Zack Smedley Q&A

ZS photoHi Readers,
I have a treat for you today.
I was lucky enough to do a Q&A with Zack Smedley, author of Deposing Nathan. I want to thank Zack again for agreeing to this Q&A and I hope all my readers enjoy it.
Thank you again and without further ado….
Zack Smedley Q&A
Q: How did you think up the idea for Deposing Nathan?
A: Basically, I glued two ideas together…these being, i) “I want to write a legal drama similar to the SOCIAL NETWORK, but with higher stakes,” and ii) “I want to discuss bisexuality, Catholicism, and the messy collision of the two.” Thus, the idea for DEPOSING NATHAN was born: a religious teen boy, Nathan, is legally forced to recap how he met his best friend (Cam), the complex friendship that followed, and what led to the night where Cam ultimately stabbed him. As Nate tells their story, he’ll have to decide how much to truly reveal…and in doing so, risk tearing his and Cam’s lives apart.
 
Q: What made you want to be an author?
A: It’s the way I best know to help people.
 
Q: What has been your favorite moment as a new author so far? 
A: The first time I received a monologue from a reader. There are fan emails, and then there are monologues. Emails that start with someone thanking me for the book I’ve written, then describing their own coming out journey/personal struggles, then telling me how DEPOSING NATHAN helped them make peace with their own sexuality, or their kid’s sexuality, or their journey to reconcile religion with queerness. The first time I got one of these monologues, it reduced me to messy sobs…I couldn’t believe someone had written a multi-page email about how my book had literally changed their life. That was on March 29th. Since then, I’ve received at least 2 or 3 monologues every week on top of the regular fan mail. I print out every one of them for my wall. My book being praised by the New York Times? That was nice. But the wall of monologues is what I look at when I need a reminder to keep writing.
Q: Deposing Nathan discusses religion a lot. What made you want to tackle religion and dealing with sexuality and religion? 
A: Quite simply, there wasn’t a book in YA that satisfactorily covered it. There are a few that tackle the struggle of religion vs. sexuality, but these all treat religion as a complex obstacle to escape from. I saw a whole group of teens–Christians who also identified as LGBT–getting left behind by the lack of representation in the YA community. There wasn’t a book they could look to and say, “Oh! So it IS possible to be both and here’s why.” I wanted to write a book that fiercely makes that point, while also covering topics like how to navigate toxic friendships, the importance of self-care, and how to be yourself while under the thumb of controlling parents.
Q: Did you see yourself relating to Nathan or Cam? Both? Neither? Or was there another character in the book you especially related to. 
A: Certain parts of both. Cam’s sharp, rapid-fire sarcasm is definitely borrowed from my own personality. I relate less so to Nate–which is ironic since he’s the narrator–but underneath his deeply Catholic background is a carefree, gleefully profane teenager aching to be himself and experience the world without anyone to control him. I feel like all of us experienced that at least a little during our own teenage years.
 
Q:  Deposing Nathan also deals with a present day deposition hearing and a large amount of court/law discussions. Did you know a large amount about these topics before Deposing Nathan? If not, how did you go about learning about the subjects for your book? 
A: I knew none of it. Once I’d decided which state the story took place in (West Virginia), I spent about two months immersed in legal research, learning bylaws that I could probably still quote to this day. It was very important to me that even the most stringent lawyer could dissect this and go, “yeah, that’s pretty much how this part would work.” I watched many, many hours of real depositions, which are a lot less interesting than this. There are obviously a few liberties taken–for example, there’s no court reporter present, as I didn’t want any more characters cluttering up the background–but these are small & deliberate.
 
Q: What is your daily writing process usually like? 
A: At the risk of being boring–it’s nothing fancy! I sit down with my mechanical keyboard (which I got due to how fast I type), and put on some form of music…this could be anything from Tchaikovsky to coding music to the High School Musical 2 soundtrack. Then I just…crank out what I need to crank out. It really is as simple as that.
 
Q: What do you hope that readers will take away from your book after reading it? 
A: I think the central theme of the book can be best summarized by the most-quoted line from it, in which Nate reaches a realization about God as well as his abusive family: “If you think you need to earn enough points on someone’s rubric for them to accept you, then either you’re wrong to assume they won’t love you for who you are, or they never loved you in the first place.”
Q: Are you working on a next project and if so could you maybe give us a hint to what it is? 
A: All I can say for now is it won’t be a sequel to DEPOSING NATHAN 🙂
I want to thank Zack again for his participation in the Q&A.
As always, please like, comment, and follow.
Until next time dear readers.
– Jessica
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Mini Review: Michigan Vs. The Boys

MVTBDear Readers,

Recently I received an ARC of Michigan Vs. The Boys by Carrie S. Allen from KCP Loft. I read it in one sitting & thought it was a pretty good read.

Sometimes I like to do mini reviews of books. These reviews are able to get the information across that I want readers/potential readers of the book to know but in a condensed and “to the point” kind of way.

This is one of those reviews:

I read this book in a few hours and honestly I was happily surprised with how fast paced it went. The relationships were built up well and I think it was really interesting to see a novel like this. I also enjoyed the fact that the book was advertised as having to do somewhat with #MeToo and that how it was handled in the book was well done and did not go the angle I expected. I think if I had to say one thing that kinda bugged me it would be that I felt like the hockey lingo and game descriptions went a little over my head. I think the same  could be said for other readers who are not very knowledgable of the sport. However, I do believe that all readers will enjoy this topical, fun, & inspiring story. I know I did.

4 out of 5 stars.

**** out of *****

Please like, comment, and follow me.

Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

I received this book from KCP Loft in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Life: A General/June Update

Dear Readers,

So lately I have been so busy with everything from book reviews to reading to job searching to writing and more. I have a lot of projects I’ve been working on and I wanted to share with all of you some updates about my life and those projects. I also wanted to give you all some hints/ideas about future posts that I will be making hopefully this month.

So without further ado…

Job Searching: I have been job searching for a while now and sadly have not had much success. I do have a few freelance positions and possible part time local work I can do, but I sadly I have not had too much success on the job front in regards to any book publishing or marketing/publicity/writing jobs for any companies. I am gonna continue to try and hopefully something will come up soon.

What I Did This Month: So far I have not done a ton of things, but I was lucky enough to attend BookCon this year for the Saturday date. If you want to hear more about my opinions on that please click here. I also recently saw the Elton John biopic: Rocketman. I won’t have time to really review it on this blog, but I do have to say if you’re a fan of rock music and Elton then you will love it. I liked Bohemian Rhapsody, but I thought this movie was way better. I am so excited next month when Spider-Man Far From Home is released.

What I Read This Month: So far I have read about 5 books in the month of June. I am currently reading The Princess and The Fangirl and will hopefully be talking about it this month on my blog. I read an ARC of Geekerella on the bus to BookCon and loved it. I am not sure if I will be writing a Geekerella review, but will definitely try to at least write something for PATFG. I also read Mason Deaver’s I Wish You All The Best (a book I hope to talk about in a post I hope to do this month for Pride Month), an ARC of Going off Script by Jen Wilde, an ARC of All The Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, and Alyssa Sheinmel’s A Danger to Herself and Others. This month I especially want to read more books with Queer protagonists and/or that are written by authors who are members of the LGBTQAP+ community. So far 4/5 of the books I’ve read this month fit that qualification. I am always trying to read books about and/or by queer authors, but I especially would like to do so this Pride Month.

What I am Watching: As I stated before I saw the movie Rocketman & it was fantastic. Besides movies though I have also been watching a variety of different things on Netflix. I recently binge watched all of the newest Netflix series, Dead To Me. I have also started to watch some episodes of Chef’s Table and The Chef Show (if you like food and Marvel actors than I suggest you watch The Chef Show). Both are great to watch and fantastic if you’re a foodie like me. I have a lot of movies I still want to watch that I am hoping to get to like BookSmart (in theaters now & I believe Netflix in some countries outside of the US) and Always Be My Maybe (streaming on Netflix now). I can’t wait to see all of these shows and films in their entirety as soon as possible.

Upcoming Potential Posts: So I have a few ideas for posts that I would like to do this month. I am aiming for at least 4 post in the month of June, but not sure if I will make that goal. I believe I probably will though if I had to guess.

These are all just ideas and I can’t promise that I will be doing all of them or all of them right now. However, I hope to turn at least 1-2 of these post ideas into a reality.

Pride Book Roundup: This would be a post filled with my thoughts and feelings about Queer books that I have been reading in the month of June. I have already read 4 books with protagonist and/or writers who are members of the LGBTQIAP+ community and counting. I aim to have most of the books I read this month be books that are great to read for Pride month so I think that this post is probably most likely out of all these ideas. However, I probably won’t write or post it until the last week or two of June.

Lady Rogue ARC Review: I recently got an ARC of Jenn Bennett’s Lady Rogue on Netgalley. I can’t assure you that I will be able to read it before June ends, but I hope to read it soon and post my review here.

Updating The Classics: This is an idea where I could write a listicle about a few books I read as kids that were classics and how I’d give them a modern twist. I am sure that this has been done to death in theory and reality, but I wanted to give my own spin on it. I was possibly thinking of discussing titles like Anne of Green Gables, A Christmas Carol, To Kill A Mockingbird, etcNot sure if I will end up making this post a reality, but we will see.

Tips for BooksForTrade: I have been using the #booksfortrade for a while now on Twitter. Many people I know also use the hashtag to trade books or ARCs that they do not want in exchange for ones they do. So I have picked up a few things over the years to say the least. I want to help others in their efforts to trade books so I figured why not try my hand at writing up some tips.

 

Thank you all so much for reading this post. What do you think of what I have been doing and my ideas for posts? Do you have anything you’d like to suggest I read, watch, write, etc.? Let me know below in the comments.

Please like, follow, and comment.

Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

 

We Need To Talk About BookCon: The Good and Bad Of BookCon

Originally, I was going to do a post about the con and just talk about what I got and who I met and all that (which I will do a little in this post). However, after this experience and hearing a large amount of responses regarding the organization of the event I decided that this was the way I wanted to do it.

First of all, I want to talk about the good parts of the convention. At least for me, I really liked the variety of activities they had around the convention center. There was a Baby-Sitters Club section with BSC photo booth and bedazzling section and more. There were a lot of places to take interesting photos and things were constantly happening.

I also felt like the setup was decently easier to follow. The layout of the center seemed to have booths related more to each other or the publishers all in certain sections. I also liked that the booths for stores seemed to have their own section as well.

Overall, when it came to those aspects the convention did pretty well. They also had a lot of interesting people to meet, things to do, etc.

Sadly though, besides those things I don’t have much positive to say.

My biggest issue with BookCon this year was the chaos of lines and what the publishers were willing to give. When I went to BookCon in 2017 I went home with about 8 books. This year I was only able to get 4. Now this could partially be my fault as I did not always check when certain giveaways were going to be.

The chaos of these lines though…I blame the con and publishers for.

There were lines filled with people who were shoving, cutting, and pushing. There were people lining up before the line started, but those people did not always get to be in front or where they deserved to be. There were not line separators or anything like that to keep the line straight and organized like it should have been.

Something else that I found annoying was the fact that while there was a lot to do, there did not seem to be as many deals, ARCS, simple opportunities for visitors compared to previous years. While I understand ARCs are given for free with hope that people will use them to promote the book and review it before publication, I also feel like BookCon is supposed to be different than other cons that you are constantly spending money on. When I attended the con before, like I said I got around 8 books at least. The difference was before there were tables of ARCs lying out, indie authors signing free copies of their books, and more. This year they had a booth with a line going what felt like half way through the Javits center and it was for the chance to win either a book or nothing. It was apparently a lollipop game where you pull our a pop from this peg board and you either win I think 1/4 ARCs or nothing. I feel like the fact that there were so many people lined up just for the chance to get an ARC says something about the lack of ARCs this year at BookCon. I really felt like the publishers should have had more ARCs prepared or had more giveaways prepared. That was probably one of the biggest differences between BookCons as of recent compared to a few years ago. I would love to hear what other people think though because maybe it was just poor planning on my part or something else. Not entirely sure.

The last issue I had was with the publishers themselves not giving discounts. I get that the company’s need to make money, but I think besides I believe Macmillan giving 20% and Sourcebooks selling their paperbacks for 5 dollars and hardbacks for 10 those were the only real deals that the publishers were having. Most of them publishers were selling their books at list price. Again, I understand the publishers need to make money. However, I felt like if publishers were not going to offer as many ARCs this year then they should have given us more deals on the merchandise they were selling. Some people spend hundreds or maybe even over 1,000 dollars just to come to BookCon after plane tickets, hotels, etc. and just selling books that we could buy any other day for the same price or even cheaper is not really a good luck for publishers or something that says they care as much about their fans. Maybe that is a little harsh, but I felt like some publishers and con employees were acting like it was a great deal for us to buy the book for the same price as the Barnes and Nobles when in reality it just was not.

Overall, my BookCon experience was a mixed bag. I am in no way upset that I went as I met a lot of cool people, got some great swag and books (I got a signed copy of I Wish You All The Best so that is always a win), and had a pretty fun time. However, I did feel that the con was pretty chaotic, the crowds and lines could have been better organized, there could have been more deals on the books at more publisher’s booths, and I wish there had been more ARCs and/or chances to get ARCs.

What do you think? Do you agree with my views? Disagree? Let me know in comment below.

As always, please like, comment, and follow.

Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

 

PS. If you want to check out my haul from BookCon please click here.

 

Update: Going To Book Con Tomorrow

Hi Everyone,

I am sorry I have been lacking in following a posting schedule lately. I’ve been trying to get back into blogging, but I’ve been having trouble getting into books lately. I have been reading a lot of books, but finding books I really want to keep reading and not struggle through has sadly been a challenge.

Fear not fellow readers, I have excellent news.

I am heading to BookCon 2019 tomorrow.

It is gonna be an adventure for sure (especially since I am going to be taking an early morning car ride, train, bus ride, and then another car ride to the center where the con is being held and then doing that basically in reverse hours later).

But I am so happy to be going, seeing old friends, meeting new friends, seeing authors that I admire, and hopefully bringing home a lot of ARCS and swag items.

I know it is gonna be tons of fun and I am so excited to say the least.

I will be doing a full Book Con Saturday recap after the convention probably next week.

Anyway, I just wanted to give you all that little update and let you know what is to come on this blog probably next week.

Thank you all again for reading.

And as always…please like, follow, and comment.

Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

Media Recommendations for Mental Health Awareness Month

Dear Readers,

May is an important month for many people. We celebrate Mother’s Day in May, Graduations, Memorial Day, etc.  We have parties, brunches, and many other celebrations.

One important thing about May though is is it’s also Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health and having good mental health representation in books, movies, TV, and more is something that I am extremely passionate about.

I have written similar posts in the past, but I wanted to give some recommendations today for not only books with good mental health rep, but also some movies, TV shows, etc.

So without further ado.

 

Books 

I have talked in the past about books that I’ve enjoyed that feature great mental health rep. However I just wanted to give a few recs (some I may have talked about in past and others I may have not). Also this will not feature all the books I have ever read with great mental health rep, but I wanted to point just a choice few out that I have personally loved.

Eliza and Her Monsters

If you’re looking for a book that has a relatable character in regards to mental illness and the “fangirl life” then you’ve come to the right place. This book about an anxious and introverted teen who creates a popular web comic is extremely fun and relatable. The books focus on family, friendships, and relationships was like I have never seen before. It also deals with a character that has depression and anxiety. There are some tough scenes to read so this book may be triggering to some especially regarding depression and also possibly suicidal thoughts. So reader discretion advised if that subject matter is possibly triggering to you.

Every Last Word 

Every Last Word is a great book with unique characters, a fantastic plot, a shocking twist, and great OCD representation. While I cannot speak for anyone who has OCD (since I do not), from what I have seen others say about the book it is pretty good & factual representation. I am extremely happy that I picked this book up because sadly many information I thought I knew about OCD from TV and film seemed to be falsified as I learned that the extreme need for neatness or cleanliness in regards to every character who has OCD is more of a misconception and stereotype rather than totally true for every person with OCD. I also learned about intrusive thoughts (something I and many other people deal with) and how that ties into OCD. I really enjoyed this book and am happy to say it is in my top 5 favorite books of all time.

Under Rose Tainted Skies 

This book is a book that is own voice and deals with a character who has agoraphobia. The book is entertaining and really helps the reader to learn about the character and what living with agoraphobia is like. I also appreciated the fact that the MC in the book see’s a therapist throughout the story and it is seen in a positive light. The book also deals with the MC having anxiety and OCD. That is something I also rarely see in a book, that being a character who has multiple mental illnesses being treated. The book even features a cute romance that is bound to put a smile on your face.

The Weight of Zero

I wrote a review for this book that I will link here. So I won’t say too much about it. Just know that this book features a character with bipolar disorder and has excellent friendship and an intriguing mother and daughter relationship. You really get to see a lot of character development and a look at group therapy sessions that the main character attends. I also want to warn readers that this book does deal with grief and I think a suicide attempt so please be careful when deciding to/if you are going to read this book especially if those topics are triggering to you.

Life Inside My Mind 

The last book I wanted to share is a nonfiction book. I have seen a few different books over the years featuring popular author anthologies in regards to different topics that all the authors have dealt with in one way or another. I really enjoyed this one personally and while not all the stories were own voice like I had hoped, everyone does great at telling a story about how they have been impacted by mental illness. I loved the variety of different voices and storytelling formats that the book has in relation to each writers’ unique style. Like many anthologies not every story will stick with you and some stories may be more interesting to you than others. But I do want to recommend it as I think it is a well written and detailed anthology that discusses mental illness and mental health in a relatable and smart way.

 

Movies

Iron Man 3

If anyone knows me then they know that my favorite Marvel superhero and one of my favorite superheroes in general is Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Tony Stark is smart, funny, charismatic, good looking, and even relatable (similar to the actor playing him aka Robert Downey Jr., a man who is also my favorite actor). How do I find a billionaire, philanthropist, genius, and former playboy relatable you may ask? Well after the events of the first Avengers movie, this film deals with Tony’s mental health in regards to PTSD and anxiety in response to The Avengers. If you are someone like me who was not extremely thrilled with the mental health portrayal in Avengers: Endgame then please watch Iron Man 3. I love that this movie showcases a superhero who has anxiety and PTSD & it really helped me to see something like that portrayed on the big screen. If that doesn’t convince you the film also has Pepper Potts kicking ass, an adorable child, a controversial character plot twist (some people hate it and some love it), and it even technically counts as a Christmas movie. This movie means a lot to me as someone who deals with a lot of general and social anxiety and I hope that it will mean a lot to you too.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower 

This is a film that is one of my favorite movies ever and that is based on one of my favorite books ever. This book to film adaptation also covers a variety of serious topics some of which are depression and suicide. I love this movie and that characters. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller are all fantastic both individually and together. This movie also has a fantastic soundtrack that will honestly make you want to drive through a tunnel while David Bowie’s Heroes is playing. This movie has a lot of great laughs, will make you cry, and deals with a variety of issues especially in terms of mental health. The movie does again touch on suicide, physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, homophobia, etc. so please note that those topics may be triggering to some viewers. However, if you do feel comfortable watching this film then I suggest you do. It is a fantastic look at the life of a kid starting high school and how so many things can impact you…both positively and negatively.

Charlie Bartlett 

Charlie Bartlett is similar to the past two movies I mentioned. Charlie Bartlett also features the acting styles of Robert Downey Jr like Iron Man 3. It also, like Perks, focuses on a kid in high school dealing with mental health issues. However, this movie is more of a teen comedy in which our main character, Charlie, becomes somewhat of a school psychiatrist as he conducts sessions in the bathroom of his school and distributes drugs that his own doctor prescribes him (after using the stories of his peers to get his own doctor to write him a prescription). The movie is extremely funny and well written. It has a few early 2000s’ teen movie character tropes, but actually discusses some issues I was not expecting in a film like this and not just regarding mental health. The way it talks about popularity too is somewhat similar to other teen films, but with kind of a unique angle. Charlie Bartlett is a film that I have trouble discussing because you honestly just have to experience it for yourself. So I encourage you to watch this great and extremely underrated film.

TV Shows 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 

I sadly wasn’t able to talk much about female mental health representation when it came to movie characters. However, when it comes to TV there are a few different representations that I feel positive I can discuss. The first being the amazing musical comedy that is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. CEGF is a show that was on the CW for 4 seasons and ended this year. It followed a NY lawyer who one day decides to follow her ex-boyfriend whom she dated at camp to his hometown of West Covina, CA. That synopsis may sound a little dated and maybe even anti-feminist. However, the reveal is that following her boyfriend has more to do with her desire to be happy again like she was at camp. The show focuses on love, friendship, family, and mental health awareness. The main character, Rebecca, visits a therapist, takes medication, and gets diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. The show covers other topics such as queer representation, abortion, alcoholism, etc. However, it is an extremely funny and entertaining show. Oh and did I mention it is a musical comedy with at least one original song in each episode. If you are a supporter of musicals, mental health awareness, and also want to watch the growth of an amazing female protagonist and her friends then this is the show for you. I should mention in Season 3 there is a point in the show where the MC attempts to commit suicide via overdosing on pills on a plane. It happens at the end of the episode: “I Never Want To See Josh Again.” Rebecca ends up surviving, but I just wanted to give a warning for those who may not wish to watch a suicide attempt. The scene is very well done, but could possibly be triggering regardless and I wanted to just give a warning.

One Day At A Time 

This reboot of the 1970s Normal Lear show of the same name was on Netflix for 3 seasons. And as sad as I am to see it canceled so soon, I do believe it is something that everyone should take the time to watch. This show is a sitcom that tackles a wide variety of topics like sexism in the workplace, rape culture, sexuality, gender identity, addiction, racism, homophobia, and mental health. In the show, a former military member and now mom and nurse practitioner, Penelope deals a lot with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. She even goes to a support group for fellow former military women who suffer from similar mental health issues.  There have been a lot of great episodes in the show that have dealt with Penelope and even Elena’s mental health such as the episodes entitled: Anxiety and Hello Penelope.  These episodes are extremely realistic when it comes to mental health representation and overall well done (like many episodes in the show). It is really hard to discuss this show because it is honestly something you have to experience. However, if you have a Netflix subscription and are interested all 3 seasons are currently available to stream.

Bojack Horseman

A lot of people don’t take this show as seriously as they should. They take one look at the animation or the first ep and decide it is just another adult cartoon. However, I urge you to look at it more closely. This show follows a washed up actor (who also happens to be a horse..animals and people coexist in this world and it is not really explained so just go with it) voiced by Will Arnett and how he is trying to be taken seriously as an actor while also dealing with alcoholism and mental health issues. The show starts slow, but as the show goes on the episodes get better and better. There are seasons were I can safely say there is barely if any bad or skippable episodes. Bojack Horseman’s depiction of depression and other mental illnesses are fantastic and the show really gives you time to think about what you’re watching, what the characters are feeling, and what you are feeling. This show asks a lot of questions that are not easily answered and I feel more and more media should be doing that. The show (also like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) has some great songs, amazing comedy, some of the best continuity that I’ve ever seen in TV, interesting concept episodes (there is an entire episode that is just Bojack giving a eulogy & just talking to the viewers and another that is almost completely underwater with barely any dialouge) and more. If you have not checked out Bojack Horseman then please log into Netflix right now and do yourself a favor. I now you won’t forget.

 

Musicals

This section is a little harder to talk about because I have not had the pleasure of being able to see most of these shows. However, I will use what knowledge I do have of these shows to tell you why you should check them out if you get the chance to.

Dear Evan Hansen

DEH is a musical that I have not had the pleasure of seeing, but I have listened to the soundtrack and read the book. The musical tackles topics like suicide and depression and is filled with a great cast, music ranging from catchy to beautiful (and everything in between), and even won the Tony for best musical.

Be More Chill 

Now I do not know a ton about this musical. I do know however it is based on a Ned Vizzini novel and it has a fantastically relatable song called Michael in The Bathroom that probably any anxious introvert can feel a connection to. The show actually has a lot of discussion involving anxiety and is one I believe at least deserves checking out.

Next To Normal

This is a show that I am extremely familiar with. I have seen productions of it and have listened to the soundtrack on repeat a billion times. This show was one of the first (if not the first) musical I ever heard of to revolve around mental health awareness and mental illness. It is beautifully heartbreaking and if you can see any kind of production of it at all I urge you all to do so.

We Have Apples 

This musical is really hard to talk about because there is just not a lot of information I can even find about it. But from everything I have seen from other resources, I feel pretty confident in recommending it. The show follows a young girl named Jane, who along with a few other patients in a writing group, decide to expose a mental health facilities inadequate care after she is admitted there. The show has had a few performances, but I have been having issues finding any information about current shows or readings or anything like that. Here is the website link if you’d like to check it out though.

 

Mental Health Awareness is an extremely important topic. So many mental illnesses are stigmatized or thought to be different than they actually are (such as OCD representation). I am so happy that so many more books, shows, films, & other forms of media are talking about topics like depression, suicide, anxiety, and more. I am hoping that this continues and we see even more mental illness focused media.

For now, I hope you enjoyed this blog and my suggestions. Do you agree with my list? Are there any suggestions you have that I did not feature? If so, please let me know in the comments below.

As always, please like, comment, and follow.

Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

 

 

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Nina HillThis book is  one of the quirkiest and fast talking.

And when I saw that I mean it in the best possible way.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is the story of a introverted bookstore employee named Nina Hill. Nina has friends, goes on dates sometimes, and frequents various activities such as book clubs and trivia nights. However, that doesn’t mean Nina does not get anxious or enjoy reading a book in the comfort of her own home. Something you also need to know about Nina is she likes structure, order, planners, and seems to live her life by them. That is all about to change though when she discovers not only the identity of her father, but her new family as well.

Something I really enjoyed about this book is first of all the characters. All of the characters in this story are interesting, smart, and quippy.  Honestly, if this book was made into a show or movie then I would want Amy Sherman-Palladino (aka the creator of Gilmore Girls) to direct it. I love how even the children characters have quips in their back pockets. The characters in this book were ones that felt realistic and extremely fun to get to know. I really love how Nina was represented as someone with anxiety and introversion, but the author still had her going out, going on dates, and doing a variety of other activities. A lot of times introverted characters can be written similar to someone with agoraphobia (not that there is anything wrong with that or that there are characters that don’t have both agoraphobia and anxiety). So I appreciated the fact that this character was written to be someone who likes to be somewhat outgoing when it comes to her activities, but does enjoy keeping to herself a lot of times too. It was very relatable to me and I feel that most of the characters will feel that way to readers. Nina also has a lot of great bonds in the book. I especially love the relationship between Millie and Nina. Them being sisters and loving reading was really cool and cute to see.

That leads me into my next point about the book which is the relationships. This book introduces a variety of relationships and everyone seems to have some form of chemistry or ability to bounce off one another. I could picture the romance blossoming between Tom and Nina. I could see the sisterly bond between Millie and Nina. I could see the friendship forming between Nina and Lili. I could even see the somewhat rivalry or at least one sided resentment between Lydia and Nina. The relationships in this book felt sincere, strong, and ones that will cause readers to form an emotional bond with these characters till the very last page.

Finally, the last reason I loved this book was the atmosphere that it gave. The book, again, felt very much like a Amy Sherman-Palladino show and similar to Gilmore Girls or a Hallmark movie. It gave me so many warm feelings and is the perfect book for someone looking to read a story that just radiates happiness and comfort.

The only reason I am not giving this book 5 stars is that I felt it wasn’t wrapped up as much as I wanted for the family. I wanted to see a little more of Nina’s bond with her new family at the end of the story and I was sad to see we didn’t really get that. I enjoyed the book ending and felt it was the right way to go, but at the same time I wanted a little more at least from the family relationships that Nina makes. Other than that though, I can’t really think of much to complain about regarding this book.

Overall, this book is the equivalent of comfort food and I mean that in the best way I can. It has great family,  friendship, and romantic dynamics. It has relatable characters who are funny, smart, and wisecracking. And the writing was superb. I can’t say this enough, but I honestly hope Amy Sherman- Palladino makes a book to film adaptation of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill her next project. For now though, I think readers will be happy to be introduced to these wonderful characters and will enjoy the time they get to spend with them in between the pages of this book.

I know I did.

Please like, follow, and comment below.

Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

4.5 out of 5 Stars

**** 1/2 out of *****

I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit Link

TBLONH Book Cover 

Avengers: Endgame Review

avengers-endgame-poster-square-crop.jpgI know. I know. This is not a book review. But honestly I need to get my feelings written down in a coherent manner regarding this film.

So what better place to do it then my blog.

If you don’t care about Marvel or Avengers: Endgame or whatever than please check out one of my other recent posts or come back when I post more book content hopefully next week.

Until then though please enjoy my review of Endgame.

Also This is a spoiler review…there will be spoilers.

IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE AND DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED PLEASE LEAVE THIS PAGE.

THIS REVIEW HAS SPOILERS. MAJOR SPOILERS.

FINAL WARNING.

Continue reading

We Were Beautiful 4/23 Tour Stop: Book Review

WeWereBeautiful_Banner.jpg

TW: Abuse, Death, Car Accidents, and Sexual Assault

Hello Readers,

I am so happy that thanks to The Fantastic Flying Book Club and Blink, I was able to be a part of this blog tour and review Heather Hepler’s We Were Beautiful. This was a fun, emotional, and heartfelt tale that I am happy to promote. Also warning but there are some slight possible spoilers ahead. 

We Were Beautiful focuses on a 15 year old girl named Mia. After her sister, Rachel, dies in a car accident that a) she feels responsible for due to the fact that she was driving and b) barely remembers, Mia’s summer is turned upside down when she is shipped off to stay with her estranged grandmother in New York City. A grandmother she has never met at that. Soon Mia is getting a job, making new friends, and even meeting a potential crush named Cooper. However, both Cooper and Mia have secrets that they may want to keep hidden when it comes to tragic backstories. Will love really conquer all or will the past be too painful for either of them to endure?

This book really grew on me as I read it. When I read the synopsis, I figured that it would be something that touched on some hard topics. However, I did not know how much depth that the author would give it or if this book would be as deep as I was hoping. I am glad to say I wasn’t disappointed. The book really did touch on some heavy topics like a character having a facial deformity due to being abused by his mom’s boyfriend. Or the survivor guilt that the main character feels when she survives an accident her sister did not. And these topics were handled with delicacy and care. I think this book can also be a reminded that just because a book is labeled “clean” does not mean that it backs away from talking about tough topics. One negative for me regarding the book was there is a part where the MC sister in a flashback is almost sexually assaulted and it is used to explain why Mia was driving the car. I felt this was a little unnecessary and a little out of place even though this a book that wasn’t scared to shy away from issues. It felt a little last minute and like something that could have either been used as more than a plot device or taken out of the story altogether. Overall though, this book was able to handle tough topics pretty well and that is something I think readers will definitely be appreciative of.

Something else I really liked about this book is the relationships. Not just the romance between Cooper and Mia, but the friendships and family relationships. I could understand and see the friendships and family forming with the Brunelli’s. I could see & understand the friendships that Mia develops with Fig, Sebastian, and Sarah. I especially loved the relationships with Mia and her grandmother. At first, I thought her grandmother was going to be very strict and reserved. But over time, Mia and her grandma’s relationship grows. They try new things and help each other. I think it may have been my favorite relationship in the entire book.

Lastly, what I love about this book is the scenery. The book does a great job with putting you in the story. The details and writing are able to help you imagine the diner and the Brunelli family. You are able to see Cooper’s art exhibit. You can imagine what Mia being in the church is like or the Coney Island visit. The book didn’t feel like a typical “summer in New York City” book and I loved that. Heather Hepler does a fantastic job with world building and characterization, regardless of the genre of this book.

Overall, this story was emotional, fun, and thrilling. It really took me into the story and made me feel like I was there with the characters. I wish that the story had not kept all the serious topics in as I felt that not all of them were handled as well as they could be. However, I think I could feel safe to say if you want a book that will make you feel good and maybe even tear up then We Were Beautiful is what you’re looking for.

Please like, comment, and follow my blog.

Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

4 out of 5 stars

**** out of *****

I want to thank again The Fantastic Flying Book Club and Blink for allowing me to be a part of this book tour and for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

If you would like to see the tour schedule please click the link here.

If you would like to enter to win a copy of this book please click here.

4 Reasons to Read Carmilla

CarmillaKim Turrisi’s Carmilla is a book I read recently that was based on a web series. I enjoyed it and think that whether you’re a fan of the series or not, it is a good way to get acquainted or reacquainted with the story and characters.

  1. The Queer Rep

This book and the series have been praised for the representation of members of the LGBT+ community. The series stars two girls who end up in a relationship with each other (and a freakin cute one at that) and even has a genderqueer character who uses They/Them pronouns. I really do think the praise that this book has been given in terms of representation is deserving. While I had a few issues with the rep regarding the fact that They/Them pronouns were not used for Lafountaine at the beginning of the book, that could just be a error with the ARC or something regarding the fact that the narrator does not know this ahead of time and once she does she uses they/them pronouns when talking about LaFountaine. I can’t tell you what to think about that or if it should make you more invested in the book or not. I can say though that the relationships in this book were very genuine and I believe if you’re looking for positive queer representation in a book in series, Carmilla is a good place to look.

2. The Story

A story is important to any form of media whether it be a movie, book, show, etc. And this book does have a great story. I really loved the mystery of the school and vampires. I am not usually a big fan of vampire stories (thanks Twilight), but I have to say this one is pretty interesting and amazing. If you’re a fan of mysteries, supernatural, or anything like that then I think this story could be the one for you.

3. More Than The Series

Something I really appreciated about this book is that though it only covers the first season, the story does go into more details than what the web series could. Many moments in the web series or at least the first season take place in one room (Carmilla and Laura’s dorm room) and while it is understandable for a web show to have those constraints, a book is different. With a book you can expand on the universe and give more details for scenes or characterization or background with the characters. It doesn’t have to be so neutralized. Without giving too much away, there is a big battle in the book that I was so happy got the exposure and details it deserved. In the series they show the aftermath of what happened and tell the viewers the details, but in the book you are able to read and “see” that battle for yourself and it’s amazing. I was a little nervous about reading a book that I already knew the story too. However, if you think of it similar to a movie novelization with more details and possible extra scenes then it works out pretty well.

4. Introduction to Web Show or Continuation

Something great about this book is it can be fun and enjoyable whether you’re a fan of the series or not. If you’re looking for a way to be introduced to the show this book isn’t a bad way to do it. If you’re a fan of the show who just wants more content then this is great for you too. What I love about this book is how anyone can read it and get something new out of it. So if you are not sure about reading this book because you have already seen the show or if you have never even heard of it, I am happy to say that you will not be disappointed if you pick up this book.

Please like, comment, and follow me for more content.

Until next time dear readers.

-Jessica

I want to thank KCP Loft for providing me this book in exchange for an honest review.