September 16, 2015

Taking the Ice by Jennifer Comeaux (Blog Tour Review + Giveaway)

Taking the Ice by Jennifer Comeaux
Release Date: August 17, 2015
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 166
Series: Ice
Review Source: eARC for review through Itching for Books Tours

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

Olympic rings and an engagement ring.

Courtney Carlton is ready for both.

She and her boyfriend Josh have skated together and dated for four years, and they’ve reached a critical point in their partnership both on and off the ice. With the Winter Games coming up and their career nearing an end, they are fighting to win a spot on the Olympic team, something Courtney has dreamed of since she was ten years old.

She also has another wish she hopes comes true soon. She’s waiting for a marriage proposal from Josh that she expected to happen by now. Will she realize either dream or will her heart be broken from disappointment?
My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed Taking the Ice and found it to be a very sweet end to Courtney and Josh's story. These two characters make me smile so much and I had a blast reading about their journey over the past three books. What I really enjoyed about this book is how Courtney and Josh have learned to stick together as a couple. There's a real progression in the series, so it's beautiful to watch them working so well together on and off the ice.

By no means does this book show complete perfection in our characters' lives, because Courtney and Josh face challenges and work hard to achieve what they have, but I did think of this book as a Happily Ever After fete. There's still hard stuff going on in their lives, but it was awesome to read about Courtney and Josh going strong as a couple.

Taking the Ice features great skating scenes, great friendship scenes, and a lovely romance. This novella is a great celebration of two careers and a toast to what the future will hold. As this is the third and final book in a series, you'll definitely want to start at the beginning of Courtney and Josh's story with Crossing the Ice. If you wanted, you could go even further back and start with Life on the Edge, which starts off the story of Courtney and Josh's coaches, Emily and Sergei.

Taking the Ice is sweet, fun, and lovely: exactly what you'd expect from Jennifer Comeaux.

The Cover:


Purchase Links: |

About Jennifer:
Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a die-hard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating. One of her favorite pastimes is traveling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing.

Where to find Jennifer:
Website & Blog | Facebook | Twitter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow along with the tour schedule here for more reviews, interviews, and guest posts.

August 3, 2015

My Favourite Underrated Young Adult Books (Part 4)

I hope you've been enjoying this series on my favourite underrated YA novels. Let's continue to champion lesser known and underrated books!

Another reminder that you should definitely check out the #quietYA hashtag, started by @DailyJulianne for tons of great under the radar suggestions.

Here's the 4th and final part of my list, with a reminder that stats were gathered on April 6, 2015 and may have changed since then...

Underrated Young Adult Novels:

Threads and Flames by Esther M. Friesner [409 ratings, 3.89 average]
I read this book for an underrated books event, so it's not a surprise to me that so few people have heard of this one. It is an incredible shame, though, because Threads and Flames is a deeply touching book. It's a novel, but it describes the real-life events of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and in doing so it also describes what living and working conditions were like for immigrants in NYC in the early 20th century. This book is so hard hitting and emotional, I highly recommend it.

The Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist [617 ratings, 3.87 average]
This is the start of an exciting duology, filled with political factions and plotting nobles. It contains issues of family, friendship, and romance all tied together under the plot about the kingdom. Recommended for fans of Throne of Glass or the Seven Realms series.

The Holders by Julianna Scott [756 ratings, 3.87 average]
Loved the world, the plot, and the narrative voice. This is the type of book where you’re not necessarily surprised by anything that happens, but you love the journey getting there. There’s a total X-Men vibe to this story, but it holds its own with unique characters and story.

Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance [1,286 ratings, 3.47 average]
Veronica Mars meets Pride & Prejudice. Fun and effortlessly high concept. It's not often you get the contemp YA feels with friends, family, and romance AND an action packed plot with spies and corporate espionage.

Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell [1,806 ratings, 3.95 average]
An absolutely hilarious and moving story about traveling off the beaten path and being willing to let go of best laid plans.

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly [2,223, 3.92 average]
A very beautiful and emotionally honest book. The main character, Drea, is obsessed with music and she also happens to have Asperger’s. I liked how the author wrote that the book wasn’t about Drea and her “conditions”, but that it was a book about a person’s journey who happens to have a diagnosis.

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney [2,912 ratings, 3.83 average]
I'm actually devastated that so few people have read this book. It is gorgeous! So sad and moving, meaningful in both its portrayals of grief and of renewal and hope. Bonus points for: male narrator, an important POC character, a great platonic friendship between a guy and girl, and a fab dog character.

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman [4,061 ratings, 3.57 average]
If you enjoy foreign locations, treasure hunts, history, and relationships that will leave you reeling (and who doesn't?!), then this is definitely a book for you. This is kind of like a YA Da Vinci Code, but full of emotional intensity and character depth.

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller [5,757 ratings, 3.83 average]
This is a gorgeous book about family, identity, and making your own choices. I absolutely lovedddd it! I adored the Florida setting, the big Greek extended family, the steamy and sweet romance, and all the layers to this story.

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready [Book 1: 11,156 ratings, 3.89 average; Book 3: 2,964, 4.18 average]
This book alone is not necessarily very low key -- there's over 11,000 ratings on Goodreads for it. But by the time you get to Shine (Book 3) it's down to only a few thousand, which is a SHAME because this is one of my favourite trilogies. It's epic, it's romantic, it's heartbreaking and hopeful. I highly recommend you read Shade and continue on with the series. It's got ghosts, teenage angst, lots of music love, science/astronomy, and a hot Scot (#TeamKilt, anyone?).

So many good books! You can check out all my recommendations by looking at the Underrated Label on my site.

July 27, 2015

My Favourite Underrated Young Adult Books (Part 3)

I love all books, but the ones that most need shout outs are the ones that aren't known to a lot of people. So today I'm continuing my underrated YA series with some more little talked about but AWESOME reads.

Again, I also recommend you check out the hashtag #quietYA, started by @DailyJulianne for tons of great under the radar suggestions.

Here's part 3 (with a reminder that stats were gathered on April 6, 2015 and may have changed since then)...

Underrated Young Adult Novels:

Torched by Andrea Colt [392 ratings, 3.97 average]
A fun and swoony contemp romance meets compelling high school set mystery. Loved the two main characters and their interactions so much!!

Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler [591 ratings, 4.00 average]
Dahlia has such a dynamic internet presence that it's hard to believe only 591 people have rated this book. This is a Hollywood YA story, one that I think would appeal both to those who normally love and those who normally loathe the typical Hollywood YA books. Cute, charming, swoony, with great friendship and family issues. A perfect YA/NA hybrid.

Searching for Beautiful by Nyrae Dawn [652 ratings, 3.61 average]
Nyrae Dawn always crafts such complex characters who feel truly real. She writes with an emotional honesty that I adore. This book in particular is a great read for any fan of contemp YA, with a fabulous message of finding the beauty in yourself which comes across in such a natural way.

Forget Me by K.A. Harrington [1,231 ratings, 3.73 average]
Forget Me is a straight up contemporary mystery/thriller, which we don’t see a lot of in YA. I loved this book because it was so hard to predict! It could have gone so many ways, and I really enjoyed the journey it took me on. Bonus points: the creepy/eerie feel a lot of the scenes had, and a strong friendship between two females who were unflinchingly loving to and supportive of one another (yes!!).

Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales [1,298 ratings, 3.50 average]
This book is so delightful, so funny, and so honest. It perfectly captures the angst and humour of being a teenager. Such a fabulous friendship book as well. I highly recommend all of Leila’s books.

Something Real by Heather Demetrios [2,173 ratings, 4.01 average]
This is an amazing contemporary that really spoke to me. It has such great characters, a crazy interesting plot (the main character and her siblings have grown up as part of a reality TV show!), a slow burn romance, and that certain unknowable quality that made it "unputdownable".

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Wilson [2,873 ratings, 3.99 average]
I’m so surprised more people haven’t read this one! It’s a heartbreaking love story with strong themes involving class and race. I’m sad that it’s still relevant – maybe especially relevant – these days, but the work itself is gorgeously written.

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando [3,383 ratings, 3.64 average]
I adored what this book had to say about friendship, romantic relationships, growing up, and change. It tells the story of two girls from totally different parts of the country, with very different lives, who are going to become college roommates. This is a great book which features a very meaningful friendship which grows online, and some incredibly well defined secondary characters. I love NA, but this is the type of college related story that I find relatable.

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker [4,426 ratings, 3.80 average]
This is a book about a lost friendship. A book about a summer sailing trip. A book about family, about romance, about endings and beginnings. If you’re looking for an emotionally satisfying contemp YA, this is one to check out. Bonus awesome: Clem’s little sister Olive, one of the best sibling characters I can remember reading about.

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord [6,192 ratings, 3.94 average]
I am a sucker for stories about people with connections to famous people, so this book where the main character is the BFF of a Taylor Swift-esque figure and goes on tour with her for the summer is kind of like my crack. Reagan is a prickly main character who you can't help but root for. I loved the friendship, the road trip-esque aspect, and the romance. Just soooo much amazingness going on here.

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergen [Book 1: 12,330 ratings, 4.08 average; Book 5: 705 ratings, 4.45 average]
Again, decently high number of people reading this book, but when it comes to the last book in the series only around 700 have marked it as read. You can see by the high ratings that this book is beloved. Time travel to 14th Century Italy, anyone? I loved the family aspect to the series, the history, the romance – basically everything about this book and the series is done so well.

Just writing about these books makes me want to re-read them!! I hope you'll check out some of these recommendations, and stay tuned for Part 4!

July 22, 2015

My Favourite Underrated Young Adult Books (Part 2)

I posted Part 1 of my favourite underrated YA books awhile ago, and today I'm back with Part 2. You can check out the first post for my thoughts about the meaning of underrated vs what people mean what they say it. I also recommend you check out the hashtag #quietYA, started by @DailyJulianne for some great under the radar suggestions.

Alright, here's part 2 (with a reminder that stats were gathered on April 6, 2015 and may have changed since then):

Underrated Young Adult Novels:

Apparition by Gail Gallant [190 ratings, 3.84 average]
Canadian set YA ghost story? Yes please! I really enjoyed the writing style of this book. The ghost part was eerie but never truly scary (a good thing IMO). I loved the characters and their relationships. This felt like a real contemporary novel where there just happened to be a paranormal element, which is something I always enjoy.

Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin [544 ratings, 3.67 average]
This is a contemp with a great mix of heavy and light emotions. It has a music theme to it, and it tells a great story of boys, family, and growing up. I especially liked that it featured exes who were both to blame for the break-up, and I thought that the author did a great job of telling a “will they, won’t they” story.

Kiss. Kill. Vanish. by Jessica Martinez [640 ratings, 3.61 average]
This book is exciting, romantic, and thrilling. There’s a certain twistiness to the story, a real slow reveal of what happened to Valentina (or Jane, as she’s calling herself in Montreal). I can’t say too much except I was still thinking about this book months after I read it. I truly believe this is the strongest of Jessica’s books yet, and I was a huge fan of Virtuosity as well.

Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker [1,028 ratings, 3.50 average]
What I wrote in my review for this book: ‘Small Town Sinners’ is an incredibly compelling and touching novel. Melissa Walker offers a very nuanced and non-judgmental examination of religion, belief, and truth. I get that the topic of this novel will turn some people off, but I honestly find it such a relevant and honest novel that a lot of teens may be able to relate to. It's not easy to reconcile faith and modern society, and Small Town Sinners takes on one aspect of that.

Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins [1,735 ratings, 3.85 average]
Please ignore the over-used cover models and focus on the inside of this book. This was released as YA, but I definitely consider it a hybrid NA book. It features an aspiring chef and a wounded war veteran. Sooooo much character growth in this book, such an amazing story of finding your path in life, and the romance is absolutely beautiful. When you can do family, friends, and romance well in one book I am a happy contemporary lover.

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding [2,077 ratings, 3.89 average]
If you’re looking for a book about a complicated mother/daughter relationship I’d highly recommend this one. Also great in this book: teens acting like real teens, show choir/musical theatre, and a cute (nerdy!) boy.

Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross [2,315 ratings, 4.18 average]
Sporty heroine and sporty hero. Swoony, sweet romance. Complicated (but also amazing) family dynamic. I could keep going and going listing all the things Julie Cross has added to this book and done such a good job portraying. I loveddddd this novel and how it made me feel, and it makes me so excited for her hockey book to come out next year.

Shadows by Paula Weston [3,260 ratings, 4.00 average]
This is an Australian novel, and it's been out in North America for about a year and a half now. I highly suggest you drop everything and READ. THIS. BOOK. I'm so serious about this. This very quickly became one of my absolute favourite series. Fabulous characters, including tons of strong females. Epic, explosive chemistry between two of the leads. Wonderful world building and HIGH STAKES for the characters. Plus I love the setting and general tone of the book.

Star Crossed by Elizabeth Bunce [5,178 ratings, 3.81 average]
Such an interesting fantasy read, with fabulous characters and amazing world building. If you enjoy fantasy novels involving magic, court politics, and religion I definitely recommend this one. Celyn (or Digger) is a delightful main character, so strong, intelligent, and loyal.

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood [Book 1: 10,826 ratings, 3.91 average; Book 3: 1,431 ratings, 4.17 average]
A trilogy about sisters, witches, feminism, and about love in its many forms. I love this magical alternate history. Such a smart, emotional, romantic, feel-the-emotions-in-your-stomach series.

I hope you'll check out some of these recommendations, and stay tuned for Part 3!

June 2, 2015

Lion Heart Blog Tour: Guest Post from A.C. Gaughen

Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 348
Series: Scarlet

Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince's clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by A.C. Gaughen

Let’s break it down!

FIRST, the week of June 8th, I’ll be heading down to New York to start the Boldly Bookish tour! I’m rocking out with Tiffany Schmidt, Trish Doller and Emery Lord, and I’m basically expecting it to be a five-city sleep over. That’s what grown ups do, right?

After that, I’ll have time off this summer--I’ve been working as a teaching fellow for the past year, so that means I get to write—all the time! Which is pretty fantastic, because as soon as I get home from tour, I’m diving into revisions for TERRA, the first book in my new Elementae series that my editor at Bloomsbury just acquired. The first book will be out in 2017, so I need to get cracking!

Life Stuff
I’m hearing wedding bells in surround sound this year. Launch week is also the week of my third of seven weddings this year, but it is by far the most special—my older brother is getting married! So right after launch I’m resting my toes to get ready to dance the whole weekend away. Then I have another wedding in July, and it’s formal so I get to wear a long, pretty dress! Then I can relax until the next wedding in September. Plus Fourth of July and fun stuff in the sun (ok, under a hat and an umbrella and counting the minutes until I’m in the water or air conditioning).

But yes, in general, my summers consist of hiding from the sun, looking like a lobster no matter what I do, and hanging out on a boat (when I’m not jumping off the boat with my rascally, water-lovin’ goldendoodle Lucy!).
Thanks for sharing, Annie! I wish the Boldly Bookish tour was coming near me, because it sounds like it will be awesome. Speaking of awesome, Terra sounds absolutely epic. Everyone, you can add it to Goodreads here.

About A.C.:

I am shamelessly addicted to staying up far too late (it feels like stealing time), diet coke (it burns so good), Scotland (stupid country stole my heart and won't give it back. Interpol has been ineffective for prosecution) and thieves (so I guess I'm not that mad at Scotland).

Where to find A.C.:

Website | Twitter | Facebook


Prizes = 3 complete sets of the SCARLET series. US Only. Copies will be sent out from the publisher at the end of the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 12, 2015

All Played Out by Cora Carmack (Tour Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway)

All Played Out by Cora Carmack
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Pages: 320
Series: Rusk University
Review Source: Edelweiss

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay... Scratch that. She knows she hasn't had the full college experience).

So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a "to do" list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it's impossible to get hurt... again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she's never known. But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, normal item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he's willing to take the chance when it's more than just a game.

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.
My Thoughts:
All Played Out is an entertaining novel featuring a very sweet romance. Nell and Mateo don't make a lot of sense at first glance and yet they make absolute sense: they balance each other out perfectly. Nell grounds Torres, opening him up to his real self, and Torres lets Nell get outside herself, focusing on something besides school and rigid plans. I loved how the romance grew between these two characters. I liked their flirting and how they worked together on Nell's list. One of my favourite parts of a romance novel is seeing the two love interests grow together by spending time with one another, and those scenes in All Played Out were truly lovely.

This is a very easy, fun read, but an emotionally satisfying one as well. I liked that even though there were hurdles and issues it wasn't super angsty or drawn out. Basically, All Played Out is a super enjoyable, sexy read. This is a very addictive series, and I'm excited to see where things go next with Stella's book.

The Cover:
So sweet!


Purchase Links:
Kobo | | | Chapters-Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iTunes

Excerpt from All Played Out --

I groan, and flip the page in my spiral so I won’t have to look at the words anymore. Starting small with the alcohol had been a wise decision. Perhaps I should do the same with other big items on my list. But how did one get smaller than sex and hooking up? I couldn’t just put “kiss.” I’d done that before, and a few more kisses weren’t going to make any difference in my confidence when it came to sex.

Really, it’s the unknown that bothers me. Not just on this list, but in everything. So maybe that’s what I need to get used to.

I skip to the bottom of my list and add …

17. Kiss a stranger

I tap my pen against the page, surveying the words, and decide that kissing a stranger is a good stepping-stone. Then a voice comes from over my shoulder, making me jump up and drop my spiral in shock.

“Do I count as a stranger?”

I press my hand over my thundering heart and turn to face the subject my rumination.

“You scared me.”

“My bad.” Contrary to his words, Torres doesn’t look the least bit sorry.

He bends to pick up the spiral, and I lunge forward to stop him. “Wait! Stop!”

It’s too late. He already has ahold of it, and lifts it up above his head, completely out of my reach. He’s got nearly a foot on me in height, and when I try to jump, I barely get my unathletic self a few inches off the ground.

“Give that back.”

“Hold up, sweetheart. I just want to take a little peek.”

“Don’t you dare! It’s private.”

Frantically, I try to recall what was written on that page as he holds it above his head in an attempt to read.

“‘Go skinny-dipping’?” he says, his eyes dancing suggestively. “Whatever this is ... I like it.”

I step toward him, and he angles his body to the side so that the spiral is farther away, but we’re still close.

“‘Pull an all-nighter.’ ‘Sing karaoke.’ ‘Flash someone.’ Oh, sweetheart, tell me this is a list of things you want to do. Please, God.”

“It’s none of your business. That’s what it is.”

“Unlucky for you, I’m a nosy person.”

He starts to turn the page back, and my heart tumbles in fear. He cannot see the first page. Not ever. I hurl myself at him, practically climbing up his body in an attempt to retrieve my list. And all he does is laugh, and stand there as if there isn’t a whole person hanging on to him.

“Asshole!” I say, pushing at his chest.

“Come on, you can do better than that.”

“Nosy bastard.”

He rolls his eyes. “Well, if that’s all you’ve got ...” He starts to turn the page again, and there’s thunder in my ears, and my lungs feel all twisted up inside my chest.

“Fuck you,” I say once, quietly. Then I repeat it, louder, my voice raspy from fear and exertion. “Fuck you, Mateo Torres.”

And I resign myself to the fact that I’m not going to get my spiral back until he’s had his fill of humiliating me. But to my shock, he bends and picks up my pen from where I’d dropped it when he surprised me. Then he draws a line through something on the paper.

“Congratulations. You’ve officially completed number sixteen. ‘Cuss someone out and mean it.’”

He hands me the spiral, then the pen, before folding his arms over his chest and meeting my eyes with a carefully blank expression. I glance down at the item on the list that he’s crossed out, and I don’t know whether I want to laugh or stab him with my pen. Maybe both.

About Cora:
Cora Carmack is a twenty-something New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She's done a multitude of things in her life-- boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She now splits her time between Austin, TX and New York City and spends her days writing, traveling, and spending way too much time on the internet. In her books, you can expect to find humor, heart, and a whole lot of awkward. Because let’s face it . . . awkward people need love, too.

Where to find Cora:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow along with the rest of the InkSlinger PR tour here.

Click on the graphic above or this link to read Cora's announcement about Book #4 in the Rusk University series.

May 1, 2015

My Favourite Underrated Young Adult Books (Part 1)

I love all books. I love bestsellers, I love books with buzz, I love indie books, I love lesser known books. There's something special about that last category, though. Those gems that not many people seem to known about. I have to admit that I read a lot more commercial books or books that are well known. It makes sense: after all, those are the ones by authors with a track record or the debuts that get tons of buzz (read: marketing budget from the publisher).

It's hard to say what to define "underrated" as... defines the word as "to rate or evaluate too low; underestimate." So I suppose that a book could be read a hundred million times, but because of its low rating on Goodreads or Amazon be considered "underrated" by some. But I think what most people mean when they say a book is underrated is that not many people have read it. It doesn't have a lot of buzz -- it's an amazing book that not a lot of people are talking about.

There was an article a few weeks ago that talked about "underrated book series" that YA readers should read. I understand it was from community suggestions, and while I may not have a firm definition on what an "underrated book" is, I do know that if I see a book on the New York Times Bestsellers list or a movie based on that series, it's definitely not underrated.

So in that spirit I've gathered a list of books that I believe are amazing books, well worth reading, that just happen to have a lower amount of ratings on Goodreads. I tried to stick with books that had 5,000 or fewer ratings. Some have more, and some have way less. I've also included a few series where the first book was fairly well read, but by the next (or last) book the numbers went down drastically.

Without further ado, here are my first picks, with statistics gathered the week of April 6...

Underrated Young Adult Novels:

Waiting for the Storm by Marie Landry [108 ratings, 4.20 average]
My heart, it aches. Everyone who is at all a fan of contemp YA stories needs to stop and read this masterpiece. Full disclosure that I consider Marie a friend, but I was reading her books before I got to know her as a fellow Canadian blogger. This is a quiet and emotional story about dealing with grief and change. It’s a great family story, but it also contains an incredibly swoony romance.

Relic by Renee Collins [462 ratings, 3.67 average]
Magical, exciting, and unique. Relic is a Western style alternate history involving magic relics (bones of long dead magical creatures). There’s a mystery which the main character has very high stakes in, and some light romantic elements.

Exile by Kevin Emerson [634 ratings, 3.61 average]
This book has a great concept, and it’s executed beautifully. You have a girl who’s worrying about her romantic relationship, who’s working hard to truly manage a band (she goes to a performing arts high school where this is taken Very Seriously), and she’s helping to solve a mystery involving a dead rocker. Everything is so well done, and I had a blast reading this one.

How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler [801 ratings, 3.78 average]
How have so few people read this book?! I am actually hurt by this. Janet writes some absolutely amazing contemporary YA, reminiscent of Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Scott, and Deb Caletti. This book is probably my favourite of hers, a great story about a toxic friendship. It features a girl who wants to be a college paintball player, which is definitely something I haven't seen before. It also has a very sweet romance featuring an incredibly nice guy.

Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer [1,231 ratings, 3.65 average]
As the title declares, this is a book about rivalry. It’s about female friendship and the complexities of that, especially in high school. It’s also about a competitive singing group, which is done so well. Bonus points for a full on nerd boy character and awesome mentions of fanfiction and dorky online hobbies.

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley [2,854 ratings, 4.01 average]
Sam is one of the first girls to attend Denmark Military Academy, and her story is not an easy one to read. I was absolutely enthralled with this book, flipping the pages as fast as I could, but I also can’t remember when a book made me more angry -- in a good way, sort of? The author’s writing was so powerful and the treatment Sam receives so despicable that I was practically shaking with anger for a lot of the book. This is a compelling read about an incredibly strong girl (not just talking physically, either).

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally [3,363 ratings, 4.08 average]
I feel like Miranda Kenneally gets pretty good buzz in the YA blogger community for her amazing contemp YA romances. But this book has less than 10% the amount of readers Catching Jordan does, which is a huge shame because it's an AMAZING book. This is another book which portrays grief and loss beautifully. Miranda's books are always smart, interesting, and swoony, but this is really one of my favourites of hers, if not the favourite.

Amplified by Tara Kelly [4,589 ratings, 3.75 average]
Tara Kelly is the best at writing about music. You can tell that she loves it just by the way her characters love and describe it. I loved how lively and fun the band in this book was, and I absolutely adored the romance. Love/hate chemistry and flirty banter? Yes please!

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson [6,537 ratings, 3.80 average]
This is a genre-bending read which thoroughly caught my attention. I loved the general setting (Sudbury, ON, Canada) and the more direct setting (mental institution!). I can't really say much more about this book because it has a certain twist to it, but know that it is incredibly interesting and compulsively readable.

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen [Book 1: 14,134 ratings, 4.01 average; Book 2: 3,307 ratings, 4.11 average]
This is a book with a decently high amount of readers where the amount of readers for Book 2 drastically dropped. What happened? Was it readers who didn't mesh with the dialogue style of the book? Was it just less marketing that led people to forget about the series? Either way it needs to be remedied, because while Scarlet is a great book, Lady Thief may be even better. You NEED to read this book where Will Scarlet is actually Scarlet, a girl, with another secret identity under her belt. I'm incredibly excited for the series closer to release on May 19.

I hope you'll check out some of these recommendations, and stay tuned for Part 2!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...