It’s hard to believe summer’s coming to an end. (I say that every summer, but this time I really mean it!) August has been a pretty challenging month for me—challenging to balance everything and challenging to get the work done that I set out to do. But there have also been some amazing and surreal moments. My ARCs arrived, which was one of the greatest-ever author experiences for me, and it’s so cool to know that FIRSTS is being read by bloggers and reviewers already! I’m truly honored and grateful for everyone who wants to read it… thank you!
Working on: I’m in the process or ordering swag and prizes for various FIRSTS giveaways that will start happening soon, plus planning other secret FIRSTS stuff. This has been a lot of fun, and I’m excited to be able to share more with everyone soon! Other than FIRSTS-related things, I’m revising a WIP and working on first drafts of two other new projects. The time I have carved out to free write every day has made a huge difference in my mindset, and it’s great to experience that first draft excitement and sense of possibility again!
Reading: To say that August has been a good reading month would be an understatement. I started the month with ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers. Ever since I read SOME GIRLS ARE, Courtney Summers has been an insta-buy author for me. I had a feeling ALL THE RAGE was going to be an incredibly special read, and all of my expectations were blown away. It’s the story of Romy, a girl from the wrong side of town who has been branded a liar after exposing the truth about golden boy Kellan Turner. This wasn’t an easy read: Romy’s story is at times brutal and unflinching, but I think it’s important that parts of the story are hard to read, because Courtney Summers isn’t sugar-coating anything. She writes with honesty, integrity, and the authenticity that her characters deserve. There are so many teenage girls like Romy, girls hurting in so many ways. Girls who have been wounded physically or emotionally or both. Girls afraid to speak up, or girls afraid that nobody will believe them if they do. Romy wears lipstick and nail polish like armor to defend herself against a world that keeps beating her down, to arm herself against a world that calls her a liar and sticks her with labels to dehumanize her and make her less than a person. This book will make you think, and that’s good. We should all be thinking about girls like Romy. Because girls can be torn down so much easier than they can be built back up, and that’s not okay.
I also read MORE THAN FASHION, the latest in Elizabeth Briggs’s CHASING THE DREAM series. I love this series, and especially how each book features a different character and can be read on its own without having previously read the others. MORE THAN FASHION is Julie’s story, and the scene is Behind the Seams, a reality show much like Project Runway. Julie is my favorite character so far in the entire series: she’s bold and unapologetic and owns her sexuality, and I really like the evolution of her relationship with Gavin. If you’re looking to read more NA, I highly recommend this series. It’s the perfect mixture of funny and sexy, the right combination of drama and tears and humor.
I received an ARC of my critique partner Emily Martin’s debut, THE YEAR WE FELL APART, as part of the Sweet Sixteens book tour. I have known Emily since Pitch Wars in 2014, when we were both part of Team Evelyn. Emily and I became CPs after the contest, and I read an early draft of the book that would become THE YEAR WE FELL APART. After reading the final version, my heart felt wrecked and put back together at the same time. I’ll be posting a longer review of this one later, but for now, all I have to say is… PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY! Gorgeous writing, a swoony, intense, complicated romance, and the messy reality of making mistakes and learning forgiveness. It’s stunning.
Watching: The background noise for my writing this month has largely been Dragon’s Den reruns on Netflix. I love Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank or any show where entrepreneurs are showcased—I admire anyone who can put themselves out there, and I love seeing the different inventions that people conjure up!
While I’m a bit sad to see August go, I’m starting to get the teensiest bit antsy for fall– for boots and pumpkin pie-flavored everything and crisp air and the changing leaves in the woods. Enjoy the last days of summer, everyone!