How much did I love this book? So much that I wanted to rip open a page and slip inside.

Imagine an ensemble cast, a.k.a St. Elmo’s Fire, but smarter and straight out of The Royal Shakespeare Company set down in a thriller of their own making (i.e. The Girl on the Train.) This is an addictive read.

I haven’t felt this strong an urge to live inside a book since The Secret History or The Raven Boys. I guess I can’t resist complicated and intriguing ensemble casts. And even though this is squarely an adult book, mature YA readers will love it too.

So you know the deal–no spoilers–which makes this one difficult so instead of telling you about the book I will tell you what kind of reader will love it.

If you love Shakespeare RUN and get a copy. The characters, 4th-year thespians at an ivy-covered art college, live in “The Castle” and speak a language all their own pulling from every play and every line they ever learned intermixed with a sharp wit and biting commentary. If you want to see what I mean check out Act 1 Scene 1 posted on M.L. Rio’s website. And pop over to the about me page–she knows her Shakespeare–having a master’s degree in Shakespeare Studies from King’s College London. (Before that M.L. Rio was a Tarheel, I said I wouldn’t hold it against her.)

Needless to say, this is a smart book. But read closely–the devil is in the details.

If you love dark stories with complicated fully flawed characters this is the book for you. I loved them all, in a way. Wanted to be them all, in a way. Sometimes even the ones I later hated.

If you are/were/wished to be a thespian it would be a tragedy of historic proportions not to read this book because you too will want to rip open a page and crawl inside. (You know who you are friends. I plan to tag you.)

I honestly don’t know how I missed If We Were Villains when it released last April, but that just goes to show how many books are out there and all the more reason to write this blog. It was suggested to me by an agent at Muse18 and I am glad she did. Lucky for us the paperback version


came out Monday and M.L. Rio is happy to sign the copy I ordered from Malaprops for one of you. (I just love personally signed books.) This one has been published in multiple countries, even Italy. (Goal: Book launch in Italy ;))

I will be using the handy random number generator to gift a personally signed copy later this week. So comment, share, retweet, like, love or just give me a 🙂 to be entered. And if you wish to follow this blog. Look for a small pop up button in the bottom of the screen.

Until next time,


In Sight of Stars ~ by Gae Polisner

This is the post excerpt.


I can ask no more from a book than to teach me something about myself. In Sight of Stars did just that, and I hope the lesson stays with me, just like the stars ~ that are always there even though it may be dark and cloudy.


This book is not about mental illness but mental health — something we all need to be cognizant of. I am recommending it because it will remind us when we are low or scared or overwhelmed or anxious that we should always turn out to those who love us rather than turning in. Turning in may feel safe, and yet it can have devastating consequences as it did for Klee (pronounced Clay as he was named after the painter Paul Klee).

Maybe I connected so closely to the story because Klee’s father at seventeen was the center of his life and he had just lost him, as my father was in mine when I lost him at twenty-three.  When the story opens, Klee finds himself, hurt, confused and scared and in an inpatient PRTF (Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility). As he struggles to come to grips with the trauma in his life, we struggle with him and learn not just about him but about ourselves. This book has so many moments of wisdom ~ one of the things I think make it a crossover book. Whether you are younger than Klee or more than twice his age, this book will move you. Although it is for mature YA readers and up (with explicit language and sexual content, but not gratuitous and always consensual.)

One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is it uses Van Gogh’s paintings to help tell the story of Klee and his father, both painters, such that a crow can fly out of a painting and become a character, representing Klee’s inner self. I hated that crow and yet we all have one. The voice in our head that can be so cruel.

The painting above is, Van Gogh’s Daubigny’s Garden, and it is central to the story so I wanted to share it with you before you read the book. Notice the cat. The cat is important 😉

I recommend this book to mature YA readers and up but specifically to my social worker and Guardian Ad Litem friends because Klee’s trauma and his journey are so similar to the ones we see all too often.

But this book will not bring you down, it will lift you up.

About the authorgae pic *

Gae Polisner is also a domestic attorney and mediator (go figure) who writes YA and women’s fiction and like me loves water (did you know a hot bath can burn as many calories as a 30-minute walk?!!? Afraid to Snoops that article.)  She was kind enough to donate a copy of In Sight of Stars to Crossoverbooks.  So comment below, (a 🙂 will do) and I will add you to the drawing to occur at the end of the day. And if you have questions for Gae post them here and I will see if I can get them answered.

In Sight of Stars can be found at your favorite local bookstore (mine is Malaprops) and at Barnes and Noble or online at Amazon/Nook/Indibound. Links here:



*Pictures used with permission of the author.