Sunday, February 15, 2015


Every once in a while, I find a book that will stay with me forever. I've read a lot of books and I've loved a lot of books but there's a short list that are the books I always recommend to people when they ask for a rec. Books that I re-read when I need whatever it is I get out of that specific book--beautiful language, a book to make me think, a book that makes me fall in love, that breaks my heart--whatever it may be. I have certain books I go to for certain things. And usually when a book makes that list, I have to share it with you guys because I want to let everyone in on the "secret" I've discovered (really, I'm late to the party half the time but it does feel like my special book/secret to me).

I have a new book for that list :)

Last night I finished THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY and fell absolutely in love.

Andrew Brawley was supposed to die that night. His parents did, and so did his sister, but he survived.

Now he lives in the hospital. He serves food in the cafeteria, he hangs out with the nurses, and he sleeps in a forgotten supply closet. Drew blends in to near invisibility, hiding from his past, his guilt, and those who are trying to find him.

Then one night Rusty is wheeled into the ER, burned on half his body by hateful classmates. His agony calls out to Drew like a beacon, pulling them both together through all their pain and grief. In Rusty, Drew sees hope, happiness, and a future for both of them. A future outside the hospital, and away from their pasts.

But Drew knows that life is never that simple. Death roams the hospital, searching for Drew, and now Rusty. Drew lost his family, but he refuses to lose Rusty, too, so he’s determined to make things right. He’s determined to bargain, and to settle his debts once and for all.

But Death is not easily placated, and Drew’s life will have to get worse before there is any chance for things to get better.

The man can write. Damn, he can write. I can't tell you how many lines and passages I have highlighted on my Kindle. The language is beautiful (which I am a huge fan of. I have my "word heroes" and Shaun Hutchinson is now one of them), the premise is unique. The book is really like nothing I've ever read before.

The whole cast of characters came alive for me. Trevor stole my heart. I wish Lexi could be my best friend. I ached for Rusty...and I really ached for Andrew as well. This book had some pretty painful parts--loss, hurt, death, fear, guilt. But it also made me fall in love. It gave me hope and showed me some really beautiful parts of life and the world too.

Really, that's life if you think about it. It's full of both ugly and beautiful. Happiness and sadness. THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY displayed that perfectly.

I admit I was a little unsure of a book with a graphic novel inside. I've never read one but I loved it. Patient F's story added another layer to an already great book.

THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY was added to my list for a few reasons--the beautiful language, the emotions, the characters, and the uniqueness of the story.

I loved it so much that I'm giving away an ebook copy! You must be able to accept ebooks gifted from Barnes and Noble or Amazon to win. In the comments tell me the name of the last special book you read, the last book you'll never forget. Leave your email address in the comment as well. I'll draw a winner Sunday, February 22nd.

And because I'm obsessed with quotes, I have a share a few of my favorites with you!

"I remember this one thought. I remember thinking that as bad as being on fire hurt, at least I didn't hurt inside anymore."

"Love's more than holding hands and going to dances. It's two people who struggle to live, even when they should maybe both be dead. When maybe one of them would be better off dead."

"I realize that adults are just as fucked as the rest of us. No one really grows up. No on unravels all of life's many mysteries. They just grow older and become better liars."

"I sit silently beside Rusy's bed, thinking of something to say that won't sound cliche. By now, I'm sure he's heard everything: how he'll be all right, and that everything happens for a reason. Those sorts of sentiments are bullshit. Even the people who say them don't believe them. Not really. They want to believe, but there are too many villains in the world and not enough heroes for anyone to truly buy into the scam that is hope."

"They've spent so long being sick, they don't know how to be in love."

"It begins when he's still a man in a suit, doing the kinds of boring things that men in suits do. The things that no one writes about because they know that boys don't really have nightmares about clowns or three-eyed tentacled beasts that rise from deep within volcanoes. When boys wake up screaming in the night, it's because they know that, one day, they'll have to grow into men who wear suits and spend their days doing boring things that cause them to rot from within, so their skin withers and blackens and cracks, leaking out their juices until they finally lie decaying and putrid, forgotten by a world what deemed them unworthy of remembering."

This book is one of my top three most anticipated reads of the year and it was everything I wanted it to be and more!

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Favorite reads of 2014

I'm pretty embarrassed by the number of books I read this year. 2014 was a tough year for me in a lot of ways and that reflected in the number of books I read. There were a few great books that really stood out as my favorite reads of the year. These don't have to be books that released in 2014. They're just books I read this year.





DARE YOU TO by Kate McGarry

EVERY DAY by David Levithan

What were some of your favorite reads of 2014?

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Huge announcement!

Hang tight, folks. This is going to be a long one. It will be worth it though :)

In early 2013, Allie Brennan sent me a picture she knew I would love. And I did. A lot. The second I saw it, I knew I had to write their story. I was crazy busy at the time--tons of contracts and deadlines so I couldn't get to it right away. Every week or so, I would pull this picture out and look at it. I have no idea who the people are. If they're models or if it's from someone's real life. It's not mine. I don't own any rights. But it was inspiring.

I posted it on Facebook one day and everyone fell in love. Before the day was over, they had names (Bradley and TJ). Later that week, they had a story. I didn't have time to write the book, but I made time. That's what you do when you love something, you make time for it. I probably drove Wendy, Jolene, Allie, Kelley, Christa and Steph crazy talking about this book but like always, they deal with my craziness :) I loved the story. I loved the journey. I wrote, a few of them beta read. I revised, sent it to my agent and eventually it went on sub.

While I waited, I couldn't stop thinking about TJ and Bradley. I contacted an artist who drew something up for me. This is NOT the cover, but it is Bradley and TJ. This is from their book and I'm pretty in love with it.

Artwork by Jeminabox

And now, I can finally announce that their story, which was inspired by such a cool photograph will be published from Harmony Ink.

THE HISTORY OF US is about two boys, both out, who go on an epic road trip to make a documentary for TJ's film class. Sometimes it's not about coming out, but about settling in. That's sort of the basis of this book--settling in, learning about who you are, and their journey of discovery while interviewing people from all sorts of different backgrounds while on their trip.

I can't tell you guys how excited I am to work with Harmony. I read a ton of their books, both their YA side and from Dreamspinner. I know they are a great home for THE HISTORY OF US.

More information soon :)

And wow, that didn't end up as long as I thought it would!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

2015 Anticipated Reads

Hey guys. I can't believe it's almost 2015. I always feel old when I say things like that. LOL. But really, time is flying by. I'm not sure where this year went.

Anyway, that's not the point of this post. As I as going through my book list, I decided to share some of the upcoming releases for 2015 that I can't wait to get my hands on!

And because I'm funny like that, I made a separate collage for those books that I plan to drop everything for the second they come out. These are the books that I would totally use a time machine for, jump to the future, grab these books and head back to know...if that was possible :)

I know I should be all cool and organized and hit you guys with blurbs or at least links for these but writing is calling. That's a good thing, right?

What are some of your most anticipated reads for next year?

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