Bookish Birthday Bash: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone [Guest post + Playlist]


Hi! Welcome to Day 3 of Bookish Birthday Bash! The amazing Tamara Ireland Stone takes over the blog today for a very special guest post and a swoon-worthy playlist that will melt your hearts in no time.

Have a great reading and listening time! 🙂



If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

Every Last Word is out on June 16, 2015 from Disney-Hyperion.

Purchase the book: Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked



tamarairelandstone TAMARA IRELAND STONE
is the author of Time After Time and Time Between Us, which has been published in over twenty countries to widespread acclaim, and hailed as “an exciting debut novel” by Booklist and “a warm, time bending romance” by Publishers Weekly. It has been optioned for film by CBS Films.

Her next novel, Every Last Word, is about a teen girl with OCD who’s hiding part of herself from the world, until she discovers a secret poetry club that changes her in unexpected ways. Every Last Word releases on June 16, 2015.

A former Silicon Valley marketing executive, Tamara enjoys skiing, hiking, and spending time with her husband and two children. She lives just outside of San Francisco. For more information, visit her website at

*Author bio and photo from the author’s website



Happy Birthday, Jesselle! I wish I could be there in person to chat nonstop with you about books, music, and swoon-worthy fictional boys. Hopefully this post with a healthy dose of all three will suffice.

Thank you for including me in your birthday bash, and for offering to unveil the second of my four playlists!

My new novel, Every Last Word, hits shelves on next Tuesday, June 16. It’s a story about a girl named Samantha who looks perfect on the outside but feels broken on the inside, until an underground poetry club and its misfit members help her see herself in a whole new light.

This story is special to me for two big reasons:

(1) It was inspired by a family friend who was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), when she was 12. She’s someone I greatly admire, and even though this is a work of fiction, her strength, attitude, and sense of humor are firmly embedded in my main character.

(2) It’s personal, especially around the theme of the healing power of words. Even though I never let anyone else read my stories, poems, and journal entries when I was a teen, my notebooks were always my safe place. In writing this novel, I got to create a character and watch her fall in love with words. It was an unforgettable experience.

Like my other books, Time Between Us and Time After Time, music plays a big role in this story. There are actually four Every Last Word playlists: The main one—which is more like the soundtrack for the story—and three more that are mentioned in the book:

  • I recently shared my Every Last Word playlist/soundtrack, “Anything But Empty”, cover-art1here in Justine Magazine.
  • Today, I’m here at The Lifelong Bookworm to tell you all about “Song For You”, an all-acoustic guitar playlist Sam makes for AJ.
  • On Monday the 15th, I’ll be over at YA Indulgences to tell you all about “Right Beside You”, the playlist Sam makes for her friend Caroline.
  • And on Saturday, June 20, the 16-year-old who inspired Every Last Word will be sharing the playlist she created, “In The Deep.” She’ll be a guest on Gone With the Words to tell you why these songs are so special to her.


Every Last Word

Before I share the playlist, let me tell you a little bit about this story.

Samantha McAllister is stilled at keeping her OCD under wraps, especially from her closest friends. Sam has what’s called “Purely-Obsessional OCD” and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries she can’t turn off. Because the disorder takes place entirely in her mind, it’s relatively easy for Sam to keep it a secret. And it is, without question, her biggest secret.

Everything begins to change for Sam when she meets Caroline, a quirky girl a few lockers away who wears snarky tees and openly shares her opinions. She introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner and a group of people who are very different from her friends. They read poetry aloud, wear their hearts on their sleeves, and care very little about things like clothes and makeup. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially an adorable guy named AJ with an acoustic guitar and a gift for verse.

But Sam and AJ have history. She doubts they’ll ever become friends—it would be crazy to think they could ever be more.

Still, Sam thinks about AJ. A lot. She turns to music and lyrics to help her sort things out, so one night, she starts making a playlist of acoustic guitar songs. She imagines AJ playing, singing each one, just for her.

Sam gives all of her playlists a three-word title lifted from the lyrics of one of the songs. This playlist is titled “Song for You”, named after this beautiful tune by Alexi Murdoch. I especially love these lines:


And I see you

hiding your face in your hands

Talking bout far-away lands
You think no one understands

Listen to my hands


(I think you’ll enjoy the scene when AJ figures out that Sam made this playlist for him. Warning: swoons ahead.)

Here are a few other songs I’m especially drawn to for their lyrical connection to Every Last Word:


The Thick and the Thin” by Imaginary Future

I’ll be knocking soon,

Open up your room.
Now I won’t assume you’re letting me in.
Show me how to prove I’m good enough for you.
That we can make it through the thick and the thin.


Three Rounds and a Sound” by Blind Pilot

I was swimming,

My eyes were dark ’til you woke me,

And told me that opening is just the start.

It was.


Gray or Blue” by Jaymay

I know the shape of your hands because I watch them when you talk.

And I know the shape of your body ’cause I watch it when you walk.

I want to know it all, but I’m giving you the lead.

So go on, go on and take it.


Bron-Yr-Aur” by Led Zeppelin

This song has no words at all, but it might be the most beautiful piece of music I’ve ever heard. I wrote every AJ scene with this song in my ears.


Are you ready to hear to the rest of “Song For You”? Here it is:



CLICK HERE to listen to all four of my Every Last Word playlists.

Follow me on Spotify to hear these and more.


Happy birthday, Jesselle! Thanks again for spending part of it with Every Last Word and me.


Thank you so much for being a part of Bookish Birthday Bash, Tamara! ❤ *hugs*

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this post, guys! Share them on the comment section below. 🙂

Come back on June 15th for my birthday post and a PH giveaway! *flails*






Bookish Birthday Bash: The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi [Guest Post + Playlist]


Hey there! Welcome to Day 2 of Bookish Birthday Bash! Today’s feature spotlights debut author Lauren Gibaldi and her beautiful novel, The Night We Said Yes. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the awesomeness! 🙂



A fun, romantic read, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti!

Before Matt, Ella had a plan. Get over a no-good ex-boyfriend. Graduate from high school without any more distractions. Move away from Orlando, Florida, where she’s lived her entire life.

But Matt—the cute, shy, bespectacled bass player who just moved to town—was never part of that plan.

And neither was attending a party that was crashed by the cops just minutes after they arrived. Or spending an entire night saying “yes” to every crazy, fun thing they could think of.

Then Matt abruptly left town, and he broke not only Ella’s heart but those of their best friends, too. So when he shows up a year later with a plan of his own—to relive the night that brought them together—Ella isn’t sure whether Matt’s worth a second chance. Or if re-creating the past can help them create a different future.

In alternating then and now chapters, debut author Lauren Gibaldi crafts a charming, romantic story of first loves, lifelong friendships, uncovered secrets, and, ultimately, finding out how to be brave.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

The Night We Said Yes is out on June 16, 2015 from HarperTeen.

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store




Photo courtesy of Lauren Gibaldi

Lauren Gibaldi is a writer and public librarian. She’s been, among other things, a magazine editor, high school English teacher, bookseller, and circus aerialist (seriously). She has a BA in Literature and Master’s in Library and Information Studies, both from Florida State University. She currently live in Orlando, Florida with her husband and daughter. THE NIGHT WE SAID YES is her first novel.

*Author bio provided by Lauren Gibaldi



For her guest post, the wonderful Lauren Gibaldi shares the story of a memorable night where she said YES. ❤ Here it goes:

It all started with a party.

I guess a lot of stories start that way, but mine never did. I didn’t go to a lot of parties in high school, and the ones I did were either a) tame birthday parties or b) tame drama club parties. I guess crazy things might have happened at them, but I was never part of that. I was a good girl.

But during my junior year I was invited to a party at a friend’s house where his band was going to play. Parents wouldn’t be home. Lots of people were going. To say I was excited was an understatement. It was the first time I actually bought an outfit for a party.

Before leaving, my best friend and I giggled about what the night might bring. Excitement! Danger! Boys! More importantly, a specific boy. A boy I liked. He was going to be there, and, you know, a girl could dream, right?

When writing THE NIGHT WE SAID YES, that night jumped into my mind. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday. I remember pulling up to the house with all the hope and fear and anticipation in the world. With all the belief that in one night, anything and everything could happen.

In my book, a lot of crazy things happen–cops come, dares are said, and rules are broken. At my party so many years ago, not so much. It was, once again, tame comparatively, but it was still my night. I remember listening to the band and loving it so much. I remember talking to, and giggling with, my crush. I remember standing next to my best friend and feeling like the best version of myself. I remember being there, in the middle of it all.

The night didn’t make my dreams come true, but it gave me the courage and push to work towards them.

A few years ago I said yes to writing a book about a group of friends who said yes to every idea they had for one night. It was a made up idea, something that popped in my mind that felt like me. It reminded me so much of that night, way back in high school, when I said yes to living.




Lauren Gibaldi’s playlist for The Night We Said Yes! Happy listening! 🙂

  1. “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” – Stars
  2. “The Night Starts Here” – Stars
  3. “Sometimes I Still Feel the Bruise” -Trembling Blue Stars
  4. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” – The Clash
  5. “We Are Young” – Fun. featuring. Janelle Monae
  6. “First Day of My Life” – Bright Eyes
  7. “It’ll Get You There” – Rilo Kley
  8. “I Wanna Get Better” – Bleachers
  9. “21 Guns” – Green Day
  10. “Shake It Out” – Florence and the Machine
  11. “Tonight the Streets are Ours” -Richard Hawley


So there you have it! What’s your favorite part of the feature? Share your thoughts on the comment section below!

Visit The Lifelong Bookworm again tomorrow for Day 3 of Bookish Birthday Bash with the lovely Tamara Ireland Stone and Every Last Word! 🙂

Bookish Birthday Bash: Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat [Guest Post + Playlist]


Hello! Welcome to Day 1 of Bookish Birthday Bash! I hope you enjoy today’s feature on debut author Sharon Huss Roat and her book, Between the Notes!




When Ivy Emerson’s family loses their house—complete with her beloved piano—the fear of what’s to come seizes her like a bad case of stage fright. Only this isn’t one of her single, terrifying performances. It’s her life.

And it isn’t pretty.

Ivy is forced to move with her family out of their affluent neighborhood to Lakeside, also known as “the wrong side of the tracks.” Hiding the truth from her friends—and the cute new guy in school, who may have secrets of his own—seems like a good idea at first. But when a bad boy next door threatens to ruin everything, Ivy’s carefully crafted lies begin to unravel . . . and there is no way to stop them.

As things get to the breaking point, Ivy turns to her music, some unlikely new friends, and the trusting heart of her disabled little brother. She may be surprised that not everyone is who she thought they were . . . including herself.

Debut author Sharon Huss Roat crafts a charming and timely story of what happens when life as you know it flips completely upside down.

*Photo and synopsis provided by the author

Between the Notes is out on June 16, 2015 from HarperTeen.

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store



Sharon RoatSharon Huss Roat grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and now lives in Delaware with her husband and two children. She worked in public relations for 20 years before deciding what she really wanted to be when she grew up. BETWEEN THE NOTES is her debut novel. When she’s not writing (or reading) books for young adults, you might find her planting vegetables in her backyard garden or sewing costumes for a school musical. Visit her online at or on Twitter @sharonwrote.

*Author bio and photo provided by Sharon Huss Roat



Spark of idea for BETWEEN THE NOTES 

by Sharon Huss Roat 

The first little spark of an idea that led me to write BETWEEN THE NOTES was a simple case of mistaken identity. I had misjudged someone based on appearance and circumstance, and this got me thinking about how often this happens. I imagined a girl who finds her own situation dramatically changed. I wanted to explore how that would affect the way she sees herself and others—and how they see her. At that same time, a friend told me about a family she knew that was facing financial hardship. The parents were going to great lengths to keep their lavish home rather than downsize, so their teenage children wouldn’t have to adjust to a more modest lifestyle. I wondered what would happen if the parents did face the music, so to speak, and live within their means. How would that change everything else in their lives? The story grew from there—further influenced by a continuing series of sparks. Ivy’s stage fright, Brady’s disability, Ivy’s song-writing—all were the results of conversations and interactions with people I know or met along the way. I had no idea where the story was going when I started it, and learned a great deal in the writing of it!



A Between the Notes soundtrack:

Here are a few songs that are either mentioned in the novel, or are favorites of Ivy’s!

  1. Blackbird – The Beatles
  2. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody (on ukulele) – Jake Shimabukuro
  4. Year Zero – Ghost B.C.
  5. What Once Was -Little Invisibles
  6. Come as You Are – Nirvana


Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Jesselle!


You are most welcome, Sharon! *hugs* So guys, what do you think of Sharon’s guest post and playlist? Sound off in the comment section below!

Check back tomorrow for debut author Lauren Gibaldi and her novel, The Night We Said Yes! 🙂



You’re Invited!

Hi everyone! It’s my birthday on June 15th and I’m going to celebrate it with three amazing books that are releasing on the 16th! It has always been my dream to celebrate my special day with books, so imagine my excitement when I organized this blog event! But then I was all the more ecstatic when the authors of the three books accepted my invitation to be a part of my birthday bash! *happy dance* Incidentally, my birthday is not the only one that will be recognized. This blog event will also celebrate the publication of the three books as well as every author’s success. 🙂

Without further ado, I invite you to…


The celebration will run from June 11th to 15th (excluding the 14th). It will feature wonderful guest posts and playlists from Sharon Huss Roat (Between the Notes), Lauren Gibaldi (The Night We Said Yes), and Tamara Ireland Stone (Every Last Word). Each author guest post highlights the heart of their respective books, which I’m sure you’ll love! As for the playlists, well, I think some of you know I have a thing for them, so that’s a huge deciding factor. 🙂 Anyway, I chose to include playlists because I love how songs can describe emotions to people. The playlists that Sharon, Lauren, and Tamara will share encompass the feelings that their books carry. ❤

The Bookish Birthday Bash schedule is as follows:

June 11th- Sharon Huss Roat / Between the Notes

June 12th- Lauren Gibaldi / The Night We Said Yes

June 13th – Tamara Ireland Stone / Every Last Word

June 15th – Birthday post + PH giveaway 🙂

Ahhhhhh I’m so excited! It would mean so much to Sharon, Lauren, Tamara, and me if you guys could celebrate with us! 🙂












It’s Becky & Simon Day on The Lifelong Bookworm!

Hello bookish people! Today, April 7th, is momentous because author Becky Albertalli’s debut novel, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, is now out in the wild! Hooray! Grab a copy, will you? It is worth reading! I promise. 🙂 But in case you need more convincing, you might want to check out my 5-star review here. For the love of Becky and Simon, I came up with an idea for a blog event to honor their day. Well, this is it! Happy Becky & Simon Day, everyone! *throws confetti* I hope you guys enjoy the contents of this post. 🙂


The awesome Becky Albertalli talks about writing, Simon, Oreos (YUM!), and more in this exclusive interview!


View More:

Photo credit: Decisive Moment Events


At what age did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer. That being said, my ambitions have been a little all over the place, and I figured author would go the way of my other dream careers (among them: veterinarian, actress, director, teacher, and pet store employee). But my interest in writing has always been there, even when I took a different path in grad school, where I trained as a clinical psychologist.


Every writer has a writing process. Could you please describe yours?

In many ways, I think I’m still learning my process! When I wrote SIMON, worked in almost total isolation – almost no one knew I was writing, and the first person to read it was the critique partner I met on Absolute Write (still my CP, and now also one of my closest friends!). Book two has actually been a completely different experience. I’m connected to a much broader swath of the writing and publishing community, so the book has received feedback at several stages from my editor, agent, and several friends and critique partners. It also feels very different writing this book, knowing that it’s actually going to be published! Admittedly, it’s been hard for me to separate that process from everything that’s happening with SIMON.


What is it about young adult fiction that prompted you to write your own YA book? 

There’s so much to love about YA. For me, I’m drawn to the immediacy of teen stories – it’s such a confusing, heart-wrenching, butterflies-in-the-stomach kind of time. It’s really special to be able to reconnect with some of those feelings and experiences. I think I love working with real-life teenagers for the same reasons.


Which YA authors do you look up to?

There are so many authors I admire! Right now, I am completely in awe of the We Need Diverse Books team, who are among the most passionate, committed, and talented people I’ve ever met. I had the opportunity to catch a glimpse behind the scenes of WNDB, and I’m constantly blown away by how hard these authors work to fight for desperately-needed changes in this industry. Their impact has been immeasurable, and it’s been thrilling and humbling to watch it happen.


Name three of your all-time favorite YA books.



-I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson


How did the idea for Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda come about?

It’s interesting: I feel like the story and Simon’s voice just sort of came to me – sometimes I didn’t know what was going to happen in the book until I wrote it. It’s only now that I can look back and attempt to trace its influences. I see shades of You’ve Got Mail, THE YEAR OF SECRET ASSIGNMENTS (one of my all-time favorites, mentioned above), and, oddly, a musical by Jason Robert Brown called 13. But SIMON is kind of its own thing. I have no idea where the idea came from, honestly!


How long did it take you to write Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda?

SIMON took me about four or five months to write, with another month spent editing and working with my critique partner. I believe I started the book in June of 2013, and queried in early November.


What would you like readers to learn from Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda?

Interesting question! I feel pretty strongly that readers are entitled to their own interpretations of the book, and that those interpretations are more important, in the end, than my intentions as an author. However, I’ll say that writing the book helped me organize some of my own thoughts about privilege and the tendency to view majority groups (straight, white, cisgender, etc.) as defaults.


Main character Simon Spier is gay. What was it like writing from the perspective of a teenage gay character? Did someone you know in real life inspire him?

It felt very natural for me writing from the perspective of a gay teenage boy! Part of that probably comes from working for so many years with LGBTQIA kids and teenagers as a psychologist, but I’m very careful not to base any characters on therapy clients. I would say Simon is pretty similar to me – he’s just much funnier and more charming.


Simon is a theater kid. What song from a Broadway musical best describes his personality?

This is one of my favorite questions I’ve ever been asked! I’m going to go with “My Junk” from Spring Awakening. I don’t know if it describes his personality, exactly, but there’s something so Simon about this song. I interpret it to be about that almost obsessive romantic fantasy life you have sometimes when you’re a teenager – the way you carry thoughts of your crush around with you everywhere. Simon’s feelings for Blue are like that.


You have a great love for Oreos (so does Simon!). If you were given an opportunity to customize an Oreo flavor inspired by your book, what would it be? What would you call it?

My custom Oreo flavor would be Classic Oreos with extra crème, and I would call them Double Stuf. 🙂 Simon and I are total traditionalists when it comes to Oreos. If I HAD to put my own spin on them, I might change their shape to the iconic SIMON text bubble – but I refuse to interfere with the perfection of their flavor.


You are one of the friendliest authors on Twitter! Book bloggers love interacting with you. What was your reaction when people started to express their excitement for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda on the social media site?

What a nice thing to say! I’ve had an absolute blast getting to know members of this amazing community on Twitter. I’m always so surprised (and a little excited) when people approach me like I’m famous. I’m so not famous! I’m sitting here next to a stack of diapers and breast pump accessories. 🙂 But I’ve been so thrilled by the response so far to SIMON. I feel so lucky that his character has connected with so many people, and that others are looking forward to meeting him. When people get Simon, it makes me feel like they get me!


What are your best moments so far in your publishing journey? 

The whole thing has been a publishing fairy tale, honestly, and there have been so many wonderful moments. Some of the highlights: accepting my agent’s offer of representation, my first phone call with my editor, getting to know my publishing teams at Harper, Penguin, and my other publishers abroad (I’ve even become friends with my amazing French translator at Hachette Romans, Mathilde Bouhon!), reading my first reviews, getting blurbs from some of my favorite authors, getting to know other debut authors and seeing my friends’ books in bookstores…

If I had to pick one favorite, I’d say it was the amazing weekend I spent in Nashville with my best author friends: Adam Silvera, Jasmine Warga, and David Arnold.



And finally, what writing advice would you like to share to aspiring writers? 

I know the classic advice is to keep reading – and that’s so incredibly important. To add to that, I’d say it’s so helpful to become a close observer of your own life. Fall in love, hang out with kids, hang out with old people, tell stupid jokes, laugh, make out, be lazy, argue, eavesdrop, daydream – and then spend an extra moment processing it all. Everything I like about my own writing comes from this process of integrating my own experiences.

Connect with Becky on: Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Website



Next up on this special blog event is a guest post from the extraordinary SIMON SPIER. Take it away, Si!



Greetings from Simon! Cute drawing by Becky Albertalli. 🙂

Here’s the thing: Oreos are freaking delicious and music is freaking awesome, and they should always be consumed together. Because I love you so much (and especially because I don’t feel like studying for a history quiz), I’m going to give you some very important guidelines for your eating and listening pleasure. So, with no further ado, I present:



  1. Between the Bars by Elliott Smith/Oreo fudge bars (
  2. Heard Them Stirring by the Fleet Foxes/ Oreos stirred with milk
  3. Black Sand by Jenny Lewis/Finely ground Oreos
  4. Tower Song by Martha Wainwright/tall stack of Oreos
  5. Time to Pretend by MGMT/ Golden Oreos
  6. Frozen by Tegan and Sara/Oreo ice cream
  7. Dark Matter by Andrew Bird/Oreo butter (
  8. Things That Scare Me by Neko Case/Watermelon Oreos


Wow! Who would have thought that eating Oreos could have a soundtrack? ONLY SIMON! 🙂 Thanks for sharing such a brilliant playlist, buddy!



In celebration of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda‘s book birthday today, I’m giving away a FINISHED HARDCOVER COPY of the book! The giveaway is open to Philippine residents only. I’m so sorry international followers! 😦

Please click on the link below to be directed to the Rafflecopter form:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Huge thanks to the ever amazing and generous HarperCollins Publishers for the giveaway copy!