Top 5 Wednesdays – Thrillers Involving Relationships/Marriage (On My TBR)

I’ve found it frustratingly difficult to figure out how to name the theme for this week! Instead of more romance books, I wanted to focus a bit on thrillers since it is a favourite genre, and specifically on thrillers based around relationships and/or marriage to fit the Valentine’s theme of the month. I guess the closest fit might be domestic thriller, but I’m not really sure all of these books count as domestic. What I had in mind was stories were the marriage or relationship itself was a central aspect of the story. In general, I find the majority of the thrillers I read tend to fall into one of two categories: family secrets revealed because of the death of a parent or sibling, or disturbing marriages/relationships. I think it’s because I love character-driven stories in general, so these are the kinds of plots that I tend to gravitate toward.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Date Night by Samantha Hayes

46651329. sy475 This was the first book that immediately jumped to mind when I thought of this week’s theme. It caught my attention initially because I recognized the author’s name from having previous books of hers on my TBR, even though I haven’t read any yet. This book is Samantha Hayes’ 2019 release, which is about a woman named Libby who returns from a disastrous date night with her husband to find their young daughter alone. Their  teenage babysitter, Sasha, is missing and as days go by, Libby is accused of murdering her.  I think this book immediately sprung to mind because of it beginning on the couple’s date night, which seemed like a great fit for a Valentine’s Day-ish theme. I was actually a bit surprised to realize that the date itself did not seem to be the focus of the story like I’d originally thought, but it still sounds like a very interesting thriller and definitely the kind that I tend to enjoy.

2) The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell

51174531. sx318 sy475 Strangely enough, I have a ton of thrillers on my TBR that involve the word “wife,” but hardly any that refer to husbands, or even girlfriends/boyfriends in the title. This is another author that I’ve been meaning to try for a while and I think I even own one of her books, but I haven’t read any yet. This book is due out this June, and it is about a woman named Tabitha, whose ex-boyfriend Connor comes back into her life after many years apart. Connor had married a wealthy but controlling woman, Nina, for her money, but when Nina takes her own life, he is suddenly free to be with Tabitha again. Hoping to finally have the future together she had dreamed of, Tabitha is surprised to find a diary that appears to be written by Nina, claiming that her death was foul play, and Connor and “her” were behind it. I’m kind of regretting that I didn’t add Michele Campbell to my list of priority authors to try this year because I’m not sure I’ve been able to fit in any of her thrillers, but they all sound so good! This one reminds me a bit of Verity and even Rebecca, and I’m excited to try it!

3) The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine

44801898. sy475 I really enjoyed The Last Mrs. Parrish, and I’m very interested in trying more books by this author duo! This book is due out in late May, and it is about a woman named Joanna, who is devastated to learn that her husband Leo is willing to leave her for another woman, Piper. Joanna had supported Leo through a period of severe depression, but soon realizes that it was Piper that managed to renew his happiness, and not their relationship or their two children. Devastated by how easily Leo walked away, Joanna is determined to find out more about Piper’s past to uncover something to use against her, and soon discovers secrets that make her fear for the life of her ex-husband and children. With her fears written off as jealousy, she struggles to find the evidence she needs to save her family. To be honest, my first impression of the synopsis is that it seems fairly similar to The Last Mrs. Parrish, but it’s encouraging to see that none of the reviews so far seem to mention a resemblance. I’m very intrigued by this one, and although I doubt I’ll be reading it this year, I’d love to pick it up at some point.

4) The Date by Louise Jensen

39603448. sy475 I have an unofficial goal to make sure I read at least one of Louise Jensen’s books this year! I have literally added every single one of her thrillers to my TBR since 2016, but haven’t read any yet. I even bought two last year with the intent of reading at least one, and ran out of time. I didn’t even bother adding her to my list of priority authors because it was already such an ingrained goal to make is happen this year. The Date is Louise Jensen’s 2018 release about a woman named Alison who is persuaded to go on a date with a new man after her recent separation from her husband. The morning after her date, Alison wakes up alone in her home. She is hurt, but she has no memory of what happened to her and is also unable to recognize anyone’s face, including her own. I’m a little unclear about whether her inability to recognize faces was a pre-existing condition or the result of what happened to her, but either way, it sounds like an interesting and unique angle. The whole concept seems really creepy, and I’m definitely intrigued to try it, although I’m not sure which of this author’s books I’ll be reading first.

5) The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

39971588. sy475 I feel like this one has been on my TBR for way too long, but I think I’d also mostly forgotten about it. If I remember correctly, I added this one to my TBR because I saw it mentioned in my local newspaper, but it’s been on my list since 2017 already! This one is about a woman named Laura whose son Daniel is the center of her life, but finds herself struggling to connect with Daniel’s girlfriend Cherry. Laura is convinced that Cherry is only after her son’s money, and the relationship between them only becomes more strained. When Daniel is injured in a car accident, Laura makes a fateful decision, and the fallout of that choice has long-lasting consequences for both women. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I had this book mixed up with Karen Hamilton’s The Perfect Girlfriend, which I also have not read yet and was definitely mentioned in my local paper, but this one sounds pretty intriguing too. It is a very different kind of relationship-based thriller than the others mentioned above, but still seems like it could be an interesting one.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Characters I’d Follow on Social Media

I had such a hard time when I first saw this week’s prompt since for some reason! Luckily, once I started to look back on several of the books I’ve read in the past couple of years, many characters started to spring to mind. It probably helps that I love to read books that have characters who are actively involved in social media anyway, so their online presence is already established. I’m actually not a huge social media user myself. I use my Facebook account mostly for games and to post about the books I’m reading, and my Instagram is almost exclusively for books. When I started thinking of characters I’d love to follow, I focused mostly on characters who have some kind of creative hobby like writing or art, or those who have a strong personality that I think would really shine through online.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) Cath from Fangirl – This was the first character who immediately sprang to mind, because I really want to read her Simon Snow fanfiction! I guess technically we alraedy do because of Carry On and its sequels, but that meant coming into the series partway through, and I’d love to go back to the beginning and read them all! I also very strongly related to Cath as a person in general, so I also think it would be interesting if she blogged about her experiences in college.

2) Eliza from Eliza and Her Monsters – I absolutely loved what we got to see of Eliza’s Monstrous Sea webcomic in this book, and it definitely seems like something that I’d want to follow. I’d also love to read Wallace’s fanfiction for the series, so I’d probably want to follow them both. I’ve actually never really read webcomics before, but it could be an interesting format to try.

3) Nina from Six of Crows – I have not read King of Scars yet, but even from the Six of Crows duology alone, I knew I’d want to follow Nina on social media. I was specifically picturing following her on Instagram, because I’d imagine she’d have lots of amazing food pictures (especially waffles!). Nina is such a fun personality, that I think she’d be a lot of fun to follow.

4) Bri from On the Come Up – I’m not a huge fan of rap music, but I think it says a lot about this book that Bri’s On the Come Up rap got stuck in my head after I read it, and that’s reading the physical book, not an audioversion. Bri was such an interesting person in general so I think she’d be a great one to follow online, but I’d also love to follow her to hear more of her raps.

5) Tash from Tash Hearts Tolstoy – Tash’s web series is such a cool concept that I’m surprised I haven’t seen it done in real life! Tash produces a modernized version of Anna Karenina, a classic that I’ve always meant to read but been very intimidated to actually pick up! I think a modernized version would make the story so accessible and would be such a creative way to get into it.

6) Jo March from Little Women – I think Jo is on my mind because I just saw the latest film version last week, but she’also one of my all-time favourite characters. I would love to see Jo having a blog of some kind, where she could share her writing and also talk about her life in general. She has so many strong opinions that I think it would be really interesting to read what she has to say.

7) Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone – I’d also like to follow Karou for her artwork, but Zuzana is one of the strongest side characters I’ve ever read. I looked forward to every time she showed up in this series because she was absolutely hilarious, and I’d also love to see her relationship with Mik documented on social media.

8) Magnus Bane from Cassandra Clare‘s many series – I think the fact that Magnus has lived such a long time is part of the appeal of following him on social media for me. He’s traveled and seen so much in his life that I’d imagine he’d have a ton of interesting photos to share from various periods. I also love his sense of humour and would love to see his commentary on things.

9) Cath from Heartless – I added Cath to my list for the same reason that many others seem to have mentioned Lara Jean Covey — because of their strong interest in baking. I personally found Cath a much more interesting character overall than Lara Jean, and I’d love for her to blog or vlog her recipes and food pictures.

10) Henry from Words in Deep Blue – To be fair, I’m not sure Henry himself was the most memorable character, but I think he’d be great to follow on social media because of the Letters Library that was a huge part of his family’s bookstore. I think it would be really cool for Henry to blog about some of the most interesting letters or things found in the books in this library.

Recent Reads #3

Keeping with the trend of having a theme to my Recent Reads posts, it only seems right to make this one about the series I’ve read so far this year. All three were series that I’ve been putting off reading for such a long time, and I intentionally made a point of reading them all very early on this year to prevent myself from delaying them again. Over the past few years, I’ve had lists of 10 or more series that I would like to prioritize, and it’s really helped me to discover some new favourite authors and series. In most cases, they were books that I’d been hearing a ton about and put off because they seemed over-hyped. Usually, I make a point of getting to all the series that are on my list within the year, but sometimes I run out of time or even intentionally decide to wait until a “better” time to read them.

28449207. sy475 One of my biggest accomplishments of the year so far was successfully reading (and loving!) the Strange the Dreamerduology. Of all the series listed here, this was the one that I’d delayed the least. I finished the Daughter of Smoke and Bones series in 2018, and loved Laini Taylor’s writing so much that I put the Strange the Dreamer duology onto my list for 2019 right away. I actually knew very little about these books before picking them up, but expected to love them anyway just because of the author. Unfortunately, 2019 was a year where I felt constantly behind with my reading, despite finishing nearly 200 books by the end, and I put these ones off for so long that it just didn’t seem like a good idea. I knew that if I picked them up toward the end of 2019 where I was already feeling a little burnt out, I wouldn’t give them a fair chance. Both books in the duology are over 500 pages, and Laini Taylor’s writing, while beautiful. can be quite dense. I think the best decision I could have made was choosing to save it for 2020, and especially to read it right at the beginning of the year before I could scare myself off reading it. Even though I’ve read many very long books over the past couple of years, I still get a bit intimidated by books that are long and that I expect to be slower-paced. In the end though, I’m so glad I waited to give this duology a fair chance because I ended up absolutely loving it! Laini Taylor has such a talent for writing complex and interesting characters, and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

28374007. sy475 The Three Dark Crowns series, on the other hand, was a bit more of a mixed bag. I meant to read at least the first book two years ago to decide whether I wanted to try the whole series, but ran out of time. Then, I added what I thought was the entire series to my list for 2019, only to discover that a fourth book was due out toward the end of the year. Once I saw that, I decided to delay the entire series until this year so I could binge-read the whole thing, and even got the whole series as a birthday present so I really had no excuse not to pick it up. While I did enjoy the series, I didn’t love it quite as much as I’d hoped, and I almost wonder if it’s because I kept putting it off. If I’d already delayed reading it twice, did that mean that I wasn’t that invested in trying it in the first place? And if that’s the case, could that have affected my overall enjoyment? That’s not to say that I hated the series or anything though — I rated each of the books 4 or 4.5 stars, which is still very good! I think my biggest complaint with the series as a whole was that I felt a little misled about the premise. The series is about triplet queens who are competing for the crown, and each has her own special ability. I was surprised by the heavy emphasis throughout the series on another character, Jules, who was the best friend of one of the sisters and became a major player by the end. It often felt like her role overshadowed the triplets and their fight for power, and it didn’t help that I didn’t particularly care for her as a character. I found the books a bit slow inconsistent in terms of pacing as well, although I really loved the concept and several of the major characters. I’m glad I didn’t delay this one any more than I already had though.

23308087. sy475 Another series that I felt like I’d been meaning to read forever was the Flame in the Mist duology. It’s another one that I’d originally intended to read in 2018 but ended up delaying for no real reason. I got the first book as a birthday present a few years back, and bought the sequel from Book Outlet as an extra push to read them. I added both books to my plans for 2019 as well, and kept putting them off in favour of reading library books instead. When I started making my plans for this year, I decided this was another series that I should make a point of reading upfront so I don’t put it off for another year, and like Three Dark Crowns, I liked it, but didn’t love it quite as much as I had hoped. I ended up rating both books 4 stars. I had originally seen this book pitched as a Mulan retelling, but it bears very little resemblance other than the fact that the main character is an Asian woman (Japanese in this case, whereas Mulan is Chinese) who disguises herself as a boy. There were some parts of both books in the duology that I really loved, especially the banter between Mariko and Okami, but for some reason, I just found myself feeling a bit disconnected. I’m not even sure if it’s because of the books themselves, or if it was because I read them during a stressful week, but I had trouble really getting invested in the story and it definitely affected my overall enjoyment. This was another case where I was left wondering if I would have liked it more if I had read it back when I was most excited for it, but at least I can now say that I’ve finished the series!

Top 5 Wednesdays: Romances Featuring LGBT Characters

Sticking to my Valentines Day theme for the month, it only made sense to have one more week devoted to romance. The one thing that seemed to be glaringly missing from my two previous posts this month about romance books on my TBR were romances involving LGBT characters, which is weird since there are so many on my list. I think of the 10 books I mentioned over the past two weeks, only one of theme featured a same-sex couple. I think it was mostly because I was looking back on my list and choosing books relatively in order of when I had added them, so many of the books featuring LGBT couples happened to be further back on the list. As soon as I started digging a bit further back, I found a ton of YA romances featuring LGBT characters! In a way though, I don’t mind that these books ended up together as a post of their own, to highlight some new and upcoming releases that don’t seem that widely known yet.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

49398057. sy475 This book is due out in September, and I believe the cover art was only recently added to Goodreads, but it’s been on my TBR since the title first caught my attention last summer. I found it on a list of new and upcoming 2020 releases and thought the title sounded intriguing. This book is about a girl named Corinne, who was in love with Maggie, the captain of a rival school’s cross-country team and her secret girlfriend of a year. Corrine is not ready for anyone to know that she is bisexual. When Maggie dies, Corinne is left heartbroken, especially because no one knew of their relationship and the only person who seems to understand her is Elissa, Maggie’s ex. The plot reminds me a tiny bit of Adam Silvera’s History Is All You Left Me, which was a favourite the year I read it. I’m actually not sure if this one really can be considered a romance, but it’s possible it might go in that direction. Either way, I’m very interested in trying it.

2) I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch

43300915. sy475 I saw this one pitched as a romantic comedy for fans of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and Fangirl, which are two books that I loved, so I knew I had to add it to my TBR! It is about a gifted artist named Rhodes and a competitive transfer student named Iliana who are competing for a highly coveted scholarship. They both escape the pressures of school by visiting a fanfiction site, where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. They hate each other in real life, but their anonymous online personas may be falling for each other. Aside from comparisons to two of my favourite books, this one hits so many of the tropes that I tend to look for! This one involves social media, online friendships/relationships,  academic pressure, and characters with a strong passion for something (in this case, art). It sounds like exactly the kind of book that I will love!

3) Only Mostly Devastated by Sophia Gonzales

45046743I think of all the books mentioned here, this is the one that I’ve seen most often on other blogs and videos. It has been pitched as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda mixed with Clueless, and also a male spin on Grease. I’m not entirely sure how that would work, but it sounds like a very interesting combination. This book is about two guys, Ollie and Will, who were meant to be a summer fling, until Ollie’s family decides to stay in North Carolina, leading him to hope for the relationship to continue. When he sees Will at a school party, Ollie realizes that the boy he met over the summer does not seem to be the same person at school. Will is shocked to see Ollie again on their first day of school, especially because he is not yet out to his friends at school, especially his varsity basketball teammates. This book has already got excellent reviews from many of the reviewers I follow, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

4) The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

44281034This book just came out at the beginning of the month, which is probably why I feel like I’ve been seeing it everywhere lately. To be honest, I’ve had it on my TBR for quite a while but I don’t think I paid too much attention at the time to the synopsis. It is about a social media journalist named Cal whose father is chosen for a NASA mission to Mars, forcing his family to move to Houston and attracting a ton of media attention. While there, he meets Leon, the son of another astronaut, and quickly finds himself falling for him. When secrets about the Mars mission are uncovered, Cal must find a way to tell the truth without the risk of hurting the people closest to him. I think the NASA mission is a unique angle for this book and one that I’ve definitely never seen before, so I’m curious to see what they mean about the secrets behind it. I think I was first drawn to this book because of the beautiful cover art, but now that I’ve properly read the synopsis, it really does sound like something I would enjoy.

5) The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

36412998I’ve somehow had this book on my TBR since September 2018, a full year before it was released. It’s another one that I’ve started to hear a lot more about lately, which has sparked my interest in it all over again. This book is about a 16-year-old girl named Audre who lives in Trinidad, and is being sent to live with her father in Minneapolis after she is caught with her secret girlfriend. While there, she meets Mabel, the daughter of her father’s best friend, who is trying to sort out her feelings for her ex-boyfriend and a female friend, and has also been feeling vaguely ill throughout the summer. Mabel soon falls for Audre and helps her navigate her new school, but their relationship is tested when test results reveal why Mabel has been feeling so sick. This definitely seems like a much more intense story than the typical YA romance, but I’ve also heard that it’s incredible and I’m really looking forward to trying it for myself.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Last Books To Give You A Book Hangover

I’ve always had a bit of trouble wrapping my head around what a “book hangover” really is. The most common definition I’ve seen is something to the effect of having difficulty moving on to the next book because you are still not over the effects of the previous one. This is something that I rarely experience, just because of my limited time to read during the week. If I finish a book on a week night with enough time to start another one, I’m likely to pick up the next one pretty soon. I tend to think of a book hangover more in terms of books that really stick with me or that I felt needed a bit of time to digest, even if I didn’t necessarily give myself that time. It actually feels like I haven’t had too many books that gave me this feeling lately. I found the majority of December rushed and mediocre since I was scrambling to finish some of my challenges in time and didn’t necessarily pick the best books. I’ve decided to keep it short with this one since the majority of these are books I’ve already mentioned repeatedly in detail in the past, so click on the link for the book for more details of what it is about!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary – I just finished this one three days ago, and I was surprised to find that it contained so much more than just a fluffy romance. It is one that I definitely stopped to think about when I finished it, and easily a highlight of the year so far.

2) The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – This was my first book by this author, and I was immediately drawn in by her writing style. I flew through 3/4 of this one in a single day, and loved that the story was a bit different from other similar thrillers that I’ve read before.

3) The Winters by Lisa Gabriele – It helps that this was inspired by one of my favourite classics, Rebecca, and I was actually a bit on the fence about it at first because I didn’t love the beginning. Once the story really took off though, I thought it was amazing and almost as haunting as the classic itself.

4) Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor – I’m grouping these two together because I read them back-to-back and have trouble separating them into two distinct stories. I was so intimidated by these and kept putting off reading them at all, but they were definitely worth it! They are so beautifully written and have such amazing characters.

5) Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan – Another one that I devoured in just two days because I couldn’t put it down! The mystery itself was fine, but I was especially intrigued by other half of the plot about Lydia’s childhood, which I didn’t expect at all. For a book that I read so late last year, it was one that I got very strongly invested in.

6) Confessions by Kanae Minato – This was easily one of my favourite books that I read in 2019! Just when I thought I could tell where this book was going, there was a twist that took it in a new and interesting direction. I thought the revenge plot in this book was chilling, and was caught completely off-guard by the ending.

7) If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio – I thought this book had such an interesting premise with the focus on Shakespeare, and how that tied into all of the major characters’ lives. I think I would have had even more of a book hangover from this one if I hadn’t accidentally spoiled myself by reading a review, but I loved the writing style and thought the mystery was really well-done.

8) The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed – This is easily one of the best YA books I’ve read in the past couple of years, and one that definitely stuck with me. This book had an incredible cast of characters and I loved the way the author tackled such a complex topic. It was a very memorable book and one that I needed to take some time to process after I finished it.

9) Radio Silence by Alice Oseman – I read this book in the first place mostly because of the hype, and ended up absolutely loving it. I loved that this book touched on topics that are still rarely addressed in YA, and the strong character dynamics. This book was much more powerful than I’d expected.

10) The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan – This was another of the best YA books that I’ve read in the past few years, and such an amazing portrayal of grief. I was on the fence about the magical realism elements before I started this one, but it worked so well because of the amazing writing! I’m really looking forward to reading more by this author.

#Trending – YA Trends I’ve Noticed Lately (Part 2)

Last week, I posted the first half of the many trends that I’ve been noticing lately in YA. Even with both of these lists together, I’m sure there are many more trends that I’ve been missing, but these are many of the common themes that I’ve noticed in the past year or two. Like last time, I’ve listed several books that I’ve noticed that fit each theme, with a link to the Goodreads pages for more detail. Some of them are books that I have read, but many are books I have not read yet.

1) Famous People/Trying to Become Famous – The main character (or one of the major characters) is famous, usually as a musician or some kind of Internet figure, or sometimes an actor/actress. Or, the character dreams of becoming famous and is actively working toward that goal.

  • On the Come Up – Bri wants to become a famous rapper to follow in the footsteps of her deceased father, a hip hop legend who died, and to help support her family, who are struggling financially
  • Let Me Hear A Rhyme – A group of teens try to make their recently deceased friend into an underground rap star, using the tracks he had already written and recorded
  • Now That I’ve Found You – Evie is supposed to become Hollywood’s next big star until circumstances lead to her being blacklisted. She decides a public appearance with her grandmother, also a famous actress, is the way to restore her career
  • Permanent Record – College student Pablo meets Leanna, a former Disney Mouseketeer and now-famous singer, at 4 am one night in the middle of snowstorm and they try to keep their connection off Instagram
  • I’ll Be The One – Skye Shin,  who is plus-sized, dreams of becoming a K-Pop star and sets out to participate in a televised competition to become one, but her sudden fame opens her up to a lot of online scrutiny, especially about her size
  • Somewhere Only We Know – A K-Pop star named Lucky, who is about to make her American debut, meets a boy at a hotel who does not know that she is famous, giving her the chance to take a break from all the stress
  • I Was Born for This – Angel is obsessed with a pop-rock band known as the The Ark, and unexpectedly meets their frontman, Jimmy

2) Political settings/royalty – I’ve grouped these two together but they could easily be seen as trends on their own. Characters are involved in political campaigns in some way, or are the children of political figures. Or, at least one of the main characters is in a royal family.

  • The Voting Booth – Marva is voting in her first election when she sees a boy, Duke, turned away from the polls. She takes it upon herself to help make sure that his vote will be counted
  • You Say It First – Meg is working at a voter registration call center, where she connects with a boy named Colby, and they develop a long-distance friendship over the phone
  • Red, White & Royal Blue – I think this is technically New Adult and not YA, but it still fits. Alex, who is the son of the president, and Prince Henry need to fake a friendship to preserve political ties between the US and Britain, and it soon develops into something more
  • American Royals – Follows the three children of the American royal family, in a world where George Washington was offered the crown after the Revolutionary War
  • The Royal We – Rebecca Porter finds herself living down the hall from Britain’s Prince Nicholas at Oxford, and her relationship with him propels her into a world of intense media scrutiny and the pressures of royalty
  • Yes, No, Maybe So – Jamie and Maya meet while volunteering for their local state senate candidate, and connect with each other while door-to-door canvassing
  • The State of Us – Dean’s mother decides to run for president, and he wants nothing to do with her campaign until he meets Dre, the son of the opposing party’s nominee

3) Sex education/sex positivity – This is kind of a trickier one to explain, but I’ve noticed a resurgence on books talking about topics such as STDs, pregnancy, and decision-making around sex. In general, I’ve seen more variety in books that deal with sex and more positive representations of sex/sexuality.

  • Full Disclosure – Simone, who is HIV-positive, is worried about her classmates at her new school finding out about her diagnosis, especially once she becomes interested in Miles. After someone threatens to reveal her diagnosis, she beings to wonder if the only way to move forward is to face her classmates directly
  • Like a Love Story – Set in New York in 1989, and involves three teenagers who are connected to the AIDS crisis
  • Unpregnant – 17-year-old Veronica is shocked when a pregnancy test comes up positive. She wants to get an abortion and turns to her ex-best friend to drive her to nearest place to get one legally
  • Not So Pure and Simple – Del has a crush on Kiera, and accidentally signs himself up for a Purity Pledge while trying to impress her, but when other boys show an interest in her, he decides he needs to act fast, even though he doesn’t know what Kiera really wants
  • Have A Little Faith In Me – After her boyfriend breaks up with her, CeCe decides to follow him to a Christian camp to win him back. When she sees that he has a new girlfriend, she decides to fake a relationship with a new guy and soon starts to realize her ex may not be the good guy that she thought
  • The Birds, the Bees and You and Me – 17-year-old Lacey objects to her school’s abstinence-only approach to sex education, and decides to take a stand and give out advice and contraception to her classmates

4) Social Media/Gaming – Characters meet and/or interact through social media, or social media plays a significant role in their lives (ie. Internet fame, cyberbullying, online friendships, fandoms, etc.). Or, the characters have a strong interest in video and computer games

  • Don’t Read the Comments – Divya is an online gamer who uses the sponsorships she receives to help support her family, and through the game, meets Aaron, and the two of them face online harassment from a group of trolls
  • Slay – Kiera is secretly the developer of an MMORPG called SLAY, where she and other Black gamers play as Nubian characters. When a teen is murdered over a dispute in the game, SLAY is labelled racist and violent, and anonymous trolls threaten to sue Kiera for discrimination
  • Tweet Cute – Pepper and Jack are the children of rival fast food restaurants, and are each in charge of their restaurant’s social media feed. A conflict over a stolen recipe leads to a Twitter war between them, but at the same time, they are falling for each other in real life via an anonymous chat app
  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing – April May discovers a giant sculpture in New York City, and decides to make a video about it that quickly goes viral, and soon has to deal with all the attention that the fame brings her
  • No One Here Is Lonely – Eden has recently lost her crush Will in a car accident, but is able to stay connected with him because of In Good Company, a service that creates a digital companion
  • Girl Gone Viral – Opal, a talented coder, decides to take part in a contest where the winner has the opportunity to meet the billionaire founder of a virtual reality game. This founder worked closely with Opal’s father, who disappeared, and she believes this man knows what really happened to her dad
  • Starworld – Sam and Zoe form a friendship through text messages, where they develop their own secret world called Starworld,

5) Supernatural Twist – Books that are set in a mostly realistic setting, but have some sort of paranormal or supernatural twist to the characters. Characters might be witches or have a connection to ghosts, and often the supernatural twist is not a romance.

  • Undead Girl Gang – When Mila’s best friend Riley dies, along with two other classmates, under suspicious circumstances, Mila decides to bring the girls back to life to find out what really happened, giving them 7 days to find out the truth
  • The Babysitter’s Coven – 17-year-old Esme has a babysitters club to earn money, and soon meets Cassandra, who is surprisingly eager to join her club due to a mysterious note from her mother, leading them to discover the unusual powers connected to babysitters
  • Now Entering Addamsville – Zora is blamed for a fire that killed the school janitor, and finds that the only way to stop them is to find out what really happened, leading her to dig into her town’s history. A popular ghost-hunting show also arrives to the town, only further stirring up the townspeople against Zora and forcing her to work quickly to find out what happened
  • City of Ghosts – Cassidy Blake’s parents are famous for their ghost-hunting show, but Cassidy herself is able to really see ghosts, including her best friend Jacob. When she meets another girl who can see the dead, they decide to team up to send the ghosts away and fight the sinister Red Raven
  • These Witches Don’t Burn – Hannah is a witch living in Salem, but is intent to keep her powers a secret. When a terrifying ritual interrupts a school event, Hannah is forced to team up with her ex-girlfriend, also a witch, to find and stop the attackers

Top 5 Wednesdays: Adult Contemporary Romances

I feel like a lot of other bloggers/vloggers have been branching out into adult contemporary romances lately, and it is definitely something that I’ve been doing as well. I don’t know if it’s because I started to pay more attention to the genre myself, or if there’s really been more of these books lately, but I feel like there’s been a huge surge in popularity for romances. The first authors that generally come to mind are Christina Lauren, Jasmine Guillory, and Helen Hoang, but I’m sure there are a lot more! As I mentioned in my YA romance post last week, I wouldn’t specifically consider romance a favourite genre, but I do tend to enjoy romance storylines in most cases, as long as they are well done. My TBR list has definitely grown exponentially in terms of the number of adult contemporary romances, and while I still think I need to be in the right mood to pick many of them up, there are a ton of them that just seem like they will be so much fun. Like with YA romances, I tend to get bored easily unless the book has some kind of unique angle to hook me into the story, but there seems to be a lot more variety in the ones that I’ve been finding recently.

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

44284639. sy475 I feel like I’ve been seeing this book everywhere lately, and I’m very interested in reading it! It is about a woman named Evie who is at risk of losing her job at a film agency unless she can convince their biggest client, Ezra, to finish writing the script for a romantic comedy. Ezra is struggling with writer’s block and is only willing to keep writing if Evie can prove to him that people really can fall in love the way they do in movies, causing Evie to set up real-life versions of meet-cute scenes from famous movies to persuade him. In a way, I almost feel like this would work better as a movie itself, but it sounds so cute and fun! There seem to be a ton of books lately that involve people involved in film in some way, either as aspiring filmmakers themselves or working behind-the-scenes somehow. I’ve heard such great things about this book so far, and it sounds like something I might really enjoy. Unfortunately, it is not currently in my plans for this year, but I may need to rearrange things a bit and find a place for it!

2) The Trouble with Hating You by Sajni Patel

49624654. sx318 sy475 Hate-to-love has become one of my favourite romance tropes, as long as it is done well. I think I can mostly blame Pride & Prejudice for that. This book is about a woman named Liya who realizes that her parents’ latest dinner party was a setup to introduce her to the man they want her to marry. She quickly leaves the party, but soon meets this man again a week later, when he shows up at her office as the new lawyer hired to save her company. This man, Jay, is arrogant and infuriating to her, but as their banter starts to turn into late-night conversations, Liya starts to change her mind about him. I’ve been looking for more books that have an office setting, and I think an office romance could be very cute. The plot itself sounds a bit on the generic side compared to other romances I’ve read, but if it is done well, it can be really good! This is also the author’s debut book, so I’m curious to see whether I like her writing.

3) Not That Kind of Guy by Andie J. Christopher

49759888I didn’t even realize I’d put two office romances on this list, but I guess it was something I was really looking for. This one is about an attorney named Bridget who has been slow to start dating again after breaking up with her long-term boyfriend. When she suddenly needs a date to her brother’s upcoming wedding, she sets her sights on the intern who is almost done with his program. The intern, Matt, has also been interested in her, but held off because of her role as his boss. Once their professional relationship is over, Matt asks her on a date which leads them on an impulsive trip to Las Vegas. I think I had this book confused with Not the Girl You Marry, which turns out to be by the same author! I think this is one of those romance “series” where the books are technically standalones, but are set in the same world and have overlapping characters. Of the two, I think I’m a little more interested in Not the Girl You Marry, and it seems like that one chronologically comes first anyway so I will likely start there when I decide to give these books a chance, but it sounds like something I might like.

4) Beach Read by Emily Henry

48079190. sy475 I have all of Emily Henry’s books on my TBR, despite never reading anything she’s written, although I’m planning to read one of her books before the end of this month! This book is her most recent release, due out in May, and it really sounds like something I would love. It is about two bestselling authors, Augustus and January who are living in neighbouring beach houses for the summer, and both are struggling with writer’s block. Augustus only writes literary fiction, and January is a bestselling romance author. Deciding that it will help force them out of their comfort zones, the two of them make a deal to try writing a book in each other’s genre, and spend the summer helping each other do research for their books. All of Emily Henry’s books sound great to me, but I think this is the one that I’d be most excited to try. I will be starting with The Love The Split the World since I’ve owned it for a while and have been meaning to pick it up for years, but I’d love to find a way to fit this one into my plans for the year too.

5) The Switch by Beth O’Leary

45134200The Flatshare is next on my list to read after I finish my current book, and I’m really looking forward to it! I was very excited to see another upcoming release by this author due out so soon, at least assuming I like the first one. This book is about an overachiever named Leena who is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical from work after messing up on a huge project at work, and decides to stay with her newly single grandmother, Eileen, who is looking for a second chance at love. Leena decides to offer a two-month swap, so Eileen can stay in her home in London to look for a new partner, and Leena can relax at Eileen’s house in her tiny village. Switching places proves to be more difficult than either of them expected, and they both soon realize that love may be found in unexpected places. To be honest, I’m always a bit on the fence about books that focus on characters who are in Eileen’s age range, for some reason, but this story sounds very cute. It doesn’t quite appeal to me as much as The Flatshare, but I think if I like the author’s writing, I’ll hopefully enjoy this one too.

Top 10 Tuesdays: Love Freebie (Books with Love in the Title)

For some reason, I find the freebie topics more difficult than the assigned topics sometimes. It can be really tricky to decide which direction to go, when I have every option available. I think that’s the same reason why I prefer reading challenges that have prompts, instead of just challenges to read a specific number of books of my choice. My first inclination was to talk about specific romance stories or pairings from books that I really enjoyed, but I quickly realized that I’d already mentioned most of my favourites in detail. Instead, I decided to go the uncreative route and look at books still on my TBR that have the word “love” in the title. I was surprised to find that there were relatively few, or at least nowhere near as many as I’d expected for such a common word! Not all of these are books I’m planning to read this year, but they are all books I’d love to get to eventually.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

1) I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre

49291330I keep meaning to put this one in various posts, but always end up taking it because there’s just not too much known about it yet! This is a YA debut about two rival girls competing in a film festival, whose relationship evolves into love. It’s tough to say any more about this book because there really isn’t any more information, other than the fact that this is due out in June. I discovered this book while looking at upcoming YA releases for this year and I was intrigued by the title, and eventually by the cover art as well. I’m pretty sure the cover was only recently revealed, or at least I only recently noticed it. I haven’t even seen that much hype for this yet, but I think it might take off a bit closer to the release date. I was especially intrigued because it was compared to Leah on the Offbeat, which I really liked although it was my least favourite of Becky Albertalli’s books, and I’m curious to see if I’ll enjoy this one as much.

2) A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison

44674899This book is a recent YA contemporary release, about a boy named Tyson, who is recovering from being shot, and soon finds himself in the wealthy Pacific Hills community. He is taken in by a family with a teenage daughter, Nandy Smith, a girl who has spent most of her life cultivating a perfect image to fit into Pacific Hills. Nandy is sure that her family’s decision to take in a troubled teen will ruin her summer and her reputation, but the two of them soon find themselves drawn to each other. I’m a little on the fence about this one because it has extremely mixed reviews so far, many of which suggest that the characters are stereotypical, or that the book seems dated even though it is set in present day. However, I’ve also seen many reviews that talk about how strong and interesting the characters are, especially Tyson, so I’m intrigued enough to want to try it myself.

3) Lucky in Love by Kasie West

30285562. sy475 Kasie West is on my top priority list of authors to try this year, since I have so many of her books on my TBR. They all sound adorable, but also like the kind of fluffy YA romance that I’ve generally outgrown. This one is about a girl named Maddie who buys a lottery ticket on a whim, and is surprised to find that she wins! The money she wins  changes her life, but she soon realizes that she is no longer sure who she can trust. The only person she is sure of is her coworker, Seth, who doesn’t seem to know about her winnings, and Maddie is reluctant to tell him but worries what will happen if the secret comes out. I’ve seen quite a few books that involve winning the lottery in the past few years, which is a bit of an oddly specific trend. This book sounds like it could be really cute and fun to read, although it does seem like the kind of story I’d really need to be in the right mood to enjoy. I can’t remember if I had this book specifically planned for this year, but I’m hoping to try at least one Kasie West book and hopefully more!

4) Not Your #LoveStory by Sonia Hartl

45156538. sy475 I have no memory of adding this book to my TBR, but I assume I found it on a list of upcoming releases for this year since it is due in September. It is about a girl named Macy who dreams of earning enough money from her Youtube channel to leave her small town, but a disastrous “meet-cute” with a boy named Eric attracts Internet trolls to her channel instead, and the only thing they care about is Eric. While Eric wants to keep the attention going, Macy is conflicted — keeping it up will help her channel grow and help her earn the money she needs to get out, but she also worries about the effect it will have to the people most important to her in her real life. This book sounds right up my alley! Although I don’t particularly care for stories that focus on people trying to be famous, I do love social media as a major plot point and I think this story sounds really interesting. I love that it focuses on the distinction between real life and what is portrayed on Macy’s channel, and I’m very excited to read this even though it won’t be until next year at the earliest. I do have another book by this author in mind for this year though, so I’ll at least get to see if I enjoy her writing.

5) The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

48118801I was drawn to this one because of the beautiful cover art, although it also sounds like a great story. It is about a girl named Saoirse whose mother is in a care home for early-onset dementia, which Saoirse fears she may one day inherit. As a result, she sees little point in starting any relationships because of the inevitable end, but after meeting an unusual girl at a house party, she begins to change her mind. Ruby does not mind Saoirse’s “no dating” policy, and instead suggests they just have a summer of fun together, including every cliche date they can think of, with an agreement to end things once summer is over. Of course, it seems like this book will be on the predictable side, but I’m very interested in reading it anyway! It just seems so adorable, and I’m especially intrigued by the dementia aspect of the story. It’s not something I’ve really seen before in a book other than Still Alice, where it was the character herself dealing with early-onset Alzheimer’s, but I think it is very important to have stories about family members of people who have these kinds of conditions since it is a perspective that is not always widely acknowledged.

6) Love You, Love You Not by Jo Watson

43266091This is the first non-YA book on the list, and it is one that intrigued me because something about it reminded me of The Hating Game. It is about a woman named Poppy, who is a former actress in a telenovella who is now struggling to pay the bills after her character is killed off. Instead, she takes a job as an assistant to Ryan Stark, a tough boss who has already lost five assistants in the past two months. Poppy has never been an assistant before, but decides that it won’t be too hard to treat it as another acting job and just play the role. Looking at the synopsis again now, I have no idea what about this gave me Hating Game vibes because it seems very different, but this does sound like it has potential. The reviews for this one are completely mixed, which makes it hard to get a good impression of what to expect, but I do find this kind of rom-com fun to read when I’m in the right mood for it, so it may be worth a try.

7) Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

36206591. sy475 I have several Christina Lauren books on my list for this year, but I’m not sure if this one made it through to my plans yet. It is about a woman named Macy who is settling into her career as a pediatrics resident, and planning a wedding to her fiance, until she runs into her first love, Elliot, who previously broke her heart. The story is told in alternating timelines between their teenage years when the two of them first got together, to now when they are reunited as adults many years later. The only Christina Lauren book I have read so far is Autoboyography, which is one of my favourite YA romances, and I have several of their adult novels on my list for this year too. Of all of their books, I wouldn’t say this is one is the highest priority for me, but it does sound like it could be a great story. I do tend to enjoy second-chance romances, although some of them can be a bit melodramatic when it comes to the reasons why the couples split up in the first place. Given how much I enjoyed their other book though, I’m expecting to really like this one too.

8) I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

31145133This is a book that I know for sure is on my list for this year, and I may even get to it before the end of this month. Maurene Goo is another top priority author for me to try, after hearing so much about how cute her books are. I recently bought three of them from Book Outlet, so I’m hoping to love them. This one is about a girl named Desi who decides to take guidance from Korean dramas to help improve her love life after taking an interest in Luca. I’ve never watched a Korean drama so I don’t really know much about what kind of ideas they would give her, but this story sounds like it could be a lot of fun.  The story does sound pretty silly, like a lot of rom-coms tend to be, and I’m a bit worried that it will feel a bit too unrealistic for me to really get into, but I’m willing to give it a fair try. I’ve heard such great things about Maurene Goo’s books in general, which is why she jumped straight to the top of my list to try this year. I’m hoping the fact that I know nothing about Korean dramas won’t affect my enjoyment of this one!

9) Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

42201658I avoided adding this one to this list originally because I could have sworn I’d already mentioned it, but a quick search of the blog shows that I haven’t! I have no idea how I haven’t talked about this one yet since it sounds so cute. It is about a woman named Eliza who accidentally posts a picture of herself wearing an engagement ring shortly after learning of her ex’s engagement. The photo causes an immediate surge in her Instagram account, not to mention sales at the jewelry shop she co-owns with her sister, Sophie. Deciding that the fake engagement is good for the business, Eliza decides to find herself a fake fiance, leading her to Blake, who would appear to be the perfect match expect Eliza finds  herself drawn to someone else, and Blake has no idea about Eliza’s “engagement.” This is another book that sounds a bit predictable, but also like it will be so fun to read! Fake dating is one of my favourite romance tropes, even if it is often unrealistic, and I also love the social media angle incorporated into this one. I have all of Hannah Orenstein’s books on my TBR, and I’m looking forward to giving them all a try!

10) Love is For Losers by Wibke Brueggeman

46404768I found this one while looking for new releases this year, and was immediately interested by the funny title. This one is about a 15-year-old girl named Phoebe who thinks falling in love is stupid and vows never to do it herself, until she meets a girl named Emma while volunteering at the local thrift store, who causes her to second-guess her ideas about life and love. Like many of the upcoming releases for this year, not a ton has been revealed about this one yet, but I’m definitely intrigued. For some reason, 15 seems to be a very underrepresented age in YA. Most characters I’ve read are either 17 and almost in college, or around 13. I’ve also seen this one compared to the Georgia Nicholson series, which used to be one of my favourites! It is told in the format of diary entries, and I feel like I haven’t seen that format in quite a while. This book is not due out until mid-July, but I’m curious to find out more about it closer to the release date.

#Trending – YA Trends I’ve Noticed Lately (Part 1)

Lately, when I’ve been looking both at my TBR and at the books I’ve been reading, I’ve started to notice a lot of common trends, especially in YA. I think part of the reason I started paying attention to this is because of my If You Like This, Try That posts, which had me really noticing similarities between books. I definitely find the trends most noticeable among YA books, although I’d love to do similar posts in the future for other genres. To be fair, I’m not really sure how to define the timeframe of what makes something a trend. Most of the books I’ve listed here are books that came out, or at least that I’ve noticed, in the past 2 years of so, but it may be a bit of a stretch to consider that a trend. Looking at some of the books I’ve read or added over the past year or two though, these are some of the common themes that seem to be coming up more often. For each item, I’ve listed several of the books I’ve noticed, some of which I’ve read and some I have not read yet, and I’ll give a very brief description of how they fit. Each book is also linked to the Goodreads page for more details!

1) Traveling to a new country/place – The main character travels to another country, often one that they have never been to before, and often with the purpose of meeting relatives they have never met and learn more about their family and their heritage.

  • The Astonishing Color of After – Leigh travels to Taiwan to meet her grandparents after the death of her mother
  • Summer Bird Blue – Rumi is sent to stay with her aunt in Hawaii after her sister dies in a car accident
  • Darius the Great Is Not Okay – Darius travels to Iran to spend time with his grandparents and meet his mother’s family for the first time
  • Love from A-Z – Zayneb travels to Qatar after being suspended over a conflict with her teacher, where she meets a boy named Adam  who has recently been diagnosed with MS
  • The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali – Rukhsana is sent to Bangladesh after her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend, where she finds support from her grandmother
  • I Love You So Mochi – Kimi receives an invitation from her estranged grandparents to spend Spring Break in Kyoto, and she decides to go to Japan to escape her mother’s pressures about college
  • Dear Haiti, Love Alaine – Alaine gets into trouble at school, and to make up for it, she agrees to participate in a spring volunteer project in Haiti, where her parents grew up
  • Loveboat, Taipai – Ever Wong’s parents send her to Taiwan for the summer to learn Mandarin, and finds herself with her first opportunity to break away from her parents’ strict rules

2) Tackling the patriarchy – Groups of female characters band together to tackle some of the unfair attitudes toward women that they experience. In some cases, the books focus on only one female character calling out the problems she experiences

  • Amelia Westlake Was Never Here – Two girls create a fictional person named Amelia Westlake to help call attention to their coach’s inappropriate behaviour
  • Moxie – Fed up with her school’s sexist attitudes and policies, Vivian Carter creates and distributes a feminist zine anonymously to classmates, which gets many more students on her side
  • The Poet X – Xiomara turns to slam poetry to help herself process and understand many of the issues she faces, including the way she has been treated differently since puberty
  • The Nowhere Girls – A group of girls decide to challenge the misogynistic culture of their school and form an anonymous group to tackle rape culture and sexism among their classmates
  • Rules for Being a Girl – When a teacher comes onto Marin, she works up the courage to report him only to find that no one believes her. Marin uses the school newspaper and forms a feminist book club to fight back
  • Six Angry Girls – When Millie is kicked out of the otherwise all-male Mock Trial team, she joins forces with Raina, who inspires her to start a rival team of her own along with four other girls, and challenge the boys’ team
  • The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid – Jemima, a feminist student who takes issue with many of the traditions at her private school, is chosen to be part of a team to organize prom, and sets out to change the system to use a website to match students instead

3) Hard-hitting contemporaries or books about real world issues – I’ve definitely noticed a trend lately toward more books that address real-world, difficult topics such as immigration, violence, and more. The main characters are people who are directly affected by these issues, and the books tend to be very impactful

  • Sadie – A teenage girl seeks revenge on the man who kidnapped and killed her younger sister, with her journey followed by a podcast host obsessed with finding out what happened to her
  • Internment – 17-year-old Layla and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim Americans, where she must fight for freedom and decides to lead a revolution against the camp’s Director
  • People Kill People – A young person buys an illegal gun, and by the end of the week, someone has been shot and killed. The book follows the perspectives of six characters, who each have a different perspective on gun violence
  • Light It Up – An unarmed teenage girl is shot and killed by a police officer on her way home from school, leading to protests in her community
  • Jackpot – A high school senior sells a jackpot-winning lottery ticket, and wants to track down the person who has not yet claimed the prize, and convince them to give her the ticket to get much-needed money for her family
  • Zara Hossain Is Here – Zara Hossain, an immigrant from Pakistan, tries to avoid trouble while her family waits for green card approval, until she speaks out against the star football player for threatening her. When his friends decide to take revenge by vandalizing her house, a violent crime occurs that puts Zara’s entire future at risk
  • This Is My America – Tracy Beaumont’s brother is accused of killing a white girl and labelled as a “thug,” and Tracy is also fighting to get her father off of death row for a crime that he did not commit
  • Accidental – A 16-year-old girl learns that she shot and killed her own mother with her father’s gun when she was a toddler, and needs to decide whether to trust her father who is suddenly back in her life, or her grandparents who raised her but lied about her past

4) Cultural divides – The main character tries to distance themselves from their family’s culture to blend in with peers, or balance their family’s culture and/or expectations with what they want for themselves. For some reason, this trend also often involves fake dating. Or, characters are thrust into a new country where they struggle to adapt to a culture that is different from what they expected.

  • Frankly In Love – Frank Li’s parents expect him to date someone Korean, but he has fallen for a white classmate instead. He meets another Korean girl in a similar situation, and they decide to fake date each other to get their parents to leave them alone
  • American Panda – Knowing how much her parents have sacrificed to secure her future, Mei struggles to tell them the truth about her lack of interest in becoming a doctor and her crush on a boy who is not Taiwanese, and soon reconnects with her brother, who was estranged for dating the wrong woman
  • All-American Muslim Girl – Allie has not told her boyfriend, whose father is a conservative shock jock, that her family is Muslim, but seeing a growth in Islamophobia, she starts to practice her faith for the first time
  • Other Words for Home – Jude and her mother move to Cincinnati to escape dangerous conditions in Syria, leaving behind her father and older brother. She soon finds that America is different from how it seemed in the movies
  • Rent a Boyfriend – Chloe rents a fake boyfriend from a company that specializes in providing people trained to impress traditional Asian parents, and Chloe is determined for her parents to accept him so they will stop pushing her to accept a proposal from another young man in their community
  • Almost American Girl – Robin is shocked when her mother suddenly announces that she is getting married, turning their visit to friends in Alabama into a permanent move, and forcing Robin into a new school where she doesn’t speak the language, and to lose her friends in Korea

5) Return of the favourites – Authors return to series that appeared to be over, either with new prequels/sequels, another trilogy, or a spin-off series featuring some of the same characters.

  • Slayer – Set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe, but following a new character, Nina, who is a student at the Watcher’s Academy and is surprised to find herself Chosen as the last Slayer
  • The Shatter Me series – Originally published as a trilogy, with a second set of three books added to the series 4 years later
  • Call Down the Hawk – The start of a new trilogy featuring Ronan Lynch from The Raven Cycle
  • King of Scars – A new dulogy featuring Nikolai from the Grisha trilogy (ended in 2014, 5 years before this book) and Nina from the Six of Crows duology (ended in 2016, 3 years before this book), as well as Zoya who appeared in both series
  • New books in the A Court of Thorns of Roses series – Three more books are due out in this series, which otherwise ended in 2017 aside from the novella, and are set to be published beginning next year, which will be 4 years after the trilogy ended
  • Vengeful – The long-awaited sequel to Vicious, which as published 5 years after the first book
  • Wayward Son – A new book in the Simon Snow series, 4 years after the original Carry On, which follows Simon and Baz to America. I’ve also seen another upcoming addition to the series, Any Way the Wind Blows, which has no release date yet

Top 5 Wednesdays: YA Romances (On my TBR)

The first thing that came to mind for my Top 5 Wednesday themes for February was to base it around Valentine’s Day, but I realized I may not have thought it through that well.  I noticed an upcoming Top 10 Tuesday “love freebie” coming up, which also would have been a great place to mention romance books I’m interested in trying. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider romance a favourite genre of mine, it is one that I tend to read frequently and I often end up enjoying the stories. I especially enjoy when books with a heavy focus on romance offer something a little unique or different about them. So many YA romances tend to feel like the same story over and over, so it can be tricky to find something that still feels fresh. In a sense, there are only so many ways to tell a love story, but there are some authors who still find a way to put their own spin on it. In the past year or so, I’ve started to add a lot more YA romances to my TBR again because some of them just sound so adorable, and I’m hoping to find more that I end up loving!

Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.

1) The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton

44779658. sy475 I keep mixing this one up with Well Met, which is based around a Renaissance Faire. This book is about a girl named Kit Sweetly who works as a wench at a Medieval-themed restaurant, and dreams of being promoted to knight to help support with her family’s bills and pay for college. Unfortunately for her, the restaurant only allows boys to be knights, leading Kit to switch places with her brother during a show, where she quickly proves herself to have all the skills needed for the part. When her identity is revealed at the end of the show, she is catapulted into internet fame, causing other female employees to join her in tackling the company’s gender restrictions. I’m a little confused about this one because I keep seeing it tagged as a romance, but the synopsis does not seem to indicate much (if any?) romance. I assume there must be a reason this book is so consistently tagged as one. In either case, I’m very interested in trying it because of the unique setting.

2) Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

39897323. sy475 This is one of a few YA books on my TBR that I keep coming back to as something I may like to read soon, although I don’t think it is currently in my challenge plans for this year. It is about a girl named Isabel, who has rheumatoid arthritis, who meets a boy named Sasha who has a chronic illness that she has never heard of before. She soon realizes that Sasha understands her a lot more than her friends do, and he is also the first person who makes her consider breaking her strict “no dating” rule. I’m not even sure what it is about this book specifically that keeps drawing me back to it. It reminds me a bit of The Fault In Our Stars, although the tagline on the front specifically says “They don’t die in this one.” I’ve only read one other book by this author, which was a collaboration with Kat Helgeson and while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it quite as much as I’d expected. I’m hoping to love this one even more, especially after seeing such great reviews for it!

3) What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter

46404222I thought I’d only discovered this one recently, but apparently it has been on my TBR since September 2018. I have no idea how that happened, especially given that this book isn’t even out until April 2020! This book is about a girl named Halle who likes her online best friend, Nash who knows her only as Kels, a creator of a YA book blog who has everything that the real Halle doesn’t, including Nash. In her senior year, Halle moves to her grandfather’s small town, where she meets Nash in person for the first time and has to decide whether to reveal her identity to him. She worries that telling him will ruin their friendship, but not telling him will mean “losing” him to Kels. This book essentially hits all of the things that I’d look for — online friendship, bookish content, and a character who is a writer (blogger, in this case). If this book isn’t already on my list for this year, I think it needs to be. I’m not sure if I have much room to squeeze in anything else, but I’m very excited to try this one. This is one of the most unique spins on a love triangle that I’ve seen and I’m very curious to try it.

4) The Long Distance Playlist by Tara Eglington

35533738This is a book that I actually only heard of recently this time, which came out right at the end of 2019. It is about former best friends Taylor and Isolde who haven’t spoken since a massive fight a year and a half before, until Taylor contacts Isolde to sympathize with her after a devastating breakup. Although Isolde only responds initially to be polite, the two of them soon reconnect and their shared heartbreak turns into something more. The book is told primarily through IMs, Skype and emails, which is a format that I tend to find so much fun to read. I love books that use this kind of mixed media and that focus on characters who connect (or reconnect) online. I was also intrigued to see that both are characters who were pursuing a dream, which is something I recently identified as something I’d love to see more of. Isolde is an aspiring ballerina, and Taylor is recovering from a knee injury that crushed his dream of competing in the Winter Olympics. While I’m not particularly interested in books about athletes of any kind, it does add another dimension to their story and I’m curious to see how it plays a role.

5) The Meet-Cute Project by Rhiannon Richardson

48502298. sy475 I guess it’s a bit silly to have this book on my TBR so far in advance, since it isn’t even out until late October of this year, but it’s one that looks like a lot of fun to read. It is about a teenage girl named Mia, who hates rom-coms because they seem so unrealistic, and would rather focus on her school work and extracurricular activities. With her sister’s wedding coming up, Mia is tasked with finding herself a date and finds herself without any suitable options. Her friends, who love rom-coms, decide to take inspiration from the movies and set Mia up to have a meet-cute of her own. Given that this book is still so far off, there haven’t been any reviews or much more information in general about it yet, but it sounds like it could be really cute. While I technically agree with Mia that most rom-coms are extremely unrealistic, I think they are a lot of fun to watch and I’m very interested to see what kind of funny situations Mia’s friends get her into. It definitely seems like a great book to read around Valentine’s Day!