Spotlight on Lilliam Rivera


I was lucky enough to be chosen for a blog tour spotlighting authors that will be in attendance of this FANTASTIC YA BOOK EVENT!!

The Ontario Teen Book Fest is a YA book festival that is home to many YA authors and fans alike. The event is completely free to the public! I don’t know about you but getting to meet some of my favorite YA authors with no charge and no tickets is literally one of my favorite things in the world. This wonderful event is sponsored by the lovely Once Upon A Time bookstore of Montrose and thanks to them, there will be books and merch available for purchase 🙂

So join us on Saturday, March 25th, from 9AM to 5PM at Colony High School located at: 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761

Spotlight on Lilliam Rivera

About The Education of Margot Sanchez

the education of Margot Sanchez.jpgPretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.


Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal

Goodreads | Amazon

About Lilliam Rivera

lilliam rivera.jpgOriginally from the Bronx, NYC, Lilliam Rivera is a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner and a 2015 Clarion graduate. She has been awarded fellowships and grants from PEN Center USA, Elizabeth George Foundation, and A Room of Her Own Foundation. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Los Angeles Times, Bellevue Literary Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Latina, among others. She hosts the Los Angeles-based radio show Literary Soundtrack on Radio Sombra and lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Instagram | Website | Goodreads | Twitter


1. Tell us a little about your book.

The Education of Margot Sanchez is a coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old Latina who is forced to work at her father’s failing supermarket in the South Bronx. Over the course of a summer, Margot discovers the realities of her family life, the beauty of the Bronx, and the strength of her own voice.

2. What inspired this story?

My story was inspired by the many young adult novels I read growing up, especially Judy Blume novels. The story is universal with a setting in the South Bronx and a Latina telling the story.

3. Why make the main character a person of color?

That’s an interesting question. There was never a doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t have a Latina protagonist. I grew up with a lack of young adult novels with a person of color at its forefront. I write for those that never had a chance to see themselves in a book. My stories will always come from there.

4. What inspired you to write?

I’ve always been a writer ever since I was a little girl walking around with a pad and pen. My love for writing led me to a career in journalism. In the last five years I’ve been writing fiction. I really love it.

5. What steps were taken to get this book published?

I did this the old fashioned way. After finishing the novel, I queried agents to see if they were interested in reading it. At that time, I was also submitting short stories to literary publications. Some literary agents began reaching out to me wanting to know if I had a novel. Eventually I went with my current agent Eddie Schneider who pulled the book from the slush pile. He then submitted the manuscript to various publishing houses. Margot Sanchez found a home in Simon & Schuster with the amazing editor Zareen Jaffrey.

6. What was editing like?

The process was fairly easy. Zareen sent me an editorial letter that included notes on things she wanted me to expand on. I let her notes sit with me for a day and then I got to work. At the time I was working full time, I would bring my laptop and walked to a nearby park to edit during my lunch hour. I had a fairly quick deadline so I had no time to waste.

7. What’s your writing space like/what’s on your desk?

I don’t have an office so I write at my kitchen table. I converted a butcher’ block into my portable office space with a printer. The side of the refrigerator is where I post images that inspire me. Unfortunately, when it’s time to eat, everyone is in my office.

8. Do you write with music?

I don’t write to music. I need there to be absolute quiet but I did create a playlist for my novel. You can find it on Spotify! There are classic rap songs like “South Bronx” by Boogie Down Productions, “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, and the Lost Ones” by Lauryn Hill.

9. Any tips for writer’s block/new writers/writers trying to get published?

My advice would be to try to write everyday. When I’m stuck, I put down what I’m writing and work on another story or journal-write. If I continue to write everyday I don’t feel like my current project is insurmountable. It’s also so important to finish. Finish what you are writing and celebrate. Then go back and revise!

Continue reading

Spotlight on Sara Elizabeth Santana


I was lucky enough to be chosen for a blog tour spotlighting authors that will be in attendance of this FANTASTIC YA BOOK EVENT!!

The Ontario Teen Book Fest is a YA book festival that is home to many YA authors and fans alike. The event is completely free to the public! I don’t know about you but getting to meet some of my favorite YA authors with no charge and no tickets is literally one of my favorite things in the world. This wonderful event is sponsored by the lovely Once Upon A Time bookstore of Montrose and thanks to them, there will be books and merch available for purchase 🙂

So join us on Saturday, March 25th, from 9AM to 5PM at Colony High School located at: 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761

Spotlight on Sarah Elizabeth Santana

About The Sanctuary

The Sanctuary is Santana’s most recent book and the finale of The Awakened duology.

the sanctuary book coverZoey Valentine is finally safe. Tucked away miles underground in the fortified community of the Sanctuary.

But the Sanctuary is far from what she imagined.
Zoey can’t help but feel trapped.
Sekhmet, the evil corporation behind the Awakened, is still out there and
now, citizens of the Sanctuary are disappearing.
It isn’t until the bodies of the missing turn up mutilated, each one tagged with a note, a warning, signed by Razi Cylon.

Problem is, Razi should be dead.
Sekhmet has existed for far too long, and Zoey has had enough.
Goodreads | Amazon 

About Sara Elizabeth Santana

First off, I’d like to say how lucky I feel to be posting this spotlight on a friend of mine. I remember meeting her in line at The Last Bookstore waiting to get a book signed. And now here I am, spotlighting hesara elizabeth santanar for my blog. Let’s all take a moment to cry some happy tears. ❤

Sara Elizabeth Santana is a YA and NA fiction writer. She has worked as a smoothie artist, Disneyland cast member, restaurant supervisor, nanny, photographer, pizza delivery driver and barista but writing is what she loves most. She runs her own nerd girl/book review blog, What A Nerd Girl Says. She lives in Southern California with her dad, five siblings and two dogs. Her debut novel is The Awakened.
Instagram | Website | Goodreads | Facebook


  1. Tell us a little about The Awakened/The Sanctuary.

The Awakened duology follows Zoey Valentine, an eighteen year old girl who gets caught up in the zombie apocalypse. It’s a science fiction, but set in  our world. Sci-fi lite, so to speak haha. A virus wiped out a third of the population and those people reappear all at once as the Awakened, zombies, but faster, stronger, smarter, still retaining the memories of who they were before they died. The government turns the country into a nuclear wasteland in order to contain the problem and this leaves Zoey in a fight for survival.

2. What inspired The Awakened/The Sanctuary?

A lot of things really. I had written a zombie short story for this monthly writing exercise that some friends and I used to do and I felt sort of inspired by that. I hadn’t really thought of writing anything other than contemporary romance before that. I also felt inspired by the Walking Dead, which is a great show, but had hit a wall for me. I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. Put those things together and my book sort of came from that.

3. What are some of the differences in writing process from the first book to the second?

I think the biggest difference is the expectations. When you’re writing that first book, you aren’t thinking of the audience because, honestly, you don’t even think that there will ever be an audience. Then someone does, and another someone, and on and on and suddenly people want to read the second book and its hard to get that out of your head when you’re writing. I also think…its difficult to keep that story going and its hard to make something happen, because it totally contradicts something that happened in a book that already was published! Book two is hard.

4. How does it feel going from blogger to published author?

Bizarre lol. I still blog, I still fangirl over other authors so it feels weird to be a part of that. I still feel like I’m not totally part of the club. Its nice though. I feel like I wouldn’t be an author without having been a blogger first. I learned so much about the world of writing and publishing and I don’t know if I would have believed in myself as much as I did without making friends with authors that did the same.

5. How do you think you’ve progressed as an author?

I think that I am constantly learning. I think before I was afraid to find my own voice. I was trying so hard to sound like the authors that I loved, because I was always comparing myself to them! But I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is my voice. I would also say I’ve opened myself up to writing things I never thought I could write before, like science fiction. I’ve been writing contemporary romance since I was 13. I love that I’ve taken the chance, because now I have so many ideas for science fiction and fantasy novels and I am so ready for it.

6. Any interest in writing anything that isn’t a book?

I used to write poetry in high school, used to put in the newspaper and I was addicted to this website called It was only as years passed that I realized that my poems were incredibly emo and I should stick to writing fiction.

7. Tips for writer’s block?

I personally don’t believe in writers block. I think that the ideas are there in your head, that you know what to write, but there’s other things blocking you. I think people are so afraid to write badly, they don’t write at all. My biggest advice, the one that helped me the most so I pass it along to others, is to let yourself write badly. Write pure crap. It’s going to be shitty, excuse the language, but that’s okay. You’ll fix it, and rewrite it and make it better.

8. What are you working on now?

I am currently jumping back and forth on outlining and story building for two different stories. Can’t quite decide which one is going to be the one. One is a sort fairy tale retelling in space, inspired by Marissa Meyer, and one is an urban fantasy about dragons.

9. Favorite pizza toppings?

I’m a total vegetarian lol. Olives, spinach, tomatoes, feta cheese, ricotta cheese, man, I’m getting hungry now.

10. Favorite book?

There are too many to even consider naming. Harry Potter is probably the absolute number one, followed by the Tricksters Duology by Tamora Pierce. After that, it just becomes chaos. Winger by Andrew Smith,  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, the entirety of both the Mortal Instruments  series and Vampire Academy series. I could go on and on but I won’t!

Continue reading

Loot Crate Dream Crate

Subscription boxes are IN and if you’re into nerd culture at all then you know Loot Crate. But, if you don’t know: Loot Crate is a subscription box service that provides it’s subscribers with monthly boxes filled with about 4-6 (depending on which crate you choose) “nerd culture” items that fit a selected theme of the month.

There is the original Loot Crate, but recently they started carrying more specific subscription boxes like Loot Anime or Loot Pets.

Well now that you know a bit about Loot Crate, I can tell you about something awesome that happened to me and my blog!

I woke up one morning, groggy, already reaching for a cup of coffee when I checked my phone and realized that…


The lovely people at Loot Crate are encouraging fans, bloggers, and YouTubers alike to be apart of their Dream Crate project. I was ecstatic to say the least! Instantly, ideas swished and swirled around in my head and I found it hard to narrow it down to just one theme and just a few items that fell into that theme but then it dawned on me…

Continue reading

What Light

51vnabl1eql-_sx330_bo1204203200_Title: What Light
Author: Jay Asher
Original Publication Date: October 18th, 2016
Original Price: $18.99 (Hardcover)
Number of Pages: 251
Starkiller Rating: ★★★★✫

Disclaimer: I received this book from Razorbill in exchange for an honest review.

I read Thirteen Reasons Why  a couple years ago and completely fell in love. When I heard that Jay Asher had another book coming out, I knew I would have to add it to my To Read list. With the help of my lovely book bud, Kevin, I got an ARC edition, but decided to save it for the holidays. Well the holidays came and I began the book, then the holidays went and I was only a few chapters in.

Something about the book felt off to me. I just couldn’t place what it was. It wasn’t what I was expecting. It all seemed too sugary sweet. But then crept in a bit of darkness that added a much needed bit a conflict. Now when I say darkness, I don’t mean heavy drug use and murder haha but Caleb’s (the love interest) story is not as black and white as it first seemed.

There are typical young adult contemporary cliches and nuances that come along with the territory and I found myself growing a little tired of them but within the last 1/4 of the book, something changed. The romance began to creep it’s way into my frozen over heart and chipped away at the outer layers. By the end, my eyes were welling with tears of happiness, full of glee, giddily hugging my book and so happy that I stuck around to finish it.

I think my biggest problem with this book had absolutely nothing to do with the book itself. It was all me, expecting to have another Thirteen Reasons Why on my hands when this book was completely different but just as good in it’s own sweet, heartwarming way.

Definitely recommend reading this book at winter time because reading it with a warm cup of joe in my lap was definitely a highlight of this past season. ❤