May Book Wrap Up

Books Pledged to Read in 2014: 150 Books

Am I On Track: I am actually 2 books ahead right now. This is the first time I’ve been on track all year haha.

Books Read So Far: 63

Total Books For May: 20

Remember, viagra buy as always, try to click the book title in order to read the review!

A Girl Called Fearless

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Summer State of Mind

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Rebel Belle

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Since You’ve Been Gone

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The One

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Open Road Summer

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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All Lined Up

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Re-Read)

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In Honor

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Free to Fall

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The Prince and the Guard

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Noggin

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Don’t Look Back

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The Truth About Forever (Re-Read)

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City of Heavenly Fire

(You can also watch my spoiler FILLED vlog here)

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Shadow and Bone (Re-Read)

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Rules of Summer

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Just One Night

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Book Review: Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita

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Genre: 

Young Adult, medical Contemporary

Part of a Series?:

Technically, it is a sequel/companion novel to Sleepaway Girls but they can be read independently of each other.

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Summer has finally arrived and fifteen-year-old Harper McCallister intends to spend her days at the mall shopping or by the pool at her country club. But after receiving her latest heart-stopping credit card bill, Harper’s parents makes other plans, and ship her off to camp.

Suddenly, the clueless yet ever-popular Harper is the new girl at the bottom of a social ladder she can’t climb in wedge sandals and expensive clothes. She seems to be winning over super-cute camp “Lifer” Ethan, though, and if she can manage to make a few friends–and stay out of trouble–she just might find a whole new summer state of mind.

My Review:

I’m just going to say this out, first and foremost: I ADORE Jen Calonita. Her books are more geared toward a younger YA audience but I think that’s why I love her so much. I love that her books are lighthearted and that they make me laugh and they make me feel…carefree. The sort of problems that her characters go through are all important but they aren’t ginormous in nature and I appreciate that.

This is a sequel/companion novel to her standalone, Sleepaway Girls. Brand new characters but there is a lot of throw back to the characters that you grew to love in SG. I would recommend reading Sleepaway Girls first, I think, but its totally not necessary at all. The two stories coincide but exist independently of each other.

That being said, I loved returning to camp Whispering Pines. All these characters in the first book kept talking about waiting all year to get back to camp and I honestly couldn’t understand that. I was never able to go to camp as a kid because camp is SUPER expensive and there are six of us and there’s just no way. But as soon as I started reading Summer State of Mind, when Harper arrives at camp, I was SO stoked. I was so happy to be back at that camp! I had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs when I read Sleepaway Girls and I was really looking forward to doing that again.

The thing that really makes this different from Sleepaway Girls is that you’re rooting for Sam from the very beginning. I loved Sam right away. She reminded me of myself in some way so it was easy to be caught up in her story and to love her. Harper, on the other hand, drives me insane and it took me awhile to get on her side. But I liked that about the book. Harper isn’t an easier character to love, but once you love her, that’s easy.

And its just a quintessential Jen Calonita book. Its lighthearted and fun and it made me laugh. I read it super quickly and that’s what I love about Jen’s books. I don’t always have to read these books with war and epic tragedies and questions about the big morals of life and stuff like that. I love those, obviously, but its fun to just read a book that makes you laugh and Jen has always managed to do that.

So if you’re looking for something fun, with a cute romance, a few pranks and just a down right good time, then this is a book for you. And with summer just around the corner (or you live in California, where its been in the 100s in MAY!), its the perfect book to bring to the beach with you.

Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

Tuesday Top Ten-Books to Look Forward to in 2014!

My loves! I am so sorry, sildenafil I apologize over and over for my lack of effort on my blog. I truly do. I would like to blame something legitimate like school or NaNoWriMo or something but truly…I just didn’t have the inspiration to work on it.

But I’m back! I promise! Today I’m stealing the topic of the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday post and doing Books to Look Forward to in 2014.

Unfortunately thats kind of hard to narrow down to ten. Really hard. Like, website like this impossibly hard. I read so many authors and so many books that I just look forward to SO many releases.

Even narrowing it down to January to May wasn’t totally helpful. Sigh.

So there are …fourteen books on the list. Sorry :( But hopefully that will get you excited for SO many awesome releases coming in the new year!

Honorable Mentions:

These are honorable mentions because I’ve already read one of them, and I have ARCs of the other! So I want to draw attention to them, since they’ll be releasing in early 2014 BUT I’ll have already read them!

Clicking on the author’s name will take you to their website, and clicking on the book title will take you to the Amazon Page AND clicking the book cover will take you to the GoodReads page! I’m nothing, if not completely thorough ;)

Afterparty by Ann Stampler 

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Expected Release: January 7th

Ann’s Where It Began blew me away, and I’m eager to dive into this book and be blown away again. She has a way of capturing the teen outlook but also writes an intelligent and compelling novel. Good girl Emma decides that she wants to break free, and gets involved with Siobhan, whose friendship is fun at first, until it takes a turn, and things become intoxicating and dangerous. I can’t wait for it. Afterparty is going to be a blast!

Going Rogue by Robin Benway

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Expected Release: January 14th

The first book of this series, Also Known As, was SUPER funny, and addicting to read. Maggie is part of a spy network with her parents, and her specialty is breaking locks, whether on doors or to safes, etc. Then she gets her own assignment, to go undercover at an upscale high school, and hilarity ensues. Its full of action and fun spy stuff BUT it just makes you laugh so hard, and Maggie is a fun character, AND there’s cute boys. Win!

Panic by Lauren Oliver

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Expected Release: March 4th

This one I’ve already read :) I can’t wait to share my review with you all. A departure from her dystopian series, Delirium, Lauren Oliver takes us into the contemporary world again, with a twist. Heather lives in Carp, where nothing ever happens, except for the game Panic every summer. The kids spend the entire year raising money for a ridiculous prize amount (think in the THOUSANDS) and compete in dangerous, scary and, often times, illegal tasks in order to win the game. Heather didn’t expect to play when it came her turn, but that money could be a way out. Dodge, a fellow classmate, has been looking forward to Panic, and he’s determined to get the right outcome. I think you’ll like this one. If you were disappointed with the end of the Delirium series like I was, I think this will help with Lauren Oliver a bit :)

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Now the actual list of ten, erm, eleven books I’m looking forward to in 2014…up until May, at least!

11. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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Expected Release: May 13th

I just discovered Stephanie this year! Anna and the French Kiss and especially Lola and the Boy Next Door are GREAT YA contemporary novels that I totally recommend, a thousand times. I am full of SO much excitement for this one because of all great the others have been. In this novel, we are going to meet Isla and Josh and I think come to find a new meaning of the phrase “happily ever after”. And of course, we will see Anna, Etienne, Lola and Cricket again, which makes me very happy. I think that Stephanie will tell a great story, as usual with twists and turns and surprises and enough heart pounding and sigh-worthy scenes to keep us all SO happy!

10. Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

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Expected Release: April 15th

I am So excited about this one because honestly, I just discovered JLA in May and she has yet to disappoint me. Her storytelling is fantastic; she makes me laugh, and feel all swooning but she throws in these kickass action scenes, and then she has the most sarcastic and hilarious characters. So I’m really anxious to dive into a new series with her. Don’t Look Back follows Samantha who has it all, until she disappears, and then reappears with no memory of who she is or how she got lost. When she figures out that she was the  “mean girl”, she’s determined to have this second chance. Unfortunately her best friend is still missing…Sounds awesome right? She never disappoints and I can’t wait to read it.

 9. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs 

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Expected Release: January 14th

Okay, I’m totally reading the first book right now, and maybe I won’t like and maybe I’ll have no desire to read this …but I honestly doubt it. So many people I know really liked this book and I just love Ransom as a person. His instagram, tumblr and twitter posts keep me laughing, and he’s super interactive with his fans. And he’s handsome. Not that this has anything to do with his book, it was just a notable fact about him. Moving on, I am looking forward to this release because I’m already enjoying Miss Peregrine’s a lot AND he’ll be touring for this book and will, of course, be signing in Los Angeles so yay! I keep missing him, and I want formally meet him finally!

8. Cress by Marissa Meyer 

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Expected Release: February 4th

I just finished Scarlet, the second book, about a week ago, and I love this series already. I put off reading it FOR so long and I have no idea why. I think it was the cover to be honest. I get turned off on books because of the covers quite often, and I’m often times proven wrong. But I still do it. Anyway, I read Cinder and Scarlet and now I’m very excited for Cress. Marissa Meyer takes the whole science fiction, fairy tale retellings to an incredible level, and her stories and characters are awesome. One minute they’re super badass and sci-fi-ish (that’s a word now) and then the next, they’re totally reminding you of Cinderella and Red Riding Hood. Its awesome. This isn’t the final book, its the climax to the final book, Winter (2015), so you know its going to be SO GOOD.

7. Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita

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Expected Release: April 22nd  

I absolutely adore Jen Calonita. Her books are quick and easy reads, with laughter, cute boys, but often times, serious teen problems as well. Her standalone novel, Sleepaway Girls, was super cute, about a girl going to camp as a CIT and learning to be independent of her dominant best friend. Of course, rivalries happen, cute boys make the summer interesting and hilarity and disaster ensues. I absolutely LOVED it. Now there’s a sequel, called Summer State of Mind, where they’re returning to Camp Whispering Pines and I’m SO excited. She writes such fun novels and I don’t think I’m alone in that desire to go to camp. I always want to go to camp as a kid and was never able to so I like to live vicariously through this. Definitely one to look forward to.

6. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Expected Release: February 4th

When I picked up Shatter Me, I had done so because Tahereh Mafi kept popping up everywhere, at all these events (though I haven’t met her officially either!) and her name just kept popping up to me, and so I decided to check out Shatter Me, even though I was getting kind of tired of dystopian. I’m glad I gave this one a chance because Juliette is an awesome character and we’ve really seen her grow so much in this series, and I hope we continue to see that in Ignite Me. I also think Tahereh Mafi has a way of telling a brand new story in that familiar dystopian archetype that we’ve grown to know so well. She has surprises and twists that keep you hooked til the end.

5. The Last Forever by Deb Caletti 

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Expected Release: April 1st

I adore Deb Caletti and while I absolutely loved He’s Gone, which was her dive into adult fiction, I am glad to see she’s back in YA. All of her books are just so incredibly good. She hits SO many issues of teens, but she never makes her books seem like “issue books”. Her stories are flawless and genuine and each one has captivated me and made me fall in love. She’s gotten so much recognition for her books and its totally deserved. The book is sure to be another emotion wrecker. The main character’s mom has died, and her dad is having a hard time recovering and so is she. Enter a road trip, a new place, and a new boy, and it just spells awesome. Deb Caletti tells beautiful stories and I’m sure this one will be as well.

4. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare 

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Expected Release: May 27th

I think most people would be surprised to see this as #4 and now #1 or 2 or 3. And its true, I love Cassandra Clare and adore her books. I definitely can’t wait to read City of Heavenly Fire and see how the TMI series wraps up. My only thing is…I thought the series was wrapped up perfectly in City of Glass and I didn’t feel like it needed to be continued. I am not a fan of Fallen Angels and I kind of like Lost Souls. So while I do want to read the end and find out who lives and who dies, and where everyone sort of ends up, I also am just not DYING to read it, like I was with the other novels. I still think City of Glass was a great ending. But I digress. I’m a TMI fan, and I will read it because I love Jace and Clary and Alec and Simon and Magnus and Isabelle and all of them.

3. Unforgotten by Jessica Brody 

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Expected Release: February 25th

Another discovery of this year, Jessica Brody has become one of my favorite authors. I read her book, Unremembered, first, and then dove into her contemporary books which seriously make me laugh. They’re fantastic. Definitely check them out. But we’re focusing on Unremembered. Unremembered is about Seraphina, who wakes up in the middle of the ocean, the only survivor of a deadly plane crash. She doesn’t remember who she is, nor does she remember much in general. No one comes forward to claim her, so she’s taken in by foster parents. While Sera remembers the world, she also realizes that she’s different than others, faster, stronger, smarter. Then a boy named Zen comes into the picture, claiming that he knows her, and that they’re in love. Its like Bourne Identity, but with a badass girl instead of Matt Damon. Its seriously awesome, and I can’t say much more because Unforgotten is the sequel, and you just need to read this. This comes out TWO days before my birthday so happy birthday to me!

2. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Expected Release: May 6th 2014

Morgan Matson is one of my absolute favorite authors of all time. She made me fall in love with her, as an author, so fast with Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. Then she released Second Chance Summer, and its just as good. I’ve met Morgan several times this year, but it’ll be two years since her last novel came out when this third novel hits the stands. That’s a LONG time to wait haha, or at least it is to me. The main character Emily meets Sloane, who introduces her to a world of fun, who helps pull her out of her shell. Then Sloane disappears and leaves behind a list of things for Emily to accomplish like “apple picking at night” or “dancing until dawn” or “kiss a stranger”. It sounds like another unique and fun Morgan Matson novel, and I honestly just can’t wait for it.

1. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

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Expected Release: February 11th

Another discovery of this year (I seriously dove into books and blogging in 2013), Andrew Smith’s Winger literally knocked my socks off, blew me away, had my jaw hanging open down to the ground. It seriously just…it was so amazing. Now Andrew has a new book releasing in February (on mine and Jon’s 6 year anniversary!), and I’m DYING to read it. I keep trying to get my hands on an ARC but have been thus far unsuccessful. I may have to wait til February but it’ll be worth the wait. Andrew has a natural humor to his books, I have laughed out loud, uncontrollably with tears, because of his books. In this novel, Andrew is combining his hilarity with his out of this world story telling (giant insects? really? I’m shuddering already), and I’m sure he’s going to get that teen boy spirit, hilarity and coming of age-ness like he has done before. I am DYING to get my hands on this book, especially when everyone is loving it! It WILL happen!

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I hope you enjoyed this Tuesday Top ….Eleven…or something…some number close to Ten. You should definitely add ALL of these books to your “to-read” list, and if you haven’t read their prequels, then get on it! These books and authors are all great, and you’ll definitely enjoy them!

Don’t forget that you can check out previous Tuesday Top Ten lists here!

What are some books that you are looking forward to in the New Year? Share in the comments! 

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Tuesday Top Ten-Top Authors that Deserve More Recognition

One thing that I’ve really appreciated about being a book blogger is coming to expand my bookshelf immensely. In the last year, ask I have discovered so many new authors, I can’t even begin to think of all the authors I’ve discovered. I’ve immersed myself so deeply into the world of books that those authors that you may not notice right off the bat are coming out of the woodwork for me, and I’m discovering authors that are truly truly wonderful.

And I feel like, as a book blogger, it is one of my jobs to tell you all about these! One of the questions that I probably get more than anything is, “what do you recommend?”

Now you guys know some of my favorite books are Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices and Percy Jackson and Divergent and Hunger Games…but these authors, they don’t need more help really in finding readers. Most of those have movies and they’re bestsellers and they just don’t really need me talking about them all the time.

So I spend most of my time recommending the authors that I believe are absolutely brilliant and just don’t get enough attention or readers, and so that was the inspiration for this week’s Top Ten.

Each and every single one of these authors are absolutely brilliant, and I find most people that I meet do NOT know who they are, and I find that to be very disappointing. I’m hoping this week’s Top Ten encourages you try some of these authors out and to explore new authors when you go to the book store.

So here we go.

11. Neal Shusterman

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Yes I realize this is a top eleven and not a top 12. You can just deal with it haha.

I first discovered Neal Shusterman a couple months ago, and I recognize that he isn’t an unknown author. However, now that I’ve discovered his Unwind series, I want to share it with everyone and it doesn’t seem to be a ton of people out there who know him and this series. So that is why he makes it on to this list. I absolutely love this series and I think it is due to the fact that it makes me think. The Unwind trilogy takes an issue that is very highly debated right now (pro-life vs pro-choice) and he makes it so real, and he makes us really take the time to look at it. In the book, a second civil war has occurred between the pro-life and the pro-choice, and a compromise is reached: abortion in the womb is illegal, but a parent can have the option to have their child between the ages of 12 and 18 “unwound”, and all of their parts harvested to be donated to other bodies. In this compromise, it is said that there is no death, because the child continues to live, in a “divided state”. It is heartbreaking and raw and beautiful and its an addicting book series that makes me laugh and cry and it makes me think more than a lot of other books have. I think there would be a ton of people that would avoid this book because its not like other YA books, but that is EXACTLY the reason that you should read it. Do it.

You can read my review of Unwind here.

10. Jennifer Bosworth

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I had no idea who Jennifer Bosworth was until I attended the Ontario Teen Book Fest back in May (which you can read about here). She was part of the panel with authors like Jessica Brody, Morgan Matson, Marie Lu and Leigh Bardugo, which ended up being one of the best panels I’ve ever been to. This is where I really discovered Jennifer. One, she is SO pretty, and two, she really caught my interest with her book, and sort of the back story behind it. Struck is about a girl named Mia who lives in Los Angeles after it was hit with a huge earthquake disaster, and she has this addiction to lightning. The only problem is, in the wake of this disaster, there have been several religious cults, one in particular, that have sprung up and would do anything to have  Mia on their side. Again, like with Neal, it really causes you to think and to question some of the things you know. I think that Jennifer tends not to get a lot of notice because her books are not your “typical” YA novels. She really makes you think, and her book has an anti-religion message in there and I think most people would avoid that, instead of reading it, and taking it as a book that challenges the way you think. She’s not trying to CHANGE the way you think, but she does want you to question, question, question and I think that’s beautiful. She writes a beautiful book, with a great story but she really makes me think, and I can’t wait for her novel, The Killing Jar, to come out.

You can read my review of her book, Struck, here.

9. Jessica Brody

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Jessica Brody is one of the FUNNEST authors that I’ve had a chance to meet this year, and discover, and I seriously get all fangirlish every time she recognizes me. (She saw me in the Cassandra Clare CBS interview and tweeted me. I nearly died). I saw her book, Unremembered at Barnes and Noble, read the inside cover, and decided to buy it. Then at WonderCon, I wanted to go to the panel “Writing for Teens and Tweens” because, well, that’s what I want to do, and she was there. She made me laugh, and she really impressed me with the things she said. I stopped by her signing booth and talked to her for a bit, and when I told her I was trying to be a writer, she said, “Don’t try to be a writer, just be one.” That really stuck with me, and I raced home to finish this book. I’ve since then met her several more times, and have read more books by her, and I seriously love her. She has a great sense of humor, and her book Unremembered (which is the first in a planned trilogy) is a real action packed book that was so different than anything else I had read in YA so far. Seriously, think The Bourne Identity but with a teenage girl instead of Matt Damon. I really love this book, not only because of the characters and story, but because of the uniqueness of it. I LOVE Jessica, and its hardly ever that I find someone who has read her books, which is why I’m telling you, please please read Unremembered. SO good.

You can read my review of Unremembered here.

8. Marie Lu

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Marie Lu is NOT an unknown author. Her book series has already exploded onto the scene, and the first book of her Legend trilogy, Legend, was optioned as a movie before it was even published. It is a brilliant series. The reason that I have her on here as an author that deserves more recognition is because I think she gets shuffled under the rug because of series like The Hunger Games and Divergent. I am a HUGE fan of both of those series, definitely, but I can say, with confidence, that Legend is, in my personal opinion, better than both of those. The thing about Marie Lu’s dystopian trilogy is that its so believable and its almost scary in that its so believable. I also think its better because its dual point of view, and the two different points of view are SO different. You have someone completely enveloped in this society, and believes it to the very core, and then you have someone who has been fighting against it, to keep himself and his family alive, for so long, and the clash of those two people together really is awesome. In Hunger Games and Divergent, you always know who the “bad guy” is, but in Legend, you’re always questioning because you get these two points of views. I also admire Marie a lot because she’s one of the only series I’ve read, dysptopian wise, who talks of other countries outside of the United States. She recognizes the rest of the world, which causes an even more solid story, in my opinion. Its an amazing series, and I can’t wait for the third and last book in November.

You can read my review of Legend here.

7. Rae Carson

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In a little more than a week, I’ll be heading to Las Vegas to meet this author…which is roughly about a four hour drive away from my suburb town in Orange County, California. That is how much I love this author. This will be the farthest I’ve driven to meet an author and I honestly don’t think that I’ll regret it in the slightest. When I first read The Girl of Fire and Thorns, I couldn’t get into it; I was really confused at first. But I think it was about 50 or so pages in when it just hit me and it grabbed me and I raced through it, and then immediately bought A Crown of Embers on my Kindle, because I couldn’t wait until the book store opened the next day. I felt VERY lucky to be able to receive an ARC of the last book of the series, The Bitter Kingdom. Its an amazing series. I think that maybe people avoid this series because of the epic fantasy that it is. I think fantasy tends to be really popular…when its recognizable, which is why all the urban, contemporary fantasies seem to do better than epic fantasies. But I’m an epic fantasy lover more than anything and I think Rae Carson is a fantastic story teller and a great world builder. And my absolute favorite part of her novels? Her main character, Elisa? She’s fat. Over the course of the books, she becomes less fat but she’s not a perfect, beautiful, skinny character and I absolutely love that.

You can read my review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns here.

6. Jen Calonita

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I absolutely adore Jen Calonita, because she writes very realistically without having to be ridiculously tragic. Not that I don’t like books with tragedies but sometimes I think people forget the trivial problems we had as teenagers that felt like the absolute end of the world. I like Jen Calonita because she’s fun, and because her books are extremely sweet and because they remind me that we don’t always have to be setting the weight of the world on our shoulders and its okay to worry about how we look that day, or whether we’re going to pass our math test. I love that there are books out there that make me think, and that make me more aware of the economy or history, or world affairs but sometimes I just need a break from the world, and Jen’s books are great for that. Her Secrets of My Hollywood Life series is about Kaitlin Burke, a young Hollywood star on a hit TV show, who wishes nothing more than to find a balance between the job she loves doing and her desire to be a normal girl. Her Belles series follows Izzy, a girl who grows up in a small community until her grandmother gets too sick to take care of her anymore, and she goes to live with family she never knew existed in the ridiculously rich town of Emerald Cove. She also has two standalone novels, Reality Check and Sleepaway Girls. I love these books because they are the kind of YA that you don’t have to question, because there’s sort of younger YA and older YA. I think you can enjoy this at any age. They’re funny and cute and I think they’re really enjoyable books to read. I wish more people would notice her, and I think because she tends to have happy endings, without any tragedies, she doesn’t get a lot of notice, and that makes me incredibly sad. Her books are great, and you should definitely check them out. Also, her Secrets of My Hollywood Life series was incredible help for my book, A Little Less than Famous!

I unfortunately have not reviewed any of her books for this site yet!

5. Andrew Smith

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I had no idea who Andrew Smith was until the Ontario Teen Book Fest, and even then, I still had no idea who he was or any of that. Carrie Arcos (author of Out of Reach) actually pointed him out to me, and said that his book, Winger, was coming out that Tuesday and that it was already going to be featured in the New York Times. That caught my interest quickly. After talking to him throughout the day, and learning what a really cool guy he was, I added it to my “To-Read” list, and hoped to read it soon. I’ve only read Winger, I haven’t had a chance to read his other books YET, but I already think that he is an absolutely amazing author. I read Winger in the span of a few hours and was immediately sold on the book and on Andrew Smith. There was so many layers to this novel. Part school story, part coming of age, part humor, part tragedy, even part comic book, it tells the story of Ryan Dean and his adventures at boarding school. There is just so much about the book that is great. Like I said, its funny and sad, and its full of adventure and romance and its just a great book, and it keeps popping up everywhere, earning recognition and recommendations, but I don’t know of many people who have actually READ it, in my circle of readers and bloggers. Lately, when people ask for a recommendation, this is one of the ones I say right off the bat. I will push this on anyone and everyone and I think its an essential read. I am happy every time I do see someone reading it. Let’s just say this: CNN made a list of must-read books for the summer, and Winger was the only YA book to make it on the list. That shows you how good it is.

You can read my review of Winger here.

4. Tammara Webber

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I discovered Tammara Webber when I first purchased a Kindle a few years ago. I was looking for something new to read, and Amazon suggested the book, Between the Lines, which was fairly inexpensive, maybe only 5 dollars. I decided to give it a try, and I was hooked so fast. I was blazing through the next two books in the series, eating it up. Then I decided I needed them in actual hard copy. That’s when I really discovered the awesomeness that is Tammara Webber. Because most people tend to consider her books “new adult”, which is kind of a wacky age group/classification that is still not quite found its place, she was having a really hard time selling her novel. So she has worked her butt off, self-publishing her novels in ebook format, and her Between the Lines series has garnered her a bunch of attention. Then Tammara wrote her standalone novel, Easy, which highlights the dangers of rape, especially acquaintance rape, and that too has garnered a lot of attention and a lot of high praise for it. Her series and her standalone novel are both fantastic, and I admire her immensely because of her drive, her determination and her ability to make herself successful because of those.

You can read an interview between me and Tammara here.

3. Morgan Matson

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Morgan Matson is one of the more brilliant authors in contemporary young adult fiction and the fact that I have gotten to meet her three times this year has made me incredibly happy. She has written two novels: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer. And while I’ve noticed a TON of Morgan Matson love on the interwebs and on most blogs about books (because we knows whats up!), I don’t see a lot of book readers outside of blogs that really know who she is. That makes me incredibly sad. Her two novels that have been published so far easily would make my top list of books, especially Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. As a debut novel, it just shines. Its a beautiful work of contemporary YA lit; it recalls Sarah Dessen, for sure, but Morgan Matson has a voice on her own and it seeps into her characters, Amy and Taylor. Plus her novels are SO summer, and I just love summer. Okay, maybe not the ridiculous temperatures that we can get here in Southern California but I adore everything else about summer, especially that I get to curl up and read, read, read, and I always make sure to read Amy and Roger’s, because its so worth a summer read and more. I’ve been able to meet her a bunch this year, and I *think* she recognizes me now and I seriously get SUCH a kick out of that. She is such a sweetheart and she helps me to believe that I can be a writer too. Seriously, read her books.

You can read a review of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour here.

2. Tamora Pierce

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Tamora Pierce has been writing books since the 1980s, the EARLY 1980s, and she hardly needs help getting recognition. So why do I have her on here? Because its all fine and dandy that she has a strong fan base and that she’s been recognized in several different countries, and a TON of different associations and had honors bestowed upon and she CONTINUES to write magnificent books, BUT, I think its time to introduce her to the new generation: you guys. I have found that most of my followers tend to be younger than me, and have absolutely no idea who she is and that saddens me! In this world where young adult literature is at the highest I’ve ever seen it, and where fantasy is HUGE, and young, strong, smart, amazing female characters are incredibly popular, why isn’t she? Because her books are older, shorter, what? I can’t understand it so I continue to talk about her all the time, to rebuild her and her absolutely wonderful books. Her first series? About a girl who hides her gender in order to become a knight, as good as the boys. Her second series? A girl who discovers she has the rare power of wild (animal) magic and she can use it for so much, and to help the kingdom. Her third series? About a girl who tries for her knighthood after its legalized that a girl CAN do so, but is it any easier? Her fourth series? About a girl kidnapped to a foreign country who finds her niche, and helps a group of oppressed people take back their country. I mean, I could go on and on. She’s a brilliant writer, a brilliant storyteller and her world building is flawless. Please, read her; you won’t be disappointed in the SLIGHTEST.

You can read my review for her very first book, Alanna: The First Adventure here. You can also check out my Fandom Friday about Tamora Pierce, as well, here.

1. Cinda Williams Chima

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This is one of my more recent discoveries and it is a discovery that I made so gladly. I somehow randomly came across Cinda’s book, The Demon King, last fall and immediately went sprinting through the rest of the series. Its absolutely brilliant, an epic fantasy that has great characters, from the main characters of Han and Raisa, to the smaller characters as well, and a great world that you find yourself immersed in. Raisa is a princess struggling to become a better ruler, for the day that she takes over as queen, and Han is a former criminal, who discovers a secret about himself, and its a secret that is going to change his life forever. The two of them are so far apart, and yet their lives start to intersect and they both become so instrumental to the well-being of the queendom. Her Heir Chronicles series is a contemporary urban fantasy, following different people but the first book follows Jack, who discovers he has special powers after he stops taking his medicine one day, and he finds out he is a warrior in a society full of enchanters and sorcerers, wizards and more. Wizards are in control and they need a warrior for their tournament, a tournament that includes a fight to the death. She creates beautiful fantasy worlds, with great characters, a ton of action with a nice balance of the romantic and steamy and her books are written SO well. I’m meeting her in a couple weeks and I have to make sure that I don’t faint in excitement!

You can check out a review of The Demon King here, my exclusive interview with Cinda here, and also a full post on my urging you to read her books here.

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I hope you enjoyed this week’s Tuesday Top Ten!

Don’t forget that you can always check out previous lists here.

And definitely don’t forget to check out these ELEVEN amazing authors! You won’t regret reading any of them.

Who are some authors that you love to read that you wish more people would read? Is there a particular book that you’re always recommending to people? As always, share in the comments!

Tuesday Top Ten-Books for Fun!

For some reason, remedy I feel like its been FOREVER since I wrote a Tuesday Top Ten, page and its only been two weeks since my brother totally wrote last week’s. But I feel like its been SO long! I have been SO immensely busy the last few weeks, advice what with the end of school, and finals, and my boyfriend graduated college and so it was busy.

And then when I did finally have free time, I was SO lazy and didn’t want to write anything haha. I was like, school is over and I’m not writing ever again :) And I need to catch up on my reading! I have SO many books piling up, unread, because I’ve been busy with other things.

But I’m back :D Ready to rock your world as always.

I have some SUPER cool things coming your way, like a review of Arrested Development Season 4, a post on Leigh Bardugo‘s Siege and Storm release party, some awesome book reviews, and a feature on Cinda Williams Chima!

Its going to be AWESOME.

For now, let’s do the Tuesday Top Ten.

So I just wanted to make it clear that I don’t always read these serious books. Like, not all the books I read have these deep crazy messages with battles, and wars, and questioning humanities and all that sort of thing. I read everything and that means I love to read for fun too! I like reading books about summer, and boys and kissing, and books that make me laugh, I swear I do!

So that’s what this week is, all my favorite FUN books :) The ones that don’t make me cry haha and make me laugh and all that!

Not to say that any of these books don’t have value! Because they all do! They all do hit issues that are important, but they all do it in a light, fun, and happy way!

So here we go!

10. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

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Lena, Carmen, Tibby and Bee have been best friends basically before they were even born. They have spent their entire life together, until this summer, where they’ll all be in different places. As the contemplate on this, they stumble upon a pair of pants, pants that magically fit all of them, despite their very different body types. They determine these pants are magical and that they will keep the girls together over the summer. Lena meets a boy in Greece, and struggles with her feelings for him. Carmen goes to spend some quality time with her dad, but finds he’s suddenly engaged to a new woman. Tibby is stuck at home, without her friends, working a terrible minimum wage job, and Bee is at soccer camp in Mexico where there is a VERY good looking coach, who is also VERY out of bounds.

I think I first read this book when I was about 13, and I just loved it. Its so fun, and its a perfect summer book. There’s all these serious issues in it like a parent remarrying, cancer, dating, love, losing your virginity but its so realistic and so easy to read. There’s no preaching, there’s no lesson, its just there and I’ve always loved these books. I love the absolute familiarity you feel with every single character.

9. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

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Yup, I went there. Bella Swan moves to rainy Forks in Washington to live with her dad, as a sacrifice to her mother who she loves. In this tiny town, she’s an attraction, something new to be figured out. But the only person she’s interested in is Edward Cullen, and his family, who are too beautiful for words and keep to themselves. However, Edward shows an intense hatred to her right away. For some reason, this intrigues Bella and she’s determined to find out about him, especially when there’s more to him than she saw at first glance. He’s a vampire and she’s his particular brand of blood and every moment they spend together is a danger to her.

Okay, that just sounded ridiculous even talking about it haha. I know that it is not the most fantastically written book. I know that its not even that good of a story. But I like it. Its one of my guilty pleasure reads. If I don’t want to think and I just need a super fluffy romance to read, this is exactly what I need. There’s no thinking involved here, and If I tune out for a bit, its fine because I just probably missed a super mushy scene that I was fine missing in the first place! But I do enjoy reading it, no matter how bad the writing is.

8. Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita 

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This book follows the life of Kaitlin Burke, famous teen television star of the hit show, Family Affairs. Her entire life is dictated by her very busy schedule, and between the show, various appearances and publicity, she just doesn’t have time to be a normal girl. So she comes up with this brilliant idea to disguise herself in order to go to a regular high school, just to find out what its like. But soon she’s falling hard for the hottest boy in school, and her enemy co-star, Sky Mackenzie, is making her life miserable at every turn.

I LOVE this book. I love love love it. Its so good! I am obsessed with Hollywood and pop culture and all of that, and I was trying to write a novel about a girl who meets a famous actor and this book helped me SO much. Jen Calonita used to work for teen magazines and so knows a bit about the life of these people and so she writes with accuracy and its SO helpful to someone who has no idea haha. But they’re also super fun, and Kaitlin is such a fun character, and I love her Star Wars obsession and I love that she’s a super gorgeous actress and still feels insecurities too, which I think is totally normal, but we don’t really realize it. I like that Jen gives us a super fun, celebrity world with a very real teen girl that we can all relate to, even though she’s famous.

7. Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot

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Disclaimer: This is NOT a YA book. There is SEX in this book. Just so you know haha. In this book, we meet Kate Mackenzie, whose life isn’t going the way she planned it. Her boyfriend of ten years just dumped her, she is crashing on her best friend’s couch, she has a terrible boss at work, and she feels completely inadequate. Just when things couldn’t get worse, she’s forced to fire the most popular person in her work, and to make it EVEN worse, that person decides to sue her and the company for wrongful termination! But things are going to look up for Kate when the lawyer assigned to the case ends up to be very, VERY hot and is VERY interested in her.

I adore this book. Its the second in the “Boy” series by Meg Cabot but you don’t necessarily have to read them in order. They’re separate books that just take place in the same workplace, the New York Journal. But this one is totally my favorite. I love Kate because things just keep going wrong for her. I know that sounds terrible but I know we’ve all felt those days when nothing can go right. We’ve all had times like these, and its fun to watch her going around like “WTF?”, and struggling to deny her attractive to hot lawyer, Mitch. And Meg Cabot is SO funny, she’s so insanely funny. She’s one of the funniest authors I’ve ever read and so all while this is going down, you’re just cracking up. I hope to make people laugh in my books like she does because its just so ludicrous and hilarious.

6. The Next Big Thing by Johanna Edwards 

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In this book we meet Kat, who is overweight. Now, this could be an okay thing if she wasn’t so obsessed with it. She’s tried every diet out there, and she lets it rule her life and she lacks self confidence in a huge way. She has a boyfriend in England, that she met online, but she’s lied to him and told him she’s a size four, when really she’s a size 22. Then she finds a way to make it all go away: a weight loss reality show called From Fat to Fabulous. She auditions, and is suddenly on TV! But its not as glamorous as it seemed. The girls aren’t all super nice, and losing weight is hard, and her relationship with her boyfriend is all based on lies. Can she make it out of this show with everything she wants?

Dun, dun, dun! I know I keep saying this but I do SUPER adore this book. Kat is a fun character, who has all these hopes and dreams that are SO out there, and we can all kind of relate to that. Like, I so want a size 2 body with a movie star boyfriend (not really, I love my boyfriend), and I want to be rich, with five cars and all of that. But none of that is actually going to happen and thats okay :) But Kat goes into this show thinking its all just going to be fixed: her relationship, her confidence, everything, just by losing weight and thats not really true. And being on the show shows her a lot more than that. But its fun to watch her on the show, losing weight, and the stupid games they play, and how Kat is branded “The Brat” by the press and its just fun and funny.

5. Between the Lines by Tammara Webber

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This book follows two points of you. First you get Reid Alexander, the super hot famous movie star, who is all about the glamour of being him: the booze, the girls, the parties, the sex. Then you have Emma Pierce, who LOVES acting and hopes to act on stage, but is pushed to do movie roles. They both end up starring in a modern day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice as Lizbeth and Darcy, and there’s immediate attraction. Reid sees Emma as a conquest, someone he’s determined to have, though he doesn’t really realize how hard he’s working for and why he’s doing it. Emma is attracted to Reid but she’s unsure of his intentions, especially when Graham, another actor on set, is showing his interest as well.

Ohmygod Tammara Webber, you’re a goddess of New Adult literature. I didn’t even know what that was until you but you ROCK it. I love these books. I bought the first one because it was TWO dollars on Kindle. (Yeah, so buy it!) and I immediately read the next two in a couple days because they are so good and so juicy. The amount of sexual tension in these books is amazing and I love it! I also love the celebrity life of it, being on set, doing interviews, parties and all that, because again, obsessed with that kind of stuff. Tammara was another inspiration and help for my novel. But everything about this novel is so sexy, and so fun, and you can’t decide which boy you want Emma with because you love them both. And the steamy scenes are to DIE for.

4. Belles by Jen Calonita

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Aw Miss Jen again! This book follows Izzy, a girl living in Harborside, a beachside community that she loves but doesn’t have the best reputation. She lives with her grandma, who is slowly deteriorating from Alzheimers. Its not long before Izzy is yanked away from Harborside and sent to live with this newfound uncle, his wife and his kids in Emerald Cove, a very wealthy town nearby to Harborwide. Izzy finds herself in a world where she feels completely left out and the girls at school, including her own cousin Mira, are not making it any easy for her. Then there’s the mystery of her new family. She’s never heard of them before, and they suddenly appeared when she needed a place to live. Lastly, her uncle’s political advisor (he’s running for the Senate) is on her case, threatening her and her grandmother if she doesn’t stay in line or if she disrupts the perfect family she’s suddenly a part of.

This book is SO juicy. Its like a little mini soap opera for teens. There’s so much going on: the jerk political advisor, the mean girls at school are seriously mean (like, they do really horrible stuff!), a hot boy who, of course, is already taken, and a mysterious family she didn’t know she had. Its all so insanely juicy and FUN. I sped through this book (and the two following) because she has you on the edge of your seat, trying to figure out what is going on or whats going to happen. I love it. And when you figure out some of the mysteries, it leaves your jaw open, eyes wide, just as if you were watching a soap opera. Its BRILLIANT and I adore it.

3. Here Today, Gone to Maui by Carol Snow

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I’m not going to lie, the first time I picked up this book, I bought it because the main character lives in my hometown. And that NEVER happens. So this story follows Jane, who is a worrier. She worries all the time. She lives in suburban Southern California and she’s surrounded by families. (Because, honestly, that’s what suburban California is…) She’s determined to spice up her life a bit and so she agrees to take a trip to Hawaii with her boyfriend, Jimmy, even though everything is screaming at her not to. Before she can enjoy any part of her actual vacation, Jimmy goes scuba diving…and never comes up. Now he’s missing, and its absolute mystery, especially when she learns that she’s not the only girl that Jimmy brought to the island….

Carol Snow, you are brilliant and more people should be reading you! I love every single one of your books! I read this one…second, after Been There Done That, and I just laughed at how incredibly ridiculous and hilarious this entire book is. Jane is so funny, and the mess she gets herself into is SO funny. (I’m not trying to be a jerk, I know the plot sounds super serious but trust me, read the book). The entire situation with Jane and Jimmy, and Jimmy’s second girlfriend, Tiara, is just fantastic. She has me laughing the entire book, especially with the descriptions of Tiara, but also has me racing through it to figure out what the hell happened to Jimmy. SUCH a good read.

2. All American Girl by Meg Cabot

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One of my absolute favorite books of ALL TIME. I read this when I was about 14 years old and I think I still owe the Moreno Valley Public Library money for stealing this book from them…and that was 11 years ago! Anyway, the book follows Samantha Madison, a rebellious girl who wears all black, is an artist and completely in love with her sister’s boyfriend. When she’s caught selling drawings at school, her parents force her into art lessons (how dare they!), where she totally doesn’t want to me. After skipping art lessons one day, she stands outside, waiting to be picked up when she notices something: the president of the US coming to buy some cookies at the bakery next door to her art class, and there’s a guy with a gun pointed at him. She doesn’t think, she just moves. Suddenly, she’s a worldwide hero, and is incredibly famous, something she is way unused to it. And it turns out, David, the president’s son is in her art class, and is REALLY cute too.

The absurdity of this book is fantastic but I love it! Its literally one of my favorite books. I love Samantha, because she’s this wannabe rebel, punkish, ska girl who really isn’t any of those things but likes to think she is, which was totally me in high school too, now that I think about it. I love David, I have SUCH a huge crush on him and his stupid little secretive smiles. And I just love the ridiculousness of the situation. I love the idea of a teen girl suddenly saving the president’s life and becoming super famous, and having the president’s son fall in love with her, which she totally does NOT want. I love all the lists too. She makes these lists throughout the book, these top ten lists and I LOVE them. We all know how I am about lists :) Those lists are actually a big inspiration for the Tuesday Top Ten, though Samantha’s are infinitely funnier than mine :)

1. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot 

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Aw, my loves. The entire ten book series follows Mia Thermopolis, a high school girl, in New York City, who is everything that I was in high school: awkward, shy, unpopular, insanely tall (but I was small), no boobs, the works. She’s had a crush on Josh Richter, for ages, and her mom is dating her Algebra teacher, a class she is failing. Then her dad comes to New York to tell her something. He had cancer, and it made him…unable to have anymore kids, which makes her the now known heir to the throne of Genovia. Suddenly, Mia isn’t the normal kid she’s trying SO hard to be but she’s a princess and that takes a lot of work. The ten book series follows Mia from her freshman year to her senior year, following all of her awkwardness, her fun, her life lessons, her ups and downs, the different boys in her life (Michael Moscovitz for LIFE <3) and all the hilarity that ensues.

I first read this when I was 12 years old. I credit Meg Cabot (and Sarah Dessen) with my introduction to the YA lit world. I’ve been obsessed with YA since then and she has been one of my absolute favorite authors and one of my biggest writing inspirations since then. Her books are so GOOD. Written in diary form, you get to be in Mia’s head at all times, which is so great, because since she makes all the mistakes that we all made in high school, we get to see it from her point of view, and her reasoning and her out of control, awesome perspective. We get NO one else and it makes it great because we see how she can overreact or not react enough, and make mistakes and all of that. And Mia is a fun, relatable and hilarious character, and one of my absolute favorite characters ever. If you have not read these books, there is something wrong with you!

Also, the books are SO much better than the movie. I mean, I like the movie. But the books are so good. Its in NYC not San Fran. Her dad is NOT dead, he’s just hilarious. Her mom is hilarious. Her grandmother is NOT sweet Julie Andrews, but scary Grandmere. SO much win.

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So that was the Tuesday Top Ten for you!

Hope you enjoyed!

Stay tuned for awesome things heading your way this week!

And don’t forget to check out the previous Tuesday Top Tens!

YA For NJ: Authors Stepping Up to Help Out

If it weren’t enough that reading is so much fun and teaches me and makes me happy and so on and so forth, sildenafil it gives back.

There are a billion authors out there that give back. J.K. Rowling fell on the list of Forbes richest because of the amazing amount of money that she spends on charities. Meg Cabot donates all proceeds from her book Ransom my Heart (written as her fictional character Mia Thermopolis) to Greenpeace. John Green has openly donated to plenty of projects. Authors are fantastic.

And here’s just one more reason to remember how amazing authors are.

It’s called YA For NJ.

And its simple: its a bunch of young adult authors (mostly those east coast ones) teaming up together to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief. Many of the authors doing this live on the east coast and experienced Hurricane Sandy personally and want to give back to their own backyards.

So there is an ebay page set up (click it right here)

You can bid on several different things in order to raise money for the relief fund: autographed books, visit this autographed arcs (books that aren’t published yet), autographed collection of books, school visits, panel events, manuscript and query letter critiques, dedications in future books, your name in future books, and so on.

And there are a TON of authors doing it. Libba Bray (a signed copy of the Diviners and autographed copies of her Gemma Doyle trilogy). Jen Calonita. Sarah Dessen. Jerry Spinelli. James Patterson. Elizabeth Scott. Melissa da la Cruz. Holly Black. Carol Snow. Kieran Scott. Lauren Oliver.

The list goes on and on and on. A ton of really great authors.

So its amazing opportunity. You can have a chance to own an autographed copy of an author you love or you could get to have a skype chat with them, or have your writing critiqued.

And all of the money earned goes to help people in need. Its wonderful.

So go out there and bid on stuff. I have my eye out on that Gemma Doyle trilogy…I worship Libba Bray…and help out, you know? Our biggest weapon is our brain…and some of the best weapons in the world are books (thank you, doctor who) and lets use them, in any way we can to help out.

I urge you to check out the ebay page and make some bids, or check out their faecbook page for more information.

And may I say…young adult literature, just another reason it rocks :)

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