Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Top Ten Books for a New YA Reader


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to do a freebie. I decided to showcase books that I would suggest to a new YA reader. The following books are in no particular order.

1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is my absolute favorite book of all time and it's one of the books that I read when I was a teenager. It's a coming-of-age story that is unforgettable that delves into many things teens deal with everyday.

2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is another book that I read when I was in high school. It's also my first Anderson book as well. This is a powerful book and it's authentic. 

3. 1984 by George Orwell is a dystopian novel that discusses nationalism, censorship and being watched by Big Brother at all times. It's not exactly a YA novel but it's a good launchpad to other dystopian reads. 

4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is a book about two misfits bonding over comics and music in the 1980's. Little did they know that their friendship would turn into something more. 

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a dystopian that is fast paced and an adventure you will never forget. This is a good series to start with for those who want to give dystopian a try.

6. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is a cute heartfelt book about how love has no color, gender or any other fixed requirements. Love is Love is Love.

7. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling is a middle grade series that slowly morphs into a young adult series. It's a good bridge from MG to YA. Of course those who love fantasy and a bit of magic will enjoy the Harry Potter series. 

8. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is a classic! This coming-of-age story is definitely for those who love movies such as Grease and Crybaby. If you enjoy reading about socioeconomic divides, definitely check this novel out. 

9. Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley is a powerful yet a must read book for everyone. It's a raw and beautifully written novel about civil rights and love.

10. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury is a entrancing retelling of Aladdin from One Thousand and One Nights. Khoury transports the reader as a spectator in this magical journey. For those who love Aladdin or novels about Jinn, definitely pick this fantasy novel up.

What books would you recommend to someone who is starting to read YA?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Harry Potter: 19 Years Later

Nineteen years ago, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was officially published. Little did J.K. Rowling know, she would change the world by a storm. Is it a coincidence that the epilogue in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is set 19 years later after the Battle of Hogwarts and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is released 19 years after the first Harry Potter book is published? I think not! Also, how fitting is it for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be released on July 31st, which is both Harry's and J.K. Rowling's birthday.

Image from sherpotter.tumblr.com
Harry Potter has been an extremely important part of many people's lives. The fact that even after the seven books, Harry Potter still lives on through spin offs, fan fiction, podcasts, cosplaying, Quidditch, conventions, meet ups and more. Re-reading the books is a joy for many. Introducing the books to new readers is wonderful! Harry Potter is probably of the book series that can connect many people no matter what the age. And through this magic, we will always be strong and we will always be like a second family.

J.K. Rowling, thank you for making my life complete! I cannot wait for next year to celebrate 20 years of Harry Potter fandom. I will be introducing several Potter related posts throughout the month of July regarding fandom and Leviosa, a Harry Potter and YA Lit convention.

For those who are preparing for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Elizabeth from Book Yabber, Marci from The Plot Bunny and I are planning to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in July. Join us while we embark on this journey once more. We are coming home!

In honor of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child coming out next month, I will be hosting a pre-order giveaway for the book! 


1. Open to residents of the United States.
2. Winner must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen.
3. The book will be sent from Amazon and I will not be responsible for delayed shipping or damaged items. 
4. Giveaway ends on 07/21/16 12:00 a.m. EST

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Marauders: B-Fest Day

The Marauders is a feature where Book Yabber, Marci from The Plot Bunny and I will showcase our bookish adventures around New England. Whether it is a bookstore or a library, we wanted to discover new places to share with the bookish community. We each took an Animagus form. Can you guess who is who and what animal is each person's Animagus?

On Saturday, June 11th, I ended up meeting Elizabeth and Marci and Barnes & Noble near the Burlington Mall for some bookish fun. If you didn't know already, Barnes & Noble had B-Fest Teen Book Festival nationwide which started on Friday, June 10th and spanned all weekend long. It was the first festival Barnes & Noble hosted and it's pretty awesome that all the Barnes & Nobles nationwide had author events, trivia, swag, etc. Unfortunately, it was poorly marketed. If you didn't have a twitter account or aren't active on social media, you pretty didn't know about the event.

Elizabeth, Marci and I were able to pick up a few things at Barnes & Noble when swag was put out at 11 am. We obsessed taking pictures with Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco because the novel is fantastic! Afterwards, we headed to the Cheesecake Factory for some lunch and dessert. I got my usual Thai Lettuce Wraps and a Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake slice.

Because we had a lot of time to kill, the ladies and I decided to venture off to the Disney Store and took quite a good chunk of time there browsing the store. We took many photos with the castle and with stuffed animals. We counted how many Disney characters were in the three character trees.

Bottom left and right photo credit: Elizabeth

Claire's was next and I can't tell you when the last time I visited Claire's. I probably haven't been there since middle school or high school. Elizabeth, Marci and I took many photos of us trying on flower headbands and random hats and even a veil! Marci had fun with a parasol.

Left and right photo credit: Marci

A Starbucks trip was in need of next and Marci and Elizabeth ordered Pink Drinks off the secret menu while I ordered a Latte Macchiato. They were super delicious and they were just the pick me ups we needed to continue our day.

Photo credit: Marci

The ladies and I returned back to Barnes & Noble and were surprised that much of the swag was untouched. Again, it's because of the poor marketing. We decided to pick up three of some of our favorite reads at Barnes & Noble and made a book wheel showcasing the books we chose. Marci also went picture happy styling all of the chosen books. Aren't they wonderful looking?

Photo credit: Marci
I chose All the Feels by Danika Stone, Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch and Fangirl by Rainbow. I totally forgot to add Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum and The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord. However, I was only limited to three books. Contemporary is my favorite genre and these books mean so much to me. All the Feels and Fangirl are about fandom love which I can relate to so much since I am OBSESSED with Harry Potter. Love & Gelato, on the other hand, reminds me of memories when I was in Florence, Italy.

However, Elizabeth's choices of To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han and When We Collided by Emery Lord are also fabulous. I absolutely love both of them and they are contemporaries I would recommend to everyone. I also really want to read The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder that Marci chose.

Photo Credit: Marci

Have you read any of the book pictured above? If so, what did you think of them? If not, which books do you want to pick up in the near future? Were you able to attend B-Fest this month? Leave a comment below!

If you want to follow The Marauders on social media, please check out the hashtag, #TheMarauders3, for pictures about our bookish adventures. We solemnly swear we are up to no good. Mischief Managed.

Photo credit: Elizabeth

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Favorite Reading Spots

Do you ever think about where you read a book? Are you one of those people who can only read in certain locations or are you someone who can read on a whim anywhere? Personally, I can almost read anywhere but there are some locations I would call my favorite reading spots.

1. My Bed
I am a huge fan of reading right before bed. There is something about diving into a book before a good night's worth of rest. Sometimes it inspires my dreams.

2. Outside 
I love reading outside when the weather is nice. Sitting under a tree or reading on the deck with a glass of lemonade is a nice way to enjoy the weather and to catch up on some good books.

3. At the Beach or the Pool
Catch some waves and soak up the sun while reading a book. Just make sure you slather on that sunscreen.

4. On the Subway
I am one who loves reading on the subway. Because I use the subway often, I am always looking forward to passing the time. Reading is a good way to make the ride more enjoyable. The only thing I have to worry about is not missing my stop.

5. The Library
If I am browsing around at the library, I will often read a chapter of a book or two before taking a book out unless I am sold based on the synopsis. The library also provides a nice environment to enjoy reading.

6. At a Café/Coffeehouse/Teahouse
I often like to visit a café to enjoy a good cup of coffee or tea with a book on hand. Cafés that have the nice squishy comfy couches are my favorite!

7. In the Kitchen
I am often cooking or baking. When I am baking, I like to read in the kitchen while I wait for the timer to go off to check on the oven. Also, books go well with sweets like cookies or cupcakes.

Where do you like to read? Do we share any of the same favorite reading spots?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Top Ten Favorite 2016 Releases So Far This Year


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to share their top ten favorite 2016 releases so far this year. The following books are in no particular order.

1. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi is one of the most beautifully written novels I have ever read. Her words are lyrical and poetic; her descriptions are opulent. Chokshi writes with passion. It's a definite must read for fantasy and mythology lovers.

2. When We Collided by Emery Lord is a wonderful contemporary about two people finding one another during the summer. Vivi and Jonah help each other during hard times. Lord has a gift for capturing moments in a snapshot. Pick up this book this summer!

3. The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski is a stunning ending to this fantastic trilogy. The world building and the political dynamics are still on point and the writing is passionate and compelling.

4. All the Feels by Danika Stone is a fangirl's dream book. If you are in love with a fandom, this is a must read book. Learn what a fandom really means to someone.

5. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch transports me to the time when I traveled to Florence, Italy. It's breathtaking! Love & Gelato is the perfect heartfelt and romantic novel for those who enjoyed reading Anna and the French Kiss.

6. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum is an honest story that has captured my heart! If you're looking for a good contemporary read, this is the one to pick up now!!!

7. The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury is a retelling of Aladdin from One Thousand and One Nights. However, it is not a mere imitation of Aladdin but a extension of the world of the Aladdin that most of us know today. It's a magical journey that many should dive into.

8. The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton is a whimsical MG novel. Sutton writes in poetic verse which makes the story flow quite nicely. She captures the emotions of Fain perfectly.

9. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo is an important and powerful book that everyone should read. It's a coming-of-age novel that tackles bullying, questioning your identity, making new friends, divorce, moving and finding love.

10. Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee is a historical fiction taken place in 1906 in San Francisco. Learn what it means to live during the time of a historic earthquake in Chinatown. Acceptance, friendship and advocating for yourself are important themes in this novel.

Books Coming Out Soon:

1. How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather will capture those who love everything Salem. The novel is one part Mean Girls, one part Sleepy Hollow and one part Hocus Pocus. The eerieness, the mystery and the ambience makes How to Hang a Witch the perfect autumnal read.

2. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco fuses together gore and a mystery in the late 19th century Victorian era. Maniscalco does a fabulous job creating a compelling, atmospheric novel with a strong non-conventional female lead.

3. The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics devours you whole. It is equally intriguing, unsettling and chilling. This is a horror novel you want to pick up for sure!

What books are your favorite 2016 releases so far and why? I would love to see what books you enjoyed so far for the year. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop

Title: The Distance to Home
Author:  Jenn Bishop
Publisher: Random House/Knopf Children’s
Publication date: June 28, 2016
Pages: 240
Source/format: ARC to borrow from Rachel

Rating: ☆☆☆ 

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

Last summer, Quinnen was the star pitcher of her baseball team, the Panthers. They’re headed for the championship, and her loudest supporter at every game was her best friend and older sister, Haley.

This summer, everything is different. Haley’s death, at the end of last summer, has left Quinnen and her parents reeling. Without Haley in the stands, Quinnen doesn’t want to play baseball. It seems like nothing can fill the Haley-sized hole in her world. The one glimmer of happiness comes from the Bandits, the local minor-league baseball team. For the first time, Quinnen and her family are hosting one of the players for the season. Without Haley, Quinnen’s not sure it will be any fun, but soon she befriends a few players. With their help, can she make peace with the past and return to the pitcher’s mound?

M Y  T H O U G H T S

I enjoyed reading The Distance to Home. Although Quinnen loses someone dear to her, she finally finds the courage to play baseball once again. This is a wonderful novel that delves about topics such as grief, friendship, sisterly bonding, courage and finding oneself. Jenn Bishop gives Quinnen a chance to grieve but also gives Quinnen a chance to bounce back to her feet and to pursue her passion once again. Bishop gives Quinnen hope! Hayley would be proud of Quinnen. The alternating past and present chapters gave a sense of knowing Hayley and Quinnen's sisterly relationship in more detail. You can definitely tell Quinnen looks up to Hayley and how they are best of friends.

Quinnen just needed time before she can carry on with her life. Losing someone is always hard but at such a young age, losing someone can be confusing. I love how Bishop includes a variety of supporting people in Quinnen's life. It is important for young readers to know that there is always someone that can help out. Whether is is someone to help you grieve or to take your mind off something, someone is always there to help when in need. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Kindle Daily Deal: Hello? by Liza Wiemer

Hello? by Liza Wiemer is a heartfelt book that everyone should read. For today only, there is a Kindle Daily Deal in which Hello? is only 99 cents! Definitely take advantage of this deal and purchase Hello?. Please check down below for more information about the deal as well as more information regarding the book. If you're interested in reading my review for Hello?, please read it here.

Title: Hello? 

Author: Liza Wiemer 
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Publication date: November 10, 2015
Pages: 400

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

One HELLO? can change a life. One HELLO? can save a life.

Tricia: A girl struggling to find her way after her beloved grandma's death.

Emerson: A guy who lives his life to fulfill promises, real and hypothetical.
Angie: A girl with secrets she can only express through poetry.
Brenda: An actress and screenplay writer afraid to confront her past.
Brian: A potter who sets aside his life for Tricia, to the detriment of both.

Linked and transformed by one phone call, Hello? weaves together these five Wisconsin teens' stories into a compelling narrative of friendship and family, loss and love, heartbreak and healing, serendipity, and ultimately hope.

Told from all five viewpoints: narration (Tricia), narration (Emerson), free verse poetry (Angie), screenplay format (Brenda), narration and drawings (Brian).

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Top Most Anticipated Releases for Second Half of 2016


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to share their top ten most anticipated releases for the second half of 2016. The following books are in no particular order. 

1. United by Melissa Landers is the last book in the Alienated trilogy. I cannot wait to find out more about Cara and Aelyx. After the cliffhanger in Invaded, I want to know more! This is one of my most anticipated series reads for the year. Release date: August 2, 2016.

2. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling is a MUST read for all the Harry Potter fans out there. It's the freaking eighth book! I cannot wait to get my hands on this! Who's up for a midnight release party? Release date: July 31, 2016.

3. Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee is a book I am looking forward to. Instead of Lee's usual historical fiction, Lee's first contemporary novel is sure to capture many hearts. I love Lee's writing and I am looking forward to Mimosa's story. Release date: December 27, 2016.

4.  Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz will be a book that I know I can connect with. I work with a lot of low-income and first generation students and I know sometimes my students struggle to fit in. They don't know where they belong. Something in Between will be an emotional and heartfelt read. Release date: September 27, 2016.

5. Going Geek by Charlotte Huang is a novel I am looking forward to after reading For the Record. Huang caught my attention with East Coast preppy boarding school. Everyone knows I am a sucker for boarding school books. And yay for the East Coast!!! Release date: September 13, 2016.

6. Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst is a novel that is pretty much its own unique fairytale about magic, love and duty. This coming-of-age novel will challenge trust between two kingdoms. Release date: November 22, 2016.

7. As I Descended by Robin Talley is a modern day Macbeth retelling. Revenge and redemption will rein in this upcoming novel. I enjoyed Talley's debut novel, Lies We Tell Ourselves, and I cannot wait to read As I Descended. Release date: September 6, 2016.

8. Heartless by Marissa Meyer is on many people's TBR list for the year. Not only is this novel a retelling of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but I cannot wait for Meyer's take on this classic. How many retellings do we read about the Queen of Hearts. What is her backstory? Much like Levana's story in the Lunar Chronicles, I am pretty sure Heartless will be captivating read. Release Date: November 8, 2016.

9. The Midnight Star by Marie Lu is the last book in the Young Elites trilogy and I cannot wait to get my hands on this. Adelina is one of my favorite characters and I love how readers get to read an anti-hero's point of view. Release date: October 11, 2016.

10.  Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova is a book about magic, brujas and a spell that has gone wrong. Ever since I heard about this book, I wanted to read it. This will be perfect for paranormal lovers. I am currently reading this one and I am loving it so far. Release date: September 6, 2016.

11. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco is a title I already had the privilege to read but this novel is OUTSTANDING! It's atmospheric and macabre at its finest. This gothic thriller is the perfect read for the fall! Release Date: September 20, 2016.

What books are you anticipating for the second half of the year? Have you read any of the books listed above? If so do you recommend them?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Never Missing, Never Found by Amanda Panitch

Title: Never Missing, Never Found
Author: Amanda Panitch
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication date: June 28, 2016
Pages: 320
Source/format: ARC from publisher

Rating: ☆☆☆ 

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

A juicy thriller about a girl who returned from the missing. . . . Hand to fans of We Were Liars, Bone Gap, and Vanishing Girls.

Some choices change everything. Scarlett chose to run. And the consequences will be deadly.

Stolen from her family as a young girl, Scarlett was lucky enough to eventually escape her captor. Now a teen, she's starting a summer job at an amusement park. There are cute boys, new friends, and the chance to finally have a normal life.

Her first day on the job, Scarlett is shocked to discover that a girl from the park has gone missing. Old memories come rushing back. And now as she meets her new coworkers, one of the girls seems strangely familiar. When Scarlett chose to run all those years ago, what did she set into motion? And when push comes to shove, how far will she go to uncover the truth . . . before it's too late?

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Scarlett Contreras was taken when she was younger. She eventually was reunited with her family but when she starts working at Five Banners Adventure World, Monica disappears without a trace. Monica's disappearance bring back memories of when Scarlett was kidnapped.

"A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost."

It doesn't help when Scarlett is smitten with Connor. Katharina is an interesting character. I can't make her out as a true friend when she tries to make Scarlett feel uncomfortable. Even though Scarlett and her sister Melody did not get along very well, Scarlett tries to rekindle the sisterly relationship. When she was captured, Scarlett also found a sister in Pixie.

Amanda Panitch includes flashbacks in Never Missing, Never Found which helped build the plot of novel. It's nice how the readers find out what happened to Scarlett in the past. It helps the readers understand what she is thinking in present day and why she reacts the way she does. Panitch's own experience working at Six Flags Great Adventure inspired this novel.

Never Missing, Never Found is a clever and gripping psychological thriller. Not only does Scarlett find hope during her situation but she can't figure out whether she is going crazy or if someone is back to hunt her down with revenge. The ending is truly twisted. I had to re-read certain parts of the ending in order to fully understand what I read. Never Missing, Never Found is about hope, survival and uncovering the truth.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Hobbies and Interests

So it's a no brainer that I am a huge lover of books and I love to read. However, I do not spend all of my free time reading. Of course some of my other hobbies or interests may be somewhat of an extension to my love of books, but they have their separate identities.

1. Many of you know that I am a huge fan of Harry Potter. I immerse myself into the Wizarding World beyond the books. I attend HP conventions, meet ups and will chat to almost anyone about HP.

2. I love to cook and bake. Not only do I collect cookbooks but I love to try out new recipes. I also love attending cooking demonstrations and cookbook author talks. I LOVE to eat. My boyfriend and I enjoy visiting different restaurants, especially when we travel. Food is one of my passions and it is something that I can share with everyone.

3. I love to watch anime and read manga. I will attend some anime conventions as well and will work on cosplays.

4. My favorite beverage is probably tea. I seriously have an addiction. I recently cataloged all the types of teas I own and probably have over 50 types in my possession. The great thing about tea is how versatile it is. You can prepare differently and there are so many kinds that everyone will find a favorite. I sometimes like to cook or bake with tea.

5. Design is something I am very fond of every since high school and college. I am a big fan of graphic design in particular but I also like interior design. I love how you can be creative with textures, colors and lines. There are so many things you can do to create a masterpiece and a work of art!

6. I recently learned to needlefelt when I attended a Harry Potter convention. Not only is it easy to create something but it is a soothing and relaxing way to enjoy your day. Needlefelted items make great gifts.

What are your hobbies besides reading? Do we share any of the same interests?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Title: Me Before You
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books/Viking
Publication date: December 31, 2012
Pages: 369
Source/format: Library/Hardcover

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

M Y  T H O U G H T S
I heard nothing but great things about Me Before You. This contemporary novel is a quick heartfelt read. Louisa Clark (Lou) has been let go of her job at The Buttered Bun. Lou is desperate for a job after not being able to hold a permanent position. She finally lands a job as a caregiver for Will Traynor who is a quadriplegic. Although Lou and Will do not start off on the right foot, their relationship deepens as time passes.

Me Before You is an emotional roller coaster. There are so many feels. First I am happy, then worried, then overjoyed and then I am tearing up. Lou is quirky and very likable. Will, on the other hand, takes some time to warm up to. As their relationship progresses, I wanted to read more about Lou and Will but I knew what the ending encompasses. Me Before You reminds me of The Fault in our Stars. It will lift you off your feet and remind you that you can find love and happiness in unexpected places.

Jojo Moyes has written an unforgettable book that is timeless. The character development within Lou and Will is strong; I enjoyed reading about their adventures and how they blossomed to the people who they become. I was a bit irritated with Lou's family and Patrick but Moyes has captured many personalities in Me Before You. The balance between rich and poor even out in one territory which I love.

I am looking forward to seeing the film adaptation of Me Before You. So far the trailer looks promising. Me Before You is a heartbreaking novel that is a MUST read!