Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Book Recommendations for People Who Like Mysteries

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Other than science fiction and fantasy, mystery is my favorite type of young adult and middle grade book. It’s fascinating to follow a kid or teen around as they try to solve a crime or figure out why a certain part of their life doesn’t make sense.

There many incredible YA and middle grade mysteries. Today I wanted to highlight a few of them that I think are the cream of the crop. If you’ve never tried one, this is a wonderful place to start. If you have read something awesome that isn’t on this list, I’d love to know the title and author!

The first five books were written for middle grade readers, and the last five are for teenagers.

1. The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery by Graeme Base.

I have three words for you: elephant birthday party. Thinking about animals having and attending birthday parties was nearly as much fun as trying to help Horace the Elephant figure out who ate all of the food before his party even started.

2. Space Case by Stuart Gibbs.

Imagine growing up on a moon colony and never being allowed to go outside! When one of the lead scientists was murdered, Dashiell tried to figure out what happened. I love this character’s voice and how persistent he was in the beginning when the adults in his life thought that their colleague’s death had been an accident.

3. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis.

Not all amateur detectives are necessarily good ones. It was funny to watch Timmy try so hard to solve his case while missing many important clues. I also enjoyed his character development. The author trusted his audience to notice how Timmy changes from one mystery to the next, and that made this a great read.

4. The Tail of Emily Windsnap: Book 1 by Liz Kessler. 

Emily’s family wasn’t like most other families. Before she could go on any adventures of her own, she had to figure out why her parents had never taught her how to swim and why her body did such odd things when she finally did get into the water.

5. Eight Grade Bites #1: The Chronicles of Vladimir Todd by Zac Brewer.

I’m a sucker for a good vampire story, pun intended. So I was curious to see what life would be like for a fourteen-year-old half-vampire who was desperately trying to conceal his identity and avoid the vampire hunter who wanted to find him.

What surprised me the most about Vlad was how funny he was. I’d expect a lot of things from a vampire, but a great sense of humor isn’t one of them.


6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

The Netflix retelling of this story was all the rage earlier this year. While I didn’t end up watching it, seeing the advertisements for it did make me curious about reading the original.

I had mixed feelings about Hannah’s decision to make the tapes in the first place since some of the people she left messages for were responsible for such minor errors.

With that being said, she was a complex character whose flaws made her incredibly interesting. I also liked the message the storyline gave about how our actions can affect others far more than we might have originally guessed.










7. Monster by Walter Dean Myers.

A sixteen-year-old has been put on trial for murder. While he waited for the justice system to decide his fate, he sorted through all of the events in his life that lead him to this moment.

The mystery of what really happened that night kept me guessing. I have strong opinions about who killed the victim, but every reader has chance to make up their own mind about the events of that night and whether the main character is guilty or innocent.


8. The Cellar by Natasha Preston. 

I normally shy away from books about people being abused, but this one grabbed my attention as soon as I saw the cover.

Fair warning: this is a scary tale about a teen girl being kidnapped and locked away in a cellar with several other young women. Her reaction to those events kept me up at night. I couldn’t look away until I’d figured out why she was kidnapped and if she’d ever see her family again.

9. The Everafter by Amy Huntley. 

Imagine trying to solve your own murder after you’ve died and gone to the afterlife. This was such a unique premise that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I especially enjoyed the plot twists. Obviously I can’t say anything about them without giving away spoilers, but Madison’s new home wasn’t quite as simple as it sounded. It was amusing to figure it all out and try to piece together her final moments before she did.

10. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.

There were two main characters in this tale. One of them was brutally beaten by the cops. The other witnessed that attack and so knew immediately that the official story that the local police department later released about what happened was false. Their responses to that night not only changed their lives but the lives of everyone in their community as well.

I loved the tension of it all. It didn’t let up for one single second, so I changed my mind so many times about what the characters were going to do next and whether the truth would ever come out.


Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite YA Dads

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a Top Ten Tuesday post about some of my favorite moms in young adult fiction. Now that Father’s Day is just around the corner, I’d like to talk about my favorite dads and father figures in this genre.

1. Jack from Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child.

Jack and his wife had been childless for decades before this tale began. After they built a child out of snow on a whim one day, their lives began to change in ways they never could have imagined. I enjoyed the fantasy elements of the plot as much as I did the more serious and sad parts of it.

2. Mr. Fox from Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. 

Every time I reread this book, I remember how hard Mr. Fox worked to take care of his family. He always made sure they had something to eat, even if he had to sneak into several different farms to find their dinner.

3. The father from Ann Taylor’s Baby Dance.

This was such a joyful picture book. It makes me grin every time I reread it because of how much the father in it loved dancing with his little girl while her mom slept.

4. Fred and Clark from David-Matthew Barnes’ Wonderland.

After Destiny’s mother died of cancer, uncle Fred and his husband took her in. What surprised me the most about these father figures is how they made the transformation from two people who didn’t necessarily seem all that interested in becoming parents to two people who really loved their new daughter.

5. The father in Thanhhà Lai’s Listen, Slowly.

Mai, the main character, went through a selfish stage in this story. As much as I liked her father in the beginning, I only grew to appreciate him more as I saw how he guided his daughter to see the world from other people’s perspectives. That isn’t always an easy thing to do with kids her age, but he did it wonderfully.

6. Bobby from Angela Johnson’s The First Part Last.

Bobby was both the main character of this book as well as a single, teen dad. When his girlfriend experienced severe complications from the pregnancy, he had to figure out how to raise their daughter alone and plan a good future for both of them.

7. Dad and Papa from Jessica Verdi’s My Life After Now. 

Lucy’s dads were so loving and supportive. I was especially interested in how they approached conversations with her about her adoption and her diagnosis later on in the plot. There was no doubt in my mind that they were going to face her future together as a family.

8. Robert Quimby from Beverly Cleary’s Ramona and Her Father.

Robert was always patient and affectionate with his kids. It was also amusing to see how he reacted to some of Ramona’s creative hijinks in this book. Based on his reactions, she clearly got her sense of humor from her dad!

9. Ed Boone from Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Not only was Ed a single parent, his son Christopher had been diagnosed with autism. Ed figured out all kinds of creative ways to help his son become independent and cope with the most challenging parts of his life. I also really liked seeing how this father and son stuck together when they went through hard times. They really cared about each other, and it showed.

10. Arthur Weasley from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Just like his wife Molly, Arthur was an excellent parent and parent figure in this series. He genuinely loved all of the kids in his life, and he would have done anything necessary to protect them. I also really loved seeing how he interacted with his kids in general. He was a little embarrassing at times for them, but he always had good intentions.

How about you? Who are some of your favorite fictional dads?

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite YA Moms

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In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to talk about my favorite moms and mother figures in young adult books. There are a lot of wonderful fictional moms out there, so it was tough to narrow this list down!

1. The mother from Kwame Alexander’s Booked.

As far as I can recall, the name of Nick’s mom is never mentioned in this book. She’s very involved in her children’s lives, though, and wants nothing more than to see them succeed in life. I loved seeing their relationships grow over the course of the plot.

2.  Maura Sargent from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys.

What I liked most about Maura was how much freedom she gave her daughter, Blue, to make her own choices even if they weren’t always what Maura would have done herself. She respected her child’s right to grow up and become an independent person. In this case, that was the best possible thing she could have done.

3. Kat Hall from Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. 

We don’t get to see as much her in this book as I would have liked, but I adored the close and loving relationship she had with her kids almost as much as I did the fact that Kat was a punk rocker when she was young.

4. Mama from JaNay Brown-Wood’s Imani’s Moon

Once again, this was another story where the mother’s name wasn’t mentioned from what I can recall. It was such a sweet story, though. I loved the fact that Mama was so supportive of Imani’s desire to jump up high enough to touch the moon. The ending was beautiful as well.

5.  Frannie Lancaster from John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.

There are a million different reasons why I keep recommending this book to everyone over and over again, but Frannie is by far one of the biggest ones. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to hear that your child has an incurable form of cancer, but Frannie was so brave and strong. She couldn’t have been a better mom to Hazel.

6. Marilla Cuthbert from L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.

Marilla’s transformation into Anne’s mother-figure in this series was beautiful. The first time I read it, I never would have guessed that these characters would become a family or that they would have such a positive effect on each other. It makes me tear up every time I reread this tale and see how it all fell in place.

7. Mrs. Frisby from Robert C. O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.

This is something I’d recommend to kids and adults alike. Mrs. Frisby is such an attentive mother. I especially loved the scenes that described how she found food for her little family. Not only were they unbelievably cute, they were full of examples of how far she would go to feed her babies.

8. Mimi and Carol from Dana Alison Levy’s This Would Make a Good Story Someday.

The cross-country train trip in this tale is hilarious. I also love the way the main character’s moms talk to their kids. They’re embarrassing sometimes like every parent can be, but they’re also really loving and interested in what’s happening in their children’s lives.

9. Betty from Gabrielle Zevin’s Elsewhere.

The afterlife in this universe is one where you age backwards after you die. Once you become a newborn again, you are sent back to earth to live out another lifetime.

Liz, the main character, died in an accident at the age of 15. It’s up to her grandmother, Betty, to help her adjust to her death and enjoy the afterlife until she’s ready to be sent out again. Betty was everything a mother figure should be: loving, firm, understanding, and always ready to give her granddaughter another chance. I absolutely adored their relationship, and I didn’t want their tale to end.

10. Molly Weasley from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. 

 Not only was she warm and nurturing to all seven of her biological kids, she took Harry under her wing and looked after him like he was her long-lost eight child from the very first time they met at Platform 9 and 3/4. She was by far my favorite adult character in this series because of how kind she was to Harry.  If only she could have raised him from the beginning!

 Who are some of your favorite moms in the young adult genre?

Top Ten Dragon Book Covers

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This week’s theme is all about book covers, and I picked dragons!  I think dragons are fascinating and visually striking.  While I haven’t read all of these books, their gorgeous covers certainly make me want too!

1.The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


I like this cover because I can almost hear Smaug breathing when I look at it.  He looks like he could stretch his wings and leap out of the cover at any moment.

2. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley


I love the intensity of the battle on this cover.  Aerin’s courage shines through as she confronts the massive dragon.

3. Eragon by Christopher Paolini


This dragon looks so regal!  The eyes are particularly mesmerizing.

4. Firebolt by Adrienne Woods


The cover of this book definitely draws me in.  Are the dragon and the girl friends or enemies?  My curiosity is certainly piqued!

5. Eldest by Christopher Paolini


What an intense stare!  This dragon looks as though it can see into my soul.

6. Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede


The dragon and this girl seem thoroughly unimpressed with each other.  I want to know their story!

7. Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George


The bond between the girl and the dragon is beautiful.

8. Frostbite by Adrienne Woods


The white dragon and the pale blue dress on this cover are very striking.

9. Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley


This dragon looks so realistic!  I can almost feel the rough scales with my fingertips.

10. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


I really like the muted color of this book cover.  It reminds me of illustrations in old books.

How about you?  Which cover is your favorite?

Top Ten Tuesday: The Most Unique YA Books I’ve Read

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This list is a mixture of everything from middle-grade fiction to one story I’d only recommend for older teens. I never thought I’d be talking about some of these books in the same Top Ten Tuesday Post, but that’s the beauty of asking for unique suggestions!

1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Yes, there’s a monster creeping around in this book. No, this isn’t a scary story. In fact, it probably won’t be anything like you expect it to be at all. That’s why I like it so much.

2. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally. There aren’t many teenage girls out there playing high school football. This part of the plot alone was enough to catch my eye.

3. Annie Gomez and the Gigantic Foot of Doom by Jay Cutts. Not only is the title a lot of fun, the idea of the main character using a secret weapon but still failing to stop the bad guys is almost unheard of!

4. Stolen: A Letter to my Captor by Lucy Christopher. Gemma is kidnapped and taken to Australia by a young, handsome man who has clearly been planning this crime for a long time. The idea of a kidnapper being kind and gentle really weirds me out. I still don’t know what I think of this story, but it definitely is unique.

5. El Deafo by Cece Bell. This was such a fun spin on superhero stories. There have definitely been times when I’ve wished I could hear quiet conversations on the other side of a building!

6. Paradox Love by Dorothy Gravelle. Sometimes happily ever after ends when you’re 17. Romances don’t generally start with one of the main characters dying, so I couldn’t wait to see what happened after that.

7. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. Being unique isn’t a bad thing. The main character in this book is exactly the kind of person I would have wanted to be friends with in middle school!

8. Push by Sapphire. Imagine being 16 years old, illiterate, and pregnant with your second child. Precious has everything stacked against her, but she’s determined to find a way to make a better life for her and her baby. This should only be read by high schoolers due to its mature content.

9. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I loved graveyards when I was a kid. Growing up in one, though, would have been an entirely different story.

10. The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys by Chris Fuhrman. First of all, the cover for this book is amazing. I also love the fact that the main character makes fun of everything and everyone…even himself!

Top Ten Tuesday: Fandoms!

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I nearly had an apoplectic fit with this topic. I’m a FREAK about fandoms! I have a bunch of fan art I talk about and want to share, but forgot to make notes to credit it back, so … can’t. ::: sad :::

In any case, hold on to your hats! Here we go…

1. The Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare has successfully written three of my favorite series on the face of the planet. They are currently dominating my top shelves on my bookcases, and I have the special editions, which, of course, makes me happy every time I look at them. 🙂 Anyway, Cassandra Clare has written a world of demons and angels like no other, with it being borderline fantasy with the inclusion of the Seelie court (Fae) and magical ideas. The stories are rich and well developed, and you’ll grow to fall in lo- actually, I’m still in a puddle on the floor over this series, so to be honest you might be in a book hangover for a few weeks.

The characters in the Mortal Instruments books are not like their movie or television series counterparts I gave up on both of those a long time ago. Not only will you find yourself beginning to understand and integrate yourself into these character’s lives and start an amazing (*cough* I’m still in an upset over this series) journey; but Cassandra Clare’s fanbase is amazing! She often loves to tease us with amazing official art done by Cassandra Jean and other very talented fanartists. They make the main characters like Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Alec, and Magnus (along with others) come alive on the page for us.

She has written in the time periods between 1878 and this current year. The Infernal Devices Trilogy is the first, soon to be followed by another series/trilogy once Cassandra Clare has finished the Dark Artifices. THe Mortal Instruments was set in the early 2000’s, and the Dark Artifices is set in the current year. The historical draw from the Infernal Devices is what called me to read it, and once I had, I started to realize how much Cassie pulls from one series and integrates it into another. Her plots are thick with these hidden easter eggs for her readers who follow all of her writings, and can be enjoyed over and over.

Needless to say, the Dark Artifices have my full attention right now, with Lady Midnight having been out for awhile, and Lord of Shadows due to release in May. It (*ahem* and by it I mean Julian Blackthorn) is slowly ripping my heart out into tiny pieces, but that’s okay because I can look at all the wonderful art that Cassandra Jean is releasing! Just kidding, that usually makes it worse because then I feel feels and I make noises, and my mom gives me *the look*. You all know what I’m saying right? But hey, Emma Carstairs looks badass right here and it proves to be an excellent five second distraction from the *scrolls* *cries louder*

2. Red Queen

Okay Nope. NoPE nOpe nope NOpe I’m still recovering from reading King’s Cage and rethinking what I went through reading Lady Midnight DIDN’T HELP. But to be honest for a second here, Victoria Aveyard has an amazing skill with writing. I loved Red Queen. The covers have SOOOO much symbolism in them it’s insane, and if you actually wanted to sit through my hour long spiel about that, I’d write it down. But I don’t think you do. Continuing. Her plot was incredible and had me going for a while *wink* about what I thought was legit. She has a way with words to just bring you right to her world to to her characters, and to make you feel what they feel, and make you happy, angry, sad, and heartbroken. I’m in SUCH a book hangover from King’s Cage right now, and I’m still in rehab for that one. Victoria ruined my feels. For a long time. I don’t really know how I’m going to function for the next week.

Also, she has a coloring book.

Like, I dunno what else to say about that other than I want it really bad and it’s amazing because I get to see all my favorite people come to life on a page.

Also fanart is a thing. A word of warning, do not go looking for fanart or fanfiction when you’re in book rehab because it’s honestly just going to make it way worse for you. 😐

The author is a troll on twitter too, and I love reading her tweets to her readers. Keeping us in the loop and all that. 🙂

3. Falling Kingdoms

Gah. I love this series with a burning passion. It’s amazing and obviously one of my top favorites because it’s just incredible. I think the reason I actually picked up the series is because of the amazing covers for these books. Once I started reading, I got totally sucked into the plot and the depth it goes through. The plot twists are amazing and *sob* heartwrenching and…I think I’m starting to spiral into the depths of insanity. There are too many feels in this series. Magnus Damora is the sassiest person (in my opinion) because of his extremely dry humor. I appreciate the wisecracks, but I absolutely adore Cleo Bellos and her hot headed attitude. I have a little cheerleader in my head for her when she literally does ANYTHING. The relationships between her and her friends and family is something that I as a reader can identify with 1284849%. I binge read the first four books in two weeks, cried, had to wait for the fifth book to release, cried more, and now I’m sitting here in my little puddle waiting for the sixth book to release so I can just cry myself a river. Honestly, this is one of the best fantasy series I have ever read.

Also, I cackle whenever I say “irrelevant” anymore. Just FYI for when you read the books. Because you will. 🙂

4. The Seven Realms

Holy crap. I’m just going to say it. This series is a work of art. It’s beautifully written, and probably has the most well developed, well rounded characters I have ever read about. The plot is perfection. If I could give a book ten stars, I would. Chima overachieved on this series. It’s absolutely incredible. Even the fact that she played off of a few clichés, such as ruggedly handsome Han Alister who happens to pretty much live on the streets and isn’t wealthy happens to bump into a super pretty princess and well…you can figure out the rest. I went into this assuming it would be good, but it blew my butt out of my puddle. Her writing is excellent, her plot is excellent, her characters are perfection, and I literally couldn’t find anything wrong with this series if I tried. Read it immediately. The books are super heavy because they’re like 450 pages long. 😀

 5. Throne of Glass
I love assassins. Hence my obsession with Assassin’s Creed. That’s beside the point. Celaena Sardothien is like my favorite character ever. She doesn’t take no craps from no one, and she doesn’t play games. I love it. I have only read the first three books, BUT the others are on my TBR, and I’m eagerly awaiting when I have time to read them. This series has a strong, loyal, independent protagonist who is like my role model. I love that she sticks by her promises, and that she doesn’t flip flop back and forth on her decisions. The author releases amazing content, and she interacts with her readers, which I LOVE.

6. A Court of Thorns and Roses

This series is a little bit more new adult than young adult, with characters that are in their twenties and it follows a more “grown up” plot. However, the storyline for this is amazing and I loved the first book.

The fanart for this series is AMAZING. You’re going to find that the fandom for Sarah J. Mass is very loud about their fanart. The fandom for this series is always clamoring for a neo release, and due to that comes all the amazing theories about what’s going to happen, the art, the fanfiction, the edits…ahhhh. 🙂

7. The Lunar Chronicles

This is probably the only “rewritten, rethought, reworked” fairy tale series that I actually enjoyed. The reason I enjoyed it was because the author took the fairy tales and put them on a spin. She was so clever with how she wrote the whole series, and I always enjoyed how she rewrote them, and that she actually stuck to the original fairy tales as best as she could while basically creating a totally neo world on top of it. The Lunar Chronicles is an amazing fantasy/dystopia world, with the perfect mix of everything. Plus, the fanart can get pretty cute sometimes because, just like the author, the fans put their own spin on the story. The covers are also amazing!

Let’s admire.

Like, how awesome are they? They’re so symbolic and stuff and I love it when authors/publishers do that! 😀

8. The Selection

I have not officially read the Selection yet (I will soon. It’s on my TBR.) The reason I bring it up to you today is that one of my friends is absolutely obsessed with it, and pretty much tells me everything about it all the time. I hear that the fandom is a lot of fun to be a part of, and that the books lead an interesting play on a beauty show in a dystopian world. I can imagine that what I’m getting myself into is just another hole for me to sit in in yet another book hangover. I’m ever so slowly collecting all of the books in the series, but ironically the one I can’t find is the Selection. Of course. It’s like fate is telling me to get a grip before devoting myself to yet another fandom that I can’t escape.
9. The John Green

“John Green” is his own fandom. What a sack of laughs! I can trust a man that draws on his face with sharpies. I have yet to understand how he writes such real, true, and amazing contemporary teen novels. He’s an amazing author, and every one of his books is so different and holds a different message for the reader, but his voice always rings true in his writing. You can laugh in even the hardest and saddest of times, and I think that’s why he’s such an inspiration to his audience. He is always joking around with his readers and interacting with them (if you’re on Tumblr, you know about “make John Green find the thing” and what usually proceeds afterwards). He’s a ball to listen to and I highly suggest reading his works too. 🙂

10. The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games. Ah. Yes. The base, the original, the first modern series that lead to the massive draw to dystopia we see today. The fact that this series is still popular, and has had a successful movie franchise should tell you something. This series is an amazing read and you should have read it by now. If you haven’t I shall have to call you an imbecile. No no no don’t take that personally, it’s just that I’m shocked you haven’t read it. How have you avoided the massive Gale vs. Peeta fights, the fanfiction, the fanart, the hysterical tweets over the movies, the many many posts all over social media…like, this is one of the biggest fandoms out there! Get your butt into it. It’s a good trilogy, and Suzanne Collins is a great author with a way to prompt your feels and make you think.

What about you? Not that I need more fandoms to follow, but what are some you recommend?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I’d Like to Meet

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Have you ever read a book or series so wonderful you’d love to meet the author?  This is my top ten list of authors, living or deceased, I’d like to meet.  Their books are special to me.  I’d jump at the chance to spend an afternoon with any of them talking about their stories, inspirations, or simply to thank them for sharing their work with the world.

1. Robin McKinley-Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast captured my imagination and my heart the first time I read it.  The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown are wonderful as well.

2. Laura Ingalls Wilder-I was captivated by the Little House series as a child.

3. L.M. Montgomery-I’d love to speak to the woman who created Anne Shirley, one of my all time favorite characters.

4. Lois Lowry-The first time I read The Giver I was blown away, and I immediately read it again.  I’ve read it many times since then.

5. C.S. Lewis-The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is another favorite of mine.

The Chronicles of Narnia Book

6. Ursula K. Le Guin-I didn’t discover A Wizard of Earthsea until I was in college, but it is a book I find myself turning to again and again.

7. Dr. Seuss-His books are so imaginative, and I love the rhyming and made-up words.

8. Kaitlin Bevis-Her Daughters of Zeus series is an interesting take on Greek mythology.

9. Richelle Mead-I enjoyed the Vampire Academy series, but I prefer the Bloodlines series simply because of the dynamic between Sydney and Adrian.

10. Suzanne Collins-I devoured the Hunger Games series in a matter of days.  I could not put those books down!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

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Can you believe that spring is right around the corner? One of my favorite things to do on a warm spring day is to spend an afternoon at the park. After I’ve played frisbee or gone on a bike ride, it’s nice to sit underneath a tree and read a good novel.

These are the ten young adult books I’m most looking forward to reading over the next few months as the weather warms up.

1. The Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs.  I adored the first and second tales in this trilogy, so I can’t wait to find out what the fates of all of the character will be. This is such a whimsical and original series that I can’t begin to imagine how it will end.

2. Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky.The title alone immediately makes me want to read it. Imagine kidnapping your favorite celebrity and then not being sure what to do with him once you’ve captured him! I couldn’t stop giggling at this mental image.

3. The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming. I have been fascinated by the lives of the Romanov family for many years. It will be interesting to see if this author has dug up any new information about this case.

4. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. What do supporting characters do while the chosen one is off fighting battles? I have never heard of anything like this before. It’s such a creative idea.

5. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. I’ve never read anything from this author before, but this was another time when a fantastic title caught my attention right away. It will be fun to see if the storyline is as fascinating as I think it’s going to be.

6. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. A friend of mine spent a lot time worrying about her father’s life-threatening illness when we were in high school. It was an extremely difficult situation for their entire family, and so I’m curious to see how that same kind of situation will be handled by these two teenage brothers.

7. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. Depression is a terrible mental illness. The suicide pact that the main character makes when she’s at her lowest point sounds so sad. I’m intrigued by the hints of a possible romance in it, though, and would like to see how that all pans out.

8. Half Bad by Sally Green. Most witches are either white or black ones. The fact that Nathan is half black witch and half white witch was intriguing. I’d like to know more about how this works and if he has any special powers as a result of his unique heritage.

9. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older. The only thing cooler than street art is street art that starts weeping real tears when bad things happen in the neighborhood. As soon as I read that part of the blurb, I knew this had to be added to my to-read list.  

10. The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie and Alyssa B. Sheinmel. I love scary ghost stories. This one sounds like it will be full of plenty of spine-tingling moments.

What are you looking forward to reading this spring?

Book Covers: It’s a love / hate relationship

MiscMusings copy

Is it just me, or do you buy (or not buy) books based on their covers?

Here are some covers I absolutely LOVE… a few books I bought based solely on the covers alone.

A BREATH OF FROST: I love how the color integrates to the text, and that the text is completely legible. The cover, the smoke graphic that extends up the spine. It all speaks to me.


JACKABY: This is an example of a book I bought based on the cover. The color and that pop of red! It gives the feel of the genre — it’s clearly historical and a thriller/mystery because of the damsel in distress. I love the girl superimposed on the boy’s face.


SECOND CHANCE SUMMER: Another book I bought based solely on the cover. I didn’t even bother to read the blurb. I adore that the text takes up so much room on the cover. The picture is soft and clearly defines the genre (YA Romance).


WITHER: It’s unique (sometimes covers start to blur because they all look the same). The circuit board + text is eye-catching and directs attention, plus it helps to identify the genre. I actually keep the book because of the cover (because I don’t love the story).


ALL THE BROKEN PIECES: Do you see it? See how the broken mirror separates the eyes of two different people? I was utterly intrigued, and the cover made me pick up the book.


ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD: The covers are brilliant, eye-catching and reflect the genre — creepy. Love the hints of red amongst the black and white.


There are so many more … like the Red Queen series and the Mara Dyer trilogy. Both sets of covers reflect the storyline changes in very subtle ways. They’re clever and neat and eye-catching and it’s like knowing a secret when you look at the covers AFTER reading the books.

Now onto covers I don’t like…

THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT: The text is difficult to read. The picture looks like it’s a middle grade book and it isn’t, I can’t tell the genre from the cover at all, looks very juvenile and it’s not.


GOLDEN: I couldn’t tell it was a bowl of porridge…it doesn’t look like it at all. The cover is boring, and it doesn’t reflect the genre at all (it’s contemporary but looks like a fantasy).


KILLER INSTINCT (ARC cover vs. Final cover … it’s love/hate): The ARC was original, it reflects the genre (the protag is a teenaged girl, the tagline “everyone has a dark side” indicates suspense) and I love that the book has a picture under the jacket. I hated the final, public cover. It has a barbie hand in a vacuum seal bag which doesn’t really indicate the genre (YA serial killer/suspense) and the tagline is missing, which really added to the cover for me. Unfortunately, I have the ARC for the first book, and the final cover for “Killer Within”, which honestly drives me a little wonky.


Lastly, the series by Carrie Ryan, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH series: I hate that the covers don’t match, and they don’t reflect the genre at all (dystopian). Most look contemporary and they just aren’t. Frustrates me terribly! But the worst thing for me is that they don’t even appear to be a series…


So what about you? What do you love (or hate) about covers? Share your favorites in the comments below, or gripe about the ones that make you crazy…

YA Books to Film: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Young Adult books are all the rage lately to make into theater movies and TV shows. They’re HUGELY popular (“Hunger Games”, anyone?) and teens are clamoring for more … mostly. There are the ones that tank, and there’s a big reason why: the story in the movie or show straying too far from the book’s plotline.

The Good:

Sometimes they do a decent job. Obviously, they can’t pack everything from the books into a movie, even when they break it into two pieces, so we shouldn’t be too critical.

For instance, I think they did a good job with the Hunger Games trilogy.

hungergamesposterSure, I missed some of the secondary characters like Madge and it’s true Peeta didn’t lose his leg, and the cat changed from black and white in the first movie (wrong!) to orange in the last ones (right!). I always pictured Haymitch fatter and Wiress dingier and not as childlike as she was… but those are all nit-picky things.

Fact is, they held to the heart of the story. The bones were all there, even if the skeleton was missing a few of the less important ones. The movies were solid enough and close enough to the books to satisfy most people. And one thing in the movie — the ship with Effie and Haymitch — wasn’t in the books. But, according to my teen daughter, she’s glad that ship sailed.

the-shannara-chronicles-posterAlso recently, MTV did a mini-series based on The Elfstones of Shannara. This is actually a book I read as a teen. My kid hadn’t even heard of it, but liked the idea, so we watched it.

It’s been awhile since I read the book, though I very clearly remembered the end because it upset me terribly. However, I re-read it after watching the show and I think they did a decent job … right up until the end. Yes, the traumatic thing that happened in the book still happened, but they ended with one of the characters in peril and Will heading out to save her. I think they did it so next season has the same characters, but in the books, their story was ended. So … that was frustrating. Still, all-in-all not a horrible adaptation.

The Bad:

The Mortal Instruments

mortal_instruments_city_of_bones_ver11So … these books are hugely popular. Several years ago, there was a movie made based on City of Bones and it was horrible. The casting was bad (Alec should have been younger, Isabel should have been taller, Valentine should have been older…) and the story omitted some very important characters. They made it into some odd love story between Jace and Clary, which honestly ended up being a little creepy. Jace came across as a creepy stalker and Clary was incredibly stupid in the movie.

shadowhuntersNow, years later, there is a new TV show being made based on them called ShadowHunters. The author has said she’s going to change some things in the storyline so readers won’t always know what to expect. And they have changed some things. But, the show is certainly better done than the movie was. No, it’s not perfect, and some of the casting is weird (though I think they got Jace and Clary pretty close and that’s really the biggest thing). The Mortal Instruments is pretty diverse, but the show has turned things on their heads. Yes, it’s still diverse but characters that were latino in the book are white, white ones are black and so on. I don’t suppose it makes that much of a difference, but I don’t understand why they did it when the books’ characters were already pretty “colorful”.

The Ugly:

The Divergent Series:

divergentOkay … the first movie was pretty decent. Like Hunger Games some things were left out, but the meat of the plot worked. Yeah, Four was “security” instead of working IT so they had to give him a different way to figure things out and a different way for him to be used at the end. And, yeah, Edward just sort of disappears from the story. One minute he’s there, topping the board and the next we never hear of him again. IMHO, it matters that he joins the factionless … but … it wasn’t a deal breaker.

Then came Insurgent. And here’s where it got ugly. “The Box” was the be all, end all of the story. When I saw the previews I looked at my kid. “What box?” She shrugged. There’s not a locked box anywhere in the book. And the story totally went off the rails. I left the movie feeling a little shell-shocked. They were so focused on the flash of the filming, the entire plot changed. And it mattered to the fans who’d flocked to see the movie. Because they didn’t flock to the next one … Allegiant was a flop. Worse, as Hollywood is apparently wont to do, they broke the final book into two movies. And now there is discussion as to whether part two will be made and released theatrically. Or if it’ll end up a TV movie. Or maybe even straight to DVD. And some of the stars are talking about not participating. It’s a hot mess, people. Hollywood screen writers should learn a lesson from this: DON’T MESS WITH THE STORY.

There are others we could talk about, too, and I’d love YOUR input. What did you think about the Harry Potter movies? Or The Maze Runner, The Giver, The Fifth Wave, The Lightning Thief or other teen book to movie adaptations? I’d love to discuss it with you! Leave me a comment and let’s talk.