Bookishly Ever After, by Isabel Bandeira

21018154I was really excited to get my hands on an ARC of Bookishly Ever After, by Isabel Bandeira. The book was released earlier this month and I think it will appeal to lots of YA book lovers for one reason -it’s all about being in love with books. Genius! There are things I loved about the book and things that bothered me. To be totally honest, the formatting of the ARC was really wonky, which I think could have messed up my reading experienced. But I’m trying not to let that biased me. But before I give more of my opinions, here is the book blurb: In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing? Continue reading “Bookishly Ever After, by Isabel Bandeira”

Top Ten Recent(ish) Middle Grade Reads


Happy Tuesday! It’s a freebie for Top Ten Tuesday and I’m talking about middle grade books! I don’t know if its because I’m in a writing program for kids or doing some freelance curriculum work aimed at middle school students or just that there are so many good middle grade books out, but I’m getting into these books a lot. Here are some of my favorites from the last year or so. Let me know what you think! Continue reading “Top Ten Recent(ish) Middle Grade Reads”

Another Perfectly-Timed Letter from FutureMe

Really needed this today friends. Still in California and totally freaking out about the semester ahead (in a really nonproductive way). Seriously, if you aren’t using FutureMe you definitely should be. Here’s what arrived in my inbox this morning to save the day (or at least my sanity):

Dear FutureMe,

Tomorrow you are going to turn in the first draft of your thesis. Chill out girl. Everything is going to be fine. You worked harder than you might of, but not as hard as you could have … that is literally almost always true. You also had a lot of other things to deal with (which is also always always true) and you are doing a great job.

Try to celebrate your accomplishments going into this next step of school. Who knows what will happen … but that is exciting because it means lots and lots and lots of really awesome, cool things could happen.

You are still in school. School and writing should be your focus.

You’ve created such a fuller life for yourself in New York than you’ve had since college. Seriously, think of the friends and activities and events you’ve built into your life. Great job!

It’s okay to be scared and nervous … you are undertaking big things and big dreams. It would be silly not to be nervous about them.

It’s also okay to set the fear and anxiety at the door for the semester (as much as you can) and just really try to enjoy the end of this process as much as possible.

I know you will lean into every opportunity you have.

With much self love,

Alison from a month ago

Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR


Hi friends! I am in LA today after spending two weeks driving from LA to Seattle (and back again) with my sister. There were so many amazing bookstores along the way. The Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle. River House Books, my favorite bookstore in Carmel, California. And, of course, the gloriousness that is Powell’s City of Books in Portland. Here are some new, very eclectic, books that have been added to my TBR on my journey. Excited to blog more about the trip (and head back to NYC) soon! Continue reading “Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR”

The Royal We, by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

22875451In November and December, I hit a bit of a reading slump. I was reading good books and I was liking them. But they were all so sad. Books about death and suicide and mental illness. Even the fantasy I was reading, The Jewel by Amy Ewing, was dark and hard. A world where girls are sold as surrogates to rich women against their will – not exactly light reading. Deciding to end the streak, I picked up The Royal We, by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan. The title and the cover alone were enough for me to guess what the book was about, but I this surpassed my wildest imagination and definitely broke my sad book slump. I mean I’m not going to say that it’s essentially 454 pages of Will and Kate fan fiction … but I’m also not going say it isn’t. What I can say, without qualm, is that is fun, drama-filled, and (perhaps surprisingly) well written.  Continue reading “The Royal We, by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan”

Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn’t


Too many books too little time. This is a phrase I will write over and over and over again on this blog, unless we suddenly get a magical eighth day each week just for reading. Even then I still might not be able to fit in all the books. Here are some 2015 releases I meant to read, but haven’t yet. Hopefully many will be read this year! Continue reading “Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn’t”

Word by Word and Bird by Bird

12543Whether you want to be a writer (in whatever capacity that means to you) or not, I highly suggest reading Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. It is a good book about writing, but a great book about life. One of my best friends gave it to me in 2011, and it’s funny how different pieces of advice have been applicable at different times since then.

Right now, even though I’m enjoying lovely family time in California, I’m freaking out a little (or maybe a lot) about my creative thesis. The thesis is a novel. I’ve worked my way through more than one draft, but for some reason I feel behind. I know the novel isn’t where I want it to be by the end. And I know it isn’t where I want it to be for my first turn in to my advisor (who just happens to be an editor at Penguin Books … no big deal, right?).  Continue reading “Word by Word and Bird by Bird”

Firsts, by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

23480844 (1).jpgIt seems somewhat fitting to have the first book I review in 2016 be Firsts, by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (because of the title and because it was released this week). Sometimes, as a writer, I have a hard time understanding what high concept contemporary means – but when I read the description for this book I knew I’d found one. Teenage girl has sex with only virgins to help them get awkward first times out of the way before they sleep with their girlfriends. It’s unique. And it’s gripping. And it left me with a lot a lot of questions, both before and after reading it. To give a bit more context, the main character is seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres. Her father’s left, her mother dates lots of men and is very critical of Mercedes’s appearance, and she is a science rockstar who’s MIT bound. She doesn’t believe in god, but goes to prayer group with her best friend every week. And she has a very big secret (see the above paragraph). One she’s keeping in hopes that other girls will get the perfect first time that she didn’t get to have. As with all good novels, drama ensues.  Continue reading “Firsts, by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn”

Reading (and writing!) Resolutions for 2016

I feel like my resolutions are getting boring because they are almost always pretty similar. Here are a few (not quite ten) reading and writing goals I have for the year. Let me know yours in the comments so we can cheer each other on!

  • Read 100 books (if I don’t list it I won’t do it).
  • Read diversely. This means race, religion, mental health, nationality, ability, body type, sexuality and sexual orientation, and the many other ways it is beneficial to read and support books with diverse authors and diverse characters.
  • Read debut fiction and new releases.
  • Read House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton. It’s been a goal since 2008 – hopefully 2016 is the year.
  • Complete a draft of a novel that is ready to be queried (and query it). Thesis semester, I’m looking at you.
  • Complete a first draft of another project. If the only thing I can control about this process is the writing, I want a back up project going to keep the pressure lower on whatever I’m querying.
  • Graduate my MFA program. (Hopefully this one won’t be too hard).
  • Take advantage of all the readings and networking opportunities and panels that I have because I live in New York.
  • Keep poetry a part of my life.

Thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this weekly book meme and happy, happy New Year!