Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Young Adult, this site Contemporary

Part of a Series?:

No

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um..

My Review:

Putting aside the fact that I would read anything Morgan Matson writes, even a takeout menu, I immediately felt a connection to Emily just by reading the synopsis alone. For most of my life, I’ve attached myself to best friends who have been so…out there, so unique and outgoing and wild and memorable. Everyone always knew my best friend, everyone always loved her, no matter who she was at the time and I followed in the adventures that were her life, and got used to being “Amanda’s best friend” or “Vanessa’s best friend” or “Allison’s best friend”. It was something I sort of got used to until none of them were there anymore. They didn’t disappear in the way that Sloane does with Emily, but the feelings were incredibly familiar to me and this was a huge part of my desire to read the book.

And the fact that Morgan had written it. Did I mention that part? I would read anything and everything by her.

Moving on though, I fell in love with this book. It’s not short, just about 450 pages and yet I managed to stay up until about 2 am, reading it. I tweeted about it, because I was so overwhelmed with how fast I read it and the emotions that I was so full of, and she had the perfect solution to it all.

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Everything about this books feel so real and that’s why its so easy to get caught up in them. She’s such a beautiful writer, and an incredible storyteller but she’s also such a familiar writer too. All of her characters are memorable and real and genuine and they feel like they could be your best friend. That’s the way Amy felt in Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Taylor in Second Chance Summer and Emily felt such the same way. Whether you’re an Emily or a Sloane or just a you, you can feel so connected with Emily. Its fantastic to go on this journey with her, from where she starts as this incredibly shy and unsure girl and transforms into someone very different.

What really gets me about this book is the connections and the friendships. It starts off with just the friendship between Emily and Frank as they work their way through Sloane’s list but you also get Dawn and Matthew and Emily’s family and its all incredibly beautiful. I love that Emily is able to find friendships in the most unexpected places and I love that summer brings them all together. I love the possibility of summer and how its this vast empty space to fill with adventures and its perfect for Emily’s changes and the friendships she makes. I love the weird way she meets Dawn and how they become friends. I love that the friendship with Frank is incredibly unexpected to Emily but her friendship with Frank’s friend Matthew is even weirder. The story is about friendship and you get so many examples of different friendships and its beautiful.

Plus, I mean, come on. Frank. Frank Porter. One, the name Frank? Not sexy, but totally manages to be so in this book. Also, I knew a boy named Frank Porter in…middle school? Maybe high school? Also, not a very sexy guy. But Morgan manages to get past the name thing and the boy I knew in middle school thing to make another boy that I’m falling ridiculously in love with.

Morgan also brings back something that she did in her first novel that I absolutely loved and that was music playlists. In Amy and Roger’s, there were playlists scattered throughout the book because they were on a road trip and it made sense. Playlists were probably harder to integrate into Second Chance Summer so the return of the playlists in this novel made me incredibly happy. The first time I saw the name “Andrew McMahon” on a playlist, I almost cried in happiness. Andrew McMahon (known for Something Corporate, Jack’s Mannequin and most recently, himself as a solo artist) is my musical spirit animal. I have a Something Corporate tattoo on my ankle and so I found a connection even in just the selection of music.

Lastly, I cried. It was two a.m. and I was overwhelmed with emotions and I just let it all out in sobs. It was not a sad book, not the way that Second Chance Summer was or even Amy and Roger’s but it reaches and grabs your emotions so tightly. I felt so filled up with so many emotions that I can’t even begin to name and I cried. This book makes you feel so much and I absolutely loved it.

I’ve talked enough but the bottom line is this: Morgan Matson is a terrific writer and her third novel does not disappoint. She makes you laugh and cry and want to go skinny dipping on the beach and work in an ice cream parlor and drive a car with a broken sunroof. She writes a memorable, beautiful book and its one that you most DEFINITELY need to go and pick up.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Ontario Teen Book Fest Tomorrow + Giveaway!

Well, recipe we’ve reached the end of the Ontario Teen Book Fest blog tour and I am SO happy and excited that it went SO well. Thanks to each and every single blogger that participated and to all the authors that ROCKED their spotlights.

If you’d like to check out all the spotlights and interviews, they are all linked in this schedule so definitely check them out!

May 2nd: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — What A Nerd Girl Says
May 3rd: Spotlight on Elana K. Arnold — Nite Lite Book Reviews
May 4th: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Fangirl Feeels
May 5th: Spotlight on Livia Blackburne – The Thousand Lives
May 6th: Spotlight on Lauren Kate — She Reads She Blogs
May 7th: Spotlight on Katie Alender — Movies, Shows and Books
May 8th: Spotlight on Lauren Miller — A Bookish Escape
May 9th: Spotlight on Sarah Skilton — Read Now Sleep Later
May 10th: Spotlight on Lissa Price — Recently Acquired Obsessions 
May 11th: Spotlight on Jessi Kirby — What A Nerd Girl Says
May 12th: Spotlight on Katherine Ewell — iFandoms Collide
May 13th: Spotlight on Mary Pearson — The Windy Pages
May 14th: Spotlight on John Corey Whaley — Read Now Sleep Later
May 15th: Spotlight on Robin Benway — Adventures of a Book Junkie
May 16th: Spotlight on Ava Dellaira — Fangirl Feeels

Don’t forget as well, to enter the Ontario Teen Book Fest Blog tour giveaway! There will be three winners of three really great prizes. The giveaway is going on until May 20th, so make sure to get your entry in!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But most importantly, is the AMAZING event that is taking place tomorrow! This is what we’ve spent two weeks promoting and I hope to see all of you Southern California readers there to meet these fantastic authors.

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Where: 

Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario CA

What: 

15 incredible young adult authors gathering together to talk about their books and sign them as well! There are some keynote speakers, several panels to choose from AND a speed dating game with the authors as well!

For the full schedule of events, please visit the official Ontario Teen Book Fest website here.

Books and Stuff: 

Mrs. Nelson’s Bookfair Company will be onsite, selling books for all authors! You most definitely will be able to bring books from home, in fact, we hope that you do!

We also encourage you to purchase a book or two from Mrs. Nelson’s, to show support for them. They are the main sponsor of the event and its because of sponsors like them that events like this can happen! Mrs. Nelson’s will be accepting both cash and cards!

There will also be official posters ($5) and official t-shirts ($10) on sale, through the Ontario Library. The profits from these sales will go towards TBF 2015! Please note that these will only be available for purchase using CASH!

Social Media: 

Don’t forget to RSVP “yes” if you’re attending on the official Facebook event here.

Also! If you are there, make sure to tweet and instagram your experience and use the hashtag #OntarioTBF!

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I hope to see all of you there!

If you have ANY questions, any at all about the event, feel free to comment below or to tweet me at @anerdgirlsays and I will get back to as soon as possible!

And don’t be afraid to say hello! I’ll be running around all day in an official Ontario Teen Book Fest t-shirt and am looking forward to hanging out with the authors and meeting all of you!

Happy Friday everyone!

Book Review: Ink is Thicker than Water by Amy Spalding

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You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

For Kellie Brooks, decease family has always been a tough word to define. Combine her hippie mom and tattooist stepdad, clinic her adopted overachieving sister, health her younger half brother, and her tough-love dad, and average Kellie’s the one stuck in the middle, overlooked and impermanent. When Kellie’s sister finally meets her birth mother and her best friend starts hanging with a cooler crowd, the feeling only grows stronger.


But then she reconnects with Oliver, the sweet and sensitive college guy she had a near hookup with last year. Oliver is intense and attractive, and she’s sure he’s totally out of her league. But as she discovers that maybe intensity isn’t always a good thing, it’s yet another relationship she feels is spiraling out of her control.

It’ll take a new role on the school newspaper and a new job at her mom’s tattoo shop for Kellie to realize that defining herself both outside and within her family is what can finally allow her to feel permanent, just like a tattoo.

My Review:

I’m just going to say one thing to start off: I absolutely love the way Amy Spalding writes her novels. Maybe because she has a similar voice to me and I’m completely biased and all of that fun stuff. But I do. I absolutely love the way she writes. She writes casual, she tells, she doesn’t show and this is how I write. I love that it feels like I’m reading a journal from my  best friend. Its wonderful.

That being said, this story was incredibly fun and awesome to read. Its a family story. I love family stories. I have five brothers and sisters and I love them all so I absolutely family stories. This definitely is that. While there is the love story between Kellie and Oliver, the story really centers on the family. I love that Amy really knew the dynamics of a family, no matter how the family is broken down. I think that’s beautiful. So much of the story felt so incredibly familiar to me. While I have never had a sibling that was adopted or found their birth mother, I definitely have had siblings pull away, discover their own path, that sort of thing, so I felt so close to Kellie. When Sara starts to pull away, and feel close to her birth mother, and Kellie starts to miss her…that hurt my heart. It felt so incredibly familiar to me.

I also felt so close to Kellie because of her differences between herself and her siblings. As much as your parents tell you again and again and again, that they love you equally, sometimes it doesn’t feel like that. It feels like a parent approves of one child more than the other. That’s the way Kellie feels with Sara and her father. Its the way I felt when I was younger and my brother got all of the attention. He was the sports star, and sports have always been SO huge in my family, and I was the geeky girl, with very little friends and my nose stuck in a book, and my fingers on the keyboard as I wrote. My brother was always the star, even though he is younger, and when he moved out and my whole family went into a frenzy, it was rough for awhile, so this part of the story felt so familiar to me.

Lastly, without spoiling the book, because I work so hard to not do that, I felt a connection with the relationship between Kellie and Oliver because it felt so real. I feel like so many relationships in books tend to be glamorized and that sort of thing but this one felt real, every bit of it and I think that’s why I enjoyed reading about it so much. It felt like a relationship that any one of us could have, and so it felt familiar and relatable and you sort of enjoy going on those roller coaster of emotions with Kellie.

In conclusion (I feel like I’m writing a really bad high school essay now…), I really love this book. I love the way Amy writes, I love that I feel like I’m curled up in bed, reading a note from my best friend and I love that she has a really good way of capturing emotions and feelings. She captures friendship and family and love so well and it all felt incredibly familiar which made for a very quick and a very fun read.

Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

Ontario Teen Book Fest-Author Spotlight on Jessi Kirby and Giveaway!

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Hello everyone, visit this site and welcome to my second stop of the blog tour for the Ontario Teen Book Fest :) You can read my previous stop with Jessica Brody and all other previous stops by clicking the links further down in this spotlight. But let’s jump and start talking about this wonderful event happening next weekend!

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When: May 17th, sickness 9 am to 5 pm

Where: Colony High School
3850 E. Riverside Drive
Ontario, cialis 40mg CA 91761

This event is a completely free and un-ticketed event! Priority seating WILL be given to teens, but come one, come all! There will also be giveaways and raffles at the Fest, also free!

You can visit the website, to see the full schedule of the day by visiting the official Ontario Teen Book Festwebsite.

Books WILL be available for purchase at the event, available from Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair Company :) They are an amazing company so definitely bring your books from home, but try and support Mrs. Nelson’s by purchasing a book!

Its going to be an incredible event and I’m honestly counting down the days! I hope you can come along for the ride, in the days leading up to the event. I’ve got some great bloggers helping me out to profile these amazing authors. Check out the full blog tour here!

May 2nd: Spotlight on Jessica Brody — What A Nerd Girl Says
May 3rd: Spotlight on Elana K. Arnold — Nite Lite Book Reviews
May 4th: Spotlight on Catherine Linka — Fangirl Feeels
May 5th: Spotlight on Livia Blackburne – The Thousand Lives
May 6th: Spotlight on Lauren Kate — She Reads She Blogs

May 7th: Spotlight on Katie Alender — Movies, Shows and Books
May 8th:Spotlight on Lauren Miller — A Bookish Escape
May 9th: Spotlight on Sarah Skilton — Read Now Sleep Later
May 10th: Spotlight on Lissa Price — Recently Acquired Obsessions 
May 11th: Spotlight on Jessi Kirby — What A Nerd Girl Says
May 12th: Spotlight on Katherine Ewell — iFandoms Collide
May 13th: Spotlight on Mary Pearson — The Windy Pages
May 14th: Spotlight on John Corey Whaley — Read Now Sleep Later
May 15th: Spotlight on Robin Benway — Adventures of a Book Junkie
May 16th: Spotlight on Ava Dellaira — Fangirl Feeels

So today’s kick off spotlight of the tour is on the one and only:

Jessi Kirby

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Jessi Kirby is the author of  Goldenwhich will be released in May of 2013, MoonglassIn Honor.  She is also a former English teacher and librarian, wife, mom, beach lover, runner, and lover of Contemporary YA, strong coffee, and dark chocolate.  In that order. You can find her at:

Her Website / Her Facebook / Her GoodReads / Her Twitter / Her Instagram

Her Books

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Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn’s celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her. 

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn’s last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn . . . and ruggedly good-looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn–but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

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Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

Interview!

Nerd Girl: All of the characters in your novels have degrees of strengths and weaknesses and go through lessons and self-discovery. Was it important to you to represent these kind of characters in books for young people, especially as a mother?

Jessi: I think all of us, as people, no matter what age, gender, etc., have different degrees of strengths and weakness, and that these things shift and change as we go through, life, with all of its lessons and self-discovery. It’s extremely important to me that my characters reflect that, because that means they’ll read as genuine people, who are strong sometimes, and weak at others, but who are always growing, hopefully for the better. That’s the goal, anyway, both as a writer, and a mother – to portray those things that make us human.

Nerd Girl: Your most ‘recent’ novel, Golden, was published in May 2013. What can we expect from you in the future?

Jessi: I’m very excited about my next book, Things We Know By Heart, which comes out in Summer 2015. It’s about a girl named Quinn Sullivan, who lost her first love in an accident, and as a way to deal with her grief, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs. All of these people write her back, except the one she deems most important, which is, of course the one who received his heart.

Unable to let it go, she goes outside of the guidelines for privacy and finds out who he is. She tells herself she just needs to see who he is, see him living his life and then she can let it go, but when she goes to his small beach town and literally runs into him in a cafe, things get complicated fast. He’s completely fast. He’s completely taken with her, and no matter how much she tries to deny it, the pull of him is so strong that before she knows it, she’s falling for him too. The problem is, he has no idea who she is, and a relationship built on omissions and half-truths can only last so long before the truth comes out.

Nerd Girl: Have you always imagined yourself as an author, or did you have other career aspirations in the past?

Jessi: I’ve known since 3rd grade and my first Judy Blume book that I wanted to be a writer. I’ll never forget listening to her words, read by my teacher, and thinking “I want to do this. I want to make stories like Judy Blume.” I started writing then, and never stopped. But in high school, I had an English teacher (Mr Kenny, who is Mr Kinney in GOLDEN), who so inspired me that he got me thinking about teaching as well. I taught middle school and high school English for 5 years, and while trying to inspire these kids to go after their dreams, I ended up prodding myself to do so as well, and started writing Moonglass.

Nerd Girl: What made you want to write about teens instead of adults or children?

Jessi: Like I’ve heard many YA authors say, it wasn’t really a conscious decision. That’s just the way that my first story came out, and it’s the way they all have since then. For that, I feel lucky, because writing about teens is full of so much potential.

Nerd Girl: What are some important things that you strive for when writing your novels, knowing that teens are going to be reading them?

Jessi: I don’t think I treat teen readers any different than adult readers. I just try to tell a story where the characters read as genuine people, who, as you mentioned earlier, have strengths and weaknesses, make mistakes, fall down, pick themselves, grow as people. Those things are for all readers.

Nerd Girl: Have you ever had a fangirl moment and who was it with?

Jessi: I have, and of course it was with the one and only Judy Blume, who I met for a half second where instead of telling her everything that was on the tip of my tongue about how much she inspired me, and how I’ve loved all of her books ever since I can remember, I shook her hand, a friend took a picture of us, and it was over so fast I actually have to look back at the picture to believe it really happened!

Nerd Girl: Because this is for the Ontario Teen Book Fest, all about the teens, what is one of your favorite memories from when you were a teen?

Jessi: Senior prom night — the after party. Someone had rented a condo for the party, and just about everyone from our class was there — we had we had a tiny senior class. It was one of those nights where we all knew the end of the year was coming and everyone was friendly and nostalgic, and we danced all night then watched the sun rise from the roof — (almost) all of us. It was special. Like we could feel how much big chance was coming.

Nerd Girl: Last question: who is your fictional crush?

Jessi: Ooh, that’s a tough one. It has to be a tie — between Wes, from The Truth About Forever, and Dexter from This Lullaby. Dessen writes the best boys!

The prizes include: 

Grand Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Poster Signed by All Attending Authors and a Swag Pack!

Of course, its not signed yet but it will be!
Of course, its not signed yet but it will be!

First Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Signed by All Attending Authors!

Second Prize: Ontario Teen Book Fest Shirt Signed by All Attending Authors!

The shirt will also be signed at the Fest as well!
The shirt will also be signed at the Fest as well!

And its easy to enter, in the rafflecopter below! Sorry, no international this time around!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Review: Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler

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You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

When Aaron Hartzler was little, buy more about he couldn’t wait for the The Rapture: that moment when Jesus would come down from the clouds to whisk him and his family up to heaven. But as he turns sixteen, this Aaron grows more curious about all the things his family forsakes for the Lord. He begins to realize he doesn’t want Jesus to come back just yet—not before he has his first kiss, sees his first movie, or stars in the school play.

Whether he’s sneaking out, making out, or playing hymns with a hangover, Aaron learns a few lessons that can’t be found in the Bible. He discovers that the girl of your dreams can just as easily be the boy of your dreams, and the tricky part about believing is that no one can do it for you.

In this funny and heartfelt coming-of-age memoir, debut author Aaron Hartzler recalls his teenage journey from devoted to doubtful, and the search to find his own truth without losing the fundamentalist family who loves him.

My Review:

I’m just going to throw this out there: I don’t read non-fiction. I don’t read memoirs. Its not that I don’t like them, I just find my attention span tends to…wander a bit when it comes to things like that. I like to learn and I love to listen to people’s stories but in book form, I just have a ton of problems.

That being said, I first came into contact with Aaron Hartzler just a few weeks ago at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. He was moderating a panel with E. Lockhart, Rainbow Rowell, Andrew Smith and John Corey Whaley, and he kept making me laugh like crazy. He talked a bit about his book and I knew that I had to get my hands on it. Fast forward to the Pasadena Teen Book Festival and I immediately grabbed a copy and made sure that he signed it. I went home, and started the book that night.

And I absolutely loved it. The way Aaron writes his story of growing up in his conservative family is like reading a novel. He writes it so beautifully and you’re addicted to it from page one to the very last page. It feels so familiar to you, like listening to your best friend tell you a story. It was so easy to keep turning the pages because I needed to find out what was going to be happening next.

The story was real and it felt so. It was real and raw and genuine. It wasn’t there to preach or teach a lesson or any of that, but in the end, it sort of did. Aaron told his story, the story of growing up and coming into his own, while trying to live under the expectations of his very conservative family, and while we are on that journey with him, we learn so much about him and his life, but also about ourselves as well. He has a way of getting the reader to think and ask questions without really realizing that you’re doing it and its brilliant.

The book is beautiful and extremely heartwarming. Its familiar, and real, like reading a note from a friend and its also incredibly funny. When I picked up this novel, and slid it across the table for Aaron to sign, its exactly what I had expected and even more than that. There were moments where I felt like crying and moments that I couldn’t stop laughing. There were moments were I wanted to shout “yes!” and moments where I was shaking my head. This is a must-read book for anyone, everyone, and I recommend it over and over and over again. Aaron is a fantastic writer, who has managed to tell his story in such a compelling and addicting way.

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

Breakable Blog Tour: Interview with Tammara Webber and Book Review!

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I am SO pleased and excited to be a part of the official Breakable blog tour. Tammara Webber is one of my absolute favorite authors, story since the first time I purchased Between the Lines, pills and I’m so excited to be sharing this with you all. I’ll be talking all about Tammara, her new book, Breakable, and we’ll have an awesome interview at the end.

First, let’s talk about Tammara herself! 

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Tammara Webber is author of the New York Times bestselling New Adult novel Easy, the first novel in her Contours of the Heart series, and the Between the Lines series.  She is a hopeful romantic who adores novels with happy endings, because there are enough sad endings in real life.  Before writing full-time, she was an undergraduate academic advisor, economics tutor, planetarium office manager, radiology call center rep, and the palest person to ever work at a tanning salon.  She married her high school sweetheart, and is a mom to three adult kids and four very immature cats.

You Can Find Her At:

Her Site / Her Twitter / Her Instagram / Her Facebook

About Breakable

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In Tammara’s novel Easy, we meet Jacqueline Wallace, a girl trying to survive in college, after an acquaintance tries to rape her after a party, and her relationship with her savior, Lucas. You can find Easy at GoodReads here.

In BREAKABLE, readers are introduced to teenage Landon on the worst day of his life, the day is family is ripped apart by the death of his beloved mother.  Webber flashes from the present to the past, young capturing Landon as he deals with the stark and painful changes in his life following his mother’s death, and present-day Lucas as he reacts to meeting Jacqueline Wallace, the young woman whose appearance changes his life for the better.  Loving Jacqueline is so easy, but Lucas knows just how breakable the soul is and that giving himself wholly to another person is the most frightening thing he’ll ever do.

You Can Find/Purchase the Book At:

Good Reads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository

Quick Book Review

I don’t want to sit and talk forever about this book because this will be the longest post in the entire world and I don’t want to do that to you. Here’s the small gist of it: I loved Easy. Easy tackles the idea of rape in such a beautiful way, in an honest and raw way. Jacqueline is nearly raped but she’s afraid to say anything because of the rape culture that we live in, and the only person that knows is her attacker and Lucas. Tammara builds a beautiful love story between Jacqueline and Lucas and its a beautiful book. Breakable continues it, and I honestly had to admit that I was worried. I love Tammara and think she’s an absolutely amazing author but the idea of a companion…I wasn’t 100% sold. Until I got the book. Until I stayed up all night reading it. Breakable gives us even more depth to the person that Lucas (Landon) is, and his story is just as beautiful, just as heartbreaking and just as hopefully as Jacqueline’s was in the first novel. It is a must-read, both of these books, and I encourage you all to pick them up!

The Interview!

Nerd Girl: Why was it important to you to tell Lucas’ side of the story in Breakable? 

Tammara: It was Landon’s story that convinced me to write Breakable. I knew his story was heartbreaking, of course, but there was so much more to it. Once he started telling me about it, I had to write it.

Nerd Girl: Was it difficult to return to the same story, but in a different voice? 

Tammara: Lucas’ perspective of their relationship was different from Jacqueline’s. The overlapping parts (which one comprise a third of the book) were only difficult in that the conversations and outcomes were already there and set — I couldn’t change them. I enjoyed adding scenes that didn’t occur in Easy – some that included Jacqueline, some that didn’t.

Nerd Girl: Did Jacqueline’s story still have an influence over Lucas’ voice? 

Tammara: Over his voice? No. Over his story-yes.

Nerd Girl: There is so much going on within the story of Breakable: abuse, neglect, loss, grief, self-discovery, rebellion, love, etc. What do you hope your readers come out of this novel with? 

Tammara: I don’t. I write in hopes of readers to connecting with the story, going on a journey with the characters and finding entertainment and escape along the way. Easy is the only book I’ve written with a clear message in mind — and that message, it wasn’t your fault, was unhidden and meant for a particular reader. In Breakable, I had the added desire of giving readers who loved Easy an in-depth view of Lucas.

Nerd Girl: Now that you’ve wrapped up the Between the Lines series, and now have finished both sides of the story with Jacqueline and Lucas, what can you tell us about what you’re working on next? 

Tammara: I can’t reveal much just yet. I have a couple of storylines in mind, but I’ve got my usual brainstorming to do, and meetings with me agents and editors, before I settle down and write.

Nerd Girl: Did you always picture yourself as an author or did you have other career aspirations, and what is the best part of being an author? 

Tammara: I didn’t even start calling myself a writer, let alone an author, to real-life people until after I’d published Easy — my fourth book. Writing fiction for a living is literally all I’ve ever wanted to do. When I couldn’t find an agent for Between the Lines, I honestly thought it was never going to happen. I’d already written a second BTL by the time I self-published the first. I never thought it would sell — or that people would want sequels.

The only job I had before writing full-time that I enjoyed was academic advising. I loved helping people one-on-on. As much as I loved it, though, it was secondary to writing.

Nerd Girl: You’ve written all of your novels in the young adult/new adult contemporary genre. Do you see yourself continuing in that trend or maybe branching out to any other genres? 

Tammara: I started writing Between the Lines in 2009, with MCs aged 17-20. I called it “Mature YA” and hoped to sell it to a YA publisher, because there was no such thing as NA. Publishers (and therefore agents) have been saying for years, “No one wants to read stories about college students”. I was shooting myself in the foot, writing about characters in that age range — but it’s all I wanted to write. And also, I’m really stubborn. I figured I would find a niche market, perhaps. All I can say is…I found it!

Nerd Girl: Most of your readers definitely have developed book crushes on Lucas. Who is YOUR book crush?

Tammara: Darcy. Always Darcy. :)

*     *     *     *     *     *

Thanks Tammara for stopping by What A Nerd Girl Says, for the second time! You can check out my interview with Tammara from June 2013 here.

And don’t forget to hit your local bookstore and pick up a copy of Breakable (and Easy if you haven’t read that), now!

Tammara Webber and I at her book launch event with Abbi Glines in Los Angeles, CA!
Tammara Webber and I at her Breakable book launch event with Abbi Glines in Los Angeles, CA!

Oh, and I still totally fancast Reid Alexander from Between the Lines as Jace Wayland in The Mortal Instruments ;)

Happy Reading Everyone!