Review: The Heart Principle, Helen Hoang

Wow. Just wow. I enjoyed Helen’s previous two books but this one was something else. I’m not quite finished processing it, but I felt every emotion reading The Heart Principle.

I truly related to Anna and her struggle to be understood and find her voice. It was so refreshing to read her voice.

Thank you, Helen, for writing this book.

Review: Serpent & Dove Trilogy, Shelby Mahurin

I started the Serpent & Dove Trilogy last Thursday and devoured it. I kind of wish I’d read it a bit slower so I could have made it last longer, but I just couldn’t stop.

I loved Lou and Reid and Ansel and Coco and lit everything about these books.

Fantasy isn’t usually a genre I gravitate towards but sometimes, it’s just what I need.

Review: The Giver of Stars, Jojo Moyes

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did … but it was amazing.

I was instantly captivated by the story and the characters, especially the way the women were portrayed. Alice and Margery were strong women, and even when they were literally knocked down, the still fought back.

It was refreshing and just the book to pull me out of a reading slump.

Review: Betty, Tiffany McDaniel

I can’t believe I let Betty sit on my shelf I read for so long. The prose was beautiful, and I instantly fell in love with Betty’s voice.

Her story, however, was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. I wanted to hug every one of her siblings and her mom. I wanted to thank her dad for being a caring, loving father and keeping his family alive with his stories.

This book does contain several tough situations that could be triggering to some readers.

On Hiatus

As a writer, I’m expected to know the right words to say … or at least have a few prepared. But I don’t.

I’m exhausted. I need to breathe. I need to focus. I need a break.

If you’ve stumbled on this post because my Instagram account is currently disabled, know that I will be back, I’m just taking a breather. I’m stepping away from my phone and back into my life for a bit.

The past year and a half has been difficult for everyone. I pulled away from reality to try to find a little corner of peace and happiness. For a while, that was enough. Then when it wasn’t, I just kept pretending it was.

Between leaving a toxic job situation and starting a new job that is both rewarding and filled with grace and positivity, I’d hoped that would be enough to clear my headspace.

But one change rarely makes the kind of impact I needed.

My struggles went beyond a work-life balance issue. I won’t go into everything here as I’m sure many of you understand the weight working mothers, women, wives, etc. carry. We slap on smiles and make everyone think we have it all together.

We don’t.

We yell at our kids. We cry at our desks. We toss and turn as every mistake and anxiety replay when the lights go out.

For me, I also hide in my phone. I scroll on social media or play stupid games or do anything I can to keep myself from facing reality. And, it’s not working for me. I need to break up with my phone for a bit and reprioritize life. Say yes to playing Barbies or LEGOs with the kids. Listen to my husband when he tells me about cryptocurrency or something on Reddit. Pay attention to the world around me.

But most importantly, I need to pay attention to myself. I need to sit with my thoughts and try to dig myself out of the layers of protection I’ve spent 40 years building.

I don’t know how long I’ll be offline for, but if you need me, use the contact form or email or text me. I’m still here. I’m just trying to find myself. Again.

Releasing a Piece of Me into the World

I’ve been staring at the long list of things I need to do to prepare for a big book release, and I’m overwhelmed.

This release feels different. This book IS different from anything I’ve written or released. It’s also one of my favorite books because it is a bit raw.

Shay, the main character, is a lost soul who isn’t quite sure where she belongs or if she even wants to. She can count on herself and no one else. She doesn’t let people in. Her walls are tall and wide. She’s been hurt, and she’ll be damned if she lets it happen again.

In a lot of ways, Shay is me … but a little more broken. I want to protect her and keep her safe. Releasing her out into the world is a wee bit terrifying.

All that to say … Out of Anywhere is out on 8/3! Pre-order now or request it on NetGalley and fall in love with Shay now. ⁣

Review: Five Little Indians, Michelle Good

I finished this book over the weekend and have struggled to find the words to adequately review it.

Five Little Indians is a must read book. It was raw and emotional and honest.

Following the lives of five native children who were stolen from their parents and sent to Canada’s Indian schools where they faced horrible conditions and abuses. Their lives are wrought with tragedy and a bit of triumph as they find their voices and paths forward.

The most uncomfortable truths are often the most important. This is especially true when it comes to history. This is evident in the white-washed version of American history.

I never learned about Japanese internment camps. Or Indian schools. Or how Black American soldiers where intentionally shut out from receiving the GI Bill when it was introduced.

This is one reason why Own Voices literature is vital. There are stories and truths that need to be told without filters.

Review: The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes, Xio Axelrod

Is there anything better than reading a book and having it completely blow all your expectations out of the water?

The Girl With Stars in Her Eyes was a deep, yet fun, journey into Toni and Seb; two people with a difficult past and a star-crossed future. Add in the drama of music’s latest “it” band, the Lillys, and this book has all the right ingredients for a delicious music-filled book.

So, yeah, I loved it. You should read it.

Review: Have We Met by Camille Baker

Y’all. Y’ALL! This book right here was a sleeper surprise. I was 100% expecting a cute rom com. While, yes, it was that, it was so much more!

The inclusion and representation in this book was both very present but also natural … if that makes sense. The main character effortlessly accepts people for who they are. She doesn’t stumble over pronouns or complain about learning sign language. She does what we should all do … meet people where they are and don’t force personal beliefs on them.

I also loved Cory and all of Corinne’s friends and family. The romance part of the novel didn’t disappoint, either.

All in, this was a fabulous book. Go get it. ⁣

Review: Felix Ever After, Kacen Callender

Another fabulous book that lived up to the hype.

It’s been about 22ish years since I’ve been a teenager, but reading Felix’s story brought me back to the heartaches and confusion of that time. But his story was so much more than that.

It’s a story of discovering strength in yourself and finding your people. It’s about learning to accept and give love. It’s about being true and kind to yourself.

Felix Ever After should be required reading for all high schoolers. The importance of respecting someone’s identity and exploration of that identity is something that isn’t taught but should be.

I know I’m late to the game on Felix Ever After, but I’m so glad I read it. Have you read it yet?