JeanBookNerd Storytellers BOX

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Kailin Gow


Sean Penn


Rebecca Elliott


Tom Bilyeu

Impact Theory

Lindy Ryan

DEAD OF WINTER Official Nerd Blast

William L. Myers Jr.


Nora Shalaway Carpenter

RURAL VOICES Official Blog Tour

E.E. KNight


Simon Lelic


Gregg Olsen


Josh Duhamel


Sara B. Larson


Mary Cecilia Jackson


Megan Collins


Christopher Ruocchio


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Katherine Snow Smith Interview - Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker

Photo Content from Katherine Snow Smith

Katherine Snow Smith has lived throughout the south as a newspaper reporter, editor, public relations executive, daughter, sister, mother, wife, divorcee and friend.

She grew up in Raleigh, N.C. with her older sister Melinda. Her father was a newspaper reporter, editor and columnist. After writing a column for 70 years he recently retired at age 95. Her mother taught English and public speaking at North Carolina State University. Her father is one of 15 and her mother is one of three, so she grew up with a large family reaching from North Carolina’s piedmont to the mountains.

Katherine attended Needham Broughton High School in Raleigh and then went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating with a degree in journalism in 1990, she covered three small towns in South Carolina for the Greenville News. She also lived in Charlotte and covered textiles, manufacturing and economic development for the Charlotte Business Journal.

Along the way she met a reporter from New York City, they got married and moved to Florida where they both worked for the Tampa Bay Times.

She covered business and he became the paper’s political editor. After her first daughter was born, Katherine started a parenting column titled “Rookie Mom.” (When that daughter was a pre-schooler she thought her mom was Pokemon.)

Katherine stopped the column after a decade when her three kids were old enough to be embarrassed when their trials and tribulations were shared with strangers. This was about ten years before thousands of “influencers” were sharing hourly videos of their kids.

Katherine returned to covering business for the Tampa Bay Times for several years and then became editor of Bay, the newspaper’s arts, culture, travel and style magazine. During this stint she and her husband of 24 years got divorced, though they continued to work about ten feet apart in the newsroom and remained friends.

A public relations agency came calling at the right time and Katherine made the jump to the “dark side” as it’s known in journalism circles. She worked as an account executive and senior content strategist for a year then went out on her own to start SnowWrites, a small public relations and writing business.

Katherine lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., and has three children. Olivia works for a non-profit organization in Washington D.C., Charlotte attends the University of Vermont and Wade is a senior in high school in St. Petersburg.


What inspired you to pen your first book? 
A pair of four-inch heels with a black organza ruffle inspired me to finally write my book, Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker: Missteps and Lessons. Actually, falling off of those borrowed four-inch heels onto then President Barack Obama inspired me.Mishaps like this happened throughout my life and when I recounted them to friends, co-workers and family, they often said I was a good storyteller.The day after falling during a photo opp at a White House media Christmas party, I called the friend who loaned me the shoes to tell her that Barack Obama had said the heels were “great” and worth the fall.“Katherine, you have got to write a book,” she said. 

Tell us your latest news. 
I’m having my first “live” book signing at the Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, N.C. on September 16. Twenty five guests are buying individual bags in advance that contain my book, personal appetizers and a mini bottle of wine, then sitting six feet apart around a pool. Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain! 

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? 
David Sedaris has influenced me with the way he weaves observations of everyday life and average people into his personal essays to add humor and poignancy. 

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
My 96-year-old father, who was a newspaper columnist for 70 years, did a remote video introduction of me for a Zoom book talk in my hometown, Raleigh, N.C. He had already told me how much he liked my book, but he had to say that right? Hearing my dad, an amazing writer himself, describe my book to other readers-- friends and strangers-- was so rewarding and emotional. 

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
That they must buy 25 more copies to give to all their friends and family! 

(Also..they shouldn’t be so hard on themselves when they mess up. Life is messy, but beautiful.) 

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
My frickin’ day job that pays the bills. 

Can you tell us when you started RULES FOR THE SOUTHERN RULEBREAKER. 
After I fell on Barack Obama and decided to finally start writing, I took a semester-long memoir writing class at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg starting in January 2016. I had been a newspaper reporter for 25 years and written a first-person parenting column for a decade but never tried memoir. 

What chapter was the most memorable to write and why? 
My sister died 20 years before I started writing my book. Back then, I had watched my mom iron the dress she was buried in. My mom did it so slowly and perfectly and I realized she was doing the last physical task she’d ever be able to do for her daughter. It was so sad but so beautiful as well. This was very hard for me to tell without being maudlin and paying the right respect to my sister and my mom. 

Why do you feel you had to tell this story? 
That is one of just two heartbreaking chapters in the book, but I wanted to pay a tribute to my sister and my mom and all moms. 

  • “Friends, other writers, and bartenders (mostly bartenders) have told me I have an innate ability to see both the humor and the poignancy in many of life’s experiences.” 
  • “If I wanted to push myself, I wouldn’t have begged for an epidural when I was 37 weeks pregnant and my doctor said the baby might come within a week or two.” 
  • “I couldn’t carry a drink, much less a conversation because I needed complete focus and free hands for balance to stand upright.” 
  • “It’s common these days to see Ford Fiestas with magnetic signs reading ‘Life Fairy’ or ‘Lice B Gone’ parked in long driveways shaded by tall Oaks in all the best neighborhoods.” 
  • “She wanted to keep ironing, caring, teaching, defending, celebrating, helping, consoling, praising, but this was the last thing she would ever do for her daughter.” 
  • “Honking horns from speeding pickups were customary as I took morning walks strangled with kudzu.” 
  • “Yet again, my son Wade had been lost in the shuffle of raising three kids under eight, working part-time, trying to make sure everyone had diapers and clean underwear, and low-sugar jelly without aspartame and a not-too-scary costume for the Halloween parade, and that we were home from the dentist in time to meet the exterminator who promised to kill the rat living behind the kitchen wall before Delbert the basset hound bit it and caught rabies.” 
  • “Waffles, Anne Marie? Waffles? Is that what you people in Yadkin County call your uppers or your downers or whatever the drug du jour is these days?” 
  • “I want to go out with somebody who prefers wits over fake tits.” 
  • “I choose to expose my scars, because that’s how you end up with bed jackets, one-liners, and support from friends through all the lows and highs.”
What’s the most ridiculous fact you know? 
William Shakespeare left his wife, Anne Hathaway, his “second-best bed” in his will. 

Best date you’ve ever had? 
We donated blood to get a free COVID antibody test, then went to Ikea and searched through the overwhelming maze for the perfect glass bookshelves then had dinner at a nearby 150-year-old Spanish restaurant then stopped in a funky store and bought stocking stuffers and ice cream. It rained on the way to the car. And yes, sorry to admit, we kissed in the rain. SO corny. 

If you wrote a journal entry today, what would it say? 
No time to write much today. Having a ball answering Jean the Book Nerd interview questions. 

What event in your life would make a good movie? 
Starting another chapter at age 51 when I got divorced after 24 years of marriage, left the newspaper where I’d worked for 20 years, beat colon cancer and found out my book was getting published. 

What are 4 things you never leave home without? 
Mask, phone (for camera), reading glasses (for reading anything besides a billboard), credit card. 

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home? 
The framed blueprints for building the set for the Beverly Hillbillies’ mansion for the old TV show. 

Southern women are inundated with rules starting early—from always wearing sensible shoes to never talking about death to the dying, and certainly not relying on song lyrics for marriage therapy.

Nevertheless, Katherine Snow Smith keeps doing things like falling off her high heels onto President Barack Obama, gaining dubious status as the middle school “lice mom,” and finding confirmation in the lyrics of Miranda Lambert after her twenty-four-year marriage ends. Somehow, despite never meaning to defy Southern expectations for parenting, marriage, work, and friendship, Smith has found herself doing just that for over four decades. Luckily for everyone, the outcome of these “broken rules” is this collection of refreshing stories, filled with vulnerability, humor, and insight, sharing how she received lifelong advice from a sixth-grade correspondence with an Oscar-winning actress, convinced a terminally ill friend to write good-bye letters, and won the mother of all “don’t give up” lectures by finishing a road race last (as the pizza boxes were thrown away).

Rules for the Southern Rule Breaker will resonate with every woman, southern or not, who has a tendency to wander down the hazy side roads and realizes the rewards that come from listening to the pull in one’s heart over the voice in one’s head.
You can purchase Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KATHERINE SNOW SMITH for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Rules for the Southern Rulebreaker by Katherine Snow Smith.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Brett Riley Interview - Comanche

Photo Content from Brett Riley

Brett Riley is professor of English at the College of Southern Nevada. He grew up in southeastern Arkansas and earned his Ph.D. in contemporary American fiction and film at Louisiana State University. The published author of a body of short fiction, Riley has also won numerous awards for screenwriting. Riley lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Comanche is his debut novel.

Tell us your latest news. 
My novel Comanche was published on Sept. 1, 2020, and CrimeReads recently published my article about different kinds of hauntings ( I’ve got a dystopian novel, Lord of Order, coming out on March 2nd, 2021. I’m currently going through the second round of edits for my young-adult novel Freaks, which is under contract. And, of course, I’m still tinkering with short-form projects. 

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way? 
My family influences me to work at my craft every day. I want them to be proud of me, and I hope I can leave a positive legacy for them. My love of animals also gets me started and keeps me going. They remind me there’s good in the world—unconditional love, grace, strength—even when humans make me think otherwise. 

In terms of style, I’ve always been drawn to writers who streamline their prose while still including rich detail, which, to me, suggests they’ve made good decisions about what to cut. That can refer to anyone from writers like William Faulkner (whose density of detail always staggers me); like Cormac McCarthy, who combines a spare style with the sensibility of a poet; like Toni Morrison, who packs incredibly deep emotion and meaning in her sentences; like Louise Erdrich, one of my very favorites, who writes entertaining and deeply enlightening stories that are also master classes in prose styling; and a thousand more excellent writers. I also greatly admire the masters of the short form—Tobias Wolff, Alice Munro, Lorrie Moore, and so many others. And all this doesn’t even get into nonfiction. 

I look for the good in what I read; there are already plenty of people ready to tear down whatever art they come across. But if I had to pick a kind of writing I’m most drawn to, it would probably be (at least in terms of fiction) the kind that straddles the alleged divide between literary fiction and genre work. This can refer to anyone from the magical realists to writers like Kelly Link, Karen Russell, China Mieville, and more. It might be controversial, but I’d put at least some of the work of George Saunders and Marlon James in that category. 

I could go on with this forever, but I probably shouldn’t. 

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
If you mean “since Comanche was published,” it’s only been a few days as of this writing, but I’d say it happened today. I opened my social media accounts and saw a bunch of pictures of people with the book. Some of them congratulated me, and some talked about the book, and some mentioned how they hadn’t read it yet but couldn’t wait. Regardless of the specific content, each one of those pictures represented someone who had done me the great honor of making my work a part of their lives. What could be more rewarding? 

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
You always hope they’ll like the book, of course, and in this specific novel, I hope they’ll be thinking about the different ways people can be haunted. That’s part of what I wanted to explore—what “haunted” can mean and how a given person in a specific situation might react. 

Beyond that, I hope they’ll consider supporting independent authors, independent presses, and independent bookstores. Plus, I’ve got a body of short-form work out there, which is only one reason I also hope readers think about throwing some support to literary journals. 

In your new book; COMANCHE, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
On the cover, the incomparable Tod Goldberg calls it “the best western-horror-thriller-ghost story-PI novel ever written.” In terms of the reader, I hope that means you’ll find your own way into the story, given that the book kinda-sorta fits into a lot of genres without really living full-time in any of them. 

As for the story itself: An alcoholic, grieving private eye is summoned to the small, central-Texas town of Comanche to help solve a series of murders. The local authorities don’t want him butting into their business. As the book progresses, he realizes that his adversary isn’t human. How do you fight a ghost? How do you kill something that’s already dead? And how does all that relate to his own struggles? 

I guess what I’d like readers to know is that this novel is, at heart, a story about people fighting to live their lives even when it seems easy to give up. I hope that resonates. 

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
People kept expecting me to work another job for a living and do stuff like pay my mortgage and buy food. What’s up with that? 

Seriously, I love my job as a college professor. I think my biggest distraction was my addiction to story. I love good movies. I love good TV. I love good books. There are so many interesting stories in various media that I sometimes had to remind myself to stop engaging with other people’s work and go produce some of my own. 

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I’d introduce Raymond Turner to Stephen King’s Roland Deschain. I imagine Roland could give Ray some useful advice on how to run a ka-tet—what to do, and what you absolutely shouldn’t do. Plus, Roland’s used to dealing with all kinds of supernatural and/or sci-fi stuff, so I doubt the Piney Woods Kid would hold much terror for him. He could just look at Ray with those “blue bombardier’s eyes” and lay out a plan. 

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating Raymond and Darrell? 
I was pretty surprised when, around draft three, I learned that Raymond Turner and Rennie Roark were siblings. In earlier drafts, they weren’t related and didn’t even know each other until, for rather labyrinthine reasons, she sought him out over the Internet. In streamlining the plot and getting rid of clutter, I found those initial scenes between them changing. It’s always pretty cool when the people living in your imagination begin to act on their own. 

I had initially conceived of Darrell LeBlanc as a Gary Cooper-style cool-as-the-other-side-of-the-pillow tough guy. Some of that initial characterization remains, but he’s much more approachable and grounded in the everyday than I first imagined him. 

I wasn’t surprised that things changed significantly during revision; that’s just how the process works. But I was often surprised at the direction some of those changes took. 

These books weren’t necessarily published this year, but I read or re-read them in 2020. 
  • 1. There There by Tommy Orange—The book traces the history of and connections between a group of Native American characters navigating life in Oakland. Structured like As I Lay Dying and A Gathering of Old Men, Orange’s often lyrical yet always grounded prose is a joy to read.
  • 2. In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado—An experimental memoir about surviving an abusive lesbian relationship, the book highlights Machado’s rich imagination and suggests new and exciting forms that personal writing might take.
  • 3. Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) by Rebecca Solnit—One of American nonfiction’s most interesting thinkers, Solnit has written an essay collection for our turbulent times. She takes on subjects such as Donald Trump, gentrification, climate change, police violence, and the American prison system. Whether you ultimately agree with her or not, Solnit’s work is absolutely essential to our historical moment.
  • 4. The Hunger by Alma Katsu—An excellent entry in the speculative historical fiction genre, this book imagines the journey, crisis, and destruction of the Donner Party. Supernatural predators! Cannibalism! Power struggles! Shady pasts! Sexual politics! What’s not to love?
  • 5. The Friend by Sigrid Nunez—A short and heartbreaking novel about grief, recovery, and the relationship between humans and dogs, this novel won the 2018 National Book Award. Read it with a box of tissues close by.
  • 6. The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom—This memoir focuses on an African American family’s life in New Orleans before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina. Enlightening, gripping, and heartbreaking, the book should be on everyone’s must-read list.
  • 7. The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu—This memoir chronicles the Latinx author’s complex relationship with the Mexican-American border. As a young man, Cantu joins the Border Patrol against his mother’s wishes. During and after his time on the job, Cantu learns much about the nature of borderlands, of policing, of how border policy affects human lives on both sides, and more. And his prose rocks.
  • 8. The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King—Though I devoured King’s Dark Tower series as they appeared on the market, I was late to the party with this one. The delay was partially due to my busy life, but I was also apprehensive about a book King wrote later and wedged into the middle of the series. I was pleasantly surprised. King has constructed a nesting-doll novel with three different but intertwined stories—not the easiest feat to pull off, but he does it well.
  • 9. Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong—I re-read this poetry collection this year, and as always, I was stunned by Vuong’s voice and imagery. I love his frank and honest portrayal of his subject matter. If you’re in the market for some good poems, and especially if you are interested in LGBTQ literature, I recommend this book.
  • 10. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons—I wanted to include the book I’m currently (and slowly) reading in what I laughingly call my spare time. If you don’t know Simmons, he’s a prolific writer with a cool imagination (The Terror is one of my favorite books ever). This book has a lot of cosmetic similarities to Stephen King’s IT: a sometimes idyllic, sometimes chilling setting in a smallish town (this time in 1960 Illinois); supernatural violence that the kids discover and that at least some adults know about; a core group of childhood friends, and so forth. In the book so far, Simmons seems less nostalgic for the past than King does, though he also evokes the wonder and sheer thrill of summertime, along with a dawning sense of horror at how the world can go awry. This book is the first in Simmons’s Seasons of Horror series; again, I’m late to the party here. I’m really interested to see where he goes next.
What’s the most ridiculous fact you know? 
Man, there are a lot of possibilities, but here’s one I read about recently. I have not investigated this in depth, so if it isn’t true, don’t @ me: 

The can opener was invented decades after canned food. 

Doesn’t the mind swirl with comedic possibilities? See this guy try to open his can of soup by beating it with a rock! Watch this person hurl their can of tuna fish off an eight-story building! 

What was the most frightening moment of your life? 
There are two candidates: 
1. A few years back, I awoke to find my wife sitting in bed beside me. She started talking, but she was speaking word salad and didn’t seem aware of it. I shot out of bed and got dressed and took her to the ER, where an incompetent jackass tried to tell me she had overmedicated, which I knew was nonsense. We found out she had suffered a mini-stroke due to a genetic blood-clotting disorder she never knew she had. I was terrified until I knew the doctors (not the incompetent jackass, whom I had to avoid, lest I end up in jail) had it under control. 

2. I was eighteen when my oldest daughter was born. Everything went well, so the hospital released us after one night. As I was buckling her carrier into the back seat of our car, I realized that I had no idea how to take care of a completely helpless human being. I was eighteen! I was a smart kid, but when it came to babies, I knew nothing! How could they just let us leave? Didn’t they know we were totally unprepared? Was it legal, moral, or ethical just to send us home and hope for the best? Luckily, the fear passed quickly, and I came to realize that nobody knows what they’re doing the first time. 

Best date you've ever had? 
Every date with my wife would qualify. We do cool stuff together as much as possible. Here’s one example: she’s a huge Monkees fan, and Mike Nesmith was playing the Troubadour in Los Angeles, so we popped over there, stayed in a nice hotel, heard some music at an iconic venue, ate some good west coast food, and came home, all in 36 hours. When you love the person you’re with, the adventure never ends. 

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go? 
I’d always love to revisit my south Louisiana years. As much as I love living in Las Vegas, I miss the food from home, which I believe is the best in the world. And I miss my grad-school buddies from LSU. I do not, however, miss hurricanes and tornadoes and floods and ice storms. 

I’d also like to go back to perhaps 1982 or 1983 and tell my younger self, “I know you’re in great pain. I know you’re furious. I know you often can’t see the point in going on. But you will survive this, and find love, and be happy. And though it will take longer than you ever thought it would, you’ll eventually reach your goals.” 

What is one unique thing are you afraid of? 
I don’t mean this to sound braggadocious, but I’m not afraid of much. For whatever reason, I never have been. But there are two things that terrify me: heights, and the possibility I’ll leave this world without having made my wife and kids proud of me. I know neither of those fears is unique, but that’s me. 

Favorite things to do alone? 
Read. Watch movies. Watch sports, mainly football and MMA. Nap. 

Something is killing the people of Comanche.

In 1887 near the tiny Texas town of Comanche, a posse finally ends the murderous career of The Piney Woods Kid in a hail of bullets. Still in the grip of blood-lust, the vigilantes hack the Kid’s corpse to bits in the dead house behind the train depot. The people of Comanche rejoice. Justice has been done. A long bloody chapter in the town’s history is over.

The year is now 2016. Comanche police are stymied by a double murder at the train depot. Witnesses swear the killer was dressed like an old-time gunslinger. Rumors fly that it’s the ghost of The Piney Woods Kid, back to wreak revenge on the descendants of the vigilantes who killed him.

Help arrives in the form of a team of investigators from New Orleans. Shunned by the local community and haunted by their own pasts, they’re nonetheless determined to unravel the mystery. They follow the evidence and soon find themselves in the crosshairs of the killer.

You can purchase Comanche at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you BRETT RILEY for making this giveaway possible.
2 Winners will receive a Copy of Comanche by Brett Riley.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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The Brightest Night by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Hardcover : 512 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250175771
ISBN-13 : 978-1250175779
Publisher : Tor Teen (October 20, 2020)
Reading level : 13 - 18 years
Language: : English


"Highly Anticipated" —Entertainment Weekly

"Thrilling" —Hypable

“A Must" —Booklist

"Enthralling" —SLJ

"Engaging" —VOYA

The thrills, drama, and intrigue continue in the third installment of the Origin series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout.

He is the darkest star.
You are the burning shadow.
And together, you will bring about the brightest night.

Less than a year ago, Evelyn Dasher was a normal girl, living an unremarkable life.

Now, she's on the run, under the protection of the beautiful, deadly inhuman Luc. She's been betrayed by those who were closest to her. And she's learned truths about herself that she never saw coming--things she once knew, and was made to forget. Truths with devastating consequences. She's caught in the eye of the storm.

She is the eye of the storm

You can purchase The Brightest Night at the following Retailers:

Photo Credit: Franggy Yanes

JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, iBooks, and international bestselling author of the Lux series and other books for teens and adults. She is a #1 bestseller in Germany and Italy, and a top seller in markets around the world. Her young adult novels have sold over a million copies since 2011 in the US alone, and have been finalists for the Goodreads Choice Awards and many others. Jennifer lives in West Virginia with her husband and dogs.

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Monday, September 21, 2020

The Journal of Angela Ashby by Liana Gardner Review

I have great power.
That’s what she told me. The old fortune-teller at the school carnival.
I thought I was doing the right thing … with the magic journal she gave me. But nothing could prepare me for what happened next.
Or, for what I unleashed.

At a school carnival, a mysterious fortune-teller gives twelve-year-old Angela Ashby a journal and warns her to use it wisely. Nothing prepares Angela for the journal’s power—when she pours her heart onto its pages her desires come true.

She tests the journal by conjuring a gnome, a unicorn, and a farting fairy and then uses it to stop the school bullies in their tracks. But the unintended consequences alienate her best friend and puts her favorite teacher in danger of losing her job.

After she shares her deepest desire of all—that her parents get back together—her adversary steals the journal, and Angela fears she will use it to bring mayhem to the entire school if she doesn’t get it back.


"Gardner has created a likable character in Angela, who faces off with the class bully in defense of herself and her best friend. Alternately full of sass and seriousness, Angela quickly learns that writing in her new journal may lead to some unintended consequences, some hilarious and some grave. An enjoyable tween romp about the familiar world of bullies mixed with a bit of magic, this one would be great for a class read or group discussion." Seattle Book Review

"The Journal of Angela Ashby is a middle grade fiction by Liana Gardner and is perfectly written for the target audience. A combination of magic, childhood troubles, social messages, and the need to think before acting is prevalent, and a lesson well ingrained into the pages, There is some good tension building, injections of humour, and character development. Angela and Mallory make a great team, perfectly complementing each other in the way close friends do. This is certainly a book I will read with my son when he is older, as I think it instills some important lessons and values,much like the old 80's and 90's cartoons used to do. While the book itself has a clear beginning and end, there are hints that a sequel may follow, and it's certainly something I would consider picking up. If you're looking for a story of friendship, childhood problems, and a healthy sprinkling of magic in everyday life, then look no further." K.J. Simmill, Award-Winning British Author

"The Journal of Angela Ashby by Liana Gardner is a charming story of action and consequence. Gardner presents her characters and their problems with an equal touch of magic and reality. This allows the message of the tale to come through while entertaining instead of preaching. Gardner does a great job of taking what could be a clich├ęd story and putting a few twists in it to keep it fresh and humorous." Kris Moger, Readers' Favorite

"The Journal of Angela Ashby is an engaging and fun coming-of-age story about a twelve-year-old girl who is suddenly the possessor of great power. I loved following as Angela began to appreciate her journal's powers and realized the importance of carefully considering everything she wished for.Throughout the story, Gardner addresses the issue of bullies and bullying, which is something all kids and most adults have to deal with at some point, and she shows how Angela learns to differentiate between solving the problem and descending into bullying behavior herself.Gardner also admirably addresses the stress and confusion felt by kids and tweens when their mom and dad get divorced. The Journal of Angela Ashby is a marvelous fantasy that brings up real-life issues without lowering the magic and fun potential for a moment, and Sam Shearon's illustrations really make it all come alive most brilliantly." Jack Magnus, Author

Book: The Journal of Angela Ashby
Written by: Liana Gardner
Reviewed by: Angie Amezcua

The Journal of Angela Ashby follows a 12-year-old girl navigating her emotions and desires during her parent's divorce while also dealing with a bully at her school. Not to mention a magical journal that manifests her journal entries into becoming a reality. Although a little predictable at times the story was still very enjoyable and heartfelt. One of the many things I enjoyed about the book is the inclusion of Angela’s best friend, Mallory, character arc. As a reader, we not only got to see our protagonist grow but we also got to see the supporting character grow as well which I loved. Another aspect I enjoyed was the protagonist not being afraid of the bullies for a change. Angela’s wit and bravery to stand against the main antagonist for not only herself but Mallory as well is inspiring, and I hope young readers can resonate with Angela’s attitude.

Overall this a fun read for children and adults alike. It also promotes a healthy way of navigating your emotions when you don’t know how to talk to someone about them. When Angela needed a safe space to express herself she wrote in her journal. Even if her desires weren’t written with the best intentions at first after a few mishaps she was able to reflect on the causes of her actions and fine-tune what her true desires were.

You can purchase The Journal of Angela Ashby at the following Retailers:

Photo Content from Liana Gardner

Liana Gardner is the award-winning author of 7th Grade Revolution and the Misfit McCabeseries. Daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface. Engaged in a battle against leukemia and lymphoma, Liana spends much of her time at home, but allows her imagination to take her wherever she wants to go.

She fostered her love of writing after reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and discovering she had a great deal in common with the character Jo. The making up of stories, dramatic feelings, and a quick temper were enough for her to know she and Jo would have been kindred spirits.

Liana volunteers with high school students through the International Trade Education Programs (ITEP). ITEP unites business people and educators to prepare students for a meaningful place in the world of tomorrow. Working in partnership with industry and educators, ITEP helps young people “think globally and earn locally.”


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