Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

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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’ve Read So Far This Year. I’ve had an incredible string of FANTASTIC reads, so I’ll try to keep it to just ten. No promises though! I’ve listed them in order, starting from January up until now.

1. Avalon by Mindee Arnett. This was the beginning of my two month romance with deep-space sci-fi. I CRAVED anything space ship related for weeks after finishing this book. The friendships are my absolute favorite; Jeth is one of my favorite characters I’ve read in a while.

2. Me Since You by Laura Wiess. I’m honestly not sure I can talk about this book any more than I already have. Seriously, you all need to read it. It changed my life ❤

3. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Cress is a close runner up for this slot, but Scarlet still has my heart. I loved both MCs: Scarlet and Wolf. And their relationship is SO perfect!

4. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. Another one that really, I’ve talked way too much about. But the character development in this conclusion was just flawless, and honestly I need a reread. If only for Kenji! But Juliette is great incentive as well, as is Warner 😉

5. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. This is one that made my heart hurt so much, but also filled it with happiness. I adored the road trip setting, the romance was perfect, and the friendship was even better!

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Another that completely, utterly changed my life. I felt like the book was speaking directly to me!

7. Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Okay, I know I put it off for like five months after I bought it. And I know I wailed for days about my feels and creys. But I’m so glad I pushed through it, because Allegiant was one of the best series enders I’ve read, right up there with Ignite Me.

8. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas. The entire series is my favorite, but TAB really sold me on the whole thing, and novellas actually. I never thought I’d be so hooked on novellas before this book! And to have them all in print, in my hand – it was beautiful.

9. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Matt. Finch. That is all. Plus, road trips.

10. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. Still a bit miffed that the title was changed from Severed Heads, Broken Hearts, but whatever. I still love this book with all my heart ❤

11. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. Two Matson books on this list! That should tell you something about how awesome this lady’s writing is. Really, there’s no way for me to express how much I love this book.

12. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I feel like this whole post is just me gushing way too much but ALL THE FEELS from this book! It’s so lighthearted and it makes me so happy ^_^

13. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. This is proof that you should always listen to book pushers: I almost didn’t read it, but I’m BEYOND glad that I did! Another that made my heart so happy ❤

So, I only did 13. Not too horrible! I can restrain myself after all. Also, a fun note: you can tell how my reading mood has changed over the last five months. Darker, more sci-fi and fantasy books, gradually moving towards light and summery contemporaries.

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

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Top Ten Books In My Beach Bag

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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 In Your Beach Bag. Well, I’m not a beach sort of girl. Or a pool person. I’d love to be, but I have no access to a pool, and the beach is at least an hour away. And with gas so expensive, beach trips are far and few between! Not to mention the fact that me and bathing suits are mortal enemies. BUT! I do love it when the weather’s about 70-80 degrees, and I can wear some capris and a sweater and sit under an umbrella enjoying the breeze. Ahh… now I’m so in the mood for the beach. GAS PRICES BE DAMNED I’M GETTING THERE WITHIN A MONTH.

Anyhoo, here’s my list of books that should definitely be in beach bags this summer. Keeping in mind that my entire goal is to get the books that lift my heart and make me happy – so don’t expect any TFiOS types in here!

Books I’d Read Again

1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I know I just read it, but I need a re-read already! The cover looks like exactly how the book makes me feel – fluffy and pink (yes, pink is an emotion) and whimsical.

2. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. It deals with some slightly harder topics, but in such a wry, sarcastic way that I was laughing the entire time. Plus, it’s insanely geeky, and I love every bit of it. 

3. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. I mean, how can you skip this book? This is the quintessential summertime book. You’ll finish reading it and want ice cream, fireworks, and sunny morning runs.

4. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Hello, it has summer in the title. Case closed. Besides that: Matt Finch. Oh dear Lord in Heaven Above give me strength to accept the fact that the boy is merely fictional.

5. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Yep, another Matson book. What can I say – the girl has summertime in her veins! This one does have some sad bits; I’d say it’s the heaviest one on this list. But it’s so worth it in the end!

Books I Want to Read

6. Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid. It’s not released until the end of July (forever crying about that fact), but it’s a ROAD TRIP book. And ya’ll know how much I love my road trippers. So OF COURSE I’ll be running out and getting my copy, and maybe it’ll be my excuse to drive down to the beach.

7. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I just bought my copy, after the urging of many of my friends (Andi you’re such book pusher, you deserve a trophy). I’ve read What I Thought Was True, and it was a wee bit heavier than I expected. So I’m wondering if MLND will be the same way. But, heavy or not, it still looks so adorable that I can’t wait to read it!

So I kind of ran out of books that I would read at the beach. I mean, I have a million TO read, but I have this thing where contemporary and beach just go together – I’d have a really hard time getting into anything sci-fi or fantasy while my toes are in the sand. When I’m out in the sun, I need a bright book.

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

Top Ten Books About Friendship

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

Today’s TTT topic is: Ten Books About Friendship. This topic made me go “d’awww!!!” I’m in a best-friendy mood lately, what with Open Road Summer and Since You’ve Been Gone having been released in the last month! These also coincide with some books I think would be perfect for spring (summer here in Cali since we get Winter or Summer and no inbetween) and beach reads.

Oh and just a warning: I’m writing this after what was arguably the longest and most exhausting two weeks of my year so far. So you’re probably about to see the equivalent of a drugged Kayla. I have no idea if what I’m about to write will even make sense, but JOIN THE RIDE AND BRING SOME POPCORN.

1. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. You really thought you’d escape this one, didn’t ya? NEVER. This book makes my heart sing with happiness, and not just because Matt Finch exists within those pages. The friendship between Reagan and Lilah was heartwarming, and it felt like what a true friendship should be; antagonistic and goofy and undyingly loyal.

2. The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu. I haven’t posted my review yet (check back next week!), but this book really touched me. It wasn’t as dark as I expected, but it dealt with a lot of hard issues. I loved Kurt and Alice’s relationship – it showcased the beauty of someone looking past rumors and searching for the truth in a person. 

3. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. Also haven’t posted my review (tomorrow!), but I enjoyed it almost as much as Amy & Roger. This wasn’t a fluffy friendship – it was hard work. I loved how Matson emphasized the part of friendship where you really just have to kick each other in the rear a few times and give some tough love.

4. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. Another one of those “get your ass out of your black hole of pity and keep moving” kind of friendships. Basically, a “stop being an idiot and come hang out with me you nitwit”. It gave me the warm and fuzzies, and I laughed out loud many times!

5. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Wooo I slipped some fantasy onto this list! Best friends aren’t just for contemporary! Celaena and Nehemiah’s relationship is fantastic for this sole reason: they’re both fantastically powerful and intelligent and manipulative and you-take-down-that-patriarchy sort of characters, yet at the same time they gorge themselves on chocolate cake while exchanging gossip.

6. Avalon by Mindee Arnett. Aaaaand here’s some sci-fi too. It’s purported to be too close to Firefly, but do you see me caring one second? It’s got the whole band of misfits turned into a family trope – one of my favorites. Jeth is so protective and loyal to his newfound family that his sacrifices gave me ALL THE FEELS.

7. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi. I mean, how can you pass up the awesome sauce that is Kenji Kishimoto?? He’s the best friend Juliette could ever ask for, and his snarky, goofy-yet-serious humor is the most light-hearted way I’ve ever seen someone give a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” talk.

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

Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Title: The Beginning of Everything
Author: Robyn Schneider
Genre: YA, contemporary, coming of age
Publisher/Publication Date: Katherine Tegen/August 27, 2013
How Did I Get It? Borrowed from Veronica
Format? Hardback

Synopsis from Goodreads: Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

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The Yacht

I think this is the year for fabulous books. Honestly, The Beginning of Everything has earned its place on my “favorites” shelf – right next to Perks of Being a Wallflower. It embodies that struggle of growing up and finding your place in the world, especially in high school, and it gave me so many nostalgic feels that when I had finished the book I closed it and laid back, holding it to my chest and smiling like an idiot. It had a John Green feel to it, but I guess you could say that about any coming of age story with a geeky male main character. But Schneider has her own unique voice – lyrical and poetic, yet very real and true to a teen’s mentality.

Let’s get my favorite part out of the way: the uber geekiness of the debate team. I can pinpoint the exact moment I sold my heart to this book – an Ender’s Game reference. First it started with the leader casually referring to the group as “Dragon Army,” and then (in a you-killed-the-joke sort of way) another responded with “the enemy’s gate is down.” I – and I’m not exaggerating here – had to take a moment, read it over again, and then stand up and walk around going OOHHHHH because ho-ly CRAP was my favorite book just quoted in a teen novel??? Someone hold me right now because this CAN’T be real life. It was truly a magical moment.

As far as the characters, I loved them all. Even Ezra, when he’s acting like a huge d-bag and ignoring Toby despite his best friend’s attempts to reconnect after Ezra’s years away as the golden boy of the school. In the middle of the book, Ezra falls into that hole of self-pity, angry about his knee and his surgeries and how his future has suddenly vanished, and he has to figure out what he truly wants to do with himself now. But I really enjoyed seeing him push past that, and become a better person for it in the end. With Cassidy, I was concerned she’d be another manic pixie girl, and she followed that path until closer to the end, but Schneider completely tore down that trope in a way that made my jaw drop and I was speechless with awe.

Some people may not enjoy this story, I know that for sure. But for me personally, it’s theme of living, not existing, is something very important to me in my life right now, and it made a huge impact for me. So while I made a personal connection with the book that someone else may not, I still highly recommend this story, even if it’s for the goofy friendships between all the teens!

A final note: this book was originally titled Severed Heads, Broken Hearts (and still is in some countries I think). I like both titles, since both are apt for the entirety of the story, but I prefer SHBH instead. I think it’s got that wry humor that permeates throughout the writing.

My Final Rating:

Anchors Aweigh