The First Ever LILbooKtalk!!: “Overcoming Obstacles in Middle Grade Fiction” with Emily Blejwas and Brooks Benjamin

Hi guys! It’s exactly one week until Christmas, and it’s also the first full week for me out of school! I still have a few performances I have to do with my choir today and tomorrow, but then it will all be just resting and relaxation these next couple of weeks! I’m really excited about Christmas this year–I’m going to spend the days before with friends at a few get-togethers and parties and with my family the weekend of. And I am going to try and read as many books as I can before the year ends!

Today I am posting the first ever LILbooKtalk! LILbooKtalks are online discussion panels in which two authors chat about a certain topic that relates to both of their novels. I wanted to try something new because I love going to author panels and I love interview authors, but why not ask questions to multiple authors at the same time? Why not have author panels online for many to access them? This is a new “skit” I’m trying out, so I definitely hope you will enjoy our first every LILbooKtalk on “Overcoming Obstacles in Middle Grade Fiction.”


About Once You Know ThisOnce You Know This

A girl wishes for a better life for herself, her mom, and her baby brother and musters the courage to make it happen in this moving and emotionally satisfying story for readers of Kate DiCamillo and Lynda Mullaly Hunt.

Eleven-year-old Brittany knows there has to be a better world out there. Lately, though, it sure doesn’t feel like it. She and her best friend, Marisol, stick together at school, but at home Brittany’s granny is sick, her cat is missing, there’s never any money, and there’s her little brother, Tommy, to worry about. Brittany has a hard time picturing her future as anything but a plain white sky. If her life is going to ever change, she needs a plan. And once she starts believing in herself, Brittany realizes that what has always seemed out of reach might be just around the corner.

This debut novel by Emily Blejwas is perfect for readers who love emotionally satisfying books. Thoughtful and understated, it’s the hopeful story of a girl who struggles to make her future bright . . . and the makeshift family that emerges around her.

Goodreads


About My Seventh Grade Life in TightsMy Seventh Grade Life in Tights

LIVE IT.

All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says that dance studios are for sellouts. His friends want Dillon to kill it at the audition—so he can turn around and tell the studio just how wrong their rules and creativity-strangling ways are.

WORK IT.

At first, Dillon’s willing to go along with his crew’s plan, even convincing one of the snobbiest girls at school to work with him on his technique. But as Dillon’s dancing improves, he wonders: what if studios aren’t the enemy? And what if he actually has a shot at winning the scholarship?

BRING IT.

Dillon’s life is about to get crazy . . . on and off the dance floor.

Goodreads


 

LILbooKtalk 1

(Questions are bolded)

Kester: Today we are having our first ever LILbooKchat, an online discussion panel with authors from all sorts of genres! The first author we have is the lovely Emily Blejwas, who has recently released her MG debut novel Once You Know This a few months ago. I had the wonderful pleasure to be able to meet with you at Southern Festival of Books back in October! Could you tell us a little bit about your book and your background?Once You Know This

Emily: I grew up in Minnesota and have lived in Alabama since 2004. Once You Know This started with a scene from my work as a domestic violence victim advocate in Chicago, and a lot of the content comes from experiences working with people really struggling to get by.

Kester: Thank you, Emily! Your book sounds super amazing–can’t wait to read it! Next, we have the awesome Brooks Benjamin, whose MG debut novel My Seventh Grade Life in Tights released last year. I also had the chance to meet you at the Southeastern Young Adult Book Fest back in March, and I really enjoyed reading your novel just recently! Could you also share with us a bit about your book and yourself?

Brooks: Sure! I’ve lived in Tennessee my whole life, always tucked back into the woods somewhere. I currently teach 4th grade at the only school in my town. I formed a dance crew back in middle school and we danced exclusively to New Kids on the Block (I know…I know…). That was the inspiration for M7GLiT which is all about a seventh-grade boy who wants to try out for a summer scholarship to a dance studio, much to the dismay of his dance-crew friends.

Emily: I love how you were NKOTB exclusive! That’s commitment!

Brooks: Haha! Right, Emily! We were, if nothing else, quite loyal to those guys.

Emily: Hey, loyalty is critical!

Kester: I definitely wished I knew how to dance like that back in middle school, or even now!

Brooks: You know? I wish I knew how to dance back in middle school, too, haha.

Continue reading “The First Ever LILbooKtalk!!: “Overcoming Obstacles in Middle Grade Fiction” with Emily Blejwas and Brooks Benjamin”

LILbooKlovers 1 Year Blogoversary!: Q&A with Kester

Hello! Today is a special day for the blog because it is our 1 year blogoversary!!! Woo hoo!!! I can’t believe it’s already been one year that I’ve started this blog, and it has grown quite considerably! Now, to celebrate this special day, I’ve answered all your questions from last week’s post below! Hope you enjoy!


Misty from mistysbookspace

What was the first book that got you into reading??

Regarding my newfound of reading from 9th grade, I would say Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich made me first go “Reading can actually be super fun!” and I sped through it in a few days.

You can only read one genre for the rest of your life, what genre would you choose?

Historical fiction! I love reading books that are set in different time periods, especially World War II! I can’t get enough of Ruta Sepetys!


Tiana from The Book Raven

What time do you find yourself reading the most?

It usually depends on my schedule for the day. I usually read during breaks in school or the afternoon, or I read at night right before bed. But I don’t have a set time to read.

What are you currently reading and what do you think about it so far?

I’m currently reading That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim, which I think is pretty good so far. I love learning more about the Muslim and Pakistani culture that is inside the book, and I just love the romance!


Stephanie from TeacherofYA

Is it hard being a male blogger in a female-dominated market?

It provides its benefits and challenges. I think it is hard especially on Twitter because I’m often mistaken as a girl because I use the blog Twitter account under LILbooKlovers rather than my name, even though I use it 100% of the time. I think that it’s harder to find other males in the YA market, especially in the US, but it helps me stick out as a reviewer. You know, you need that male perspective on those romances!

Funny story: Brittany Goodwin and I talked about her secret epilogue for If You’re Gone, and I told her I didn’t like it. She said that males did not like the epilogue, including her husband, but females loved it. So you see how a male perspective is valuable for books!

What do you do when you enjoy a book that’s been labeled “problematic?”

I stand by my opinion that I personally don’t think it’s problematic. I’ve encountered this problem once now, and all I can say is that I will stick by my opinion. I will write what I feel about it in my review, regardless of whether it’s an unpopular opinion or not, but I will avoid debating about it.

What are your future blog goals?

I hope to expand the blog and get noticed by larger authors and publishers! It would be a dream to get ARCs from the Big 5 that are some of the hottest releases!

Who is your all-time favorite author that you’ve met, and that you still have yet to meet?

Shaila Patel’s my favorite author I have met. She’s super nice and sweet, and we’ve been chatting for a while leading up to SE-YA! She’s amazing, and I look forward to Soulmated‘s sequel!

I really want to meet Ruta Sepetys so much! Her books are some of my all-time favorites, and they have definitely changed my outlook on the world! She’s such an amazing historical fiction writer that I just want her to sign my books!

If you could buy a copy of any book or own any book (ARCs included), what would you pick?

A Caraval ARC. I really want one so much. I’m hoping I could trade for one soon! Or a signed Ruta Sepetys book!

Continue reading “LILbooKlovers 1 Year Blogoversary!: Q&A with Kester”

Milestone Sunday + Give Us Your Questions for Our Blogoversary!

Hi guys! Happy Sunday! School’s out, graduation for the seniors is over, and summer is starting! Woop woop! So I’m going to make a special announcement about our summer plans soon, but in the meanwhile, we have two things we would like to say!200 followers

First, this week we achieved 200 WordPress followers! *pulls out confetti cannons* Thanks so much to everyone who has followed us throughout the past year! From the blog’s inception til January, we had a total of only 20 followers through email/Wordpress, but in the last 4 – 5 months we’ve reached 200 WordPress followers! We would just like to thank everyone who has supported us, and it has been a great honor to be blogging for such a wonderful YA community!

So since our blogoversary is coming up on May 28th, which was the date I created the first ever post! After seeing ChicNerdReads’s blogoversary Q&A post, I’ve decided to make this post open to your questions! Please comment below your questions about any of us, the blog, books, etc. and we’ll pick our favorite ones (depending on the number) and answer them! Sounds fun? Ask away!

We’re so looking forward to seeing your questions for our blogoversary post next Sunday, so you better not miss it! Thanks so much, and happy reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester