Tag Archives: Sarah J Maas

2013 YA Superlative Blogfest – Best in Show

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Thanks, SO MUCH, to Jessica Love, Alison Miller, Tracey Neithercott, and Katy Upperman for hosting this very fun blogging event. If I don’t blog for months, I still try to participate in this blogfest because I very much enjoy those women, and, I also want to do my part to promote great YA. Thanks, ladies!

Thursday, December 19th: Best in Show

Favorite Cover:
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith



Cutest Couple(s):

Callie & Alex | Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Anna & Bennett | Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone
Cath & Levi | Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Josh & Nastya | The Sea of Tranquility
Will & Zoe | Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Most Likely to Succeed (Pick a Printz Winner.):
I don’t believe I’ve read a book that will win, sadly. I don’t really know what the criteria is or how it’s selected! Perhaps I should just go back and read some previous winners. 🙂 Check out the current and past winners, here.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you couldn’t put down.):
Winger | Andrew Smith

Best Repeat Performance (Favorite sequel or follow-up.):
Crown of Midnight | Sarah J. Maas

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel:
Time After Time | Tamara Ireland Stone
**Let me just say that I’ve been avoiding starting news series when and where I can. So, I think this is one of the only ends of a series that I read! I don’t even know if I can say it was my favorite, but it was… effective?

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath:
Wren & Charlie | The Infinite Moment of Us
Crown of Midnight
Callie & Alex | Where the Stars Still Shine

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.):
The Sea of Tranquility | Katja Millay
Check out Katja talking about her publishing journey. It’s pretty amazing!


Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year published BEFORE 2013.):
This is Not a Test | Courtney Summers
The Great Gatsby | F. Scott Fitzgerald


Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry:

Winger | Andrew Smith


Most Pleasant Surprise (Book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.):
Dare You To | Katie McGarry
This is a bit of a stretch because I liked Pushing the Limits, but didn’t love it. So, I was a little tepid about starting Dare You To. I ended up loving Dare You To!

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle:
False Sight | Dan Krokos
All Our Yesterdays | Cristin Terrill

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)
Nobody But Us | Kristin Holbrook
Golden | Jessi Kirby


Favorite Outlier (Favorite picture, middle grade, or adult 2013 book):
I read a bunch of New Adult outside YA and it’s hard to say which one was my favorite! I think Unteachable by Leah Raeder was extremely well written and Sneaking Candy by Lisa Burstein was hilarious! Both broke the NA mold in different ways for me.
Required Reading – which series do you think I *have* to start in 2014?
Across the Universe series by Beth Revis
Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi
Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor
Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
The Selection series by Kiera Cass
Delirium series by Lauren Oliver
Something I don’t even know about, yet?

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Filed under Bookish, Review, YA Superlative Blogfest

2013 YA Superlative Blogfest – Head of the Class

Well, I set my Goodreads challenge goal at 50 books, and it looks like I’ll accomplish that by the end of the year, but, of course I didn’t get to every book I had hoped I would by the time of this blogfest. As a teacher, I get a LOT of books in during holiday break. 🙂 And, I read a lot of books but a good handful are manuscripts and some were not published in 2013.

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The YA Superlative Blogfest is hosted by Jessica Love, Alison Miller, Tracey Neithercott, and Katy Upperman. The goal of the blogfest is to promote and share extraordinary young adult novels (and have fun, of course!).

I love a good blogfest (Lists! Categories! Deadlines!) but apologies in advance if I peg a book as something that it’s not intended to be. Please consider it a compliment. I liked your book. A lot.

Apologies in advance for repetitive choices and/or double selections.

Monday, December 16th: Head of the Class

Favorite Dystopian Allegiant | Veronica Roth
I don’t care what you say, this series is close to my heart. Also, of my, like, three dystopian reads this year, it was definitely my favorite!

Favorite Science Fiction All Our Yesterdays | Cristin Terrill
Tie? Honorable Mention? – The 5th Wave | Rick Yancey
This one snuck up on me! We read the short story A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury in my classes this year, and the kids ate it up. I liked this twist on time travel. It is mildly dystopian, but, even if you’re over dystopian don’t overlook AoY!
I just started this one and am 100 pages in but feel like it’ll be one of my favorites of 2013. Apparently I love a good sci-fi/alien tale these days (and I used to be so adamantly against sci-fi!). 🙂


Favorite Fantasy
The Dream Thieves | Maggie Stiefvater
Honorable Mention: Relic | Renee Collins

Stiefvater’s writing, the twists, the extra look at Ronan’s life & background, and the continued mystery of what will happen with Gansey just keeps this series at the top of my must-read ASAP when available list.

I had the privilege of reading Relic a number of times and offering editorial feedback during its publication process. I have to say, at first synopsis read I didn’t think it would be my thing. This story is set in the Wild West but in world where bones from now-extinct magical creatures can be harvested and used for the powers. It’s full of action and awesome characters!


Favorite Contemporary
Winger | Andrew Smith
HM: Where the Stars Still Shine | Trish Doller
HM: OCD Love Story | Corey Ann Haydu
This book is so wonderful . The voice of the male narrator is witty, the character draws cartoons, he’s a fish out of water in a boarding school, and is confined to O-Hall with the school’s biggest miscreants. The ending of the novel is a bit abrupt, but, I loved the overall story so much it didn’t really phase me.

WtSSS blew. My. Mind. I don’t usually like issue books and early one we’re introduced to Callie, who has a horrible mother and as such, a horrible home life. Callie ends up in her father’s custody and he is my kind of YA book parental figure.

I just finished this! Props to any book that can take what you think to know to be true about a subject (OCD, in this case) and totally rocks them. Bea and Beck are a hopelessly compulsive and adorably smitten, but intriguingly flawed.


Favorite Action/Adventure – Crown of Midnight | Sarah J. Maas
HM: False Sight | Dan Krokos
The action really delivered in this Throne of Glass installment. I liked ToG but loved CoM. Celaena truly kicks ass in CoM as an assassin, liked I’d hoped for in ToG.

I don’t know how else to describe Krokos’ books other than they are totally action-packed! And, as I’ve mentioned before I keep reading these because of an interesting story line for Miranda and the something-for-everyone factor. 🙂


Favorite Comedy
Winger | Andrew Smith

Laughed out loud. Seriously, I was laughing and needing to stifle my laughter because my husband was sleeping next to me but I couldn’t hold it in. 🙂 This book is genuinely humorous.


Favorite Mystery
Golden | Jessi Kirby
The main character, Parker, felt relatable in that she definitely knows something is missing in her life and needs some action, adventure, and finds it in unraveling a mystery surrounding her town’s “it” couple from ten years prior.


Favorite Romance
– Fangirl | Rainbow Rowell
HM: Nobody But Us | Kristin Halbrook
Every time I think about this book I fall in love all over again. I just thought everything about it was great, but particularly the romance element.

These two. Ugh, their story is lovely and so, so gripping. I feel like I need to reread it immediately! A really stunning debut from Halbrook.


Favorite Paranormal
Crown of Midnight | Sarah J. Maas
So many cool paranormal elements in CoM. Maas has built a quite the fascinating, magical kingdom. I mean, the book has a map so that automatically qualifies CoM as great paranormal/fantasy, right? 🙂


Favorite Family Drama –
How to Love | Katie Cotugno
HM: Where the Stars Still Shine | Trish Doller
Oh, Reena’s family. Their dynamics are not puppies and roses and I loved that about them. I loved their best friendship with Sawyer’s family. I loved their religious undertones. So incredibly realistic.


Callie’s life is a mess, which is why her father stepping in was so sweet and spectacular. I love strong parents in a novel (when they’re often absent in YA) and the fact that her mom was such a mess made her dad even better.


Favorite Genre Bender – 
 Time After Time | Tamara Ireland Stone
Is it Science Fiction? Is it Paranormal? Is it a Romance? There are Contemporary elements for Bennett… I’m so confused! 🙂 But I really loved it! A great sequel to Time Between Us. Truly I think Anna and Bennet are two of my YA faves. And I love them together.

Abstention: Favorite Historical Fiction, although perhaps Relic could fit. 🙂


Keep tuning in, folks! I will be doing my best to continue participating throughout the week:
Tuesday, December 17th: Popularity Contest
Wednesday, December 18th: Elements of Fiction
Thursday, December 19th: Best in Show

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Filed under Bookish, Review, YA Superlative Blogfest

End of Year Book Survey 2013

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Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner posted her fourth annual book survey, and I love a good survey! Although I haven’t posted about books as much as I’d hoped in the last year–like, at all–I did read a lot. And, my reading becomes kind of my essential reading (meaning, books I believe I’ll *really* like) because I have no time. 🙂 So, here goes for 2013!

I am reading fervently so I can squeeze in some books before I blog for the YA Superlatives Blogfest (wish me luck!):
OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu
The 5th Wave
by Rick Yancey
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

Best in Books 2013
1. The best book I read in 2013My ultimate fave? The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Winger by Andrew Smith

2. Book I was excited about but didn’t love – The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen or Just One Day by Gayle Forman
**HUGE disclaimer–I liked the books, just didn’t love them. I think there’s a lot of hype that deservedly surrounds these authors and with JOD in particular I think I was just not in the right mindset. I don’t know…sorry!

3. Most surprising in 2013 – Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas
I was pretty lukewarm about the first book but LOVED this second in the series!
Can I add that I’m surprised that last year all I did was rave about The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves is nowhere on this End of Year Book Survey. I don’t know what that means because I did love it.

4. Book I’ve recommended the most in 2013 – The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

5. Best series I discovered in 2013 – I am hardcore trying to avoid series if I can help it. My *new* discovery is probably the All Our Yesterdays duology by Cristin Terrill. I thought I was burnt out on dystopian, but I would say that this is sci-fi dystopian and the time travel element is what’s making it fresh for me!

6. Favorite new authors I discovered in 2013 – Rainbow Rowell. I still need to read Attachments, which is poised on a bookshelf ready when I’m ready, but she’s definitely an auto-buy author for me!

7. Best book out of my comfort zone or was a new genre for me – Oh man, I totally stuck to my comfort zones this year (see #21). I feel like I *should* branch out more but I don’t have time for it—sometimes I just need the comfort of something I know I’ll enjoy. (Enter: recommendations from Katy, Rachel, Jessica and Dahlia.)

I was uncomfortable with the topics in Unteachable by Leah Raeder and although I believe it’s classified as YA it most definitely isn’t something I could recommend to a student or put in my classroom. (It’s insanely upper-YA but more realistically NA contemporary erotic romance? There is a mature content disclaimer on Goodreads and I see it is on NA shelves more than YA shelves.) So, that was outside my comfort zone not only because of the romantic situations, but also the teacher-student relationship angle. Really amazing writing, though!  

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book – Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Not totally because of the writing or plot, but just because I read it super quickly and had to know the resolution for these characters that I’ve grown to love!

9. Book I’m most likely to re-read – I’ve already reread a couple of times: The Sea of Tranquility

10. Favorite coverEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith, Winger by Andrew Smith

11. Most memorable character(s) – Nastya & Josh in The Sea of Tranquility, Will from Nobody But Us, Callie from Where the Stars Still Shine

12. Most beautifully written – I have read AMAZING books this year. The most powerful voice for me has been in…
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
How to Love by Katie Cotugno
Unteachable by Leah Raeder
Winger by Andrew Smith

13. Book that had the greatest impact on me – I think Winger by Andrew Smith. The voice of this male 14-year-old is just wonderful and I think (although I was not a 14-year-old prodigy) his struggle to make true friends, his self-deprecating ways, etc. resonated with me. Plus, Joey.

14. Book(s) I can’t believe I waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read – The Great Gatsby! I need to read more classics.

15. Favorite Passage – I can’t even pretend to have a favorite line. I’ll find one and add it later. 🙂 I highlight EVERYTHING–particularly in those books mentioned in #12 above. I’m going to have to start to blog my quotables. I highlight so many great things, and then don’t do anything with them!

16. Shortest & Longest book I read
Allegiant by Veronica Roth – 526 pages
One Week Girlfriend (Drew + Fable #1) by Monica Murphy – 155 pages

17. Scene that had me reeling (WTF Moment, Epic Revelation, Steamy Kiss, etc.) –
Allegiant and Winger. Those two, in addition to How to Love and Unteachable had me shooting off emails to my bookish friends with what did you think?, WTF, and/or  “help me understand!”-like comments. 😉

18. Favorite Relationship – The triad in The Sea of Tranquility. I love to read about strong friendships, particularly between guys and girls with guys, and this trio was fun and intriguing and I wanted to be friends with these beautifully flawed people. 

19. Favorite book from an author I read previouslyTime After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone or Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. Both sophomore books from each author and both missed the sophomore slump by a long shot! Oh, Dare You To by Katie McGarry would fit here, as well. 🙂

20. Best book read based on a recommendation from someone else – How to Love by Katie Cotugno. I don’t care for stories that include a teen pregnancy and Rachel and Katy were all over telling me to read it and I’m so glad!

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013? YA Contemporary Romance. Like, a lot.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013? Josh in The Sea of Tranquility, Ryan in Dare You To. (But really, there’s only room in my heart for Four from the Divergent series.) ❤

23. Best 2013 debut you readNobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook. So, so good!

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013Relic by Renee Collins. Magical relics in the wild West? YES. I wanted to go to there!

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013Winger by Andrew Smith is highly entertaining. Laugh out loud funny (or in my case, try to stifle laughter because you’re reading in bed while your spouse is trying to sleep, but failing miserably kind of funny).

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013? Allegiant** by Veronica Roth, Winger** by Andrew Smith, The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler, Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
**True crying occurred.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came OutGolden by Jessi Kirby, Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook – even I probably don’t give them enough love, including on this survey!

Book Blogging/Reading Life
5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
The YA Superlatives in December is a favorite blogfest for a year-in-review. Click here for info (and participate in a week!) and check out my favorite day from last year here.

My favorite author signings/book events this year included the YA Highway event, and then of course Wordstock in Portland. I met so many great authors between those two events (including Veronica Roth, Stephanie Perkins, and Maggie Stiefvater)–I can’t get over how much I enjoy meeting or listening to authors and hearing them talk about their writing and books!
http://novelnovice.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/wordstock-chair1.jpg 9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)? I’ve made a more concerted effort to buy from indie book sellers if I’m not buying for my Kindle. I buy from Powells or Third Place Books as often as possible. But, I know I could do better. I need to get IN the stores around Tacoma/Puyallup.

I’ve made my internship and love of books more known to my students. I know that’s weird to say as an English teacher (that I share my love of books more now than ever with my students) but it would take too long to explain here. 🙂 This bulletin board in my classroom has spurred many great conversations:

photo 1This bulletin board was inspired by Pinterest and Page to Premiere. The inside of each book has a brief synopsis and a couple movie screenshots, if available. It was very worth the time and effort!

Looking Ahead
1. One book I didn’t get to but will be a priority in 2014? Ahhhh, so many…
When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

I think I need to read some staples, like:
The Book Thief and Code Name Verity in terms of modern rave review-inducing novels
The Spectacular Now
Harry Potter
Perks of Being a Wallflower

2. Book I’m most anticipating in 2014? Again, so many…
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
The Raven Cycle #3 by Maggie Stiefvater (I think she’s on a pretty consistent fall release schedule?)
Panic by Lauren Oliver
What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols
#Scandal by Sarah Ockler
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Fan Art by Sarah Tregay
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

3. 2014 debut that I am most anticipating?
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

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Friday Five

The Olympics – They’re HERE! I will be watching. I’m particularly a fan of women’s gymnastics, swimming, and women’s beach volleyball. In case you missed it, I’ve been listening to Survival by Muse, which is the official song of the London 2012 Olympics. 🙂

The Music – Speaking of songs that are on repeat on my iPod, I’ve been listening to Cher Lloyd’s Want U Back and No Doubt’s Settle Down. I am a shameless listener of bubble gum pop and I do not apologize for songs like Want U Back and Call Me, Maybe being on my iPod. 😉 As for No Doubt, I want to BE Gwen Stefani (her body after two kids = insane) and the song is just fun.

The Poll – NPR is hosting their annual literature-based poll, this year asking readers what the best YA reads might be. Check out the list and vote here. You can also just use NPR’s compilation of the 100 titles to build your TBR list (like I did). I *think* I voted for:
Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
Chaos Walking series, by Patrick Ness
Divergent series, by Veronica Roth
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
The Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins
– Jessica Darling series, by Megan McCafferty
– Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins
– Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Reading – So I’ve been doing a lot of reading. I’m fortunate to fill my Kindle with e-galleys from Edelweiss and Net Galley, so I’ve been reading great books before they’re released! This week I finished The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore (I gave 3 of 5 stars on Goodreads) and Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas (3.5 of 5 on Goodreads). Earlier in the month I also finally jumped on the Jessica Darling bandwagon and read Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty, which I adored (4 of 5 stars)! Gotta love being a teacher: seriously, most publishers offer e-galleys to teachers if they follow the rules and have a review outlet, and of course I have summer vacation to do a lot of reading.

The anniversary – This is important, people. No, not my wedding anniversary that occurred on July 7th (5 years, baby!), but the one year anniversary where I began my books/publishing adventure! I’ve been on Goodreads one whole year this month, and my Twitter anniversary is next month. I just have to say that following all the authors, agents, publishers and editors on Twitter has been a lot of fun. The literary community is smart, entertaining, and informative. Informative on so many levels, too. I’ve adopted new shows on TV and added great books to my TBR pile, read interesting breaking news, I’ve won books and book swag from blog and Twitter contests, discovered what ARC and all kinds of other publishing and writing lingo means, got my internship with Entangled, and most importantly have made some new friends. YAY, social media!

You all might appreciate that the building in the back is the Puyallup Public Library. 🙂

And hey, here’s some pictures from the blessed event five years ago. The first two pictures are “day afters” taken in Seattle two days after the wedding. Credit to Fred Calma, a wonderful Seattle-Tacoma area photographer!

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Filed under About me, Friday Five, Music, Review