Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List

(The above image was taken and altered by me via Canva. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.)

Hello Readers!

It’s September, and that means that it is finally Fall! Fall is truly my favorite season. Fall, to me, means sweater weather, beautiful fall foliage, and my favorite holiday – Halloween. It also means that with the cooler weather setting in, I can snuggle up under a warm blanket and a good book.

Now, I always have a TON of books on my TBR list. But the books on this list, are the ones I’m most excited to read. The books I’m going to try my VERY hardest to read.

‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King –  Pet Cemetery was the first horror movie I really wanted. I was young, probably too young to really be watching it, but I watched it nonetheless. I remember being both terrified and entranced by it. I loved the movie, and I went on to watch and love many of his Stephen King’s movies.  What I haven’t done though is read his books. I’ve only read Carrie. So I decided that I should read more Stephen King. It would be good for my horror-loving heart. I decided that since I read Carrie – which was his first published book – that I should read in order. ‘Salem’s Lot is his second published novel.

The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes – I came across this book when my coworker received an ARC of this book. I hadn’t heard of it, and I really knew nothing about it. But that cover just pulled me in. I looked it up on GoodReads, and it sounded like a total me book. Ever since, I’ve been wanting to read this one. I’m going to make it a priority.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater – It’s Maggie’s new book … do I really need to say more?!

The Possible by Tara Altebrando – One of the first book signings I went to was for the book Dreamland Social Club, a book set in one of my favorite places: Coney Island. This book was written by an author, at the time, I hadn’t heard of – Tara Altebrando. I read … no wait, I devoured this book. Everything I want in a book was found within Dreamland Social Club’s pages. It’s a book I’ve read many, but this is the one that has stuck with me until this very day. I have loved every one of her books since, and I’m certain that I will love this one too.

Warcross by Marie Lu – Admittedly, this does NOT sound like a Nicole kind of book. But I’m very curious about it, and VERY, VERY excited about it. And that cover!

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken – I’m a rather new Middle Grade reader. But when one of your favorite author publishes her first MG novel, you read it!

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo – I’m shocked that this is on the list. I didn’t think I’d be interested in this one. But then I saw Wonder Woman, and I became obsessed. This was soon added to my list.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli – I haven’t read Becky Albertalli’s debut Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. And there’s a reason why: I’ve been on the fence about it. While it sounds like a great book, a book that I would really love reading. I hadn’t planned on reading this book, but than it was gifted to me, and I feel that even though I hadn’t planned on reading it, I should because it was gifted to me. Albertalli’s second novel is a different story altogether. It was one I didn’t know I wanted to read until I won a copy at BookExpo (Thanks Owl Crate!). After winning a copy, and looking it up on GoodReads, I soon realized that The Upside of Unrequited totally seems like it’s a that I would genuinely love.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner – Bff Emma (Miss Print) told me I needed to read The Serpent King. She said it’s one hundred percent a Nicole kind of book. She said I would love it. And she was one hundred percent right.  And I fully intend to one hundred percent to love Goodbye Days as well.

The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jone – Between the cover and the mere mention of a demon I was sold.

 

(All cover images from GoodReads)

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Loved When I Started This Blog

(The above image was taken and created by me via Canva for the purpose of this post. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. )

Hello Readers!

And welcome back to another fun-filled edition of Top Ten Tuesday. I’ve been blogging for about seven (7) years already. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. While this ride hasn’t always been easy, it sure has been fun.

Today, I’m going to step back in time and tell you all about the top ten books I loved when I first started The BookBandit Blog way back in 2010.

In 2010 (if I remember correctly … I don’t necessarily have the best memory) I was in Grad School working towards my degree in Library and Information Science. Because of that I tried to balance what I was reading. Much of what I read was for various classes in which I was taking, others were pleasure reads that I managed to squeeze in.

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt

Wicked Girls by Stephanie Hemphill

Looking back to 2010, I read A LOT of Maureen Johnson. I also read a lot of Laurie Halse Anderson as well. I also discovered one of my now favorite authors, E. Lockhart. And I even picked up books I wouldn’t have picked up on my own, and found that stepping outside of your reading comfort zone isn’t a bad thing. And I realize, that I miss simply perusing the shelves at my local library and picking up random books to read.

All in all, 2010 was a good reading year I’d say!

Around the Web (#12)

(The above image was created by me for the purpose of this post via Canva)

Libba Bray has a lot to say about Hollywood’s Woman Problem. Go Libba!

Hurricane Harvey was a disaster. And my heart goes out to all who have been affected. But out of disaster, comes something great.

Storybook Island: my next vacation destination (I’m kidding … or am I?)

In celebration of all things Stephen King and the remake of the classic clown horror flick, It, take this quiz to find out which Stephen King novel you are. (If you are interested, I got The Shining. Honestly, this fits me perfectly as it’s one of my most favorite Stephen King movies.)

Is Taylor Swift’s new song really about Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns?

Tumble & Blue has been on my radar for a while. Maybe it’s on yours too.

E. Lockhart’s talking about stories with difficult women.

Speaking of E. Lockhart, you should check out this trailer for her upcoming YA novel – Genuine Fraud.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Put Down

(The above image was created by me via Canva for the purpose of these posts)

Hello Readers!

A long, long time ago I would pick up a book, and I would read it all the way through, no matter if I liked it or not. Books I absolutely didn’t like for one reason (or several) I’d struggle through, feeling like I needed to read the book.

And than it dawned on me that I was wasting a whole lot of time reading books that I didn’t like and was gaining nothing but frustration from. I realized that if I were to just walk away, I could move onto another book, one I would possibly love. I decided then and there from that moment on I would not finish a book if I wasn’t enjoying it.

And since then, I’ve stuck to it.  So, here are just some of the books I’ve put down, walked away from, and probably won’t pick up again.

Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters by Suzanne Weyn

Cherry Money Baby by John M. Cusick

Lust by Robin Wasserman

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

Middle Grade Monday: Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume

Twelve-year-old Margaret Simon isn’t thrilled to be moving from New York City to the suburbs of New Jersey. She isn’t thrilled that she’ll be miles and miles away from her beloved grandmother. She isn’t thrilled to go to a new school. And she surely isn’t thrilled to experience all the ups and downs of being a preteen without a group of friends by her side.

But once she’s in New Jersey she starts to realize that things aren’t so bad. Her grandmother visits her, and she often visits her grandmother in New York. School is school, no matter where you are. But it’s better now that she has made friends with some of her classmates.

Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie have become fast friends. They tell each other things they wouldn’t dare tell anyone else, not even their parents. But there’s something that Margaret hasn’t even told her new friends. Margaret, though not religious, talks to God. She finds comfort in their conversations.

But will God be able to answer all of her prayers?

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret is a classic kid lit novel written by author Judy Blume.

Author Blume is a true storyteller. Her writing is strong, and more than that it’s inviting. Young readers will easy absorb this book. They will find it incredibly honest, incredibly realistic, and incredibly realistic.

Margaret is a young girl on the verge on entering her teen years. She’s at a point where, not only is she starting to form her own opinions, she’s starting to change physically. While Margaret doesn’t necessarily fully understand all the changes her body is going through, she’s ready for them. So much so, that she welcomes them.

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, which was originally published in 1970. But that fact doesn’t hinder nor date this book. Young readers today will easily see themselves in young Margaret.

As a character, I really liked Margaret. I felt she was a great lead character who readers will easily see her growth from the start of the book to the end. She smart, and mature. And I credit her parents to that. Not only were they caring, involved parents but they were the kind of parents who let Margaret form and have her own opinions, they let her figure things out while guiding her.

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret deals with a lot of issues that many young girls face during those trying preteen years. And while I didn’t necessarily see myself in Margaret (I realized through reading this book that I was vastly different from the average twelve-year-old. I wasn’t praying for my body to change … at all), I feel like many young girls will. And still, I feel that those growing pains and all those issues that girls face are addressed with honestly and with grace.

Going into the reading of this book, I didn’t expect to like it. Why? Mainly because I haven’t been a twelve-year-old girl in quite some time. But I was surprised to find that I did enjoy this book. I enjoyed it because I had a chance to think back to that time in my own life. Beyond that, I realized that this is a classic for a reason – it’s universal. Generations of young readers will discover and devour this book. If you haven’t read Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, I would definitely recommend you do – no matter how old you are.

Around the Web (#11)

(The above image was created by me via Canva for the purpose of these posts)

For you or the YA reader in your life.

I absolutely LOVE Molly Idle’s work. I’m glad to see her upcoming is getting a starred review!

Calling all Cassandra Clare fans! I’m sure you’ve already seen this interview, but figured I would share since I enjoyed her interview with Independent.

I’m still not one hundred percent sure as to what exactly happened here. If you’re like me, hopefully this offers more info on how the YA Community had a book removed from the bestsellers list.

Are you in love? Need a good quote? Look no further!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Read in School

(The above image was created by me for the purpose of this post)

Hello Readers!

(I know this was technically last week’s TTT topic, but I decided to post it this week because this week’s topic didn’t really work for me.)

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been in school. A very, very long time.  And honestly, a lot of it I put behind me. But the one thing I didn’t put behind me were the books I read. Some I hated, some I absolutely loved, and some stood out cause they provided me with a good memory.

Today, I am going to share with you my top ten fave books I read in school. We will start in Grammar school and work our way up to Grad School.

Grammar School:

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka: This book was first published in 1992. I was 9 years old, and I remember every single kid in my class couldn’t wait to get their grubby little hands on this book. I was one of those kids. Each week one of us had the chance to check out the book for a week. When our week was up, we had to begrudgingly give up the book to the next classmate. I remember when it was my turn, I read the book straight through in one sitting. I just loved it. And now as a librarian I love recommending it to kids.

One Evil Summer by R. L. Stine: I was a horror fan from a very early age. I remember reading my older cousin’s cast-offs, even though honestly I didn’t really get them. She read Christopher Pike, so obviously I read Christopher Pike. She read R.L. Stine so obviously I did too. And it seemed like I wasn’t alone. My fellow classmates read them … or at least wanted to. Every year, in “library class” as I called it way back when, we would choose a book and read it together as a class. Each and every year we begged our librarian to let us pick a fear street book. And finally when we were in seventh or eighth grade (I can’t remember which) she finally agreed, and we chose One Evil Summer. If I wasn’t a horror fan than, I certainly would have been after. I read many Fear Street books, many of which I only vaguely remember, but this one is still as vivid as the day I read it. And true story, I actually have a copy signed by R.L. himself.

The Grass Rope by William Mayne: To tell you the truth, I don’t remember what this book was about. But I do remember checking it out from the school library many, many times. I know I read it, and I know in my heart of hearts that I loved it. I just can’t remember exactly why. Thinking back, maybe it was the cover. After all, there is a unicorn on it. I remember loving it so much that a few years ago I went and found a very old, and very used copy on Amazon. I haven’t read it (yet), but just knowing I have it warms my heart.

High School:

Animal Farm by George Orwell: Admittedly I did NOT love this book. But the reason why it is on this list is because it provided me with a fond memory. Freshman year, my lit teacher (who was an awesome teacher) made us all read Animal Farm. I read the book and wrote my report. And in my head I totally know that I aced this report. After the report was handed in, and during our discussion, I realized that I didn’t really understand this book. I had absolutely NO clue that this book was about communism. I thought it was just a book about a bunch of animals who could talk. I thought it was just a silly book that meant nothing really. Boy was I wrong. For the entire class period, I sat and worried that I had failed my first high school report. Looking back now, I can laugh at this. And no, I didn’t fail either.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Later on freshman year, my teacher told us we had to choose a book and report on it. He said we could choose any book we want so long as it wasn’t “trash”.  He said if we couldn’t choose a book, he’d choose one for us. Being the person I am, after class I approached him and asked what constitutes “trash”? Let’s be honest, what he would consider trash may not be what I would consider trash, and I wanted to be clear. He told me to follow him. And I did to the book closet in the hall across from our classroom. He handed me a book and basically told me which book isn’t trash. That book was Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. I took it home and read it. The next day, he asked if I started it. And I told him I had … and that I also finished it. He knew I would love it. He knew I would be fascinated by Boo and find a lot of myself in Scout. From that day forward, not only had I found my favorite book, but I found a teacher who left a lasting impression. And I am so thankful to him. I always will be.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Picture it: freshman English class. My favorite class in my whole high school career truthfully. My teacher had us read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby together as a class. We read, we discussed, and ultimately were tested on it. I remember I loved this book. I was swept up in the lavishness of it. And I loved the writing style. It soon became a fast favorite.

College:

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Suzanne: I borrowed this from my best friend after it had taken her several months to read it. I figured, since we are so close, and we read very similarly, that I wouldn’t like it. That is, judging from how long it took her to read it. Well I was wrong. I read the book in about two weeks (which is a short time in between classes and reading for said college classes). I really loved this so-called “trash novel”. I thought the characters were great – they were flawed, honest, and simply enchanting. I loved the plot, and how I felt I was a part of it. I loved how it felt so realistic, yet so other worldly. After reading this, I went one to read and love Suzanne’s other works.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: A friend had given this book to me. Before that I hadn’t heard of it. I didn’t even think I would read it because I knew nothing about it. But the cover got me. It was so simple it spoke volumes. I needed to find out what it was about. I cracked open the spine and gobbled the book up in a day or two.  After I had searched it on the interwebs (after reading of course) I got what all the hype was about.  to this day it sits proudly on my shelf, and I recommend it to everyone and anyone who asks for a recommendation.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn: My bestie lent me her copy of this book. She simply said: read it. And I did. To say I loved this book would be an understatement. It was beautiful and disturbing, it was hauntingly engaging. It was about a family of circus sideshow performers.  And if you didn’t know the circus and the sideshow fascinates me.

Grad School:

Tithe by Holly Black: When I first started grad school and had decided that I wanted to focus my attention, and my academic career on Young Adult Literature, I marched myself over to the YA section of my (not so) local library and randomly pulled several books off of the shelves. I pulled what looked interesting to me, I pulled books I had never even heard of, I pulled books that left a lasting impression. On that faithful trip I pulled five books. They were: The Shape of Water by Anne  Spollen, Alive and Well in Prague, NY by Daphne Benedis-Grab, Ruby by Francesca Lia Block, Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell, and Tithe by Holly Black. While I don’t remember the details of most of them, I remember Tithe as if I read it yesterday. I remember being entranced. I remember realizing that Holly Black would soon be one of my favorite authors. And I would (much later) realize that she is the person I want to be when I grow up!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: I had chosen to read this book in my genre class. At this point there was already a lot of buzz that I wasn’t subscribing to. I convinced myself that this wasn’t my kind of book. But I read it anyway, and I found out I was blindingly wrong. I found The Hunger Games to be exciting and scary. I remember running out to buy my own copy of the first and second book. And I remember going to one of my first book events with bff Emma (Miss Print). Since reading this first book, I’ve been almost obsessed with the trilogy as a whole. And I have gone one to collect several different editions.

After Tupac & D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson: This book really made me appreciate young adult literature. And it made me appreciate Tupac even more than I already did. It was a beautifully written book that moved me unlike any other book has. Thinking about it now, makes me was to re-read it (something I never really do). I loved how it was about friendship – and how they start and fall apart. I liked how it was about life, and how life is often messy. Above all I liked how it showed the power of music.

***

I know that is more than 10 books, and I know this post was longer than I had expected. But it was fun going down memory lane, and revisiting all the books I have come to love. I hope you didn’t mind taking that stroll with me either.

What are some of the books you read and loved while you were in school? Please share!