Freebie Friday: New Jersey A Themed Booklist

Hello Readers!

Today I’m paying homage to my home state … New Jersey. While a lot may consider this state to be the armpit of the United States (I seriously heard someone refer to the Garden state as such), it is home to me. It will always be home.

And what better way to celebrate it than to create a themed booklist!

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson

Whisper to Me by Nick Lake

The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scalsa

Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer

Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart

The Shore by Todd Strasser

Rosie & Skate by Beth Ann Bauman

So Punk Rock (And Other Ways To Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow




Around the Web (#4)

Are you raising a little feminist? Or think you’ll be raising one, one day in the future? If so, check out this article about the perfect book of feminist bedtime stories.

Ken (as in Barbie and Ken) has a man bun.

I recently heard of Julie Bauxbaum’s upcoming title, What to Say Next. While I haven’t read anything else by her, I’ve heard great things about her, her writing/books, and this upcoming title. If you’re a fan of hers and her books, check out this interview with her.

Have you read Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake? Are you interested in a Three Dark Crowns themed playlist? Well, Epic Reads has you covered!

I know I’ve missed Maureen Johnson, how about you? Well, you’ll have to wait a little while longer for her next book, Truly Devious, but you can read a sneak peak!

The Hate U Give is one of the best books I’ve read in a really long time.  Check out this article that features great writing tips from author Angie Thomas.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I’ve Read So Far in 2017

Hello Readers!

Every year I set a reading goal for myself. And every year I always feel like I set a ridiculously high goal. This year 115 books is my goal. And today, I’m going to share with you the top ten books I’ve read so far.

In no particular order …


The  Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

The Nest by Kenneth Open

The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando





The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

I Am Princess X by Cherie Preist

Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Blooming At the Texas Sunrise Hotel by Kimberly Willis Holt

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

So, what are the best books you’ve read so far in 2017!? I’d love to know, please share!

Middle Grade Monday: Middle Grade Summer Reading List

Hello Readers!

One of my goals this year, as you may or may not already know, is to read more middle grade books. I realized recently that a) I don’t read nearly enough and b) because of that I feel that I may not be able to perform my job — it’s hard to recommend a book to a middle grade reader when you haven’t read any of them!

So I decided that I’m going to put together a little summer reading list for myself. While that list isn’t crazy long (it’s a total of four books), it’s a list filled with books I’ve wanted to read for a while.

My Middle Grade Summer Reading List Is…

The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli

I’ve read many of Spinelli’s books, and I have loved each and every one of them. When I saw this book come into my library, I read a few pages over a lunch break, and was instantly hooked. I couldn’t start reading it at the moment because I was smack in the middle of another, but I promised myself I would read it this year.

The Warden’s Daughter is about a young girl named Cammie who lives at a prison with her warden father and the search for a new wife/mother.

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue

When this book first came out, I heard a lot about it. Enough to make me curious enough to read the dust jacket. Enough to make me realize that I wanted to read this book.

The Lotterys Plus One is about a young girl named Sumac Lottery and her very large family.  Things may be crazy, but they are good. Until Sumac finds out that her cranky and ailing grandfather has to come live with them.

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

A few years ago, thanks for a very good friend of mine, I became obsessed with Caribbean folklore. Specifically the jumbies.  So when I first hear of this book, I knew it was a book that I had to read. And besides that, I recently picked up the second book at this years Book Expo so I really want to read this one.

The Jumbies is about Corinne. Corrine is fearless, and doesn’t necessarily believe in the folktales that she’s grown up listening to. That is until one night, after being led into the woods, when she sees one of those folktales – a jumbie – in the flesh.

The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner

The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner is a recent addition to my “to read” list. I heard about this one just before this years Book Expo and after reading a synopsis decided that this was totally a “Nicole” book.

The Exact Location of Home is about Zig, and his belief that his mother is hiding a secret from him. After his dad cancels a visit, Zig sets out to find the real reason why he never showed up.

So there you have it! Those are the four (middle grade) books that I hope to read this summer. Are you hoping to read any middle grade books this summer? If so, please share!

How to Make A Wish

How to Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Seventeen-year-old Grace only has one wish: to get accepted into the prestigious music program at a top New York school. Getting accepted means that Grace will have the chance to get out. Not only get out of her small town, but she’ll also get the change to leave behind the life she’s living.

While Grace loves her mother, she doesn’t necessarily like everything about her. She doesn’t like how she moves them from one home to the next without regard for how Grace will feel. But when Grace finds out that she’s moved them in with her latest boyfriend, the father of Grace’s ex-boyfriend, she’s truly fed up.

Grace doesn’t know how to make things better, not for herself or for her mom. She she waits, and she wishes. Until the day that Eva, a perfect stranger shows up and turns Grace’s world upside down.

Eva has her own issues. And while she could use a bit of saving herself, she isn’t here to save Grace. But together they just might be the wish they were both making.

How to Make A Wish, written by author Ashley Herring Blake, is a issue heavy contemporary young adult that will leave reader’s feeling well … weighed down.

While I felt that author Blake’s writing was strong, How to Make A Wish was an “issues” book. But I’ll get to that in a moment. Back to the writing. Blake’s writing is strong and inviting. What she does impressively well is that her way with words makes reader’s care – about the characters, about the issues and their resolutions, and the overall plot line.

Okay, back to the issues. There were a lot. And as a reader I often felt that these issues bogged down a potentially great book.  There was the issue of Grace’s mother, Maggie. Maggie was simply terrible. As a mother she was irresponsible, selfish, and above all else, unfit. Reader’s will easily understand why Grace is so desperate to escape her life. And they won’t blame her when she finally does. To say the least, she is completely and utterly unlikable.  From the moment I met Maggie I didn’t like her, and felt that ultimately Grace was better off without her.

Then there was the issue of Grace’s best friend, Luca, who I felt stifled her at times. On paper they appeared to be tried and true best friends, but as the plot developed I felt that he wasn’t as great a friend as Grace thought. Grace is broken, and I often felt that he was only her friend so he can swoop in and save her. He never realized that Grace was smart, strong, and capable of saving herself.

I’ll save this up front (in case you couldn’t already guess): I didn’t How to Make a Wish. And there were several moments where I was going to make it as a DNF. But there were two reasons why I kept reading: main character Grace and her love interest Eva.

Grace is a truly genuine and strong character. She is the kind of character that, as a reader, I couldn’t help but want to see good things happen to and for.  And then there was Eva, who was Grace’s equal in every sense of the word.  She’s smart, strong,  and together these two characters seem to bring out the best in each other.

Besides Grace and Eva, another aspect that I appreciated was the romance. It wasn’t overly done. And it wasn’t insta-love. Instead it was slow and sweet.  It was raw and honest, and above all else it was realistic.

I wanted more from Blake’s How to Make a Wish. My expectations were high, but sadly they weren’t met. There were too many issues and too few solid resolutions for me to overlook.

Around the Web (#3)

Hello Readers!

We all know Sarah Dessen is like the queen of YA, right?  Well, this article talks about how the queen of YA’s books have aged with her. I personally really liked this article, not just because I think Sarah Dessen is awesome (and super sweet), but because it shows that YA books aren’t just for teens!

I don’t know why I browse Buzzfeed so often, I just do. And while aimlessly browsing I came across this article that may be of interest for any Cassie Clare fans.

Last week my coworker (excitedly) told me all about this. While I didn’t have a chance to look it up there and then, I went home and promptly Googled about the NYC Subway Library.

I love to travel. That’s no secret. But I realized that even though I love to, I realized that I do not read any travel blogs. And that made me sad. So I took to Twitter, and Jamie from Perpetual Page Turner hooked me up with an AWESOME post she wrote about exactly that … Travel blogs! Thanks Jamie!!

Speaking of traveling, I’ve always wanted to visit Japan. While I have no plans to travel there (anytime soon) I found this article featuring some pictures that I really liked and thought would be fun to share.



Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning to Start

Hello Readers!

It’s no use keeping this a secret … I’m the worst at both starting and finishing book series. And today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is all about series. So, not only am I going to tell you about some of the series I’m excited to start, but I’m also going to share with you some of the series I’m excited to (finally) finish.

Excited to Read:

The Star Touched Queen Series by Roshani Chokshi

Excited to Finish:

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Revenants by Amy Plum

Pip Bartlett by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce

Modern Fairie Tales by Holly Black

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (I’ve only read the first one … don’t judge me!)