Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Beach Reads Week — top ten great beach reads, ten books I plan to read on the beach, ten beach reads for those who don’t like typical ~beach reads~, ten authors who are my go-to for beach reads, etc.

TTT had a similar theme to this one a couple of years ago, so I made sure the books on my list this time are different. But check out that post if you want even more recs! All titles linked to my reviews except The Falls, Everything Leads to You, and I’ll Give you the Sun, which are linked to Goodreads.

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan // The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter // Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman // The Falls by Ian Rankin // Our Song by A. Destiny and Elizabeth Lenhard

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon // Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour // I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Something I’ll be reading this summer

Summer Days and Summer Nights

Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins

What books are your beach reads?

ARC Review: The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle

The Great American WhateverAuthor: Tim Federle

Genre: Young adult, contemporary, LGBTQIA+

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 29, 2016

278 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I was initially drawn to this one by the cover and title. I mean, look at it. It’s great! Plus, while I haven’t read the whole thing yet, I’ve heard great things about Federle’s Nate books. I’m glad I checked it out, because while I had some reservations with the story and characters, I enjoyed this book overall.

First of all, it’s hilarious. I think the only way I can really show you this is by just giving you a quote.

If I took out my broken AC and cracked the window, I’d have to confront the reality that I might hear, like, birds, or worse: the merry squeals of neighborhood children. And who has the stomach for that kind of unannounced joy at this hour?

The writing, the symbolism, the movie references were all top notch. In my opinion, the thing that fell flat was the plot. There honestly wasn’t much there. I thought it fell flat. And I also wished I could reach in and just shake Quinn a bit. I wanted to connect with him a bit more than I did. Which isn’t to say I didn’t connect with him at all; it was just difficult sometimes to understand him and connect with his feelings. And you guys know how much I despise insta-love, and there’s a bit of that here.

The bottom line: Funny, smart, and sarcastic. I liked that part of the book a lot. It was a bit hard to connect with the book at times and I wasn’t overly fond of the insta-love, but the book is a quick, fun read, so I definitely enjoyed that!

Rating: 7 – Pretty good

New Feature: Sunday Soons

Hey, guys! So you know me – you know I love posting Waiting on Wednesday posts which features books that I’m excited to read. But I’ve found that maybe half the time, I don’t actually read the books I’ve posted about. I’ve decided to start doing a post that I’m tentatively calling “Sunday Soon”, which will feature books that will be released on the Tuesday of the following week and that I’ve either read, pre-ordered, ordered for the library, or will be reading asap. I want this feature to be about books that I KNOW I will read or have already read and I’m excited to share with you. The post might have a mini review included or a link to my review (if I’ve already written one – either on my blog or on Goodreads). I hope this description makes sense, and I hope you’ll get excited to see which books I’ll feature! 🙂 Let me know in the comments if you like the idea for this post.

Sunday Soons

Since Pride Month is coming up, and I’ve started putting together my display at the library (you can see which books I’ve already picked on my Twitter HERE; there will be more books added), I thought I’d share a few of the LGBTQIAP+ books I’ve recently ordered for my library. These books will be added to the Pride Month display as they come in. All three of these books come out this week – May 31.

Frannie and TruFRANNIE AND TRU by Karen Hattrup // HarperTeen

When Frannie Little eavesdrops on her parents fighting she discovers that her cousin Truman is gay, and his parents are so upset they are sending him to live with her family for the summer. At least, that’s what she thinks the story is. . . When he arrives, shy Frannie befriends this older boy, who is everything that she’s not–rich, confident, cynical, sophisticated. Together, they embark on a magical summer marked by slowly unraveling secrets.

I featured this book previously for a Waiting on Wednesday post.

THE ART OF BEING NORMAL by Lisa Williamson // Farrar, Straus, & Giroux The Art of Being Normal

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth: David wants to be a girl.

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal: to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in his class is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long , and soon everyone knows that Leo used to be a girl.

As David prepares to come out to his family and transition into life as a girl and Leo wrestles with figuring out how to deal with people who try to define him through his history, they find in each other the friendship and support they need to navigate life as transgender teens as well as the courage to decide for themselves what normal really means.

I’ve heard some good things about this book. Plus, I don’t think there are enough books about transgender teens, and not only am I excited to read this book, I’m excited to put it on my library shelf for my teens to read.

The Inside of OutTHE INSIDE OF OUT by Jean Marie Thorne // Dial Books

Meg Cabot meets Glee in this breezy, hilarious, deceptively smart YA about privilege, pretense, and realizing that every story needs a hero. Sometimes it’s just not you.

When her best friend Hannah comes out the day before junior year, Daisy is so ready to let her ally flag fly that even a second, way more blindsiding confession can’t derail her smiling determination to fight for gay rights. 

Before you can spell LGBTQIA, Daisy’s leading the charge to end their school’s antiquated ban on same-sex dates at dances—starting with homecoming. And if people assume Daisy herself is gay? Meh, so what. It’s all for the cause. 

What Daisy doesn’t expect is for “the cause” to blow up—starting with Adam, the cute college journalist whose interview with Daisy for his university paper goes viral, catching fire in the national media. #Holy #cats. 

With the story spinning out of control, protesters gathering, Hannah left in the dust of Daisy’s good intentions, and Daisy’s mad attraction to Adam feeling like an inconvenient truth, Daisy finds herself caught between her bold plans, her bad decisions, and her big fat mouth.

I’m pretty sure I heard of this one because of Dahlia Adler, and when Dahlia raves about a book, I make it a point to not only read it but also order it for my library.

So what do you think? Do you guys like this idea? Would you read these posts?

BEA & BookCon Recap

Hey guys! Before I get into my BEA/BookCon recap, I wanted to say sorry that I’ve been a little MIA lately. The couple of weeks since coming home from Chicago have been kind of rough for me – emotionally but also at work – and I just haven’t felt like blogging. So I took a little hiatus. I’m ready to get back to it, and I hope you’re ready too. 🙂

BEA/BookCon recap

A couple of weeks ago I went to my first-ever BEA (Book Expo America) and BookCon in Chicago. I drove 10.5 hours by myself on the Tuesday before BEA started, and it was wonderful and terrible all at the same time. 10.5 hours in a car with nothing to look at (seriously, there is nothing on the way up) and only yourself for company can get a bit monotonous. Thankfully I had the audiobook for Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (review soon) and I LOVED it. It helped pass the time quickly. But just so you know, here are a couple of pictures I took on the way up. I told you: NOTHING.

Wednesday was absolutely amazing. I FINALLY got to meet Brittany (Brittany’s Book Rambles) – one of my best blogger friends – in person, and she is just as wonderful as I thought. I also got to meet Annalisse (Hopeful Reads), Michelle (Dreaming of Alba), and Melanie (One Less Lonely Blog), and we all ended up being a BEA-crew of helping each other out and hanging out. I had so much freaking fun with these people, and I can’t wait to see them all again. I MISS YOUUUUU!

I also met Sarah K (The YA Book Traveler), Ava (Bookishness and Tea), Andye (Reading Teen) – who is just the absolute best, Mishma (Chasing Faerytales), Shannon (It Starts at Midnight), Hannah (Irish Banana), Jamie (Fiction Fare), Fallon (Seeing Double in Neverland), Morgan (Take Me Away to a Great Read), Anna, and so many more. If I forgot you, yell at me in the comments. I am so sorry!

The conference itself was amazing. Like I said, it was my first time, so I was expecting to be a bit overwhelmed, but overall, I wasn’t. Everything was so well laid out and organized, and I really enjoyed just walking around and seeing what was there. I talked to a bunch of publishers, which was really cool. I went to several booths and just asked them to tell me some of the books they were excited about, and it was fun seeing which books they picked out. I found several books I hadn’t heard of this way. Check out last week’s TTT to see some of the books I picked up on a whim.

It’s not all about the books, of course. There were a bunch of panels happening at the same time, and I’m glad I made time to attend a few of them. I think my two favorites were the ALA @ BEA one on Reader’s Advisory; I learned a bunch of cool techniques to use that I can bring back to my library. I also enjoyed the panel called “Reality Bites”, which featured John Corey Whaley, David Levithan, David Arnold, Jennifer Niven, and Nicola Yoon. Oh, and on Saturday (BookCon), I won a ticket to a meet and greet with Jazz Jennings, which was fun. She’s super adorable.

Another favorite part of the week was Friday morning. David Arnold was live tweeting from the Penguin Teen Twitter account and asked if I wanted to walk around with him while I did. Who would say no? I mean, seriously. So I met up with him and Adam Silvera and got to meet in person Eric Smith (super awesome literary agent), Mary (librarian and blogger), Katie (bookseller and blogger), Gaby (bookseller and blogger), and, for the first time, Dave Connis (author of The Temptation of Adam, which comes out next year). We hung out for a while and each got a Kids of Appetite armband (GAAAHHH I CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU GUYS TO READ THIS BOOK GEEZ). It was an absolute blast, and I was really glad I got to see David again.

I met so many amazing authors, you guys! Some of them I’d already met and it was wonderful to see them again. But I met some of my favorites, including:

Oliver Jeffers (he knew who I was!!!!), Tahereh Mafi (who recognized me from Twitter!), Laini Taylor, Jay Kristoff, Justin Cronin, Mia Siegert, Siobhan Vivian, John Corey Whaley, Sam Maggs, William Ritter, Ruta Sepetys, Kerri Maniscalco, Kendare Blake, Kristen Simmons, and Hannah Hart (I randomly ran into her at the Image Comics booth – so cool!). I, unfortunately, didn’t get pictures with all of these wonderful authors, but some of my pics are below.

Mia Siegert actually joined my family and I at Giordano’s for dinner on Thursday night, which was a TON of fun! My family loved her because her book features hockey, and they are a bunch of hockey fans.

And, of course, I got a LOT of books. I tried to limit myself to books I knew I really wanted to read, and I think I did a pretty good job. The books on the left are my signed books and the ones on the right are not. Either way, I’m super excited to read ALL of these. In fact, I’ve already read two (GEMINA and THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR, and I’ve started WONDER WOMEN). I’m trying really hard to read these books in publication order – so I don’t read a book that doesn’t get published until January before a book that gets published next month, but it’s taking ALL of my strength to not start HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME. Honestly, I’m pretty sure I’m starting that one next. Publication dates be damned.

The hardest part of the whole trip was the drive home. It was really hard to leave these amazing friends I made behind. Plus, I was SO EXHAUSTED and driving 10.5 hours home with no one to talk to was blaaaaah. And, of course, the audiobook I wanted to listen to downloaded wrong and the first hour of the book was missing.

I had such a great time though. I would HIGHLY recommend going to BEA if you ever have the chance!

Top Ten Tuesday: Seven Books I Picked up on a Whim at BEA

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

I’m going to mention seven books I picked up at BEA completely on a whim, either because I thought the cover was gorgeous, I had heard great things about the author’s other books, or someone at the publisher pitched it to me and it sounded awesome.

Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History by Sam Maggs – I haven’t yet read but have heard amazing things about Maggs’ other book, The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy. She was there so I thought “Why not?” Wonder Women sounds awesome.

Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith – Look at that cover! So freaking cool.

The Graces by Laura Eve – Witches and a beautiful cover. Annalisse – one of the girls I was exploring with – said she’d heard good things. It was one of her most anticipated, so I thought I’d check it out too.

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid – Cool cover, cool concept. How could I refuse? Especially when one of my friends accidentally got an extra.

The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone – This one is actually on my Goodreads TBR so I guess it isn’t completely on a whim, but I honestly don’t remember what the book is about.

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland – This one was pitched to me by a lovely woman at the Penguin Random House booth and it has a cute cover and texts on the inside. You guys know how much I love that. Plus, her pitch had me hooked.

The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics – How CREEPTASTIC does this look??

What books have you picked up on a whim lately?

Book Review: Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Exit, Pursued by a BearAuthor: E.K. Johnston

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 15, 2016

248 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I won’t lie – I was first attracted to this book by its title. “Exit, pursued by a bear” is my favorite stage direction EVER, and I was so excited about a book with that title. And then I read it, and WOAH.

EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEAR is so important. The best part of this book, in my opinion, is that it shows a different way to react to, cope with, and live after a sexual assault. There are a lot of different ways to deal with something like this, and it’s good that we’ve got a book here that shows something other than the girl who is completely consumed by what has happened to her. Those stories are definitely important too, but we need books about ALL the ways to react to this situation.

I LOVE best friend stories, and the best friend in this book – Polly – is the best of the best friends. She’s so supportive but also honest, sometimes brutally so (this was one of the instances where I wasn’t quite so fond of the book).

Hermione Winters (I love the allusions to the play that the title comes from – Hermione is a main character in The Winter’s Tale, hence Hermione Winters – but Johnston also updated it and mentioned her dad’s love of HP) refuses to be a victim. She will not quit, and she doesn’t let what’s happened to her define who she will be in the future. And I really, really appreciate this.

The bottom line: A quick, significant, emotional story about an important topic, a beautiful, supportive friendship, and a fierce, strong MC. It’s worth your time.

Rating: 7 – pretty good


Blog Tour | Down with the Shine: Author Q&A and Giveaway!

DWTS Tour Banner

Hey everyone! Today I am SUPER excited to be sharing a Q&A with Kate Karyus Quinn, author of DOWN WITH THE SHINE and a giveaway as part of the blog tour! Let me tell you a bit about this magical book first and then I’ll share the Q&A and giveaway details!


DownWiththeShine FINAL COVERThere’s a reason they say “be careful what you wish for.” Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for “balls of steel” and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it’s too late-after she brings some of her uncles’ moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn’t mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles’ moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their “important family legacy,” she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository


Describe yourself in 3 words.

Pisces. Introvert. Thoughtful.

Describe your book in 3 words.

Drunk. Extrovert. Sarcastic.

I saw that you have an MFA in Film and Television Production. If you could choose anyone to direct a film adaptation of DOWN WITH THE SHINE, who would it be?

I would love to have a women director, because we need more women making movies. For someone specific, I love CLUELESS and think Amy Heckerling would be amazing.

Dream cast for your MC?

Janine McCurdy from both iCarly and Sam and Cat would be great as Lennie. She has that edge and attitude.

For Smith and Dylan – I would steal Bob Morley and Marie Avgeropoulos both from The 100.

What would you wish for if you could have anything come true?

I’d probably keep things simple and just ask for a specific dollar amount of money (tax free please) in my checking account. Not so much as to be greedy, but enough that I could pay off my student loans and not have to worry about paying bills anymore.

If you could have any magical ability, what would it be?

I think being able to read minds would be pretty cool. It also would help me know when my kids are lying to me!

What would you say is Lennie’s motto? Yours?

Lennie’s motto at the beginning of DOWN WITH THE SHINE is to keep herself protected. Ironically, she’s very careful what she wishes for, because she’s afraid of being disappointed. By the end of the story that changes quite a bit. For me… I think my motto is more, being willing to take a leap of faith and hoping it all works out in the end.

Other than your own, who is your favorite fictional character?

Argh. This is tough. I’ll go with Anne of Green Gables just because she’s a character I fell in love with when I was young and then through all her books (If I’m remembering correctly I think there’s eight of them – though the last ones are more about her children) I got to watch her grow up.

What was the last book you read and loved?

I read SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo toward the beginning of this year and have not been able to stop talking about how amazing and wonderful it is. As a writer I am in awe of the storytelling chops on display within those pages. As a reader, I am sobbing nonstop until the second book lands in my hands.


KATE KARYUS QUINNKate Karyus Quinn is an avid reader and menthol chapstick addict. She has lived in California and Tennessee, but recently made the move back to her hometown of Buffalo, New York, with her husband and two children in tow. She promised them wonderful people, amazing food, and weather that would… build character. Another Little Piece is her first novel.

Website | Twitter


3 Finished Copies of DOWN WITH THE SHINE (US Only)


Check out the other tour posts!