Posted in Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books So Far of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. Find out more information about it here.

This week’s topic:

June 27Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far (break it down however you want — by genre, strictly 2017 releases, whatever!)

I’m going to be totally honest. 2017 hasn’t been a huge reading year for me (Honors thesis, graduating, applying for grad school are all kinda massive time sucks). However, I did enjoy some GREAT books so far this year and can’t wait to share them with you!


1. 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

Queer kids fighting for what’s right in space. I’m not usually a sci fi kinda girl, but you literally cannot miss this one. This is going to make the “Top 3 Books I’ve Read in 2017” list for sure.


2. Radio Silence by Alice Osman

Great, voicy contemporary about a bisexual WOC and her demisexual best friend who make a podcast about surviving in an unforgiving world: Universe City. This book stole my heart-such a great cast of characters.


3. Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

Fun, heartfelt contemporary about a girl who learns about her family and herself after she must move for the summer from beachy southern California to small town Kansas.


4. You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

I love, love, love anything with art. This funky contemporary is about a Deaf WOC graffiti artist who must take down a local rival and adjust to life at public high school after she’s expelled. Check out my review here.


5. A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Written with the perfect amount of empathy and care, this dark contemporary follows the relationship between Adam, a dyslexic boy who wants to do good, and Julien, an orphaned boy harboring dark secrets at home. Check out my review here.


6. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

This magical high fantasy was one of the most dazzling books I’ve read this year. A tale about sisters, love, and what’s real, this book will steal your heart. Check out my review here.


7. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

I loved this dark contemporary (I tend to love dark stories). Two teens exchange anonymous letters in a cemetery and find comfort in each other’s words, but things get complicated when they discover each other’s real identity. Check out my review here.


8. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Speaking of dark books, this psychological novel about a girl who allegedly killed a baby when she was nine-years-old and seeks justice after she learns she is pregnant as a teenager is a wild ride. Beautiful writing and great twists. Check out my review here.


9. Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

Sara’s books never disappoint me and I love her compassionate and unflinching approach to tough issues that teens face! I really enjoyed this story about sisters who start to work out their complicated relationship to each other and their parents during one unpredictable weekend in Seattle.


10. No Good Deed by Goldy Moldavsky

This dark, satirical novel was fun to read! Lovers of Goldy’s debut Kill the Boy Band will enjoy the appearance of a side character. This book takes a comical take on civic engagement and social justice warriors.

I loved all of these books and can’t wait to read more great books this year. What are some of the best books you’ve all read this year?

Posted in Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books That Have Been Sitting on My Shelves (But Not For Long!)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. Find out more information about it here.

This week’s topic:

August 23: Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven’t Read Yet (this is going to be sad considering how many of those I have unread six years later…)

I’m SO guilty of this. I buy a lot of books but unfortunately I can’t buy the free time to read all of them, so some books get stuck in the bottom of my reading piles. There are quite a few sequels I haven’t gotten to and some mental health and LGBTQPIA+ reads I haven’t gotten to either. Here are the top ten books I really want to get to soon!


1. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I’ve wanted to get into this series for such a long time and now that the movie is coming out soon, I’m finally going to read it (soon!).


2. The Winner’s Crime (and The Winner’s Kiss) by Marie Rutkoski

There really isn’t an excuse for why I haven’t read the rest of this trilogy yet. I loved the first book and loved it, so now I need to finish it off.


3. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Again, I loved the first book so much but it’s so hard for me to get into a second book after waiting for a year. I definitely need to read this before the third book comes out!


4. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

I really want to read this book about an intersex teen. I love YA that explores gender identity and expression, so I’m sure that I’ll love this one when I finally get around to it.


5. All-American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds

I’ve heard so many great things about this book and I really need to get around to reading it! I know this book has a lot of important themes reflecting current events, so it’s definitely in the express lane on my TBR.


6. When We Collided by Emery Lord

I’ve seen this book on so many lists of important mental health reads, so of course it’s one I’m going to want to read soon. I hope I like it as much as I hope I will!


7. OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

This book has such a cute cover and such an interesting concept. I’ve been meaning to get around to it for forever, but just haven’t gotten around to it.


8. Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

I won this book in a giveaway and it’s been sitting on my shelves, but the concept is so interesting and I really love strong female characters. I hope this book doesn’t disappoint when I do read it.


9. Tease by Amanda Maciel

This book has been on my shelf for years and I just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. It seems like a bit of a heavy read, so I might save this one for later in the fall or early winter.


10. The Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler

This is another book that has been on my shelf for way too long. I adore contemporary stories and I have heard great things about this one, so I want to get to this one soon.


What are some of the books that have been collecting dust on your shelves? Are any of these on yours?

Posted in Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books Set in NY or NJ

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. Find out more information about it here.

This week’s topic:

August 16: Top Ten Books With X Setting (top ten books set near the beach, top ten book set in boarding school, top ten books set in England, etc)

I’m a proud Jersey girl, but I also spend a good deal of my time in NYC, so this week I wanted to make a list of five books set in New Jersey and five set in the City. I hope you’ll enjoy my list-some I haven’t read yet, so maybe you can tell me if they’re really worth a shot!

New Jersey:


1. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

This is one of my all-time favorite books. A bunch of Levithan’s novels are set in suburban northern New Jersey, but this is probably one of my favorites because it’s such a hopeful, cute and optimistic love story. Really, if you haven’t read this book yet, you should. Soon.


2. Rosie and Skate by Beth Ann Bauman

This was the first YA book that I ever found that takes place down the shore (I go to the arcade and order ice cream from the Kohr’s from the cover ALL the time. And the little building under the Coca-Cola sign is where I had my first cup of coffee when I was thirteen. But besides being able to really connect and identify elements of the setting, I loved this bittersweet book about sisters on the brink of change.


3. Ferocity Summer by Alissa Grosso

I saw that this book’s cover had a blurb by one of my favorite authors and it’s set in New Jersey, so it immediately made it on my list. It also takes place in Sussex County, which is a rural area of New Jersey that I think challenges a lot of people’s misconceptions about what living in the Garden State is like. I haven’t read it yet, but I look forward to reading this book about addiction, bad decisions and hope for redemption.


4. Tell Us We’re Home by Marina Budhos

I’ve grown up (as a not-so-wealthy teen)and lived in the same wealthy New Jersey suburb all my life and the subtle tensions between class and ethnic groups here is something that really fascinates me, but I really haven’t seen portrayed in YA. I’m really excited to dive into this book about daughters in immigrant families in this setting.


5. The Summer After You & Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

I’m not sure if it’s going to be too soon for me to read this book because it deals with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. I found the storm and its aftermath very hard to deal with in my real life and I’m a really emotional reader. Still, I hope one day I’ll be ready to read this book about love, loss and the connections between them.


New York City:


1. Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

This book was my first exposure to Coney Island (because I know some people might fight me on this one: 1) It’s my list and 2) It’s in Brooklyn so I’m still considering it to be part of NYC). I immediately fell in love with this world of old freak shows and amusement rides, but found the encroaching gentrification to also be really interesting. I’ve been to Coney Island since reading this, so I can say that Altebrando did an amazing job and that the place lived up to my expectations.


2. Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

I love this book because it offers a glimpse into what living in NYC would be like for someone who is invisible. The story of a cursed invisible boy and the only girl who can see him, this novel will show you parts of the city like you’ve never seen before. Also, I can’t doubt that taxi cab curses don’t exist. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ll just have to read this delightfully magical book for yourself!


3. A Hundred Hours of Night by Anna Woltz

This was the first Superstorm Sandy book that I read, and it was tough, but I was able to make it through it because it took place in New York City. It was also a really interesting glimpse into what life was like for people in Manhattan in the immediate aftermath of the storm. The story of a dutch girl who runs away to the city to avoid her father’s scandal back home and finds shelter with a mismatched group of teens, this novel is equal parts sweet, enduring and heartbreaking.


4. The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

I love Serle’s portrayal of the city so much in this book because she brings so much life and vibrancy to it. The most stereotypical representation of a rich girl living on the Upper West Side, this book is still a thrill. If you haven’t read this emotional story of a girl struggling to cope with the accidental death of her younger sister, than you need to soon.


5. Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen

The only book written in verse on my list, this book is set in NYC in the 1990s at the tail end of the worst of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and follows the story of a girl who unearths secrets about her family. The writing in this book is such a treat and the descriptions of the setting are so beautiful and vivid that this book should be on your TBR, shelf or read list if it isn’t already.

Do you know any other books set in NJ that I should know about? What are some of your favorite NYC reads? Or reads from your state?

Posted in Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. Find out more information about it here.

This week’s topic:

August 9: Top Ten Tuesday REWIND — go back and do a topic you missed over the years or recently or a topic you really want to revisit — I’ve made a handy spreadsheet to help (currently in the process of finishing it)

I was on vacation last week and am just getting back into the swing of blogging again, so I wanted to do a topic that was fun but easy as I work on gnawing away at my miles-long to-do list, especially since I just realized I only have three short weeks before I have to go back to university (cue massive panic).

So I’m doing an easy throwback topic: bookish pet peeves. Here are the top ten things I can’t stand about books, plots, characters and more.

1. Dog-Eared Pages:

I can’t stand having a book with creased corners unless it’s a school book (it’s basically craft time when I have a book for school). I like all of my pages to be smooth and perfect when reading a book.

2. Leaving the House with an Unprotected Signed Book:

I always carry my signed books outside of the house in a crocheted book cover or a plastic bag. I don’t want them to get creased, damaged, wet, etc.

3. When the Model from the Stock Photo on the Cover Doesn’t Look Anything Like the MC:

In general, I hate when there’s a person/face on the cover of a book because I’m the type of reader who gets a thrill out of picturing the world and all of the characters that an author builds in my head while I’m reading. And I like as little external influence as possible. So it’s annoying enough to have a stock photo interfering with that, let along a person that doesn’t even match the author’s vision.

4. Whiny Characters:

I’m all for characters who are having a tough time. But I can’t stand characters with voices that border on or fully enter the territory of whining. This always takes me out of a story and makes it impossible for me to fully connect with a character. Sometimes these characters can be redeeming in the end, but I find that it’s very rare for me to enjoy

5. Books That Start Off Really Great But Don’t Finish Strong:

Nothing is more disappointing than falling in love with a book and its characters for the first half and then hating the second half or wishing the story ended sooner than it actually did. These stories often don’t end up working for me and while I try to finish every book that I read, some of these are nearly impossible to read to the end.

6. Characters Who Don’t Have to Deal with Consequences:

Another thing that I absolutely hate in books are characters that always seem to get a slap on the wrist, especially when it’s used as a plot device. I love to see deep and complex plots with characters who are punished for their wrongs and have to figure out ways to make things right again.

7. Instalove…When It’s Done Wrong (Which is Often)

I love a GOOD instalove story, but generally, my favorite romances are unrequited or slow burns. If two characters are going to have an immediate love affair, I need some conflict somewhere. It can’t be the entire point of the story.

8. Books Told From TOO Many POV:

My issue with books told from too many points of view is that I always end up slogging through one character’s chapters and waiting for my favorite to have some page time. If a book with a bunch of POV is going to work for me, I have to be equally invested in all of the characters, and I have found that’s rare (or I’m not reading the right books).

9. Preachy Books:

I pride myself in being a fairly intelligent and open-minded human being. I don’t need a book to scream a “message” at me through a figurative megaphone. I have a brain and I’m going to take away something different from a story each time I read it anyway. I like complex stories where there’s a lot to take away, not just one happy adage at the end.

10. Series That Drag

I have come to love the duology. Two books. No middle lag. Usually start to finish action. But if I find out a series is going to have four, five, six books then I probably won’t even bother. I prefer standalones above anything else. To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than having the whole story in one package with no wait time for the next installment. I also love companion books because they generally don’t rob me from my love of the first book.

What are some of your bookish pet peeves? Do we share any or are yours totally different?

Posted in Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Things Books Made Me Want to Learn More About

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. Find out more information about it here.

This week’s topic:

July 26: Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them (inspired by my post wayyy back in 2012 that I did on a TTT freebie week and have so wanting to revisit. *hides because of the hideous graphics…I was just learning*)

Books are windows to other worlds, and often feature characters who are talented in things we will never be. Still, it’s nice to live through their eyes for a few hours. In no particular order, here’s a list of the top ten things books have made me want to learn, do or learn more about.


1. Parkour and Climbing: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Inez was my favorite character in the book. From the moment, she appeared on the page, I fell in love with her and her abilities to climb and stay out of sight. My favorite scene in the book was when she scaled a very hot wall with the help of Kaz’s leather gloves. So while I could say this book made me want to learn more about kissing Kaz Brekker, it really made me interested in climbing and parkour. I rock climb-so I guess I’m already halfway there!


2. Skiing: The Possibility of Now by Kim Culbertson

Culbertson’s quirky contemporary novel about a girl who moves to live with her father in Tahoe after having a panic attack during a calculus test taught me so much about skiing. I’ve always enjoyed watching it during the Olympics and there’s a resort near my house, but I’ve never done it. This novel gave me new respect for the sport and made me curious about trying my hand at the bunny slopes one day.


3. Driving: Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

I don’t drive, which baffles a lot of people. But Alsaid’s road trip novel made me itch a little bit for the open road and the freedom of the wheel. I still haven’t changed my mind, but if I ever do learn to drive in the future, this novel will be one of the reasons why.


4. Rocky Horror Picture Show: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I had heard about The Rocky Horror Picture Show in passing, but the first time I really experienced it was in this novel. This is one of my favorite books (and I think the movie does a great job, especially with the Rocky Horror bits) and it definitely has piqued my interest in this cult classic. I haven’t seen it yet, but I definitely plan to soon.


5. Ballet: Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

I’ve been dragged to a few family dance recitals, but I never really had any interest in watching ballet. Or doing it myself. That is, until I discovered this beautiful duology about girls competing for the top spots in a highly selective ballet academy. I was drawn into the world of ballet like never before, and while I don’t think I’ll ever see a ballet, I now love to read about it and the process that these girls endure to compete.


6. Rugby: Winger by Andrew Smith

My University has a rugby club team instead of a football team, but I still know very little about the sport. Smith’s novel brought to sport to live in such a way that I just wanted to know everything about it. I’m too much of a fragile butterfly to ever try it for myself, but this book definitely gave me new interest and respect for this fascinating sport.


7. Sailing: Unbreak my Heart by Melissa Walker

I’m not a boat fan. I almost need a brown paper bag to make it across the Hudson in a ferry and I won’t go out on Greenwood Lake in my cousin’s boat because I’m terrified. Still, I loved this cute contemporary book about a girl who spends the summer on her parent’s boat. It gave me newfound interest in sailing and hey, I might even be interested in sailing too one day. But only on a river or a lake. And only if I wear a lifejacket.


8. Play Piano: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Music plays such a huge role in this book and I loved every single word, every single note. I never learned how to play the piano, but I played the violin in school until ninth grade and I desperately want to pick it back up. This book fueled that passion and I would love to learn to play the piano one day as passionately as Kestrel does.


9. Tennis: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

I played tennis once, for a few weeks in sophomore year high school gym class. I was terrible. I hated it. But I loved the way Stokes wrote about tennis in this sharp, funny contemporary romance novel about anxiety, tennis and cute boys. Maguire’s love of tennis and Jordy’s tennis stardom made me reconsider my longtime hatred of the sport and now I think I might need to try it again one day, not that I’ll be any good at it.


10. Non-Binary Gender: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

I remember sitting on my bed after I finished this book in one sitting and wanting to review it for my college’s newspaper, but being filled with newfound caution and consideration to make sure that in my review, I treated Riley’s gender fluidity with respect and compassion in my gushing of this stunning debut novel. This book also fueled my exploration of non-binary gender identity, helped me spark a productive conversation about gender in my school’s newspaper office and explore my own gender identity/expression. I ended up relating a lot more to Riley’s story than I thought I was and if I had to pick a book in 2016 that I was grateful for existing, this would be my top pick.


What have books made you want to learn? Did any of these books make you want to learn about something different?


Posted in Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Books Set in Another World or Country

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. Find out more information about it here.

This week’s topic:

July 19: Ten Books Set Outside The US (I don’t know about you but sooo much of what I read is set in the US and I love finding new recs of stuff set outside of it!)

This topic was a challenge, and made me realize just how much of my reading is firmly based in the US. I didn’t have enough contemporary ideas outside the US, so here is my list, starting with contemporary reads, blending into historical and literary and ending with fantasy.


1. Are We There Yet? by David Levithan

I absolutely love this quirky contemporary tale about two brothers who don’t get along who go on a trip to Italy. A girl they meet abroad threatens to permanently damage their already fragile relationship in this cute, heartbreakingly honest story about family, love and figuring out issues away from home.


2. Wildlife by Fiona Wood

Get your Aussie YA hat on, because while this wasn’t one of my favorite books, I definitely liked the different perspective it gave. As far as I know, high schools in the US don’t generally have an outdoor education program, not like this at least. Jump into this cute tale about girls who figure out if they’re friends (or not) out in the woods.


3. Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

This book (and Schaefer’s quartet) is unlike anything I’ve seen in YA and reminds me of some of my favorite middle grade stories about kids and animals that I read, but with more of an edge. Dive into this suspenseful novel about the connection between a girl and a bonobo in the heart of the Congo.


4. Fiona by Meredith Moore

If you’ve been looking for a book that combines Scotland with royal drama, mental illness, swoon worthy romance and conspiracy, then this is the book for you. Moore brings Scotland alive in this atmospheric contemporary thriller about a girl’s search for family and meaning that might leave her more fractured than when she arrived.



5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This is one of my all-time favorite books. Taking place in Nazi Germany, Zusak uses an exceptionally original and distinct voice to tell the story of a young girl, her adoptive family, her mischievous best friend, resistance to injustice and love of a good story even if it means stealing it.


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

This historical fantasy takes place in sixteenth-century England. Funny and charming, these three Lady Janies tell the story of a short-lived monarch, a supposedly dying king and a horseboy, all with just a touch of magic.


7. Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub

This creative sequel to Romeo and Juliet tells the story of what happens when in order to keep piece, Rosaline and Benvolio are forced to be engaged. Brilliantly and beautifully written, this book is also being adapted into a Shonda Rhimes television series early next year.


8. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

This was one of my absolute favorite series growing up. The fact that the first book came out thirteen years ago makes me feel SO old. *sobs* This beautiful story about an outcast girl at an English finishing school is a thrill and delight to read if you haven’t already. And as a bonus, it also features a magical realm!


9. The Other Side of Eve by Paul Ikin

This Indie book about a girl, Evelin, whose changing mental state influences the fantastical realm of Mare-Marie and the life of Princess Belleny Vera is a delight. A blend of contemporary and fantasy, this book contains some excellent world-building, a beautiful map and enthralling illustrations.


10. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I’m pretty sure almost everyone who reads this post will have already read, heard of or seen this book. But go read it. Go have your heart smashed into a million pieces and enjoy Bardugo’s fantastical world-building. You won’t regret it.


What books have you read that take place outside the US? Do they tend to be contemporary or fantasy?

Let me know below!


Posted in Top Ten Tuesday

Ten Bookish & Writerly Things About Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. Find out more information about it here.

This week’s topic:

July 12: Ten Facts About Me (bookish or just general about you facts or ten facts about you as a blogger…whatever you want)

Well, I do love to talk to myself. So whether you read my blog every week or this is your first time here (welcome), here’s the book-related stuff you should know:

1. I’ve loved YA since I was 10

When I was 10 years old, they finished renovating the library in my town and opened up a teen reading room for the very first time. I loved the librarians, Kate and Sandy, who cultivated in be a love for all things YA. If it weren’t for them and their fearless selections of the best books, I wouldn’t love YA and I might not be writing this list. Librarians rock!


2. I’m Not a “Fantasy Person”

*the sound of people clicking off my blog when they read this* But no, I tend to be in love with contemporary stories. I have a few fantasy authors that I love reading (Marie Rutkoski, Holly Black, Maria Dahvana-Headley) that I adore, but I adore their stories because they’re amazing storytellers. I tend to like the books I read rooted in the real world, even though I’m not sure why. Just preference, I guess.


3. If a Book Has Mental Illness Rep or LGBTQPIA+ Rep…*grabby hands*

These are the two things I look for most in the books I read. I love to read stories about queer teens battling the various trials and tribulations of growing up queer, no matter where they fall on the spectrum. Although right now I’m actively looking to read stories about ace, pan and non-binary teens. I also love mental illness rep, particularly about girls with mental illnesses that aren’t a teen rip-off of Girl, Interrupted.


4. I Cry When I Read

All the time. *reaches for the box of tissues*


5. I’m Very Protective of My Signed Books

I don’t leave the house with a signed book that isn’t in some kind of plastic bag (bookstores give out the best size bags!) or crocheted book snuggie. I’m very, very anal about keeping the spines, dust jackets and pages completely in tact.


6. I Tend to Be a Fast Reader…But I’m SUPER Busy

Sometimes I have my slow streaks, but in general I can read 1-2 books a day if I have nothing else to go. That’s the key though-I’m always at work, writing and crocheting too. Balance is key!


7. I’m About to Send Out Queries for My *Hopefully* First Book

I don’t want to jinx it, so I won’t say anything else here except wish me luck!


8. I Started Writing Novels in First Grade

I wrote a stunningly awful poor-boy-meets-rich-girl trilogy about Henry and Lily, who meet in the first book, get married in the second and have kids in the last. I don’t know of any extant copies, but my teacher typed them up for me so I had neat copies I could illustrate. *cringes from the embarassment*


9. I Make Radio Stations for Each Book I’m Working On

I NEED to listen to music when I write, and just keep it on in the background. I try to make Pandora stations that my main characters would listen to or that somehow tie in to the tone of the book. For a book I’m working on with an ace MC, I listened to Disney music while I was working on it. It might sound like fun, but it was like eating too much candy in one sitting and some of the songs were seriously starting to give me a twitch. Pick your writing music carefully!


10. I Can Read on Public Transportation and in Cars

For some odd reason, I am most productive in a moving vehicle. I love having a few hours on a train ride to rip through a book or two or type up a chapter or two in my WIP. Same with a long car ride. There’s usually no Internet and no distractions. And in most cases, I find them quiet, peaceful spaces where I can really focus. If I had to do all of my work at home, I would get nothing done.

Is there anything else you’re dying to know about me? Let me know below in the comments!