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I realize its the middle of July and it’s kind of early to give a “what I’ve been reading update,” but, really–stop for a moment and consider that statement. And the realize it’s NEVER too early  in the month to push books on people.

I jumped back into my YA writing and reading world this month after a very long, very busy hiatus. You can read about that here.

In doing so, I had to come to a few conclusions. The first, time is difficult commodity to come by. Seriously. So, I don’t read books I don’t like. I don’t feel compelled to finish boring 

stories and I don’t really venture outside of my paranormal and fantasy safe zones.

The second conclusion? There comes a time in all readers’ and writers’ lives that you have to come out of your safe zones and dip your toes in the water. For me, it meant dipping my toes in non-magical, non-fanciful waters. Like, no goblins. No prophecies. No latent powers that just burst forth from our heroine’s fingertips on her 16th birthday.

I stuck my foot in the turgid, intimidating waters of Contemporary Young Adult Romance, people….and it was good–real, real good.

I pay attention to Netflix. It’s a strange thing to say, but it’s how I became aware of the “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” series that’s on its way next month. And ya’ll–it looked adorable. So sweet and SOOOOmuch like some dumb stuff I would have done. And author Jenny Han is pretty stinking adorable, too. Bonus.

Much like Lara Jean, I spent a lot of my teenage years writing my feelings down. Most of the time it was in some inane, self-congratulatory or loathing nonsense in a diary. It was never in a series of never-meant-to-be-sent letters like our heroine, Lara Jean, but still. Words helped me cope. Words help Lara Jean cope.

All fine and dandy until the words Lara Jean wrote (that were never meant to see the light of day thanks to the old hatbox she hid them in) escape. Or rather, are freed. That’s when the fun breaks loose and our own Lara Jean finds herself dipping her own toes into some new waters and trying out life as a different person her junior year of high school.

I didn’t want to, but I loved the book. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to love the series–find out more information here. We should totally watch it together. And I promise not to lose interest a few episodes in like I did with the latest season Riverdale. Sorry, Archiekins. You guys got all weird on me there in that second season. And that rumor of what went down with Jughead at the end? Nope. Nopety. Nopekins.

Ok. On to the second book I want to talk about. I know nothing about author Jamie McGuire. Seriously. And she mentions being a visionary and setting the grounds for the New Adult genre and I’m like…how is this 

woman not on my Christmas card list? I love New Adult!

I’m digressing.

I’m broke most of the month. It’s not only a truth that’s universal and impossible to deny, but it makes it really hard to be a voracious bookworm like I am and it means that I have to read a lot of nonsense in the

Kindle Unlimited program while looking for a few gems.

“All the Little Lights” is one of those KU gems, ya’ll.

I just want to say, that when I was a teenager, I would have given my friend’s right arm (not mine, I was a swimmer and needed that arm) for a book boyfriend like Elliot Youngblood.

He’s just so–perfect. And not in the fake veneer way, either. Elliot is a good dude, period. Consistently, too.

I’m digressing, again.

It’s a story about a boy and a girl who meet after their freshman year, right before a forced separation between them and right at the moment when our heroine Catherine’s life takes a nosedive from hell. It’s rough. He comes back to town right at the start of their senior year and picks up with Elliot trying to explain why he had to leave and the circumstances that kept him from her and by this point, Catherine has seen some s#$t. She’s dealing with things that even the reader can’t quite put their finger on and McGuire does a fantastic job keeping what’s really going on from both Elliot and the reader.

It’s a romance, yes, but it’s also a YA thriller, which seems like the craziest combination, but it’s that good. It got a few mixed reviews over on Goodreads, but to me, the cliff the author dropped me off (no hanging off that cliff–this isn’t a series and she PUNTED me off that cliff at the end) had me thinking about the signs I missed through the whole book about what was really going on in Catherine’s world.

I can’t recommend this book enough.

In other news, Jimmy Fallon totally twisted my arm and convinced me to read along with his book club and I grabbed their choice for the summer, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. I splurged on this one and bought the hardcover edition, so I’m not zooming through it like I normally do.

And it’s good ya’ll…real, real good.

Until next time