Search Results for: debut dish

Keeping Up With the Debuts: Favorite Quotes from Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

Posted August 2, 2015 by Jana in Book Spotlight, Keeping Up With the Debuts / 1 Comment

Adi was a 2014 debut author, with his road trippin’ contemporary romance called Let’s Get Lost. I love keeping up with our former debuts and seeing what they’ve been up to since their first book debuted. Let me introduce to you Adi’s new book, Never always Sometimes, which comes out on Tuesday, August 4th! Read a little about the book, plus I’ve included some quotes from the book that I enjoyed to whet your appetite.

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 4, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Book Depository • iTunes • Kobo
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Never date your best friend

Always be original

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they’d never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he’s broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It’s either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they’ve actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

Jana’s Favorite Quotes

“The sun kept dipping down into the ocean and the lights came on at the harbor, casting sudden shadows on the ground, illuminating the faces that were just a second ago silhouettes. The sky was golden and purple, the ocean a darker shade of violet.”

“The Best you can ever do is to leave the world a little better than you found it.”

“No point in living a life less ordinary if you don’t know what the other side looks like.

“We are more or less kind, or more or less not. More or less selfish, happy, wise, lonely. Just like things are rarely always true, we aren’t ever exactly one thing or another. We are more or less.

It’s like that in out love lives too. We like to think we’re formulas that even out exactly, that we are perfect matches with each other. But we’re not. We match up with lots of people, more or less.”

“People were always belittling teenage heartbreak. But heartbreak was heartbreak was heartbreak.”

About the Author


Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it’s no surprise that after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer. He’s now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he’s lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him more places will eventually be added to the list. Let’s Get Lost is his YA debut.

Author WebsiteGoodreadsTwitterFacebook

First Annual Magic, Myth, & Mischief | Event Information, Schedule, & Giveaway

Posted September 1, 2017 by Jana in Blog Event, Giveaway / 1 Comment


Welcome to the first annual Magic, Myth, & Mischief event, hosted by me and Bonnie! This is a month-long event that celebrates fairy tales and mythological retellings, as well as retellings of favorite classic novels and books featuring mythical beasts such as mermaids, dragons, and fae! It’s going to be a really fun month of book reviews, blog tours, guest posts, and author interviews, so make sure to join back each day for fun new content!

This post is your go-to spot for all the information about this event. Here you will find the event schedule on my blog (links will be added as posts go live, and additional content will be added as we receive it from authors and guest bloggers), the calendar for the coordinating Instagram photo challenge that we hope you will participate in, an awesome giveaway, and the link-up for anything you’ve posted that fits our event (we want to come visit!).

Our official event hashtag is: #MagicMythMischief

Event Schedule

9/1 –  Event Information, Schedule, & Giveaway
Savage by Nicole Conway | Cover Reveal

9/4 – Interview with Gabrielle Pendergrast | Zero Repeat Forever Blog Tour

9/5 – The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill | Graphic Novel Review
Until the Storm Passes by Elizabeth Doherty | Exclusive Cover Reveal

9/6 – Heather Fawcett Guest Post | Even the Darkest Stars Blog Tour

9/7 – F.M. Boughan Guest Post | Cinderella, Necromancer Blog Tour

9/8 – Everneath by Brodi Ashton | Book Review

9/11 –  Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows | Blog Tour Book Review

9/12 – Top Ten Retellings of Classic Works I Want to Read | Top Ten Tuesday

9/13 – Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale | Graphic Novel Review
Konstanz Silverbow Guest Post

9/14 – Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis | Book Review

9/15 – Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter by Diane Stanley | Picture Book Review
Combination Station: When Legends Collide by Danielle Shipley | Guest Post

9/18 – The Gift of the Crocodile: A Cinderella Story by Judy Sierre | Picture Book Review
Kaitlin Bevis Interview

9/19 – Tobie Easton Guest Post | Submerged Blog Tour

9/20 – Caraval by Stephanie Garber | Book Review

9/21 – Debut Dish Special Edition with Heather Fawcett and Even the Darkest Stars

9/22 – The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Flechais | Graphic Novel Review
Morgan’s Favorite Fairytale Retellings | Book Blogger Guest Post

9/23 – Favorite Quotes from Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco | HPD Blog Tour

9/25 – Nicole Conway Guest Post | Savage Blog Tour

9/26 – Top Ten Books Featuring Mythological Creatures | Top Ten Tuesday

9/27 – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas | Book Review

9/28 – Laura Holt Guest Post

9/29 – Beneath a Sapphire Sea by Jessica Bryan | Book Review

Bonnie’s schedule of events can be found here.

(For the most part, we will not be posting on weekends but you’ll still see us on Instagram!)

Instagram Photo Challenge

If you take part in the daily photo prompts, you’ll get bonus entries for the event giveaways!

These themes were designed with your creativity in mind. Interpret them however you wish: super literal or not. We’re really excited to see what you come up with. :)

Make sure you tag your photos with #MagicMythMischief so we can come see!


We hope you will be adding some new books to your TBR as you follow along, and we’re going to let you win some! Two of you will be winning books this month, and it’s international as long as Book Depository ships to you!

If you are the first place winner, you can choose any book that Bonnie, Mandy, or I review or feature during Magic, Myth, and Mischief from September 1-30, 2017!

If you are the second place winner, you can choose any fairytale/mythology themed book under $10!

The giveaway ends October 15th, and there will be many opportunities to enter throughout the entire month.

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Join Us!

If you post (or have posted recently) any book reviews, giveaways, vlogs, feature articles, etc. about fairy tales, mythology, or books featuring mythical creatures, link up here so that we can come visit!

All you have to do is link your post below like this: Title of Post (Website).

Thank you for helping us make this event special!

Becky Wallace | 2017 Apollycon Author Spotlight Tour

Posted October 19, 2016 by Jana in Blog Tour, Giveaway / 3 Comments

Becky Wallace | 2017 Apollycon Author Spotlight Tour

Woohoo! Today I get to spotlight the lovely Becky Wallace, who will be joining us at Apollycon in Orlando next year! Becky was one of my 2015 debut authors, and I got to spotlight her last March on the Debut Dish. I love it when Becky takes up my blog space because she is so much fun. I haven’t read either of her books yet, but I own them and am super excited because HELLO. They sound amazing, right?

About Becky Wallace

In second grade, Becky Wallace had to sit in the corner because she refused to write anything except princess stories and fairy tales (and because she talked too much). Her time in isolation gave her plenty of opportunities to dream up the fantasy worlds she’s been dabbling with ever since. She was lucky enough to find her own real-life Prince Charming. They have four munchkins and live in happy little town near Houston, Texas.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram


The Keepers’ Chronicles


The Storyspinner Synopsis

Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything.

Add to Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

All 2017 Apollycon attendees are eligible to win one of these awesome prizes! Gift Cards will be distributed to the winners at Apollycon 2017 to be used within the Apollycon bookstore. The passes will allow you to skip to the front of one author’s signing line (your choice).

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Follow the rest of the tour!

Love-A-Thon 2016 | Get to Know Me!

Posted February 20, 2016 by Jana in About Me, Personal / 2 Comments


1. What’s your name?
Jana (It rhymes with banana… interesting how many pronunciations people come up with!)

2. Where in the world are you blogging from?
I live in the western USA! (I’m not saying my state because I’m participating in #otspsecretsister and don’t want to give away my location!)

3. How did you get into blogging in the first place?
Way back in 2010, Jamie from the Goodreads College Students group sent out a message asking if anyone wanted to start up a book blog with her. A few of us wrote and said we were interested, and The Broke and the Bookish was born! I never knew book blogging was even a thing before this, and I really fell in love with it. I started this blog about a year and a half later, and I’m still over at TB&TB as well. :)

4. How did you come up with your blog name?
Honestly, it came to me while I was on pain meds during my tonsillectomy recovery! I made the blog so fast, barely thinking, and that entire process is a complete blur to me because pain meds are intense! I’ve never wanted to change it, though, so I guess drugged Jana makes great life choices.

5. What genre do you read and review the most on your blog?
I don’t know? I tend to focus on YA, but I’ve been reading a lot more adult over the last couple years. As for genre… it’s such a mash-up of all the genres, but I’m thinking it’s pretty evenly split between contemporary romance and fantasy.

6. What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews?
Well, I host the Debut Author Challenge, so I do a lot of Debut Dish posts. Those are mini author interviews, usually with some giveaways as well. I also participate in Top Ten Tuesday. My regular features have kind of suffered over the last few years since I went back to school, but I’m going to start doing more Bookish Finds and That Artsy Librarian posts soon!

7. Best blogging experience so far?
I’m not sure I can pinpoint one! Receiving my first ARC (Of Poseidon by Anna Banks), going to ALA several times, having my name appear in the acknowledgments of one of my favorite books, and receiving my first blurb in a book have been some of the highlights. I’ve loved making new friends and broadening my reading interests. Really, it’s all been awesome so far!

8. Favorite thing about the blogging community?
I love fangirling over books with people who GET it! And I love it when we force each other to read our favorites, and then happiness all around!

9. Name the 5 books you’re most excited for in 2016!
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, Map of Fates by Maggie Hall, Heartless by Marissa Meyer, The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson, and Rebellion by J.A. Souders!

10. Name the 5 books you want to read in 2016 that you didn’t get to in previous years!
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski, A Madness So Discreet by Mandy McGinnis, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, and Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins.

11. What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read?
Underrated book? Definitely Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard. Underrated series would by the Hourglass Door trilogy by Lisa Mangum.

12. Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF?
Hale from Heist Society by Ally Carter would be my BFF! I love him!

13. Which book boy or girl would be your book boyfriend?
Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas makes me weak in the knees.

14. Who would you recruit for your apocalypse squad (5 characters max)?
Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), Four (Divergent), Carswell Thorne (Lunar Chronicles), Cinder (Lunar Chronicles), and… Perry (Under the Never Sky).

15. Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests?
Graphic design, singing, watching movies, listening to music, shopping, traveling, baking, and scrapbooking.

16. Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for?
JEWELRY. And shoes. And purses. And organizing supplies, like boxes and drawers. I hate shopping for clothes.

17. At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing?
Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. Sounds cliche, but I love that song so much!

18. Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book.
I want The Lunar Chronicles to be turned into a 5-part movie series of a TV show. I’m good with either!

19. What would your dream library look like?
The most popular answer ever: The Beast’s.

20. Author you want to meet and sit down to tea with?
Sarah J. Maas!

Do we have anything in common? Say hi, and I’ll come visit you!

So… I’m Barely Staying Afloat

Posted March 12, 2015 by Jana in About Me / 26 Comments

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, things have been a little sparse over here at That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s not for lack of trying, I assure you! I am unbelievably busy this semester, plus I’ve had some health issues so things are really stressful right now. Many of you probably remember my post with all the titles for my YA literature class this semester. I’m a really slow reader, so all my non-paper-writing time is spent frantically reading as fast as I can. I’m seriously drowning!

So, I’m making my official “things will be a little slow for a little while” announcement. The Debut Author Challenge is not changing at all. The link-ups, Debut Dish posts, and giveaways will go on as scheduled. You just might see fewer reviews, discussions, and Top Ten Tuesday posts until May when the semester ends. I’m all over Twitter, so come see me there if you’re just not getting enough Jana in your life. :)

Wish me luck!

Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee Book Trailer Reveal + Giveaway

Posted March 10, 2015 by Jana in Giveaway / 0 Comments

Hi! I’m pleased to participate in the book trailer reveal for debut author Fonda Lee’s upcoming book, Zeroboxer. Check back next month to see her on the Debut Dish!

This isn’t your usual book trailer. Instead, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite parts of writing Zeroboxer: envisioning and depicting the sport of zeroboxing. How would a combat sport work in the absence of gravity? Check out what these martial artists and fighters have to say about it.

Then enter the giveaway for a chance to win a prize pack of six science fiction and fantasy books from Flux / Llewellyn, including an ARC of Zeroboxer, which releases on April 8!

– Fonda

Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee
April 8, 2015 from Flux
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A Sci-Fi Thrill Ride Set in the Action-Packed Sports Arena of the Future

A rising star in the weightless combat sport of zeroboxing, Carr “the Raptor” Luka dreams of winning the championship title. Recognizing his talent, the Zero Gravity Fighting Association assigns Risha, an ambitious and beautiful Martian colonist, to be his brandhelm––a personal marketing strategist. It isn’t long before she’s made Carr into a popular celebrity and stolen his heart along the way.

As his fame grows, Carr becomes an inspirational hero on Earth, a once-great planet that’s fallen into the shadow of its more prosperous colonies. But when Carr discovers a far-reaching criminal scheme, he becomes the keeper of a devastating secret. Not only will his choices place everything he cares about in jeopardy, but they may also spill the violence from the sports arena into the solar system.

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Dove Arising Blog Tour | Q&A with Karen Bao

Posted March 3, 2015 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour / 5 Comments

Welcome to my spot along the blog tour for Dove Arising by Karen Bao, hosted by Penguin Teen! Karen is a 2015 debut author of a pretty exciting book about a girl living on the moon (and a whole lot more). I know you’ve already seen here on The Debut Dish, but today we get to learn even more about her!

When did you first come up with the idea for Dove Arising, and how old were you? Did it come out of a particular experience? 

I came up with the idea for Dove Arising when I was seventeen and a senior in high school. I’d just submitted college applications and had many doubts about my future: where would I be next year? What direction would my career take me? Was I ready to leave home?

When Phaet joins Militia, she faces these same questions, but she also deals with many more restrictions on her freedom. Many of these were inspired by my mom’s childhood. At the time, she started telling me about her own experiences in Communist China. Food rationing was a part of life for most people, but Party members still got everything they needed. (Spoiler alert: my mom’s parents weren’t Party members.)

The government banned classical Chinese texts, denied much of recent history, and closed China off from outside influences. My mother’s father, a university professor, was sent to labor camp in the countryside for a decade, and he was absent for most of her childhood. The government needed more scientists for “progress’s sake,” and essentially forced my mom, a straight-A student, to major in chemistry. In many ways, Phaet’s life resembles my mother’s: she also has a missing father and she studies science like crazy, knowing that academic success is the only way out of poverty.

I guess I wrote Dove Arising as an “escape” from real life, but it made me realize how lucky I was to live in a liberal democracy. I could choose which college I wanted to attend, and I could choose what I wanted to study. Also, I could write a book portraying government oppression without fearing for my life.

What are your thoughts on being a female writing science-fiction/fantasy in an often male-dominated genre or category with male main characters?

I feel like I’m writing in a great genre with great company. Authors like Tamora Pierce, Ursula Le Guin, and Octavia Butler sort of paved the way for later female writers in sci-fi/fantasy – and there are a lot of us! Moreover, there’s a growing interest in portraying women, as well as diversity in general. I know male authors who are writing female main characters, and they say it’s easy, just like writing any other person. POC and LGBT characters are also gaining ground. All in all, 2015 is a great time to be a writer!

What’s one of the funniest things that has happened to you during the publication process?

It’s a real challenge to pick the funniest thing that has happened to me in the publication process. I have seen hilarious costumes at Comic Con, had my name spelled “BOA” (like the constrictor) by travel companies, bonded with booksellers about the advantages of wearing leggings instead of real pants, and modeled Dove Arising T-shirts by waving them around like a bullfighter. But perhaps the most laughable incident was when I found out that my book would really take off. Picture this: I’d just taken a shower, so my hair was a wet beehive, and I lunged to pick up my phone (my ringtone sounds like a singing robot). After hearing that Penguin wanted to publish Dove Arising, I was silent. Then I said, “Nawww.” Another pause. Then I squealed and rolled around on the carpet like a happy puppy. I’m glad no one videotaped the scene and shared the footage; I’d lose all professional credibility.

Find Karen at her websiteTwitter, and Facebook.
Add Dove Arising to Goodreads.

So, how does Dove Arising sound to you? What do you think about Karen’s discussion on how she came up with the idea?

Dove Arising by Karen Bao – Propaganda Video Reveal

Posted February 13, 2015 by Jana in Book Spotlight / 2 Comments

Hello! I’m pretty excited to be revealing one of the propaganda videos (in conjunction with my other blog, The Broke and the Bookish) for Dove Arising by debut author Karen Bao! The first video was revealed yesterday on Hypable, and two more are being revealed by IceyBooks and Fangirlish today as well.

Karen is going to be here for the Debut Dish on Sunday and then she’ll be here again for her blog tour on March 3rd, so there’s lots of Karen happenings coming up! Read about Dove Arising on Goodreads! This is a book that should totally be on your radar. I mean, it’s about a girl who lives on the moon and has barely spoken since her father’s death. Well, not until her mother was arrested by the government. Now she has to join the Militia to free her mom and save her siblings!

Anyway, on to the video!

So, what do you think? Did you like the video? Does Dove Arising sound like something you’d enjoy reading? Let me know in the comments!

Lovebug by Erin Mallon | Book Spotlight

Posted March 1, 2021 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight / 1 Comment

Lovebug by Erin Mallon | Book Spotlight

Welcome to my stop along the blog tour for Lovebug by Erin Mallon, hosted by Social Butterfly PR.! Erin is one of my very favorite audiobook narrators ever, so it’s fun that she’s started writing her own books as well. Lovebug is the second book in the standalone contemporary rom-com series, Natural Selection. Read more about the book below, and see what others are saying about it! I’m currently in the middle of it myself, and am excited to see how it turns out. Mabel is super quirky and unbelievably sweet! She’s definitely a character to root for.

Lovebug by Erin Mallon
Series: Natural History #2
Published by Erin Mallon on February 24, 2021
Genres: Adult Fiction — Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Add to Goodreads
Amazon Kindle | Amazon Worldwide | Apple Books | Nook | Kobo | Amazon Paperback | Audible Audiobook

My name is Mabel, the girl who “wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Of course I wouldn’t.
I’m an entomologist for goodness’ sake.
I work in a nature center.
Bugs are my jam.

It’s the humans in my life who are starting to get me down. I’m used to them calling me sweet and innocent. I can even handle them calling me naive. But when they lie and keep secrets from me? That’s when my proverbial pincers want to come out.

Trouble is, I’m not the girl who fights back.

Not until a handsome groundskeeper with a dirty mouth and secrets of his own shows up and lights all sorts of fires in me.

In the bug world, the female is always the fiercest. The praying mantis doesn’t worry about being a “good girl.” Nope, she follows her instincts no matter how crass or crude they may seem to others.

Turns out I could learn a thing or two from her.

I’m not necessarily looking to tear anyone’s head off, but after decades of being nice, it’s high time for me to return to nature and unleash my wild side.


I check to make sure all kids and counselors are settled safely and the craft is underway, then start a slow walk to where the man is crouched down and working with a wrench.

I have absolutely no idea why I choose this approach, but I whip around the water fountain in a sort of sneak attack, and shout, “Hi!”

His body jerks as though I’ve startled him. Because clearly, I have. I smile and wave. Even though he’s right in front of me.

He turns and looks behind us as if he’s unsure I’m actually speaking to him. I’m noticing this happens a lot when I greet people. Calliope told me once that I approach strangers with “unearned familiarity,” and it freaks them out. Friendliness freaks people out? I’m not sure what to do with that information.

“Yes you, silly!” I say.

His full attention is trained on me, but he doesn’t say a word. I’m starting to think the kids were right, and this guy actually doesn’t speak.

“Hey you,” I breathe.

Was that my voice I just heard? I don’t say “hey you” in that shouty way people do when they’re trying to get your attention outside the grocery store for leaving your cart abandoned in the lot instead of in the assigned cart area—not that I would ever shout at someone or leave a cart abandoned in a lot. No, the “hey you” I give him is that breathy sort. That shy, smiley sort. The kind of “hey you” people say when they know you so deeply and truly that they almost never say your actual name because they don’t need to. Who else could they possibly be speaking to at that moment except… you. You. You. Wonderful, precious, irreplaceable you. Not that I’ve ever been the recipient of such a “you.”

“Did you need something?” he asks.

He speaks! Oh wow, he speaks!

His voice is… gruff. That’s the only way to describe it. Is he annoyed? Nah, it’s probably just his voice. I’ve heard of perpetual bitch face. Maybe he has a perpetual bitch voice? But he’s a guy, so I guess to be accurate, it would be called a perpetual bastard voice?

“Before we begin, let it be known that I don’t think you’re a bastard. Or a bitch.”

“Excuse me?”

“I was just thinking that you sound like a bastard, but I bet that’s just the way your vocal cords operate. They’re probably just prone to a gruff, bastardy tone.”

“No. You had it right the first time. I am a bastard.”

“Gotcha! So. How are you? Your name is ‘The Wall’? I mean, they call you ‘The Wall’? What is that short for? Walter? Walton? Wallmeranian?” I rattle off some suggestions.
“Wallace,” he huffs.

“Gotcha. Big fan of Wallace and Grommit?” I ask.


“Gotcha. Can I call you Wally?” “No.”

“Gotcha. Hey, do you think I say gotcha too much?”

“Yes,” he says definitively.

“Gotcha. Thanks for the feedback. I’ll work on that. Hey, wanna hear something silly?”


“Cool, here I go. My kids… not my biological kids—though I do hope to have some of those one day, how about you? Sorry, don’t answer that. That’s an invasive question. See those teenagers over there who are completely unrelated to me?” I point in April and Dante’s direction where they are decidedly not focused on their kids and are instead “hiding” behind a pavilion post watching my flailing interaction. I wave to them. “Hey, guys!” They ignore me and look off in random directions as if they’re suddenly fascinated by all the glorious nature around them. “I’m training them as CITs this summer. That’s right, I’m chief of staff this year! I mean head counselor. And well, the thing is, they’re… well… they’re afraid of you.”


He goes back to working on the fountain as if he’s giving up on his conversation with me.

“Isn’t that ridiculous?” I start giggling uncontrollably. “Fine by me,” he says.

“What’s fine by you?”

“That they’re afraid of me.”

“Oh.” I feel my head jerk back. “Really? But if they’re afraid of you, they’ll keep avoiding you and making up stories about you instead of taking the time to really get to know you.”

“Perfect. Love that plan,” he says and swipes some sweat off his brow.


I’m not sure how to respond to this man.

“Besides,” he continues, “you’re afraid of me too.”

What others are saying about Lovebug

“Erin Mallon has a fresh and authentic comedic voice in her writing that completely immersed me with giggles!”
— Amy Daws, Amazon bestselling author

“A pitch-perfect rom-com and that manages to create a swoon worthy romance with substance.” – Books On Stereo

“Lovebug was a quirky and outlandish romcom with great characters and a storyline that wasn’t just all laughs.” – Reading Til the Break of Dawn

“I am still chuckling hours after finishing this book. Mabel and Wallace’s story is a complete breath of fresh air.” – A Bibliophile’s Desire

“This story is full of so many wonderful themes, great characters, warmth, witt and heart that it was a complete winner and oh so much fun!” – Patricia on Goodreads

About Erin

Erin Mallon‘s debut romantic comedy novel, Flirtasaurus, releases in July 2020. She is an award-winning narrator of over 450 books and an accomplished playwright and producer in New York City. She has written over 40 plays, which have been produced Off-Broadway and all over the country, including These Walls Can Talk, a raucous theatrical love letter to the romance audiobook community. She lives in a little yellow house on the outskirts of NYC with her husband and Three J’s.

Find her: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads |  Bookbub
Stay up-to-date with Erin, sign up for her mailing list.

Letters from Deborah Rose of You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle | Author Guest Post

Posted December 28, 2020 by Jana in Guest Post / 2 Comments

I’m so excited to have Sarah Hogle, author of You Deserve Each Other, on the blog today to share with us letter from the bookish world’s worst mother-in-law ever. YDEO was one of my favorite books of 2020, and I’m so excited to read what Sarah writes next (it’s called Twice Shy, btw)!

Letters from Deborah Rose

Hello, readers! I’m Sarah Hogle, and my debut novel is YOU DESERVE EACH OTHER, which published on April 7, 2020. For those unfamiliar with the book, it’s a lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romcom about an engaged couple who have been pretending to be the perfect couple but are actually sick of each other. With the big, elaborate wedding just months away, neither of them want to get married and neither of them want to be responsible for the steep costs of canceling the wedding, so they begin a game of pranks to annoy each other into calling it off and, inadvertently, fall back in love in the process.

Besides Nicholas and Naomi’s issues, the biggest villain in this book is Nicholas’s mother, Deborah Rose. Deborah is what you’d get if you combined Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development and the worst Karen you’ve ever seen. She’s domineering. She’s manipulative. She doles out questionable advice in a newspaper column, Dear Deborah, and guilts her son into shoveling her driveway every winter. For A Bookish Little Christmas, I thought it would be funny, and maybe slightly horrifying, to take the lid off Deborah Rose’s deluded brain and see what her outgoing emails might look like. Chronologically, these come right after the last chapter of You Deserve Each Other. If you haven’t read the book but plan to, there are some major spoilers in here and I’d recommend waiting!

If you haven’t read You Deserve Each Other and don’t plan to, you can still enjoy these emails. You will probably say, “Oh, no, I know somebody exactly like her.” It will not be complimentary. XD

To: Rise and Smile Dentistry

Subject: Important

Dear Nicky,

Have I not given you everything you’ve ever wanted? Is there something I should have done differently? Maybe I should have forced you to pay your own way through college, and then you wouldn’t resent me for aiding your success. I can think of no other reason for this punishment. I have taken to my bed, as nowadays all I can do is cry and think miserably about the joyous occasion of my only son’s wedding, that I’ve missed out on. Tell your wife I said congratulations, and I’m so very glad she’s gotten what she wanted.

Confused and sad,


To: Susan Ratcliffe

Re: Would like to volunteer for bake sale

I couldn’t help but notice on Sunday that you were wearing a very familiar dark green Paige sweater with a turtleneck and shoulder cut-out. You have, no doubt, seen me wearing this same sweater on occasion and have, no doubt, heard the compliments paid to me. I bought it at Neiman Marcus last year and, I must say, this “look” has become somewhat iconic to the Deborah Rose personal brand. A great many people have complimented my sense of style, so I understand why you would try to emulate it. However, this particular sweater is inappropriate for church and makes you look like you’re hunting for an affair with one of your divorced son’s thirty-something pals. You are such a dear friend, which is why I must tell you that when you sneak into church two minutes into the sermon, drawing attention to yourself and your semi-bare shoulder, your choices are frowned upon by Jesus.

I am putting you down for six dozen peanut butter chocolate cookies. I understand that you are diabetic, but please do not make those sugar-free rocks you bring to potlucks. We need the best of the best to spread a heavenly message.

Mrs. Deborah Rose

Popular Advice Columnist and Bake Sale Coordinator

To: Joyce

Subject: Another day passes…

My dearest friend, you are absolutely right. Someday soon, Nicky will see how much he has hurt me and he’ll regret it. Hopefully I’ll still be alive to accept his apology with open arms. But, one never knows when the lord is ready to take them, and I’m gravely worried about the new neighbors who moved in two houses down. They are from California, where ANYTHING goes. Twice now I’ve noticed visitors parking in their driveway after eleven PM, staying for not even half an hour. The wife is a hippie with two eyebrow piercings and she wears HEMP. Do you know what hemp is? Hemp is drugs.
I’m thinking about getting a saltwater aquarium, but I don’t trust Harold with it.


Bake Sale Coordinator

To: Rise and Smile Dentistry

Subject: You do not have enough parking spaces

Dear Nicky,

Now on top of the pain I already feel, I have to put up with the yard looking like a catastrophe. I just find it disgraceful that after everything we’ve done for you, this is the heartless treatment we receive. Your father hasn’t left his chair in days. The only thing he has energy for is watching television. This tragedy has turned him into a shadow of his former self—if you’re not going to apologize for my sake, apologize for your poor father’s. I assume you no longer want to come over for Christmas, which means I have no reason to put up the tree or decorate. Your sister refuses to come because she thinks my remarks about her girlfriend having a degree from an online university were “insensitive,” so I will probably just sit by myself and look through photo albums to remember happier times.

Please tell your wife to stop coming over and shoveling our driveway. Her services are not needed or asked for, and she appears to not know what she is doing.

I found a screwdriver in the garage, if you want it. All the bird seed is gone. I don’t know why it’s so warm this week.


To: Magnolia Rose []

Re: for the love of god stop contacting me

MY husband smells like someone else’s Febreze. This is a confidential, legally binding petition for you to submit, as evidence, one of your recently worn (clean) outwear garments such as a jacket, cardigan, or scarf for testing purposes. You are lawfully obligated to comply within 10 business days, and must get in touch with my legal representative, Joanne P. at State Farm.


Rose Brand Manager

Dear Deborah

Re: Submission: My Father in Law Goes To Brothels

Hello Seymour Butz,

Your father-in-law is a troubled man, but unfortunately I am not surprised. The destruction of the nuclear family has resulted in husbands and wives neglecting their proper roles. From what you say about your mother-in-law, she ought to mind her business. It is my experience that people who are happy with their own lives don’t stick their noses into others’! We must rise ever above.

To: Nick Jr. Contact Support

Area of Concern [write-in]: You’ve just lost a viewer

I am disappointed that you’ve chosen to give Ariana Grande a wider platform to corrupt our children. I just read an article that said Ariana will be voicing a guest character on your show “Bubble Guppies” next week and am APPALLED. You are supposed to be role models for our children, and this angelfish who teaches the Guppies to reach for their dreams is going to convince preschoolers to get tattoos and date Peter Davidsons. I have twelve grandchildren who have been loyal Nick Jr. watchers, but in all good conscience I can no longer air this channel in my home. I will instead give my patronage to the unproblematic Disney!

Deborah R

To: Star Magazine Tips Hotline

Subject: Kate Middleton

Message: I do not care for Kate Middleton.

To: Joyce

Subject: What sort of world are we living in?

I am in tears, I am shaking. Something truly terrible has happened. Do you remember the new neighbors I was telling you about? They reported me to the police for harassment, and only because I knocked on their door and asked them to take a polarizing “Spread Love Not Hate” sign out of their yard.

Make no mistake, I will not let these people bully me. I am going to have a discussion with the HOA about that sign, along with the poppy seed muffin gift basket they gave to the Harrisons. We all know what poppy seeds are really for!

My Amazon packages are late again. I’ve been looking at the tracker and it said expected delivery was yesterday, but now they’re suddenly delayed. I think someone is tampering with my packages.

I heard from Judy that your sister passed. How unfortunate! Would you mind getting the funeral home director’s information for me and forwarding it to my son? I feel incredibly unsafe with these neighbors around, and if I am killed I just want to make it as easy on Nicholas as possible to make arrangements, as he will be mourning his decision to let that wife of his come between us in my final days. Please also forward your divorce lawyer’s number to him. Are you still bringing German chocolate cake to the bake sale? The funeral isn’t until 3, from what I heard, and the bake sale starts at noon, so you should be able to help out for most of the day and your brief absence won’t affect us too negatively.


Popular Advice Columnist and Bake Sale Coordinator

To: Arby’s Customer Feedback

Subject: The Beaufort Arby’s on Walter Drive

Hello, Arby’s. This evening I ordered two large curly fries and two roast beef sandwiches through the drive-thru. I have not had Arby’s in quite some time because my last experience was unsatisfactory (only one restroom, which meant having to wait a ridiculously long time to use it), but was willing to give you another chance. Well, you blew it. I drove home, opened up my bag, and discovered that one of the fries was a medium.
The worker who gave me my food is named Rhonda. (In case there are multiple Rhondas at the Arby’s on Walter Drive, this one has untidy red hair and is pregnant but isn’t wearing a wedding ring).

Mrs. Deborah Rose

Popular Advice Columnist, Food Connoisseur, and Book Club Leader

To: Diana

Subject: Well I am sorry if you were offended

Actually, I am not sorry at all. If you didn’t want me to talk about you on public radio, you shouldn’t have left that explicit calendar in my guest bathroom. I will be deleting the series recording of The Masked Singer.

To: Pastor Thomas

Subject: Another one of God’s children has lost her way

I have reached out to Susan Ratcliffe regarding her disrespectful church attire, with no luck. I think you should have a conversation with Susan about showing off her shoulders when she is supposed to be Praising Him. I also think you should consider replacing her as a first-row choir singer, since right now she is front and center in front of impressionable young children. Coincidentally, I sang in the choir in college and would be willing to step in.

I am putting you down for six vanilla and chocolate marble cakes.

Mrs. Deborah Rose

Popular Advice Columnist and Bake Sale Coordinator

To: Rise and Smile Dentistry

Re: Customer Satisfaction Survey

Dear Nicholas,

I suppose this means you don’t want me to be your mother anymore. If you do not come to my Christmas party, everyone will speak ill of you, and I can’t bear the thought of hearing my oldest friends and family call you a disrespectful, ungrateful son who has been brainwashed by his wife to care only about her and hasn’t even asked about his parents’ beloved housekeeper’s health scare (not that you probably care at all, since you are so busy, but the results came back and whatever it was is benign, which we all prayed for because otherwise this might have cast a dark shadow on our party and her ability to pull off a halfway decent one for once).
There is no need to bring a dish, since there isn’t enough time between now and Christmas for Naomi to learn how to cook.

Also, I need help blocking Diana’s number from my phone.

To: Amazon Support

Subject: Please transfer me to Jeff Beezus

Someone is sabotaging my packages and I want them fired. On December third, I ordered a waffle iron with two-day shipping, but it arrived a day late and there wasn’t even a refund. On December eighth, I ordered the “First Hill Storage Ottoman in Gray Linen” from BMXSHIPPINGINC, who is one of your middlemen, or perhaps a Russian, and my order took three days for them to ship. Then it simply disappeared somewhere, because the tracker showed no further developments. The ottoman arrived within the window it was supposed to, but I don’t appreciate the shady conduct here, not knowing what was happening to my package in the interim and who was handling it. I want one of your workers to come take it back, and replace it with “Hummel figurine Just Dozing, original MI Hummel Collection, gift-boxed.”

My husband is a very powerful man, and my son is a prominent figure in the health field, putting his life on the line every day. If your business continues to tamper with my purchases, I will take legal action and take my fight public.

Mrs. Deborah Rose

Popular Advice Columnist and Bake Sale Coordinator

Applebee’s Grill & Bar (Marshall, TX) on Facebook

Now offering a contactless menu option! Also NEW Berry Merry Colada and NEW Reindeer Punch!

Deborah and Harold Rose WHEN IS American idol coming back on

To: Rise and Smile Dentistry
Re: Appointment Confirmation (no-reply)

Dr. Rose,

I believe you still have my cardboard box from when I sent a few of your old school assignments and other trinkets home with you on August 13th. There are other things that I need this box for. I find it highly unlikely that you’ve even opened it since the items within are reminders of your terrible childhood and your family that has never done anything but love you, so I would like it back.

You may leave it on the porch, if it is too much to ask for you to come inside.

To: Facebook Support

Area of Complaint (other)

Dear Mr. Mark Zuckerberg,

My daughter-in-law posted something that I am unable to view. It says the post is only viewable for a select group of people and I would like for you to tell me what is in this post. There could be defamation in it, so I believe it is my right as a citizen to see. For more information: her name is Naomi Rosefield and her profile picture is Elmo from Sesame Street, and he is on fire. I believe it is a reference to the movie St. Elmo’s Fire. She lives in Morris, Wisconsin.

She is unemployed.


Deborah Rose

Deborah Rose for City Council


Re: Failure Notice

I don’t know WHO you are or WHO provided you with my private email information and judging by your name, I assume you are satanic. This is your final warning to cease contact. These “failure notices” intended to intimidate me will NOT WORK and if you continue this harassment I will get the authorities involved!!!! My husband is a cop.

To: Naomi


I saw that video of what you’ve been doing with my priceless heirloom salt and pepper shakers. Your childish behavior is an insult upon this entire family and I want them back. I also find it rude that you haven’t invited us over. It is lucky that my calendar is too full for a visit, or else I might feel slighted.

Mrs. Rose

Rose Matriarch

To: Community of Sycamore Lane HOA

Subject: We’re all in danger!

We’re all in danger of getting migraines from the excessively flashing Christmas lights the Harrisons have put up. I’ve checked with all the neighbors and they didn’t consult a single one of us before subjecting us to that enormous inflatable Grinch. It is spoiling the holiday atmosphere. When I am sitting in my upstairs guest room facing the northern window, half of my view is that awful Grinch and I feel no peace because of it.

Deborah Rose

Deborah Rose for City Council


Subject: important!!!

WHY are Andrew Walker and that woman from Full House in every single Hallmark movie and WHAT can I do to end it

To: Nicholas

Subject: emergency


You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on April 7, 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Add to GoodreadsAmazon

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

About Sarah Hogle

A mom of three in southern Ohio, Sarah Hogle spends her free time planning weird pranks and hoping for a haunted castle to call her own. She is the author of You Deserve Each Other.