Well, That Was Unexpected Book Review

Jesse Q. Sutanto's Well, That Was Unexpected is a YA rom-com that hits the mark perfectly. Sharlot's life is turned upside down when her mother finds her in a compromising situation, and subsequently takes her to her mother's birthplace of Indonesia for the summer. Sharlot thinks this is the worst punishment ever... until she discovers [...]

A Rover’s Story Book Review

Jasmine Warga's A Rover's Story is a gorgeous combination of science and imagination that takes readers on a unique and engaging journey. Resilience is a Mars rover built to do a certain job a certain way, at least according to the other Mars rover, Journey. But Resilience, or Res, sees the world differently than Journey, [...]

Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake Book Review

Lizzie Blake is a bit of a mess. Her bedroom is a disaster, she's barely hanging on to her job at a fancy bakery, and she is definitely NOT looking to add a love interest to the mayhem that is her life. Lizzie breaks her cardinal rule of only having one night stands upon meeting [...]

Honest June: The Show Must Go On Book Review

I absolutely adored book one in the Honest June series, and I was beyond excited to get an advanced copy of the second book. June is still grappling with Victoria's curse/gift of always telling the truth. This time, she's hiding her desire to star in the school's production of The Wiz from her dad, who [...]

Romanticize Your Life

My latest Knoxville Moms post is available! You can view it here. If your algorithm is anything like mine, you've seen the flower-filled, fairy light strewn, creek-splashing, gorgeous view montage videos that immediately have you scouring Zillow for a house in the forest/near the beach/in a high-rise/on a mountain. Whether it's fluttering autumn leaves, blooming [...]

Other Birds Book Review

"Stories aren't fiction. Stories are fabric. They're the white sheets we drape over our ghosts so we can see them." Thus begins Sarah Addison Allen's latest release, the one waited for patiently by legions of loyal fans. From the first sentence on, every reader can rest assured-- it was absolutely worth the wait. I’ve never [...]

The Best Books with Dogs

Nothing makes me pick up a book faster than a dog on the cover. Strange? Probably. True? Absolutely. The only problem with books that feature dogs is the general fear that the dog won't make it to the end of the book. So rest assured, these book recommendations are safe reads as far as canine [...]

Bark to the Future Book Review

Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie series is the book release I look forward to all year long. From the moment I finish one book, I'm nearly desperate to lay my hands on the next one. You can read my reviews of Quinn's previous titles in this series here, here, and here. The thirteenth installment in [...]

The Bodyguard Book Review

Hannah Brooks is great at her job. Like, really great. Part of what makes her excel is her ability to blend in coupled with her incredible skillset of being able read people and decades of jujitsu experience. That's why she's one of the two top personal protection agents, AKA bodyguards, at her company. But life [...]

This Place of Wonder Book Review

In her latest novel This Place of Wonder, Barbara O'Neal acutely captures the nature of grief, the aching of belonging, and the powerful effect hope and time can have on both. Famed chef Augustus Beauvais dies unexpectedly, leaving behind two daughters, an ex-wife, a girlfriend, and a sagging empire. The women who mourn him are [...]

Author Interview: Angela Jackson-Brown

Historical fiction fans, if you haven't read Angela Jackson-Brown yet, you are seriously missing out. Lucky for you, the author of When Stars Rain Down has a new book coming out. The Light Always Breaks will be available tomorrow, July 5! Author photo by Chandra Lynch, Ankh Productions Angela Jackson-Brown was kind enough to answer [...]

The Light Always Breaks Book Review

Angela Jackson-Brown's The Light Always Breaks is set in 1940s Washington, D.C. yet (unfortunately, angrily) much of the discourse is still relevant today. Eva Cardon is a successful restaurant owner. This would be impressive on its own, but she's also only 24, Black, and it's 1948. She's using her exceptional business prowess to help feed [...]

Manatee Summer Book Review

Evan Griffith's Manatee Summer is sure to cement itself as a beloved childhood favorite in the hearts of young readers. It'll be a book they look back on fondly, the one that kindled their love of manatees, that captured the essence of the first taste of real responsibility while shining a light on that tender [...]

Summer Lovin’: Summer’s Best Beach Reads

As a total and complete book nerd, I love books of all kinds, from KidLit to literary fiction to beach reads to short stories to...basically everything but horror, because I'm a big scaredy-cat. But there's just something about summer that makes me want to read beachy rom-coms and stories heavy on character development and plot [...]

An Island Wedding Book Review

To say I'm a fan of Jenny Colgan's Mure series would be an understatement. Have I lost endless time on Google, trying to find the island that inspired Mure? Maybe. Have I mentally cast an entire limited series in my mind? Perhaps. Have I imagined moving to this fictional island and befriending its fictional inhabitants? [...]

Nora Goes Off Script

Annabel Monaghan's Nora Goes Off Script is utterly delightful from start to finish. Screenwriter Nora usually writes TV romance movies that bring in a reliable check and follow a reliable formula. But the collapse of her marriage led her to write something completely different and new, and now her words are headed to the big [...]

Answers in the Pages Book Review

How do you put into words a book that touched your heart? I adored David Levithan's Answers in the Pages, but I knew this review would be incredibly difficult to write. Levithan captures the heart and humanity of an often-discussed issue in an accessible and easily digestible way. It put into words that feeling, deep [...]

Love Radio Book Review

Ebony LaDelle's Love Radio is a love letter to Detroit, to young love, and to figuring out how to love yourself. Prince Jones may only be in high school, but his status as a DJ giving love advice has elevated him to nearly local celebrity levels. Danielle Ford has all but withdrawn from her former [...]

Bravely Book Review

Maggie Stiefvater whisks readers away to long ago Scotland in Bravely, a novel continuation of the Pixar movie Brave. As a longtime fan of Brave, I was both ecstatic and apprehensive about a novel continuation. The same conundrums that put fear in the hearts of readers as their favorite books are adapted into films persists [...]

Top Reads for 2022 (So Far)

It's almost June, somehow, and I just finished my first semester as a graduate student. I'm working towards earning my Master of Fine Arts in writing for children and young adults, and so I have been doing a LOT of reading. Here are my top reads of 2022, so far: Picture Book: Fry Bread, Kevin [...]

Jennifer Chan is Not Alone Book Review

Tae Keller's Jennifer Chan is Not Alone is an engrossing and relatable novel for middle grade and adult readers alike. Insightful and incisive, Jennifer Chan is Not Alone tackles crucial topics with authenticity and vulnerability. Mallory has survived middle school--so far-- because her best friend Reagan has taught her how to fit in. Mallory's world [...]

Summer Reading Recommendations and Rewards with Knoxville Moms

My latest post with the Knoxville Moms is available here! See below for a sneak peek! Somehow, summer is just around the corner. Reading is a wonderful way to maintain those hard-earned skills developed during the school year, all while encouraging imagination and building empathy at the same time. But staring down shelves and shelves [...]

Part of Your World Book Review

Abby Jimenez's Part of Your World is the perfect blend of fun rom-com, depth, and humor that make for a memorable read. The well developed characters, idyllic setting, and a plot that tackles heavy topics make this a summer must-read. Alexis has grown up shouldering the weight of a lengthy family legacy that ultimately makes [...]

Winnie Zeng Unleashes a Legend Book Review

Sixth grader Winnie Zeng has two goals: survive middle school and beat her longtime opponent David at Chinese school and piano competitions. To prepare for middle school, Winnie has studied comic books and anime. The only problem is that one common thread in those stories is magical powers, and she obviously doesn't have those. Or [...]

Year on Fire Book Review

Lies, privilege, and family drama combine into one explosive novel from Julie Buxbaum. In Year on Fire, friend group Paige, Arch, and Immie have their lives turned upside down days before the first day of Junior year by a single kiss. When the girl's bathroom is set aflame and rumors of arson start swirling, the [...]

Does My Body Offend You? Book Review

Does My Body Offend You? by Mayra Cuevas and Marie Marquardt is a fantastic YA novel that tackles tough, relevant topics in an engaging and engrossing way. Full of visceral moments that will pull you right back into those high school days, where at any moment you could be forced to stand and have your [...]

Novel in Verse Book Recommendation List: Middle Grade and Young Adult

Novels in verse are books with a full and complete plot told in poetic verse. These novels lend themselves to topics that have emotional depth and resonance. Novels in verse can also be laugh out loud funny, and have all the great qualities prose novels have as well, including well-developed characters and an interesting plot. [...]

Sari, Not Sari Book Review

Sonya Singh's Sari, Not Sari is a delicious treat of a rom-com, the perfect spring and summer read. It's the book that once you finish the last sentence, you clutch it to your chest and start counting down until it makes its appearance on the silver screen (because you just KNOW it is meant to [...]

Book Review: Better Believe It

Jada Marlone does not have the time or patience for nonsense. Successful lawyer, power mom, and the Woman Who Has It All Jada is surrounded by activity, structure, and people. And she’s incredibly lonely and unhappy with her life. Jada knows more than anyone that life doesn’t always look like it does on social media, [...]

Helping Kids with Test Anxiety

My latest post for the Knoxville Moms is all about test anxiety, and how to help kids cope with it. You can read the full post here. Stomachaches. Headaches. Not wanting to go to school. These are all possible ways that test anxiety is rearing its head in your child's life. With TCAPS right around the [...]

Book Review: The Do-Over

Bethany Turner's The Do-Over is a lighthearted romantic comedy brimming with pop culture references. McKenna Keaton has always known what she's wanted: a successful career, a life in New York City, and to maintain her high school over-achiever status for life. When she is falsely accused of embezzlement and forced to take a leave of [...]

Children’s Books with Mental Health Themes

The past few years have demonstrated our need for a better understanding and taking care of mental health. Thankfully, there are many children's books that focus on this topic in a compassionate and approachable way, making this big concept topic accessible for people of all ages. Here are some of my favorites! You can view [...]

Book Review: Anybody Here Seen Frenchie?

Leslie Connor's Anybody Here Seen Frenchie? is as thought provoking as it is emotional. Aurora is known for being loud and blunt. When a new family moves in next door, Aurora sets off to finally have a friend. When she meets Frenchie and his mom, she learns that Frenchie is as quiet as she is [...]

Bookshop.org Golden Bookmark Sweepstakes

Do you remember that moment in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, when young Charlie Bucket peels back the wrapper on a chocolate bar to discover the last remaining Golden Ticket, changing his life forever? It's a scene imprinted on many a book and film aficionado's brain, as who wouldn't want to be the one with [...]

Book Review: Shine On, Luz Véliz 

Luz Véliz is having a rough year. Her life as a soccer star is over when her knee gets injured, her relationship with her dad was built entirely on a foundation of a shared love of all things soccer, and her world is about to be rocked even more when someone new comes along, changing everything [...]

You’re More Than Just Your Gift with Knoxville Moms

My latest post for the Knoxville Moms was inspired by Encanto, the soundtrack of which plays in my head on a constant loop. You can read the full post here! Here's a sneak peek: Like much of the population, I've been constantly listening to (and absently singing) songs from Encanto since I first saw it. I'm [...]

Author Interview: Ben Gartner of The Eye Of Ra Series

The Eye of Ra series is an action-packed, time-travel filled middle grade book series that sweeps readers across time and space. You can find my reviews of The Eye of Ra and Sol Invictus here, and my review of the upcoming People of the Sun here. The author of the Eye of Ra series, Ben [...]

Costco’s Italian Sausage and Pasta in Garlic Wine Sauce Review

Costco's email marketing is on point, and I've fallen for it many a time. Yet, I'm rarely disappointed. If you also receive Costco emails that send you into pangs of hunger just looking at the photos, you may have seen this promotion: When I saw a new meal kit at Costco, I immediately wanted to [...]

Book Review: A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons

Saffron Everleigh would choose plants over her academic colleagues any day. But alas, rumors are swirling about her status as a research assistant in 1923 London, and she must be more outgoing to show her colleagues she is professional and a student pursuing graduate studies, not her MRS. Her first step to overcome the rumors [...]

Book Review: People of the Sun

John and Sarah Tidewell are more well-traveled than you. Before you pull out your passport to brag, my statement is true regardless of how many countries you've visited. Because John and Sarah Tidewell have visited not only other countries, but other time periods. Despite the fact that this pre-teen/teen sibling duo may seem like normal [...]

2021 in Books: Reading Review

This is one of my favorite posts, and one I do every year. This is all of the books I read in 2021! Links are reviews, and * marks a favorite. I hope some of these make it on to your 2022 To Be Read pile! You can find the full list that's available for [...]

Book Review: Lessons in Chemistry

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus will forever change the way you look at a sharpened number two pencil. Elizabeth Zott is a wonderful chemist who could easily change the world, if only people would stop mistaking her for a secretary. Set in the midcentury era in the United States, Lessons in Chemistry is a [...]

Advent Adventures: Daily Christmas Traditions

A hallmark of my childhood Christmases was moving the marker on our hanging advent calendar. It wasn't the kind with wooden doors or fancy chocolates, just a simple but beautiful design of a cozy house with little numbered pockets for a small felt mouse to sit nice and cozy while we moved closer and closer [...]

Book Review: Lotería

Lotería by Karla Arenas Valenti is a masterpiece of magical realism, transporting the reader to the mythical Kingdom of Las Pozas and into a game of chance betwixt Life and Death. Life and Death meet each year to play the card game Lotería with the highest of stakes: a person's life. If Life wins the game, the person [...]

Book Review: Xavier in the Meantime

Kate Gordon enchants readers once again with Xavier in the Meantime. We first met Xavier in Aster's Good, Right Things (full review here), as he and Aster form a friendship and share their mental health struggles. Aster must do good, right things in secret every day to make sure that no one will leave here. [...]

Book Review: Under the Golden Sun

Jenny Ashcroft's Under the Golden Sun swept me off of my feet and back to 1940s England and Australia. I was completely absorbed by the story, and simply couldn't put it down. Traumatized by the war and her own personal tragedies, Rose isn't looking for any more life-changing experiences. Yet when she sees the ad [...]

Giftable Kid’s Books with Knoxville Moms

My latest post for the Knoxville Moms is all about the best books to gift kids and teens this holiday season. You can view the post on their site here, and find purchase links at the bottom of this post. Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and Amazon. I will earn a commission (at [...]

Book Review: The Eye of Ra Series

Ben Gartner's The Eye of Ra series takes readers on a grand adventure through time and space as siblings John and Sarah stumble upon a way to travel through time and space. This post will include reviews for The Eye of Ra and Sol Invictus, the first two books in the Eye of Ra series. [...]

Bookshop.org Free Shipping!

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and I will earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click through and make a purchase. I love Bookshop.org for their commitment to locally owned bookstores and variety of books. As the holiday shopping weekend kicks off, Bookshop.org is offering free shipping all weekend [...]

Holiday Gift Guide for Book Lovers

Tis the season to buy books, fa la la la la la la la la! If you're looking for gift ideas for the book nerd in your life, you've come to the right place. Whether its a book, a book accessory, or a stocking stuffer, this post is full of gift ideas for the book [...]