Top 15 Books on My TBR ASAP Pile

Inspired by the Top Ten Tuesday meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish (I know, I’m a day late) I felt the need to pare down my intimidating TBR list of 800+ books on Goodreads to something a little shorter, a little more able to fit on a single post-it note when trotting off to the library, and a little more prioritized for the fall season. I hate reading books that I wanted to read but are in the way of me reading that other book that I REALLY wanted to read. It’s not nice to do to the books or to me.

Technically, it’s supposed to be a list of ten books but…I failed. The shortest I could make it was fifteen.

I noticed that when comparing last year to this year, I read twenty-seven 5-star books in 2012 while in 2013 (which is soon coming to a close) I only read thirteen 5-star books. I don’t think this is me getting stingy with my 5-star ratings, but rather a symptom of not prioritizing those books that I drool over at the thought of. So, here’s a chance to squeeze in all the books that I think I’m going to enjoy the most before the end of the year:

Book #2 in a Series

The Dream ThievesStar Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Following up probably one of the most amazing books I’ve read in years. OMG THIS CAME OUT YESTERDAY. Excuse me while I hunt a copy down. And read it for the next twelve hours straight.

Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood. Book 2 in an alternate history New England…with witches! (Be still my heart.) I was eagerly anticipating it’s publication in June…and then I just let it pass me by.

Book #3 in a Series

Allegiant by Veronica RothRequiem by Lauren OliverSever by Lauren DeStefanoEmerald Green by Kerstin Gier

Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Won’t be published until October. Taps foot impatiently.

Requiem by Lauren Oliver. One of my absolute favorite series of all time. Cap that with the fact that it’s written by one of my favorite authors of all time! I think I’ve been putting this one off like Harry Potter 7, which I didn’t finish until nearly six months after it was published, because I wanted to push off the final chapter until the last possible second. Also, this is comp title research for the WIP.

Sever by Lauren DeStefano. Partially for comp title research for the WIP, but mostly just because I have to know how this fantastic series ends!

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier. Not published yet. Saucy characters and great time travel adventures. I’ve been waiting for more than a year for October 2013 to roll around and finally deposit this book in a bookstore!

Historical Fiction

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat WintersCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. I’ve been wanting to read this historical fiction since before it was even published, but I just never picked up a copy. Changing that ASAP!

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Everyone in the world loves this historical fiction and I’m ashamed I haven’t read it yet since it sounds so amazingly fantastic.

Writing Research

Breath by Martha MasonEve by Anna CareyLiving with PolioAsleep by Molly Caldwell Crosby

Breath: A Lifetime in the Rhythm of an Iron Lung by Martha Mason. A memoir and research for my own WIP.

Eve by Anna Carey. YA comp title research for my WIP.

Living with Polio by Daniel Wilson. Historical non-fiction and some research for the WIP.

Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries by Molly Caldwell Crosby. See the above. (Also…doesn’t this title grab your interest and not let go?)

Stand-Alone Awesomeness

The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThe Year of Shadows by Claire LegrandLady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Everyone else in the world, it seems, has read and recommend this to me. Time to jump on the bandwagon. Also, so I can see the movie!

The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand. Ghosts+an orchestra? Obviously, this book is for me! Loved her first book and was so excited about this one I went to the bookstore and bought it the first week it was out. I honestly believe Legrand is writing some of the best new middle grade fiction there is right now, of Roald Dahl and Cornelia Funke (two of my other favorite middle grade writers) caliber.

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey by Fiona Carnarvon. Publishing in November. Obviously have to do SOMETHING to hold me over until the new season, since I already read Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey!

What’s on your to-read list this fall?

I Love Free Books

How many of you use Goodreads? [counts hands]

How many of you enter into those Goodreads giveaways? [counts hands]

If you didn’t raise your hand for one or both of the above questions, CHANGE THIS RIGHT NOW. If you love books–which I assume you do, if you’re reading this, because I talk about them quite a bit on the blog and I can only imagine that would be annoying for non-book lovers–you obviously also love free books, right? With reading habits as ferocious as ours, free books (and bookstore gift cards!) are pretty much the best gifts of all time.

Goodreads has wormed its way even deeper into my heart by gifting me two free books in the past two weeks! They weren’t gifts, really, I won them by entering the giveaways, but they FEEL like gifts!

Happy Birthday to me.

I won this one two weeks ago and got the book in the mail on Friday. Excited!

According to Goodreads, Family Pictures

New York Times bestseller Jane Green delivers a riveting novel about two women whose lives intersect when a shocking secret is revealed. From the author of Another Piece of My Heart comes the gripping story of two women who live on opposite coasts but whose lives are connected in ways they never could have imagined. Both women are wives and mothers to children who are about to leave the nest for school. They’re both in their forties and have husbands who travel more than either of them would like. They are both feeling an emptiness neither had expected. But when a shocking secret is exposed, their lives are blown apart. As dark truths from the past reveal themselves, will these two women be able to learn to forgive, for the sake of their children, if not for themselves?

I got the email this morning that I won a copy! What a good way to start off a Monday!!

Also according to Goodreads, Mila 2.0

Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past —that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity–style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.

(PS: Mila 2.0 has a free prequel, if you’re interested in reading it. I’m going to pick it up as I anxiously await the book in the mail.)

Of course, I’m going to prioritize these two books and read them as quickly as possible so I can get my review up on Goodreads as quickly as possible. The whole point of the giveaways is to generate some buzz before the book goes on sale so readers can get excited and run to the book store the first day it’s available. (Family Pictures goes on sale March 19th and Mila 2.0 goes on sale March 12th.) I owe them the review, for being kind enough to send the book along, though I don’t owe them a good review. If I didn’t like the book, I’ll say so (in a completely professional and “this is just my opinion” way, because I’m not a Goodreads bully), but I’ve been reading the already posted reviews and I’m pretty confident I’m going to enjoy them, especially the Mila 2.0 book.

[happy dance]

Reading time!!

PPS: Be my friend on Goodreads! I love sharing and getting book recommendations :]

Go Read 5 YA Books, Then Talk to Me

Just as a preface, this post was inspired by a request from G.P. Merwede, who’s not a #1 fan of YA literature, but wanted to hear more of my thoughts on the matter. I totally respect that there will be a difference of opinions and I want to make clear that don’t like him or anyone else any less for having reading tastes different from mine. To each their own. But, let’s all be informed on the issues, shall we, instead of blindly hating a whole library of books?

There’s be a lot of scorn aimed at YA literature in recent months and years. People have been calling for a YA rating system (because of “profanity”), generalizing all YA literature as dark, depraved, and lurid, and generally believing that YA literature is poorly written, trashy, and unoriginal.

When you were children, didn’t you love books? Didn’t you read age-appropriate books (I’m sure you weren’t picking up tombs of acclaimed “great literature,” such as Anna Karenina or Moby Dick for pleasure reading) that still have a soft place in your heart?

Do you really want to insult your 14-year-old self by saying that everything you read back then, everything you enjoyed, was complete crap?

If you’re an adult and sticking up your nose right now; if, on the tip of your tongue you’re about to say that you didn’t have “refined” tastes yet, you didn’t know what “real literature” was yet, just stop.

Just stop.

The only reason that I can possibly imagine people believe all these bad stereotypes about YA lit is that they don’t know what they’re talking about. Literally, they haven’t read enough YA books (or any at all) to have a well-supported opinion.

As a basic qualifier, let’s say that you don’t have enough information, or haven’t done enough homework to know one damn thing unless you’ve read at least 5 YA books recently. A smattering of both classic favorites and recently published books. Once you’ve read 5 YA books and have done enough of your own research to have a real opinion–rather than parroting somebody else’s statistics–then come talk to me. I’d love to have a real, informed debate about the topic. If you still hate YA literature after reading 5 books, you have my full permission.

In a similar line of thought, if you’re going to leave comments below, you first have to list 5 YA books, ones you’ve honestly read start to finish. It’s like a resume, to prove that you’re qualified to join the discussion.

If you’re counting up books on your fingers and realizing you’re short of the required 5, try out some on the Goodread’s list of the best/most popular YA books, or some of the past winners of the Newbery Award. Also, I’m providing a list of some of my personal favorites. Once you’ve read five, then we’ll talk. Okay?

Book Thief (so well-written, the sentences and sentiments so beautiful . . . you’ll cry. Also, you writers might feel a tiny twinge of despair that you’ll never be able to write such an awesome book. Deep sigh.)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (if you haven’t read this yet, get a copy Right.Now.)

The Scorpio Races (so so so amazing)

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

The Language of Flowers


Harry Potter

Perks of Being a Wallflower

Thirteen Reasons Why

Divergent (if you liked The Hunger Games, another recommendation)

The Giver

(PS: All book links will take you to Goodreads, so you can add them to your “to-read” list! Friend me and we can share book recommendations :])