Top Ten…New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

You guys…only SIXTEEN days until Christmas and only ONE WEEK until Hanukkah! After that it’s like a minute until New Year’s Eve. Where has the time gone? I’m hoping that you’re all enjoying your holiday season and that where ever you may be, that you’re staying safe, happy and warm! My husband and I are currently preparing for a big storm to hit our area which always seems to happen this time of year! When the weather gets like this, all I want to do is get my wood stove roaring and curl up with a good book by an amazing author, like the ones in my top ten list today.

Source: The Broke and The Bookish

Source: The Broke and The Bookish

As some of you may know, I’m new to Young Adult books as of this year, so pretty much every author is a new author to me. I’ve read so many fantastic books in 2014 by so many fantastic authors, so it was pretty difficult for me to narrow it down to just ten! I buckled down though and managed to come up with a list of ten ridiculously talented women who are also suppppper kind to their readers! Needless to say, they’re all the perfect package…beauty, brains and sass for days!

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

Sarah J. MaasAC GaughenEmery LordHeather DemetriosLeigh Bardugo
Cora CarmackHuntley Fitzpatrick / Stephanie PerkinsLaini TaylorRae Carson

Pretty epic list of female authors right? This is just a small list of authors I fell in love with this year. If given free rein I could have easily come up with ten more! Did I list one of your faves?

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Top Ten…Character-Driven YA Contemporaries

Not gonna lie, I had to Google the term “character-driven novels” before I started in on this post! I mean, I had an idea of what character-driven means, but I just wanted to make sure I was on-track with my choices. I found that character-driven novels tend to focus on the internal development of a character or characters such as changing of attitudes or some sort of personal discovery. Turns out my choices this week are PERFECT and that I should never have doubted myself. See…that experience right there would make a perfect character-driven novel…orrrrr short story…maybe? Maybe not?

Source: The Broke and The Bookish

Source: The Broke and The Bookish

The books and authors listed below basically read as a master class of YA contemporary novels. They are why I fell in love with YA and, wouldn’t ya know, they all fall into the category of character-driven novels! Pretty great how that worked out huh?

cover source: goodreads

cover source: goodreads

Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
My Life Next Door and What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The two authors I’ve featured below released their debut novels in 2014 and, thankfully for us, they have novels releasing in 2o15! I’ve been fortunate enough to read both of their 2015 releases (THANK YOU ANDI!!) and I can say with 100% confidence that they are even better than the debut novels that came before them. I honestly didn’t think that was possible!

cover source: goodreads

cover source: goodreads

Something Real and I’ll Meet You There (releases February 2015) by Heather Demetrios
cover source: goodreads

cover source: goodreads

Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You (releases March 2105) by Emery Lord

Have you read any of the books listed above? Would you agree that they are character-driven novels? Let me know what you think in the comments section below!

Fangirl Friday: Boston Teen Author Fest 2014

Happy Friday my book buddies! It’s been a LONG week for me and I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog and on Twitter. I actually ended up coming down with a nasty head cold yesterday, so that may explain why I had zero energy this week to post much. But, my dear friends, I decided to power through the exhaustion and general UGH feeling to bring you Fangirl Friday!

I attended the Boston Teen Author Festival last Saturday at Cambridge Public Library. It’s only the second book event I have ever been to, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Thankfully I had my blogging buddies, Andi and Gail, with me so I was able to navigate the whole event with some seasoned pros! I had a great time hanging with both of these lovely ladies, and they were sweet enough to hang with me in line even after all their books had been signed. They even waited with my outside until my ride showed up….so sweet right! Thanks again ladies for such a great day!

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The first thought I had when walking up to the library was how HUGE it is. I live up in the middle of nowhere and out library is super tiny. The Cambridge Public Library is a gorgeous building and I am super jealous of all the book worms who get to take advantage of such an amazing facility!

I arrived about a half hour early (so typical for me), so I hung around in the hallway until my dates showed up. After that we went into the lecture hall and waited for the “Meet the Authors” panel to begin. I’ll be honest, I was only familiar with five of the roughly 25 authors in attendance, so it was fun to get to learn about all of these new authors and their books. It was a hilarious rapid fire panel that included questions like “Describe your book in three adjectives” and “What is your useless talent?” Some of the highlights from the useless talent question include; Kendall Kulper being able to recite the alphabet backwards but only when drunk, Claire Legrand making weird expressions with her mouth, Huntley Fitzpatrick‘s skill at escaping from handcuffs, and A.C. Gaughen‘s ninja-like 10-key skillz! There were some other interesting one’s but the one that took that cake was the author who tells the future using hamsters. Don’t ask!

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Why yes, I did snag front row seats!

All of the authors were so engaging and funny, and genuinely excited to be there. Below is a great shot of Alexandra Bracken, author of The Darkest Minds series which I just started reading by the way. She was so adorable and sweet, and the fact that she is 10 whole years younger than me makes me question what I’m doing with my life! Kidding…sort of! Also making an appearance in this photo is a new-to-me-author Annie Cardi, author of The Chance You Won’t Return, as well as Cara Bertrand‘s amazing boots. Another author that is new to me, so I grabbed her book Lost In Thought and was lucky enough to be given a copy of her second novel, Second Thoughts, by Cara herself!

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After the “Meet The Authors” panel, two break-out sessions were held, and I decided to attend the “Whole New World” panel simply because Claire Legrand was a part of it. I read Summerfall, a prequel novella to her new release Winterspell, and immediately fell in love with her writing and the story! I had been chatting a bit with Claire on Twitter over the past couple months as well, so I was very excited to get to meet her at this event. She was so fantastic in her panel and it was so great to hear all about what inspires her writing, including music, movies and the Borg from Star Trek!

The festival broke for a quick lunch and then it was on to the “Choose Your Own Adventure” panel that featured a few authors I was psyched about, A.C. Gaughen (sporting an amazing typewriter hand bag), Alexandra Bracken and Kendall Kulper. This panel focused on the characters each author had created and how they forged their own destiny. There was some serious truth being preached during this session, and Alexandra and A.C in particular really had me inspired and enlightened. It’s so amazing to see strong women using their talents to write about other strong women and the power of choice. There were a bunch of teenage girls in the audience and it thrilled me to no end to know they were soaking up all this female empowerment!

.@alexbracken is simply delightful! #BTAF2014 #ThaDarkestMinds

A post shared by Sarah (@whatsarahread) on

After panels it was time for the author signings and I hustled to Claire’s line so I could get my hands on one of the amazing full-color map featured in Winterspell. I would have to say my favorite moment of the whole day was getting a couple of minutes to talk with Claire while she signed my copy of Winterspell! She is so genuine, kind and enthusiastic, and I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t just hang with her all day. Check out all of the amazing swag I got from her table! So gorgeous!

I was also able to meet Huntley Fitzpatrick and had her sign My Life Next Door and What I Thought Was True, which was high on my bookish bucket list. She was so kind and genuinely thankful for all of the support and love from her fans. It was fun chatting with her about being from New England and how much we love it!

All in all, it was a fantastic day spent with great friends (thanks again Andi and Gail) and great authors! I walked away with two totes FULL of books and a big smile on my face! How many days until Boston Teen Author Festival 2015??

What’s your favorite book festival or book signing moment? Share your funny, sweet or fangirl moments in the comments below!

 

 

Fangirl Friday: 2015 Releases

Happy August everybody, hope you’re all having a great Friday. Now that we’re officially in the second half of 2014 (ugh) I find myself starting to think about all the amazing 2015 releases we have coming our way. I’ve highlighted just a handful of the books we have to look forward to but I know there are so many more out there that I don’t even know about yet!

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cover images courtesy of goodreads

First Row

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: The cover alone makes me giddy with joy, but you throw in the prospect of royalty, supernatural abilities and a fantasy setting, and I am soooo there!

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler: This book was just announced the other day and it’s already blowing up my Goodreads feed! It’s a contemporary re-telling of The Little Mermaid featuring a female MC that is a minority! Oh heck yeah! #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Fairest by Marissa Meyer: I’ve always found Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles super intriguing, so I’m really looking forward to a story told from her perspective. Let’s face it, bitch is hard-core eeeeevil, but maybe we’ll get a little insight as to why!

Second Row

I Was Here by Gayle Forman: What is about Gayle Forman that makes me want to burst into tears? Her books just make me feel all of the feels. This 2015 release promises to touch on some pretty intense subject matters but I have no doubt Gayle will write them beautifully and honestly, and in a way that will touch us all.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord: Ohhhh Emery, the things you do to me. Open Road Summer was everything I wanted it to be and more, so you can imagine how FREAKING excited I am for this release. How gorgeous are Emery’s covers by the way?

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: I don’t know a ton about this novel and I’m not really not a huge fan of mysteries. But something about the summary intrigued me and I totally want to read it now. Not gonn lie though, the bee kinda freaks me out.

Third Row

The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows: Another book I don’t know too much about but the summary once again drew me in. I love a good fantasy novel and this one hits all the right marks; a princess/spy living in a magic-filled world. SOLD!

Winter by Marissa Meyer: Another Lunar Chronicles novel makes the list…but this one comes wayyy late in the year so we still have a pretty long wait. This installment features Winter and if her appearances in the previous novels are any indication it should be a pretty interesting read!

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios: After her debut novel Something Real, I’ll forever be a uber-fan of Heather! I’m super excited to be a part of her Blogger Caravan for Exquisite Captive and so thrilled we’ll get ANOTHER new release from her next year! Three releases in one year…thankyouverymuch!

I’m not done yet…

Pretty epic list so far right? BUT…those only include the books that have cover designs. I’ll continue my list of some releases that don’t yet have covers but that still cause me to flail in excitement when I think about them.

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller: Where the Stars Still Shine was one of my very first YA novels and it will always hold a special place in my heart for sparking my love of YA Lit! So you know I’m sooo ready for another masterpiece from Trish.

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick: I adored My Life Next Door and always knew there was story hiding inside Tim waiting to come out. Hoping that Samantha and Jase make a cameo here and there.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: Let’s face it…I will read literally ANYTHING Sarah writes. But a Beauty and the Beast re-telling involving a young, handsome Faerie Lord and my excitement levels are taken to a whole new stratosphere. Apparently there is another Throne of Glass installment coming in 2015 but I can’t find much information on it. Come on though, you know it’s going to be epic!

Is it 2015 yet? What releases from next year are you most excited for? I’d love to hear so I can fangirl with the rest of you.

 

 

 

Book Review: What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Published: 4/15/14 by Dial Books for Young Readers
Pages: 416 | Format: Hard cover| Source: Purchased
Purchase this book

From the author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions. Gwen Castle’s Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He’s a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island’s summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she’ll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen’s dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.

The Review
It’s such a great feeling when you pick up a new book and it immediately clicks, and that’s the feeling I had within the first few pages of What I Thought Was True. I knew right away that this  was going to be another Huntley Fitzpatrick masterpiece. I am so in love with this woman’s writing; whether it’s the way she describes the smell of low tide on a hazy summer night or the angst of a young woman who never felt as though she was worth very much to anyone. Fitzpatrick has a talent of getting you to the heart of the matter by allowing you to become intimately familiar with the story and the characters. I absolutely adore how she takes the time to immerse you in their stories but at the same time moving the plot forward with impeccable pacing.

I’m also a huge fan of how beautiful her descriptions of even the smallest of details can be. There were so many passages in this novel that I had to stop and re-read again because they were just so perfect.

“I shift my gaze to the limitless blue of the sky, acutely aware of every sound–the sighing ocean, the hum of the bees in the beach plum bushes, the distant heartbeat throb of a speedboat.”

I’m a New England girl through and through, and this novel reminded me of everything I love about the summers here; salty skin, sunsets from the pier and warm nights by the sea. The beach-side community was the perfect setting for the novel and it became a character all on its own. You can tell that Fitzpatrick is New England born and bred as well, she gets all of the details perfectly right. Even down to the crushed seashell driveways and Hoodsie cups.

What really touched me about this novel though was how often Gwen’s situation reminded me of the feelings I had as young woman, learning to love myself despite the mistakes I made. Her family life is complicated and she has to deal with so many influences at home that force her to be wise beyond her years. Living under the same roof as your mom, a little brother with special needs, your cousin AND your grandfather is bound to create some drama. Luckily she loves and is loved by her family so completely that it makes the strain a little easier and they all know they can rely on one another. Even though it was filled with its’ fair share of drama, I really enjoyed the dynamics between Gwen and her family, and how it just added to the dynamic layers of her character.

One relationship that she isn’t so sure of is the one with Cassidy (Cass) Somers, the rich boy from the mainland who takes a job as a yard boy with the rest of “the help” on the island she lives on. Gwen doesn’t know why he decided to take the job and she certainly doesn’t know how to interact with him considering their history. Throughout the book, both Gwen and Cass work on finding a way to define a new friendship without letting the mistakes of their past get in the way. She definitely wants to keep the relationship strictly platonic, but Cass’ good looks and charm end up making that a pretty difficult task. Slowly but surely he finds a way to insert himself into nearly every aspect of Gwen’s life and she’s forced to find a way to accept that. At the same time, Cass is forced to deal with the repercussions of “that night” and find a way to get Gwen to trust him again. It’s such an honest portrayal of former friends navigating their way back to each other, with both of them not having any clue of how to get there or what will happen once they do.

Speaking of Cass, he earns his spot in my book boyfriend hall of farm for his sincerity, kindness and persistence. He’s so honest with Gwen and you can tell that despite everything he truly cares for Gwen and only wants the best for her. His messy blonde hair, tan skin, strong arms and habit of being shirtless also paint a pretty swoon-worthy picture. I think it’s pretty safe to say that I am obsessed!

click for source

click for source

One of the things I really appreciated about this book was how honestly the topic of sex was handled. It’s not always sunshine and roses, mistakes are made and you start wishing things had been done differently. I’ll get real for a sec and admit that I’ve been there and to see myself in Gwen’s situation was so refreshing. It was great to read a YA book in which the main character faces the dilemma head on and fights her way through to the other side. More so for herself than anything else and no matter how scary it may be. The trick is not to let those mistakes own you and find a way to move beyond the past with out it dragging you down. I adored Gwen for her humility and ultimately her strength, and found myself wishing that this book had been around when I was younger.

Huntley Fitzpatrick masterfully weaves three love stories into one with this novel; the complicated love between a boy and girl, the story of a girl learning to love herself and Huntley’s love letter to summer in New England. The common thread throughout this book was the journey we all take in life to discover what it is we truly love. What you thought you wanted isn’t always what you get..it may turn out to be something even better.

rating 5

Fangirl Friday: Book Boyfriend Edition

Waaa-hoooo it’s Friday ya’ll!! There’s nothing better than the end of the week and a whole two days of freedom ahead of you. I had a ton of fun with today’s Fangirl post. I’m thinking I was a little inspired by how much fun I had with my first ever Top 10 Tuesday post, so I decided to put together another Top 10 list for you today. THIS list is filled with pretty boys so hopefully it will put a smile on your face.

I couldn’t call myself a YA book blogger if I didn’t have a list of my favorite book boyfriends, and I certainly couldn’t call myself a fangirl if I didn’t imagine what these guys would look like. The list below reflects MY vision of my all-time favorite book boyfriends. Now, I know we all have our ideas of what these guys may look like, so I’m sure you might disagree with some of my picks but I hope you have as much fun reading as I did writing!

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original photo source

I think by now, we all know how much I adore Levi from Fangirl. I actually casted him as Ryan Gosling for YA Prom, but when I saw this photo of Hunter Parish I immediately saw Levi. I’m thinking Ryan is too old anyways, so I’m officially declaring Hunter as my Levi! Can’t you just see him snuggling up and reading with you in bed? Orrr….is that just me? Wishful thinking?

“I like your glasses,” he said. “I like your Simon Snow T-shirts. I like that you don’t smile at everyone, because then, when you smile at me.… Cather.” He kissed her mouth. “Look at me.” She did. “I choose you over everyone.” 
― Rainbow RowellFangirl

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original photo source

Ohhhh Mal….I loved you from the very beginning. You’re quite and brooding, but still waters run deep and when you let yourself open up it made me love you even more. I’d never heard of Gaspard Ulliel before but when I saw this photo it felt like I was seeing the Mal I envisioned in my mind come to life!

“I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me why we don’t belong together,” he said fiercely.”
Leigh Bardugo, Shadow and Bone

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original photo source

From the moment I met Chaol in the opening pages of Throne of Glass, I immediately pictured Tom Mison from Sleepy Hollow. Choal is a natural leader who focuses intensely on his duties, but we also find out that he is a sensitive man, fiercely protective of Celaena. Tom Minson captures this dual personality perfectly; a dude who looks like he means business but behind those eyes is a big old softie.

“I worry because I care. Gods help me, I know I shouldn’t, but I do. So I willalways tell you to be careful, because I will always care what happens.” 
― Sarah J. MaasCrown of Midnight

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original photo source

OK….so I TOTALLY cheated on this one. As I was doing my research for this post, I came across a blog post in which Emery Lord mentioned that she would cast Matt Lauria as Matt Finch. I don’t watch Parenthood so I had to go ahead and Google him, and when I did I was SOLD! Why have I never heard of this hottie before? Thank you Emery for introducing me to this fine specimen of a man.

“When his eyes land on me, something about his expression changes—like he recognizes me from somewhere, too. I look back, appraising him quickly. He’s kind of beautiful, in an understated, comfortable-looking way—the kind of guy who doesn’t mind seeing a rom-com with you and gives you his hoodie when you’re cold.” 
― Emery LordOpen Road Summer

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original photo source

Ohhhh Jase Garrett, how you make me swoon! You’re a family man, you take care of those you love and you know exactly what to say and do to make everything better. Seriously, your sexy one-liners (as seen below) are made of awesome! Jake Abel totally fits the bill for me, tall, brownish-blonde hair and always with sexy little smirk on his face.

“Um. So … Are we going to study?” Jase slides his thumbs behind my ears, rubbing the hollow at their base. He’s only inches from my face, still looking into my eyes. “You bet. I’m studying you.” 

― Huntley FitzpatrickMy Life Next Door

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original photo source

OK, this one made me a little sad because I was so devastated when he passed, but the moment I saw this picture all I could think of was Patrick Sheldon. As Heather Demetrios would say, “He looks like the kind of boy who would jump trains, strum a guitar, and pass a joint.”  Ummmm yup, River is the perfect not so bad boy….looks like he could get you in a lot of trouble but he’s really just a sweet and thoughtful guy underneath it all.

“That boy has forever written all over his face when he looks at you.”
― Heather Demetrios, Something Real

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original photo source

For some reason, this pick makes me the most nervous. I know Etienne fangirls are HARD CORE and I don’t want to piss anyone off. But looking at this photo of Aaron Johnson, I totally see Etienne. He’s got that messy hair, the big brown eyes and all I want to do is stroll the banks of The Seine at night with him.

“Because I was right. For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It’s a person.
And we’re finally home.” 
― Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss

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original photo source

This is another one I can’t really explain why but when we first meet Willem in Just One Day, I pictured Dave Franco right away. I know he doesn’t have the blonde hair of Willem, but he definitely has the look of a guy who’s been around the world and seen a lot of things. He’s got those intense eyes that tells me he’s got a few good stories to tell.

“He looks at one of the pictures for a long time. Then he looks at me. “I’ll keep you up here.” He taps his temple. “Where you can’t get lost.”
― Gayle FormanJust One Day

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original photo source

This one is pretty cool, so I had to sneak it in here! The photo above is the real life Almanzo Wilder from the Little House series. Kind of easy to see why Laura Ingalls fell madly in love with him! Dude is smoking hot right?!

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original photo source

Last but not least we have the ultimate book boyfriend, Gilbert Blythe. He was the one that started it all for me! From the book to the movies…I couldn’t get enough of Gil. I would like to commend whoever cast Jonathan Crombie as Gilbert Blythe because that person KILLED it! He’s absolutely perfect in the role! Gil is everything you want in a book boyfriend, confident but quiet, patient, romantic and selfless. I mean, the guy gave up his teaching job in Avonlea so Anne could stay close to home with Marilla. What a stud!

Anne, I’ve loved you as long as I can remember. I need you. 
Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Now it’s your turn! Who’s your ultimate book boyfriend? What do you think of my picks? Is there one I got totally right or totally wrong. Share your thoughts in the comments below.