bought it for like $2 at the University of Arizona during the Tucson Festival of Books. I had recently discovered poetry and I was so stoked on this, but I ended up not really liking it at all. I think I gave it 2 stars which is pretty rare for me.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read? 
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. That book fucked me up. I could not put it down! It's such a strange story, but damn you just know that someone out there in the world decided it's the perfect plan. WOW.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I pushed a few people to read The First to Know by Abigail Johnson this year. I have such love for that book. I've been wanting to do a DNA test for so long and this makes me nervous. Lol.

5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?
I was looking back at my books for this year and I actually didn't really start any series. Unless you count the Whiskey, Words, and a Shovel collection by R.H. Sin because I read all 3 of those books this year. Best sequel is A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas. It isn't my favorite in the series, but I swear this year was the year of standalones. Best series ender for me is The Goal by Elle Kennedy although I don't know if it is the end? I think she's making new characters if she continues since all of these couples graduated. Either way, I love her Off-Campus series with all of my heart.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?
R.H. Sin. His books have been there for me since I had my heart completely shattered by a man I planned on marrying. I buried myself in his words and they made me feel better. I will be forever grateful.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
This year I went out of my comfort zone and read The Martian by Andy Weir. It took me a long time, I technically started it in 2016 but what matters is when I finished it. I loved this book. Most of the science stuff went over my head, but he has this way of making you feel like you know everything being talked about. Andy Weir is also a master at making this rough and potentially deadly situation make you laugh constantly. He is such a joker. It's the best. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I don't want to say The Couple Next Door again. So I'm going to go with Little Monsters by Kara Thomas. I couldn't put it down and I did not see that ending coming. I cannot wait for her next book!

9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I think I would re-read a few of these. But since I have to pick one I'm going with These Things I've Done by Rebecca Phillips. I finished it in just one sitting. I had to know all of the details and the flashback chapters kept me going.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?
You Don't Know Me but I Know You by Rebecca Barrow. It just looks so serene. If Arizona had fields, you would probably find me in one.

11. Most memorable character of 2017?
Alex Craft from The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. I'm not going to say anything more.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?
Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell really got me.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?
Bang by Barry Lyga. Enough said.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read?
The Way I Used to be by Amber Smith. I waited because I had to have the paperback. I strongly prefer them, but at the same time I'm almost mad at myself for waiting. This book has a home deep inside my heart.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?
The poem Her Guard by R.H. Sin. I believe it's from Whiskey, Words, and a Shovel vol III.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

According to my Goodreads Year in Books my shortest book is The Nearsighted Giraffe by A.H. Benjamin with 24 pages. I read it before I bought it for my nieces. My longest book without a doubt was A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas with 705 pages.

17. Book That Shocked You The Most? (Because of a plot twist, character death, left you hanging with your mouth wide open, etc.)
The most shocking book was The Couple Next Door by SHari Lapena. However, my most shocking character death comes from The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. I'm still hurt.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR? (you will go down with this ship!) (OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)
Dean and Allie from The Score by Elle Kennedy. Also Sabrina and Tucker from The Goal by Elle Kennedy. And of course Rhysand and Feyre from A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
I can't remember if this relationship turns romantic at the end. It might. But the relationship in This Is Not the End by Chandler Baker. If it does turn romantic after all then I choose the relationship between Hermione and her best friend in Exit, Persued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?
This is How it Happened by Paula Stokes. She never ceases to amaze me.

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
None. This year I only read what I wanted to. I guess you could say Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher because EVERYONE was talking about the show as well as rehashing the book.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?
Tucker from The Goal by Elle Kennedy. HOT DAMN.

23. Best 2017 debut you read?
I loved all of the debuts that I read this year! I cannot pick just one. But if I had to pick one that I haven't mentioned anywhere on this list yet, it would be The Duke of Bannerman Prep by Katie A Nelson. I'm a sucker for a boarding school book.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas is tied with Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. This book was so much fun for me because it felt like Scream and I love that movie!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?
Several of them if I'm being honest. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling made me cry a lot though.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
I Am More Than A Daydream by Jennae Cecelia. I got this book because I saw the e-book was free and I went for it. I loved it just like I've loved most of the poetry I've read this year.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas although it didn't last.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?
I honestly don't know.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed. Those blog posts pissed me off and I know they were meant to.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?
Laura Noakes and I happened to discover her on December 31st because of her Debut Author Bash post.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?
I don't have a favorite and I didn't write as many as I should have. Bang by Barry Lyga is my most important review because it is my most important read.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
The Star Wars Book Tag was one of my favorites. It was so much fun for me to fill out. I need to do more tags.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
The Tucson Festival of Books as always. I can't wait for it to come around again in 2 1/2 months.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?

Being able to help Abigail Johnson with The First to Know and receiving the email saying that my name would be in the acknowledgments. That was a huge thing on my bucket list that a wonderful person helped me cross off.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
My most popular post is from the This is How it Happened blog tour.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
23 Bookish Facts About Me which I posted on my 23rd birthday this year.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I went to Changing Hands bookstore for the first time and I absolutely adore it.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
My reading goal was to read 36 books this year and I was lucky enough to surpass that by reading 54 books.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. I need to finish this series. I'm so behind.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas. The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith.

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
There are so many so I'll just name the one in my possession which is The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert.

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?
Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi although I'll be waiting for the paperback so my set matches.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?
I hope to learn how to better balance my job and my reading/blogging life.

6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):
I have started Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu and am enjoying it so far. I'm also hlafway through Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson and quite liking it. Unfortunately I have yet to finish a 2018 release.

And that's a wrap on my 2017 reading year! Happy New Year everyone! May 2018 bring you joy and books. Happy Reading!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Life Update: December 2017

Where I've Been

If you follow me on Twitter then this information is not new to you but.... I GOT A JOB! In the middle of October I began work as a special needs paraprofessional at a preschool. I have been pretty absent from blogging and a little absent from social media ever since. I promise I still love blogging and books are a HUGE part of my life. The thing is that I am still trying to find my balance. Right now my life looks like this: wake up, get ready, go to work, come home, eat, do laundry, and sleep. I try to fit some reading in where I can and if I'm honest I usually can't. The days go by so fast. Keeping up with toddlers is hard work. I wouldn't change it though. I love my job and even on days when I don't want to go to work those kiddos put a smile on my face the second I get there. I have never felt more needed and loved outside of my close circle and it feels amazing. I'm hoping to find my groove soon and post at least two reviews a month, but I hope you'll still stick around if that doesn't happen right away. Meanwhile, feel free to leave a comment with other posts you would like to see outside of reviews. I'm completely open to trying new things if you would like to see them. Until then, happy reading!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Nowhere Girls ARC Review

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
4.5 Stars

I want to start by saying that I fought hard for this book. I requested it on NetGalley, straight from the publisher, lurked on books for trade and I just could not get my hands on it. So when I saw it pop up in the ARC Adoption program run by Emma at Miss Print I practically begged her for it. I got lucky. It may have taken me a while, but here is my review.

From the minute I heard about The Nowhere Girls I wanted to get my hands on it. If you've been around for a while then you know I feel a connection to certain books about the hard stuff. Some being mental illnesses, some on assault, bullying, and so many more. The Nowhere Girls centers on rape, consent, breaking the silence and the sad norms surrounding such things. For this exact reason I needed it in my life.

To me this book is pretty slow, but very important. The chapters alternate perspectives as a group of girls try to get justice for a fellow teenage girl previously having been violated. She came forward and no one believed her. These girls saw that this was in fact wrong, something worth fighting for. The entire book is kind of about meetings in secret and making change. I'm all about change, believe me. However at times I found myself wishing things would happen faster or be more impactful.

I grew to love our main characters who are actually decently diverse to me. I do not consider myself an expert in diversity though so if that is important to you I would check someone who lives for diverse books. I found myself enjoying Grace and Erin more than Rosie. And while I originally liked Amber, I found myself hating her by the end. Which kind of made me feel a little bitter. All I know is that the guys drove me insane for the most part. There were a few exceptions and I won't spoil who that is for you. You need to get to know everyone for yourself.

One thing that infuriated me to no end, and it was supposed to, was the blog called The Real Men of Prescott. The posts were disgusting and the sad thing is that blogs like this do exist in our world. The inclusion of these posts within the book was actually quite crucial to the story. The provided insight to the other side of things was important and also heartbreaking when you realized who was being discussed each time. I wanted to throw my copy across the room! But I believe that was the point. We need to get mad. To fight. To stand up for victims who seek justice rather than scare them into hiding and giving the assailant a slap on the wrist.

The Nowhere Girls is a very important book that I think everyone should read. I really enjoyed it despite it taking me a while to read. I highly recommend it to those like me who want to read the tough about stuff. Overall the book isn't hard to read. It has it's moments. I cannot wait to see what Amy Reed comes out with next. Thank you again to Emma for allowing me to adopt this ARC. The Nowhere Girls is out now and if you haven't grabbed a copy yet then you should. Feel free to come back here and discuss it with me when you finish! Happy reading!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Debut Author Bash 2017: Stephanie Elliot

Welcome to my second post for the 2017 Debut Author Bash! Today we will be focusing on Stephanie Elliot and her debut novel, Sad Perfect. You can also find information about a giveaway at the end. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

An Essay from Stephanie Elliot
This year, my novel Sad Perfect debuted in the world. It was a thing that started from a little idea, and then it became two words, and then more words, and then there was a book. I got an agent, I got a publisher, I did edits for about two years, and then, my dream came true.

I have a book out there in the world, and yes, it was a dream of mine. It was a dream that I went after, and something I had thought about, wanted to do for a very long time. My dream was accomplished through hard work and determination. I made it happen because I wanted it to happen.

You can make your dreams happen too. You want to be a singer? Practice. Take singing lessons. Learn from other singers. You want to dance in front of filled audiences someday? Practice. Take lessons. Watch other dancers. Learn from them. You want to be a doctor? Take classes, go to school, watch other doctors in action, and make it happen.

You can do the thing that you want most in the world too.

But once it happens, once you have accomplished your big dream, no matter what it is, your regular daily life probably won’t change much. You’re still going to be that same person, you’re still going to have to do the things you did previous to making your dream come true.

And that’s totally okay, and for most dream chasers, that’s pretty standard—to feel the same after you’ve accomplished your dream. I have a book out, which is simultaneously great and also not a big deal. Most days I don’t even think that I am an author. Most days if I meet someone new, I rarely share that I have written a book. It’s not who I am. I wasn’t ever seeking anything greater.

But every now and then, when I’m least expecting it, when I’m not even thinking about it, I might get an email from someone who has read my book. Sometimes these emails are from teens that have read Sad Perfect and connected with the main character. Sometimes an email might be from someone who was in a similar situation, and now, having read the book, she feels less alone. They’ll thank me for my words, for my story, and I am in awe. That’s when I most feel like I have done something good with this dream of mine.

Do something with your dream today, no matter what it is, even if it’s the smallest of steps toward what you most think about, what you most want to do. Do it today, and it will happen for you too.

About the Book
The story of a teen girl's struggle with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and how love helps her on the road to recovery.

Sixteen-year-old Pea looks normal, but she has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). It is like having a monster inside of her, one that not only dictates what she can eat, but also causes anxiety, depression, and thoughts that she doesn’t want to have. When she falls crazy-mad in love with Ben, she hides her disorder from him, pretending that she’s fine. At first, everything really does feel like it’s getting better with him around, so she stops taking her anxiety and depression medication. And that's when the monster really takes over her life. Just as everything seems lost and hopeless, Pea finds in her family, and in Ben, the support and strength she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.

About the Author
Stephanie Elliot is the author of the young adult novel Sad Perfect, which was inspired by her daughter’s journey with ARFID, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. She has written for a variety of websites and magazines, and is also an editor and book reviewer. She lives in Scottsdale, AZ with her husband and their three children.

Where to find her: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Thank you for stopping by and reading our post! You can read my review of Sad Perfect here if you'd like. Stephanie is also giving away one finished copy of Sad Perfect to a lucky commenter. Be sure to also follow us on Twitter and leave your handle in your comment for extra entries. You can also earn an entry by retweeting my tweet with this blog post link found here. Happy reading and good luck!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Debut Author Bash 2017: Kate Hart

Hello and welcome to day one of the 2017 Debut Author Bash! This year I'll be doing a couple of days and today is all about Kate Hart! I hope you enjoy!

About the Book
A YA debut about a teen girl who wrestles with rumors, reputation, and her relationships with two brothers.

Seventeen-year-old Raychel is sleeping with two boys: her overachieving best friend Matt…and his slacker brother, Andrew.

Raychel sneaks into Matt’s bed after nightmares, but nothing ever happens. He doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a girl, except when he decides she needs rescuing. But Raychel doesn't want to be his girl anyway. She just needs his support as she deals with the classmate who assaulted her, the constant threat of her family’s eviction, and the dream of college slipping quickly out of reach. Matt tries to help, but he doesn’t really get it… and he’d never understand why she’s fallen into a secret relationship with his brother.

The friendships are a precarious balance, and when tragedy strikes, everything falls apart. Raychel has to decide which pieces she can pick up – and which ones are worth putting back together.

About the Author
After studying Spanish and history at a small liberal arts school, Kate Hart taught young people their ABCs, wrote grants for grownups with disabilities, and now builds treehouses for people of all ages. Her debut YA novel, AFTER THE FALL, was published January 2017 by FSG, and she's a contributor to the 2018 short story collection TOIL & TROUBLE. She also contributes to YA Highway, hosts Badass Ladies You Should Know , and sells fiber arts and woodworking at The Badasserie. Kate is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation with Choctaw heritage, and lives in Northwest Arkansas with her family.

Where to find her: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Now on to the giveaway. The prize is a copy of After the Fall by Kate Hart, it is up to the winner if they want a hardcover or a paperback copy. To enter simply comment on this post and leave your twitter handle. For extra entries you can follow Kate and myself and retweet my tweet about this post found here. You can find the full bash schedule here. Thank you for hanging out and I hope you come back for my next post! Happy reading!