Best Reads

2014 Rewind: My Top 10 YA Reads

Because a picture is worth a thousand top 10 YA reads for 2014:

10. #SCANDAL by Sarah Ockler

9. HORDE by Ann Aguirre

8. FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe


6. DREAMS OF GODS & MONSTERS by Laini Taylor 


4. HEIR OF FIRE by Sarah J. Maas

3. RUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo

And my TWO #1 picks:

1. WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart

1. I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson

Yes, I cheated and picked two #1 books this year...but they were both so good -- here's what I shared about them both over at the YA Buccaneers:


Jandy Nelson could write one of those uncomfortable brochures you find in your OB/GYN's office and I'd still read it. Seriously. I love Jandy for so many reasons and I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN is one of them. Here's what I wrote about Jandy and her books in our Thanksgiving Giving Thanks post:

I'm thankful for YA author, Jandy Nelson. I loved her latest release, I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN, but THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE -- that one is at the top of my all-time favorites and reminds me every single day what great writing is all about. When I went out on sub earlier this year, I was honored to use SKY as one of my comp titles -- and in September when I got to meet Jandy, I let her know. Her response: she squealed, jumped up and hugged me, then gave me a huge kiss on my cheek. It resulted in the best personalization ever. 


Captain E. Hook, aka Erin L. Schneider: "My favorite read for 2014 was WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart. Full of characters with deep flaws, twists and turns throughout, and an ending that was not at all what I was expecting, this read has it all!" 

Make sure to stop by the YA Buccaneers and check out the rest of the crew's top favorite YA reads for 2014. Plus, we've got copies of I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN and our very own Caroline Richmond's THE ONLY THING TO FEAR up for grabs for our December Reading Muting Challenge!

What was your favorite read from this year?

2013 Rewind: My Top 10 YA Reads

As 2013 comes to a close, I joined my fellow crew over at the YA Buccaneers to look back at my top 10 YA reads for the year:

10. ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake

9. SHATTER ME by Taherah Mafi

8. UNRAVEL ME by Taherah Mafi

7. JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman

6. THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey


4. CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas

3. THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas

2. SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo

1. SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo

If you hopped over here from the YA Buccaneers site***, you already know I picked SIEGE AND STORM as my #1 pick, for the following reason:

SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo wins my favorite book for 2013, thanks to the compelling story arc and amazing cast of characters. Like many, I'm a huge fan of the Darkling and can't wait to see where Bardugo takes him and Alina in book #3 -- but a new character introduced in this second installment, Sturmhond, was the one I couldn't wait to read more of! This character's quick wit and great sense of humor had me flying through the pages -- and I'm really hoping there will be more of him in RUIN AND RISING. A lot more of him.

So, so many great reads this year, it was hard to pick just ten. Especially since there were many I didn't get a chance to read yet, that I'm sure would've made the list -- like THE DREAM THIEVES by Maggie Stiefvater, RUBY RED by Kerstin Gier, and FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell. Who knows, maybe they'll make my list for 2014!

***Don't forget to head back over to the YA Buccaneers to check out the top 10 lists for the rest of the crew -- and enter to win this month's giveaway to win an autographed copy of ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth!

I'd love to hear, what were some of your favorite YA reads this year?

RTW: Best August Read(s)

It's Road Trip Wednesday time - and today's topic:


I was fortunate to read some really great books this month: 

UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi








SUCH A RUSH by Jennifer Echols




MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick 




THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers 




But my absolute, hands-down, favorite? 


I think it might even make the cut for my most favorite of all of 2012!!! And you can read my review here


I've got some great reads coming up for September - because yes, I made another visit to Barnes & Noble last weekend, and picked up TEN more books!!! So what's coming up next?

Currently reading SECOND CHANCE SUMMER by Morgan Matson


So, what was your most favorite read in August?  

My Review: THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson

The Sky Is EverywhereThe Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life - and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey's boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie's own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they're the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can't collide without the whole wide world exploding.

This remarkable debut is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, and Francesca Lia Block. Just as much a celebration of love as it is a portrait of loss, Lennie's struggle to sort her own melody out of the noise around her is always honest, often hilarious, and ultimately unforgettable.

My Review:

Hands down, one of the most beautiful novels I have read. Ever. I absolutely loved THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE. And without a doubt, this gets my best read for 2012. It definitely has made my top 5 of all YA.

THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE was filled with such raw emotion, as Lennie deals with not only the death of her sister, but living life without ever knowing her birth mother. And then there are the two boys, Toby and Joe. One who wanders just as lost as Lennie does, trying to find his place in the world without Bailey. And one who makes her realize that life does move on, even when it's stopped for someone else.

The secondary characters - Gram and Big - both offered truly unique anchors for Lennie. Gram, who became the mother she didn't realize she had. And Big, offering his words of wisdom in a powerful, yet subtle way.

Exquisite writing that painted a world full of grief and sadness and ultimately, how finding happiness is a possibility.

Jandy Nelson is an author who writes words every writer dreams of writing, but very few seldom do. I am overwhelmed by this story, almost breathless. It was simply amazing and I loved every single word.

View all my reviews

Have you read THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE? What did you think?

RTW: Best July Read(s)!

It's Road Trip Wednesday time - and today's topic:


I will admit, I read some pretty bad books in July. Eh-em, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY turned out to be fifty shades of days I will never get back in my life! 

But...I also read two books, that were both pretty dang awesome. Two books I HIGHLY recommend you all pick up and read this summer:

1. ON THE ISLAND by Tracey Garvis-Graves

Goodreads Summary:

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.

Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

My review:

Now I know what you're thinking when you read the above summary - but really, you MUST give this book a shot before assuming the worst. Because honestly, this was one of the best reads I've read in a LONG time - and I finished it in one day.

The characters were well written from start to finish. And by the time I turned the last page, I was a blubbering mess. That's something that doesn't happen often, I can assure you.

I still need to write my review on this one, so I won't say anything more other than you DEFINITELY MUST READ THIS BOOK!

2. THE VINCENT BOYS by Abbi Glines

Goodreads Summary:

Being the good girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Ashton Gray has grown weary of playing the part to please her parents, and to be worthy of the town’s prince charming, Sawyer Vincent. Maybe That’s why she’s found herself spending time with Sawyer’s cousin, Beau, while he’s away for the summer camping with his family. Beau is nothing like her perfect boyfriend. He’s the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, dangerous in ways she’s only day dreamed about, and the one guy she should stay away from. 

Beau never envied Sawyer his loving parents, his big nice home, or his position as quarterback. He loves him like a brother. Which is why he's tried everything in his power to keep his distance from Sawyer’s girlfriend. Even if he has loved her since the age of five, Ashton is Sawyer’s girl, so therefore she’s off limits. But when Sawyer leaves for the summer, Ashton, the one girl Beau would move Heaven and Earth for, decides she wants to get into trouble. Stabbing the one person who’s always accepted him and stood by him in the back, is the cost of finally holding Ashton Gray in his arms. Is she worth losing his cousin over?.... Hell Yeah.

My Review:

Let me tell you, Ms. Glines writes boy WELL. This one is a perfect summer read - light, fun, and easy. Again, I haven't written my review yet, so I won't go into detail...other than I really enjoyed it! My only disappointment is that the sequel - THE VINCENT BROTHERS - is only out on Kindle right now (boo!) - but Abbi reassures me (yes, I DM'd her on Twitter!) she's working on the paperback version, and fingers crossed, it should be out soon. 


Both of the above are great summer reads - and definitely a breath of fresh air from the FIFTY mess I got myself into earlier in the month. 

I also stopped by Barnes & Noble last weekend and picked up 14 new books from my TBR list (ENDER'S GAME, WHAT I DIDN'T SAY, SUCH A RUSH, DON'T BREATHE A WORD, and MY LIFE NEXT DOOR to name a few!), so needless to say, August is going to be a busy month for reading...and I can't wait!

So, what great reads did you conquer in the month of July?

RTW: Best May Read!

It's Road Trip Wednesday time - which is great news, as I feel myself slacking in the blogging department now that April A to Z and Blog Me MAYbe are done!!!

And today's topic:

What was the best book you read in May?

Well, I have three, actually!

1. GRACELING by Kristin Cashore

I don't know why it took me so long to read this series, but I have to admit - I'm so glad that it did, because I got to read all three books in the series back-to-back-to-back!!!

I adored this book - and I loved Katsa and Po, even more! 

For more details, see my review here.

2. FIRE by Kristin Cashore

If it's at all possible, I finally found a sequel that I loved even more than the first book! Don't get me wrong, as I mentioned above, I loved GRACELING - and I definitely can say it has been a long time since I've read a book that I didn't want to put down, or kept going back to re-read pages! But...I have to say the relationship between Fire and Brigan in this title, really won me over! Maybe it was the horses. Maybe it was the whole knight in shining armour thing...I dunno. But I love me some Brigan.

Stay tuned for my review!

3. BITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore

Third book in the series, this one picks up right after GRACELING - but ties all three books in so nicely, with a great big bow! 

While there wasn't nearly enough romance in this book - and I totally get that wasn't the point - I still found that I missed the relationships so evident in both GRACELING and FIRE. This title was the darkest of the three, filling in almost all of the blanks behind Bitterblue's treacherous father, King Leck. And it ended, leaving the reader to wonder, will there be a fourth book? 

Well, I sure hope so!

Stay tuned for my review on this one, as well!

Net / net: May was a good month of reads for me! I love when I come across a book - or better yet, an entire series - where I just can't put them down!

Sadly though, I'm now suffering to find something good to read - and have started 5-6 other books (UNRAVELING, PANDEMONIUM, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, and DITCHED to name a few!), but can't seem to get past the first few chapters!

So with that, I leave you to answer (enter my selfish way of finding great new books to read!):

What was your favorite read in May?