Top Ten Contemporary Books for Newbies

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their blog here!

Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten Books I’d Give To Readers Who Have Never Read X. I’ve decided to make it Top Ten Books I’d give to readers who have never read the contemporary genre. (Can you hear Veronica and Andi clinking champagne glasses as they toast their conversion skills?) I’ve made it no secret that I used to be a huge hater on the contemp genre entirely – citing that it was only cheesy romances and overused tropes. BUT NAY – I HAVE BEEN SAVED FROM MY UNLAWFUL WAYS. So now that I’ve learned my lesson, here are ten contemporary books that I recommend to anyone who is scared or new to the genre.

Now that I’ve sorted through my GR shelves, I actually have 15! This is in no means a comprehensive list, but it’s some good starters, and ones that really stood out for me.

If you need something sweet: 

1. Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour. You can check out my review for several paragraphs of gushing, but I can sum it up by saying that ELTY feels like magic. It was like I was floating on fluffy pink clouds and totally removed from the world – pure bliss.

2. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Another fluffy read; some find that Lara Jean is too naive, but I think it’s just a younger section of YA. I’d say ages 14-16 for this one is perfect. The romance is swoon-worthy, and the overall plot was cute. 

3. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. ALL THE SWOONS AND FEELS. The romance, the friendship, the road trip – it’s a perfect summer book for when you’re feeling a little country and a little wanderlust-y. 

4. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I’m trying to find the right words to describe MLND without repeating the above, but ALL THE CUTES should just about satisfy.

5. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I had a hard time categorizing this one, since it also tackled some tough issues (for me), and made me cry. But overall the book left me feeling like I’ve just downed the perfect amount of Dove chocolate (those little one-inch squares with the peppy sayings in the wrapper that you’re supposed to be satisfied with after one but you eat like eight) and like everything was right in the world.

If you want to tackle tough issues: 

6. There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos. Grief, specifically the loss of a twin. It’s painful, raw, and also can be categorized in the “made me cry” section.

7. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. Disabilities in teens and having preconceptions of someone that turn out to be romanticizations and not truth. Plus – uber geek references abound.

8. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Grief again, this time loss of a parent. This one really resonated with me, as I identified with Amy in ways that I hadn’t anticipated. (I’m sure you can guess that this was also in the “sobbing like a baby” category)

9. Faking Normal by Courtney Stevens. Eee I don’t want to say what this one deals with, because spoilers, but it tackles quite a few issues, including self harm. It’s a quiet story, and didn’t really resonate with me until several days after I finished it. But it’s so powerful, and very well written.

10. OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu. I almost put this in the “sweet” section, but it’s (as you can guess) on the subject of mental illness, specifically OCD. And it’s REALLY well done and accurately represented, so no worries about inaccuracies.

11. Looking for Alaska by John Green. So I’m really not sure how to categorize this one, again, since it goes a few different ways. It’s powerful, and quiet, and really thought provoking. My favorite out of Green’s novels, by the way!

If you need a good cry: 

12. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. No surprise that this one is here, I’m sure. But it deserves its reputation for pain. Sometimes it’s a bit over-hyped, but it really is a good story if you can look past that. Okay? Okay. (Fyi, I actually dislike that quote. I think it’s highly overrated. A better one is “we can’t choose if we get hurt in this life, but we do have some say in who hurts us.” Also: “it’s a good life, Hazel Grace.”)

13. If I Stay by Gayle Forman. So I didn’t actually shed tears, but they pooled. This book is SO powerful, and I can’t wait to see the adaptation later this month. I’ve seen the trailer like 10 times, and cried about 8.

If you want some drama: 

14. Sway by Kat Spears. I’m so excited about this book that I keep forgetting it actually isn’t released yet (can someone else PLEASE read their ARC so we can talk about it??), but it’s such a good book. The MC’s character development is phenomenal, and I was so attached to the entire story. Plus, uber drama. But not in the Lifetime movie sort of way – don’t worry! BTW: it’s released September 16th.

15. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry. Actually, all four books in this series. Heck, all books that McGarry writes – period! I will admit that this is probably the book I’d call a guilty pleasure if someone forced me to pick one. BUT I DON’T CARE BECAUSE I LOVE THE CHARACTERS AND THEIR PAIN MAKES ME WEEP AND THEN I CRY HAPPY TEARS BECAUSE WHO DOESN’T LOVE AN HEA.

I’m sure most of these books are on other lists, and you see them all the time in the blogosphere. Most of them are pretty popular (I think?), but there’s a reason everyone’s reading them. I’m sure there are hidden treasures that I’ve yet to discover, but these gems made me more confident in delving deeper into the genre.

 That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!

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Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their blog here!

Today’s TTT topic is: Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From. So I actually did something really similar a few weeks ago, but those were authors that I won the most books from that are also on my auto-buy list. So this list is very different from my last list! I also counted duplicates, as for some authors I have an extra copy (or more) of their books.

1. JK Rowling – 18 books. This includes my first set of Harry Potter, with the first three books being the UK editions (I started reading HP when I was on vacation in London – isn’t that cool??) and the last four being US editions. I also have an extra hardback copy of Order of the Phoenix in addition to my original paperback. Aaaannd then I have the 15th anniversary box set with all the pretty artwork, so there’s another seven. And to round it all out, I have Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Tales of Beedle the Bard. Why yes, I am quite the fanatic.

My Queen

2. Richelle Mead – 11 books. The whole Vampire Academy series, as well as the first four books in Bloodlines. And actually I just remembered that I have Gameboard of the Gods as well! Technically, I have 12 of her books, since I have an extra copy of Vampire Academy that I’m holding for Veronica. 

She is just too pretty – it’s not fair!

3. Cassandra Clare – 10 books. This isn’t really a surprise, with her series being so big. I have the six books of The Mortal Instruments, the three from The Infernal Devices, and the Shadowhunter’s Codex. 

4. CS Lewis – 10 books. All seven books of The Chronicles of Narnia, and then I have The Screwtape Letters (totally changed my life, and I’ll be teaching it for the third time this fall in my General Literature class), The Weight of Glory, and a collection book that includes Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Abolition of Man, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, and A Grief Observed. So I guess if you want to get technical I have sixteen books from Lewis. Woohoo!

5. JRR Tolkien – 7 books. The Lord of the Rings (3 books), but I really want a different set. Mine are the old movie covers – I’m currently lusting over the simplistic ones with the black covers. I also have The Hobbit, the first two books in the Lost Tales, and the Silmarillion.

6. Jeff Stone – 7 books. This is a childhood author of mine; he wrote The Five Ancestors series. I’m pretty sure I’ve read all of the books at least four times.

7. Orson Scott Card – 7 books. It’s kind of a smattering of his books that I have: Ender’s Game (paperback and Kindle version), Speaker for the Dead, Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Ender in Exile, and Earth Afire. I used to have others, but I’m not sure where they went actually.

8. Rick Riordan – 5 books. PERCY JACKSON!!! I seriously need a reread of this series before the last Heroes of Olympus book is released – that way I can binge on those five books right after. My body is so ready for this. One of these days I should get the Kane Chronicles as well, I suppose.

9. Donita K. Paul – 5 books. The lady that kindled my love for dragons and all things mythology. Seriously – this series makes me so happy. I was shipping characters before I even knew what shipping was.

10. Christopher Paolini – 4 books. I actually have a lot of authors that I have four books from, but I picked Paolini since he’s not on these lists often. His four books are the Inheritance Cycle. I still haven’t finished book four, and I’d need a reread of the entire series to remember what’s happening. BUT! Eragon has been read probably ten times over at least – it’s another of my older dragon books.

 That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!

Top Ten Characters To Keep Me Company While Deserted

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their blog here!

Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island (pick based on however you want…skills they would bring, their company…or pure hotness factor :P) I actually think I’ll stick with those three categories! As long as this doesn’t go Lord of the Flies, I think I could be quite happy stuck on an island with these ten characters. I tried to get fanart for all of these characters, but some I just couldn’t find, so I put the covers instead. All art is sourced to their creators 🙂

For… skills they would bring

1. Karou from Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. Even without the magic, Karou is intelligent and quick, and she would take charge and handle things in a crisis easily.

2. Sturmhond from Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a privateer with them? Not just for the hotness factor, I mean. He’s probably used to surviving in harsher conditions, and he could make any tough situation a bit lighter with his sarcasm and wit. 

3. Celaena Sardothian from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Of course I want an assassin on my side! But she’d also be nice to have for company – I mean, she loves chocolate cake. I don’t think I could hate any person who loves chocolate cake.

So. Many. Feels.
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For… their company

4. Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Oh Peeta ❤ My one true love and first book boyfriend. I’m pretty sure I could be happy just by seeing him smile every day. That’s all I’d need to survive a deserted island.

 5. Josie from Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan. We could sit on the beach and complain about sock seams and shirt tags all day, and then talk about linguistics and syntax together. The time would fly by and we might actually cry when the rescue teams pick us up!

6. Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Josie may be just like me, but Cath is my soulmate. It’s been several months since I read Fangirl, and I still can’t even properly word how much that book means to me, and how much it helped me understand myself. If I could just be with Cath for five minutes, my life would be made.

7. Emi from Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. She’s got big ideas – maybe even too big sometimes – but I love the fact that she’s a dreamer. And she pays attention to the little details; the important parts of what makes someone unique.

For… pure hotness factor

8. North from Free to Fall by Lauren Miller. I mean, he’s a bit unconventional, but I’m a sucker for forearm tattoos. And when they reference literature? *swoon* Plus, he’s the most respectful character I’ve read about in a while. World is ending and girl is throwing herself at you? Nah, son, let’s save the sexy times for when we’re not acting out of fear. *swooning again*

9. Raffe from Angelfall by Susan Ee. *fans self* Let’s not get me started. This snarky asshole is the bane of my existence.

Yeah, I don’t like you either.
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10. Matt Finch from Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. He could serenade us while we all watch the sunset. Now tell me that isn’t a beautiful, beautiful dream…

11. Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I need a Levi. Seriously, someone make one for me. Or buy one. I’m not too concerned about ethics in this situation.

THIS SCENE
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I just have to make a note here that while I’ve never read the Heroes of Olympus (just a few more months till the boxed set is released… patience, my love), y’all need to see this art. Oh lawd.

That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!

Top Ten Favorite Movies and TV Shows

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their blog here!

Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten Favorite Movies and TV Shows. Well, now that I think about it, I really don’t watch all that much TV (I specialize in rewatching Supernatural), but we’ll see how this goes.

TV Shows

1. Supernatural. The main source of all my feels – I’m currently rewatching all the seasons for the third time through, and it’s giving me ALLLL THE PAIN. My poor babies Dean and Sammy. Also: season 7 isn’t as horrid as I remembered.

2. Spongebob Squarepants. I’ve been watching this for about ten years now, and I still watch an episode or two if I have time during breakfast. I’m pretty sure my Algebra II class I taught last year spoke in 100% Spongebob quotes. 

3. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Also the reason I love Netflix – MARATHON ALL THE EPISODES. Seriously, every episode is gold. Somehow I need to get all the seasons on DVD. oh my god they’re only $13 each on Amazon I neeeeeeedddddddd itttttt.

4. Avatar: The Legend of Korra. Totally a different category than the first show. I love the whole “old tradition meets new technology” issue (that was a favorite of mine to study in school), and even though it’s a lot darker than the first series (hello – season one finale?? I was freaking out), I still love it. Season three is fabulous, and I hate waiting each week for the new episodes.

 5. Sherlock. I still haven’t watched the final episode of season three (so so scared), but it’s one of my favorites for sure. I watched it for Cumberbatch, and stayed for the feels and awesome episodes.

Movies

6. Anything Marvel. Don’t even ask me to pick my favorite in the whole collection. But anything they put in theaters – I’m there! I’d have to say that Iron Man 3 was pretty awesome though, simply because Tony Stark kicked anxiety’s ass and that was probably the coolest moment I’ve ever had in a movie theater.

7. Anything Disney. I’m pretty sure I could sing any of the songs in my sleep. I also went through a period in college (dark times, those), where I watched Lion King at least once a day.

8. Anything Pixar. BRAVE!!!!!! That’s all. (But Wall-E <3)

9. The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit movies. Extended editions, of course! I grew up on LOTR, and can probably recite the lines along with the movie.

10. Juno. I watch this movie when I’m feeling wistful – the quiet pace of the movie and the feel-good themes just let me float for a few hours.

11. Okay… this is entirely Meg’s fault. I didn’t add this till 10PM Monday night. But I marathoned 13 episodes (as of right now… who knows how long I’ll stay up for this show), so I think it deserves a mention. And that show is… Attack on Titan. Yup. *cue Meg’s freaking out* My thoughts during the first episode were “WTF”, but then episode two and three came and… well… ADDICTED.

That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!