Book Review: Tell The Wolves I’m Home + The Royal We

October 7, 2015

the royal we

Whenever I write these two-set book reviews, I’m amazed how there is always some link between the texts. Even if one is a zombie novel and the other is a celebrity memoir, I’ll notice a mutual plot point, a shared theme, the same pint of whiskey on the grandfather’s kitchen table. I don’t know how it’s happening. How and when and where I get books is completely random. Is this a set up? Am I on the Truman Show?

It blows my mind.

This time, the link is sisters. Two sets of sisters and all the wonderful, terrible, beautiful things that come with that relationship (love ya Kelly).

As always, book reviews are spoiler free.

Happy reading.

PS: A few people told me that after the last book review, they accidentally bought or borrowed the wrong Her as there are two books by that name! How exciting. Please let me know how the other Her is. As an aside, if you click on the links provided in book reviews, it will take you to the Amazon listing of the correct book. Full disclosure, I’ll also make a few pennies if you buy something–but no worries. I get most of my books from the library, too. xo


1. Tell The Wolves I’m Home.


If You’re Looking For: Young adult fiction, historical fiction, coming-of-age novels

If You Liked: Eleanor And Park

My Review: Good start, long middle, satisfying ending. That’s the short version. The long version is that I really wanted to five star this book. So many people told me it was wonderful, which was perhaps part of the problem. I enjoyed it but I’m not sure I loved it. It was the very standard young adult fiction; misfit girl feels unlovable but ends up being lovable all along, while also taking on some deeper issues such as hard family dynamics and the AIDS crisis in the 80s. There were moments I cried all over my tank top and moments I wanted to stop reading. I’m not sorry I read it. I cared about the characters and felt the writing quality deserved praise. And like I said, I cried. If a book makes me cry, it deserves at least 3 stars and a pat on the back. Very readable, but also very forgettable.

Their Review: “In this lovely debut novel set in the 1980s, Carol Rifka Brunt takes us under the skin and inside the tumultuous heart of June Elbus…Distracted parents, tussling adolescents, the awful ghost-world of the AIDS-afflicted before AZT—all of it springs to life in Brunt’s touching and ultimately hopeful book.”–People


1. The Royal We.

the royal we

If You’re Looking For: Fan fiction, “summer reads,” something light, something fun, page turners, millennial thrills

If You Like: The Princess Diaries, Kate Middleton

My Review: Coming from someone who doesn’t check the royal headlines or What Kate’s Wearing ever—this book was a delight. Perfect fan fiction for the millennial girl. It is smart, funny, sexy, and a quick read despite its 500+ page length. Most of all, this novel is exactly what it was intended to be. Tip: You can love a pop song just as long as it doesn’t call itself Mozart. If you want to get lost in a love story this fall, this is the perfect pick. I wish I could read it for the first time all over again. In my best (worst) English accent: brilliant.

Their Review: “An entertaining read-but also a sharp critique of how we treat celebrities and what happens to people always in the paparazzi glare . . . Cocks and Morgan also know that daydreams should stay daydreams because the reality is much harsher. That’s what elevates The Royal We from just a good beach book to a beach book with a message–while remaining entertaining enough to keep your butt in your beach chair.” –Philadelphia Inquirer


Favorite Books

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Up Next: Big Magic + Luckiest Girl Alive

Lily Jade + Weekend Links

October 2, 2015


My very first adult lady bag arrived a few weeks ago right before we left for Maine, giving me nine whole hours to organize and smell the interior. I forgot it converted to a backpack until I actually went to use it and I haven’t used it any other way since.



One of my favorite things about adulthood is that when one of your friends buys something great, it’s totally sane and acceptable to go and buy the same thing. My friend Bethany got this bag last year (and could not stop talking about it for the love), prompting my friend Mo to get the same one, my friend Heather to get this buttery gem, and me to pick out this beauty. When we get together, it’s like Lily Jade threw a party and we just happened to stop by.



It’s not just a diaper bag either. If you don’t have kids or are past that stage in your life, it is a great bag for everyday life or to possibly look smart and mature on a plane.


Add it to your Christmas wishlist and thank me later.


PS: The Sanitized Stories We Tell + Rereading This + Growing Up Unvaccinated + Four Words + Why Time Is A Feminist Issue

Have a great weekend!


On Writing Books And Sending Your One-Year-Old To School

October 1, 2015


I’m sending my one-year-old to school today. She’ll be joining the 2’s class, where she will be the baby of the classroom–unable to sit still or stay quiet or resist ripping off her diaper “for fun.” Bless you, preschool teachers. You have a special place in heaven next to the cheese bar.


This plan was unexpected. The teachers came to us, and at first I said no until I realized a whole morning off to write would be gold if gold was financially worthless but emotionally thrilling.

I started drafting a few more paragraphs explaining myself and our reasons for sending her, but deleted them all because honey, I’m the mom and she’s going to love it.


In the meantime, I’ll be here plugging away. This blog is no longer my first priority as I’m in the middle of writing two books, but it is still a great place to post life events, the occasional essay, or fun things from the Internet. Those Friday links used to really bog me down, but now those kinds of light posts are a happy place where I don’t have to think about where the next sentence will come from. Who would have thought curating silly tweets or finding noteworthy links to read would become a relaxing pastime. Instagram and Snapchat (for the most part) are fun too. Feel free to block me.

As always, thanks for reading.


Curated Tweets [Volume 5]

September 30, 2015

LolKnow your car’s warning lights and save lives! [source]

How To Read Books And Neglect Your Family

September 28, 2015


Every week or so, someone asks me how I have time to read all those books while also being a wife and mother to two young children. It’s a valid question, considering most people have better things to do than speed read celebrity memoirs and young adult thrillers. My standard answer is usually pretty tongue-in-cheek. For example, “You should see my dishes!” or “I just don’t parent my children!”

It is not the whole story, but it’s not exactly a lie either. I absolutely neglect my dishes and ignore my kids for the sake of reading, but there’s more to it than that. But before I answer how I do it, let me tell you why.

Just like every other unathletic millennial girl, I’ve been reading under the covers until 2am since 1995 when Stacey McGill got diabetes in The Babysitter’s Club. For as long as I can remember, reading has been both an escape and joy. It’s also become a habit and discipline. Any writer knows that in order to write anything, you have to read everything. In an interview last year, the Portuguese Nobel prize winner Jose Saramago was asked about his daily writing routine. His answer was, “I write two pages. And then I read and read and read.”

So that’s why. Here’s how.

I just do it. Not every day, not every week, not when the kids are sick or I’m in the middle of projects–but most of the time I simply make the time to read. My house is rarely clean because I don’t consider being a housewife my job. Mothering, yes. Loving my children and helping them grow up, of course. But the laundry? The dishes? The piles of unopened mail and old magazines? That is not part of my job description. I help take care of those things because I live here, but I’m not putting it on my resume because most of the time everything is messy and I wait for Austin to be home so we can work on it together.

Mother first. Writer second. The rest is relationships and occasionally taking out the trash. Whenever I see friends and family who find joy in cooking or general housewifery (and househusbandry!), I think– Atta girl! Please invite me over for your casserole. I will never be that woman. I will always push aside housework and complicated recipes for reading or writing or lying on the floor while the kids try to scratch my eyes out.

Speaking of the kids, I will also always be the mom who says, “This is Mommy’s time!” or “I’m reading, please stop poking me with that fork” because 1) There are only so many minutes in a day I can play dinosaur tea party and 2) Monkey see, monkey do. And if my monkeys turn out to be readers who sometimes neglect their chores to finish the last few chapters, I will consider that a pretty big win.