Life Lately: June

For the last few months I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump. I’ve been trying to sort out my feelings about blogging. I started BiblioSmiles after college as a creative outlet, when I was still searching for a full-time job. I had a lot of time to devote to reading, writing, and blogging. I’m so glad I created the site, and I am so thankful to my friends for being supportive and for submitting their own content! I’ve loved having a place where people can showcase their writing and reviews.

But working in publishing full-time takes up a lot of energy, and I realized when I did have free time to work on my creative writing endeavors, I felt compelled to write blog posts instead. I felt trapped in the schedule. 

So BiblioSmiles will stick around for when I have a review I want to share, or if any reader wants to get their work out there. I’m always happy to provide a place for that! But I decided in May to take a step back so I can focus on my writing, and I’m so happy I did.

My YA novel is all polished, and I’m thrilled with the results. Yesterday I took a new step:

I joined the #PitMad hashtag on Twitter and sent my query letter to two literary agents.

So scary, but so exciting! Querying an agent – formatting my submission and preparing an excerpt – made the whole idea of novel writing a lot more real in my mind. I feel like I’ve been woken up after sleeping for too long; I’m so eager to move forward! 

And even if I only get rejection, I welcome this step. I welcome any feedback I can get. I’m putting myself out there, and I have never been happier.


See You in June!


Wow – April absolutely flew by! In general, I think this year is flying by. So many books, so little time!

Which brings me to today’s post. I’ve decided to put BiblioSmiles on a hiatus for the next month so I can focus on working on the second draft of my YA novel. Between working a full-time job and maintaining a blog (while also still trying to have a social life), I’ve let the project that’s most important to me fall by the wayside.

I encourage you to stick with BiblioSmiles for more great content starting in June, and I urge you to consider submitting a piece of your own! Whether you want to share a book review, an Anatomy of a Bookshelf post, or a personal essay, I’d love to have you on the team! I will be checking email at during the month, so feel free to…

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Review: The Two of Us by Andy Jones


thetwoofus Before a snowstorm hit New York City in January, I was contacted by Atria Books with an a review request for The Two of Us by Andy Jones, which was later released on February 9th. Atria promised me “the perfect book to cuddle up to as snow and ice pelt the windows,” so I eagerly downloaded it.

In reality, The Two of Us lasted me a few chilly, soggy subway rides post-snowstorm, and while it wasn’t necessarily a book I would think of cuddling up to, it was a captivating read that was vastly different from any love story I’ve ever read.

Fisher and Ivy have been dating for a blissed-out, totally sexy nineteen days when they’re faced with a major wake-up call: one that’s set to completely change their lives in nine months time. While Fisher is certain that the gorgeous, spontaneous Ivy is the woman he wants to…

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Review: Stories I Tell Myself by Juan F. Thompson 


storiesitellmyself It seems to me that there is danger in being the offspring of someone famous; you are expected to follow along in your parent’s footsteps, to show some glimmer of promise in their field. Sometimes when I see a book on the shelf written by the child of a celebrity I feel bitter; I roll my eyes. I imagine they’re just trying to jump on the fame train.

But when I heard about the new book coming out by Juan F. Thompson, the son of the late father of Gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson, I knew I had to read it. Stories I Tell Myself: Growing Up With Hunter S. Thompson was released in January by Knopf.

Starting with his father’s early life, Thompson quickly outlines Hunter’s background and his early success as a writer after writing for the military newspaper. It’s worth noting that if you’re looking for a…

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Happy 2 Years!


A lot can happen in two years.

I moved to New York City. I made new friends and kept in touch with old ones. I started working at a job that I love, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I finished a draft of my novel.

And this whole time, BiblioSmiles has been growing with me.

Two years ago when I shared my first post here, I wouldn’t have imagined that this blog would take off to where it is right now, featuring work from about 40 contributors, all with their own unique stories to share.

My “must read” list has grown exponentially since people started sharing their book reviews and essays. I’m always so happy to hear about what people are reading and loving.

Today I just wanted to take the time to say thank you to everyone who has written a post, read a post, commented, or…

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Review: Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton


fullcicadamoon At 400 pages, Marilyn Hilton’s Full Cicada Moon may look intimidating to YA readers, but this coming-of-age story is a novel-in-verse, and the pages fly by. Similar to Thanhha Lai’s Inside Out & Back Again and Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming, the protagonist of Full Cicada Moon is a young female contemplating her identity and role in an environment that is less-than-welcoming.

Mimi Yoshiko Oliver is entering the seventh grade in 1969. She has just moved from a progressive town in California to a small town in Vermont because her father has accepted a teaching position at a college.

Mimi’s mother is Japanese and honors all of the culture’s traditions. The New Year’s festivities feature prominently in the beginning and end of the story. Mimi’s father is African American. He is very proud of his family and works hard to make sure they feel comfortable and secure.

Mimi and…

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Review: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt


underwater Morgan wasn’t always this way.

Morgan used to be tan, and in shape, and popular. She used to swim on her school’s swim team and spend weekends at parties with friends. She thrived in the water and she thrived in the sun.

Now Morgan refuses to leave the small California apartment she shares with her mother and younger brother. She spends most of her time on the couch. She finds comfort in grilled cheese and tomato soup. She takes high school classes online. She needs to see a therapist, but she won’t leave the safety of her living room; her appointments take place there instead of in an office.

When a new boy moves next door, Morgan longs to step back into the sunlight, but she knows the path back to “normalcy” will be painful, if it’s possible at all.

I haven’t seen post-traumatic stress disorder addressed in a lot of…

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