So the coolest thing is going on in my writing world. I've connected with a group of talented authors who I really respect. One of these women is Stephanie Morrill. You may know her from her hip writing blog Go Teen Writers of her popular young adult fiction series: The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt. But her latest novel, The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet (Playlist Fiction) is her best yet.
Don't just get even, write a novel - The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet
For anyone who’s ever questioned who they truly are, The Revised Life Of Ellie Sweet will resonate in all the right places of your heart. Stephanie Morrill weaves a delightful story about Ellie, a high school girl with a passion for writing who prefers to stay under the radar. When two boys, an editor and her parents start to take notice of Ellie, her world gets flipped inside out. Ellie is forced to examine herself. She must decide who she wants to be with and at what price.
"He leaves me there on the bench, wondering about the balance of loving someone for who they are, but not wanting them to settle for anything less than who they could become."
Who are her friends? Who truly understands her? What matters to her most? But most importantly, Ellie must figure out how she’ll stay true to the person she was created to be.
"You can’t control what people are going to say, and paying too much attention to it can cost you your dreams."
This book is funny, sensitive and gut-wrenching all at the same time. Readers of Jenny B. Jones and Betsy St. Amant will find themselves engrossed in Ellie’s life and cheering for her around every corridor.
Stephanie Morrill lives in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. She claims her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee (but I know better), so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately she discovered a passion for young adult novels and has been writing them ever since.
The literary agency that represents me, MacGregor Literary, held a conference in Chicago this past November. At the conference, I had the blessing to be roommates with the beautiful, Bethany Jett. Bethany and I share a love of Christ, our husbands, our kids, writing for young women, and fashion (in that order). I had the opportunity to read her debut book, The Cinderella Rule, A Young Woman's Guide to Happily Ever After. After reading, I knew I had to share it with you.
The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman's Guide to Happily Ever After
Reading The Cinderella Rule is like chatting with your older, cooler cousin, you know the one who you always wanted to paint your nails and do your hair for you? And although Jett does discuss highlights and French manis, she also talks about something much more important and enduring—your future husband. “Of all the men holding glass slippers, he has to be your perfect fit.”
The Cinderella Rule explains that Mr. Right is someone who recognizes and seeks your inner beauty, and helps you shine brighter. "Go after your dreams and let your man find you doing what you love," Jett advises.
If he’s not doing those things then he’s not the one for you, not worth your time. Jett gives a straightforward, modern, conversational how-to for loving yourself in order to find Prince Charming and live happily ever after. References to Pretty Woman and Chuck E. Cheese make this book completely relatable. I found myself laughing out loud in some parts and tearing up in others. If you're female and you're single, you deserve to hear what Bethany has to share.
In 2012, Bethany Jett won the Florida Christian Writers Conference Writer of the Year award. Her debut book, The Cinderella Rule, hits bookstores in April of 2013. She is represented by Amanda Luedeke of the MacGregor Literary Agency. Bethany speaks to parents and teens, mentors students in her youth group, coaches cheerleading, and is raising three boys with her husband.
In my blog, I typically write about how God reveals Himself to me in everyday life, how He reminds me that He created me exactly how He intended me to be. Lately, I've been writing about books, because to me, they are one in the same. God ignites me when I write. He gives me my stories and my words. When I'm writing, God constantly blows me away. And now, He's wowed me with the fellow authors He's put in my life. You see, a group of indie, young adult authors have all formed a sort of sisterhood of stories. Myself, Laura Kurk, Stephanie Morrill, Rajdeep Paulus and the topic of my blog today, Jennifer Murgia, are publishing our latest novels with Playlist Fiction. In April four books are releasing in this exciting, edgy new line. Last week I featured Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk. This week I'm featuring Between These Lines by Jennifer Murgia. Jennifer and I have never met face to face, but if we'd gone to high school together we would have passed notes between every class--notes about music we were listening to and boys we had crushes on and stories we wanted to write. The notes would be folded in cool shapes with drawings and designs and colorful markings decorating the borders and creases. We do that now through hundreds of emails and IM's each week, sharing and laughing and collaborating. It blows me away that God knew how we would relate to each other, how He hooked us up with the same agent and the same line of books. He knew all along we could spark something within each other. And Jen's new book, Between These Lines casts all kinds of sparks. In her latest novel, Between These Lines, Jennifer Murgia captures the tension and intensity of high school relationships – relationships between teens and their families, between teens and their friends and between teens and their romantic interests. Murgia’s writing always has me yearning for the next page and the one after that. This fast paced novel laced with love, hate, fear and hope is as addicting as a bowl of M&M’s. Once you start reading, you will not want to, nor will you be able to stop
In Between These Lines, high school students Evie and Chase’s lives don’t cross paths. They can’t. Not in their school. Not with their cliques. But then an English paper changes everything.
One assignment forces Evie and Chase, despite the labels their friends and families and teachers adhere to them, to evaluate who they truly are, how their own lives differ and mirror each others. There’s only one thing in the way of their discoveries – Shane, school king, ringleader and Evie’s boyfriend.
The Bliss is another page-turner by Jennifer Murgia
If you're like me, and can't get enough of Jennifer's writing, relax. Jennifer Murgia is also the author of Young Adult Fantasy novels ANGEL STAR, LEMNISCATE and the prequel novella THE BLISS (Lands Atlantic Publishing).
She is an inspiration to me, a fellow author at Playlist Fiction (playlistfiction.com), the co-founder and coordinator for YAFest—an annual teen book festival in Easton, PA, and a Next Generation Indie Award Nominee. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, two children and a very spoiled cat.
Picture the beginning scenes of a movie. Two little girls are born, one in Oklahoma, one in Ohio. Their parents name them both Laura. Fast forward to where one of them is eight. She’s walking barefoot in the grass and marveling at the way each blade slides between her toes. Switch to a scene of the other girl, taking a walk in the woods. She hears a bird sing, noting it’s song sounds different amongst all these trees than it does in her yard. They notice the little things no one else sees. They store the details in their hearts to treasure and draw upon later. Fast forward to the present. Both girls are now women. They’ve grown out their hair long and wavy. They’re married and raising their families in college towns. They’re both writers. They even have the same agent, but they’ve never met.
And then they do. And they feel like they’ve known each other forever. This isn’t the screenplay for a movie, or the first scene of my next novel. This is the true story of my fellow Playlist Fiction author, Laura Kurk and myself. Today I review her stunning novel, Glass Girl.
Have you ever read a book that was so beautiful, you had to tell everyone about it? Glass Girl by Laura Anderson Kurk is one of those books. It is beautiful and perfect and eloquent. Kurk has mastered the art of imagery. Every scene is picturesque, each moment precise—palpable. Kurk’s characters are so real, I longed to hold their hands to comfort them, nod my head in approval when they were on the path to discovery, and hug them during their personal triumphs. I found myself reading passages over again, just to savor them, like a rich piece of chocolate. Glass Girl is a stunning story of loss and gain that will find its way into your heart and remain there.
Glass Girl is the story of Meg, a girl with pieces of me and pieces of you encased in her heart. Like all of us, she aches for a sense of belonging. Like all of us, she longs to be loved. Only it’s harder for Meg than for most, because of the traumatic hand of cards she’s been dealt.
This beautiful, fragile, yet eloquent story takes Meg Cavanaugh to Wyoming, away from her home and everything she’s known in Pittsburgh. As her family attempts to escape their pain and start over, Meg feels she might shatter, literally. But on her first day in a new place, she meets two boys who give her a new perspective of herself – she’s less fragile than she thinks.
I could feel the protaganist’s, Meg's heart skip a beat for Henry and ache for her mom and miss Wyatt like no one has ever missed anyone before or sense.
Thank you, Laura Anderson Kurk for writing so lyrically and for sharing this stunning story of loss and gain. And the great news for readers is that Kurk's sequel to Glass Girl, Perfect Glass, releases in June.
Laura Anderson Kurk writes with stunningly, beautiful grace. Visit her website at www.laurakurk.com
Laura Anderson Kurk (playlistfiction.com.) resides in her college town—College Station, Texas, where she drove in under cover of darkness when she was way too young and proceeded to set the place on fire. (Actually, she stayed in the library stacks for the majority of her tenure as a student at Texas A&M University, but in her imagination, she was stirring things up.) She majored in English for the love of stories, and due to a massive crush on F. Scott Fitzgerald. She continued on to receive an advanced degree in literature. She writes contemporary books for young adults, a genre that gives her the freedom to be honest. Her debut novel Glass Girl is an unconventional and bittersweet love story, and its sequel Perfect Glass makes long-distance love look possible.
She’s crazy about her husband and her two ginger-headed kids. I'm crazy about her and her writing. Laura blogs at Writing for Young Adults (laurakurk.com). On twitter, she’s @laurakurk.
Magic. This book starts with magic and ends with magic. Not the kind we read in Harry Potter, but something more powerful. At first I got tangled in the voodoo and superstition that clouds the first few chapters, but soon I realized the mysterious magic in Malawi isn't that different than the monsters under the bed, cracked mirrors, Friday the 13th and black cats of American culture. What is different from William Kamkwamba's life is poverty. But he does not let that stop him from creating real magic. William is a boy too poor to afford school, too poor to have more than a partial meal a day during the famine, too poor to have electricity or a decent pair of shoes or running water. But William is not poor on dreams or desire. He feels a passion for science, and instead of turning away, dismissing his dream of creating windmills (which equal power and running water for his village) due to his extremely poor circumstances, he chooses to persevere. This is a book of chasing your dreams and watching them come true. This is a story of overcoming all the odds, no matter how severe and bleak they appear. This is a tale of persevering -- not for weeks or months, but for years and years through ridicule and disbelief. But, the best part is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is not a fairy tale. It is true. And if William, an impoverished boy in Malawi can bring power and water to his village, then what can you do?
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It's back to school time, which consumes our brains with thoughts of school supplies and uniforms or back to school clothes. We wonder who got which teacher and who will be in whose class. But, it's not like that for everyone. It's not like that around the world. John Wood was a senior exec at Microsoft. A trekking trip to Nepal changed his perception of life - changed his life, and the lives of so many others. "Perhaps sir, you'll someday come back with books." Was a plea from a headmaster at a school with an empty library John met on his travels. He promised he would return with books. John Wood kept his promise. This is the story of how he left his fast-paced life to bring books and libraries to children who had never had the priveledge of either. Ten years later, John's organization, Room to Read <a rel="nofollow" target="_blank" href="http://www.roomtoread.org">www.roomtoread.org</a
> , has helped over 985,000 children around the world gain access to 9.4 million books, 11,246 libraries and 1442 schools. Now that's a happy ending, only it's not an ending, just a beginning. His story is eye-opening and inspiring. As you plan for back to school, whisper a prayer of thanks for the schools, buildings and books you and/or your children have access to. Shout a prayer for John Wood and his work and for all of those who have not.
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Although I live in a college town where the University is named after the Miami Indian tribe, I shamefully admit, I was ignorant about modern day life on a reservation. Sherman Alexie opened my eyes to the traditions, trials, temptations and torments of his reservation - a lesson I appreciate. His voice was authentic, however it was also coarse and crude. I appreciate showing a high school boy's angst and sexual tension, because these are real issues. But these tensions could have been illustrated without the excessive foul language, graphic descriptions and obsession with private body parts. I felt a good, true story of overcoming adversity was jaded by gratuitious cursing and sexual comments that distracted me from the plot.http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/4512733-laura-l">View
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The day I finished this book I turned to page one and started all over again. This is a book to read in small bites, not to gobble all at once. There is so much to digest. It doesn't matter how many days it sits on my shelf, whenever I reopen this book, there is something that speaks to me - a lesson waiting - it seems - just for me. But when I start chatting about striving to be the best me God created me to be with friends, I find Ortberg's message rings true for them as well. It is for everyone. God created you as a beautiful unique individual, with certain talents, gifts and capabilities. You were not designed to be like anyone else or to compete with anyone else or to compare yourself with anyone else. You were designed to let your own facets shine with the brilliance God gave you. Definately worth reading to remind yourself of this amazing gift and to strive to become youier.http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/4512733-laura-l">View
Firstly, I am a Francophile - meaning I love almost anything and everything French. Secondly, I loved this book. Now, did I love this book because it is set in the beautiful Provence region of France and the characters speak French and everyone eats French food and drinks French wine OR did I love this book, because it's a light, witty tale that made me smile time and time again? C'est impossible for me to seperate the two, but Hotel Pastis was a perfect summer read -- with romance, mystery, suspense and humor -- it had all of the elements I was looking for in a fun read. It also made me long to return to France and to read another Peter Mayle novel.
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