Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Books We've Read in 2015

My wonderful co-blogger and I decided to split the list this week for Top Ten Tuesday!

Brianna's Picks:

1. THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT by Melissa Grey

Oh, friends. This was the book I was waiting desperately for and it was so worth it. These are the characters I wanted to hang around with long after the story was finished and I will happily await the sequels.


I loved this so much. I've been getting more and more into middle-grade and this book had so much heart that it was bursting with it. Such a sweet--no pun intended--and lovely story.


This novel was perfect. I totally believe that some books are meant to be read at the right place and right time and for WYGB that time was few months ago. This was everything I love in a book: quirky, fun, heartfelt and a tad speculative and very meta. Just amazing.

4. THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir


5. AFTER PERFECT by Christina McDowell

Full disclosure: I worked on this book.
BUT. It's amazing. Moving, inspiring and a story of parental incarceration, finding yourself and forgiveness. A must read. Oprah Magazine and People Magazine both called it a summer page-turner, so you know I must be right.

Amy's Picks:

1. CRESS by Marissa Meyer

This is probably my favorite book in the Lunar Chronicles series so far :) I absolutely love Cress and her love story with Thorne! And it's not all the love story. So much happens with Cinder and Kai and all the other characters, it will leave you begging for more!

2. THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer A. Nielsen

This was a book I happened on by chance and I'm so happy I found it! It has to be my new favorite series! It has a kind of Anastasia-like feel; lost royalty and someone trying to pass an orphan off as the lost prince. And I absolutely love Sage! He's such a great protagonist that everyone will love to root for!

3. COPPER GIRL by Jennifer Allis Provost

This was another fabulous series that I just devoured! Provost sets up a great, magical world with amazing characters. I honestly can't say there was really anything I disliked about the book. It's got magic, romance and mystery that many can enjoy :)

4. TAKE BACK THE SKIES by Lucy Saxon

This was an extremely heart-felt book that hit me right in the feels! I'm still reeling over some of the occurrences in the book. Saxon creates a wonderful sci-fi world that I love to dive into time and again and I can't wait to pick up the second book!

5. ZODIAC by Romina Russell
This was a tough choice for the last spot but Zodiac won out mostly because of it's use of astrology in the story line. It was really interesting to see how the character's personalities differed based on their planet (which reflects the zodiac). Each was culturally different and I just loved it! The love triangle wasn't bad either ;)

Well that's our Top 10 Books Of 2015! Was one of our books in your Top 10? Tell us about it!

If you are interested in participating in Top 10, visit The Broke and the Bookish for next week's topic!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Zodiac (Zodiac #1)

Author: Romina Russell
Pages: 366
Goodreads rating: 3.68
 At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain….

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.

Friday, June 26, 2015

All I Want For My Birthday Are.... Books! (duh)

For as long as I can remember, my family and friends have never had to ask me what I wanted for gifts. Christmas, Easter, birthdays were filled with books and CDs galore! Now that mp3 players have become all the rage, I've dropped the CD idea but the books request has held strong!

With that little piece of background info....Hey everybody!! Today is my birthday!! :) And to celebrate my birthday, I am putting my "wishlist" of books (my top ten TBR list so to speak; sorry it's not Tuesday and there will only be about 5. I don't want to be too greedy) and hopefully I will be receiving some from friends and family (and possibly from a gift from me, to me) on this glorious day of days!

So without further ado, and in no particular order....

1) The Last Ever After (School For Good and Evil #3) by Soman Chainani
I have loved this series since I got the first book at BEA (and the second book at the next BEA)! I'm beyond excited for the final installment of this fabulous series! I'm really rooting for a happy ending for all parties, especially Agatha and Sophie.

2) Rain (Paper Gods #2) by Amanda Sun
I finally read Ink a couple months ago and LOVED IT!!!! I'm huge into Asian culture, especially Japanese, so it was awesome to read about a girl traveling to this awesome country I have always wanted to go to. The plot itself was simply amazing and I really want to see what happens next!!

3)  Alchemystic (The Spellmason Chronicles #1) by Anton Strout
I came upon this series at a Penguin book warehouse sale in Kirkwood, NY (last one ever and it will heavily be missed by the community... *moment of silence*). However, as is common with many book sales, I could only find the second book. I read the description on Goodreads when I found the second book and thought it sounded like the old animated TV series Gargoyles that I used to love watching as a kid. Needless to say, I wonder how it matches up :)

4) A Whole New World (Twisted Tales #1) by Liz Braswell
I found this book when I saw one of my friends reading it on Goodreads. Now, I'm a hardcore Disney fan so this book sounded right up my alley and can't wait to read it and see what other books come out in the series.

5)  Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer
I have loved the Lunar Chronicles since I first read the description for Cinder! It's one of the only series where I feel a compelling need to keep reading straight through all the books. So, with that being said, not having Fairest is damaging my soul </3 (especially with Winter coming out in November!)

Well that's my wishlist! Hopefully, by the time you read this, I have already begun crossing off some of these books ;)
Happy Birthday To Me!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Counting By 7's

Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Goodreads Rating: 4.12
Pages: 384
In the tradition of Out of My Mind, Wonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family.

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ink (Paper Gods #1)

Author: Amanda Sun
Goodreads Rating: 3.67
Pages: 369
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR


Summer time! The time where--because of adulting--you're lucky if you get a week off somewhere warm and sandy to dig your toes in, read a book and possibly get a tan.

Because I'm reading more for work now, I need to set aside some summer reading time for myself.

Here are the top ten that I'm looking forward to FINALLY getting to.

1. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

I was talking to a friend recently and we both said that we like contemporaries in the summer, fantasy/science fiction in the fall. But because of work I haven't had time to hunker down and read this yet, so I'm definitely making time for this one! The cliffhanger-y ending of the first made me anxious for the sequel and I'm so enraptured with the world and Paige's story that I know I'll need to get to this ASAP.

2. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

What bibliophile isn't excited for this one? To Kill A Mockingbird changed my reading experience when I was younger and I'm eagerly anticipating a sequel. As soon as it comes out in July, I'm carving out a few days to savor it.

3. Lola and The Boy Next Door/Isla And The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

I devoured Anna while in Paris last year and I'm really hoping that I'll enjoy the companions as much as I did the first.

4. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Ever since I graduated high school and assigned summer reading was no longer a thing, I've made those three months all about reading what I wanted to read. So, I'll definitely be skipping some sleep to consume this sequel to the amazing Kiss of Deception.

5. Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott

I recently saw an interview with Anne and she's amazing. I've read the beginning to Bird by Bird so many times but I need to really sit down with it and take notes. My writing will be the better for it.

6. Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem 

A few weeks ago I met Gloria at BEA and got a signed copy of her first book in 20 years. How can I not read it?

7. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

I'm probably going to need to set aside some time to read this. I heard it might make me cry. Is crying at the beach as awkward as I imagine?

8. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

I desperately need to read it. I took it out from the library and it's sitting on my shelf, patiently awaiting the moment I'm done with the work books I have to read this month.

9. Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli 

This book. I have so many feels about a book I haven't read yet. I will be eating a lot of oreos while flying through this. I have a feeling.

10. No idea

I'm a mood reader. I rarely plan out what I'm reading because sometimes I just don't feel it. So I have no idea what else I want to get to this summer. This whole list could change.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Take Back the Skies (Take Back the Skies #1)

Author: Lucy Saxon
Goodreads Rating: 3.38
Pages: 384
 Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

Friday, June 5, 2015

Event Recap: Openly YA

Books are often solitary things. They don't always have to be. But the crux of reading is that it can't always be enjoyed in a crowd like a movie. So often, you find yourself tucked into a corner in your favorite reading spot (you know the one) grinning like a fool about something your new favorite character just did.

But when you get the chance to go to a book event--well, that changes things. Instead of being alone, suddenly, you're in a movie theatre hysterically laughing at a well-timed joke with a hundred other people. You can experience a book together. You can be introduced to an author for the first time or get a sneak peak (the trailer) of a new book together.

Book events are majestic.

And while book events that are packed and buzzing with people are amazing, it's the quiet ones, small intimate settings that are my favorite.

Yesterday I went to Books and Greetings in Northvale, NJ for the Openly YA NJ stop and felt so comfortable and at home with the authors, laughing a little too loudly and heart soaring at the wisdom that was shared.

Adam Silvera (More Happy Than Not), Will Walton (Anything That Can Happen), James Dawson (This Book Is Gay) and David Levithan (Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story) read from their book and signed copies.

This was a treat for me because I had just missed Adam's launch party at Books of Wonder the night before. :( But this more than made up for it.

Listening to the group read from their stories (including the dramatic reading of Hold Me Closer) was perfect. It's my favorite thing about book events, actually. I feel like the author knows--and by this point probably despises--the words they've set down and so when they share them, they're sharing so much more than just the initial story. They've fought for those words, you know?

And listening to Adam read from More Happy Than Not or Will share the first bit of Anything Can Happen or grin manically and laugh at the witty opening of This Book Is Gay with James (because, dude, he's freaking hilarious) was so much than just hearing their words. And maybe that's the post book-event high talking (you know the giddy feeling when things are just HAPPY?) but I think I got a deeper understanding and connected so much more to what they were reading just by hearing the authors themselves read it. Does that make sense to anyone else?

I wish there had been video of the group's interpretation of Hold Me Closer because it was gold but alas, there is not. I will say this though, thank you for making me laugh. After post-BEA work craziness, I needed it.

I was also struck by the openness and poignant answers the group shared when answering questions. They were quick to laugh but also quick to be honest about their experiences growing up in neighborhoods where coming out as gay was hard or how Will Walton intended his book to be his coming out to his parents. It's my hope that sharing stories like this for generations to come that no child will have to feel afraid to be who they were meant to be and want to be. Stories are how we begin to understand and empathize and I believe all these books are so important to open up discussion about the LGBT+ community and how we can support them.

I'm so happy that I was able to go to this event and cannot wait to read these books. I'll keep you updated on them--I'm sure I'll have wonderful things to say.

If you can, take a look at these titles and the rest of their tour.

And, many thanks to Kenny at Books and Greetings, who is one of the kindness booksellers I know. If you're ever in Bergen County, NJ, this is a quaint, welcoming bookstore you must stop at!

**Please ignore my bad picture taking skills. I will get better. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a feature--hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine--where bloggers share what books are burning up their TBR list.

So, as everyone in the book world knows, last week was BEA.

Those lucky enough to attend were able to get an amazing list of titles, which I'm sure most of you have seen in BEA Haul pictures.

I was amazingly fortunate to get a lot of books that I wanted to get--and some that I didn't think I'd get near!

However, I missed out on a few! (Yes, I know...poor me!) But I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to write a quick post-BEA themed Waiting On Wednesday.

Here's a few titles I wanted to get but didn't at BEA.

1. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This book has been on my radar for a while--and if it's not on yours, please redirect yourself to your TBR list and add this.

Just so you know, I'm expecting to cry through every page of this novel. And the cover? Is so chromatic and stunning.

2. Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti

Who didn't want this novel? I actually haven't read anything by Mr. Westerfeld (Ducks and runs for cover) but this one looks especially epic. I want it. Now.

3. Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

Every year, I make a BEA book list--I'm a horrible scheduler but I always manage to create a comprehensive list of books I MUST have. Until We Meet Again was top on that list. The concept is so me. It's a Brianna book and I missed it. Damn.

4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Well, I kind of knew I wasn't going to get this one. I mean, I heard tell that the lines were utterly unmanageable. I figured I wouldn't be able to get it. Oh well. Something to look forward to!

5. Reawakened by Colleen Houck

Oh my. Okay, well, this book wasn't even on my radar until I came home from BEA and saw a few twitter posts about it. Guys, this book was made for me. I was obsessed with Egypt as a kid--The Mummy and The Mummy Returns played frequently on our TV screens. I need this. Tomorrow. Please?

6. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Ugh, I cannot believe I missed this one. I'm pretty angry about it because again, it was one of my top BEA hopes. I mean, it sounds epic. So why didn't I epically grab it at BEA? #isuck

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Top Ten (plus) Books I Want Made Into Movies

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish where bloggers share lists--because what blogger doesn't like a good list?


When I start a book, I immediately cast characters, usually with great overlap. I mean, Chris Pine is perfect for EVERY role, right? This TTT was made for me.

1. These Broken Stars/This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. 

How cinematic are these books? PRETTY DAMN CINEMATIC. And after reading an interview with the authors on the possibility of a TV Show--where they named Chris Pine as an ideal Tarver Merendsen--I was sold.

2. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

I need this to be made into a movie YESTERDAY. Seriously. I can imagine the beautiful scenery of Terravin so clearly--a testament to Mary Pearson's clear imagery. I need this movie now.

3. The Winner's Curse/The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski 

Anyone who knows me, already is aware that I cannot talk about my movie wish-list without mentioning this. It's gotta happen. Soon. Please?

4. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

So far, everything on this list has been fantasy/science fiction. But that's only because these books are too amazing not to be imagined on the big screen. I desperately want to see this one made because of the world-building in this novel is so rich, so complete, that it would be a sin not to take advantage of it on screen.

5. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Duh, you might say. Well, yeah. Duh. I need to witness a real and sassy, badass Reagan and I need adorable, sweet Matt Finch like I need to breathe.

6. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

WHY HASN'T THIS BEEN MADE INTO A MOVIE YET? That is all I have to say.

7. Going Bovine by Libba Bray

I would probably pay big bucks to help finance this movie because I need a quirky, heartbreaking road trip movie in my life. But not a half-assed quirky, road trip movie. I need one done right. And Libba Bray's epic can provide me with that.

8. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I desperately need this one to happen. I want to cry fat ugly tears in the movie theatre while listening to the epic soundtrack this movie would no doubt provide. I have a playlist all ready too, in case anyone was wondering.

9. The Girl At Midnight by Melissa Grey 

Among many other things about this book that I want to visually experience, I need Dorian and Jasper in my life. Like on the screen. Because they are perfect.

10. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I'd love to tally how many other bloggers had this one there. But this one speaks for itself. Plus, I just want a movie filmed in Prague.

11. I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

If this isn't worthy of a movie, I don't know what is. Seriously. It's a gorgeous story and it breaks you into a million pieces and puts you together again. I also need this movie in my life like I need water, air, chocolate and Chris Pine movies.




One Day, for those that you don't know, is the amazing, beautiful, gut-wrenching tale of Dex and Emma, two best-friends who take twenty-years to figure out their shit. But when they do, it's utterly gorgeous and truthful and as one EW editor put it: "I THREW THE BOOK IN THE GARBAGE."

For the record, I threw it across the room.

It was so worth it.

The movie--I'm told? Not so much.

So--PLEASE.  Remake it. Use the same score, though. Because Rachel Portman knows what's up.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Three Things--A BEA 2015 Recap (Part 1)

Guys! This was my third year at BEA! Three days, three years...I decided to roll with it.

This Recap Post is simple:

Three things I learned after three years at BEA

1. Prep Schmep 

I have never put such detail planning into anything except international travel plans. Seriously. And even then, with two integrated schedules, copious of notes, and all the help from blogger friends,  I didn't get all the books I want or stick to the schedule.

Some signings run longer. Sometimes you stand in a "shadow line" for an hour and a half before the actual lining up begins. Sometimes you get one of your top books completely by accident.

So, the scheduling and grids should really be loose guidelines. And even then, I think the most important thing to do is make a list of the books you truly want--but keep it small--and let everything else fall into place.

2.  BEA Friends are THE BEST. 

I would not have gotten through BEA without my friends, especially Nicole and Hannah. And I think most people can agree; the friends you make at BEA and through blogging are special sorts and not to be underestimated. They can be your greatest motivators and helpers during BEA.

BEA is not a competition. It's not about who got the most ARCs, met the most authors, stood in line the longest, etc. And you especially don't ahve to do any of that by yourself. I've seen a lot of people reading books while waiting in humongous lines and that's fine! But also, I think people should take advantage of that time to sit and talk. You honestly never know who you're going to meet. My first year on line for Tandem, I met Melissa Grey and she's one of my favorite people ever. I roomed with Andye, Val, Krista and Hannah (and besides my special little snowflake moments--sorry Caitlin!) I definitely made some amazing friends. And I wouldn't trade the moments in our room where we laughed ourselves to tears for anything.

3. REST and EAT

I wore myself a bit thin this year. I didn't get much sleep this year at BEA, or eat enough and I think I'm supremely stupid because of it. I missed the Macmillan party because of a migraine and spent most of the night in the room--when I wasn't trying to sleep off my migraine--watching a grotesque episode of Hoarders with Val.

So, do yourself a favor and pack comfort food during BEA if you're like me and your stomach does annoying things during the expo. Hannah was my lifesaver with PB&J and I might not have eaten without it. And if you have to sleep in a little extra and miss being first in line at the Javits, so be it. Sleep is important. And it might make those hours on line during the day a little better--trust me, no one wants to zone out before meeting their favorite author. Plus, being tired and overwhelmed makes you do stupid things like forget stuff in your hotel room. No one wants that to happen.

Obviously, another thing I learned was to just to have as much fun as possible. This year went by way to fast! I didn't even feel like BEA was happening until it was over. Even though I blinked and it happened, I had an amazing time. I learned a lot and hopefully will be ready for Chicago or any other Book conferences in the future!

Thank you to Hannah, Val, Krista and Andye for being amazing roommates. Thank you for Nicole for being super understanding. Thanks to Gaby for the oatmeal cookie that might have saved my life on Thursday or Friday. I can't even remember.

Be sure to check out the rest of the week for more BEA Recap posts!


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