Tag: Simon & Schuster

Review: Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel (+ Giveaway)

Posted January 10, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel (+ Giveaway)Reviewer: Rowena
Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel
Published by Simon & Schuster, Atria Books, Emily Bestler Books
Publication Date: December 27th 2016
Pages: 368
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

For fans of The Nanny Diaries and Sophie Kinsella comes a whip-smart and deliciously funny debut novel about Kate, a young woman unexpectedly thrust into the cutthroat world of New York City private school admissions as she attempts to understand city life, human nature, and falling in love.

Despite her innate ambition and Summa Cum Laude smarts, Kate Pearson has turned into a major slacker. After being unceremoniously dumped by her handsome, French “almost fiancé,” she abandons her grad school plans and instead spends her days lolling on the couch, watching reruns of Sex and the City, and leaving her apartment only when a dog-walking gig demands it. Her friends don’t know what to do other than pass tissues and hope for a comeback, while her practical sister, Angela, pushes every remedy she can think of, from trapeze class to therapy to job interviews.

Miraculously, and for reasons no one (least of all Kate) understands, she manages to land a job in the admissions department at the prestigious Hudson Day School. In her new position, Kate learns there’s no time for self-pity or nonsense during the height of the admissions season, or what her colleagues refer to as “the dark time.” As the process revs up, Kate meets smart kids who are unlikable, likeable kids who aren’t very smart, and Park Avenue parents who refuse to take no for an answer.

Meanwhile, Kate’s sister and her closest friends find themselves keeping secrets, hiding boyfriends, dropping bombshells, and fighting each other on how to keep Kate on her feet. On top of it all, her cranky, oddly charming, and irritatingly handsome downstairs neighbor is more than he seems. Through every dishy, page-turning twist, it seems that one person’s happiness leads to another’s misfortune, and suddenly everyone, including Kate, is looking for a way to turn rejection on its head, using any means necessary—including the truly unexpected.

This book made it onto my radar when it came through in my email and I immediately added it to my review pile. I took my time getting around to reading it but then Grace over at Rebel Mommy Book Blog reviewed the book and I was super excited to start the book and I’m happy to report that I enjoyed it.

Kate Pearson is our main character and the story follows her and the people in her life from her family, her friends and the people she comes across every day at her new job as an admissions director for Hudson, a private school in New York City. After a disastrous relationship, Kate falls into a deep depression that takes her out of commission for a while and when her sister sets up a job interview for her to kick her out of her funk, Kate goes along with it and is surprised when she finds so much more than a new job. She finds a purpose. She finds a new circle of people that come to mean the world to her.

The book follows quite a few different people. There is Kate, of course, but there is also her sister, her friends, her boss and some of the parents that are trying to get their kids into Hudson. This book was fun and it was interesting but I have to note that in the beginning, it was confusing as hell. At least it was for me. I couldn’t figure out why Chloe’s bit was in first person, while everyone else was in third person, including Kate’s bit since Kate is the main character. It was hard to keep everyone sorted in my head but I continued on and was glad for it because everything was sorted and the story really was a good time.

This book has a bit of everything to make it an enjoyable read. Crazy parents, bratty kids, bad friends, well meaning friends, supportive family members and a sister that thought she knew everything but made me want to smack her upside her head from time to time. Every time Victoria thought something bad about Kate, I wanted Kate to come out on top of something else that would drive Vicky crazy. Every time Silvia Blake came onto the scene, my eyes got bigger and bigger waiting to see what shenanigans she’d get herself into. Angela made me roll my eyes all over the place and Chloe frustrated me but I ended up really liking her. There was much to enjoy about this book. It made me laugh, it hurt my heart but in the end, everything worked out and I was entertained.

This was a good book and I definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for a fun chick lit book.

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About the Author

Amy Poeppel


Amy Poeppel is a graduate of Wellesley College. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she lives with her husband and three sons in New York City, where she worked in the admissions department of an independent school. She workshopped a theatrical version of SMALL ADMISSIONS at the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit. She later expanded it into a novel.


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Review: Bad Boy by Elliot Wake

Posted December 6, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Bad Boy by Elliot WakeReviewer: Rowena
Bad Boy by Elliot Wake
Published by Simon & Schuster, Atria Books
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 256
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Vlog star Renard Grant has nothing to prove: he’s got a pretty face, chiseled body, and two million adoring video subscribers. Plus the scars on his chest and a prescription for testosterone. Because Ren is transgender: assigned female at birth, living now as male. He films his transition and shares it bravely with the world; his fans love his honesty and positivity.

But Ren has been living a double life.

Off-camera, he’s Cane, the muscle-bound enforcer for social justice vigilante group Black Iris. As Cane, he lets his dark side loose. Hurts those who prey on the disempowered. Indulges in the ugly side of masculinity. And his new partner, Tamsin Baylor, is a girl as rough and relentless as him. Together, they terrorize the trolls into silence.

But when a routine Black Iris job goes south, Ren is put in the crosshairs. Someone is out to ruin his life. He’s a bad boy, they say, guilty of what he punishes others for.

Just like every other guy: at heart, he’s a monster, too.

Now Ren’s got everything to prove. He has to clear his name, and show the world he’s a good man. But that requires facing demons he’s locked away for years. And it might mean discovering he’s not such a good guy after all.

I wanted to read this book because I was in the mood for something different and after reading the blurb, this one seemed to fit the bill. I thought it would be interesting to get to know a character that is a vlog star who filmed his transition and shared it on his blog for the world.

It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t all pretty roses and rainbows but I was very interested in Ren’s transition story. In Ren as a person. Getting into the story, I thought that I would feel a lot more for Ren as a person than I did but sadly, I didn’t. The story as a whole was interesting and it was what drove me to finish but Ren as a character was someone that I just couldn’t fully connect with. I’m not even sure why, he just, I don’t even know. He’s a pretty dark character, a character who has been through a hell of a lot but while I ended up okay with him, in the end, I still didn’t fully like him.

I wonder if I had read the other books before this one, if I would have felt different about it all because all of the Black Iris stuff had me rolling my eyes down the street. At first, I didn’t get it but the author did a good job in pulling it all together in the end. Once I was caught up with everything going on, I appreciated the story more so if I could recommend anything, it would be for readers to read Unteachable, Black Iris and Cam Girl.

I will say that Elliot Wake wrote a compelling story that was dark and twisted but necessary. The way that he made the dark and the light stuff in life come together was raw and gritty and that’s probably why I didn’t enjoy this book as much. I’m a fluffy contemporary romance reader at heart and the darkness in this book (and in Ren) was hard for me to get through, so while I’m glad that I gave this book a go, I probably won’t continue with the other books. This has nothing to do with the author or the book and everything to do with my reading preferences.

Grade: 2.75 out of 5

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About the Author


Elliot Wake


Elliot Wake (formerly known as Leah Raeder) is a transgender author of four novels: Unteachable, Black Iris, Cam Girl, and Bad Boy. Aside from reading his brains out, Elliot enjoys video games, weightlifting, and perfecting his dapper style. He lives with his partner in Chicago.


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Sunday Spotlight: First Step Forward by Liora Blake

Posted November 20, 2016 by Rowena in Features | 5 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release we’re excited about. We’ll be posting excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I have read and enjoyed a few of Liora Blake’s books so I’m really looking forward to digging into my eARC of this book. First Step Forward is the first book in Blake’s new Grand Valley series. I’m thrilled to be featuring this book on this week’s Sunday Spotlight. It promises to be another good one from Blake. 🙂

First Step Forward by Liora Blake
Series: Grand Valley #1
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Publisher: Simon Schuster, Pocket Books

Pro-football player Cooper Lowry is off the field and into some trouble—in the form of a very alluring, very free-spirited apple orchard owner named Whitney Reed—in the first installment in Liora Blake’s all new Grand Valley series.

After eight seasons playing pro-football, Cooper Lowry knows all the right answers.

Is he stubborn, short-tempered, and impatient? Yes. Are jersey chasers more trouble than they’re worth? Absolutely. Has he ever imagined a life beyond the game? Nope.

Cooper has built an enviable career—the result of staying focused, working hard, and keeping his head on straight—even as his body takes the brunt. So when a hard hit during a Sunday home game leaves him in a dazed heap on the field, it’s nothing more than another day at the office. The only thing that’s different about this Sunday is a chance encounter with a certain fascinating, beautiful free-spirited woman. And some sternly-worded instructions from his coach to take a little time off and give his body the TLC it craves—before he does lasting damage.

Whitney Reed is a few months away from losing the organic fruit orchard she bought three years ago in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. At the time, she was just looking for a place to get lost. Instead, she found a home, somewhere she could finally put down roots. Now foreclosure is knocking on her door—along with a grumpy, gorgeous football player who might be just what she never knew she needed.

A charming love story for romance and sports fans alike, First Step Forward is a sexy, heartwarming romp perfect for readers of Jennifer Probst, Kristan Higgins, and Julie James.

Pre-Order the Book:



In Whitney’s bedroom, the space feels claustrophobic. Between my keyed-up state and the actual small dimensions of the room, a nervy energy permeates the air.

A dark, hulking, ornately carved bureau is pushed against one wall and a matching dressing table is along the opposite wall, both of them crowding the space. A queen bed sits in the middle and it’s the only thing that doesn’t look ten decades old; it’s just a box spring and mattress set on a flimsy metal frame, covered by a light blue comforter—the kind of setup your parents send you off to college with, cheap and basic. Le’s hope that the stark contrast between this economy bed and the rest of the furniture means we aren’t sleeping on the dead old lady’s bed.

Whitney is sitting cross-legged in the middle of the bed, facing me, her hands clasped loosely as she toys with her fingers. The sight of her, looking just the smallest bit nervous but still self-assured, adds to the sensation that the walls are slowly collapsing the room in on us. Closer and closer, until we inevitably land on top of each other.

I make it to the edge of the bed and stop. She draws back the comforter on one side of the bed, a wordless encouragement for me to take that spot. I take a deep breath.

“I can’t sleep in my clothes.”


“I won’t be able to sleep.”

“OK.” Whitney stretches her arms out behind her and leans back, lazily. “Naked? Is that what you’re driving at?”

When her expression becomes a playful mix of goading and hopeful, my entire body turns toward high alert.
“Not naked. Just boxers.”

She nods and continues to sit there, waiting for the show, it seems. My heart lurches into my throat because I suddenly feel like it’s my first day on the job as a male stripper and I’ve just realized I’m going to suck at this job. Even if I spend every Sunday on national television, this display, in front of this woman, is entirely nerve-racking. If we were going at it, stripping and tugging and wrestling each other’s clothes off, Id be in my comfort zone. But Whitney’s scrutiny, the odd self-consciousness it brings on, is new to me.

She wets her lips with a dart and sweep of her tongue. Instinct takes over, and I yank the button on my jeans open, pull the zipper down, and manage to tug my socks off at the same time that I shuck the jeans. I latch on to the back of my shirt, grasping the neckline to pull it off.

Then it’s just me, standing here in my dark gray boxer briefs, waiting for what’s next. All I can think about is this line from a movie my high school girlfriend insisted we watch on repeat.

I’m also just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.

Fucking Hugh Grant movies. They’re like the earworms of romantic comedies. I’m stuck in place, half-hard, and all I can think is: I’m just a boy, standing in front of a girl, asking her to do something, anything, to make his cock stop hurting.

Seriously. Fuck off, Hugh Grant.

I suck in a deep breath and hold it for a moment. Whitney lazes her head to one side as she runs her gaze over me.

“Huh.” Her brow furrows, perplexed.

That’s not the reaction I usually get when I strip down. I mean, let’s be honest, I work out for a living. I consume thirty-fie hundred quality, clean, lean calories a day and have eight percent body fat. I’ve made the pages of the ESPN The magazine’s Body Issue three times. I’m definitely not a couch potato and Whitney sounding disappointed isn’t the response I was hoping for.

She rights her head and rises up on her knees, then starts toward me, shuffling forward until she’s at the edge of the bed and resting back on her heels.One of her hands starts to trace a meandering pattern across my abs, using just the pads of her fingers. My cock reacts, going thick and heavy, until I’m fully erect so quickly it’s embarrassing. She has to have noticed, unless she somehow happens to be hopelessly farsighted— but I’m guessing there’s not much luck of that. Probably looked like some lame nature documentary, those time lapse sequences of flowers and caterpillars growing to full size in five seconds.

Her fingers dip low enough to tick the top edge of my boxers and if she isn’t careful, she’s going to end up sweeping across the tip of my dick, because I’m nearly escaping the upper band. She stops tracing and looks up, then taps a spot in the center of my stomach with her index finger.

“I was convinced that when you took your shirt off, I’d find a little blue thundercloud with raindrops,” she taps again, “right here.”

I let out a grunt. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“Like Grumpy Bear. The grouchy Care Bear.” She sighs and presses her open hand to my stomach. “I guess these abs will have to do.”

My pelvis tips forward, almost unconsciously, because I want her to start using her fingers again.

“I’m not always grouchy.”

Probably doesn’t help my argument that my tone is closer to a snarl than necessary. Her hand barely moves, heating the spot where she’s letting her palm rest.

She laughs softly. “Of course not. Sometimes you’re a little ray of sunshine, I bet.”

I push my hips out again and ball my hands into fists at my sides. She begins grazing each individual ab, using both hands and all her fingers now, snaking a lazy trail to what currently feels like the center of the entire fricking universe.

“Tell me one thing that makes you happy, Cooper. Turns you inside out from liking it so much. Always makes you smile like a little kid. And you can’t say football—that’s too eas—”

I grab her hands, because she just mentioned football and she’s a hairsbreadth away from my cock and I have to stop her before she closes the gap. Should have slept in my goddam truck. I knew this would happen, that the two of us in this house together would lead to wandering hands—but the restless, greedy parts of my mind wanted it too much to let rational reasoning win out.

But on Friday, I have to show up at team headquarters and prove to Hunt that I’m ready. I need a decent night’s sleep and a safe drive home tomorrow. Anything that might derail those objectives is off the table. Right now, no matter how much I want her, the big picture of my career takes priority.

Whitney takes a long breath in and I realize that her body has gone rigid, so edgy that I can feel the tension radiating from her hands. She’s nervous or scared, I can’t tell which, but if I don’t explain myself, I’m bound to make it worse.

“I have a concussion,” I blurt out, a hell of a lot louder than the acoustics of this tiny room require.
Her hands flex in mine for a moment, then go so limp that I have to tighten my grip to keep ahold of her.

“Excuse me?”

She moves to pull away and I let her go, even when I hate the way she creeps back just enough that it’s clear she wants more space between us and all I want is less of it. I push out a short, gusting breath.

“A guy named Stinger knocked me on my ass in Sun-day’s game and I ended up with a concussion from it. That call I got earlier was my team trainer, checking in. He told me to get out of town and take it easy because if I don’t get some rest and prove that my stupid brain is healed, I’ll have to sit out the next game.”

Whitney’s body slumps and her mouth drops open like she’s not sure what to say. I have to add one more piece of information, just in case she thinks taking it “easy”’ is my way of setting up a slow round of sex, all lovemaking style with a light jazz soundtrack to suit, a little Kenny G to set the right mood.

“So, I can’t—I can’t do anything . . . vigorous.”

That sounded stupid. Vigorous. Straightforward probably would have been a better approach.

Look, you can clearly see that my dick is so hard I could fell one of your apple trees with it. I want you. But I think that you and I aren’t going to be very good at keeping it mellow and gentle. We’re bound to break some furniture, bruise each other in some amazing ways, and turn my concussion into a full-blown aneurysm. Can’t risk it. Please put some pants on. I’ll just go sleep in the root cellar.

“I can’t fucking believe you.” Whitney drops the weakest, most pathetic punch ever, to my stomach.
“What don’t you understand about ‘I have a concussion’? Then ou go and punch me?”

“Exactly. You should have said something about that—oh, I don’t know—eight flipping hours ago! Instead, you spend all this time giving me a bunch of hot, smoldering looks while manspreading your way around my house, and I’m thinking there’s going to be some wocka-wocka action between us. But the whole time you knew nothing could happen.”

She lands another gnat-like swing. “Which makes you a tease, Cooper Lowry.” She gives a side-glance at nothing in particular, merely a moment for her to regroup, it seems, because she starts in again.

“And I let you carry in a bunch of heavy boxes when you shouldn’t be doing anything vigorous. We walked around in the cold for an hour, a teenage boy was this close to injuring you with a wily handsaw, you didn’t eat any-thing but an apple until an hour ago, and I don’t think I saw you drink any water today. Now you’re probably de-hydrated, and that’s just peachy for a head injury. You’re a bullheaded, stupid pain in the ass.”

She has to take a deep breath to recover. I wait for her to calm down, lest I risk another pitiful punch from her.

“You done?”

“No. Who is this ‘Stinger’ person? I’m pretty sure I hate him. I’ll give him a concussion.”

Her expression is the best combination of pissed off, indignant, sad, and worried. Even if I’m still hard and doing this might make it worse, I just want to lie on top of her and see if I can get her entire body wrapped up in mine, close enough to hold her in a full-body bear grip. Because hating on Stinger is her gut-check reaction to my revelation, not caring if I can’t play, not worrying that the pro ball player standing in front of her is on the receding edge of his career. I’m not a meal ticket or a bankroll; I’m not my contract or my jersey. She just thinks I’m a pain in the ass. God, she’s fucking fantastic.

“I’m not a big fan of him, either. But I love that you’re getting all wound up to defend my honor. Good thing the big bruise he left on my back is almost gone.”

She scrunches up her face and leaps off the bed to inspect my back. A gasp is followed by a snarl, when she finds the remaining evidence of where Stinger’s knee nearly burst my appendix. Then her hands are on my ass, but not in a particularly good way, because she’s primarily just shoving on me. I lurch forward a bit, taken off guard for a second, but find my balance enough to shoot a look over my shoulder.

“If you aren’t in that bed, under the covers with your eyes closed, in the next fie seconds, Cooper, I’m going to put you there.”

I let out a huge laugh. “I’d love to see you try.”

“Five, four, three . . .” She stops when I pull back the top sheet and slip under the covers. Hands on her hips, she gives a short nod. “Good boy.”

That shit would normally find her flat on her back, me on top and wrestling her hands above her head so I can prove that I’m no boy. I settle for reaching out and grabbing a fistful of her pj top and giving it a yank. She half-stumbles onto the mattress and lands in an awkward straddle over me.

Her face is right next to mine and I can tell that her top is shoved up enough to leave her uncovered in the best places. I put both of my hands to work, one snaked up through her hair to rest at her neck, the other sliding across her hip until I’ve got my fingers tucked under the top edge of her panties.

Text copyright © 2016 by Liora Blake. Published by Pocket Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Printed with permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Well alrighty then. This sounds like my kind of story. I’m so definitely in for this one.

Giveaway: We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

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Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About the Author


Liora Blake


Liora Blake is a contemporary romance author living in Colorado. When she isn’t writing, she’s likely baking cookies she shouldn’t eat, inventing elaborate excuses to avoid going for a run, or asking the nice barista to sell her another quad-shot Americano.

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Guest Review: A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly

Posted January 27, 2016 by Whitley B in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: A Criminal Magic by Lee KellyReviewer: Whitley
A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly

Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Pages: 432
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive - and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.

It's 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city's magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters' crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer's shine.

Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC's most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family's home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.

Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic - and when their paths cross at the Shaws' performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.

I had so much fun with this book. The premise was something you just can’t go wrong with (Prohibition era outlawing addictive magic instead of alcohol? YES PLEASE) and then on top of that we got some extremely engaging characters, solid worldbuilding, and a plot that just won’t stop.

There is nothing about this book that I wouldn’t recommend, though I will throw out one caveat: this isn’t a YA book. I have no idea why it was ever billed as a YA book. This is I thought New Adult was going to be, before contemporary took over the genre and publishers somehow forgot that college kids like fantasy adventures, too. Not only are the primary characters in that 18-22 age group, but some of the major themes are about striking out in the world and making your mark in your first job and making compromises between morals and surviving and finding out that all bosses are soul-sucking devils. (Plus there’s all that smoking and drinking and drug taking that’s going on.)

Back to the fangirling glee. Like I said, every part of this book appealed to me. It follows two primary characters, Joan and Alex, as they navigate the dark, illegal world of gangs and magical speakeasies. Both of these characters have shaky pasts and dark sides, and though they get mixed up with gangs for mostly good reasons, they wind up doing some fairly heinous things. I loved watching them struggle to reconcile the terrible things they do with their good intentions, watching them rationalize and compromise and build an increasingly-unsteady house of cards until the whole thing just implodes. A+ flawed character arcs for both of them, and it was glorious.

There’s really not much I can say about the worldbuilding and plot that isn’t just “it’s X, and isn’t X so cool?” which is why 5-star reviews are so hard for me. I want you to discover it yourself! Everything about the world hangs together so well, it’s gritty and beautiful at the same time. But yes, gangs and guns and magic speakeasies and stage magic and undercover cops and plots and machinations and murder and sex and what more could you want? If any of those things appeal to you, you need this book!

Rating: 5 out of 5


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Review: Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Music by Sara Bareilles

Posted October 21, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Music by Sara BareillesReviewer: Rowena
Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song by Sara Bareilles
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Genres: Nonfiction
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A candid and down-to-earth collection of essays by five-time, Grammy Award nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, exploring her life in song; raw, evocative, and utterly unforgettable.

Sara Bareilles shot to fame in 2007 with her hit single; Love Song, and her more recent chart-topping hit; Brave, but her journal as a songwriter started long before. In this candid book of essays, Sara pulls back the curtain to expose her songwriting process, revealing all the struggle and joy inherent in creating great work while staying true to yourself.

Showcasing her stripped down and confessional writing style, Sara's entertaining and inspirational book tells the inside stories behind her most popular songs and offers insights into finding balance between making art for herself and commercial music for her listeners.

Rowena’s review of Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Music by Sara Bareilles.

I’m not one to read celebrity biographies or autobiographies or anything like that so when this book came across my radar, I was surprised at how much I wanted to read it. I’ve been a fan of Sara Bareilles for a while now and I’m a fan of her music and a fan of her. She comes across as this bubbly, friendly person and getting this book meant getting to know her a little better and I was all about that. I was also excited to get the background on some of my favorite songs of hers, like Gravity, Brave and Love Song. I’ve heard some of the stories but I’ve also heard her say the stories were exaggerated so I was pretty stoked to get the real story from the source.

This book consists of 8 essays that Bareilles wrote about what her life has been like growing up, in music. Each essay centers around one of her songs and she shares the tid bits from her life that influenced the songs she wrote and the person she grew up to be.

Reading this book was exactly how I pictured having a conversation with Bareilles would be like. Her personality shines through with each page and while I enjoyed getting little insights into the stories that shaped her life, I’m afraid that I’m more of a fiction lover. I kept waiting for plot twists that never came and wading through each essay was slow at times but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy the book because I did. There were parts that were more interesting to me than others but overall, I’m glad that I read this book. I liked getting this small snippet of Sara Bareilles and I like knowing the inside scoop to some of my favorite songs.

I think fans of Bareilles will enjoy this one. It’s a solid group of essays. Good job, Sara Bareilles!

Grade: 3 out of 5

This book is available from Simon & Schuster. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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