Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is my most anticipated releases for the second half of 2020. For my list, I will include books that have released in June until the end of the year. Here are my picks:
Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer
I love the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, so I was so excited to see her release another book, especially since this is a contemporary with some magical elements. I enjoy when authors branch out into different genres, so I am excited to see one of my favorite authors tackle my favorite genre.
Instant Karma follows Prudence, a judgmental overachiever, who gains the ability to cast instant karma on those around her. However, Prudence grows frustrated when her powers backfire against her lazy classmate, Quint.
Love and Olives by Jenna Evans Welch
Jenna Evans Welch isn’t my favorite contemporary author, but I absolutely love she describes the settings in her books. Since I won’t be going on vacation this year, I’m going to enjoy living through the main character in this book as she explores Greece.
Love and Olives follows Evie, who receives a postcard from her estranged father to join him in Greece as a documentary is being filmed about his theories on Atlantic, which is a love that they shared before he left.
Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey
I received an ARC of this book, so I won’t have to wait until the September release date to read this one. I haven’t read a book by Tessa Bailey before, but I know that she is a well-loved romance author, so I’m excited to see how I like this one. The plot of this really reminds me of 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne, which I wanted to love, but didn’t really like at all, so hopefully, I have a better experience with this book.
Tools of Engagement follows Bethany Castle, who wants to step outside her design role in her family’s real estate business and flip a house completely on her own. However, her brother who controls the business is not so fond of Bethany’s idea. When a television show hears about their disagreements, they are recruited for a house flipping competition and the only person willing to help Bethany is Wes, a member of her brother’s construction team.
Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao
I tried to read American Panda by Gloria Chao, but I just couldn’t get into the story. However, I always love going back to authors that didn’t work out for me personally the first time around. This book has the fake dating trope, which I do enjoy, so I hope I will have a better experience reading this book than my attempt at American Panda.
Rent a Boyfriend follows Chloe Wang, a college student who rents a fake boyfriend to impress her very traditional Asian parents.
10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon
I had actually already read this book a couple of months ago since I received an ARC. However, I am excited for this book to finally release so I can hear other people’s thoughts on the story. This wasn’t my favorite Sandhya Menon book, but it wasn’t my least favorite either, so I’m wondering how other people will feel about it.
10 Things I Hate About Pinky follows Pinky Kumar as she spends summer at her family’s house on the lake. Pinky’s parents disapprove of Pinky’s causes, but she is determined to save a butterfly sanctuary near the lake. To stay in her parents’ good graces, Pinky enlists the help Samir, a goody two shoes, to pretend to be her boyfriend.
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
I haven’t had the best luck with Christina Lauren books, usually I love the ideas but not the execution, but I was intrigued when I saw their upcoming release on Goodreads. I’m a huge fan of books about Christmas, so this one sounds right up my alley.
In a Holidaze follows Maelyn Jones who is upset that this is the last year she will spend Christmas at her family’s cabin. Then, after an accident, Maelyn must repeat the same day over and over again.
Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston
I’m not typically a fan of books that follow bookish characters or books that center on books. However, I am someone that likes when a book proves me wrong and something about the description of this book compels me to read it.
Bookish and the Beast follows Rosie, who experiences a lot of grief after her mother’s death, especially since her mother’s prized Starfield novel collection was sold. Rosie’s world collides with Vaughn Reins, a rich actor, after he finds himself hiding out in Rosie’s small town following a scandal.
What are your most anticipatedreleases for the second half of the year?
I always read more books during the summer time and June has proved to be no exception. This month, I not only tackled some books from my TBR, but also started picking up some more middle grade again which I really enjoyed. Here’s what I read (book reviews will be linked to book titles):
Starry Eyes is an earlier Jenn Bennett book, where I tend to have some issues with the characters or plot, but I still overall enjoyed this book. Starry Eyes largely revolves around camping, which made it the perfect book to read in the summertime, especially with Jenn Bennett’s excellent descriptions of the outdoors.
Starry Eyes follows ex-best friends Zorie and Lennon, who are recruited to go on a camping trip with sort-of friends who later ditch them. In order to attend a stargazing party, Zorie must trust Lennon to lead her through the wilderness to their destination.
I loved the first book in this series, Aurora Rising, but I had a lot of issues with this installment that echoed many of the issues other readers had with the first book. My biggest issue with this book was how repetitive much of the plot and dialogue was throughout the book, as well as the pacing, which really dragged in the middle.
Aurora Rising follows Tyler’s squad as they try to save the galaxy. However, their plans are interrupted when Kal’s relatives show up and try to get him back, no matter the cost.
I think I would have enjoyed Beach Read a little more if the marketing accurately reflected the book inside. While I expected Beach Read to be a light-hearted summer romance, it is a lot darker than I expected. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think anyone who expects a story similar to what I did will need to take away their expectations to full enjoy this book.
Beach Read follows January Jones, a romance writer, who spends the summer at her recently deceased father’s beach home in order to write her next novel. There, she encounters August, a college rival and literary fiction author, and creates a challenge where they will both write a novel in the other’s preferred genre.
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Along for the Ride is one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books and it’s always fun to revisit this book again in the summer. The characters in this book are so well-developed and I have always related to the main character, Auden, which makes the book even more special for me.
Along for the Ride follows Auden, who spends the summer at her father’s house with his new wife and their baby. There, Auden meets Eli, who helps her experience everything she missed out on in her childhood.
Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey
Tools of Engagement is another average book that I read in June. I received this book as an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley, so my full review won’t be shared until closer to the release date in September. While there were some things in this book that I really enjoyed, like the main character’s growth, there were other’s that I didn’t enjoy, like some of the love interest’s behavior.
Tools of Engagement follows Bethany who steps aways from her family’s real estate business to flip her own house, much to her brother’s dismay. When their argument attracts a television producer, the siblings are featured on a television show and the only person on Bethany’s side is an ex-member of her brother’s crew.
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Smile is the first graphic novel that I really remember seeing from my elementary years, although I never read it. I’ve read a few other graphic novel memoirs, and while this isn’t my favorite of the bunch, it was a quick read with a good message.
Smile follows Raina who needs extensive dental work after an accident just as she starts middle school. Raina’s braces greatly affect her self-confidence, but as she gets older, she learns what is really important.
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
I’ve heard a lot about this book, and since I was getting back into middle grade, I thought that I would pick it up. Front Desk is a great middle grade novel that is extremely relevant and doesn’t shy away from tough topics.
Front Desk follows Mia Tang after her family immigrates to the United States from China. Mia’s parents take a job working as hotel managers for a mean boss and Mia works at the front desk in order to help out her parents. Mia’s life grows even more complicated when parents hide immigrants in the unused hotel rooms and her mother discourages her dream of becoming a writer.
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
I picked up this book because I after reading Front Desk, I wanted to read more middle grade books. This book appeared as a Kindle Daily Deal recently and the plot sounded interesting, so I couldn’t pass it up. Like Front Desk, this book is extremely relevant and doesn’t shy away from covering tough topics, which I enjoyed.
From the Desk of Zoe Washington follows Zoe, an aspiring baker, who receives a letter from her biological father on her twelfth birthday. Zoe secretly corresponds with her father, who is in prison for murder, and discovers that he may be innocent. As a result, Zoe searches for a way to prove her father’s innocence.
Tier ranking posts and Youtube videos have been circulating around for awhile now, so I thought I would give it a shot at ranking all the series that I’ve finished. Tier ranking is where you take a certain category, like series you’ve finished, and rank them into different levels. I first saw tier-ranking books on Hannah at Clockwork Reads channel (see here), although tier-ranking has been popular on various social media sites before this video.
Disclaimer: Protect Your Privacy
Just as a note, I watched Peyton Reads video (see here) where she tier-ranked books by Sarah J. Maas and she gave some advice that I thought was worth sharing. While reading some fine print of tier ranking websites when in the process of creating an account, which makes you connect the website to your Twitter, she saw some questionable permissions, like blocking people that follow you or changing your Twitter settings. This is a little bit of a red flag, as Peyton noted, that they could go into your account and mess with settings completely unrelated to the purpose of the website.
While Peyton made a different Twitter to use to make an account, I just decided to make my own tier-ranking system using a document on my computer. If you want to participate in this trend, but think those permissions are a little fishy, I would recommend opting for the strategy that Peyton Reads used or making your own system using a program on your computer.
With those disclaimers out of the way, let’s move onto the ranking! After I scoured my read list on Goodreads, I discovered that I finished the following series:
What counts as a series?
I used the following criteria to determine whether or not I finished a series:
It can be a “typical” series or a companion series. A typical series may follow the same character or the same group of characters for all of the books in the series. Also, I will count companion series, where the books may follow a different character than in the first book, but also includes characters from the first book. I only counted companion series that were listed as series on Goodreads. In all, I have 26 different series that I will be sorting into my tiers.
It can be an ongoing series. This means, it is a series where I have read all of the current books in the main series. However, additional books may be added later on by the author. For example, the main series in A Court of Thorns and Roses is finished, but several books following different characters will be added on in the future. This means that when this series appears on the list, it only applies to the main trilogy that has currently been released.
It can be a duology. I’m not sure if duologies technically count as series. However, I haven’t read enough duologies to rank them aside from series, so they will be counted in this list.
How will I rank the series?
There are six tiers that I will use to rank the series that I’ve finished. Here’s my criteria for each tier:
All-Time Favorites: I thought about these books for a long time after reading them. I probably recommended these books to everyone I know and was crushed when they didn’t love them as much as I did.
Like, but not Love: These series were enjoyable or well-written, but there is just something that holds me back from making them an all-time favorite.
Fun, While it Lasted: These series may not be the most well written, however, I had a great time reading them. I may not pick up and reread them in the near future, but I will always have fond memories of these books.
Average: I don’t have strong feelings for this series either way. There are probably aspects that I really love about this series and others that I don’t really like (but don’t hate) either.
Why?: Maybe I liked the first book in this series, but it went downhill from there. As I continued this series, I kept asking, “Why?” in my head after certain plot points.
Did I Really Read This?: This is a series that I read. Whether it was a long time ago or it just didn’t capture my attention, there is little that I remember about this series outside the synopsis.
The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg (Fun While It Lasted)
I read The Lonely Hearts Club way back in high school. I read the first book in this series so many times that the spine looked dreadful and I could practically recite several sections. That being said, the second book was only okay. While I enjoyed reading about the same characters, it just wasn’t the same experience as the first book. Overall the books in this series were fun, especially for when I was in high school.
The Lonely Hearts Club follows Penny Lane Bloom who creates a pact with a few other girls in her grade to not date after her boyfriend cheats on her.
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (Average)
There are so many books in this series and many of them are average. While I love The Princess Diaries movies, the book don’t have the same charm. These books were easy to read back then, but I found some of the books unnecessary. Also, the last book which was released years after the original, was only okay.
The Princess Diaries follows Mia Thermopolis, a geeky girl who discovers that she is the heir to Genovia.
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (Did I Really Read This?)
I read this duology WAY back in high school. While I remember a few minor details, I can’t remember much of the story besides what is on the synopsis. I remember that these books were okay, but obviously that wasn’t enough for me to remember them.
13 Little Blue Envelopes follows Ginny who follows envelopes placed around Europe by her aunt who recently passed away.
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski (All-Time Favorites)
I was so invested in this series when I read it near the beginning of my book blog. I wasn’t a huge fan of fantasy books at the time, so it was a big deal that I committed to this series and finished. To this day, I think the final book, The Winner’s Crime has some of the best war strategy that I’ve seen included in a young adult series.
The Winner’s Curse follows Kestrel, the daughter of a general, who is given two options: marry or join the army. Kestrel’s musical aspirations strikes a bond between her and a slave who plans to overthrow Kestrel’s father.
Divergent by Veronica Roth (Why?)
I actually loved the first Divergent book when I read it shortly after I finished The Hunger Games. The series, however, went downhill quickly for me in the second book. Insurgent was slow and confusing for me. And don’t even get me started on Allegiant. I found myself constantly asking, “Why?” to everything that was happening in the second and third books because they made no sense to me.
Divergent follows Tris Prior who must leave her family and choose one of the five factions in her world, each that abides by a different ideology.
Fraternize by Rachel Van Dyken (Did I Really Read This?)
This is a two book companion series that I picked up as a Kindle Daily deal. I could tell you that it centered around cheerleaders and football players but not much else. I do remember that I found these books only to be average.
Fraternize, the first book in the series, follows Emerson who finally made a professional cheerleading squad and is the only plus-size cheerleader on the team.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (Fun While it Lasted)
The Kiss Quotient is a companion series by Helen Hoang. For me, the first book was only average, but I really enjoyed the second book, The Bride Test. These books are definitely fun contemporary adult books, so it fits best in the fun while it lasted tier.
The Kiss Quotient was pitched as a gender-swapped Pretty Woman and also features a main character with autism. There is also a character with autism in The Bride Test and both are extremely well done as this is an own voices story.
Letters to the List by Brigid Kemmerer (Like, but not Love)
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Letters to the Lost because I usually steer clear of drama-heavy contemporaries. I especially loved the second book in this companion series, More Than We Can Tell, which has Rev who is an incredibly well fleshed out character. While I do like this series, it is not one of my all-time favorites.
Letters to the Lost follows Juliet after someone responds to a letter that she left at her mother’s grace.
Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West (Why?)
I actually loved Love, Life, and the List… I just wish it was a stand alone rather than the first book in a contemporary series. I use series loosely with the books in “series” because they have less and less of a connection as the series goes on and I think each book would have been much stronger as a stand alone. This goes in the “Why?” tier because “Why are we forcing so many contemporary companion novels in young adult and adult fiction?”
While each book in this companion series has a vastly different plot, Love, Life, and the List follows Abby who creates a list of experiences that she wants to have in order to give her art more heart along with her best friend, Cooper, who she not-so-secretly loves.
Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer (Why?)
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Like, but not Love)
When I read Six of Crows, I really enjoyed it. The books in this duology have many twists and turns as well as my favorite trope, a ragtag teams of sort of heroes. While I liked this book, I can’t say that I became as invested in it as some of my all-time favorites.
Six of Crows follows a group of six outcasts who try to pull off a large heist in a fantasy world.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (Average)
The When Dimple Met Rishi series has been hit or miss for me. I really liked There’s something About Sweetie, but I found When Dimple Met Rishi average, and wasn’t as into 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. While I like the concepts of Sandhya Menon’s books, the execution isn’t always there for me.
When Dimple Met Rishi companions follows three Indian-American teens either in the same friend group or family. When Dimple Met Rishi follows Dimple who goes to a coding camp where she meets Rishi, who her parents want her to marry. There’s Something About Sweetie follows Sweetie, an athletic girl who faces scrutiny from her mother because she is plus-size. 10 Things I Hate About Pinky follows Pinky, an outspoken teenager who tries to please her parents by fake-dating a guy that she can’t stand.
The Folk of the Air by Holly Black (All-Time Favorites)
This is a series that I find myself constantly recommending to other people. The writing style in this book is amazing and each time I read a book in this series, I couldn’t put it down. If you like faeries, this is definitely a series that you need to check out.
The Folk of the Air series follows Jude, a human forced to live in a world of faeries after her parents are murdered. Although Jude despises the faeries, and the power that they hold over her, she will do anything to gain power in their courts.
Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg (Average)
Shelby Holmes is a middle grade mystery series. While both books are solid in terms of writing style and character development, sometimes the mystery aspect of the stories frustrated me, for either being too repetitive or being too difficult to solve based on the information given.
Shelby Holmes follows John Watson after her moves into a new neighborhood where he befriends aspiring sleuth Shelby Holmes and they solve mysteries together.
Love & Gelato (Average)
Like with many of the other series in this round, the Love & Gelato companion series is average. While I love the descriptions of scenery in these books, I’m always looking for a little more in terms of plot. Additionally, I don’t think these books even need to be a companion series.
Love & Gelato and Love & Luck follow two different girls (one who goes to Italy, the other to Ireland) and discover more about their families and themselves.
The Selection by Kiera Cass (Fun While It Lasted)
The Selection seems to be one of those series that a lot of people admit isn’t technically well-written, but it is still very fun to read. As someone who is a fan of the Bachelor franchise, this book was basically made for me because it has all of the ridiculous drama of the show with a loose dystopian element.
The Selection follows America Singer, a poor girl who is selected to compete for the prince’s heart. This book is currently in development to become a Netflix series.
Hundred Oaks by Miranda Kenneally (Average)
The Hundred Oaks series is hit-or-miss for me. While there are some books in this series that I absolutely love and other that I don’t like at all. As a result, that balances out to be average. Overall, these books are apart of fun and easy companion series to read.
The Hundred Oaks series follows students who live in the Hundred Oaks area, often times involved with a competitive sport. For example, Catching Jordan follows Jordan, the female quarterback for her school’s football team who must compete for her spot when a male quarterback moves into town.
The Superlatives by Jennifer Echols (Why?)
I bought The Superlatives series on a whim at Half Prince books because you could get the whole companion series for around $6. Unfortunately for me, these books were not my cup of tea, with the exception of the last book, Most Likely to Succeed, which was only average for me. Overall, this book series is riddled with unlikeable characters doing many, many unlikeable things. That is why it ended in my “Why?” category–many times while reading these books, I was asking myself that question about what was going on.
The Superlatives follows the dramatic aftermath when school superlatives are released for the senior class at a high school.
A Court of Thorns and Roses (All-Time Favorites)
If I read these books again, I’m not sure if I would love them as much as the first time around because I would probably look at them a little more critically. That being said, when I read this series for the first time, I was completely invested even in the most ridiculous parts (which there are many). I have a lot of nostalgia for this series which is why it made it’s way to to my all-time favorites.
A Court of Thorns and Roses follows Feyre Archeron, who kills a faerie disguised as a wolf. She is forced to go live in the faerie kingdom with the faerie’s master where dark secrets threaten to emerge.
Lewis Creek by Michelle Smith (Did I Really Read This?)
The Hunger Games (All-Time Favorites)
For The Hunger Games, I will just be referring to the original trilogy. Of course, this series is an all-time favorite. I don’t think I ever have been or will be invested in a trilogy like I was invested in The Hunger Games. Some people loved Twilight, some people loved Harry Potter, but I was always a Hunger Games girl. Was the last book not that great? Yes. But will I always have nostalgia for this series? Absolutely.
The Hunger Games follows Katniss Everdeen who volunteers to take her sister’s place in a televised fight-to-the-death.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (Like, but not Love)
I love To All the Boy I’ve Loved Before, but I didn’t get an invested in this series as I did my all-time favorites. However, I did like this book enough to visit the sandwich shop mentioned in the third book when I went on vacation to Williamsburg a few years ago!
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before follows Lara Jean, who writes a love letter for each boy she has a crush on, after the letters are mailed out.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Fun While it Lasted)
The Anna and the French Kiss companion series is definitely a fun while it lasted series. Looking back, a lot of people see how problematic some of these stories were. However, when I was the same age as the characters in these books, I was completely hooked on this series, specifically with Lola and the Boy Next Door.
Anna and the French Kiss, the first book in this companion series, follows Anna who is shipped off to a boarding school in France.
Summer by Jenny Han (Fun While It Lasted)
The Summer trilogy is another fun while it lasted series. This series reads like a CW show. It has ridiculous drama and all the tropes that you hoped for at the time it was released. That being said, it’s a fun and easy series to speed through during summertime.
The Summer series by Jenny Han follows Belly during her summers at a beach house where she finds herself caught in a love triangle between two brothers that she grew up with.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (All-Time Favorites)
Like with the other series in my all-time favorites, I couldn’t stop thinking about this series after I read it and I recommended it everyone that I knew. I still love the characters in this series and I know if I read these books again, I would love them just as much.
The Lunar Chronicles follows Cinder, who is volunteered by her stepmother to take part in trials to solve a deadly plague. However, when Cinder starts to interact with the country’s prince, she uncovers some dark secrets about her past.
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins (Why?)
It is so sad for me to place Rebel Belle in this category. But, I found myself asking “Why?” to a lot of the story after the first book. The first book in this series was strong for me, but it quickly went downhill. The last book was the worst, containing little plot, and the plot it did was riddled with tropes and plot twists that I don’t like.
Rebel Belle follows Harper, a Southern belle, who accidentally becomes a Paladin and must protect her worst enemy.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is a freebie to celebrate Top Ten Tuesday’s ten year anniversary! I’ve been doing Top Ten Tuesday since I started my own blog, so it is cool to celebrate something that I’ve been with for so long.
For my post, I decided to list some of my favorite books from the past ten years. These dates do not necessarily reflect when the book was published, but when I read that particular book. Here are my choices:
2011: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
I read Lola and the Boy Next Door multiple times a year whenever I was in high school. I loved this book so much that I was so upset when I misplaced it that I went out and bought another copy, which I’ve never done before. I think one of the reasons that I loved this book was because of Cricket, the love interest. At the time in YA, very moody and brooding bad boys were the most prominent love interests, and Cricket is the complete opposite of that type of character.
2012: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Bittersweet was a very timely book for me, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. At the time, I was really getting into hockey (Let’s go Pens!), so it was fun to read about a sport that I was growing to love from an author that I already loved. This book also featured cupcake baking which was huge at the time, and since I avidly watched DC Cupcakes, that aspect of the story was also right up my alley.
2013: Re-Reads of Sarah Dessen
When I can’t remember a particular book that stood out to me at the end of my high school career, I can remember a particular author. I started reading Sarah Dessen’s books in middle school, but every year, I checked out each one of her books again. This is the year when I graduated high school and headed off for college, which made The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (which was released in 2013) a very relevant read to me. In fact, many of Sarah Dessen’s books feature girls during the summer after high school.
2014: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
When I read To All the Boys I Loved Before, I didn’t realize how big it would become. I loved Lara Jean’s character because, at the time, dystopian/fantasy books with the “strong female character trope” dominated the YA market, and while I liked those characters, I couldn’t necessarily relate to them. Meanwhile, Lara Jean was more girly and interested in the same activities as me. Little did I know back then, but I would eventually see this book turned to a movie and do a book merchandise haul for this series.
2015: Re-Reads of Sarah Dessen
In 2015, I was in the middle of college and so focused on school that I did very little reading for fun. Little did I know at the end of this year, I would recommit to reading and make my book blog on WordPress, and at the beginning of 2016, I would start posting on it. During this time, when I was reading for fun, I was mostly re-reading some of my favorite books from high school.
2016: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
This year was a great reading year for me. I only expected to read around 25 books, which I considered a stretch, but I ended up reading 66 books. One of my favorite books from this year was The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson. I remember actually going to Target and buying this book, and then going straight home to read it. I hadn’t done this in a long time and it felt great to be reading books for fun more consistently again.
2017: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
This year was a huge year for me. In 2017, I graduated college and I read the most books that I had ever read in a year (107 books!). This is the year I really hit blogging hard and discovered a lot of new books that I really enjoyed. I even branched out and tried some genres that I typically didn’t read, like fantasy, which led me to the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. A Court of Mist and Fury is a huge book, but I really enjoyed it from start to finish. If you asked Brittany in 2013 if she ever thought she would read a book like this, she would probably say, “No.” I’m glad that in the past ten years, I have expanded my reading outside of contemporary, even though that still is my favorite genre.
2018: Love, List, and the List by Kasie West
I had read a few Kasie West books in years before this, but I absolutely loved Love, Life, and the List and it still remains one of my favorite books by this author. I don’t usually sit and finish a book in one sitting anymore, but I didn’t put this one down until I finished it.
2019: The Wicked King by Holly Black
Another fantasy book! The Wicked King is one of the most solid sequels that I have ever read. I remember as I read this that I appreciated Holly Black’s writing style so much, which isn’t something that I’ve necessarily focused on in the past. I remember just clicking on words in my Kindle to read the definitions because she picked such strong, descriptive words and I just wanted to know everything about the way she phrased certain sentences.
2020: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
This year isn’t over yet, but one of my five star reads of the year so far is The Rest of the Story. I bought this book when it was released, but I never got around to it. Recently, I decided to pick it up and I wasn’t disappointed. It has so many of the elements that I enjoyed from books I read by this author in high school, which I hadn’t really seen in Dessen’s last few books. I related to the main character Saylor and loved the characters in this book so much that I didn’t want it to end.
What are some of your favorite books that you’ve read over the past ten years?
Summer is now in full swing, so it is the perfect time to complete the summer book tag! I could not find the creator of this tag, but if you know who created it, please leave their blog in the comments so I can credit them. Here are my answers:
What book cover makes you think of summer?
How could this book cover not make me think of summer? The title has beach in all capital letters with two people reading books on beach towels. The cover is also bright yellow which makes me think of the sun. While this cover isn’t exactly accurate with what lies in the book, it is definitely reminiscent of the summertime.
What book brightened your day?
I read through Starry Eyes in one day. If you are looking for a summer book that isn’t beach, then this one will be perfect for you! This book takes place in state parks of California and made me want to go camping this summer.
Find a book with yellow on the cover.
This book takes place in the wintertime, but also in Hawaii, so it still seems very summery to me. It also has a very yellow background with a lot of different flowers on the front which remind me of the summertime.
What is your favorite summer beach read?
Sarah Dessen’s books have been a summer staple of mine since high school. Colby Beach is mentioned throughout her books, but this is one of the few that primarily takes place there. I feel like this prompt was leaning towards what books do you read at the beach, but for me, it makes me think of books that take place on a beach. Reading this book makes me want to go to the beach, even if most of the book doesn’t take place directly on the water.
What action book had you running for the ice cream man?
Aurora Rising was a slow-moving book for many people, but I was hooked the entire time. I don’t typically read books in this genre, but there were so many twists and turns that I couldn’t stop reading. The authors of this book definitely don’t do things just to please the audience and I was constantly surprised at what happened next.
Sunburn! What book has a bad/painful ending?
This book has both a bad and painful ending. The characters in this book are in constant jeopardy and after the first book, you know these authors aren’t going to make it easy for them or the readers which I like. On the other hand, this book lands on a major cliff hanger which really annoyed me. Even though it is part of a series, this book didn’t really have much going on until the very end and it feels like I got cheated as a reader because I still think books in a series should have their own definite end.
What book gave you a happy feeling when it ended?
I think what made me happy about this book was the character growth in the main character, Bethany. She constantly felt pressure to be perfect and meet everyone else’s expectations, but in the end, she started to make choices based on what she wanted. I found myself very similar to Bethany in that regard, so relating to her story put a smile on m6 face.
What book cover reminds you of a sunset?
This book literally has every color of the perfect sunset. It also is about a relationship and how their high school years are winding down which makes me thinking of the sun setting on that chapter of their lives.
What book series do you hope to read this summer?
This is the first book in a new series by Kiera Cass. I bought this book when it was released, but haven’t read it yet. I am trying to get caught up on all the Kindle books that I have bought recently, so I hope to knock this one of the list this summer
What books do you hope to read by the end of the summer?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is books on my summer TBR. Here are my choices:
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Beach Read literally sounds like the perfect summer book, and after hearing some great reviews, I’m extremely interested in picking up this book ASAP. Since I probably won’t be going to the beach this summer, maybe I can vicariously live through the characters in this book.
Beach Read follows Augustus Everett, a literary author, and January Andrews, a romance author, after they meet at their neighboring beach houses. To get out of their writing slumps, Augustus decides to write a romance book and January decides to write a literary book, but they will need the other to show them the ropes.
Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Second Chance Summer is a book that I’ve been meaning to read for years, but haven’t read yet. I’m crossing my fingers that this will be the summer that I actually read it. The only thing holding me back is that I know this book will be sad and I am not a huge fan of sad books.
Second Chance Summer follows Taylor who spends the summer at her family’s lake house after her father is diagnosed with cancer.
Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey
Tools of Engagement doesn’t release until September, but I received on ARC of this book on NetGalley, so I plan to read it in the summer before the release date. Almost everyone on my street is doing some sort of home improvement during this quarantine summer, so it seems very relevant to read now.
Tools of Engagement follows Bethany Castle who wants to step outside her design role in her family’s real estate business. However, her brother is reluctant to let Bethany flip her own house. When a television show hears about their feud, the siblings face off in a house flipping competition and the only person on Bethany’s side is Wes, a member of her brother’s construction crew.
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
I’ve been wanting to read more middle grade and I’ve been interested in this book since I saw the synopsis. Front Desk seems like a interesting story that will tackle difficult topics, which I’m always interested reading in a middle grade novel.
Front Desk follows Mia Tang, who manages the front desk at the hotel where she lives and her parents work. Mia’s parents also hide immigrants at the motel and will be in big trouble if they get caught. Meanwhile, Mia struggles with her dream of being a writer after her parents doubt her dream since English is not her first language.
Time of Our Lives by Emily Wibberely and Austin Siegemund-Brocka
I have become a huge fan of this author duo after reading their other two books this year. While the synopses of their books don’t usually grab my attention, I am always sucked into the story and I love the emotional impact that all of their stories have.
Time of Our Lives follows Juniper and Fitz who meet on a college tour, but have very different lives. Juniper wants to go far away from her huge family while Fitz wants to stay close to home to help his mother who has early on-set Alzheimer’s.
Jessica Darling’s It List #3 by Megan McCafferty
I recently finished the second Jessica Darling’s It List book, which makes me want to read the third book in the series. Since this does take place during the school year, I can imagine reading this book closer to August.
In each Jessica Darling book, Jessica receives a list from her older sister Bethany to help her navigate the drama of middle school, however, the list doesn’t typically go according to plan. In this installment, Jessica stresses out over a crushability test at school and the upcoming dance.
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
I’ve actually already read Along for the Ride, but recently, I’ve been rereading my favorite Sarah Dessen books. Along for the Ride is such a fun summer book, so it would be perfect to read in the upcoming months.
Along for the Ride follows Auden after she visits her father who recently remarried and had Auden’s half-sister with his new wife. In the beach town where they live, Auden meets a group of longtime friends who introduce her to many activities she missed growing up since her mother treated her like a mini-adult.
Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
I have loved the books by Jenn Bennett that I’ve read recently, but I still haven’t picked up Starry Eyes. This book sounds like a good summer read because it has to do with camping.
Starry Eyes follows Zorie and Lennon, who used to date, after they get lost together on a group camping trip.
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
This is another book on my list that I have read before, but would like to read again this summer. My sister and I were talking about this book recently, which made me interested in reading it again.
Twenty Boy Summer follows Anna when she goes on vacation with her best friend Frankie after Frankie’s brother passed away unexpectedly. Frankie decides that both of the girls need to date a new guy every day for the best summer ever, but Anna is still dealing with the death of Frankie’s brother, who she secretly dated before he died.
During my month-long blogging marathon back in 2020, I made a list of 20 books that I hoped to read in 2020 (check out that list here). Usually, I find that these lists aren’t too accurate regarding my reading the next year. However, I put a lot of thought into my list last December and created a list of books that I had been meaning to read for awhile and others that I was extremely excited to read once they were released this year.
Here’s my original list of 20 books:
Looking at this list, there were a few changes that needed to be made based on release dates.
For Sarah J. Maas, my original choice was the next book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, however, that book was pushed back to 2021 because of her first adult fantasy release. I’m not interested in reading her adult fantasy book, House of Earth and Blood, so I decided to substitute this with another sequel I was excited to read, Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
For Morgan Matson, there is a book listed on Goodreads to release this year, but no information has been released since I discovered it in December. As a result, I am changing this book to another Morgan Matson book that I’ve been wanting to read for year, Second Chance Summer.
The Heart Principle has also been pushed back to 2021, so I will be substituting this with another adult romance. I was recently approved for In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren on NetGalley. Since I do plan to read this by the end of the year, I thought it would be a good substitution on my list.
So far, I have read 8 out of 20 books. That is almost half, which is perfect, because we are about halfway through the year. I have plenty of time to read the remaining books, many of which I have already purchased.
This year, most of the books that I have read were average (3 stars) to me. However, there were a couple books that I had high expectations for that just fell flat.
Moment of Truth by Kasie West
I was a little nervous going into Moment of Truth by Kasie West. It is the third book in the Love, Life, and the List series, which steadily went down hill with the second book. Overall, this book just wasn’t well-executed. The pacing was all over the place as was much of the plot. This book probably could have been more successful as a standalone, as all of the aspects that made a companion to the first two books were very loose and many times completely unnecessary.
Moment of Truth follows Hadley, an overachieving swimmer who is determined to figure out the identity of a masked classmate after the person interrupts an important swim meet.
The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory
I really loved The Proposal by this author, which I read the year before, so I was very excited to read this book in the companion series. Like with Moment of Truth, this book just wasn’t well executed with a very repetitive plot and very inconsistent characters.
The Wedding Party follows enemies Maddie and Theo after they are both selected for a mutual friend’s wedding party.
While most of my year has been average, there are a few books that have really stuck out to me. I can see myself rereading these books in the future and recommending them to other readers.
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
I put off reading this book for awhile because I just haven’t gotten as into Sarah Dessen’s most recent releases as I loved her older books, like Just Listen or Along for the Ride. However, I quickly connected with the main character in this novel which really emotionally invested me in this story. This book is more reminiscent of her older works, like The Truth About Forever, without seeming like it was copied and pasted, like with Saint Anything (even though I do still enjoy that book).
The Rest of the Story follows Emma Saylor who reconnects with the family of her mother, who passed away when she was younger, at the lake where they live.
Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett
I read Alex, Approximately a long time ago, but never bought into the hype surrounding this contemporary author. However, as I read more and more of her books, she has definitely become an auto-buy author for me. Every novel that Jenn Bennett releases, her writing constantly improves. Chasing Lucky was no exception and I especially enjoyed her descriptions of the setting in this novel.
Chasing Lucky follows Josie, who returns to the town where she lived as a child and runs into an ex-best friend who just might turn out to be more.
What are my full thoughts on these books?
Books that I Have Read (if a book has a review, there will be a link to the review on the book’s title):
t’s that time of year again… time for the mid-year book freak out tag! I’m actually not freaking out that much this year since I have already completed my book goal for 2020. However, I love completing this tag every year, so here are my answers (any book with a review will have the review linked to the book’s title):
Best Book I’ve Read so far in 2020
One of my first five star reads of the year was Always Never Yours Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Brocka. I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did because I usually don’t enjoy books centered on acting or school plays. However, I was hooked on this book from start to finish. I liked how the main character was very outgoing, which I don’t see much of in YA contemporary and was surprised how emotional some moments in the book were.
Best Sequel that I Have Read So Far
I haven’t read too many sequels in 2020, and the ones that I have read were only average for me.
New Release I Haven’t Read Yet, but Want to
I bought Time of Our Lives by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Brocka when it was released, but haven’t read it yet. I love this author duo so I am excited to finally read this one. Time of Our Lives follows two students who meet on a college tour, one who wants to escape her large family and the other who wants to stay close to home to help his mother with early on-set Alzheimer’s.
Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of 2020
Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer is one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I loved the Lunar Chronicles and I am excited to see this author branch out into a new genre. In this book, the overachieving main character gets the ability to cast instant karma on those around her. However, when she tries to use her newfound powers on a slacker in her class, it backfires.
My biggest disappointment hands down was Moment of Truth by Kasie West. I typically love the contemporary books by this author, but this book missed the mark quite a few times. Nothing in this book was fully developed and the pacing was completely off. As a result, nothing about this book was particularly satisfying to read. In fact, this book inspired me to tier rank books by Kasie West (see my post here) after two disappointing reads by this author in a row.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen. I put this off for awhile because I haven’t been extremely impressed with some of Dessen’s recent works. However, I became quickly invested in Emma Saylor’s story and didn’t want this book to end. This book really reminded me of her all-time classic books, like The Truth About Forever, which I really enjoyed.
Favorite New Author
This author isn’t new to me, but is a new favorite author. Over the years, I have occasionally picked up a book by Jenn Bennett. Initially, I didn’t get the hype over this author because my reading experience with Alex, Approximately was only average. Since then, and especially this year after reading Chasing Lucky, she is a new favorite contemporary author that I can’t wait to read more of in the future. I really enjoy her writing style, particularly her descriptions of different places.
Newest Fictional Crush
I don’t really have a fictional crush, but one character that I appreciated more after seeing them in a relationship was Kal from Aurora Burning. A lot of people really shipped Kal and Aurora after the first book, but I didn’t really get the hype. After learning more about him in Aurora Burning, I have a greater appreciation for his character. Although I am still not crazy about “the pull,” in this book and others with similar concepts, I really appreciate how much he cared about Aurora and the person in general that he chose to be despite his upbringing,
Newest Favorite Character
One character that I really enjoyed was Bethany’s character in Tools of Engagement (to be released in September). Bethany’s character—pretty, put together, and “perfect”—is often villainized in other romance type books. However, I liked that the author explored this character a little bit deeper to find out why she acted that way. I really related to how Bethany felt like people expected her to be put together and perfect all the time and how hard it is to change your way of thinking from that, which made me enjoy this book for a separate reason from the romance (which was okay, but not my favorite).
Book that Made You Cry
I don’t like to do repeats, but I definitely cried when I read The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen. I related a lot to the main character, Emma Saylor, in many different ways so it made her story that more emotional for me.
Book that Made You Happy
Four Days of You and Me by Miranda Kenneally made me happy. This was her first book outside of the Hundred Oaks series (see my ranking of the books in the Hundred Oaks series here), but like the books in that series, it was a fun, quick, and easy read.
Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation You Saw this Year
The only new book to movie adaptation that I watched was P.S. I Still Like You. I actually wasn’t a huge fan of this adaptation, especially compared to the first move. I didn’t like many of the changes from the book, thought the pacing was weird, and there wasn’t enough John Ambrose!
Favorite Review You’ve Written This Year
I liked my review of Moment of Truth because I felt like I was able to accurately articulate my frustrations towards this book. Plus, this review did spark a few conversations in the comments and I really enjoyed interacting with other people in the book community.
Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year
I am going to use Aurora Burning again for this one. I absolutely love the artwork featured on the covers of this series and this book is no exception. I think the artwork always well reflects the characters, and as I mentioned earlier, Kal has really grown on me so I don’t mind seeing him on the cover.
Books I Need to Read by the End of This Year
I started A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, but I haven’t finished it yet. I definitely need to finish this book by the end of the year because I know if I drag out reading a book, then I typically won’t finish it.
What are your favorite books of the year so far? What are your most anticipated reads for the end of the year?
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is books I’ve added to my TBR… and forgotten why.
How to Speak Boy by by Tiana Smith
I remember seeing the cover for this book, but I can’t remember anything about the description that made me add it to my TBR. According to Goodreads, this book follows Quinn and Grayson, rivals on the debate team who somehow end up exchanging note anonymously. Looking at this description, I can now see why I added to my TBR in the first place: it contains a lot of tropes that I typically enjoy. Now that I remember why this book is on my TBR, I might have to check it out in the future!
No Judgements by Meg Cabot
I know that this is an adult book by Meg Cabot, but since I am not a huge fan of her adult books, I am surprised to see this one on my list. No Judgements takes place on a small island after a huge storm who tries to rescue pet on the island and somehow falls in love. Meg Cabot’s adult books tend to be extremely overdramatic which isn’t my favorite and I can just tell from the description that this character seems like many of the other characters that I didn’t enjoy from other adult novels that I’ve read by her.
Fan the Flame by Anna Priemaza
Once again, I remember the cover, but not what the book is about. Fan tells me this is probably about a fandom, which I don’t typically like to read in books, so I’m not sure why I would have added this to my TBR. After researching this book again, like I expected, it is about a fandom. This book follows Lainey who wants to expose someone’s hate rants that she caught on camera at a convention. This seems to have a lot of tropes that I probably wouldn’t enjoy, so I’m probably going to take it off of my TBR.
Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill
With some of the titles above, at least the names sounded familiar. Nothing about this book sounds familiar to me, so I am unsure how it landed on my Goodreads TBR. This looks like it is a historical romance set in American after Pearl Harbor when a couple is split up after the boy, who is a Japanese immigrant, is forced into an internment camp. Reading the description, this book does sound a little bit familiar and a whole lot interesting. I rarely read historical fiction, but if I am in the mood to read historical fiction, then this sounds like a good one to pick up.
Comics Will Break You Heartby Faith Erin Hicks
Just like with the fandom book above, books about comics aren’t particularly interesting to me, so I’m not sure why I added this one to my TBR. This book follows Miriam, a girl who is poor because her grandfather gave away the rights to a popular comic that he helped create. Tensions rise when the grandson of the man who took control of the comics comes to town and Miriam starts to like him. Even though I love a good enemies-to-lovers romance, I just get the vibes that this will be very overdramatic and and go towards younger YA, which tends not to be my favorite. While I am sure someone would enjoy this book if they picked it up, I can’t personally see myself picking it up in the future.
That’s Not What I Heardby Stephanie Kate Strohm
On this list, I can vaguely remember the plot of this book, which makes me question why I added it to my TBR. This book is all about rumors spiraling out of control after a couple allegedly breaks up. This definitely seems to lean towards younger YA with a lot of the ridiculous drama that goes on at that time combined with an overflow of misunderstandings. This is a book that I could see being appreciated by the target audience, but as someone who is much older, it might get really annoying. I just can’t see myself picking this book up in the future.
Now a Major Motion Pictureby Cori McCarthy
From the title, I can guess this has to do with a movie. Like with some other books on this list, I don’t typically like when something like this (in this case, movies) are the focus of a book, so it’s kind of on me to be confused why I put this on my TBR. This book follows a girl who goes to Ireland to see her grandmother’s books turn into a movie adaptation. Even though I’m not a fan of books about movies, I do really love books about Ireland and this does sound interesting to me. Maybe I will have to pick this up in the future!
Honor Among Thievesby Rachel CaineandAnn Aguirre
This sounds like it is in the fantasy or sci-fi realm, which I don’t typically read, so I’m excited to read the synopsis again to see what motivated me to add it to my TBR. This book follows Zara who joins a team created by aliens set to explore the universe. Out of all the books on this list, I literally have to no idea why I added this book to my TBR (at the time). This sounds nothing like I was reading when I added this to my TBR. Now that I’ve read Aurora Rising, which contains aliens and exploring the galaxy, and enjoyed it, this does sound a little more interesting. Still, I have no idea how this ended up on my TBR in the first place.
A Taxonomy of Loveby Rachael Allen
I have read another book by this author, so that could be why I added this book to my TBR. However, I don’t remember anything about the synopsis. This book follows two friends who could potentially fall in love as they get older.
What books have you added to your TBR and forgotten why?
10 Things I Hate About Pinky by Sandhya Menon follows two side-characters from the When Dimple Met Rishi companion series, Priyanka “Pinky” Kumar, an outspoken and rebellious teenager girl, and Samir Jha, a conservative and homeschooled boy. After her parents wrongly accuse her of a fire at their summer home, Pinky wants to prove to her parents that she is responsible and can make good choices. When Pinky discovers that Samir’s summer internship fell through, she offers him a room at the house and a future internship with her lawyer mother if he pretends to date her.
Sandhya Menon’s books have been all over the board for me. When Dimple Met Rishi was an average read for me, I loved There’s Something About Sweetie, but really did not care for From Twinkle, With Love (which is not part of the companion series). For me, 10 Things I Hate About Pinky was a mix of all the elements that readers have seen in Sandhya Menon’s books. As a result, there were some aspects of this book that I really enjoyed, but others that I didn’t enjoy as much.
The main character, Pinky, reminds me a lot of Twinkle from From Twinkle, With Love. Like Twinkle, Pinky is firm in her beliefs and will fight for what she wants. However, like Twinkle, I didn’t really mesh with Pinky’s character as she quickly jumps to conclusions and often starts arguments just to start arguments. While I appreciate that the author gave Pinky characteristics that made her act like an actual teenager, Pinky’s constant outbursts caused many situations and conversations to happen repeatedly throughout the book, which irritated me as a reader. That being said, Pinky’s personality makes this book come across as younger YA to me and I think readers in the target age range for this book would relate more to Pinky than I did while reading.
As for Pinky’s love interest, Samir, I liked him but found him to be too similar to Sandhya Menon’s other male leads. I think Sandhya Menon does a great job of differentiating her female leads by giving them their own dreams and aspirations, but often times, the male characters end up acting very similar, even if they don’t start that way. From the other books in this companion series, I always saw Samir as a little more awkward and not as traditionally charming. In this book, I found that he acted a lot like how I remembered Rishi in When Dimple Met Rishi. Samir is very confident and easily navigates Pinky’s complicated family relationships. In this book, it is mentioned quite a few times about how muscular and preppy he is, however, I never got that impression in earlier books. While I did appreciate Samir’s backstory and how that affected his life, the rest of his character seemed to blur with Menon’s other male leads.
As for the story itself, there were also some aspects that I enjoyed and some aspects that I didn’t enjoy. My favorite aspect of this book was the relationship between Pinky and her mom. While I do think there conflict was resolved too quickly at the end of the book (and I spotted the resolution from a mile away), their relationship was so authentic and I think many people will relate to their relationship.
Like I mentioned above, there were some conflicts in this novel that were too quickly resolved for my liking. Something explosive would happen at the end of a chapter, just to be resolved with a quick apology on the next few pages. This happened in multiple plots in the story from Pinky and Samir’s relationship, several instances with Dolly’s cousin, and the efforts to save the butterfly garden.
While I did appreciate the family relationships showcased in this book, there were some overall problems with pacing and character consistencies that held me back from fully enjoying this read. I found myself putting down this book and taking long breaks before picking it up and again, which means that this book didn’t fully captivate me. That being said, I still plan to check out more books by this author (I’ve recently added some of her to-be-released books on my Goodreads), but this book personally wasn’t my favorite. I give 10 Things I Hate About Pinky 2.5 out of 5 stars.