Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

While I'm so grateful to have received this book from the publisher, I'm sad to say it wasn't for me. I can see how this book would be a favorite for younger (snarky?) readers, and the writing was decent, but I just couldn't stomach the YA cliches, bad attitudes/angst, pretentiousness, and other frustrating elements.

I really REALLY wanted to love this book, and I do think fans of John Green or "witty" romance will potentially enjoy this book. I did like, for the most part, how the author portrayed depression and how it can take many shapes in our lives and in the lives of people we love.

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Like many other reviewers, I am astounded by this book. I don’t think the right words will come, but I’m going to try.

This book deserves all the hype it received. It was like a sucker punch to the heart in the best way. But it hurts, because it exposes everything.

I’m sure The Hate U Give wasn’t written so white people like me could better understand what it’s like for a black girl like Starr to live her life and experience the injustice she experienced.

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What I've Been Reading Lately

Hi, friends!

I haven't shared my thoughts on what I've been reading lately because, quite frankly, I haven't been reading a lot. I've been reading a ton for my job, and I think that's part of the problem. I edit stories all day (and sometimes night) long—and by the end of the day, my eyes are usually killing me and the last thing I want to do is read.

But lately, I haven't exactly been in a reading slump. In fact, I desperately want to read so many of the books on my shelves; I just don't have the time or eye muscle strength (that's a thing, right?).

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Lately: The Reading List

Hi all!

I wanted to share some exciting news. I'm joining the team* at The Reading List, an editorial agency created by Lindsey Alexander and her partner, Salvatore Borriello. I met Lindsey through the Editorial Freelancers Association a while back and was delighted to meet her when I moved back to Raleigh, NC. I'm honored to work alongside all of these incredible editors; I know I will learn so much from their work experience and skills.

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a touching coming-of-age story about a fifteen-year-old boy named Ari and his best friend, Dante, and their unique experiences in El Paso, Texas, as Mexican-American teenagers.

I listened to the audio version of this story, and while I do believe it was overhyped, I’m fully aware that my personal listening experience could have been completely different if I had physically read the book. Don’t get me wrong: Lin-Manuel Miranda was a brilliant narrator and I thoroughly enjoyed his voice for all of the characters.

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2017 New Year's Goals

I said on my BookTube channel that I didn't have any resolutions or goals for 2017, but I've changed my mind in, oh, a day? I'm just a sucker for resolutions, you guys.

I wasn't always this way, but I'm finally coming around to the truth that I am a goal-oriented person. My downfall, however, is always my all-or-nothing goals. I tell myself I'm going all in or there's no point to it all, which is just silly. Thankfully, I don't feel that way about readathons or monthly TBRs, and reading in general.

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A World without You by Beth Revis

I finished A World Without You by Beth Revis almost a month ago. It’s strange, but I found myself waiting to put words to how I felt about this book. It seemed like a monumental read for me, and a part of me didn’t want to face those intense emotions.

Immediately upon finishing the book, I gushed on Twitter—as I so often do—and eventually found myself private messaging with the author back and forth. Side note: I will always be grateful that Twitter fills the gap between author and reader.

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Lately: Scarcity vs. Abundance in Faith, Reading, and Work

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the ebb and flow of scarcity versus abundance affects my entire life. This is a mind-set we’re taught to put on from an early age—one of those subtle rules we assign meaning to in some way or another, whether it’s scarcity-thinking of finances, possessions, time, friendships . . . it truly devours and gnaws away at us, to the point where abundance is always an arm’s length away.

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I Quit My Job!

My coworkers made this amazing cake for me on my last day (all my favorite things).

I quit my job. This is a terrifying sentence to write, but I also feel electric. A year and a half ago, I devoted 100 percent of my time to freelance work, and I loved it. I had the dizzy, hopeful feeling that exciting new projects and experiences were waiting just around the corner.

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Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

This is a rather quick review, but I couldn't skip over this enchanting book. Every Heart a Doorway was my kind of strange, and I don't think I've been this in love with a storyline/premise in a long time. As others have mentioned on Goodreads, it's dark, atmospheric, and heartachingly lovely. There was something so unsettling about these characters who have traded in their own families and "old lives" for other worlds—the worlds they truly belong to.

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Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

—Stephanie Danler, Sweetbitter

This book will forever leave a sweet-bitter, craving-it-always taste in my mind. I devoured it.

This coming-of-age foodie story is so much more than a young twenty-two-year-old girl moving to New York City on a whim, stumbling into a coveted job at a top NYC restaurant. It's about remembering, having experiences instead of just wanting them, and oh, every page aches with loneliness—truly.

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Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

I can't even begin to sum up this weirdly stunning, magical book.

I absolutely loved everything about it. But then again, I seem to like most YA contemporaries these days with a little magical realism sprinkled in for good measure. Well, that's not entirely true; it's not easy to get it right. But when an author does get it right? Good gracious, I have GOOSEBUMPS.

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Turning Off the Editor: Letting Creativity Strike instead of the Em Dash

This past week, something unsettling happened. Well, to be real with you, a lot of unsettling things have happened recently: We uprooted and moved (back) to a hustling city we love, for starters. This place was our home, and we left it for a short time and have happily returned after three years.

This move left me a little shell-shocked (excuse the drama), stressed, and sick. I wasn’t prepared to dive into our “new” life, which happened to run head-first into our “old” life. Ah, but that’s another story for another time. . . .

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

I tend to believe that most people cannot easily come to grips with identity or the strange and beautiful sorrows of life until they unravel the stories of their family histories and peel away the layers of where they come from.

I also tend to believe that, like author Leslye Walton’s strange kinship with the daffodil, some people can achieve beauty only after a long, cold sulk in the rain.

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4 Things I've Learned as a Biz Boss Lady

I can’t believe how much this little brain-child business of mine has grown in the past year. I’m humbled and honored to walk alongside authors, publishers, and business professionals on their publishing journeys and creative project goals! I’ve learned a lot over the past year about what it means to be a freelance editor and writer—and a lot of what I’ve learned has nothing to do with editing or publishing. It’s amazing how our professional lives can spill out into our personal lives!

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On Writing the Gruesome Details

Perhaps the greatest thing I ever learned about writing came from my parents when I was young. Just five years old, I’d moved with my twin sister, brother, and parents to North Carolina. In those first few weeks, we saw the world through new child eyes. North Carolina was hilly; it was greener and quieter than where we lived in California or Iowa. One afternoon, when my father drove us on those small town streets, he asked my mother if the kids had ever seen roadkill. I don’t remember her words, but I imagine she scrunched up her nose and shook her head laughing.

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Editing Checklist: NaNoWriMo Revision Month

Whether you won NaNoWriMo this year and have a messy manuscript to show for it or you’ve worked tirelessly all year, carefully constructing your words to the end, every manuscript—no matter how tidy—needs an editing plan. Ask any author and he or she will agree: A first, second, third, or tenth draft is a brain-child, a labor of love. You may be the kind of author who would rather keep it hidden in your bedside drawer than let a scary, word-ripping vampire of an editor pry your story out of your dead cold hands.

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Choosing the Right Editor Is Like Dating

If you've gone through the self-editing check list after completing your novel, then it's time to (deep breath) *gently* hand over your manuscript to a professional editor. Listen. I know this is rough; your book is your baby.

You probably have a few misconceptions about editors. They're pretentious, snarky, scary monsters who will murder your manuscript with red ink, killing all of your darlings, judging every misplaced comma, and cackling at their computer screens when they get to write rejection letters (if you're submitting to a traditional publisher).

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