Tag Archives: Lauren Morrill

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill | Book Recs for Music Nerds

Welcome to the blog tour for THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY by Lauren Morrill! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be on this blog tour because I get to talk allll about music! THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY is the story of Liza, the band’s drum major (for those of you non-band/music nerds, the drum major is essentially the band’s conductor and responsible for/assists with leadership responsibilities) and her mission to save her school’s band program from being cut. I immediately latched onto this concept because A) I’m a total music nerd (I was a choir-fanatic in high school… and college… and I still am) and B) because it’s Lauren Morrill! For my stop on the blog tour, Lauren (and I) are sharing some favorite book recs for fellow music nerds and I am so excited!

Before we get into the post itself, here’s a bit more about THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY for you to get more acquainted with the book!

Blog Tour: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill | Book Recs for Music NerdsTitle: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill
Publishing Info: December 8, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Music
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 15, 2015
Related Posts: Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.
But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.

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Lauren Elizabeth Morrill is many things, including, but not limited to, a writer, an educator, a badass roller derby skater, a former band nerd, an aggressive driver, and a die-hard Mac person. She also watches a lot of TV, eats a lot of junk food, and drinks a lot of Coke. It’s a wonder her brain and teeth haven’t rotted out of her head.

Lauren is the author of Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny, and the forthcoming My Unscripted Life (October 2016), all from Random House.

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Music nerds come in all forms — from classical to contemporary, performance to listening, there are all sorts of ways to get involved in a musical passion. Personally, I was a huge choir nerd in high school and I was totally obsessed. I started my choir experience my freshman year of high school, mostly because my sister had and she absolutely loved her teacher and the subject itself. (I went to a private school for pre-8th grade so we didn’t really have a “music program”.) I immediately fell in love and it also happened to be something that I was good at picking up so that just fed into my love of choir. I had always wanted to play an instrument because I just loved music but instruments were expensive and my parents didn’t want to purchase one for me on the chance that I would get frustrated and not practice (by the way, there were totally right on that. I tend to practice the things that I’m good at and give up on the things that I’m not haha!) and choir was a much more reasonable option — no instruments required!

Singing was an instant hit with me and I loved being a part of a group where my voice got to blend in with others, including different harmonies! It was also a great option for chickens like me who had little confidence to sing in front of others, though I did conquer that fear a bit more as the years went on! I continued with choir all throughout high school, made it into Madrigals (a Renaissance-style singing group, smaller ensemble), and even picked up a few solos along the way. My junior and senior year, I gave up basketball in order to participate it the spring musicals (though I probably would have dropped basketball anyway, but it gave me a good excuse). I didn’t land any major roles since I had little to no action experience but every minute was just a blast and I was just happy to be a part of them!

choir nerd

Even in college, music was important to me. I remained a part of choral groups throughout my time in college and it was always something I had so much fun with! To this day, I still look back on those memories as some of my fondest. I’m not in any groups now because I really don’t have the time but it’s something I always miss and really hope I can do again someday!

THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY actually hits a little soft spot in my heart as well because I just found out that my old high school’s Madrigal group is no longer doing their annual Madrigal dinner. Each year the Madrigals put on an entire performance for an audience of friends, family, and fellow students and it always felt so prestigious and it was so incredibly fun. Granted, I’m not still in school with this announcement of no more Madrigal dinner so it’s definitely not the same as Liza’s situation but it does make me sad to think that there won’t ever be another one (for our school anyway) and that this is my very last chance to go back to the dinner as an alum! I’ve been putting it off for years but now I feel the pull to go back one last time and revisit one of the most fun times in my high school career.


And now the fun part! I know you’re here for the book recs so let’s get to it! Lauren Morrill put together a list of her Top Ten favorite books for music nerds and I couldn’t resist adding some of my own as well! If you’re a music fan, you definitely need to check out these book recs!

top books for music lovers

  • This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: Leila’s books are always incredible, but I especially loved this one, about a teen misfit DJ. 
  • Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway: I love this book SO MUCH, and if you haven’t read it, you need to fix that NOW! 
  • Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker: Another book you have to read—it will make you want to visit Austin and binge on some music.
  • The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding: Funny and fresh, for your inner music-theater nerd. 
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan: Two words: Tiny. Cooper. Need I say more?
  • If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman: This duology is a punch to the gut, but it gets so much right about music being your life.
  • The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson: Another punch to the gut, but Jandy writes so beautifully about music.
  • Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle: You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to hug Nate.
  • Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg: Fame meets Step Up in YA? Yes, please! 
  • This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen: I can’t make a top-ten list without a Dessen book on it. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal. And this one is just perfect.

I couldn’t resist sharing some of my own favorites too! Here are some of my picks:

  • Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: I’m not even a country music fan but I was so into the whole scene with this book! I loved the music aspect and how it was a main focus of the book (the country-wide tour).
  • Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols: This was another country music book that had me craving a trip to Nashville. Again, I don’t even like country but I could just picture myself in each scene and I wanted to be there!
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: This isn’t a traditional go-to for a music theme but I love how much music means to Kvothe and how his lute is really an extension of himself. Even when he loses everything, he can’t bear to part with his lute. I also want a set of talent pipes… but I’m not that talented.
  • Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke: This is a sci-fi novel about parallel worlds but I totally geeked out over all of the musical ties. The different worlds have different pitches and so there’s tons of music theory in this book which was SO much fun to see.
  • The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay: Nastya is a musical prodigy and her world changes when she loses her ability to play piano. There’s actually not a ton of music directly involved in the book since she can’t play but there’s that grief that the readers also experience for her loss of connection to her passion.
  • Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith: A musical genius and a rock band make up quite a bit of this whirlwind of a book!


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Of course we can’t let you go without a giveaway! Random House is offerring a Lauren Morrill prize pack of signed copies of all Lauren’s books and swag for one lucky winner! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter form below! US residents only, please! Must be 13 years of age or older to win. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Trouble With Destiny – Lauren Morrill

The Trouble With Destiny – Lauren MorrillTitle: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill
Publishing Info: December 8, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Music
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 15, 2015
Related Posts: Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.
Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.
But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.


I’ve been a fan of Lauren Morrill since 2012 when I first read her debut MEANT TO BE and the adorable contemporary novels have just kept on coming! THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY was no exception to Morrill’s previous works and it was so much fun from start to finish.

Naturally, THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY immediately pulled me in with the premise of Liza and her group of band nerds entering a performance contest to save their school music’s program. You don’t even have to finish the phrase “music nerd” before I am totally on board that ship and ready to set sail! I was a choir geek in high school (I’m not in an organization anymore but I think I’m still pretty geeky when it comes to choir) and I had an absolute blast with all of the music references, performances, and technical terms throughout the book. Lauren Morrill really did a fantastic job of bringing that music to life as well which is something that’s always so hard for me in books! Music is such a mood-setter and so important to a scene that it’s hard for me as a reader to listen to that song playing in my head while still absorbing the rest of the text but THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY had some really amazing musical moments that stuck with me throughout the pages. I was so happy to finally see a book that was able to accomplish this and it sort of brought back that hope for me that I can hear the music used in books.

Liza was a fun character to read about! Similar to some of Morrill’s other heroines, Liza is hell-bent on perfection and success although instead of academics or sports, Liza’s obsession is her school band. It was a great addition to have that noble cause of saving the school’s music program as a driving force as well so Liza’s ambition had so much more emotion attached and reason to be driven to win instead of just winning for the sake of being the best. It also really affected the other students as well and it was really great to see that side of Liza show when she’s working hard to save the band not only for herself but for her fellow band members also. This blind determination was a bit hard to watch sometimes, but not in a way that was too cringe-worthy. Mostly it was just hard to see Liza so hard on herself when small mishaps occurred and when she sacrificed the happiness of herself and others to achieve her goal. I did like that the story wrapped up well with her eyes open to this fact and Liza ends up learning how to let some control go and allow others to help.

The romance was super cute in this book. I’m not sure if you’d exactly call it a triangle but I can see how it might feel like that for some. When it comes down to it, it’s more of a “they don’t know we know they know” kind of a situation where the wrong people are in the dark about who likes who and delightful cute contemporary confusion ensues! I thought it was really well done albeit a bit predictable but I really enjoyed the direction the romance went! It has not one but TWO of my favorite romance tropes and I won’t fully explain how those happen so you can discover for yourself but I really appreciated how each, let’s say, potential romance played out. I totally loved the ending and couldn’t have been happier with how it resolved! My only minor complaint is that because of the way the romance plays out, there aren’t AS many swoony moments in the beginning but still really fun!

The friendships were also so well done in this book. It was great to see Liza have strong friendships, build new ones, ponder old ones, and realize that things change over time and that’s okay. We’ve all had friend break-ups, new best friends, and people pop up from our pasts so it was fun to see all of these things happen to Liza and relate to how she handles each one. THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY is lovely cute contemp so naturally, these resolve neatly and leave the reader with warm fuzzies!

THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY was a really cute book and overall, I really enjoyed it. There were a few lulls in there for me but the book was also jam-packed with adorable moments, hilarious slap-stick comedy, and beautiful growing moments. Another very solid book from Lauren Morrill and I’m always ready for more!

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

the trouble with destiny goodreads


Liza // Character Obsessions: Music, saving the band, duty, romance. 
Liza is a very one-track minded character. She seems to be wholly absorbed into whatever she’s dedicated herself to — first the band, then to her crush — and she sort of forgets what’s going on around her. As painful as that was to watch at times (I felt bad for her!) I really enjoyed her growth throughout the book and ultimately stood behind her!


Kept Me Hooked On: Music in books. I’m SO glad the music came to life in this book! I was beginning to think that it was impossible to hear that soundtrack playing as the book went along but now my faith is renewed!
Left Me Wanting More: Self-awareness. Poor Liza just had a really hard time seeing things outside of her bubble. I’m so glad she started to shake this off towards the end of the book though!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY was such a fun book. It was just adorable and I absolutely loved the music connections!



(Click the cover to see my review!)


Pub Date [1] – Summer

Pub Date

Hi, all! Welcome to a brand-new feature called PUB DATE! A while back, I was toying with the idea of making a specific feature just to pair up beers with books. In fact, this was how Book and a Beverage was born but I knew if I wanted it to be a regular feature, I couldn’t just limit it to beers so I adapted Book and a Beverage for everyone of all ages and drink preferences… but even over a year later, I still had the desire to make a feature just to feature beers + books! After talking it out with some of my fellow beer lovers, I knew I couldn’t do it myself Estelle from Rather Be Reading, Andi from Andi’s ABCs, and Maggie from Just a Couple More Pages and I all teamed up to bring you PUB DATE!

Each week, one of us will be featuring a beer and a book of our choice, each with a different theme for that month! For our first theme, it’s only fitting that we start with SUMMER! Summer is a great time for beer (okay, any season is a great time for beer) so it should be pretty easy to come up with some fantastic pairings!


I got a little fancy this week. On our way home from work, Shane and I stopped at a liquor store that seemed like it had a lot of good craft beers. WHOA, was that an understatement! They had a LOT of beer selections which was really great! I’m always up for trying new beers and I got a little carried away with picking fancy beers this week and I ended up with Mischief from The Bruery (Placentia, CA). It’s a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and upon first opening the bottle, it smelled super hoppy but doesn’t really have an incredibly strong hop taste like IPAs do. It’s definitely present but I’d say the Belgian taste is a bit more prominent and I’m gonna go ahead and say the strong part for me was the alcohol content. HOO BOY, this beer comes in at 8.50% ABV. It doesn’t have too much of an alcoholic taste (the last fancy beer I tried TASTED like alcohol) and when I first tried it, I actually felt like it was a taste that I hadn’t tasted before! I really enjoyed this combination of flavors and it was a strong beer but very delicious!

The beer was called Mischief so naturally I had to choose a book with a mischievous character and who better to fill that role than Jason Lippencott from Lauren Morrill’s MEANT TO BE. When I read MEANT TO BE back in 2012, I immediately fell in love with it. I really enjoyed Julia’s character and how much I related to her nerdy side but I also really loved her interactions with Jason. Jason is ALL mischief. And I loved it. He’s the class clown and full of slap stick comedy so who better to choose for a mischievous theme?

Tying it all back into summer, I think BOTH of these are wonderful for summer time! The beer is light and crisp despite the higher alcohol content and ultimately refreshing. MEANT TO BE is a great summer read too! I love fun and light contemporary books for summer reads (even though technically MEANT TO BE takes place over spring break and not summer). I think this is a great pairing for a light and refreshing summer!

Review: MEANT TO BE by Lauren Morrill

Thanks for joining us for the launch of Pub Date! Don’t forget — each week, one of us will be pairing a book with a beer and next week, Estelle will be picking her pairing of book & brew for summer! Hope you enjoy this new feature! We can’t wait to hear what you think!

This Week’s Beers

Not a big beer drinker? Maybe Mischief was a bit ambitious to start with! Here’s a list of the other beers I’ve had this week and my current thoughts if you’re looking for a good summer beer! 

  • SKINNY DIP from New Belgium. American Blonde Ale // 4.20% ABV. Skinny Dip is a revival beer which has been incorporated into this year’s Folly Packs for New Belgium’s summer sampler cases. I really enjoy it! It’s light, crisp, and a really nice beer for summer. Great hops flavor but really not overpowering.
  • COORS LIGHT SUMMER BREW from Coors Brewing Company. Fruit Beer // 3.90% ABV. I know Andi hated Coor’s Light Summer Brew but I found it surprisingly not terribly offensive! I really enjoy fruit beers and although I much prefer Leinekugel’s for a shandy or a citrus beer, I though this one was just okay.
  • SNAPSHOT from New Belgium. American Pale Wheat Ale // 5.00% ABV. I generally love everything from New Belgium and Snapshot is a nice, easy drinker if you’re looking for a nice pale ale. It’s not too hoppy but it does have that nice pale ale taste. Nothing too overwhelming.
  • 80-ACRE HOPPY WHEAT BEER from Boulevard Brewing Co. American Pale Wheat Ale // 5.50% ABV. 80-Acre is surprisingly fantastic. We actually picked this one up because we saw a Boulevard truck on our way to work and wanted to try it. We found out in the liquor store that many Boulevard beers have really high ratings and after drinking 80-Acre, I can easily see why! The name says hoppy but it’s the perfect balance of hops and wheat flavors and they blend together really nicely! It’s such an easy drinker and I really, really enjoyed it.

** Beer styles and alcohol content from Beer Advocate **

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The Selective Collective features Being Sloane Jacobs: Round Table


The Selective Collective reads BEING SLOANE JACOBS by LAUREN MORRILL

The Selective Collective features BEING SLOANE JACOBS by LAUREN MORRILL provided to us by Random House for review and use in The Selective Collective feature!

For my part in this Selective Collective post, I got to ask some questions to the ladies of the Selective Collective and we talked about some main themes of BEING SLOANE JACOBS!

Before we jump in, here’s a little info on the book:

Being Sloane JacobsPublishing Info: January 7th 2014 by Delacorte
Source: Physical ARC provided to us by Random House for review and use for the Selective Collective promotions

Book Synopsis: Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.
    Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.
    When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself. — From Goodreads.com

ROUND TABLE: Chatting with The Selective Collective about BEING SLOANE JACOBS!

If you were to choose one of the Sloane’s sports to attempt to learn for the first time, which would you choose? Figure skating or ice hockey?
[Kristina – Gone Pecan] Ice hockey without a doubt.  I absolutely love to watch figure skating but ice hockey is like roller derby, a sport where you can hit your opponents and sometimes get away with it.  Not only that but I love when people go against the norm.  Girls don’t generally play ice hockey and if someone ever tells me I can’t do something because I’m a girl, etc I usually set our to prove them wrong.  (I mean if I REALLY don’t want to do it I don’t care what they say ya know?) I know its just a game and all but when you are losing or not performing at your peak I get that frustration so I understand the want to body check someone. 😛
[Candice – The Grown-Up YA] Oh, hands down ice skating! I’ve loved it every since I was little and, even though I can barely stand up in ice skates, always imagined how awesome it would be to be a figure skater. As a little girl I remember watching it and thinking how cool the skaters were, doing jumps and twirls and flips. And there’s always so much DRAMA – Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding were THE STORY when I was younger. But I think what I love most about it isn’t just that it’s pretty; it’s that there’s real training involved. I love that it combines so many different aspects and that everything has to be spot on to win. One tiny misstep can destroy a career. And while I don’t know if I could handle that amount of pressure, I certainly would love to try!
[Daphne – Gone Pecan] I am very much not athletic.  Plus I’m a klutz.  So, if I had to choose, I would definitely choose hockey, since there’s all the padding and there are teammates who would take the heat and pressure off.

Both girls have issues with nerves when it comes down to the wire in their respective sports. What types of things do you do to get your nerves under control in a high-stress situation?  
[Candice – The Grown-Up YA] Does having a total melt down in a stall in the ladies’ room count? No? Hm… cause that’s typically what I do. Maybe not the BEST, but I feel that going to a secluded spot – be it the stall in the ladies’ room, a storage closet, under my desk, wherever – and letting myself have the meltdown is the best way for me to gain control in a high stress situation. Sometimes I feel that I don’t let myself acknowledge my feelings or stress and try to push them down. It just ends up exploding all over the place and that’s not cool my friends. So for me, I think letting myself acknowledge the fact that I’m stressed does wonders to help calm my nerves and let me take control of the situation before those nerves cause me to completely lose it.

Sloane Emily has some tough family issues, mostly surrounding her parents, but she also has her brother who is the most supportive of her in her family. Do you have a relative or family member that you have a special relationship with?  
[Sandie – Teen Lit Rocks] I love both of my brothers and consider all four of us to be really close siblings, but my sister and I have a special sisterly bond. She’s 12 years older than I, so we never had that awkward fighting and competitive relationship that’s so common among close-in-age siblings. When I was little, she was like a second, much cooler mom, and then when I got older, she transitioned to becoming my very best friend. Although we have both been blessed with fabulous female friends, she is the one person I would call (sometimes, depending on the topic and situation, even before my husband) to share a joy or hurt with or to discuss something important. She’s unconditionally supportive and encouraging of my career, my parenting, and my personhood. I know she wishes the best for me, and in the absence of living parents, she is my steadfast, most secure connection to our extended family. I don’t think I would be the woman I am without my sister’s guiding and loving presence.
[Tee – YA Crush] I don’t have siblings, and as much as I longed for a brother or sister and believed that my life would be perfect with that addition, I have two people in my family who I tend to go to, overall, with everything (I think I talk with each of them about different things). The most obvious is my husband, of course, who was a dear, closer than close friend to me long before we ever dated and whose opinion and point of view I have complete faith in and total respect for. But of course, he’s a boy. Even if he’s a man, he’s a boy and boys just see the world differently. The person I go to for pretty much everything (sometimes it seems it would be more often than my hubby) is my mom. She is a rock, a loving, funny, insurmountable force in my life, as much now as she was when I was a child–not because she’s a meddler or anything like that (quite the opposite), but because now, as an adult, as a wife, and as a mom, I get it. I see what a wealth of knowledge she has about life and love and I finally understand that the information she gives, the wisdom she shares, is all given freely from the perspective of someone who has my best interests at heart. That’s always been the case, yes, but I guess that didn’t really sink in until I grew up.

Have you ever had a mix-up with someone who had the same name as you? Or if not, have you ever had an encounter with a look-alike?
[Kristina – Gone Pecan] I actually went to middle and high school with a girl a grade below me that ALMOST had the same name.  We were both Kristinas (mine with a K obvs, her’s with a Ch) and our last names were one letter off.  Every now and then if we were both at the same place we might do a double take when our names where called out but not actual mix ups.  Some people say my sister and I look pretty close minus the hair color.  In fact once she went darker with her hair and someone called her by my name and that wasn’t pretty.  Everyone wants to be themselves and stand out in their own way so I tried to not be too offended. (Just kidding if you are reading this sis!!!)
[Brittany – The Book Addict’s Guide] I actually haven’t met my own look-alike, but my sister SWORE she saw someone who looked just like me at Six Flags and then at one of my old apartments, the maintenance guy was freaked out because he said I looked just like his niece! I would love to meet my doppelgangers because I need to compare and see if I agree! My last name is pretty unique and Italian so I haven’t met anyone with the same name as me, but I did just get an email from a Brittney Smith which made me realize that WOULD be my name once I get married in the fall (well, minus the different spelling) and for some reason that totally weirded me out!
[Sandie – Teen Lit Rocks] Yes! I don’t have a very common maiden name (in terms of Latino last names, it’s not nearly as widespread as Lopez or Rodriguez or Garcia — http://names.mongabay.com/data/hispanic.html), so I was extremely surprised to find out that there was another woman with my exact birth name — roughly around the same age — living in the United States. I found out, because a private investigator and then an attorney called me about 8 years ago asking me all these questions and accusing me of being involved in a very unsavory case about a woman (with my name, unfortunately), who had allegedly had illegal sexual contact with a teenage boy at a summer camp where she was a counselor. While very serious, it was all a bit hilarious to my husband and me, because the alleged events happened in a state I had never been to, and obviously I was not the person in question. I was, however, the first person with my name who popped up when the investigator put the name in search engines. I never did find out what happened to the real person who was being accused, and I’m not sure I want to!
[Daphne – Gone Pecan] Not really, but when googling yourself became a thing, I succumbed to the (nonexistent) peer pressure and googled my name.  My maiden name is very distinctive German name that can be spelled a dozen different ways (and is) and of course, Daphne is not a very popular name.  I did find a woman in New Orleans with the exact same name (and spelling) as me, and she ran marathons.  I loved that.  So if anyone googles my maiden name, they would think I ran marathons.  I’m thinking of having it put on my tombstone.


And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of BEING SLOANE JACOBS so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  Review: Being Sloane Jacobs
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  Author Q&A + Giveaway!
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Identity Swapping
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  Being Sloane Jacobs: From Page to Screen



Being Sloane Jacobs – Lauren Morrill

Being Sloane Jacobs – Lauren MorrillTitle: Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill
Publishing Info: January 7, 2014 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 28, 2013
Related Posts: Meant to Be, The Trouble With Destiny

    Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure skater who choked during junior nationals and isn't sure she's ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she'd give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life. Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player who's been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she's playing the worst she's ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over. When the two Sloanes meet by chance and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she's the lucky one. But it didn't occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It's not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you're someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.


With MEANT TO BE as one of my favorite reads in 2012 (and just a favorite overall), I was so excited to hear that Lauren Morrill had another book coming out in 2014 after a long wait! I actually didn’t hop to reading BEING SLOANE JACOBS right away like I had planned and instead spent a lovely Christmas reading a good majority of it!

BEING SLOANE JACOBS was a fun, easy breezy book. It has a fun “Parent Trap” feel but instead of summer camp, our two main characters run into each other (literally) when in Montreal for skating camp. When Sloane Emily Jacobs (figure skater and Senator’s daughter from Washington DC) suggests that she and Sloane Devon Jacobs (hockey player from Philly) switch places for the duration of their camps, Sloane Devon is hesitant but ultimately agrees. This premise was lots of fun all around.

It was interesting to see how both girls handled both the freedom of hopping into someone else’s life and being able to let go of their own issues (or really in both cases, hiding from their issues) and at the same time the stress and pressure of trying to learn a new sport well enough to pass off as the other girl. What I loved the most was seeing each girl grow and learn things about herself by being so far out of her comfort zone. You know problems must be big to put yourself in a position that almost guarantees failure (a hockey player as a figure skater? A figure skater as a hockey player? No way can this work out, you think.) but it’s also easy to see that that situation ultimately pushes each girl to her limits and ultimately end up facing their problems anyway, but almost tricking themselves into doing so by thinking they’re escaping.

Each girl finds a romance in their adventure (Oh come on, you knew they would!) and of course wacky hijinks ensued trying to convince their beaus that they were adept in their sport. There was actually one aspect in their relationship capers that I didn’t see coming and I thought that was a really cute & fun way to further tie in the two girls together and also cross their paths. There was one romance I really enjoyed and the other just not as much, but of course I was rooting for both girls to find love in Montreal!
They also both have some pretty serious family issues that they are hoping being the “other Sloane Jacobs” will help resolve or at least allow them to escape for a  while, but true to form, you can’t escape your problems. I also really enjoyed how both Sloanes learned a lot about each other without even being in communication with each other. They really did the whole “walk a mile in my shoes” deal (or in the case, skate and sweat in each other’s shoes) and they came away with a totally different understanding of themselves and each other.

With so much love for MEANT TO BE, I actually had a high expectation for BEING SLOANE JACOBS and I wouldn’t say that I was let down so much as it’s just a totally different book and a very different feel. We still see some nice cheeky wit, a little bit of slapstick comedy, and some lovely life lessons learned by the main characters, but I just connected so much more with Julia in MEANT TO BE than I had with either Sloane in BEING SLOANE JACOBS.  I think a lot of readers will have fun with this one but just have a more personal connection to MTB


Sloane Emily // Character Obsessions: Figure skating, staying out of the public eye, avoiding her “comeback”.
Sloane Emily is the figure skater and daughter of a Senator, hailing from Washington DC. After a scandal involving her father, her family has never been more in the spotlight than now… And she hates it. It’s one thing to deal with your problems and it’s another thing to do it all in the spotlight. I really loved her guts. This switch idea was hers, afterall!
Sloane Devon // Character Obsessions: Hockey, hangin’ tough, her mother.
I think I identified more with Sloane Devon overall. I liked her tough girl attitude and I admire a girl who can play hockey! Her family issues were much less political and a lot more relatable for me. I just really love a tough girl too. Sloane Emily was still tough but I really liked the badassness of hockey… Even though Sloane Emily took her place in that role for the book!


Kept Me Hooked On: Fun reads. BEING SLOANE JACOBS was pure fun. It was a light, easy read and just really enjoyable. I felt like it dealt a lot more with family issues than MTB and that’s definitely a serious topic but I feel like the whole “parent trap” vibe was very reminiscent of my younger years so the tone actually felt a lot younger to me than MTB did.
Left Me Wanting More: Serious moments. As previously stated, BEING SLOANE JACOBS was fun… And yes, there were family and personal issues that brought a depth to it but it was just missing… something. I think I wanted just a bit more of… A serious tone? A personal connection? It’s hard to pin-point exactly what was missing for me but it was just a little something.

Addiction Rating
Read it

BEING SLOANE JACOBS was a lot of fun and while I feel that readers won’t have as strong of a connection to it as MTB, it’s still an extremely enjoyable book and an easy, casual read!


(Click the cover to see my review!)

          Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality   Going Vintage

May Author Signings Recap & Giveaway!

Event: Author appearances by Lauren Oliver + Lauren Morrill + Lenore Appelhans, Richelle Mead, Pitch Dark Days Tour
Location: Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL
Date: May 2 – 9

So excited to finally be catching up on these author recaps! Anderson’s Bookshop (my local indie bookstore, for those of you who don’t know it) has had some AMAZING author events this month so far. I mean like, MY FAVORITE AUTHORS AND I GOT TO MEET THEM *happy dance*

MAY 2, 2013

OMG, you guys. I was so nervous and excited to meet Lauren Oliver! She was one of the authors that even got me into YA in the first place!!! Meeting her was honestly a dream of mine, one of my “bucket list” authors, if you will. And don’t count out Lauren Morrill or Lenore Appelhans! I’ve been fortunate enough to work with BOTH of them for a Selective Collective feature, not to mention that MEANT TO BE was an instant favorite of mine!


  • Firstly, Chicago traffic and rain made L. Morrill and L. Appelhans late BUT, the lovely Lauren Oliver was there to entertain us and introduce each of the books being promoted AS each other. She did a great job as Lauren Morrill and Lenore Appelhans! Very funny. I actually didn’t IMG_1275expect Lauren Oliver to be that outspoken and “bossy” as she called herself, maybe just because her books carry such a serious tone! She was a blast to listen to and I really heard some interesting things about her writing process!
  • Did you know that Lauren Oliver’s BEFORE I FALL was written entirely on a Blackberry? I did not!! L. Morrill said “SEE, there are no excuses not to write!” which I totally commend, but I would never be able to concentrate writing on the subway or in transit like L. Oliver did!
  • It was really interesting to hear Lenore talk about how she came up with ideas for LEVEL 2! She knew she wanted memories to be involved and involving good memories as sort of a currency. Lenore is a world-traveler so most of Felicia’s travels were easy for Lenore to write! And sadly…. There really are no prancing goats. That was a total creation from Lenore!
  • Quick bragging moment: Each of the authors played a game where they decided to read a passage from the book that they were promoting. Since Lauren Oliver was promoting the third and a trilogy and didn’t want to spoil anything, I volunteered my copy of Delirium. So Lauren Oliver read from my copy of Delirium and call me crazy, but I honestly found it SO. COOL. that the author herself was reading the very same book and the very same words that I read and fell in love with. It was an awesome thing for me!
Reading from my copy of Delirium eeeeep

Reading from my copy of Delirium eeeeep

Of course I was extremely awkward when trying to talk to any authors because let’s face it… I always am, BUT I did get to take photos with all of them and they were all super sweet!

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MAY 5, 2013


Okay, I know Richelle Mead is hugely popular and has had many, many books, but I had no idea that the crowd for this event was going to be that huge! Thankfully I come to these events alone (or not thankfully, because that sounds sad) so I was able to squeeze into a solo seat and not have to stand in the back for the whole event! I was SHOCKED to find out that probably about half of the people who were at this event came from two hours away or more (quite a few were four hours or more!!) so that just tells you the magnitude of her writing and the audience that she reaches!

  • Richelle started off by giving us a lengthy taste of THE FIERY HEART (Bloodlines #4) which actually alternates between Adrian’s & Sydney’s point of views. It was a darker & deeper side of Adrian and interesting to hear thoughts from his perspective. Usually I don’t like when books start with one narrator and switch to dual POVs, but I’m actually pretty anxious to hear what Adrian has to say!
  • The audience got to do a Q&A and there were some specific questions which Katie at The Polished Page Turner was kind enough to take notes on for her own recap of the event! I’m not a note taker so… I forgot all of them haha.
  • She talked about the MOVIE. I guess the guy who plays Dimitri, although most of us probably haven’t heard of him, is kind of a big deal in Russia so that’s pretty cool! I hope that the movie does the books justice because the VA series is one I felt come off SO well in books and I’m scared the wrong actors could ruin it! Hopefully not 🙂


We didn’t get to do any posed pictures since there were SO many people so I got some awkward photos as someone was nice enough to snap a few haha. I made THE MOST awkward conversation with Richelle as she was kind enough to sign my books by telling her that I almost didn’t pick up VA because it was “another vampire series”. Of course I went on to tell her that I love it (duh) and I’m so glad that I read them because they’re really unique! I hope she didn’t think I was TOO awkward. I really shouldn’t be allowed to talk to authors. I don’t know how I’ll survive BEA with my pride intact.

MAY 9, 2013


Fierce Reads isn’t coming into town, but I got to go to the Pitch Dark Days tour!!! Aprilynne Pike, Amy Tintera, Elizabeth Norris, and Kiera Cass were all in attendance and a great group of ladies to meet!!

I was kind of overjoyed that……. I forgot everything that happened. With four authors, it was all kind of a daze (in a great way) but once again, Katie at The Polished Page Turner did a great write up about it so I can refer you to her page haha. I feel terrible that I don’t take notes at some of these things sometimes because I have no specifics to tell you but I feel awkward being on my phone the whole time or writing things down. I just feel like I’m not paying attention even though I’m taking notes! So I just watched and listened, smiled and laughed and had a grand old time!

True to form, I made awkward small talk with the authors (I’m just SO BAD at small talk. Why do I do this???) and took pictures will ALL OF THEM.

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Also got to meet Alison from Harper! She was super sweet and a little ball of energy! She did a great job at moderating the event!! (Also a pretty awkward picture of me but… meh!)



Oh yes, there is a giveaway! I don’t have books from every author mentioned in this post (because I wanted to keep a lot for myself hahaha), BUT I do have a signed hardback of LIFE AFTER THEFT and a signed copy of THE INDIGO SPELL for one lucky winner! Best of luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is open until Friday 5/24/13. US and Canada entries only, please. (Sorry, international!) Go forth and enter!

Here are a few more upcoming events that I will be attending! If you’re going to be at Anderson’s in Naperville, IL for any of these signings, let me know and we can say hi! 🙂

Rick Yancey – The 5th Wave: May 22nd, 2013
Joelle Charbonneau – The Testing: June 4th, 2013
Young Authors Give Back Tour: June 14th, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday – February 26, 2013: Top Ten Authors on My Auto-Buy List


It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish!

(Young Adult)



No doubt about it that Gayle Forman is my number one answer to the question “Which authors are on my auto-buy list?” I have adored all of her works and after each book, I’m left dying for the next or to go back and re-read every book that’s come before it!


Lauren Oliver is another author that I would follow to the ends of the Earth. I’m a little scared to be reading Requiem right now, but so far I’m enjoying it! I’m just praying the series wraps up well because I just always get scared when series end!! Anyway, Lauren Oliver’s writing is gorgeous and reading her books is always amazing!

WH copy

I fell in love with Sweet Evil over the summer and now I’m anxiously awaiting Sweet Peril! Before I knew what fangirling really was, I was fangirling for Sweet Evil! You can bet when SP comes out, I’m buying it immediately!


I just finished the last book in The Chemical Garden trilogy, Sever. I really enjoyed how Lauren DeStefano wrapped the series up (although I heard a lot of mixed reactions from people) and I look forward to purchasing anything else she writes!


Anna and the French Kiss became an instant favorite when I read it. Although I wasn’t as big of a fan for Lola, I’m definitely buying any new books from Stephanie Perkins the nanosecond they come out!!


I never expected to like a fantasy book so much so when I read Shadow and Bone, I was blown away. I loved Leigh Bardugo’s writing and you can bet I’m barely able to contain my excitement for Siege & Storm!! I’ve also been able to meet Leigh Bardugo a few times and knowing that she’s such a genuinely nice person and how much fun she is makes it that much more exciting to pick up her books!


I’ve only read The Sea of Tranquility but the sheer beauty of the book and the amazing characters that Katja Millay created has made me a believer! You can bet I’m getting this book when it comes out in print so it can have a home on my shelf and I’ll be buying any future books from this amazing author!


What a fun debut from Lauren Morrill!! I had just a blast with her characters and a really great story line. I’d be happy to buy any new books from her!


Okay, admittedly, I haven’t actually purchased any of Richelle Mead’s books. SAD. I know. I borrowed all of the Vampire Academy series from the library since I was zipping through them and I then I quickly caught up with Bloodlines in anticipation of The Indigo Spell. Richelle Mead technically hasn’t been an auto-buy author but she’s definitely an auto-read author for me!!


Same with Robin LaFevers – I borrowed Grave Mercy from the library, but absolutely plan on buying it because I loved it so much! I have Dark Triumph on my Kindle right now, but I’ll be buying that too when it comes out!!


So those are my auto-buy authors! Anyone we have in common? Looking forward to see other people’s picks this week!!



Shout Outs for my Fav Adult Auto-Buy Authors:

1. Meg Cabot (Yes, I know she writes YA too but for some reason I’ve only ever read her adult books)

2. Lisa Lutz

3. Janet Evanovich

4. JD Robb

Meant To Be – Lauren Morrill


The Selective Collective reads MEANT TO BE by LAUREN MORRILL

This month for The Selective Collective, we were so incredibly lucky enough to receive copies of Lauren Morrill’s debut novel, MEANT TO BE from Delacourte Press for Young Readers for review and book club discussion. For my part in this month’s Selective Collective post, I have the incredible pleasure to post my review for MEANT TO BE!

Meant To Be – Lauren MorrillTitle: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Publishing Info: November 13, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: November 11, 2012
Related Posts: Being Sloane Jacobs, The Trouble With Destiny

    Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.
It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").
But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.
Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.


I absolutely, positively adored this book. This was the perfect contemporary romance and just what I needed – a nice breath of fresh air after being slightly disappointed in my last couple of reads. Lauren Morrill’s writing was fresh, fun, and real. I always get a bit worried whenever I read books that are set in places that are so foreign to me – I’ve never been across the pond to London (or off the continent of North America for that matter) – so I was a tiny bit hesitant that I would be overwhelmed with all of the unknowns that London would hold for our story. Upon reading, I found that it wasn’t the case at all. Morrill did a fantastic job of making me feel like I was on my very own vacation with the characters. Everything was beautifully described and I didn’t feel lost in a foreign country at all. Julia was a fantastic main character for me to read about. I absolutely love any character that has an utterly nerdy side because, well, I can relate! I may not have been as intensely organized as Julia, but if there was ever a nickname for me at this very moment in time, “Book Licker” could definitely be it! What I loved the most about Julia is that she not only has a life changing experience just by being over in London, but she also transforms as a person. She learns a lot about herself by breaking the rules (many, many rules) and by figuring out how to deal with her assigned buddy and current nemesis Jason. Jason was also another interesting character for me. We start off by seeing exactly how Jason and Julia conflicted with each other. Julia saw him as nothing but immature and a bully. He teases her, initiates rumors, even goes as far as sticking gum in her hair and calling her “Book Licker”. As the story goes on, we see that there’s so much more to Jason than people’s first impressions, especially Julia’s. The relationship that begins to develop between Jason and Julia once they’re forced together is a roller coaster of emotions that makes us wonder how they’ll end up once the London trip is over. I also really love the “meant to be” story line. So many times I’ve felt the same way as Julia – there’s someone out there for each one of us, a “one and only”, and I really do believe that where you end up in the end is where you’re supposed to be. What I really loved about this book is the message that Fate can only take you so far and you have to take control of your own destiny. You have to be active in your own life and you can’t just sit back and expect the world to happen around you. What I really loved is that we see Julia idolizing her parents’ MTB relationship and she expects it to happen for her. In the end, we see her come around to reality a little bit and realize that although that does happen for some people, not everyone can have this incredible, coincidental, perfect love story. Sometimes things don’t happen the way you expect and that really turns out to be your MTB situation. Although the final message almost appeared to be that there is no such thing as “meant to be” for everyone, what I like to take from it is that “meant to be” can happen for everyone, but it’s just not always what you expect it to be and not always what you’re looking for. character_breakdown1

Julia: Oh, Julia! I totally could see myself being best friends with Julia. Or I could see myself as Julia. I loved watching her transformation throughout this book and seeing how she discovers different bits and pieces about herself as the book progresses. It really reminded me a lot of similar situations that I went through as a teenager, figuring out what rules to break and what ideas it’s time to grow out of.
Jason: I really enjoyed watching Jason and Julia go back and forth from enemies to friends to enemies to two dewey-eyed kids falling in love. The best part about Jason’s character is that we see him as a bully, a name-caller, and immature, but that’s just what everyone sees on the surface. His character is much more deep and involved than Julia or her classmates realize. I’m really not sure if we see Jason actually grow throughout the story or if we just discover layers of him that were always buried underneath. Either way, I loved seeing his transformation through Julia’s eyes and how through these revelations, their relationship changes entirely.


These quotes are from the Advanced Reader’s Copy — Page numbers and wording may vary from published copy.

p 25-26: “I have my own e-reader, but I hardly ever use it. I need to fold down pages and flag passages with sticky notes. I need to experience books, not just read them.” (I then proceeded to tweet Lauren Morrill about how much this described me to a tee. And I flagged the passage with a sticky note)

p 29: “‘The Czech Republic. Czechoslovakia hasn’t existed or almost twenty years. So unless her parents are visiting 1992, they’re in the Czech Republic.'”

p 152: “In fact, he has been the exact opposite of helpful (help-empty?).”

p 191: (Jason) “‘Well, either you stand here in this rainstorm, or you take a chance with me.'” (My favorite line of the entire book)

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE MEANT TO BE


And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of MEANT TO BE so please go visit their take on the book as well!