Introducing My Novel: A Storied Life {synopsis and cover reveal!}
I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made For Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown {review}

What I'm Into (April 2018 Edition)


It's going to take a while for me to forget how it was STILL SNOWING in mid-April. Luckily, I was still out of town when the blizzard hit the Twin Cities, although it also meant it delayed my return by a couple of days. But this past week it felt like spring had finally arrived. It feels good.


Read and Reading 

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A word to the wise: don’t start reading Hurts To Love You (Forbidden Hearts #3) before bedtime or you will get caught in the “one more chapter” trap! This was a phenomenal end to the series and I cried happy tears when I read the last page. The last sentence was perfect! Alisha Rai is such an amazing writer and I loved how she brought everything together with Eve and Gabe’s story. HTLY was emotionally rich, hope-filled, and just plain incredible. I’m sad to say goodbye to the Oka-Kanes and Chandlers but deeply satisfied at the same time. This is definitely one of my favorite series. (This series must be read in order. Start with Hate To Want You.)


There are no words for how much I adored Her Perfect Affair (Oliveras)! It’s a Latinx contemporary romance with a librarian heroine and a surprise baby plot and it made me so happy. It also gave me a lot of feels because the characters are working through big internal conflicts, like self-worth and belonging, and it was so moving to watch them grow through the course of the novel. Rosa was such a booknerd and Jeremy was so supportive. These two had major feelings for one another but they both worried about losing their friendship or the other person not feeling the same way and it was the perfect amount of angst. I also loved how the Fernandez sisters supported each other! Pretty much a gushfest over here. This is book 2 in the series but it’s a standalone and now I need to get book 1 asap.


Richard is such a grump in Act Like It and I could not get enough of him! I absolutely loved watching Richard and Lainie fall for one another, the way they gradually came to appreciate each other. The way Richard looked after Lainie when she got sick was just everything! This was such a fun, delightful read and I'm so glad I finally got around to it. Lucy Parker is as magical of a writer as everyone says!


The Librarian And The Spy (Mann) was such a fun read! It is as delightfully book nerdy as you’d hope. I loved how Quinn’s librarian skills were necessary to solving the mystery/crime. And it may not be a likely scenario for a CIA operative (you definitely have to suspend disbelief but it's worth it) but I sure did adore that dashing James. The two of them together are so sweet when they’re not cracking codes and thwarting bad guys! I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.


Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality (McBride) may be the most important book I'll have read this year. This is the one I'll be pushing—er, gently encouraging—people to read. Sarah McBride's memoir is both accessible and powerful. She shares her own story but she is ever pointing out her privilege and centering the experiences of the transgender community. She lets us in to her life, while also providing a bird's eye view of the larger issues. The result is truly masterful. (Read my full review.)



My reading goal for 2018 is to read a good chunk of my unread books so every month I'm designating several books to read. These were my picks for April. Sadly, I did not have time for Children Of Blood And Bone or The Night Mark due to the tyranny of library books and review copies and because I went rogue and read One And Only instead. But I still plan on reading them soon!


You can see all the books I've read at Goodreads

Currently reading: This Is Where You Belong (Warnick), You Are A Badass (Sincero), Hot Mess (Belden), The Library: A Catalogue Of Wonders (Kells), Heels Over Head (Springer)



While I was stranded in Chicagoland due to the blizzard, my friend Megan convinced me to watch two episodes of the Queer Eye reboot. I absolutely loved it! I'm still terrible about watching TV when left to my own devices (ha!) so we'll see if I watch the other episodes on my own.




Members Of Whose Tribe? on Code Switch was a thoughtful examination of Jewish identity in the US and how the community has responded to racism.

The audio quality isn't great but the content quality was off the charts awesome for Smart Podcast Trashy Books episode 295: Inclusive History, Magical Writing, and Fan Art: An Interview with KJ Charles. Episode 296: Acting, Narrating, and Writing: An Interview with Julia Whelan had some really great behind-the-scene info on audiobooks and screenwriting. Plus, it turns out Julia used to star on Once & Again, a show I greatly enjoyed back in the day.

Aspiring writers, you'll want to check out Write Or Die Podcast, a podcast featuring interviews with established writers who struggled to get their foot in the door. Only two episodes are out so far and they are wonderful. Inspiring and affirming. 





  • I headed to my hometown for a few days. It's always so good to be back. This was a working trip so it was a little different but I still got to catch up with friends and go to a few of my favorite places. 


  • Laura and I had breakfast at Egglectic and I swear I feel like I breathe easier after Twin Time. She's just one of those friends.


  • I met Joy Beth Smith at Blackberry Market and it was so fun to finally meet in person! She is a delight.


  • Erin and I had drinks at Burger Social. They make the best Old Fashioneds!


  • Ellie and I got to have back-to-back writing dates at Cafe K'Tizo. I branched out and tried a Chinese breakfast tea and it was fantastic. I think it was called Keemun but I'm not 100% sure.


  • Donna and I met up at Starbucks and it was so good to catch up!


  • I went over to Erin's for lunch and the highlight was my nephew-in-love reading a book to me. Love that buddy.


  • Mom remembered an acquaintance of hers owns a used bookstore a few towns over so we checked out Cornerstone Used Books and I am in love! If you're anywhere near Villa Park, IL, you must stop by. What a treasure trove! Huge selection for every genre imaginable.


  • Jesse and I had lunch at Burrito Parilla, which 1) I will definitely be returning to because that was an insanely delicious burrito and 2) was such a long time coming. We've followed each other on Twitter for at least a couple of years and even briefly met at a conference two years ago but the stars never previously aligned when I've been back in town. It was so great to chat in person! She is wonderful.


  • I headed to Grand Rapids, MI to see friends who were there for a conference. Even though I didn't go to the conference. It would have been painful to have so many dear friends in the Midwest and NOT see them. You know?


  • I still had to do my virtual assistant work, however, so I was delighted by Schuler Books, which has an amazing cafe and great tea selections. I got so much work done there and it's such a wonderful bookstore too!


  • Amber was kind enough to let me stay at her place one night and her cat became my companion for the evening. I am but a humble pet whisperer.


  • I did go Kwame Alexander's opening keynote because it was free to the public and it's one of the best keynotes I've ever heard. If you ever get a chance to hear him, run, do not walk! The Nikki Giovanni stories alone! Gracious. I haven't read any of his books yet but I'm definitely going to make it a priority, especially now that I have a signed copy of Rebound in my possession.


  • The best part was being reunited with Micha. We got to be roomies again for the weekend (along with Cara and Erin) and it was just so good to catch up in person and talk about allllllll the things. One of the hardest parts of moving away from San Francisco was leaving Micha and her family and anytime we get to see each other now is food for the soul.


  • I also got to see Alia! It was such a treat to be in the same room.



  • Katie and I got to have a delightful lunch together at Rose's.


  • I had a phenomenal Old Fashioned at Grove. Dinner was great too!


  • Parties at bookstores should always be a thing. Case in point: Zondervan's party at Books & Mortar. It is such a cute bookstore and it was the perfect backdrop for wine, food, and conversation!


  • I had to leave town earlier than planned to beat the ice storm, which was a bummer, but I was on my way to my friend Megan's cozy house in IL, which is the perfect place to wait out a winter, I mean spring, snowstorm. Megan and her family always take such good care of me and they let me have some good introvert time, while also making space for me to join their meals and family movie night. It was the best!


  • I took care of my friend's cat Eddie and he was so sweet! I also soaked up all the natural light at her place. Ahhhhhhh.


  • In honor of Independent Bookstore Day, I visited Buffalo Books & Coffee in the morning and then Marijke and I visited Excelsior Bay Books in the afternoon. I love indie bookstores so much!


  • I had a Castle Danger Cream Ale at dinner at Cladagh and it was so good, I had to take a picture of its listing on the menu so I won't forget the name. 



On The Blog:

Introducing my novel: A Storied Life. (!!!!!!)

Book reviews: That's What She Said: Wise Words From Influential Women, Maria In The Moon, Tomorrow Will Be Different



What I'm Into

What I'm Into Link Up Guidelines:

1. This link-up will stay open for one week. The next What I'm Into link up will be Friday June 1. 

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3. Please include the What I'm Into button or mention you're linking up with What I'm Into at Leigh Kramer.

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What have you been into this month? 

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