I’m Still Here Review

I’m Still Here Review

Title: I’m Still Here

Author: Kathryn Biel

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Pages: 280

Published: Self-published on September 2, 2014

This story has a little bit of family drama, a little bit of romance, and a chick-lit-like main character! This was my first book by Biel, although I have had another one of her books on my Kindle for quite a while. Once I finished this book, I RACED to start the second by her!

This book is about Esther Comely-Cox. She was raised by total hippies and is one of seven siblings. Her twin sister, Aster, was always the star and the favorite of the family. That hasn’t changed even though she’s been missing for seven years. Esther is convinced she committed suicide, but her family refuses to believe it and has even disowned her for it. The book starts with Esther getting into a car accident. She thinks she hears her sister’s voice at the scene of the event. She also meets hotty-McHot doctor, O.K.

This book is about Esther overcoming her past and her family history to become a strong woman, at a time when she is facing a ton of obstacles. I liked Esther as a main character and I loved to see her character growth. I did have a little bit of difficulty believing her relationship with O.K., for the same reasons Esther didn’t understand it. It was difficult to fully understand and see O.K. as a character. He sometimes just seemed like a “prop” for Esther’s growth and development.

Overall, this book really sucked me in. The family drama kept me interested, as did the mystery with her sister. I liked the main character. The romance portion could have been improved upon. 4 out of 5 stars!

***The buy link above is from Amazon. I do not get paid by authors or publishers for my reviews. They are 100% my personal, honest opinion. I DO, however, receive a small commission when a book purchase is made by clicking on the provided link. This does not impact the authenticity of my reviews in any way.***


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Fab Five Friday – Authors I Want to Hug

YOU GUYS! Today is the day! We will be embarking on our epic 8 hour road trip to attend YALLWest- an incredible young adult book festival in Santa Monica featuring nearly 40 authors, panels, book signings, events, and food trucks!

yallwest logo

Shortly, we will be packing up the rental car, gearing up our playlist, and settling in for our long drive. I’m sure we’ll discuss the finer points of recent books we’ve read, strategize over which author panels and signings we plan to attend, and of course, gush over our favorite authors.

Here are my fab five favorite authors I hope to hug this weekend!


shannon hale

Shannon Hale

I LOVED her adult books, Austenland and Midnight in Austenland. On twitter, she always participates in engaging dialogue on various topics in young adult literature. Plus, she seems like a super sweet person! I can’t wait to meet her!

Shannon Hale is the New York Times best-selling author of six young adult novels: the Newbery Honor book Princess Academy, multiple award winner Book of a Thousand Days, and the highly acclaimed Books of Bayern series. She has written three books for adults, including the upcoming Midnight in Austenland (Jan. 2012), companion book to Austenland. She co-wrote the hit graphic novel Rapunzel’s Revenge and its sequel Calamity Jack with husband Dean Hale. They live near Salt Lake City, Utah with their four small children, and their pet, a small, plastic pig.


stephanie perkins

Stephanie Perkins

This gal is a young adult lit bad ass. Forserious. Her books so perfectly capture all the feels of being a teenager facing tough decisions and determining one’s identity. Plus, there’s plenty of swoony moments. LOVE. HER.

Hi, there! I’m Steph, and I wrote ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, and ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. I also edited (and contributed a short story to) a romantic holiday anthology called MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME. A companion anthology, SUMMER DAYS & SUMMER NIGHTS, will be released in 2016. My next YA novel will be horror—a teen slasher published by Dutton.
robin lafevers

Robin LaFevers

Y’all, this lady is the MASTER of alternative historical fiction. Her His Fair Assassin series blew my mind! I cannot wait to meet this ridiculously talented author!

R.L. LaFevers (Robin Lorraine when she’s in really big trouble) grew up surrounded by shelves of old dusty books and a passel of brothers. She has also spent a large portion of her life being told she was making up things that weren’t there, which only proves she was destined to write fiction. She is the author of over fourteen books for young readers, including THEODOSIA AND THE SERPENTS OF CHAOS, (Houghton Mifflin, 2007) which received starred reviews and was a Junior Library Guild selection, a Booksense Summer Pick, and nominated for the Malice Domestic’s Agatha Award, and the NATHANIEL FLUDD, BEASTOLOGIST series. Her first young adult novel, GRAVE MERCY, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Spring of 2012. She currently lives with her husband and a demonic cat in Southern California and spends her days gazing longingly at ancient artifacts or wallowing in old forgotten texts.


richelle mead

Richelle Mead

I recently whipped through the entire Vampire Academy series, and I LOVE this chick’s take on the paranormal. Plus, she’s a ginger.

Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time: Georgina Kincaid, Dark Swan, and Vampire Academy. A life-long reader, Richelle has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She’s a self-professed coffee addict and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.


veronica roth

Veronica Roth

Ok, so I’ve only read the first book in the Divergent series, but I still really want to meet her! She is a HUGE YA lit celebrity, and I really want to meet someone who has encountered so much success.

Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, will come out on October 22, 2013. In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)


*Images and author bios courtesy of Goodreads*

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Throwback Thursday – Bay Area Mini Roadtrip

This week’s #ThrowbackThursday is a little different. Rather than featuring an old-school book that we loved, I’m highlighting a previous bookish event.


You might be sick and tired of our YALLWest geek out moments over here, but we can’t help it! TOMORROW! TOMORROW! We leave, tomorrow! We’re only a DAYYYYY AWAAAAAYYYYYYY!!! Sorry. We’re just a little excited over here.


In honor of our impending 8 hour road trip from Sacramento to Santa Monica, I’m featuring a pic of a mini road trip that Elizabeth and I embarked upon to the Bay Area to catch the Sarah J. Maas event last fall.


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Mennonite in a Little Black Dress Review

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress Review

Sorry, no waiting on Wednesday today. You get a book review instead!

Title: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

Author: Rhoda Janzen

Genre: Memoir

Pages: 241

Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on October 13, 2009

I’m struggling between making this 2 or 3, so 2.5. Some other reviewers have said that she seems a little snooty and is looking down upon the Mennonite community she used to be a part of. I did feel some of those undertones and it bugged me. I also agree with some other reviewers who have said that her book felt like a series of unrelated, disconnected stories. There was no overall plot to the story. Often, her connections between stories felt very weak and “grasping at straws.” It was like, “how did she get from there to here?”

So why didn’t I abandon this story? Well, I am truly interested in Mennonites and the Mennonite community. Although I didn’t love the main character, I did love her parents. Her parents seemed like the most loving, accepting, and tolerating people. I’m surprised Rhoda didn’t turn out to be more kind-hearted. I loved that her parents loved, accepted, and supported her even though she went on to live a very different life than they led. Her mother was a “good Mennonite woman,” but also loved to discuss bodily functions. She had a wonderful sense of humor, often on accident. My favorite quote from her mother was “When you’re young, faith is often a matter of rules. What you should do and shouldn’t do, that kind of thing. But as you get older, you realize faith is really a matter of relationship- with God, with the people around you, with the members of your community.”

I didn’t think the book was well-written and I didn’t love the main character. However, I did love many of the secondary characters and do think she had some good stories to tell. 2.5 out of 5 stars.


***The buy link above is from Amazon. I do not get paid by authors or publishers for my reviews. They are 100% my personal, honest opinion. I DO, however, receive a small commission when a book purchase is made by clicking on the provided link. This does not impact the authenticity of my reviews in any way.***

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Happy Birthday Book 4/7/15

Happy Birthday Book 4/7/15

Happy Birthday to all the books coming out this week!

1. Miracle at Augusta by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge: This is the sequel to Miracle on the 17th. This is a great read for the golfer in your life!

2. NYPD Red 3 by James Patterson: Patterson is on fire this month! This is a mystery story about a missing son.

3. Better than Before by Gretchin Rubin: This book will help you change bad habits in your life by motivating you and making you accountable.

4. The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins: Rachel spies on a couple every day when taking the train. When the female half of the couple goes missing, Rachel investigates.



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