April 30, 2019

Most Anticipated May 2019 Releases

There are a bunch of books publishing in May, especially on the first Tuesday of the month. Here are the ones I'm most excited for!

Waiting For

1. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo (5/7/19)
A Roman Holiday-esque story with a K-pop star? Count me in.

2. The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (5/7/19)
I'll read pretty much anything Jen writes at this point.

3. Nocturna by Maya Motayne (5/7/19)
We've been getting so much diverse fantasy lately, and I hope that continues. this one is set in a Latine world and sounds awesome.

4. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (5/14/19)
Obviously I'm going to support one of the community's favorite bloggers.

5. There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon (5/14/19)
After From Twinkle, with Love, Sandhya made my auto-read list.

6. The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey (5/14/19)
This one got pushed back from a February pub date very last minute, but of course I'm still super excited for it.

7. Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson (5/21/19)
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award-winning author Tiffany D. Jackson (wow, that's fun to say) has a new book that I'm sure will suck readers in just as much as Monday's Not Coming and Allegedly.

8. I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn (5/28/19)
*grabby hands*

9. The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg (5/28/19)
This one is getting so much buzz, and I'm definitely intrigued.

10. Fake It Till You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen (5/28/19)
Fake dating stories are my faaaaaave.

Already Read - You Should, Too!

1. With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo (5/7/19)
After The Poet X, y'all know this one had to make my list.

2. The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby (5/14/19)
The Shadow Cipher was so good, and its sequel keeps the hype going.

What May books are you most excited for?

April 29, 2019

New York Adventures, Month Eleven

So long, April! I wish you hadn't gotten so cold and rainy at the end.


At the moment, it's looking like I won't find a job or another internship before I have to leave in a few weeks. So I'm trying to make the most of my last few weeks at Bloomsbury.


I didn't go to any book events this month. There were a few I considered, but ultimately I didn't have time or money.


1. I got to try breakfast at this little coffee shop I've been wanting to visit for a couple months now. It's called Blank Slate Coffee + Kitchen. I got the rose berry waffle, and it was delightful.
2. It was finally warm enough for ice cream, so I went to Kaylee's Creamery, which is in like NoMad/Midtown East. I loved their cookies and cream flavor and enjoyed the matcha, but my eyes are definitely bigger than my stomach, lol. I should've only gotten one scoop.

3. A friend and I did high tea at the Met Dining Room. 10/10, would recommend.

4. I tried another slice from Daly Pie on Sunday - this time, their salty lime (which is a key lime pie). So good, y'all.


1. I went back to the Morgan Library. It was nice to see the library and study themselves, when they weren't so crowded, and then I also went to the Tolkien exhibit. We couldn't take any pictures in there, but I took so many notes so I could tell my family and friends all about it.

2. I saw Waitress for the...third time, lol. I went for Shoshana and Jeremy, and they were great. I also tried the mini key lime pie this time, and it's definitely my favorite!
3. Taylor Swift dropped the lead single from her new album last Friday, and that was definitely an Event.
4. I'm seeing Avengers: Endgame tonight. Pray for me.


1. Went to the Met again for a few hours at the end of March. I didn't have much time for exploring in April since we went to Chicago and I had a couple job interviews.

April 28, 2019

Rewind & Review #133

~It's spring!!!!
~Taylor Swift really is going to be the end of me! (See what I did there?)
~I saw Shazam! on a whim one Sunday, and it was good but not amazing?
~We flew to Chicago for a friend's wedding and to visit where we used to live.
~Starting to prepare to move back home. I'm not giving up my job search entirely, but it's looking like I'll be back in Virginia in a few weeks.

Books I Received for Review
I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberley Jones (from Sourcebooks Fire via Edelweiss)
Across a Broken Shore by Amy Trueblood (from Flux via NetGalley)
Color Me In by Natasha Diaz (from Random House via NetGalley)
Suggested Reading by Dave Connis
A Treason of Thorns by Laura E. Weymouth
Dangerous Alliance by Jennieke Cohen
Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia (from HarperCollins via Edelweiss)
Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash (from S&S via NetGalley)
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (from Simon & Schuster)
The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby (from HarperCollins)

Books I Won/Traded for/was Gifted
Pride by Ibi Zoboi
In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo (via trade with CAhnBooks)

Books I Bought
Sherwood by Meagan Spooner
Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway
The Best American Food Writing, 2018 edited by Ruth Reichl
If I'm Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Books I Read
Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett (reread)
Night Music by Jenn Marie Thorne (4 stars)
The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty (3 stars)
Hungry Hearts by various authors
Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills (reread)
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills (reread)
She-Wolves by Helen Castor (3 stars)
Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway (4 stars)
The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby
The Best American Food Writing, 2018 edited by Ruth Reichl (3.5 stars)
The Secret History by Donna Tartt (3 stars)

Blog Posts You Might've Missed in the Last Few Weeks
   (from 4/8-4/13)
   (from 4/14-4/20)

April 27, 2019

My Favorite Middle Grade Books

So often, I spend my time talking about young adult books, so I thought it was time to give a little attention to middle grade as well.

1. Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin
I haven't reread this one in so long, but I remember being wowed by its quiet strength.

2. Absolutely Truly/Yours Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick
I'm always down for cozy middle grade mysteries.

3. All Four Stars trilogy by Tara Dairman
For all my fellow foodies.

4. Tuesdays at the Castle series by Jessica Day George
Fantasy fun, plus lots of focus on family.

5. Amina's Voice by Hena Khan
#ownvoices Muslim rep :)

6. Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand
This is great for fans of Bridge to Terabithia or Narnia, and it also deals with mental illness in such a wonderful way.

7. Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn
Siblings, family, friendship - ugh, it has it all and it's so wonderful. I love Cat.

8. Kate Messner's books
All the Answers is probably my favorite, but you can't go wrong with Breakout, Sugar and Ice, or The Seventh Wish either.

9. Wish by Barbara O'Connor
For everyone who wants a good dog book.

10. The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby
If you loved The Mysterious Benedict Society or 39 Clues as a kid, this one will definitely hold your interest.

11. Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
Aisha never shies away from real issues.

Murder Is Bad Manners (Wells and Wong, #1)
12. Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens
Cozy historical fiction mysteries! Good for middle schoolers who aren't quite ready for Agatha Christie, but will be once they're in high school.

13. Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
I never hear anyone talk about this title, but it was so cute and good?? Here's my review if you want more info.

14. The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman
I loved the duality of a girl preparing for her bat mitzvah and her grandmother immigrating to the U.S. during WWII.

15. Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz
This book came during one of the booms of fairytale/classics retellings, but I think it definitely holds up.

What are some of your favorite middle grade books?

April 25, 2019

Review: With the Fire on High

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Grade: A
Release date: May 7, 2019
An e-galley was provided by HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Elizabeth Acevedo's writing has a voice that sticks with you. It reads easily, but isn't overly simple, and it feels like teenagers telling their stories. It was easy to get into Emoni's head and feel like her story was real. Her passion for cooking and food was effortless, and it reminded me a bit of Jenna in Waitress actually. 
Everyone in the book felt so human, from Emoni's Abuela, to her best friend Angelica, to Ms. Fuentes at school. I liked that they weren't just there to be side characters but actually had stories of their own. They just felt so real but not in boring ways.
The pacing was off a little. The first few months covered went by very slowly, and then the time from Christmas to spring break and graduation went way quicker. Mainly I was surprised by just how MUCH happened in the first few months, so I think spreading out the plot more evenly would've helped. But the writing itself keeps the early parts of the book from being slow in a boring way.
I liked the theme of choices, and that Emoni's dreams had to change but she was never really angry at herself for the choices she made. And I'm so happy with how things worked out for her.
I'm also happy with how the romantic relationship played out. There weren't really any love triangles, and it was good slow burn that focused first and foremost on just caring about each other and supporting each other.

Content warnings: a little foul language (Emoni herself tries not to swear a lot), some references to sexual content, some underage drinking (mostly on the part of other characters)

The Verdict: Ugh, so good, y'all. I personally prefer it to The Poet X, but that's because I don't love novels in-verse.

Will I be adding this book to my library?: Yes!

April 23, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Reviews

So I'm not quite following the prompt for this week, but I didn't really want to relive my first ten book reviews because my writing has vastly improved (I'd like to think, at least). So instead I'm going to share twelve of my favorite reviews I've written. You can read them at the provided links, because I didn't want to copy and paste twelve reviews below. That would make for a very long post!

1. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

2. The Jewel by Amy Ewing

3. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

4. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

5. A Tyranny of Petticoats by various authors, edited by Jessica Spotswood

6. Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

7. My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten

8. And I Darken by Kiersten White

9. Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

11. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

12. Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

What reviews did you share today?

April 22, 2019

An Intern's Look at the Publishing Industry

I've interviewed a few publishing professionals on the blog before, but one thing I thought would be useful is for y'all to hear from interns. We're still very new to the industry; we're entry-level so our day-to-day tasks and our processes of getting into publishing are more in line with what some of y'all might be doing soon. :) I had the honor of interviewing one of my fellow interns at Bloomsbury, Chantal, and I'll be sharing my own experiences, too!

1. What are your usual tasks in this internship?

Chantal: As the publicity intern at Bloomsbury Children’s Books, my primary responsibility is organizing and maintaining blogger and reviewer mailing lists. For each category (picture books, middle grade, YA), there is a curated list of bloggers/reviewers that have shown interest or professional prowess in reviewing these categories. After I receive the advance reading copies (ARC) or final editions of our forthcoming titles, I am responsible for sending them out to every person on the list.
 Another responsibility I hold as the children’s publicity intern is sorting through NetGalley requests. These requests for an e-pub edition of a featured title can come from librarians, booksellers, reviewers, or media professionals and from all over the United States, as well as Canada. I accept or deny these requests based upon certain aspects of the user’s profile—their rejection/approval rates across publisher databases, their feedback ratio, etc.—and their social media platforms. 
Occasionally, I am asked to draft copies of press releases and galley letters for forthcoming titles. These are my favorite requests! I get to dig deep into my persuasive creativity and come up with something that will, hopefully, inspire others to read our books. 

Emma: As the children's managing editorial intern, my main task is keeping everything organized! This ranges from the foul matter (cover "drafts," manuscript pass pages [typeset pages that aren't ready to be bound into a book yet], and various print-outs) to the production bookshelves, to schedules, to filing style sheets and design memos. I get to make pages for each of the titles in each season that the team uses to keep track of deadlines in weekly production meetings (as well as outside of the meetings). Other tasks I usually do include reading jackets (making sure the final jacket is error-free, the color matches the proof, and any special details are implemented correctly) and assembling picture book proofs.

2. What has surprised you most about working in publishing?

Emma: Just how much everything is about who you know, even in "behind-the-scenes" departments like production. It's all about networking and forming connections.
There are also little things I've picked up at launches, like why holiday-themed books publish so long before said holiday (Christmas books have to be on shelves in September usually!), or what certain colors or animals will imply in a consumer's mind. That's all stuff I've never thought about before.

Chantal: Publishing continues to surprise me every day, but I think the most shocking is seeing how many people it takes to bring a book to life. I mean, before entering the publishing industry, I’d see a book on the shelf and only see the author’s name. Don’t get me wrong, the author is a HUGE part of the equation. Without their ingenuity and perseverance, the book would not exist. However, now when I see a book on the shelf, I also see the beautiful cover, knowing an art designer or illustrator created dozens of drafts before choosing the one before me. I see the agents name in the acknowledgements and wonder how many thousands of queries they must have gone through before finding this one special submission, and how many revisions it took until it ended up on the editor’s desk. I see the editor, the book’s champion, reading at their desk late at night, knowing they were supposed to leave hours ago and still unable to put it down. After rounds and rounds of editing, that manuscript becomes the book I have in my hands. I see the marketer, publicist, managing editor, sales department, production staff, interns—the list can go on and on. When I pick up a book now, I have a better appreciation and understanding of the hard work and countless hours spent bringing this book to life, and how seeing it on the shelf makes everything worth it. 

3. How did you get this internship? How many internships have you had before this?

Chantal: One of my past supervisors recommended me for this internship! And I’m so lucky she did, because I’m really enjoying my time here. I’ve held three publishing internships before starting at Bloomsbury—most notably was my summer internship at Writers House. 

Emma: I was fortunate enough to have formed a connection with the children's publicists because of this blog, so as part of my creative writing practicum, I shadowed for a day at Bloomsbury last February. While here, I got to sit down and learn about managing editorial/production at Bloomsbury from my now-supervisor. I followed up after the chat with a thank-you email (important after any type of interview, y'all!), and landed the internship I'm still doing. This is my first internship in publishing, but I did one at my university's library last spring that gave me a look at another side of the book industry.

4. What did you study in college? Did you do an additional program, or a masters in publishing/creative writing?

Emma: I majored in creative writing, minored in history. I didn't do an additional program, although my adviser told me I would need a masters. *eye-roll* I've spoken with several publishing professionals since then, and they've all told me a masters isn't necessary. An additional program - like those at NYU and Columbia - can be good for making connections, though! But I needed a break from school so I didn't want to apply to those. But if you haven't been running a book blog or doing other publishing internships, they can be a great asset.

Chantal: Funnily enough, I studied Criminal Justice and Criminology in undergrad. I’m the first person in my family to go to college and, since both my parents served in the military, I felt a strong pull towards the justice field. Originally, I thought I was going to be a cop/lawyer in Chicago (where I’m from), but after one internship at the Chicago Police Department, I knew that wasn’t my path. I floundered for a bit after that—I was too far into my program to change majors—and decided to study abroad in Brighton, England. Best decision I’ve ever made! One of my teachers at university worked in publishing and she showed me a different future, one I could imagine myself stepping into without hesitation or regret. When I returned home, I researched my options and applied to NYU’s Masters in Publishing program…and was accepted. I haven’t looked back since.

5. Why did you want to work in publishing?

Chantal: I feel like this should be an easy question—It’s the most popular question I get asked, especially during interviews, and yet I still find it hard to vocalize. I mean, I want to work in publishing to have a voice in the industry. I want to influence what books are being published and I want to get those books into the hands of readers who need them. 
Books have power—they shape who we are, our opinions, our understandings, our capacity for empathy. One of the most important lessons I learned from books is that while I’m the hero of my story, I could just as easily be the villain of someone else’s. 
Books show us the best and worst of society, can predict any number of futures…they are the foundation upon which we evolve. And children’s books are exceedingly progressive. But that’s not all they are—they are also hope and wonder and magic and strength and so many other empowering things. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine a more fulfilling job than one in which I get to work with books all day. 

Emma: I've known I wanted to work with books for awhile, but college helped confirm that I don't want to teach English/creative writing or work in a library. So publishing was the natural route. I thought I wanted to be an editor for awhile, but I've realized I'm better at proofreading and copy editing than big picture edits, and also I like pushing books on people via publicity/marketing, so my route has changed a little. :) I really like the idea of helping someone find that book that changes their world, like so many did for me when I was younger. Whether that's in a publicity/marketing role or a production editorial role where I make sure the book is as perfect as it can be, I'm excited to make it happen.

6. Do you want to be an author as well, or are you content just helping books get out into the world?

Emma: If y'all have spent any time on this blog, you'll know I want to be an author too. I've been writing stories since I was ten, and my major was creative writing, so... But I like publishing as a day job because I get to see both sides of making a book happen, and I'd like to hope that'll make it easier for me to understand editorial and marketing decisions when my books are going out in the world some day.

Chantal: I’m completely content to just help books get out into the world! I think there is a certain spark inside those who are authors—I like to think of it as a mix of creativity, bravery, and an unexplainable need to write. While I enjoy dabbling from time to time, I just don’t have that spark. But I’m super lucky that I get to work with people that do! 

7. What are you reading right now?

Chantal: My TBR shelf is overflowing at the moment—okay, it’s always overflowing—but I just picked up The Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds. I haven’t read page one yet, but I’m extremely excited about it. 

Emma: The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu, which is a quiet MG book, and A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn, which is the third in a historical fiction series that is such a fun romp.

Are you interested in working in publishing? Anyone else in publishing that you'd like to hear from?

April 19, 2019

Random Friday: Favorite Solo Dance Party Songs

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  • Include the above image in your post and link back to my blog.
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1. "Dancing Queen" by ABBA (Obviously.)
2. "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift
3. "Gorgeous" by Taylor Swift
4. "Sucker" by the Jonas Brothers
4. "I Like Me Better" by Lauv
5. "That's My Girl" by Fifth Harmony
6. "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" by Whitney Houston
7. "Take on Me" by a-ha
8. "Cut to the Feeling" by Carly Rae Jepsen
9. "Love on Top" by Beyonce
10. "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins

What about you? What are your go-to solo dance party songs? Or what's on another of your playlists?

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