The Book Blogger Hop is a book meme hosted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer where you answer a weekly prompt featuring a book related question. This way you have a chance to check out other people’s blogs and gain new followers yourself.
This Week’s Question
How do you keep track of books you will be reviewing or reading? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews)
I keep track of the books I’m reading through Goodreads and writing then down in a my book planner. I enjoy the planners I receive through OwlCrate. When reviewing, I try to post them twice/three times a week.
I also try to post my book reviews on my book blog and bookstagram on the same day, but it never turns out that way!
How do you keep track of the books you read and review? Feel free to share in the comments!
Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme started by Lauren’s Page Turners, in which you choose a book listed on your Goodreads TBR and talk about it.
This Week’s Post
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
I finally have a copy of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, thanks to my husband gifting me a copy! I relate so much to Nina’s reserved, reclusive nature. I look forward to reading this story sometime in the summer!
The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.
When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?
Nina considers her options.
1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.) 2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee). 3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)
It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.
What are your thoughts on The Bookish Life of Nina Hill? Would you add this to your growing book list? Feel free to share!
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon Publisher: Forever Genre: Contemporary Romance Length: 368 pages Format: Hardcover Release Date: June 9, 2020
If there’s a story that speaks about the power strong female connections can bring to empower one’s self esteem, it’s The Boyfriend Project! I wish I had a very close female squad like Samiah, Taylor and London in my life. All three women supported each other throughout joys and struggles, beginning with the viral dating mishap that brought the trio together!
The Boyfriend Project follows Samiah Brooks as she bonds with two other women, Taylor and London. Their first encounter was established through Twitter, as each woman realized that they were seeing the same man. After kicking him to the curb, the trio agree to meet weekly and share their life goals, setting the stage for successful lives without dating. Samiah’s journey becomes complicated when a new employee, Daniel, comes into the scene. Harmless playful banter between the two characters become very affectionate, and Samiah wonders how she can maintain her pact with her kindred spirits while navigating through her feelings toward Daniel.
Along with steamy romance, The Boyfriend Project also covers the pressures of being Black and female in the workplace. Samiah constantly feels the pressure to succeed in everything she does, for even slipping for a moment can bring disaster. As Samiah confides to Daniel, “It’s as if I’m living under a microscope, as if I’m expected to fail at any moment…I’m carrying the weight of some many others on my shoulders.” Samiah is at the top of her game in a successful company, yet she’s very aware that it could change for her in an instant.
The Boyfriend Project features strong, independent women succeed in professions they love. Samiah is strong in the technology field, London is a top rated pediatrician, and Taylor is in the works of branching out her thriving personal trainer clientele. Which each woman faces occupational and personal challenges throughout the story, they turn to each other for support and friendship. They gather to vent during hardships and congratulate during success. I feel like this tight knit circle among women is something you rarely see in stories, and I’m here for it!
I had a wonderful time reading The Boyfriend Project! If you want a story filled with romance and strong female bonds, this is the book you should turn to!
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Rating: 5 out of 5.
USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon launches a new series about three young women who become friends when the live Tweeting of a disastrous date leads them to discover they’ve all been duped by the same man.
Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .
For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?
What do you think of ‘The Boyfriend Project’? Feel free to share!
‘Rewritten’ by Tara Gilboy Publisher: Jolly Fish Press Length: 200 pages Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Release Date: April 7, 2020
Hi everyone! Today I’m here to talk about ‘Rewritten’ by Tara Gilboy. It is under the Middle Grade genre, focusing on Gracie navigating through life after the adventures from the first book, ‘Unwritten’.
A few months ago, I reviewed ‘Rewritten’ on NetGalley, and I enjoyed it! You can read my review of ‘Rewritten’ here!
I had the privilege to speak to Tara about her process in creating ‘Rewritten’, as well as some handy advice for writers beginning their own creative journeys. I hope you enjoy!
Cathleen: Thank you for speaking with me! How are you holding up during this pandemic? These are such crazy times!
Tara Gilboy: Thank you so much for having me! I am holding up pretty well. I think writers are better suited than most for social distancing because we already spent so much time alone, reading and writing, even before the pandemic. I’ve actually been busier than ever the past few months: I also teach creative writing for San Diego Community College District, and it’s been a lot of work converting my classes to an online format. But I’ve also been careful to make time for myself: I’ve done a lot of hiking, learned some new songs on the piano, finally perfected a homemade tartar sauce recipe, and played waaayyy too much online Scrabble.
C:How did you get your start in writing?
TG: I’ve always wanted to be an author; ever since I learned to read, I’ve written stories. The trouble was that I’d never met an author and had no idea how to go about actually making this a career, so I lost sight of this goal a bit in high school. When I returned to college in my twenties, I signed up for a creative writing class and was immediately hooked once again. After college, I went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, wrote a novel that never sold, took more workshops, joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, attended conferences, joined writing groups, and most of all, wrote, wrote, wrote. It was about ten years from the time I took that college creative writing class that I sold my first novel, and along the way there were many, many failures and rejected manuscripts.
C:In ‘Rewritten’, Gracie takes charge of her own story after facing extreme odds. What inspired you to create a story that follows a book character’s growth?
TG: The Unwritten series didn’t start out with the idea to follow a book character, actually. I only knew that my character was on the run from something, and I wasn’t quite sure what. As I was writing early scenes, I was also doing a lot of jogging in the woods near my dad’s cottage in northern Wisconsin, and I remember looking at the trees as I ran and thinking that the forest looked like a fairy tale. Then I thought: “what if my character was from a fairy tale?” I’ve always loved reading books with fairy tale themes, like Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted and Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark and Grimm, so the idea immediately appealed to me. I didn’t quite realize then how complicated and difficult this would be to pull off, which is likely a good thing, because it might have scared me away from the project!
C:During ‘Rewritten’, I was fascinated with the Vademecum’s ability to record one’s actions as they were occurring, like a ‘real-time’ diary!
TG: Thank you! As I was writing Rewritten, I was thinking a lot about what some of the biggest struggles are for children Gracie’s age. Privacy is always a huge issue for teens and preteens, and I thought: “what if someone had absolutely no privacy at all? What if their worst enemy had a direct line to all their thoughts and actions?” This might be one of the most terrible things that could happen to a teen, worse than someone reading your most private diary. One of my creative writing teachers always stressed: “dream up the worst thing that can happen to your character, and then make that happen,” so I did. Poor Gracie!
C:I love that Gracie’s actions and choices are conveyed in a manner that children can immediately relate to! Have you always felt that calling to communicate with children?
TG: You know, it’s interesting, but when I’m writing, I’m not actually thinking about the fact that I’m writing for children. I’m simply trying to really inhabit the mind of my child protagonist and imagine how she would feel and react to the things that are happening to her. If I’m being true to my character’s point of view, then I think I naturally write and make choices that will be relatable for kids that age. Occasionally, I will have to stop and remind myself that my story is geared for children (for example, I struggled a bit in Rewritten with navigating the climax scene in a way that wouldn’t be too frightening for readers), but for the most part, I just try to write honestly and authentically and be true to my child characters.
C:What led to the decision to write for the middle grade genre?
TG: Middle grade books are my favorite books to read – middle grade is all about good storytelling. They are the books that inspired me to love reading in the first place, and so they have always had a special place in my heart. When I first started writing, when I was in second and third grade, I started out writing middle grade, mostly because that’s what I read. But then I grew up and went to college, and I developed this idea of what it meant to be “Writer” with a capital “W” that involved lots of black turtlenecks, exposition-heavy stories full of metaphors and symbols, and words like “myriad” and “plethora.” I think I was in love with this “idea” of being a writer, but at the same time, I had lost my sense of what I loved about writing in the first place, which is that I love story. It was only when I took a class on writing children’s books in graduate school that I reminded myself how much I loved writing middle grade: the wonder, the sense of magic and adventure, the sense that anything is possible in these books as long as you are telling a good story. I fell in love with middle grade all over again and never looked back.
C:I love that there is a strong theme of mother/daughter bonds in ‘Rewritten’. Do you think you will continue on that familial thread in future writings?
TG: I have a feeling that I won’t be able to avoid it, even if I try. I didn’t set out to write about mother/daughter bonds, but it’s a theme that pops up again and again in my work. I’ve had conversations about this with my writing group, as they often experience the same thing. I think as women, the mother/daughter relationship is one of the most complicated relationships we will ever have, and so it’s one that is endlessly fascinating and provides rich material to mine.
C:I took some time to view your website. I love that your gift for the written word began at a very young age!
TG: Thank you! Yes, I’ve always been happiest when surrounded by books. My mom used to have to force me to go outside and play with the neighbor kids; otherwise I’d have spent all my time reading. It wasn’t until I went to graduate school that I met people who read and made up stories as much as I did. It was a relief to finally meet other people just like me!
C:Who are your favorite middle grade authors, and why?
TG: Ooo, this is a tough question! I love Kate Di Camillo: I think her books are full of wonder and magic and endearing characters, and I love how different all of her stories are from one another. I also love Rebecca Stead (When You Reach Me is one of my favorite middle grades of all time), and some newer authors who have really blown me away are Lisa Schmid, Ann Braden, Leslie Youngblood, and Amy Makechnie. I think they do an amazing job of getting into the middle grade mindset, as well as not being afraid to navigate difficult topics in a way that is appropriate for readers this age.
C:What do you feel is your biggest challenge and achievement as an author?
TG: My biggest achievement so far was publishing Unwritten and then Rewritten. Publishing a book was something I’ve wanted ever since I was seven or eight years old, and so it was a pretty amazing moment the first time I got to walk into a book store and see my book on the shelves. I remember being on vacation in New York City and going into a Barnes and Noble and getting kind of teary when I saw my book was there. But I also know that I hope to have many more writing achievements, so I have to keep working at writing every day. Right now my biggest challenge is finding the time to write amidst my work both teaching and managing the business side of writing.
C:What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
TG: One of my creative writing teachers once said something to me that’s always stuck with me. She said (and I’m paraphrasing): “I’ve taught a lot of amazing writers over the years, but in the end, it wasn’t the most talented ones that made it. It was the ones who worked the hardest, revised the most, and didn’t give up.” I return to her words again and again. There’s not much I can control about the publishing industry, but I can control how hard I work and how much I revise. So my advice is: don’t give up if you don’t succeed right away. Writing is hard! Keep writing, keep taking classes and joining writer’s groups, and most of all… revise! My books go through over 20 drafts before I send them out (and that’s a low estimate – I actually lost count at 20). Don’t put pressure on yourself to write great early drafts. I’ve seen a lot of writers give up because of that.
C:What projects are you working on next?
TG: Lately I’ve been starting and stopping a lot of projects, but I am working on a spooky mermaid story that I am really having a great time writing….
C:Thank you for your time! TG: Thank you so much for having me!
Come check out Tara’s website for more information on ‘Rewritten’!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally created by Jill @Breaking The Spine. This post spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.
This Week’s Post
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Release Date: June 30, 2020
This story sounds so chilling! A debutante heads to High Place, a home on the Mexican countryside, to aid her cousin fears for her life. When she gets there, she learns that temptation and shocking secrets are entwined within High Place’s history. I’m looking forward to reading this thrilling tale!
An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic artistocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . .
From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes “a terrifying twist on classic gothic horror” (Kirkus Reviews) set in glamorous 1950s Mexico—“fans of classic novels like Jane Eyre and Rebecca are in for a suspenseful treat” (PopSugar). After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.
Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.
What are your thoughts on Mexican Gothic? Feel free to share!