Taking the First Steps on Twitter

I’m usually pretty social, although I have my tendencies to get shy around people I don’t know at all or those I deem “famous.”  Sometimes I still freeze up talking to a favorite author.

When I first started blogging, I was a bit isolated. I wrote posts every so often, and I got some views and comments but not much. I started commenting on other people’s blogs and built some confidence and great relationships with people.

Review: It's Kind of a Funny Story

Author: Ned Vizzini
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 444 pages
Publication Date: March 1, 2006
Publisher: Miramax
Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life--which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job--Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That's when things start to get crazy.

At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he's just average, and maybe not even that. He starts earning mediocre grades and sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping--until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new roommate is an Egyptian schoolteacher who refuses to get out of bed. His neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, isolated from the crushing pressures of school and friends, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.

The Best Bookish Surprises

Plot twists in books are sources of a huge array of emotions, surprise being one of them. What are the BEST bookish surprises?

Meet the Newbies: Roshani Chokshi

Meet the Newbies is a blog event dedicated to introducing you to the “newbie” published debut authors. In this event, expect to learn more about the authors, their books, and silly fun facts! Check out the full Meet the Newbies lineup here.

Roshani Chokshi's debut The Star-Touched Queen, has been on my radar ever since I first heard the book sold to SMP. Over time I've gotten to know Roshani and met her at ALAMW. She is such a kind and wonderful person, and her book is phenomenal. Her prose is beautiful, and I can't wait for you all to read this special book!

Author Most Likely To Pretend Giant Dog is Actually A Luck Dragon
Nickname: The UnChosen One
First Day of School: April 26, 2016
Homeroom: St. Martin's Griffin/Macmillan
Grade: Young Adult Fantasy
Extracurricular Activities: Granting wishes on the sly, but never how you expect them to turn out; sassing ogres; using the words "carved" or "glass" in pretty much ANYTHING I write.
Favorite Class: How to Train Your Dragon
Favorite Quote/Motto: “I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art. And this is the only immortality you and I may share, my Lolita.” - Nabokov

Balancing School and Blogging

It's hard. I won't lie. Sometimes I face an unsurmountable pile of homework followed by loads of blogging obligations and I wonder why I still do this (blogging because I don't think my parents would condone quitting school). But then I remember all the wonderful people I've met, all the great books I've read, and all the books I continue to discover through the treasure trove called blogging and realize I wouldn't change a thing.

Meet the Newbies: Jeff Garvin

Meet the Newbies is a blog event dedicated to introducing you to the “newbie” published debut authors. In this event, expect to learn more about the authors, their books, and silly fun facts! Check out the full Meet the Newbies lineup here.

Jeff Garvin's hair first caught my attention back in summer '15. I mean seriously, have you seen his awesome air?? It's pictured below! In all seriousness though, his debut Symptoms of Being Human stands out on its own. A gender-fluid main character in a highly scrutinized society, hmmm does this sound familiar? It should because all over the US and around the world, I am sure that there are people who don't feel comfortable in their skin or identify with a different gender than they were assigned at birth. This book is such an important and impactful novel, and it's books like these that help people (teenagers especially) come out of their shells and know it's okay to be different, to be yourself, and embrace it.

Author Most Likely to Change Hairstyles Nine Times
Nickname: Kōhai, Blazer
First Day of School: February 2, 2016
Homeroom: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Grade: Contemporary Young Adult
Extracurricular Activities: S.A.V.E (Students Against Violating Earth), Drama Club, Going Straight Home To Go Play Guitar In My Room Alone
Favorite Class: Language Arts. Also, Chemistry, because fire.

Favorite Quote/Motto: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” — Banksy

Blog Tour: Crossing the Line

Today I'm pleased to welcome Meghan Rogers to APCB to talk about her biggest inspirations as a writer and how they have contributed to the her debut, Crossing the Line.

The Tsar's Guard Parade: Magic All Around

I had the immense pleasure of reading Evelyn Skye's beautiful debut, The Crown's Game, prior to release. All I can say is that the hype is real! 

To quote from my review:
"The magical elements and visual displays are definitely my favorite part of the novel. It's so vivid, and Evelyn has a knack for creativity, imagination, and theatrics. I was enchanted by all of the tricks the enchanters pulled to impress the Tsar."

A Conflicted Review on You

Author: Caroline Kepnes
Series: You #1
Genre: Thriller
Page Length: 422 pages
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

Rachel Turns 18!

Today, April 14th, is my 18th birthday! I'm officially an adult now. :)

I thought I'd share my

Eighteen Top Memories/Experiences/Accomplishments of the Year

(In no particular order)

Meet the Newbies: Kerry Kletter

Meet the Newbies is a blog event dedicated to introducing you to the “newbie” published debut authors. In this event, expect to learn more about the authors, their books, and silly fun facts! Check out the full Meet the Newbies lineup here.

I read an excerpt of The First Time She Drowned, and the writing was exquisite. I've heard nothing but good things about this book, and Kerry is such a talented author.

Author Most Likely To Be a Suspect in a Rash of Candy Store Robberies

Nickname: Gidget
First Day of School: March 15, 2016
Homeroom: Philomel/Penguin
Grade: Contemporary
Extracurricular Activities: Surfing, Running, Reading, Laughing at my own jokes, Texting, Emailing, Texting some more, Binge-watching Netflix.
Favorite Class: Lunch
Favorite Quote/Motto: “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” –Booker T. Washington

ARC Review: The Star-Touched Queen

Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: No, but companion novel to come!
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 354 Pages
Publication Date: April 26th, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: ARC 
Goodreads | Amazon
Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets - thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran's magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar's plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk - it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.

Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.

The Star-Touched Queen is a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian mythology.

Meet the Newbies: Jenna Evans Welch

Meet the Newbies is a blog event dedicated to introducing you to the “newbie” published debut authors. In this event, expect to learn more about the authors, their books, and silly fun facts! Check out the full Meet the Newbies lineup here.

I absolutely love Italy, and Jenna's debut Love & Gelato is a contemporary which takes place in Tuscany. Romance AND gelato? This sounds like a book I'd definitely enjoy!

Author Most Likely To Figure Out A Way to Incorporate Her Love of Sugar Into a Novel

Nickname: Yenna
First Day of School: May 3, 2016
Homeroom: Simon Pulse
Grade: Contemporary YA
Extracurricular Activities: Reading voraciously, attempting (then failing) to write a "serious" novel, riding scooters, baking cupcakes, dancing, hiking
Favorite Class: English literature (of course), Biology, Italian
Favorite Quote/Motto: "If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." --Vincent Van Gogh

Mini Reviews: A Diversity of Genres

Author: Becky Wallace
Series: The Storyspinner #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Length: 320 Pages
Publication Date: March 22nd, 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: eARC via Edelweiss (thanks Simon!)
Goodreads | Amazon
As the last of the royal line, Johanna is the only person who can heal a magical breach in the wall that separates her kingdom of Santarem from the land of the Keepers, legendary men and women who wield elemental magic. The barrier protects Santarem from those Keepers who might try to take power over mere humans…Keepers who are determined to stop Johanna and seize the wall’s power for themselves.

And they’re not the only ones. As the duchys of Santarem descend into war over the throne, Johanna relies more than ever on the advice of her handsome companion, Lord Rafael DeSilva. But Rafi is a duke too, and his people come first. As their friendship progresses into the beginnings of a tender relationship, Johanna must wonder: is Rafi looking out for her happiness, or does he want the throne for himself?

With war on the horizon, Johanna and Rafi dodge treacherous dukes and Keeper assassins as they race to through the countryside, determined to strengthen the wall before it’s too late…even if it means sacrificing their happiness for the sake of their world.

Meet the Newbies: Brittany Cavallaro

Meet the Newbies is a blog event dedicated to introducing you to the “newbie” published debut authors. In this event, expect to learn more about the authors, their books, and silly fun facts! Check out the full Meet the Newbies lineup here.

Brittany's debut, A Study in Charlotte, is such a fascinating retelling of Sherlock Holmes! I love the idea of this story surrounding Holmes and Watson's descendants. I flew through this book, and I can't wait for the next one. The mysteries are creepy, and the book is totally unpredictable. This is definitely a favorite 2016 release of mine!

Author Most Likely To Be Dancing To Taylor Swift In Her Car
Cavallaro_1.jpgNickname: Bri
First Day of School: March 1, 2016
Homeroom: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins
Grade: YA
Extracurricular Activities:Lit Mag, Glee Club, That Weird Dinner Club Where We Cooked In Our Dorm's Basement Kitchen And Ate It On A Ping-Pong Table
Favorite Class: Detective Fiction (I've actually taught it!)
Favorite Quote/Motto: "Love me, because love doesn't exist, and I have tried everything that does." -Jonathan Safran Foer

Review: Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

Author: Anna Breslaw
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Length: 288 Pages
Publication Date: April 19th, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: ARC via Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon
Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. Scarlett never considers what might happen if they were to find out what she truly thinks about them...until a dramatic series of events exposes a very different reality than Scarlett's stories, forever transforming her approach to relationships—both online and off.

Meet the Newbies: Anna Breslaw

Meet the Newbies is a blog event dedicated to introducing you to the “newbie” published debut authors. In this event, expect to learn more about the authors, their books, and silly fun facts! Check out the full Meet the Newbies lineup here.

I really loved Anna's debut, Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here. It's such an honest portrayal of teen life and our insecurities, and the voice is so realistic. It's smart, fresh, and hilarious! I definitely recommend you pre-order this book.

Author Most Likely To Have A Panic Attack At Forever21

Nickname: The Indoor Kid
First Day of School: April 19, 2016
Homeroom: Razorbill/Penguin
Grade: Contemporary with a sci-fi story within the story
Extracurricular Activities: None, but manages to appear at any extracurricular after-school meeting with free pizza
Favorite Class: AP English Literature, Defense Against The Dark Arts (same thing).
Favorite Quote/Motto: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” —Dorothy Parker