Format: Paperback

Guardian of Paradise by W.E. Lawrence

Posted September 9, 2017 by karenbaron in Action, Adult Fiction, Adventure, Fiction, Historical, Historical Romance, Review, Romance / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Guardian of Paradise by W.E. LawrenceGuardian of Paradise by W.E. Lawrence
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on October 3rd 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
five-stars

In 1888, Kira Wall, surviving daughter of missionaries swept away in a tsunami, lives a primitive, but enjoyable life with natives on an isolated island in the South Pacific.

But her serene world is turned upside down when an Australian merchant ship, commanded by the sinister Captain Darcy Coleman, arrives with an overabundance of modern and lavish goods. Kira suspects ill intent. Chief Ariki refuses to listen to Kira’s warning, forcing her to uncover the real plan of the captain on her own.

Unfortunately, she has a distraction. A six-foot tall, blond, and handsome distraction. Trevor Marshall, doctor and botanist, hopes to find exotic plants on the island to research new cures and medicines. He is dedicated to science, but when meeting the strong-willed, beautiful Kira Wall, he’d prefer to spend time researching her—all night.

The captain thwarts Kira’s attempts to call him out at every step, turning the village chief against her. With only Trevor and her best friend Malana by her side, she stalks the captain and his officers through the dense, predator infested jungle, toward the island’s inactive volcano.

Frustrated by her failure to reveal the captain’s true intentions, Kira begins to think maybe she’s wrong about everything. Then an explosion and earthquake bigger than anyone on the island has ever seen renews her resolve. Was the blast natural or man-made? She is determined to prove it was the captain’s doing.

Kira races against time and the island people’s naivety to stop the captain from destroying her home and killing everyone she loves.

My take on this book:                       Guardian of Paradise by W.E. Lawrence was the first book I was asked to review by this author but it ended up becoming the second book I read from him. It was so good and I am glad that I was asked to review it.

The story starts when the male love interest, Dr. Trevor Marshall, is asking the captain of the ship for a job. Then we zoom right off to Kira Wells, the main character of the book, and her island. The thing that had me a bit worried about reading this book is that I don’t really read that many books that are historical fiction and that’s what this book is. In the past when I read historical fiction I would stop reading it when I had to look up definitions of the words used in that time period. Except in this book it wasn’t like that. Sure some of the words were a bit weird but then my brain immediately knew what word they meant to say since the islanders can speak English, well they are learning but some of the words come out a bit weird.

This book had me guessing about what made it like an adult version of Treasure Island as I kept on wondering what the Captain was after and why couldn’t he find anywhere else. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time reading this book even though I know that I’ve been reading this book for a while but I couldn’t stop thinking about it the entire time, I kept wondering what was happening in these people’s lives.

Kira Wells is basically a young woman trying to keep the people of this island safe. She’s been on since she was a young girl, helping her parents teach the islanders how to speak English and trying to keep them safe from outsiders like the Captain destroying their fields. Not only that but she chooses to stay instead of going back to Australia where she is from. I find that all very fascinating. I loved the way she just right away disliked the Captain and knew that he was there for more than just trading like he said he was.

Doctor Trevor Marshall is basically a young man, he was on the ship to find plants and things that could help his research on finding cures for different ailments. He was positive that going on a quest to some different places will do that. He also serves two purposes for the Captain. As he is a doctor, and a botanist. The second one is very helpful, as he can make sure that fields aren’t messed up and that the proper care of the plants is taken just like the islanders would do. The Captain hired him instead of having to hire two different people, so the Captain likes Trevor.

This story is an adventure. It is packed full of treasure hunting but it is also filled with action and romance. The romance one is like any one that involves the girl trying not to accept that she is falling for a handsome stranger but ends up realizing that she does and then having a whirlwind romance that makes them both sad on the day when the other has to leave. Except do they have to end things? You can easily find out by reading the book.

This book is so good that I’m giving it five stars and I loved it a lot. I am glad that I had the opportunity to read this book as it didn’t disappoint me at all.

Anyways until next time please enjoy this review,

Baroness Book Trove.

**Where to find Guardian of Paradise**

** Goodreads **

five-stars

About W.E. Lawrence

W. E. Lawrence graduated in 1978 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with a BS in business administration. He has run a successful home health care supplies distributorship for the past twenty-three years.

Passionate about God, writing, reading, family, sports, politics, and America, Lawrence currently lives in Davidson, North Carolina, with his lovely wife and their two wonderful children.

W. E. Lawrence enjoys writing historical romance novels filled with action, adventure, and suspense. He published his debut novel Guardian of Paradise in October 2014.


Jonathon Goode, Honorary Witch: The Crystals of Aztlan by Michael Lingaard

Posted August 16, 2017 by karenbaron in Adventure, Elves, Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Paranormal People, Review, Supernatural, Time Travel, Witches / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Jonathon Goode, Honorary Witch: The Crystals of Aztlan by Michael LingaardJonathon Goode, Honorary Witch: The Crystals of Aztlan by Michael Lingaard
Published by Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency, LLC on November 24, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 663
Format: Paperback
five-stars

Twelve thousand years ago, the fabled island of Aztlan, in a cataclysmic event, disappeared beneath the sea, taking with it all the island's mysteries, which were lost forever. Or were they?

Bloodlines lived on, passed on through Aztlan's survivors. These bloodlines included powerful priests and priestesses, who controlled almost mythical powers through the magic of Greater and Lesser crystals.

In modern day England, 16-year-old Jonathon Goode and his cousin, Elizabeth Waterhouse, are told by a fairground fortune teller that they will meet an elf in an emporium where magic is bought and sold. It comes to pass.

The elf gives Jonathon an Everywhere Key, opening a doorway to a realm between realities. Three Muses of magic in the realm are convinced that Elizabeth is the heir to an ancient bloodline of Priestesses, and believe she has the power to control a Lesser crystal.

They were wrong. Elizabeth does have a magic power, but it is the power of a biomorph. Elizabeth is a shape-shifter.

It is Jonathon who has the true power.

The Muses tell a tale of a crystal that is no longer lost and is being use for evil. They want Jonathon and Elizabeth to find it and return it to them. But the crystal is in another reality, one they can access through the Everywhere Key. They end up in the land of Thallos, where the survivors of Aztlan fled when their island home was submerged. But Thallos is also the home of Great Worms, dwarves, trolls, and magicians.

My take on this story:             Jonathon Goode, Honorary Witch: The Crystals of Aztlan by Michael Lingaard is really a great book. Despite some things that were a bit weird this book is definitely one that I can see myself rereading in the future.

What first caught me about this book is the wonderful plot it made me think about Atlantis since Aztlan sounded a little bit like Atlantis from the plot. I am so grateful that I did read it as it is such a great book. I like how Mr. Lingaard created a bit of three worlds and together into this book. I especially like the way he had the magic aspect of the book. I also liked how we followed more than one character throughout the book. I really liked that it actually made sense to do that. I also like despite the differences between Earth and the other two worlds the characters are all becoming friends with each other. The people from Earth try to help one of the worlds out even more than what they are supposed to do.

There were somethings I disliked about the book and the biggest one happened to be no chapters in the book. So, for someone, like me, who likes to read to the next chapter can’t exactly do that in this book. Instead I read from one set of bold words to the next. There were also some words missing but my brain was able to put the words in which is good and didn’t take me out of my story. That happens sometimes and I hate it when a story does that to you.

Another thing I liked about the book are the references to some past history thrown in. That history helped the protagonist a lot. Each of the characters are so well-crafted that I am glad to have read this book and created a lot of new friends.

I am giving this book a five-star rating because it is that good. Though I am sure by now my mom is tired of me talking about this book. I just can’t help it! Jonathon Goode, Honorary Witch: The Crystals of Aztlan by Michael Lingaard is definitely a book good enough for both young adults and adults’ a like. The ending also left it open for a sequel or for us to just contemplate about Jonathon, Elizabeth, and everyone else’s lives now. I will definitely say more of the second option though.

Anyways until the next time enjoy this review brought to you by

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** Jonathon Goode, Honorary Witch: The Crystals of Aztlan **

Goodreads

five-stars

About Michael Lingaard

Taken from the author’s website:

English born, New Zealand raised and Australia domiciled is the short answer to where I come from. Travel does that, you skip the bits in between in case people think you’re going to bring out the photographs.

New Zealand was where I grew up and finished my education. Then it was into engineering and getting on with things. It was also where I first began to read sci-fi.

Years and much traveling later, I’m in Australia working as a senior construction estimator when I decided that I was going to write a sci-fi novel. So I designed my universe along with appropriate technology and characters and diligently scribbled everything down over many, many, many late nights. Then I carefully put my story away for a while until I’d finished rebuilding the house. Then along came the kids. And a different house…

… twenty years later I finally got down to serious writing. Three hundred thousand words; first part of a trilogy; great story; great technology. Sure fire winner, right? ( those out there sniggering… this was my first book and I knew nothing ) Three re-writes and many bruises later I realized I needed something different. The ego had gone and I could look at things objectively.

From my now-uncluttered mind up popped the concept of the Mirror Worlds and I went from there. It was fun to write. I wanted to make magic believable, as if it could really be explained. I hope I’ve succeeded.

We’ll see.


Poet of the Wrong Generation by Lonnie Ostrow

Posted December 4, 2016 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Fiction, Music, Review, Romance / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Poet of the Wrong Generation by Lonnie OstrowPoet of the Wrong Generation by Lonnie Ostrow
Published by Harmony River Press on November 10th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance
Pages: 470
Format: Paperback
five-stars

"It's not that I don't love you, and my tears are yet to dry. But you can't go back and forth forever and we've already said goodbye."
Through these words, a young poet unearths his musical soul while severing ties with the woman he loves after her stunning betrayal. Unknowingly, in writing this ballad of liberation, he will soon evolve as one of the fastest rising stars on the pop music landscape.
The year is 1991; the place, New York City. Here we meet Johnny Elias, a college student from Brooklyn with boundless adoration for two things in life: timeless popular music, and the heart of a sweet, complicated young woman who is clearly out of his league.
Megan Price not only is the object of Johnny's affection, but also the only daughter of New York's most powerful PR woman: the indomitable Katherine Price.
Projecting that her daughter's boyfriend will never live up to the family standard, Katherine cleverly perpetrates a series of duplicitous schemes to rid Johnny from her high-class world. But in her callous disregard, she inadvertently sets him on a determined course to his improbable musical destiny - while sending her own daughter spiraling down a path of devastation.
Poet of the Wrong Generation tells the symmetrical story of a lovable underdog and his meteoric rise to stardom, his humiliating downfall and his unprecedented attempt to reclaim his place as the unlikely musical spokesman for his generation. At the heart of Poet is a tale of star-crossed lovers and their struggle with unforeseen success and disillusionment, in an attempt to rediscover lasting harmony.
Uniquely integrating a variety of original song compositions, Poet projects the epic clash between true contentment and the fable of stardom's rewards; a nostalgic journey through the major events of the 1990s, with a cherished cast of characters and a stunningly unpredictable conclusion.

My take on this book:              Wow! I have been reading this book for a while and I got it as an ARC from the publishing company that represents Mr. Ostrow. Poet of the Wrong Generation by Lonnie Ostrow is truly an inspiring read. This book started off as a college assignment and now I feel like for Mr. Ostrow that it’s going to be a bestseller. In this review, I am going to be trying something different like identify who the protagonist, the main secondary character, and the antagonist are in the books.

The main character of Poet of the Wrong Generation by Lonnie Ostrow is, of course, Johnny Elias as he goes through the motions of everything that happens to him in this book. We start out with Johnny Elias looking at his stuff as he is packing up to move somewhere when he uncovers a picture taken back in 1991. He goes through the heartbreak of losing his first love with Megan Price, starts his musical career, ends his musical career because of Katherine Price, lives in solitude for a long time, starts creating new music, restarted his musical career, and tries to get back to living with Megan Price. What I liked about Johnny Elias is that he is an interesting character who is easy to relate to. He was in the foster care system and didn’t get out until he was an adult. I also like his strength as he was able to get through his heartbreak no matter how tough it was for him. He worked hard and continued until he got where he wanted to be. What I didn’t like about Johnny Elias is that when his career was going down the tube, he didn’t try to take down the one person that he knew was behind it all. Instead of facing this person he took it and hid away. I like to think of myself a good person, but I really wanted him to at least tell her off. I guess now after I am done reading the book, I get why Johnny did it because everything was happening way too fast for him, he wasn’t getting a break to actually work on writing the songs. Then there was the fact that his record company wanted out of him. Johnny is a very interesting and confusing character.  Johnny ended up becoming a really good guy at the very end and proving it to everyone.

In Poet of the Wrong Generation by Lonnie Ostrow, there are a lot of secondary characters that are very important in both Johnny’s life and Megan’s life. The second character that I deem would be very appropriate for this is Katherine Price. Katherine Price is the secondary character for both Johnny and Megan in the ways that she is the one that wanted the best for her daughter while pushing Johnny to achieve things that weren’t really in his grasp. Katherine is a very complicated secondary character. What I liked about her is that she cares about her family even though she goes about it in a very unrespectful way. Katherine was really the one that was the motivating shove, pushing her daughter into dating other people while still dating Johnny. If she hadn’t done this, he probably would have never written the songs for his first album and her daughter might not have had another very important person in her life. What I really didn’t like about Kathrine was that she was stuck up about  not wanting her daughter to be with Johnny because she didn’t want her high-class daughter to be with low-class Johnny.

The antagonist is Megan Price. She does want to be with Johnny Elias but she let her mom set her up with many guys and ended up with one that turned out to be a bad choice for her. Megan is the oldest of Katherine’s two children and is the one that Katherine wants to have the best out of life. That includes a great love life that will propel her into life. Except Megan found love in the worst possible person in her mother’s eyes and when Megan tried to keep it going with Johnny her mother went into full battle mode. I started to like when she finally tried being her own person, by being there for Johnny to show him that she loved him. However, sadly she had to lose Johnny and be put in a horrible position, to become strong enough to stop trying to please her mom. What I didn’t like about Megan was that she couldn’t stand up to her mother about anything in the beginning. She continued to please her mom even when it made her and Johnny miserable.

The thing that moves me about the story is that here is this sweet guy living in Brooklyn, New York and he is dating a high-class girl like Megan, they are both in love with each other. Yet they have this one huge problem and that is Megan’s inability to tell her mother no. Which makes it hard on Johnny who wants to spend time with Megan but can’t because her mom keeps getting in the way of their relationship. Despite the hardships that they faced they ended up living good lives away from each other but can’t help to feel that they left their relationship without finishing it and they finally get that chance after many years have passed for them both.

The setting of the story first started off in New York, then moves around as Johnny is on tour, then some time later it was mixed between New York and Connecticut and then we end the book in New York once again. I believe that Mr. Ostrow did a wonderful job and conveyed enough information to make it seem real.

My favorite supporting characters are Andy Raymer and Jacqui Raymer. The reason I like them is despite everything Andy has stayed with Johnny. If it weren’t for Johnny he probably wouldn’t have gotten Jacqui back. These two are very special in Johnny’s life as they helped him throughout everything including keeping track of his fan base after he stopped singing and kept it going even though his management company wasn’t “managing Johnny Elias” anymore. Andy was and is Johnny’s manager, while Jacqui was the one that did his artwork for his albums and singles as well. If it wasn’t for the two of them he probably wouldn’t have got as good a contract as he did at the recording company. These two helped Johnny through everything in his life be it his professional or just his daily life, Johnny always went to the two of them to get their opinion

The most memorable thing in the book for me was probably Johnny’s musical career going off the way it did. Just wow, there he is, and then plummeting down to nothing through all the rumors. Then people still remembering Johnny after he took time away from the limelight for a bit. People still knew who he was and wanted to hear more of his music.

Poet of the Wrong Generation by Lonnie Ostrow is an awesome writer and this book is amazing. It had me talking about it every single time I would put it down to return to my reality. In the end, this book is a five star rating and I am happy to read and give an honest review for ARC of this book. I know that Mr. Ostrow has a bestseller on his hands and that I hope everyone will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Anyways until the next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

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About Lonnie Ostrow

Lonnie Ostrow has been an innovator, storyteller, promoter and celebrity-insider for more than two decades. With Poet of the Wrong Generation, he combines all his unique experiences to bring you a novel of love & betrayal, music & fanfare, downfall & redemption – a fable of stardom’s rewards, set in New York City during the 1990s. Since 2001, Mr. Ostrow has been the publicity/marketing director & researcher for the iconic best-selling novelist Barbara T. Bradford. Previously he served as a PR executive, promoting an assortment of first-time celebrity authors. From 1995 – 2001, Mr. Ostrow was widely credited with inventing the “living celebrity postal phenomenon.” In all, he worked with more than 40 legendary personalities, creating major media events to celebrate their postal recognition by an assortment of foreign nations.


Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Posted July 19, 2016 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Animals, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Drama, Fiction, Horses, Review, Romance, Tear Jerker, Teen, Womens Fiction, Young Adult / 0 Comments

Dear John by Nicholas SparksDear John by Nicholas Sparks
on October 30, 2006
Genres: Chick Lit, Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 276
Format: Paperback
five-stars

An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who has captured his heart.
But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else.
Dear John, the letter read... and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love—and face the hardest decision of his life.

My take on this book:              Wow. To be expected of a Nicholas Sparks’ book Dear John was a tearjerker throughout some parts of the book. I think I should only reading one Nicholas Sparks book a year. Two times this year that this man has made me cry and I don’t know if I like that. Besides the crying bits Dear John by Nicholas Sparks is a great book.

John Tyree and Savannah Curtis met one summer and in a week the two fell in love. We follow John through this whole thing with Savannah and hoping that things will work out in the end. This book is a little hard to get into but once you do you don’t want to put it down. Like I did today,  when I was supposed to be cleaning up from breakfast I instead was trying to finish my book to see what will happen for John and Savannah.

Savannah and John have the type of romance that everyone wishes for and could only hope to experience something like that at one point of their lives.

This book is an excellent book and one that I hope I will never forget. Despite the rocky start I am giving this book a five star review. Even though I am done reading the book and I am sitting down writing this review I am still thinking about Savannah and John’s romance and wondering how their lives would be different if they took a different route then they did in the book. Their story is honest and I totally see how it could be a real life story. It’s books like this one that makes me happy that I’ve read them and able to share my views of the book with other people. I will also recommend this book to anyone that asks me about it!

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About Nicholas Sparks

As a child, Nicholas Sparks lived in Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Grand Island, Nebraska, finally settling in Fair Oaks, California at the age of eight. His father was a professor, his mother a homemaker, then optometrist’s assistant. He lived in Fair Oaks through high school, graduated valedictorian in 1984, and received a full track scholarship to the University of Notre Dame.

After breaking the Notre Dame school record as part of a relay team in 1985 as a freshman (a record which still stands), he was injured and spent the summer recovering. During that summer, he wrote his first novel, though it was never published. He majored in Business Finance and graduated with high honors in 1988.

He and his wife Catherine, who met on spring break in 1988, were married in July, 1989. While living in Sacramento, he wrote his second novel that same year, though again, it wasn’t published. He worked a variety of jobs over the next three years, including real estate appraisal, waiting tables, selling dental products by phone, and started his own small manufacturing business which struggled from the beginning. In 1990, he collaborated on a book with Billy Mills, the Olympic Gold Medalist and it was published by Feather Publishing before later being picked up by Random House. (It was recently re-issued by Hay House Books.) Though it received scant publicity, sales topped 50,000 copies in the first year of release.

He began selling pharmaceuticals and moved from Sacramento, California to North Carolina in 1992. In 1994, at the age of 28, he wrote The Notebook over a period of six months. In October, 1995, rights to The Notebook were sold to Warner Books. It was published in October, 1996, and he followed that with Message in a Bottle (1998), A Walk to Remember (1999), The Rescue (2000), A Bend in the Road (2001), and Nights in Rodanthe (2002), The Guardian (2003), The Wedding (2003), Three Weeks with my Brother (2004), True Believer (2005) and At First Sight (2005) all with Warner Books. All were domestic and international best sellers and were translated into more than 35 languages. The movie version of Message in a Bottle was released in 1999, A Walk to Remember was released in 2002, and The Notebook was released in 2004. The average domestic box office gross per film was $56 million — with another $100 million in DVD sales — making the novels by Nicholas Sparks one of the most successful franchises in Hollywood.

The film rights to Nights in Rodanthe, True Believer and At First Sight have been sold, and Nicholas Sparks has written the screenplay for The Guardian, though he has not offered it for sale at this point.

He now has five children: Miles, Ryan, Landon, Lexie, and Savannah. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and children.


This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Posted July 7, 2016 by karenbaron in Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Music, New Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Review, Romance, Teen, Womens Fiction, Young Adult / 0 Comments

This Lullaby by Sarah DessenThis Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Published by Speak on March 8, 2004
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 345
Format: Paperback
five-stars

There is an alternate cover edition for this ISBN13 here.
When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy's rules. He certainly doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

My take on this book:              This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen was such a great book. It was published back in 2004 before we had the “New Adult Fiction” book category and I think that is exactly where this book fits. Remy grows a lot in this book in my opinion while trying to figure out with why Dexter is different than the normal boys she goes after.

We follow Remy throughout most of her summer vacation as she navigates her life, her mother’s new marriage, and trying to figure out what is up with her and Dexter. The book starts off in June and then we go to July and then August. Remy tries to keep her life all nice and orderly while trying to help her mom out with some things when her mom is focused on writing her current novel.

Remy is a character that not a whole lot of people will like but at the same time she has these layers about her personality that she built from the concept of how she saw her mom living her romantic life. She just built a shield around herself hoping that it will keep herself from feeling heartache while actually not putting herself out there but wanting to find love even if she doesn’t think that she believes in love.

Remy’s friends are also very different and I think that they also reflect her personality as well. One of her best friends Jess, the motherly one, reminds me of the way that Remy is with her mom. Remy’s mom needs help with planning a wedding or even just getting a divorce going first. Another one of her best friends Lissa, the romantic one, is the one that tries to see the happiness and romantic part of everything. Her last best friend Chloe (the anti commitment one), is much like the person that Remy is when we first met her. Remy doesn’t care how many guys she goes out with as long as they are gone and out of her life by her cut off point.

Remy and Dexter though are very opposite of each other and in every sense of the word their relationship is like “opposites attract” and it’s really cool to see their relationship unfold in this book.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen is an awesome book and one that I would totally recommend for other people to read. I am also pleased to say that I am giving this book a five stars rating since it was so awesome and kept me hooked for the entire time I was reading it.

Anyways until the next time enjoy this book review brought to you by

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About Sarah Dessen

Hi. I’m Sarah. Writing a bio is always a little weird, if only because it seems completely self-absorbed. I have a standard one that I send out, which lists where I got my degree, the names of my books, all the same boring basic facts. But for this website, I’m supposed to do something more, give a sense of who I really am. So here goes.

The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldn’t tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry’s A Summer to Die or Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think it’s the best thing to which any writer can aspire. I’ve also been lucky enough to teach writing and see my students find their own voice. Teaching was great for me, because I got to show people how writing can really change the way you see not only yourself but the world. I’ve found in my own life that if my writing isn’t going well, not much else will. It is the one constant, the key to everything else.

Now that I’m writing full time, I have my good days and bad days. But I’d rather be doing this, even on the worst days, than anything else. As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, my daughter, and two very spoiled dogs. I like to work in my garden—although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive—-and, in my weaker moments, shop. What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and that’s a good thing. It’s always more fun to make stuff up anyway.