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YATL Wednesday!

June 21, 2018

Y’all! We had the very best time.

YATL put on the most amazing event at the Decatur Library.

Dhonielle Clayton (THE BELLLES), Julie Murphy (DUMPLIN’, PUDDIN’, and RAMONA BLUE), Zoraida Cordova (The Brooklyn Brujas series), Mark Oshiro (ANGER IS A GIFT), and Scott Reintgen (NYXIA) we’re all in attendance for this awesome panel.

It was light and hilarious but also had some serious moments with some really well placed calls to action surrounding ICE and the most recent atrocities at the US borders.

I love that the kid lit world is so in tune with the world around us and is willing to throw down for kids and families EVERYWHERE.

If you have a moment, do what you can to support the YA and KidLit community and their efforts on this front here.

Such a great time. Check out ALL of these writers. They made my night and make my reading so much better.

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Siege and Storm ~ Leigh Bardugo

June 18, 2018

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Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Square Fish
ISBN: 9781250044433
435 pages
Source: Barnes and Noble

Bardugo has managed to do what few other writers have.

She has written a “book two” that is miles better than the first.

I felt a little lost through the entirety of Shadow and Bone but Siege and Storm managed to pull all of the random pieces from the first part of the story into an awesome mashup of adventure, love, trust, and betrayal.

Without giving too much away, the groundwork that was laid out at the beginning of the story morph and merge into a full-tilt rush toward survival. Alina, out fearless protagonist, has once again, gotten herself in way over her head, always with some dreamy but untrustworthy boy by her side.

Siege and Storm finds a much stronger and braver Alina, who is far wittier than her self-doubting, self-pitying attitude from the first book. There is a lot to be said for understanding and fearing the power we have the potential to possess and what we are will to sacrifice in order to save the people and places we love.

Another piece of the second book that took me by surprise was the humor. Again, this was a very different Alina than we met before and the dialogue showed that transformation. this time around, she was confident and witty, maybe a little bit bitter but far less timid. It had me laughing out loud which was pretty unsuspected.

I am hoping that the third book follows the trend of getting better and better as the series progresses. If you haven’t read this series or, if you stopped at the first book, I highly recommend giving it a chance, if mostly for the second book. Onward we go to Ruin and Rising!

Sunday Wrap Up: The Great American Read Edition

June 17, 2018

Have you all voted for your favorite book for PBS’s The Great American Read?

If you haven’t, here’s the link, so get to voting!

(Click me and vote, now!)

Here is the rundown of the event leading up to the broadcast:

“THE GREAT AMERICAN READ is an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey).  It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.”

This is coolest, nerdiest thing and I hope you are all as excited as I am.

Full disclosure: My all time favorite will always be The Giver. I think it launched both my love of reading and my love for dystopian novels. It’s gritty and dark and really gets under the skin of social constructs.

So, you don’t need to tell me what you voted for but do let me know that you voted (it’ll make my day) and pass on the word to anyone else you think might enjoy the game.

Blood Will Out ~ Jo Treggiari

June 15, 2018

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Genre: Young Adult/Horror

Publisher: Penguin Teen

ISBN: 9780735262959

288 pages

Source: Publisher

I am not usually a horror, serial killer gal so when Penguin sent this my way, I wasn’t sure if could get through it. I wanted to give it a try, though, just to feel brave.

I’m really glad I did because it turned out to be an excellent story. It was written a lot like Dexter in that it follows the victims in alternating chapters next to those from the point of view of the killer.

For a different take, however, the story from the killer’s perspective is told in first person and contains neither a name nor gender which allows for a certain amount of mystery throughout the book.

The writing is excellent and has a way of sucking the reader into scenes that I, for one, wasn’t sure I could stomach but powered through because of the prose.

It was very well done and if you’re a horror fan, I highly recommend it.

Shadow and Bone ~ Leigh Bardugo

June 14, 2018

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Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Publisher: Square Fish
ISBN: 9781250027436
358 pages
Source: Barnes and Noble

I’m pretty sure that Bardugo is some sort of Grisha, herself. At least a storytelling magician.

I have managed to read her books in all the wrong order, starting with her short stories and then Six of Crows, only now finding my way to The Grisha Trilogy.

That said, the continuity didn’t suffer all that much and I really enjoyed this one.

It took off a little slowly, for me but by the end, it was zipping right along.

The book starts with the story of two orphaned kiddos, Mal and Alina, making their way in a world turned upside down by a vicious swath of evil that cuts across their country.  When they hit their teens, they land in trouble which ultimately finds Alina saving Mal’s life with powers she didn’t even know she had.

After her brave display, Alina is whisked off to Grisha Training camp and falls in with people who claim to have her best interest at heart.

We all know how that story goes. The resulting chain of events sends the friends on a wild ride to stop the rising darkness, but they are running out of time.

At the outset, the synopsis sounded like every other fantasy adventure story but Bardugo’s knack for world building and tale-telling is so unique I found myself constantly muttering “This is so different and cool!”

One of the things I love about Leigh’s stories, from Six of Crows to her short story collection to this trilogy, is that she weaves Russian storytelling and mythology into her books. It’s the corner of the world my family is originally from so it feels like home in a warm fuzzy sort of way.

I also love her ability to write female heroines as complex, flawed humans as opposed to these flawless, magical pixie girls. Her protagonists always feel so relatable.

I really enjoyed the first book in the trilogy and I am sitting down with the second as soon as I wrap up this post.

Jen Petro~Roy Cover Reveals!

June 13, 2018

Y’all, it is time. It’s time for the books that are going to change the Eating Disorder discussion as we know it.

For this official cover reveal , go here.

Next year, in February 2019, Jen Petro-Roy (author of P.S. I MISS YOU) is bringing us a double header in the form of one fiction book and one non-fiction book, both tackling an issue near and dear to my heart.

GOOD ENOUGH is her fiction piece and it follows Riley through residential eating disorder treatment. The voices of Riley and those she bonds with in treatment are so spot on that I could see my treatment buddies in the pages. It’s incredibly relatable for people who have gone through the ED treatment process and eye-opening for people who have never been through it.

The companion nonfiction, YOU ARE ENOUGH is what I’ve started calling The Big Book of Eating Disorders. As a future therapist I am so excited to have this on my shelf and out in the world.

YAE breaks down eating disorder thoughts, feelings, and recovery paths into small, manageable pieces, making the world of disordered eating easier to navigate for those both in suffering and supporting roles.

Please mark your calendars for next spring and don’t forget to preorder because these are truly game changers.

Today We Remember

June 12, 2018

Two years ago, I woke to uncountable messages on my phone.

Overnight, a queer night club in my mom’s city, Orlando, had suffered a severely fatal attack.

The population served that night was comprised mainly of Latinx trans women.

49 of them died.

The city and the country were rocked for weeks after, understandably.

Today, as I watch my mom and my Orlando community stand on the small but rebuilt and growing foundation of the city’s resilliance, I am reminded of why the queer community has not only survived but thrived for so long.

Communities under fire can not simply exist, they must rally and fight and push back.

But they also must gather in love, in peace, in strength. They cling tight to those around them and build from that love.

It is that live that has always pulled me toward Orlando and that same strength keeps me grounded in Atlanta.

Today, I am grateful for sticky communities and pull together in times of hate and in times of love.