The Top 4 Books On My Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List. I’ve been winging it a lot lately, so I’m only commiting to the following four reads for  now…

The Forgetting by Sharon Camerongr-theforgetting

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

gr-crookedkingdom

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

gr-shadesofmilkandhoney

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

gr-myladyjane

What are looking forward to reading this fall?

My Top 5 Favorite Realistic Contemporary YA Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of X Genre. I decided on realistic contemporary because I thought it would be easier than picking through my favorite sci-fi or fantasy stories, especially since genre lines are more easily blurred and be constantly questioning which genre it really was, so I wanted to make it clear-cut. However, this meant less options that I love, and I want to change that, so please comment with your fave contemporary YA books!

5. Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

gr-dont=touch

My review of Don’t Touch

4. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

gr-thelasttimeMy mini review of The Last Time We Say Goodbye

3. On The Fence by Kasie Westgr-onthefenceMy mini review of On The Fence

2. The Fixer Novels by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

fixerbooks

My mini review of The Fixer//My mini review of The Long Game

1. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

gr-thestartofyouandme

AKA the most perfect YA contemporary that there is.

My mini review of The Start of Me and You//Bookish Wedding Inspiration for The Start of Me and You

Tell me your favorite YA realistic contemporary! Have you read any of my faves? 

The Top 10 Books I’ve Enjoyed with <2000 Goodreads Ratings

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is  Top Ten Books We Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads. I was a little surprised that some of these had so few ratings, though most of them are a little newer. I also apparently haven’t read much with less than 2000 ratings on GR… other than these listed there were only a few more books plus several novellas. I listed the genre of each book since not all of them are the young adult fiction I generally talk about.

This week’s list is in no particular order.

1. The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: YA fiction

gr-thelonggame

I just recently devoured this book in three days and there is no way JLB can leave me hanging like this. I NEED MORE! And you need to read these books if you haven’t already so that she’ll write more!

2. Do Over by Jon Acuff: Business non-fiction

gr-doover

Business non-fiction may sound like a snore, but not with Jon Acuff. This book didn’t make the same impact on me as his previous books Quitter and Start, but it’s definitely still full of practical career advice told with humor.

3. Nora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor: YA fiction

gr-nora&kettle

Another recent read that is definitely underrated. It’s not perfect but it’s a beautiful story with compelling characters.

4. Finding Alice by Melody Carlson: Christian fiction

GR-findingalice

While this is technically Christian fiction, it’s not preachy and can be enjoyed by anyone. It’s an older favorite of mine about a girl in college who gets diagnosed with schizophrenia. I’ve read it twice already but feel I might be due for another reread soon.

5. Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey: YA fiction

gr-loveliesspies

This book has its flaws but it’s a fun read with characters I enjoyed. I’d recommend to fans of Jane Austen who like a dash action and spying as well.

6. Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs: Christian non-fiction

gr-letsallbebrave

The only books that I loved more than this one last year were The Deathly Hallows and The Start of Me and You. Compelling and exactly what I needed.

7. Loop by Karen Akins: YA fiction

gr-loop

This is an underrated sci-fi romp in the YA world (and don’t let the cover fool you, the romance doesn’t dominate). Unfortunately, the sequel disappointed me, so I’d recommend reading just book one and reaching your own conclusions for the few unanswered questions.

8. The Veritas Conflict by Shaunti Feldhahn: Christian fiction

gr-veritasconflict

This is an old favorite of mine about a girl going to Harvard who deals with spiritual warfare, with shades of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters throughout the story.

9. Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson: YA fiction

gr-dont=touch

An underrated YA contemporary about a girl who develops an obsession with not touching others, believing that if she follows these self-imposed rules that her dad will return home.

10. Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs: Christian non-fiction

gr-lookingforlovely

Another memoir from Annie F. Downs that I didn’t love quite as much as Let’s All Still Be Brave, but I still enjoyed quite a bit.

What are some of your favorite underrated books? Have you read any of mine? 

The Top 10 Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a freebie! So as you can see, I am discussing my favorite reads of the year so far. Confession: My top read of the year is my only 5 star of the year (other than my one reread so far, see below note), followed by a few 4.5 stars and then yes, I have 4 star reads on this list. I don’t know if I’m getting stingier with my ratings or not reading the right books this year, but I have read some great stories that I wanted to share. And maybe you can give me suggestions to make the second half of my reading year better!

(Note: I did not include my one reread of the year so far, The Start of Me and You, which is seriously one of my all-time faves.)

10. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

gr-truthwitch

An interesting fantasy that I quite enjoyed. I’m definitely looking forward to more of Merik specifically in Windwitch.

9. Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey

gr-loveliesspies

I saw someone on Instagram describe this as Jane Austen meets The Scarlet Pimpernel and I would say that is pretty accurate! I think the story could have been tightened just a bit more, but it was a super fun read, and I adored Spencer!

8. The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

gr-theunbound

I first read The Archived early this year and liked it as well, but I enjoyed this follow-up more. I especially became a bigger Wesley fan after this book.

7. The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine

gr-shadowqueen

This was my most recent read, and after seeing mixed reviews, I was so glad to end up really enjoying it! I actually could have taken or left most of the actual story, but I really loved the characters and want more of them!

6. Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

gr-nora&kettle

This book has its flaws, but this story still haunts me. It’s quiet and beautiful and filled with hope.

5. Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs

gr-lookingforlovely

An inspirational non-fiction book about looking for the lovely in our everyday lives.

4. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

gr-therithmatist

In true Brandon Sanderson fashion (minus Calamity, sigh), I fell so in love with these characters and their world and got wrapped up in their stakes. It takes a while to really understand why these chalk drawings are such a big deal in Joel’s world, but again, Sanderson makes it work.

3. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Septys

betweenshades

The book that made me a Ruta Sepetys fan. And tore my heart out in that way that only readers can appreciate.

2. The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

gr-thefixer

This book had twists and turns and quips and friendships and I ate it all up.

1. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Septys

gr-salttothesea

Seriously. Gutted me. Beautiful and moving and powerful.

What are your favorite reads from this year? Any of yours the same as mine?

The Top 10 (Or 11) Songs I Wish Were Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is  books we’d give theme songs to or 10 songs I wish that were books. I decided to make book covers based off of ten eleven songs (I was going to do 10 but had one more I really wanted to add and didn’t want to cut anything…) that I thought would be interesting YA books. I will warn you that my taste in music is pretty limited and not very hip, though I tried to list a couple artists outside my usual go-to. I also initially didn’t want to repeat artists but ended up repeating a few anyway. I created a playlist on Spotify with these 11 songs if you want to listen through them; hope you enjoy!

Also, with the exception of the image for the Renegades cover, which comes from Unsplash, all photos are from the super talented Wyn Wiley Photography.

1. Silhouettes by Of Monsters and Men

silhouettes

It’s so hard letting go/I’m finally at peace, but it feels wrong

2. Tell Her You Love Her by Echosmith

tellheryouloveher2

When she says she needs you/Tell her you need her, too/You tell her clearly/Speak what your heart wants you to/Tell her she’s lovely/Always tell her the truth/When she says she loves you/Tell her you love her, too

3. A Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay

skyfullofstars

‘Cause you’re a sky, cause you’re a sky full of stars/I’m gonna give you my heart/’Cause you’re a sky, cause you’re a sky full of stars/’Cause you light up the path/I don’t care, go on and tear me apart/I don’t care if you do/’Cause in a sky, cause in a sky full of stars/I think I saw you

4. Closer to Me by The Fray

closertome2

Have you ever done something so wrong?/Won’t you come a little bit closer to me?/Come a little bit closer

5. Washed by the Water by Needtobreathe

washedbythewater2

Daddy was a preacher/She was his wife/Just trying to make the world a little better/You know, shine a light/People started talking/Just to hear their own voice/Those people tried to accuse my father/Said he made the wrong choice/Though it might be painful/You know that time will always tell/Those people have long since gone/My father never failed

6. Hazel by Phillip Phillips

hazel2

But I know that they sun will shine for me/Even when the skies are gray/But I feel like I’m missing something/But the bridges built narrow ways

7. Souvenirs by Switchfoot

souvenirs

I close my eyes and go back in time/I can see you smiling, you’re so alive/We were so young, we had no fear/We were so young, we had no idea/That life was just happening

8. Renegades by X Ambassadors

renegades

Run away with me/Lost souls and reverie/Running wild and running free/Two kids, you and me/And I say/Hey, hey hey hey/Living like we’re renegades

9. Paradise by Coldplay

paradise

When she was just a girl she expected the world/But it flew away from her reach/So she ran away in her sleep and dreamed of/Para-para-paradise, para-para-paradise, para-para-paradise/Every time she closed her eyes

10. Haley by Needtobreathe

haley2

If you don’t know just how you feel/Don’t say those sweet things/That you know I’d wanna hear/If you don’t know just what to think/Then put your thoughts away/And keep them out of reach/Haley don’t hurt me, if you don’t know/I could of moved on a long time ago/You’re undecided, your eyes still show/Haley don’t hurt me if you don’t know

11. Up To You by Echosmith

uptoyou

Want you to come back to me/Oh ’cause you wanted to, not ’cause you needed to/You’re all that I need/Oh and I love you/Yes I love you/I wear my heart on my sleeve/It’s just what I do/But if there’s too much to leave/Won’t hold it against you/It’s all up to you

Which is your favorite song on this list? Which is your favorite cover? 

Top 10 Tuesday: In Another Time…

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Historical Settings You Love/ Ten Historical Settings You’d Love To See or Top Futuristic Books You Love/Ten Futuristic Societies I’d Love To Read in Books. I wanted to do a mix of historical settings and futuristic ones, so I wasn’t sure how best to sum this up in a catchy title. But here are ten settings I’d like to see from other periods of time in books… be it past or present. And if you know of something in said settings, please feel free to recommend them to me!

1. The 1950’s

50steensimg-1

Source

Thanks to a fifties dress up day at school once upon a time, I fell in love with poodle skirts and become obsessed with the 1950’s for a while. While my love for it isn’t quite as strong now, I still find it an interesting time period and would love to read a YA novel set in 1950’s America!

2. Future a la Gattaca

gattaca-theredlist

Source

There are two things I love about the movie Gattaca in terms of its futuristic setting. One, it’s about a time in which society only views those who have been genetically engineered as capable of taking on the larger roles of society, while those who have not been engineered are doomed to a life of servitude. It’s a fascinating concept and Gattaca only scratches the surface with it. The second is that it has such a classic, timeless feel to it even though it’s set in the future. It’s a mix of, ironically, a 1950’s classic style with the sort of sleek/steel looks we often associate with the future. I don’t want to see a book completely rip off Gattaca and I’m not looking for a novelization of it either, but something that draws inspiration from it would be interesting to see.

(FYI, if genetic engineering and its consequences fascinate you I would recommend the YA duology For Darkness Shows the Stars and Across a Star-Swept Sea. It’s set in a different world and the consequences are surprising!)

3. French Revolution

lesmis-revolution

Source

I never had an interest in the French Revolution until I watched the movie Les Miserables. Something about watching Marius and these other young men and boys risking their lives for their cause in such a ragamuffin way was really interesting to me. Now I would love to see a YA book where the French Revolution served as the backdrop of the story.

4. Space Station/Spaceship Living

spaceship-life

I have read a couple of books with spaceship living, and my WIP actually has a space station setting for part of the book, but I want to see more YA books that feature families living in space.

5. World War II

ww2books

There are already a lot of WWII books out there, but it’s period in time that fascinates me. And with these three books above, they explore three very different experiences and there’s so much more to be told.

6. Alternate History of any Time

LeviathanGrandMapBIG

The only alternate history I have read so far is the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld and it was interesting! It’s fun to explore “what if” scenarios when it comes to events in our past.

7. Spy Story 1960’s Style

60s-spy

I presume because of the Cold War, spy stories were big in the 1960’s. Last year I randomly wanted to see/read some spy stuff a la the 1960’s, though I never got around to seeking it out (I would have probably watched The Man from U.N.C.L.E. but I wasn’t pleased with how it looked like the woman’s role was going to play out). I still would be intrigued to see something of this nature in YA format.

8. Clones

orphan-black

Source

I know there have been books with clones, but very few have actually appealed to me (though if you have any recs, please share). This is another interest I have had for a while in science fiction though and would love to see it well-done in the YA world, something probably akin to Orphan Black (though I haven’t actually watched the show so I can’t say for sure, but the idea seems right)!

9. American Revolutionary War

felicity

Source

Any other American Girl fans out there who remember Felicity? She lived during the Revolutionary War, and I think it would be interesting to see a YA novel set during the time period. There would also definitely be a forbidden romance between a Loyalist and a Patriot.

10. A Future of Technology Dependence

gr-free-to-fall

This is a theme that has been explored before, and in this day and age I think it’s worth continued exploration. We live in a time where toddlers can operate smart phones. How will this affect them as they grow up? What will future generations glued to their screens mean? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-technology (clearly since I have a blog), but it’s important to consider the ramification of technology with moderation. Free to Fall did a pretty good job of this, and I’d be interested in more YA fiction with similar themes.

What time settings, past or future, would you like to read about?

Top 5 Books I’ve Recently Added To My “Maybe” TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top 10 Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR.

I’ve gotten very picky about my actual TBR list on Goodreads, sticking most reads that sound interesting on a “maybe” shelf, because I know I won’t get around to reading 75% of them. Some stay on the maybe shelf until I read them. But most will stay on the maybe shelf indefinitely. So today I thought I would share a few of these recently added to the maybe shelf that do have some stronger interest from me, and your thoughts on them could push me one way or the other! The list is no particular order.

1. The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love

3P JKT Geeks_Guide.indd

This doesn’t come out until this summer so it will probably be a while before I see reviews. But geeky romance! I mean, it sounds awesome!

2. Red Rising

gr-redrising

Sometimes a book has to be out for two years and I have to hear people outside the YA community talking about it to be like huh, maybe I should check this out… If I do read it, I’ll probably wait until the last book is out and binge.

3. These Vicious Masks

gr-viciousmasks

Jane Austen meets X-Men?! Yeah, so only bad reviews will keep me away from this, I’m pretty sure.

4. Passenger

gr-passenger

Current NYT best-seller, lots of hype, but mixed reviews, plus the time-travel romance is always something I want to love but doesn’t always work for me. So… we’ll see?

5. My Lady Jane

gr-myladyjane

Comedic historical fiction + Cynthia Hand as one of the authors = I’m intrigued. This one also has a summer release date.

Have you read any of these? Are any of them on your TBR? 

The Top 3 Fairytales I Want to See Retold

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten Fairytale Retellings I’ve Read/Want To Read (or fairytales I want to be retold or fairytales I love). So the only fairytale retellings that I have read that I can think of are The Lunar Chronicles (which I love) and Tiger Lily (which I sadly don’t love), and I don’t have a strong interest in any others at the moment. Here are just a few fairy tale retellings that I think could be interesting.

1. Alice in Wonderland, with Parallel Universes

alice-parallel

Photo source

I actually mentioned this idea once before, and I really would love to write this idea myself if I had any idea what to do with other than the basic premise. Maybe one day I’ll have the inspiration…

2. The Princess and the Pea, Modernized

princessandthepea-mod

Photo source

I have zero idea how to make this work, but it’s a common fairy tale that I am not familiar with having a retelling yet.

3. Snow White and Rose Red

snow-white-rose-red2

Photo soruce

 I wasn’t even familiar with this fairy tale of two sisters until Annie mentioned it on her blog, and I still don’t really know it, but it sounds intriguing and I think I would be interested in a retelling of it.

Which fairytales would you like to see retold?

The Top Ten Book Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Book Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table, in honor of school being back in session. Thank goodness I’m finished with school. Except I do miss summer break. But regardless, if I could hang out with some fictional folks at lunchtime, here’s who I think I would get along with best!

1-2. Lizzie & Charlotte from The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

charlotte&lizzieI feel like these BFF’s pretty much come as a package deal, and what an entertaining package they would be!

3-4. Kiggs & Seraphina from Seraphina

Since I’ve read Seraphina I’ve talked a lot about how much I love these two, and I don’t even know how to describe why. They’re just likable people. I want to hang out with them!

5-7. Prince Kai, Cinder, and Cress from The Lunar Chronicles

rapunzel

I will never apologize for pretending this is Cress, because basically, it is.

I like Prince Kai and Cinder a lot, and Cress… Cress is just so sweet and funny and would be so fun to hang out with! Then one day she’d bring along her boyfriend Carswell Thorne and he would annoy me at first, but then I would get used to him and enjoy having him around too.

8. Justen from Across a Star-Swept Sea

Again, I just loved this book and I loved Justen. He’s intelligent and kind and I just like him.

9. Hermione from Harry Potter

hermione-grangerAs I mentioned in my recent review of Harry Potter, this girl is even more intense about her studies than I ever was (which to me, is kind of amazing)! Still, I can relate to her drive to study, study, study, and it would be nice to have her around as a study buddy!

10. Peeta from The Hunger Games

peeta2Because who doesn’t want/need a kind, loyal friend who can also bake to sit at their lunch table?

Who would you want sitting at your lunch table?

5 Books I Thought About Putting Down But Didn’t

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t. I couldn’t come up with 10, but did come up with 5. And to say I almost put these books down is a bit of an overstatement for some of these, but the thought had to cross my mind at some point for it to make this list. I decided to put this list in order to “holy cow, I’m really glad I didn’t put it down!” to “dang, I would have been better off to have that time back.” 

1. Code Name Verity

code-name-verityI don’t think anyone warned me that this book started off slow. Everyone was just like, “Oh, this book is awesome!” That first part was hard to get through. I thought Verity was a true traitor and some parts of her story didn’t make sense and I didn’t understand what the point of it all was… but boy did it start to click in Part Two. I’m glad I hung on.

Final Rating: 4.5 stars/ My review

2.  Never Let Me Go

never-let-me-goWhen the thought to put down this book crossed my mind, I was really too far into it. It wasn’t the story or the characters, I was just afraid the whole rest of the book was going to be about sex, as the narrator started to talk about it more and more. But I decided to stick with it because I really did want to know the rest of the story. And it was somewhat worth it. The ending was a little unsatisfying, sadly.

Final rating: 3 stars/ My review

3. Any of the books in The Maze Runner series

GR-mazerunnerWhen my co-worker loaned me the first book I wanted to push through it because I thought she saw something in it. And then the end of the first book piqued my interest in the second book. The second book was a strange combo of weird and fascinating, and then of course I read the third. And hated the end. And then I didn’t learn my lesson and read the prequel, hoping for something more satisfactory, but NOPE. I just wish I had been smart enough to STOP at some point.

Final average rating of series: 2.25

4. The Testing

GR-testingI felt completely emotionally detached from the characters, the writing was simplistic, and the plot heavily borrowed from some others. But I bought this one as a hardcover so I kept going. The premise of this one was intriguing, but the execution was lacking a bit for me.

Final score: 2 stars/ My review

5. Not A Drop to Drink

GR-droptodrinkI never got emotionally attached to anyone in this story either, and I didn’t get what the “point” of the story was. I probably would have stopped reading if it had not been for book club, because the thought did cross my mind more than once.

Final rating: 2 stars/ My review

What books did you almost give up on? Are you glad you didn’t or do you wish you had?

P.S. Let me know what you think of the new blog theme! I was ready for a change.

P. P. S. Be sure to check out my guest post today over at Oh, The Books!