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An Abundance of Katherines | John Green

“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”
Genre: Young Adult Fiction. Number of Pages: 229. Perspective: Third. Location: Tennessee.
This book follows Colin, a not-quite child prodigy as he searches for a mathematical formula for understanding getting dumped by not one, not two, but nineteen different Katherines. For a complete summary, you can go here.

I love John Green. I hated this book. It was one of his first books so I can understand (and appreciate) that his novels improved over time. But, man, this book just had me repeatedly asking: why do I care? The main drive of the book is for Colin to make a formula about your odds of being dumped. Why does he care? And if he really is as awkward and unlikeable as people say, how can he POSSIBLY find 19 girls named Katherine (and get all of them to date him, even if for just a little time)? 
I am all for a little leeway in young adult books about parent…
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Little Fires Everywhere | Celeste Ng

“Sometimes you need to scorch everything to the ground, and start over. After the burning the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.” 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction. Number of Pages: 338. Perspective: Third. Location: Ohio.
This book is about several intersecting families as they explore passions, motherhood, culture, and how those things interact. For a complete summary, you can go here. This book was one of the best books I have read in a while. I have been dropping a lot of books lately after a few chapters because I just couldn’t get swept away. This book hooked me from beginning to end. I even gave it my Best Book Award!
I love Ng’s ability to develop so many characters at one time. She is able to slow down the story and really show us glimpses into who each character is. It creates a really dynamic story with a variety of complex characters.
I also loved the subplots relating to fertility and motherhood. We had almost every re…

When Katie Met Cassidy | Camille Perri

Genre: LGBT Romantic Comedy. Number of Pages: 272. Perspective: Third Alternating. Location: New York City.
This is a story about opposites attract following Katie’s recent break-up from her fiancĂ©. After only being with men, she surprises herself when she starts to fall for the self-assured and masculine Cassidy. For a complete summary, you can go here. [Disclaimer: as a heterosexual woman, I wrote this review from my own perspective. I encourage everyone to read reviews from a variety of different perspectives.]
Hmm. I had a hard time putting my thoughts about this book into words. First of all, I want to say that I am glad that LGBT books are becoming more present in mainstream media. BUT I think this book became popular just because it is an LGBT book, not because of its quality. It read more like a book for straight girls who may think about being with another girl every once and awhile. I don’t think this book really represented the LGBT community in the way it was hoping for. I also …

Ten After Closing | Jessica Bayliss

I would have sworn it was a lifetime ago that these men intruded on my mundane haven, but the clock tells me it hasn’t been fifteen minutes.
Genre: Young Adult Thriller. Number of Pages: 288. Perspective: Alternating First/Third.
Ten After Closing follows teenagers Winny and Scott during an armed robbery gone wrong at a family-owned cafe. For a complete summary, you can go here. This book is told in a present timeline starting from the stick-up, alternating between Winny and Scott’s first-person perspectives. AND it also works backward from the event in their third-person perspectives. It is an interesting format. I did enjoy the way it was set-up, but it did take me awhile to get into the groove of all the different timelines and perspectives.
I don’t feel like there are too many thrillers like this meant for teens. It has the action of an adult thriller, but the backstories that connect with high school students. I love how it all tied together. It is a pretty fast read because it is fi…

Noir | Christopher Moore

“He looked like one of those dried-up faces you carve out of an apple in third grade to teach you that time is cruel and we are all just going to shrivel up and die, so there’s no point in getting out of bed.”

Genre: Historical Fiction / Satire. Number of Pages: 339. Perspective: First / Third. Location: San Francisco 1947.
Sammy "Two Toes" is a bartender in 1947. He buys a black mamba as part of a business venture that leads to his boss’s death. At the same time, his new love interest goes missing. This sends him down a rabbit hole of adventures with a ragtag group of sidekicks. For a complete summary, you can go here.
Moore is skilled at creating unique characters and outrageous storylines. He has a very creative and well-formulated voice in all of his stories. His writing is descriptive and I felt like I was in an old noir mystery film. Based on his other books I’ve read, I should have expected the paranormal element. But it happened so late in the book that it threw me off (ki…

It's a Writer Thing -- How I Write

This is a guest post by Jessica Bayliss. 

I’m realizing that I’ve never written a post about how I write, my process for banging out all the books. So, this post is a first in a series on that. This month, I’m going to talk about the moment that changed EVERYTHING for my writing. Now, I’ve talked about this before, and I’m giving advanced warning—I’m going to use the dreaded P-word—plotting—but plotting is definitely a big part of my process. Now. I didn’t start out as a plotter. I was a die-hard pantser at the beginning. 
But things change …
When I first started writing, I had less than zero idea how to write. I thought it would be fun to try, but I’d never studied writing, so I had no expectations of myself. I was astounded that I finished that first novel. I was also immensely emotional; it was one of the most momentous accomplishments of my life. It just felt huge. It still does. Every time. 
That book took me a year to write. I’d sit down and work for days in a row; as long as I had …

Landline | Rainbow Rowell

“I love you more than I hate everything else.”

Genre: Chick Lit. Number of Pages: 310. Perspective: Third. Location: LA, California & Omaha, Nebraska.
Georgie and her husband are at odds when Georgie chooses to miss her family’s Christmas vacation in order to prepare for an important work meeting. While her family is away, she discovers a phone that allows her to talk to her husband when he was over a decade younger. This might be the key to rekindling their broken relationship. For a complete summary, you can go here.
This is probably my least favorite Rainbow Rowell book, but it was still pretty enjoyable. My ranking of her books now is Eleanor and Park, then Fangirl, then Carry On, then Landline. This book was so different from her other books because it was an adult book about marriage, rather than a young adult book about blooming love. Her voice was still present, which is what made the book enjoyable. 
This was a quick read and the premise was interesting. But I felt gipped by the…

It's a Writer Thing -- Seemingly Inconsequential Events

This is a guest post by Jessica Bayliss. 

Hello, Wonderful Writers!
The author journey is long. Long. It takes forever to get an agent. Even when you sign with one, it can take months to years to sell your book. Then you wait for it to come out. And to get the next book deal. In between, there are a lot of things to wait for: people to read and give you feedback, wait times until reveals and announcements, delays in getting an answer so you can move on to something else.
This process takes a LONG time.
But, it’s not all an endless, sweaty slog along a dusty trail. I swear. There are many bright spots along the way. Today, I want to talk about something else that happens during the writing journey: a bunch of seemingly inconsequential events that actually are really important. 
I learned this concept as a psychology pre-doctoral intern, leading a CBT psychotherapy group for people in recovery from addiction. One of our therapy concepts was Seemingly Inconsequential Decision: or, the little,…

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