Tuesday Top Ten-Books I’d Give to Readers Who Don’t Read Contemporary YA

So there are two inspirations for today’s Tuesday Top Ten. One of them is that its the actual Top Ten Tuesday post over at The Broke and Bookish. So there’s that. Normally I stick to my own, sildenafil but because I’ve been running out of ideas, approved I’ve been borrowing from that meme lately.

But I also decided to use it because it reminded me of my friend Alena. We work together and we spend most of our time (when we’re not working hard, visit this of course), talking about books. We recommend books to each other, exchange books and basically fangirl every moment that we can. I lent her the Lunar Chronicles recently and she loved it. I love doing that.

Anyway, she mentioned recently that she tends to stick to fantasy-dystopian-science fiction, with a heavy hand in fantasy. Now while this is incredibly true of me as well, I also read a ton of contemporary YA. With authors like the ones in this list…it would be stupid to avoid contemporary.

But in reality, a lot of people are actually avoiding it. The supernatural, the science fiction, the fantasy is the most appealing right now and besides authors like John Green and Rainbow Rowell (who does appear on this list, haha), you don’t see much actual fandom for the contemporary YA. People stick to the “out of this world” sort of books.

So that’s why this week, I’m recommending 10 contemporary YA books to those of you who might be a bit hesitate to jump in. Trust me, if you read these five, you won’t regret it :)

Honorable Mention: The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

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She’s just a New York City girl living with her artist mom…

News Flash: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that’s why a limo meets her at the airport!)

Downer: Dad can’t have any more kids. (So no heir to the throne.)

Shock of the Century: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material.

Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmére, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne.

Well, her father can lecture her until he’s royal-blue in the face about her princessly duty–no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what’s a girl to do when her name is Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo?

See, this book would officially be on the list and much higher but for one reason: the topic is recommending books to those who are hesitant about reading contemporary novels. This is the first book in a ten book series so its not an easy one to recommend. But its easily one of my favorite books ever. If you’ve ever seen the movie (which I love), you’re going to love the book more. Told in literal diary form, you fall in love with Mia over and over because of her honesty, her awkwardness and her journey to figure out who she is in the sprawling mess of high school, as a princess. They’re funny and sweet, and easy reads and they meant a lot to me during my teen years and I will always love them. The fact that an adult book of this series is being released next year is so exciting to me, I can’t even handle it. 

10. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han 

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

I had never been massively impressed with Jenny Han until I read this book. Especially since I found out it was based partially on the truth that Jenny wrote letters like this to the boys she had loved before. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting in this book but I felt I got so much more. There was humor, I laughed so much. There was a romance story, but in the least expecting way. There was family, especially the bond between the three sisters. I zipped through this book easily because everything in the book felt so familiar and yet new and it all made me bubbly and happy inside.

9. 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody 

Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.

I would have probably loved this book anyway because its Jessica Brody and I absolutely adore her but let’s back off the fact that I’m a huge JB fan, and just talk about the book itself. Its FUN. Its funny. Lexi is just a mess and you alternately want to hug her and strangle her at the same time. Its lighthearted, cute, and fun, and its a book that definitely makes you smile. That’s a huge thing about contemporary: I need a break from disease, and dying, and power hungry rulers and all of that. I want lighthearted and I want to laugh and this book will definitely make you laugh. And it’ll probably make you want to go hug your dad too.

8. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend. 

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Trust me, I know. I’m definitely guilty of judging a book by its title and cover. So I steered VERY clear away from this book for a VERY long time, and I’m so sad that I did this. I’m very slowly trying to avoid my judgements because they often times lead me astray. This book looks like it is too romantic, cheesy, probably not written very well. But then you open the pages and you realize: this novel is incredible. Sure, yes, it has the romance and it tells the story of first love but there is so much more to that. Its not your typical love story. It’s a story of finding yourself and making mistakes and growing up and getting things wrong again and again. There’s so much more to Anna’s story than just being kissed by a boy. She struggles with living in Paris and she struggles with her feelings for a boy that she can’t have. Its beautiful and its companion novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door is equally as great!

7. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

What I think makes this a great novel is that its just an incredible story. I put it in the contemporary because that is what it is, despite its Groundhog Day sort of storyline. Sam is forced to relive the last day of her life seven times, and each day is a roller coaster of mistakes, getting things right, emotions, fixing things and breaking things and trying to figure out why she keeps living this day. What I think really gets you about this is that you start off absolutely hating her. Literally hating her. She’s a mean girl, and she’s definitely not a person that you can relate to. You kind of don’t hate too much that she died, to be honest. But as the book goes on, and she relives the day again and again and again, Sam learns more and more about herself and the mistakes she makes and you begin to like her, just in time to remember that she’s dead. Definitely Lauren Oliver’s best novel.

6. The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

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Jade DeLuna is too young to die. She knows this, and yet she can’t quite believe it, especially when the terrifying thoughts, loss of breath, and dizzy feelings come. Since being diagnosed with Panic Disorder, she’s trying her best to stay calm, and visiting the elephants at the nearby zoo seems to help. That’s why Jade keeps the live zoo webcam on in her room, and that’s where she first sees the boy in the red jacket. A boy who stops to watch the elephants. A boy carrying a baby.


His name is Sebastian, and he is raising his son alone. Jade is drawn into Sebastian’s cozy life with his son and his activist grandmother on their Seattle houseboat, and before she knows it, she’s in love. With this boy who has lived through harder times than anyone she knows. This boy with a past.

Jade knows the situation is beyond complicated, but she hasn’t felt this safe in a long time. She owes it all to Sebastian, her boy with the great heart. Her boy who is hiding a terrible secret. A secret that will force Jade to decide between what is right, and what feels right.

First off, I apologize for the abnormally long synopsis. For real. Why is it so long? Sigh. Moving on…Deb Caletti is one of the most amazing and inspiring authors that has come into my life. She’s got this way of completely capturing people, their lives, their emotions, their flaws and their strengths and her books feel so real, that you feel like every single character and situation has happened in real life. This one has always stuck to me because I feel like Jade is the character I’ve felt the closest too. She’s afraid, and she has these anxieties and fears that she just sometimes can’t control. This is all too real for me, and it’s also incredibly real in the story. When she begins to build a relationship with Sebastian and his son, and the elephants at the zoo, you just completely sucked into this story. Its a very human story, that has more than just a love story. Your emotions are tugged very hard in this one but in all the best ways.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Okay, this is legit the longest synopsis ever. Sorry :( The reason this is five and not lower (because legit this is one of my favorite books ever) is because while this book connects to me in so many ways, it may not for everyone. Fangirl is a great book for fangirls and boys. This is why I put it on the list. Because Cath is obsessed with a fantasy book series, obsessed to the point that she writes fan fiction and has posters plastered on her wall. She reminds me of every fangirl on Tumblr and I think that’s what makes it so good. If you’re obsessed with reading fantasy books, then you’re probably going to identify with Cath so easily. Plus, I think its one of the best new adult books out there, though its technically considered YA. It explores all the uncertainties of moving out, growing up, going to college, figuring out what you want to do with your life. Its hilarious and so familiar. But if you’re not feeling this one, I recommend Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Anything Rainbow is honestly the good way to go. 

4. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

Morgan Matson is easily one of my favorite authors and it was this book, her debut novel, that remains my favorite, because of how much it captured me. Morgan Matson writes this perfect summer book, full of romance and the fun and spontaneity of a road trip but there’s more to it as well. Both of the characters are struggling to let go of something and it takes this road trip for them to open up about it and accept it and move on. Plus its just fun. Morgan Matson is such a great writer. I love that she has a travel diary in it, and includes pictures and receipts and things like that, to make it look like a road trip scrapbook. I love that there are playlists sprinkled through out the novel, because there is so much good music on it. This book makes you laugh and makes you cry and makes you want to pack up your car and take a road trip, if only to try all the delicious food they try in the book.

3. Just One Day by Gayle Forman

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Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

What could potentially be a cliche and cheesy novel is actually one of the most thoughtful and beautiful novels that I’ve read. Allyson Healey was on a European tour, ready to finally experience something outside of the completely planned life she has, but its not what she expects. Its planned tours and an itinerary. When she meets Willem on her last day, and he promises her a day of adventure in Paris, she breaks her routine and says yes and it turns into the best day of her life. She experiences things she’s never experienced before. When something tears them apart, you get to see how this day changes Allyson and the path that it takes her on. Its a fun adventure but it reaches to every person who wishes they could just skip everything for a day, leave school and work and all of that behind and just be spontaneous for a day and have an adventure and I think that’s what can appeal to every person.

2. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

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A long, hot summer…

That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

Sarah Dessen is easily one of the best contemporary YA authors out there, and she’s been writing for quite some time. I honestly recommend any book written by her, but this one is definitely one. While its not my personal favorite, its definitely the fan favorite of the group. There’s something about this book that reaches out to everyone who reads it and I think its because of the characters. Every single one of the characters is so unique and well thought out and familiar. Everyone has a story, everyone is well developed and sometimes you can’t decide which one you like more. But the story of Macy and Wes is what gets you. Its a beautiful romance story that is subtle and perfect and takes time to develop and by the end, you’re in tears, both from happiness and heartbreak. Definitely definitely definitely read this book.

1. Winger by Andrew Smith

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Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Easily one of my favorite books of all time, and easily one of the best contemporary novels out there. The reason that its number one is because I’ve talked to boys, girls, adults, teens, preteens, people from different walks of life, and everyone who reads this book absolutely enjoys it. Its written so well, and the story is so good. Its SO funny. I’ve never read a book that captures the voice of a teenage boy as well as this one does. Andrew Smith gives his character the intelligence, the voice and the opinions of a real teenager, and gives them the credit they deserve but he also doesn’t forget that they’re teenagers and they’re stupid and they think about sex a lot. Its one of the funniest books I’ve read but it’s also one of the truest books I’ve read. Andrew captures high school, puberty, growing up, uncertainties and insecurities, family, friends, first love, loss and so much more in one book, and I honestly think that anyone and everyone will love this book.

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L.A. Times Festival of Books 2014: Day One and Day Two Recap Vlogs!

Guys, doctor I just had SUCH an amazing weekend. This weekend was the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at U.S.C., where the entire weekend is dedicated to the amazing culture of reading. It’s one of my favorite weekends of this year, and this year was no disappointment.

There was a team of five us: me, Sylvia from Fangirl Feeels, our friends Cassandra and Alexandra and my sister, Jessica. We had our game plans, and despite minor hiccups along the way, we managed to do everything that we wanted to do.

I met (and met again, for some) amazing authors this weekend: John Green (OHMYGOD), Rainbow Rowell, Lauren Oliver, Marissa Meyer, Sarah J Maas, Robin Benway, Veronica Roth, Lauren Myracle, Leigh Bardugo, Deb Caletti, Kiersten White, Andrew Smith and Stephanie Perkins.

But I won’t keep you from seeing my awesome vlogs. I vlogged while at the Fest so you get some pretty awkward and hilarious moments from me, a short video of my conversation with John Green and…lots of awkwardness haha.

Check it out!

Day One!

Day Two!

Yay! I hope you enjoyed seeing the awesomeness that was my weekend!

I managed to grab extra copies of Cinder, Anna and the French Kiss and Fangirl for a giveaway. There will NOT be a giveaway for the month of April (as of now), but there is a HUGE giveaway coming for my Blog Birthday in May so keep an eye out to see how you can get your hands on these books!

Oh! And don’t forget you can check out ALL the pictures on the What A Nerd Girl Says Facebook page here!

Happy Reading Everyone!

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Tuesday Top Ten-Books I Was Reluctant to Read But Am Glad I Did!

Well, troche that was a seriously fun title. I kept trying to make it shorter but nothing I did made it sound…right. This was the closest. It got the point across and that’s all that matters.

So do you ever go to a bookstore, pharmacy or read a blog or talk to some friends, buy and there is a book that they just won’t let go, and you just have no desire to read it. You’re reluctant and there’s several reasons you could be. You don’t like the cover. You don’t like the name. You don’t do “zombie books”. Its too popular.

Whatever the reason is, you’re just reluctant to pick up a copy and read it. But for another reason, you finally decide to. Maybe you found a super cheap copy somewhere or your friend just WON’T STOP BUGGING YOU ABOUT IT. And you know what, the book surprises you. And it becomes something that you like, or even a favorite of yours.

That happens to me a lot actually. I’m kind of a book snob. I make fun of my boyfriend all the time for being a movie snob but I’m totally a book snob, and I might even be worse than him. I judge books b y their covers and their names. I tend to stay clear of vampires and romances, fallen angels and ghosts.

So I have trouble a lot when people recommend books. I have to really hear good things about it, or be bugged enough about it to sit down and read it. And sometimes, I’m like, “Okay, well that was a waste of my time.” But more often than not, I’m actually pleasantly surprised.

Here is my top ten of those books.

10. The Lightning Thief 

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I know, right? I know! This is one of my absolute favorite series, along with its spin-off, The Heroes of Olympus. I mean, how could I ever be reluctant to read it. I don’t know if I thought it was going to be childish, or I don’t know. I just remember that it took forever for me to sit down and read them, and when I finally did, I remember speeding through all five books, plus the first two of HoO in like, a week and a half because I was just blown away. I know that it got a lot of Harry Potter comparisons in the beginning and that also could have been something that turned me off since there really can only be ONE Harry Potter but its more like, if you like HP, you’ll like PJ. And I definitely agree with that. I absolutely loved these books.

9. 52 Reasons to Hate My Father

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I LOVE Jessica Brody and I seriously love everything she writes but I must admit I felt a little skeptical to read this book. The cover (both this and the hardback cover) turned me off a bit and I just wasn’t sure how to feel about it, and it sounded weird, and cliche-ish. But I decided to read it because I got it signed and its Jessica and I absolutely adore her. And I LOVE this book. Its exactly what I thought it was going to be and yet so much more. It surprised me with its realness and its humor and I loved the main character so much that even while she was driving me absolutely insane, I still totally wanted to be her best friend. And the whole 52 jobs in 52 weeks thing actually sounds like it would be fun, inspiring and life-changing.

8. Anna and the French Kiss

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I hated this title so much. I hate everything about it because it sounded like a fluffy, no substance YA romance novel and it proved me massively wrong. I definitely enjoyed this book immensely but I think the reason I am so glad that I got over my aversion to this book was that it led me to the “sequel”, Lola and the Boy Next Door, which I LOVE so much. I am so in love with Cricket and Lola is just an awesome character. I was pleasantly surprised with how much depth these books had, and that they were so much more than just a fluffy novel. Stephanie Perkins is an absolutely fantastic author and I was surprised and happy that I had read these books.

7. Between the Lines

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I purchased this for about 2 or 3 dollars on Kindle about four years ago. It kept popping up as a recommendation and I remember thinking: it looks super fluffy romance AND its self-published so what if it totally sucks. I eventually gave in because I think I had nothing else to read and it was super cheap and I’m so glad I did because she has become one of my absolute favorite authors and a dear friend of mine. This is a four book series and while it has the fun and sexiness of Hollywood (and I totally wish Reid Alexander was real so I could drool all over his washboard abs), there’s all this substance in there. There’s alcohol and drug use and charity work and neglect and abuse and teenage pregnancy and so much coming-of-age-ness. I absolutely love this series, and this author and I’m SO glad I took a chance with this.

6. Unbreakable

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The reason I was super reluctant to read this was because I was not a fan of Beautiful Creatures at all. While the premise of this book sounded really awesome, I just didn’t want to be disappointed after BC. I just wasn’t a fan of that book at all. Not my thing, I suppose. But I decided to give this one a chance, based on the recommendation of some fellow bloggers and, again, I’m so very glad that I did. I love this book. Its exactly what I wanted from it based on the description and I think Kami super rocked it. I loved all the myths and legends woven into the story and I love that its kind of like Supernatural, with two hot brothers but its told in the point of view of a girl, who I just know is going to be totally kickass as this series builds. I am counting down the days until book two.

5. Obsidian

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I hated the cover, I hated the stupid synopsis on the back. I hate when books don’t even have a real synopsis on the back. Its like “One Girl. One Guy. One Destiny. He’s an alien. She’s a book blogger. Kisses. What will happen next?” Okay, that was so made up right now but you know what I mean. It’s like, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS BOOK ABOUT? And the cover was just, ugh. It only caught my eye because the spine was all pretty and green. Then I met Megan and she convinced me to read it so I went back, bought it and decided to give it a try, and I read the next two super quickly. It’s not super substantial or life changing but its fun and sexy and I love it. Plus it also just introduced me to JLA and I adore her, and I’m massively in love with her Covenant series.

4. The Selection

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Again, the cover. I’m such a snob. I judge books by their cover and I was like, this one doesn’t look good in the slightest. But someone, I can’t remember who, told me to read it so I did and it really surprised me with the depth that it had. It had sort of a Bachelor meets Hunger Games meets Divergent sort of vibe. It was very dystopian but it also feels kind of like the Bachelor. I thought America was a well thought out character and that her struggle as a girl in the Selection was so real and raw and familiar. Even though I’ve never sat and competed for the hand of a prince with 20 other girls, I could understand her confusion and her constantly waging emotions. Its such a real book, and I can’t wait til the next one comes out, I’m just dying. Kiera Cass really impressed me and I want to meet her and tell her that.

3. The Hunger Games

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I KNOW. I know right? I can’t even…whatever. (If you missed that as a Mean Girls quote, you don’t deserve to read my blog…haha). I read the first two books in the series about two weeks before Mockingjay came out. Again, I’m kind of a snob and everyone was reading it and it was around the same time as the Twilight outbreak and I was just kind of over reading “trend” books, if you know what I mean. I was just so much “too cool” for that. HA! My sister kept bugging me to try it though so I picked up a copy at Barnes and Noble one night and the begged my sister to let me borrow her Catching Fire because the stores were closed and I needed it RIGHT NOW. I remember buying Mockingjay on my Kindle app so I could download it at midnight and start reading. I can’t believe I ever was like, I’m too cool for this because I don’t know what my life would be without this series.

2. Unspoken

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I adore Sarah! However, I had read her Demon’s Lexicon and just wasn’t that impressed. But I really liked her, I liked meeting her so I saw this book and was like, meh, I’ll add it to my TBR. I was interviewing some authors and I interviewed her and she was so sweet and so quick about it and I was so happy, and I was like, I have to read this book. I read this one and its sequel, Untold, in about two days because I LOVE this book. I love the main character, Kami, and all her sassiness and I’m madly in love with Jared Lynburn and his dark sexiness, and I just loved the story. I thought everything about it was so fresh and new, and the characters felt new and yet familiar and I was just so in love with this book. It just sort of reminded me that I shouldn’t give up on an author simply  because I may have disliked one book. Another book may completely surprise me.

1. Vampire Academy

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I don’t do vampire books. I don’t like this cover. I don’t like the title. The girl reminds me of Angelina Jolie and I’m not a fan of hers. There was so much about this that just turned me off. Every time I saw it in the bookstore, I just made a face and turned around. I seriously have to thank Jade and Stephanie for this, for beating me down and making me read it because now I have a VA tattoo. I mean, that’s how much I am so glad I gave these books a chance. I mean, they basically were like “Sara, shut up and read this book” and I did and I am just…I am so glad I did. The title and cover is still not my favorite at all, but I love these books. They don’t even feel like vampire books. They have so much darkness and romance and action and coming-of-age-ness (I keep saying that, I think I made that up) and I just love it all. I love Rose and Lissa and Christian and Dimitri and Adrian (ADRIAN!!!) and I just love it. I’m so massively glad I read these because now I have a molnija mark on my shoulder and its beautiful.

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What are some books that you were reluctant to read but you did and you ended up liking? Share in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten-Books to Look Forward to in 2014!

My loves! I am so sorry, sildenafil I apologize over and over for my lack of effort on my blog. I truly do. I would like to blame something legitimate like school or NaNoWriMo or something but truly…I just didn’t have the inspiration to work on it.

But I’m back! I promise! Today I’m stealing the topic of the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday post and doing Books to Look Forward to in 2014.

Unfortunately thats kind of hard to narrow down to ten. Really hard. Like, website like this impossibly hard. I read so many authors and so many books that I just look forward to SO many releases.

Even narrowing it down to January to May wasn’t totally helpful. Sigh.

So there are …fourteen books on the list. Sorry :( But hopefully that will get you excited for SO many awesome releases coming in the new year!

Honorable Mentions:

These are honorable mentions because I’ve already read one of them, and I have ARCs of the other! So I want to draw attention to them, since they’ll be releasing in early 2014 BUT I’ll have already read them!

Clicking on the author’s name will take you to their website, and clicking on the book title will take you to the Amazon Page AND clicking the book cover will take you to the GoodReads page! I’m nothing, if not completely thorough ;)

Afterparty by Ann Stampler 

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Expected Release: January 7th

Ann’s Where It Began blew me away, and I’m eager to dive into this book and be blown away again. She has a way of capturing the teen outlook but also writes an intelligent and compelling novel. Good girl Emma decides that she wants to break free, and gets involved with Siobhan, whose friendship is fun at first, until it takes a turn, and things become intoxicating and dangerous. I can’t wait for it. Afterparty is going to be a blast!

Going Rogue by Robin Benway

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Expected Release: January 14th

The first book of this series, Also Known As, was SUPER funny, and addicting to read. Maggie is part of a spy network with her parents, and her specialty is breaking locks, whether on doors or to safes, etc. Then she gets her own assignment, to go undercover at an upscale high school, and hilarity ensues. Its full of action and fun spy stuff BUT it just makes you laugh so hard, and Maggie is a fun character, AND there’s cute boys. Win!

Panic by Lauren Oliver

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Expected Release: March 4th

This one I’ve already read :) I can’t wait to share my review with you all. A departure from her dystopian series, Delirium, Lauren Oliver takes us into the contemporary world again, with a twist. Heather lives in Carp, where nothing ever happens, except for the game Panic every summer. The kids spend the entire year raising money for a ridiculous prize amount (think in the THOUSANDS) and compete in dangerous, scary and, often times, illegal tasks in order to win the game. Heather didn’t expect to play when it came her turn, but that money could be a way out. Dodge, a fellow classmate, has been looking forward to Panic, and he’s determined to get the right outcome. I think you’ll like this one. If you were disappointed with the end of the Delirium series like I was, I think this will help with Lauren Oliver a bit :)

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Now the actual list of ten, erm, eleven books I’m looking forward to in 2014…up until May, at least!

11. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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Expected Release: May 13th

I just discovered Stephanie this year! Anna and the French Kiss and especially Lola and the Boy Next Door are GREAT YA contemporary novels that I totally recommend, a thousand times. I am full of SO much excitement for this one because of all great the others have been. In this novel, we are going to meet Isla and Josh and I think come to find a new meaning of the phrase “happily ever after”. And of course, we will see Anna, Etienne, Lola and Cricket again, which makes me very happy. I think that Stephanie will tell a great story, as usual with twists and turns and surprises and enough heart pounding and sigh-worthy scenes to keep us all SO happy!

10. Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

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Expected Release: April 15th

I am So excited about this one because honestly, I just discovered JLA in May and she has yet to disappoint me. Her storytelling is fantastic; she makes me laugh, and feel all swooning but she throws in these kickass action scenes, and then she has the most sarcastic and hilarious characters. So I’m really anxious to dive into a new series with her. Don’t Look Back follows Samantha who has it all, until she disappears, and then reappears with no memory of who she is or how she got lost. When she figures out that she was the  “mean girl”, she’s determined to have this second chance. Unfortunately her best friend is still missing…Sounds awesome right? She never disappoints and I can’t wait to read it.

 9. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs 

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Expected Release: January 14th

Okay, I’m totally reading the first book right now, and maybe I won’t like and maybe I’ll have no desire to read this …but I honestly doubt it. So many people I know really liked this book and I just love Ransom as a person. His instagram, tumblr and twitter posts keep me laughing, and he’s super interactive with his fans. And he’s handsome. Not that this has anything to do with his book, it was just a notable fact about him. Moving on, I am looking forward to this release because I’m already enjoying Miss Peregrine’s a lot AND he’ll be touring for this book and will, of course, be signing in Los Angeles so yay! I keep missing him, and I want formally meet him finally!

8. Cress by Marissa Meyer 

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Expected Release: February 4th

I just finished Scarlet, the second book, about a week ago, and I love this series already. I put off reading it FOR so long and I have no idea why. I think it was the cover to be honest. I get turned off on books because of the covers quite often, and I’m often times proven wrong. But I still do it. Anyway, I read Cinder and Scarlet and now I’m very excited for Cress. Marissa Meyer takes the whole science fiction, fairy tale retellings to an incredible level, and her stories and characters are awesome. One minute they’re super badass and sci-fi-ish (that’s a word now) and then the next, they’re totally reminding you of Cinderella and Red Riding Hood. Its awesome. This isn’t the final book, its the climax to the final book, Winter (2015), so you know its going to be SO GOOD.

7. Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita

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Expected Release: April 22nd  

I absolutely adore Jen Calonita. Her books are quick and easy reads, with laughter, cute boys, but often times, serious teen problems as well. Her standalone novel, Sleepaway Girls, was super cute, about a girl going to camp as a CIT and learning to be independent of her dominant best friend. Of course, rivalries happen, cute boys make the summer interesting and hilarity and disaster ensues. I absolutely LOVED it. Now there’s a sequel, called Summer State of Mind, where they’re returning to Camp Whispering Pines and I’m SO excited. She writes such fun novels and I don’t think I’m alone in that desire to go to camp. I always want to go to camp as a kid and was never able to so I like to live vicariously through this. Definitely one to look forward to.

6. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Expected Release: February 4th

When I picked up Shatter Me, I had done so because Tahereh Mafi kept popping up everywhere, at all these events (though I haven’t met her officially either!) and her name just kept popping up to me, and so I decided to check out Shatter Me, even though I was getting kind of tired of dystopian. I’m glad I gave this one a chance because Juliette is an awesome character and we’ve really seen her grow so much in this series, and I hope we continue to see that in Ignite Me. I also think Tahereh Mafi has a way of telling a brand new story in that familiar dystopian archetype that we’ve grown to know so well. She has surprises and twists that keep you hooked til the end.

5. The Last Forever by Deb Caletti 

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Expected Release: April 1st

I adore Deb Caletti and while I absolutely loved He’s Gone, which was her dive into adult fiction, I am glad to see she’s back in YA. All of her books are just so incredibly good. She hits SO many issues of teens, but she never makes her books seem like “issue books”. Her stories are flawless and genuine and each one has captivated me and made me fall in love. She’s gotten so much recognition for her books and its totally deserved. The book is sure to be another emotion wrecker. The main character’s mom has died, and her dad is having a hard time recovering and so is she. Enter a road trip, a new place, and a new boy, and it just spells awesome. Deb Caletti tells beautiful stories and I’m sure this one will be as well.

4. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 

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Expected Release: May 27th

I think most people would be surprised to see this as #4 and now #1 or 2 or 3. And its true, I love Cassandra Clare and adore her books. I definitely can’t wait to read City of Heavenly Fire and see how the TMI series wraps up. My only thing is…I thought the series was wrapped up perfectly in City of Glass and I didn’t feel like it needed to be continued. I am not a fan of Fallen Angels and I kind of like Lost Souls. So while I do want to read the end and find out who lives and who dies, and where everyone sort of ends up, I also am just not DYING to read it, like I was with the other novels. I still think City of Glass was a great ending. But I digress. I’m a TMI fan, and I will read it because I love Jace and Clary and Alec and Simon and Magnus and Isabelle and all of them.

3. Unforgotten by Jessica Brody 

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Expected Release: February 25th

Another discovery of this year, Jessica Brody has become one of my favorite authors. I read her book, Unremembered, first, and then dove into her contemporary books which seriously make me laugh. They’re fantastic. Definitely check them out. But we’re focusing on Unremembered. Unremembered is about Seraphina, who wakes up in the middle of the ocean, the only survivor of a deadly plane crash. She doesn’t remember who she is, nor does she remember much in general. No one comes forward to claim her, so she’s taken in by foster parents. While Sera remembers the world, she also realizes that she’s different than others, faster, stronger, smarter. Then a boy named Zen comes into the picture, claiming that he knows her, and that they’re in love. Its like Bourne Identity, but with a badass girl instead of Matt Damon. Its seriously awesome, and I can’t say much more because Unforgotten is the sequel, and you just need to read this. This comes out TWO days before my birthday so happy birthday to me!

2. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Expected Release: May 6th 2014

Morgan Matson is one of my absolute favorite authors of all time. She made me fall in love with her, as an author, so fast with Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. Then she released Second Chance Summer, and its just as good. I’ve met Morgan several times this year, but it’ll be two years since her last novel came out when this third novel hits the stands. That’s a LONG time to wait haha, or at least it is to me. The main character Emily meets Sloane, who introduces her to a world of fun, who helps pull her out of her shell. Then Sloane disappears and leaves behind a list of things for Emily to accomplish like “apple picking at night” or “dancing until dawn” or “kiss a stranger”. It sounds like another unique and fun Morgan Matson novel, and I honestly just can’t wait for it.

1. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

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Expected Release: February 11th

Another discovery of this year (I seriously dove into books and blogging in 2013), Andrew Smith’s Winger literally knocked my socks off, blew me away, had my jaw hanging open down to the ground. It seriously just…it was so amazing. Now Andrew has a new book releasing in February (on mine and Jon’s 6 year anniversary!), and I’m DYING to read it. I keep trying to get my hands on an ARC but have been thus far unsuccessful. I may have to wait til February but it’ll be worth the wait. Andrew has a natural humor to his books, I have laughed out loud, uncontrollably with tears, because of his books. In this novel, Andrew is combining his hilarity with his out of this world story telling (giant insects? really? I’m shuddering already), and I’m sure he’s going to get that teen boy spirit, hilarity and coming of age-ness like he has done before. I am DYING to get my hands on this book, especially when everyone is loving it! It WILL happen!

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I hope you enjoyed this Tuesday Top ….Eleven…or something…some number close to Ten. You should definitely add ALL of these books to your “to-read” list, and if you haven’t read their prequels, then get on it! These books and authors are all great, and you’ll definitely enjoy them!

Don’t forget that you can check out previous Tuesday Top Ten lists here!

What are some books that you are looking forward to in the New Year? Share in the comments! 

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Lola and the Boy Next Door Book Review

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perks

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You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion…she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit–more sparkly, visit web more fun, more wild–the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket–a gifted inventor–steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door

My Review:

Okay, what I really loved about this novel, to start with, is that while its a companion novel to Anna and the French Kiss, it is not necessary to read the first book to enjoy this one. I mean, well, it is a little bit but you can read this book without reading the first one, definitely. I really enjoyed Anna and the French Kiss, but I enjoyed this book even more than that. I was pleasantly surprised and I loved everything about this novel.

First off, the character of Lola. Lola is so real and genuine. She has this tendency to be these different characters every day with her various outlandish outfits and sometimes a character like that can come off as fake or stereotyped or something like that but I really felt that Lola was so genuine. You bought into her uniqueness and you bought into her personality and you just fall in love with her so fast. She wants to go as Marie Antoinette for her school’s winter formal and you’re all thumbs up for that. She wears various wigs and has the craziest get ups but even though they are such an essential part to her personality, her personality is so strong that you can’t help but want her to be your best friend. I definitely want her to be my best friend.

Then there’s Cricket. I’m not going to lie; the fact that his name is Cricket drives me crazy for the first half of the book. All I can think of is, how am I supposed to like this guy when he’s named after a BUG? But he’s so sweet, and he’s so beautiful and wonderful. Stephanie Perkins claims him as a Hufflepuff and I completely agree with it. And I love me some Hufflepuffs. He’s so…god, I want to say things without ruining the book because of my commitment to spoiler free reviews. He’s a sweet, humble, intelligent, selfless person and he has a humor and a deep personality that would make any reader fall madly in love with him.

Plus, I just enjoyed the story. Its not about having a total point and purpose, with a conflict and all that. The conflict is Lola and her personality and her desires and wants and her coming to terms with all of them. Its about her handling all the things in her life and coming to terms with them. Its very much a coming of age story. You know, Anna is used to be unusual with her crazy outfits, and her fantastic personality and the fact that she has two dads but its not until she makes the journey through this book that she really embraces it and realizes how much it is who she is. I love it.

Lastly, I really do love that Lola was adopted by a gay couple. I love this. I love that Stephanie Perkins shows this because so many books out there just cut those things out. They don’t represent the “us” that is out there, and she really does that in this book. She recognizes that there are plenty of gay couples with families out there, and that they have the capabilities to be wonderful parents just the way a straight couple would, and vice versa. I loved both Andy and Nathan, and I loved their inclusion and importance in this novel. I really did.

Oh, one more thing: Anna and St. Clair in this novel was awesome. I did enjoy that thoroughly. <3

Rating:

5 out of 5 Stars

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