Tag Archives: Stephanie Morrill

The Lost Girl of Astor Street

Book Review: The Lost Girl of Astor Street

Author: Stephanie Morrill

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Back Cover from Amazon’s website of The Lost Girl of Astor Street:

When her best friend vanishes without so much as a good-bye, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail takes on the role of amateur sleuth in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. Given that Piper’s tendency has always been to butt heads with high-society’s expectations of her, it’s no surprise that she doesn’t give a second thought to searching for answers to Lydia’s abduction from their privileged neighborhood.

As Piper discovers that those answers might stem from the corruption strangling 1924 Chicago—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.

Perfect for fans of Libba Bray and Anna Godbersen, Stephanie Morrill’s atmospheric jazz-age mystery will take readers from the glitzy homes of the elite to the dark underbelly of 1920s Chicago.

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            Stephanie’s other books are also written for teen girls, but are contemporary novels and I have enjoyed reading those. But I LOVED the Lost Girl of Astor Street. This book is gritty and real, and deals with emotions, life issues, and tragedy in a genuine, honest way. The twists and turns are many and most I didn’t expect. There’s adventure, suspense, mystery, history, and romance in this book, all skillfully woven together and appropriately done for this audience. I didn’t want to put this one down, not until I discovered with Piper whodunit, and what effect that would have on Piper and her family. I would love to see more from Stephanie revolving around Piper and this era, so here’s hoping!

As many have found, the young adult genre is also a great area for adult readers as well, and this is one of those that both older and younger readers would enjoy.

About the Author

Biography from Amazon’s website: Stephanie Morrill is the author of several young adult novels, including the 1920’s mystery, The Lost Girl of Astor Street (February 2017, Blink/HarperCollins). Despite loving cloche hats and drop-waist dresses, Stephanie would have been a terrible flapper because she can’t do the Charleston and looks awful with bobbed hair. She and her near-constant ponytail live in Kansas City with her husband and three kids. You can learn more about her on her author site: StephanieMorrill.com

I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions expressed are my own.

The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet

1800-X-2400Book Review: The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet

Author: Stephanie Morrill

Review by Grace Olson

The Story

Taken from Stephanie Morrill’s website description of The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet:

For once, Ellie Sweet has it all together. Her hair now curls instead of fuzzes, she’s tamed the former bad-boy, Chase Cervantes (she has, right?), and her debut novel will hit shelves in less than a year. Even her ex-friends are leaving her alone. Well, except for Palmer Davis, but it can’t be helped that he works at her grandmother’s nursing home.

Life should feel perfect. And yet, it’s not that easy. Ellie’s editor loves her, but the rest of the publishing biz? Not so much. And they’re not shy about sharing their distrust over Ellie’s unlikely debut.

Ellie has always been able to escape reality in the pages of her novel, but with the stress of major edits and rocky relationships, her words dry up. In fiction, everything always comes together, but in real life, it seems to Ellie that hard work isn’t always enough, the people you love can’t always be trusted…and the dream-come-true of publishing her book could be the biggest mistake she’s made yet.

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After reading The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet, I had high hopes for its sequel, The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet.

The relationships in this book were really fun to read, from Ellie’s friendship with her aunt, to the characters her grandparents are, and of course the complications with Chase and Palmer. I was kept entertained throughout and I was anxious to see how her life would turn out at the end of the story.

This book was more than an entertaining read, however. Ellie’s journey is what resonated most with me; her trials as she works to make her debut, the friendships she forms, and some that are broken. Every part of this book is authentic and honest. As an aspiring novelist, I could definitely identify with Ellie’s feelings in this book, and I balked at first at some of the lessons she learned, because they hit close to home. Ellie’s journey gave me hope in my own writing. As nearly any novelist you might ask will tell you, the road from writing a book to publishing is long and hard and not that many make it. Reading about Ellie’s debut, fictional though it is, bolstered my resolve and gave me the hope that I sometimes lose sight of.

Just like its predecessor, The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet has found its own little nook on my bookshelf. This was a very entertaining and fun read (especially since Ellie and I have so much in common) but, like I already said, what I loved most was the hope that Morrill infused into the story. Hope for relationships as well as hope for what some days seems impossible.

About the Author

Biography from Stephanie Morrill’s website: Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. She is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book, and the Ellie Sweet series. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers on her blog, http://www.GoTeenWriters.com. ~ To learn more about Stephanie and her other books, visit her web page: http://www.stephaniemorrill.com/

The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet is available for download, check-out, or paper copy.

The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet

Revised-Life-Ellie-Sweet-COVER1Book Review: The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet

Author: Stephanie Morrill

Review by Grace Olson 

Christmas is almost here! That’s crazy. They weren’t lying when they coined the phrase “time flies” (and if any of you are wondering who “they” is, Google it). Which also means my birthday is almost here as well, since I’m a December baby. I thought it might be fun to share a bit of what’s on my wish list, since it’s mostly made up of books. Here’s a sneak peek:

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen. The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson. The Extroverted Writer: An Author’s Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform by Amanda Luedeke.

If anyone has been listening to my not-so-subtle hints, I should have a very literary Christmas. But enough about that, let’s delve into The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet.

The Story

Taken from Amazon’s website synopsis of The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet:

Don’t get even. Write a novel.

Ellie Sweet is a lot of things—good girl, novelist, silent adorer of the new boy at school, Palmer. But when “outcast” gets added to the list, she decides it’s time to take reality into her own hands … and tweak it as needed.

In the pages of her book, she’s Lady Gabrielle, favorite of the medieval Italian court. Her once-friends are reduced to catty ladies-in-waiting, and the too-charming Palmer—who in real life never spares her a second word—gets to be nothing more than a rake wracked by unrequited love for her. She even has a perfect real-life villain in the brooding Chase, who hails from the wrong side of town.

But just when she’s getting along great in her fictional world, the real one throws her a few curves. With Chase pursuing her, Palmer wanting to date her—but in secret—and the details of her manuscript going public, Ellie suddenly receives more attention than she ever really wanted. And when her former-friends discover what she’s been writing, they’re determined to teach Ellie a lesson about the severe consequences of using her pen as her sword.

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This is the first book I have read by Morrill, and I absolutely loved it! I think part of the reason was the fact that Ellie is a writer, and I could identify with her in so many different ways as she progressed in her writing journey. Teens who don’t know the first thing about writing will also enjoy this read, though, since Ellie experiences the same things that teens in schools everywhere do: complicated relationships. Yet she is able to muddle her way through the mess and come out on top.

The tone of this book is light and fun, not overly heavy, but perfect for a lazy winter afternoon when all you want to do is eat chocolate and where your fuzzy socks around the house.

As far as romance, the ever-popular love triangle showed up. While I sometimes find this very annoying since I’ve seen it done poorly in other books, I enjoyed it in The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet, and it wasn’t a detriment to me while I read the book.

About the Author 

Biography from Amazon’s website: Stephanie Morrill is a twenty-something living in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two kids. Her only talents are reading, writing, and drinking coffee, so career options were somewhat limited. Fortunately, she discovered a passion for young adult novels and has been writing them ever since. Stephanie is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series and is currently working on other young adult projects. She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers on her blog http://www.GoTeenWriters.com. ~ To learn more about her and the other books she has written, visit her web page:http://www.stephaniemorrill.com/

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I read The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet in two days, I just hadn’t gotten around to writing up a review on it yet, but this book has found a permanent home on my bookshelf. Or, rather, my digital bookshelf, since I have the book on my Kindle. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, sometimes romantic read about a girl who isn’t that different than the rest of us, even if she does do that crazy thing called writing books.

There is a crazy deal going on at Amazon right now, and The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet is only $.99 for your Kindle! If you’re even the slightest bit hesitant about buying this book, you can read an excerpt from the book on Amazon, to make sure you love it.

The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet is available for download or paper copy.

A little side note, did any of you go see Frozen? I’d like to hear what your impression of the movie was. Also, do you have any books on your Christmas wish list that you are dying to read? I’d love to hear what you’re reading/wanting to read. I might just have to add it last-minute to my list.