Book mail! – TUNED INTO YOU

Look what came in the mail! My very own copy of TUNED INTO YOU by Cindy Dorminy!

I’m so happy to have my critique partner’s debut in my hands, along with a Bluebird Cafe bumper sticker and the Nashville skyline. (See the “Batman building”?)

Best book mail ever!

Tuned Into You



Tuned Into YouTuned Into You by Cindy Dorminy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*I received an ARC from the publisher for an honest review*

TUNED INTO YOU by Cindy Dorminy is a cute summer romance complete with music, horses, softball, and adorable characters. Abe and Lydia aren’t always likable. They aren’t always perfect. They mess up. They say and do the wrong things, but they’re human, and that’s part of the charm I find so endearing about this book.

One of the things I most enjoyed is how Abe and Lydia are thrown together to work out their punishment on Abe’s family farm. They’re complete opposites with preconceived notions about one another, and though the romantic tension is on slow burn, it’s so much fun to watch them go through their paces testing one another and trying to find each others’ buttons.

The Nashville, Tennessee, setting is just perfect for this story. They don’t have to go off to New York or Hollywood to have a brush with fame. Abe is a hot, young country singer who got his start on a popular music show, and he lives in the heart of country music. The author is familiar with this area, and she does a great job incorporating it into the story. It’s more than a setting; it’s almost a character itself.

If you like Sarah Dessen’s flirty, fun summer romances, you’ll love TUNED INTO YOU.

View all my reviews

Currently …

I’m borrowing the idea for this post from my friend Kate. I guess “Currently…” has been around for years, but I’m a million years late to blogging (at least this time around), and it sounds like a fun way to remember to post semi-regularly.

I’m currently

Loving …

This is a challenging one. I guess I’m loving that I finally have a local place to go and write again. The library on campus is my happy place.

Library writing

Reading …

The Sky Is Everywhere cover

Allegedly, I’m reading The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I like it. Nelson’s writing is lyrical and gorgeous, but I’m just not feeling the vibe at the moment. I’m tired and run down, and instead of reading at night, I’ve been scrolling aimlessly on my phone until I nearly pass out.

I’ve just finished two books that I. Could. Not. Put. Down. Six of Crows and What Remains gave me the most glorious book hangovers, and maybe I’m not ready to start something else right away.

I feel like I’m going to be disowned from being an official book nerd when I see people who are reading a book a day or even a book a week, and I’m struggling to read a few chapters a day. This is only the fifth book I’ve started this year. *hides*

If you count picture books, I have a better track record. The toddler and I read an average of five books a night. Some are the same every day (Goodnight Moon, Dear Zoo, Little Owl’s Night, and The ABCers), but I do actually read something.

Watching …

I’m in a rut with my TV viewing. Every time I sit down to watch TV, I feel like I should be doing something else … or I fall asleep. I’m only really paying attention to Game of Thrones Season 5.

Game of Thrones s5Listening to …

Sigu Ros

Sigur Ros when I need to be calm.

If I’m driving the car that has a radio, I listen to the contemporary pop station.

When I’m writing and need inspiration, I listen to my WIP playlist that has Imagine Dragons, Panic! At the Disco, Troye Sivan, and Lord Huronamong others.

Thinking about …

I keep wondering if I’m the right person to write my WIP. I can’t help thinking about the dynamics of writing outside of one’s experience. I’ve ALWAYS defaulted to writing about boys, or as one of my CPs says, “sports boys with issues.” My finished manuscript was less outside my experience because it was dual POV and dealt with depression, but it’s still a complicated balance.

Lately, I’ve been reading so much about representation and sensitivity that I’m second guessing myself. Maybe I’m not qualified to write the books that are in my head. Maybe I should stick to my own experiences. Truthfully, my OWN experience isn’t something I care to revisit. I write to escape, to live a different life, to see the world from a different angle.

My “sports boys with issues” have a lot to do with my psychology degree and the fact that I always wanted to go into the medical field. I wanted to be a physical therapist, but I let people talk me out of it. I regret that. I want to at least have a taste of the world I never entered, so I research the hell out of everything I write. Maybe it’s not enough. Maybe it is.

I don’t know anymore.

Anticipating …


My WIP. Despite my fears, I’m anxious to finish this draft, and I’m anxious to let my betas and CPs read it.

Kiss pic

Making me happy …

This kid!

Caelan - hat



Cover Reveal – TUNED INTO YOU

Today I get to help with this blog’s first ever cover reveal! (And I hope the first of many more to come!!) I’m so excited to show you guys the cover of my amazing CP’s debut novel.

Cindy Dorminy and I met during Pitch Wars last year, and we exchanged manuscripts to critique. It was so much fun getting lost in the world of country music, horses, and softball along with Abe and Lydia. This is a beautiful story of opposites attracting, and I can’t wait for it to be released this summer!

So without further ado …

… I present …


















Today is the cover reveal for Tuned Into You by Cindy Dorminy. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.

Tuned Into YouTuned Into You
By Cindy Dorminy
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Publisher: BookFish Books

A summer party is the last place Lydia Flowers wants to be. Beer pong? Stupid, foot-wrecking shoes? Random hookups? No thanks. Lydia would rather be in her cleats practicing her bat handling skills.

Enter Abe Fischer, the Nashville Teen Idol superstar. He’s a lip-syncing party animal with a short fuse; or at least that’s what the tabloids say. Except, Abe turns out to be nothing like the guy Lydia’s read about online. He’s sweet, and the way he talks to his horse…sigh.

Then life throws Lydia and Abe a curveball. They are wrongfully arrested for destruction of property. Their choices? Either work on the Fischer Farm for the summer earning nothing more than blisters and a sunburn, or have the arrest go on their records, which would ruin Lydia’s shot at a softball scholarship. It’s a no-brainer. Lydia picks up a pitchfork, pulls out the SPF 40, and prepares for the worst two months of her life.

When the press gets wind of a big secret Abe’s family has been keeping, things become even more complicated. Now Lydia has another choice to make: stick around for Abe’s messed-up life in the spotlight, or go for the scholarship of her dreams.

You can find Tuned Into You on Goodreads

Cindy DorminyAbout the Author:
Cindy Dorminy grew up on a steady diet of popcorn (the kind you pop in a sauce pan), Tab (pre-Diet Coke), and movies for teenagers. She can’t let a day go by without quoting a line from one of her favorite films, so quirky dialogue is a must in her stories.

When she’s not at her research coordinator day job, Cindy is writing funny love stories, walking her dog, or slinging iron the old-fashioned way. She shares her house with her musician husband, her awesome daughter, and a cool, four-footed child that would eat all the cheese if she could figure out how to open the refrigerator.

Cindy is a member of Romance Writers of America and Music City Romance Writers. She resides in Nashville, TN where live music can be heard everywhere, even at the grocery store.

You can find and contact Cindy Dorminy here:

There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of Tuned Into You. One winner will win a 25$ iTunes gift card.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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Books that matter

Some books formed me as a reader and a writer, and I will remember them forever.

Strangely, I didn’t read a lot of the “normal” kid books growing up. I don’t remember reading most of the Newbery or Caldecott medal winners. The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings were sort of off limits (I didn’t read those until college), no Bridge to Terabithia, Roald Dahl was barely a mention (although I found Matilda and wouldn’t let it go because I needed another strange little girl to give me hope), and Harry Potter came out when I was in high school. I’m just discovering some famous picture books as I build my own son’s library.

I was the epitome of a bookworm, but I don’t remember a lot about the books I read in elementary school. I think my middle school reading was largely furnished by my grandmother’s “don’t listen to rock music, swear, or read about magic or you’ll be possessed by a demon and die” books. Those books creeped me out a bit, and I’ve tried to block most of that reading from my mind. So needless to say, my formative reading was strange and pieced together oddly, but I did have books that inspired my imagination and made me want to write.

Here are some of my inspirations.

1. Emergency Mouse by Bernard Stone – My mother got tired of me asking for this book EVERY night at bed time. I loved it for some reason as odd and off the wall as it is.

Books - Emergency Mouse

2. The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop – I wanted that castle to be real so badly.

Book - The Castle in the Attic

3. Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar – This book was just plain fun.

Book - Sideways Stories from Wayside School

4. My Teacher is an Alien by Bruce Coville – I was pretty certain a few of my teachers actually were aliens.

Book - My Teacher is An Alien

5. The Ghost Wore Gray by Bruce Coville – This book made me want to be a writer.

Book - The Ghost Wore Gray

6. The Ghost in the Third Row by Bruce Coville – And all the Bruce Coville books, apparently.

Book - The Ghost in the Third Row

7. Ghost Cat by Beverly Butler – Ghosts, ghosts, and more ghosts. I wanted all of the ghost books. Oh, and cats. I would read any book that had a cat on the cover.

Book - Ghost Cat

8. Anne of Green Gables and all the Anne and Rilla book by L.M. Montgomery – A redhead, adventures, romance, and Canada. Yep, I read them ALLLLL, and I fell in love with Anne’s sons.

Book - Anne of Green Gables

9. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl – The MOST influential book I ever read.

Book - Anne Frank

10. The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery – These books were amazing for a girl who wanted to write.

Book - The Story Girl

11. Matilda by Roald Dahl – Matilda understood me.

Book - Matilda

12. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – My sixth grade teacher told me about this book. I loved Mrs. Butler, and I would have read anything she suggested.

Book - Number the Stars

13. The Stand by Stephen King – My first “grown up” read. I loved pulling it out of my backpack because it was HUGE and my mother wouldn’t even read Stephen King, so I felt like a B.A. bookworm.

Book - The Stand

14. A Separate Peace by John Knowles – This was in our 9th grade English book, but they had removed all the swear words. I bought the paperback to be rebellious. Ha.

Book - A Separate Peace

15. Don’t Die, My Love by Lurlene McDaniel – Ahh, teenage sad romance. The sadder, the better. I read this book at least five times and cried every time, and then I decided I could write my own stories.

Book - Don't Die

16. Night by Elie Wiesel – Need I say more?

Book - Night

17. Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters – For some reason, I took this book to Europe with me. I carried it around Switzerland in my backpack. I don’t know what it was about it, but I still flip through the poems from time to time.

Book - Spoon River

Review – Diverse YA – Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian

Book - Cut Both Ways

I finished reading Carrie Mesrobian’s Cut Both Ways last night. I was drawn in my the cover blurb, “I know how to fold myself up into anything. You can fold anything into me and it’ll blend.” I read Mesrobian’s debut novel Sex and Violence, and I was interested to see her take on a character struggling to find himself within the many different worlds he attempts to navigate.

Will Caynes splits his time between his parents’ houses. With his dad, he lives in an almost condemned construction project. At his mom’s, he feels like he’s living in a hotel where nothing belongs to him: “Every week I was somewhere new. I couldn’t just toss my shit everywhere like I was staying on permanently.”

In the suburbs, he’s falling for his best friend. In the city, he has a girlfriend. Mesrobian made a point to never use the word “bisexual” in the story. Even though Will struggles with his feelings for both Angus and Brandy, he never considers the fact that he might not be “just” straight or “just” gay.

Will’s sexual identity is never clearly stated. He struggles throughout the entire story, and Mesrobian leaves that resolution purposely vague. It’s interesting to watch how he fluctuates from Brandy to Angus and back, seeking different forms of comfort and acceptance from them both. Whomever he’s with, he blends in, a chameleon in both worlds, but never feels completely comfortable in either.

Approaching the issue of “bi-erasure” in such a manner doesn’t settle the debate, but it seems real and authentic coming from a teenage boy.

Several reviewers have given the book scathing reviews because Will cheats, but since he’s an 18-year old, figuring out who he is and where he belongs, I had sympathy for him. That’s not to say I wouldn’t be pissed off if I were Brandy and Angus, but I do understand Will’s reasons. He’s not a perfect person; he’s confused, angry, indecisive, unlikeable at times – well, basically, he’s a teenager. Mesrobian does an excellent job portraying the real, messy inner worlds of teens.

(**** Spoiler Alert****)


My only problem with this book is that the book ends so abruptly. There is no real resolution to anything. Will hasn’t worked anything out with Angus or Brandy, his father’s housing issues are still complicated, his homophobic step-dad hasn’t let him come home, and his mother refuses to stand up for her son.

I would have loved a few more chapters to resolve at least some of these issues. For a stand-alone, Will’s entire life remains hanging.


(****End Spoiler****)


I give 4 out of 5 stars to Cut Both Ways. It’s definitely for mature readers due to language and sexual content, but I highly recommend it to anyone in search of diverse YA.


2015, it’s been nice knowing you


It’s New Year’s Eve today, and I can’t say I’m sad to see 2015 go. The highs have been worth it though. Since this is my first post, here’s a quick rundown the things that have highlighted my year:

  1. I started querying my first manuscript. Rejections are difficult to face on first glance, but I know my writing is in a better place now than when I started.
  2. I had a few requests for my full manuscript. That’s encouraging. And while it’s frustrating when I receive a rejection letter, I know something about my writing has intrigued someone enough to give it a look.
  3. Through Twitter and writing sites, I’ve met some of my best friends, found wonderful betas and critique partners, and joined a community of writers who “get” me.
  4. I got serious about working on my new manuscript. It’s gone in such a different direction than I expected it, but I absolutely love the story and the characters even more than I already did.
  5. An agent I admire read the first 10 pages of my WIP and offered an excellent critique at the SCBWI Midsouth conference. I may not have taken it entirely in the direction she suggested, but her words renewed my faith in my writing and encouraged me to keep working on this crazy adventure.
  6. Nanowrimo has never resulted in a finished novel from me, but having daily accountability and word count goals pushed me forward. I started the month with a goal of writing daily. That didn’t always happen, but I accomplished more than I expected.
  7. For some reason I’ve never made reading goals, and I didn’t keep track of how many books I read this year. (I’m horrible about curating my Goodreads shelves.) While I fell short of what I thought I “should” have read, I read many wonderful books this year. Some of my favorites are I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, Not After Everything by Michelle Levy, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera.
  8. My critique partners have written amazing, wonderful things that I have been honored to read. We’ve celebrated each other’s highs and lows, and I’m fortunate to know such talented writers.

Not everything has worked out perfectly. I’m far from the place I envisioned myself being in on the cusp of 2016, but I’m ready for a new year and a fresh start.

Welcome, 2016, but be kind, be fulfilling, and be better than your predecessor.