Friday, May 06, 2016

Here's to All the Moms

Today is my mom's birthday. This is my mom:


Since Mother's Day is Sunday, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to all of the great moms in the world.


My parents were divorced when I was five. When your mom raises you alone, she's a special kind of superhero. This was my mom, my sister, and me in Germany when I was six:


There's something special about the relationship between a mother and her child. You only appreciate it as you get older. And that support doesn't end. Your mom will always be there for you, as your number one cheerleader.


How are you celebrating this Mother's Day?

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

IWSG: The Only Way to Fail...

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means hundreds of us will be posting about our insecurities. This month I'm a co-host, which means I get to help Ninja Warrior Alex out! It also means a lot of new people will be stopping by (*waves*).



Many of us are still recovering from the whirlwind that was this:



The goal of A to Z is to make new friends and have fun. Oh, and to challenge ourselves to blog every day.



As usual, not everyone made it to the end of the challenge. Some stopped at A. Some never made it past D. Many others dropped out along the way. That's okay...



People feel that they've "failed" if they don't make it all the way to Z. I feel they succeeded the day they published their "A" posts.



The same thing goes for National Novel Writing Month in November. Thousands of people sign up to try to write an entire novel in a month. Some people never sign up at all. Why?



Some make it to day 5 or day 10 or even day 20 and stop for whatever reason. They see themselves as failures. Failures. Despite the fact that by mere virtue of trying, they now have thousands--maybe even tens of thousands--of words they wouldn't have had otherwise. They can then keep writing in December, January, and beyond and have a full manuscript much more quickly than they would have.



Don't be afraid to set lofty goals. Then reach for those goals with all you have. Do your best...you can't fail as long as you try.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Best Books of April

I'm a little late because of the A to Z Challenge, but it's once again time to tell you about the best books I read this month. Here are the month's best!



There's something exciting about seeing an author's first book come out. The BFF Bucket List is the first book from the uber-talented Dee Romito and it hits shelves tomorrow. YAY! We'll be seeing lots more of her work in the future.



One of the most tragic things that can happen in middle school is the loss of a friendship. Yet that age seems to come with so much growth, it's easy for best friends to drift apart. In The BFF Bucket List, ultra-organized Ella desperately tries to save her friendship with her outgoing best friend Skyler. Skyler is making new friends, though, and the more Ella tries to get her to stick to this "bucket list," the stickier things seem to get. The story is heartbreaking in parts as the girls try to hold onto what they once had, but it also has a positive outcome.

You all know how much I love mysteries...and what can be more fun than a mystery that pairs a tween with adorable elderly ladies? Alison Cherry is a talented young adult and middle grade author and when I saw this cover, I couldn't resist:



In The Classy Crooks Club, a 12-year-old girl named AJ has to spend the summer living with her super-uptight grandmother, who is desperate to turn her into a well-mannered young lady. Soon into her stay, she starts to notice something is up with her grandmother's so-called "bridge club." They're actually a team of crooks, planning heists to liberate birds and other species from captivity. I have to say there's something adorable about a bunch of criminal grannies, dressed in black, trying to sneak into houses. In the end, AJ is the one who is the adult of the group. This book has humor, adventure, and a great message...you won't be able to put it down!

The next book is one that will jump out at every tween who sees it on the shelves. Hillary Homzie has captured the social media-obsessed tween audience with Queen of Likes.



Karma has a problem that will sound all too familiar to many readers. She spends far too much time on her phone. Her happiness is dictated by how many likes her social media photos get. When her parents take her phone away as punishment, she has to find new ways to validate herself. I loved this book. It has an important message disguised in an entertaining story, which is the best thing a middle grade book can do!

I read Kristin Rae's first book, Wish You Were Italian, and had so much fun going on an Italian adventure with her character. When I saw she had a new book, What You Always Wanted, I couldn't wait to read it.



My knowledge of Gene Kelly is mostly limited to his appearance alongside Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu. But the main character in What You Always Wanted knows all of his movies by heart. In her world, no guy can live up to her perception of Gene Kelly. Then she meets Jesse, a hunky baseball player who has hidden talents. Kristin nails the sexual tension between Maddie and Jesse and creates two characters you can't help but fall in love with.

My final read of the month is this steamy romance from Christine Rains.




In Big Yearning, a couple finds romance while on a team searching for Big Foot. When they become trapped in a cave, they find themselves in a race to get out before it's too late. This sexy, quick read will have you riveted from start to finish.

What are you reading?

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Cover Reveal: A Love That Disturbs by Medeia Sharif

A to Z is officially over and I can now go back to regular blogging. I'm kicking off May with a little support to one of my favorite bloggers, who also happens to be a kick-butt author, Medeia Sharif.

Today we're revealing Medeia's new, steamy cover. The book, A Love That Disturbs, comes out June 17th, but you can add it to your Goodreads to-read list now. Here's the hot cover. Scroll down to learn more about it.





Blurb:

Maysa Mazari is alarmed by her mother’s talk about arranged marriage. Meanwhile, as a hijab-wearing Pakistani-American, she wants to find love on her own. Her judgmental Muslim clique has protected her from racist taunts, although the leader, Aamal, is turning on her as Maysa strays from the group because of her attraction to Haydee.

Haydee Gomez is a former gang member and juvenile detention student. Now living with a clean-cut aunt, she wants to turn her life around, even though one person will never let her forget her roots—Rafe, her abusive pimp. Haydee attempts to pull away from a life of prostitution when she develops feelings for Maysa, although Rafe isn’t willing to give her up too easily. 

Finding themselves in danger from Maysa’s friends and Haydee’s pimp, it’s apparent their love disturbs everyone around them as they fight to stay together.

Bio:

I was born in New York City and I presently call Miami my home. I received my master’s degree in psychology from Florida Atlantic University. After becoming a voracious reader in high school and a relentless writer dabbling in many genres in college, I found my niche writing for young people. Today I'm a MG and YA writer published through various presses. In addition to being a writer, I'm a public school teacher. My memberships include Mensa, ALAN, and SCBWI.


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