Celebrating Books with a Giveaway

Within These Lines release today! Therefore, we’re going to celebrate by chatting about the book and having a giveaway, because what’s more fun than a bookish giveaway? This post is going to contain my official review for the book, but it’s not going to be a normal review because this author is beyond that. I’m so thankful the author sent me an ARC copy of this book so I could share the joy with y’all!

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First off, let me tell you about the author. Stephanie Morrill started a fantastic blog for teen writers called Go Teen Writers. If you’re interested in writing at all – no matter how old you are – you should check it out. It’s full of honest, encouraging, practical, and ever-so-relevant writing advice. She’s also the author of a number of Young Adult books, ranging over several genres – contemporary, historical fiction, and even nonfiction. I also consider her my unofficial writing mentor, although I’m not sure she knows that since we’ve never met in person or even communicated in any way other than email. Pretty much she’s just an all-around amazing person with fantastic writing.

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And now, about the book. Within These Lines is about Evalina, an Italian-American, and Taichi, the son of Japanese immigrants. Life as they know it is disrupted when America enters WW2 and anti-Japanese feelings sweep across the country. Taichi and his family are forced to move to a Japanese-American internment camp where life is anything but a bed of roses. (Okay, maybe it’s a bed of roses, just the thorns part.)

This book is fantastically well-researched and superbly written as the author tackles the often untalked about subject of what America did with Japanese during the war. I remember the first time I was introduced to the subject of American internment camps I was horrified. This book does an amazing job of making the camps and situation come to life and wraps you up in the story until you feel like you’re right there in the drafty, crowded shacks with Taichi. Although it’s a very sad and unfair part of our country’s history, I think it’s important that we don’t bury and forget it, because history has a tendency to repeat itself.

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This book is real and gritty and sad without being hopeless – the author somehow hit a great balance with making the book exceedingly real while still being interesting and giving the readers the hope that better things are in store.

The characters are well-crafted and even though I didn’t like the way the handled certain things, they stayed very consistent to their character/personality. It was interesting to see how different cultures handled the various issues and troubles they faced. The author did an amazing job at creating a truly American/Japanese character in Taichi, vs. simply slapping a Japanese name onto an American character.

I gave Within These Lines four out of five stars and like it (and Miss Stephanie’s other books) so much that I wanted to share them with y’all. Sadly, I can’t actually host a giveaway with all of her books, but the winner will get to choose their choice of any of Miss Stephanie’s books. (A physical book for an address in the states, an ebook for international.)

A list of Miss Stephanie’s books:

Me, Just Different
Out With the In Crowd  
So Over It 
The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet
The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet 
Go Teen Writers
The Lost Girl of Astor Street 
Within These Lines

Enter the Giveaway Here 

That’s it for today, folks! I hope your Tuesday is going delightfully well!

Two Historical Fiction Novels You Should Buy

One of the fun parts of getting to read books for review is having insider information to share with my online friends. Today is a day pays off particularly well. See, today is the release date for one of the best books I’ve read this year, and also exactly a month until the release date for one of my favorite books from last year.

First, the book that releases today.

Between Two Shores by Jocelyn Green.

This book takes place in Montreal during the 1750s and the main character is a half-Mohawk, half-French lady who runs a trading post for her not-so-nice father.

Y’all. This book had so much amazing information about the war that I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to read it again sometime super soon just so I can focus on more of the details. I’ll admit to having some air-headed moments where I completely forgot history and couldn’t remember how the war ended (aka, who won), and instead of looking it up, I kept reading with the suspense propelling me on.

There was a plot twist that I found to be completely unexpected. When I first read it I was like “Oh, well, okay….” and was kinda disappointed that it didn’t shock me more. But then I kept reading and was like “But, but, but, how could that have happened?” And I finished the book as fast as I could so I could shove it at my friend and beg (maybe demand?) she read it so we could discuss it.

I knew the outcome of that plot twist would determine my overall feelings of the book. If it worked out one way then the story would squeak by with barely three stars, but if it worked out another way I’d happily give it four solid stars.

Probably needless to say I gave the book four stars and right away set out on a quest to find some friends who don’t read a ton of fiction so I could give them all the spoilers and rant and rave and tell someone what happened. Because yes, the author did a great job of breaking the normal Christian Historical Fiction mold and surprising me as a reader.

So yeah. You should probably order the book right now or request it at your library.

Plus, ya know, the more you look at the cover the more details you see, and that’s pretty amazing. Way to go, Miss Jocelyn, on writing another fantastic book!


Next off, the book that releases in exactly a month.

Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill

Y’all. Historical Fiction is my favorite genre (no, really?), and I especially like it when an author tackles a time period or subject that isn’t really well known, especially in the fiction world. Miss Stephanie takes a well known time period (WW2) and then flips the idea over and presents us with a side of the war that isn’t often talked about.

Japanese Internment Camps in the USA.

It’s a subject a lot of Americans skim over or are completely unaware of, and yet it’s a real part of our history. Miss Stephanie masterfully weaves together a story of a Japanese boy and Italian girl and the prejudices, injustices, and mindset of the people during the 1940s.

When you read the book you’ll feel the dust of the camp. The scorn of onlookers. The helplessness of those left behind. You’ll disappear from 2019 and suddenly find yourself in a very different era as the details surround you and you make new friends, feel new heartache, and see the world through different eyes.


To my surprise, there were several similarities between these two books, including the fact that they both deal with prejudices, trying to understand different cultures, and how to move forward when someone doesn’t do what you expected.

You can pre-order Miss Stephanie’s book here (which means it’ll be automatically sent to you a month from now and that’s pretty amazing). I already pre-ordered her book (back on June 23rd, the first day the cover went live on Amazon), and despite having an ARC copy of it, I’m so excited about the final version arriving in the mail.

And there you have it, folks, some insider information on two amazing books. I’d be delighted to know in the comments if you’ve read either of these two authors or if you plan on buying either of these fantastic books.

Setting: Walking on the treadmill (I walked nearly two miles while writing this)
Listening to: Spotify on shuffel 
Random Fact: We live in a valley so we often have fog 
Question of the Day: Do you like Historical Fiction? 

My Most Anticipated Read of the Year!

Y’all. This book! This book! I’ve been wanting to read it for forever and a day and here it is, sitting next to me, waiting to be gobbled up.

Yes, folks, you heard it right: I have an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Miss Stephanie’s newest book. Excuse me while I go fangirl for the next several weeks. 😉 Thank you so, so, so much Stephanie for sending it to me! I can’t wait to dive in!

Go Teen Writers Cover Reveal (And Something That Thrills My Writerly Heart)

Do you ever get really excited about a book? Like, so excited you want to dance around while randomly shouting about it and hugging everyone who happens to get in your path? Well, that’s pretty much how I feel about this book.

Go Teen Writers has benefited my life immensely. First of all, it was the blog. Then the Facebook group, and then five years ago they published a glorious book that became my best writing resource and made my writerly heart happy with its loveliness.


But guess what! It gets even better than that. Recently Stephanie and Jill decided to update and revise and re-release the book and they asked me to help with the final proofreading! (Pretty much the biggest honor of my writing career.)

Today is the Cover Reveal day, and I had tons of fun filming a video about the book. Enjoy!

Back Cover:

You know your first draft has problems, but what’s the best way to fix them? How do you know where to start editing? Or for many writers the bigger question becomes, “How do I know when I’m done?”

Popular bloggers Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson have been where you are, and they want to help you understand, and even come to love—yes, love—the editing process.

In this revised and updated edition of Go Teen Writers: Edit Your Novel, you’ll learn:

·         Methods for efficiently editing your novel.

·         What problems to look for in your manuscript and how to solve them.

·         Where to start editing, and how to know when you’re done.

·         How to keep track of your story’s character, storyworld, and setting details.

·         How a critique group can help you.

·         The pros and cons of traditional and self-publishing.

·         An overview of pitching your novel and making writing your career.

·         And much more!

Teaching yourself how to edit a first draft can feel hard, discouraging, and isolating. But using this guide, you’ll feel as encouraged, empowered, and capable—as if you had a writing coach sitting alongside you.


Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson released the cover of Go Teen Writers: Edit Your Novel. This updated version of How to Turn a First Draft into a Published Book has the same great information on editing but includes new chapters on historical fiction and self-publishing. The revised book releases Nov. 2, 2018.

For details and to download the first three chapters visit: goteenwriters.com/edityournovel.

Book Blogging – An 841 Day Dream Come True

Ever since the first time I heard Stephanie Morrill (founder of the oft-refrecenced Go Teen Writers groupmention the new project she was working on, I’ve been looking forward to reading it.

I just did what was supposed to be a quick search on the Go Teen Writers blog to see if I could figure out when she first mentioned the book. The search ended up lasting ten or so minutes because the posts I was skimming through held so much good information. In an effort to blog on time I’ve put reading-through old posts on hold, but I did leave the tab up so I could go back to it. (Really, if you’re wanting to become a better writer that blog is practically gold and you should totally check it out.)

September 22nd, 2014 was the earliest mention I came up with that Stephanie made of her historical fiction novel, The Lost Girl of Astor Street. That means I’ve been waiting to read that book for 841 days. Which, in turn, probably explains some of the excitement I felt when I found out I had been approved to be one of the participants in the launch team to get the word out about the book.


It wasn’t until yesterday that I was able to get much reading done on the book (life you know, plus a previous book-to-review I was in the middle of reading). Last night I fell into Piper’s world though, and so far have throughly enjoyed it.

The fact that the main character’s best friend is named Lydia is really cool, and slightly disconcerting, at the same time. Lydia is a rather unused name in most of the books I’ve read, although it does come up time to time in Historical Fiction. (Or, in Pride and Prejudiced, but that Lydia is basically the worst example of a Lydia ever.)


In addition to the book being really interesting so far, I also think the cover is totally delightful. That means I’ll most likely be buying a copy of the book once it’s released, because I only have the e-version. (I suppose I must have a “thing” for blueish covers, because this cover is not only beautiful but looks so intriguing.)

I haven’t gotten very far into the book yet, but I look forward to hopefully reading more later on today. My permeant retainer broke recently, which means a trip to the orthodontist, which means waiting room time, which means reading time. So yay!

Thank you, Miss Stephanie, for letting me read Lost Girl of Astor Street. I’m delighted at the privilege!