Posts Tagged ‘2012 Reading Challenge’

2012 Reading Challenge: I DID IT!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Happy 2013, everybody! My new year’s resolution for 2012 was to read 50 books in 2012…and it wasn’t easy, but I did it! 50 books and I blogged about them all! Phew! I’m exhausted and I will NOT be making the same resolution this year. It’s hard to get a lot of reading done when you’re writing a book. I will say that I did learn a lot this year reading all these books (click on the 2012 Reading Challenge tag below to see all of the posts) and I think I’m a better writer for it. 

So here they are, the last six books I read! (Click on the title to learn more about the book!)

 

DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT by Sarah Mlynowski (coming March 2014, that’s right 2014!)

Brag on me time! Sarah asked me if I’d be willing to read a draft of her YA novel coming in 2014. Um, YEAH! I don’t want to give too much away since it’s not coming out for over a year (and I’ll be singing its praises a ton then), but I LOVED this book. It’s funny, it’s fast-paced, it’s super original, and oh yeah, it’s about a group of teens who get ESP! This book also made me so grateful that no one knows what goes on in my head. That’s some scary stuff, people!

HOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Sara Zarr

I was at Little, Brown when Sara’s first novel, Story of a Girl, came out. I was immediately impressed with this debut author’s writing and storytelling abilities. Fast forward nearly six years and three books later, Sara keeps getting better and better (how is that even possible?!?!?). How to Save a Life was thought-provoking, it was powerful, it was compelling, it was just plain awesome.

EVERYTHING CHANGES by Jonathan Tropper

I’ve been hearing about Jonathan Tropper’s books for years, so a friend lent me Everything Changes. Halfway through the book I realized that, with the exception of Nick Hornby, I don’t read contemporary fiction from male authors. Jonathan Tropper and his amazing book made me realize what I’m missing out on. So I’m adding his other books, and looking for similar male authors to my already insane to-read pile for 2013.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE by Jennifer E. Smith (coming April 2013)

Like pretty much the rest of the reading world, I adored Jen’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, so I was especially excited to read this book. It did not disappoint. What always impresses me with Jen’s books are the many different layers the story and characters have. There’s always something unexpected, which makes reading her books so fun and rewarding. Plus, it has some hilarious lines, one which caused me to snort VERY LOUDLY in the Newark airport waiting area. Toward the end, I had a huge smile on my face, which is EXACTLY what happy looks like for me!

JUST KIDS by Patti Smith

My to-read pile is out of control, but what did I do before I went home for Christmas? Bought this book because I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it. I’m so glad I did. Smith’s writing is beautiful and her memoir chronicling her relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe was inspiring. I loved reading about the camaraderie of struggling artists at the Chelsea Hotel in the 70s. It really took you back to that time, and made me listen to her music and discover Mapplethorpe’s photography. 

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger

I’ve wanted to re-read this book for a really long time, so I promised myself that it would be the last book I read in 2012. I originally read this when I was in high school and I remembered being especially impressed by the voice and vivid personality that Salinger gave Holden Caulfield. All these years later, I’m even more taken with the voice and narrative. I see Holden Caulfield through adult eyes now and it moved me even more. With so many new books to read, I rarely re-read, but I know that I’ll be revisiting this book again. And for those who haven’t read it, do! Young adult books wouldn’t be what they are today without this novel. 

I’m off to take a well-deserved nap… Did you stick to your 2012 resolution? 

XOXO, Elizabeth 

2012 Reading Challenge: The Home Stretch….

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Happy December! I didn’t blog about my October reads because a little storm named Sandy left me without my computer for two weeks. Speaking of Sandy, I hope you’ve checked out this AMAZING YA for NJ auction going on now. Nearly 200 authors have donated items that will benefit those most affected by Sandy. My lot includes a signed ARC of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality (that doesn’t come out until March), PLUS all my books AND a Skype chat!!  There are only THREE DAYS left to bid! Such a great way to finish up that holiday shopping list!

Back to my 2012 Reading Challenge list! Fortunately, I was able to get a lot of reading done, so I’m combining October and November. Since there are a lot of books, I’m going to TRY to make it short and sweet (we know how good I am at that!). Click on the book title to get more information on the book and author!

THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER by Stephen Chbosky

I’m embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t read this book before now. I really like to read books before seeing the movie, so I immediately went to see the movie the day after I finished reading the book. Both are so well done! But I’m glad I read the book first. Charlie was a heartbreakingly amazing narrator and I tore through this in one day. Brilliant!

I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga

This was my book group’s October pick (which I selected!). I used to be obsessed with Stephen King when I was in college. I hadn’t really read any comparable YA books (with the exception of Darren Shan). But then I read this book. Wow. It is in turns creepy, funny, relatable (which makes me question my sanity), and keeps you on your toes. Just when I thought I figured everything out, Lyga would put in another twist. I can’t wait for the sequel. And I will also make sure I stay on Barry’s good side, that guy knows WAY too much about different ways to dispose a dead body. 

WINTER WHITE: A BELLES NOVEL by Jen Calonita

It’s no secret that I love Jen Calonita, my tour buddy. I devoured the first Belles novel and was excited for the sequel. It did not disappoint. Jen creates relatable characters and then basically turns their lives upside down! It’s a lot of fun to watch it happen (and I’m SUPER agitated at the ending and DEMAND book #3 now!).

WONDER by RJ Palacio

WONDERful. (I should be embarrassed by this pun, but I’m not because it’s true!) This was my book group’s November pick. I’ve heard a lot about this novel and the buzz is well deserved. I’ve been debating about writing all the emotions that this book brought out on me, but instead I think I’ll just say it made me FEEL. 

THE CASUAL VACANCY by JK Rowling

Okay, let me get this out of the way first: I knew this book wasn’t going to be Harry Potter. I had my expectations in check. And would I have read this book if it was written by anybody else? Probably not. I did struggle getting into it at the beginning, I read the first 300 pages then Sandy hit and I was away from the book for three weeks. I was nervous when I picked it up again, but here’s the thing with JK Rowling: she creates such vivid characters and setting that I had no problem remembering who everybody was and their connection to each other (there are A LOT of characters in this book). The last 200 pages flew pretty quickly and I especially liked how everything came together in the end. I’m really glad I read it.

LOVE IN A CARRY-ON BAG by Sadeqa Johnson

Former Scholastic Colleague #1! Sadeqa and I used to work together in publicity back in the day at Scholastic. I was so excited that her debut novel came out this year. It’s such a fun and poignant book about relationships, both between lovers and families. Sadeqa is such a beautiful writer, her descriptions made you feel like you were with the characters experiencing their highs and lows. And the main girl character is a book publicist so I LOVED all the little details about that (ah, memories…). Oh, this book is pretty damn sexy as well! 

CRIMINAL by Terra Elan McVoy (coming in May 2013)

Former Scholastic Colleague #2!! (Did Scholastic hire super talented people or what?) I love Terra AND her books. I was so excited/surprised to hear that her next novel was going to be about a girl who gets tangled in a crime that ends in murder because of her boyfriend. It’s very different from her other novels and it was such a brave choice for her. And I absolutely loved it. I read this in less than 24 hours because I had no idea (NONE) how this was going to play out. There were times I wanted to yell at the book, other times I wanted to hug it – again, it made me FEEL and that’s such a huge compliment for any book. I’m so proud of Terra for this book. Put it on your 2013 list!

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

Don’t worry, no spoilers here! I finally picked this up Thanksgiving weekend as I HATE spoilers and heard there are a bunch for this book. This book is insane. But I really liked it. It’s left me thinking about it a lot. This was another book that I tore through in just a couple days, it was really hard to put down. I just read an article where Gillian talks about the ending (DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED THE BOOK) and appreciate what she had to say. I personally liked how everything played out, because it was unexpected. Um, that’s all I’m going to say! Definitely understand why it’s making a lot of “Best Of 2012″ lists!

ASK THE PASSENGERS by AS King

My book group read Everybody Sees the Ants a few months ago and I really liked it. I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about her new book so I dived right in. AS King is quickly becoming one of my favorite YA authors. She writes characters who are extremely relatable even though they have their own unique experiences. 

Okay! That’s it for now. I’ve got four weeks left and six books to read to hit 50. It’s going to happen. IT WILL.

Happy reading! XOXO, Elizabeth

 

2012 Reading Challenge: Spectacular September

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Happy October (say wha?)! I’m starting to think I might actually pull off reading 50 books this year. I’ve added four AMAZING books to the list in September and only have 15 to go with 3 months left. (And I’ve got a bunch of trips/events coming up so that’s a lot of airport, airplane, hotel reading.) So without further ado, the books I’ve read (please click on the book title for a description). 

THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray

Wow. Just wow. If you haven’t heard about The Diviners yet, may I first say, I’m so glad you were able to come out from that cave you were hiding in. ;) Seriously, this book is insanely good. It’s got so many elements (magic, mystery, humor, suspense, romance – all set in 1920s New York City) that many times I stopped reading and thought, “HOW DOES LIBBA DO IT?” I was pretty much in awe the entire time I read this book (and it’s a big one, but it flies). The way the different characters weave together and the attention to detail is really impressive. It inspires me to be a better writer. Which is what all well crafted fiction should do. Bravo, Libba! And now I’m biting my fingernails in anticipation for the sequel.

JANE AUSTEN GOES TO HOLLYWOOD by Abby McDonald (coming April 2013)

One of the 465 amazing things about being an author is that sometimes you get asked to read a book before it comes out. When I found out that Abby McDonald was writing a Sense & Sensibility modern retelling, I knew I wanted to read it the second the galley was out. And I got to read it even sooner. Guys, it’s SO AWESOME. I understand how daunting it is to take on one of Miss Austen’s classics and Abby did a sensational job. Her take is wholly original, fresh, funny… and scandalously good! It’s made me want to re-read the original again THEN re-read her book. You’re going to hear me talk a lot more about this in the spring, but until then you’ll have to wait. But believe me, it’s worth it!

Oh, and the cover hasn’t been released yet which is why it’s not shown above. But (brag on me), I have seen it and it’s fab! Put this on your spring 2013 list (*cough* along with Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality *cough*).

EVERYONE SEES THE ANTS by A.S. King

This was my book group’s pick for September. I sat down on a Saturday and said to myself, “Okay, try to read 200 pages today and then read the rest tomorrow.” I opened up the book and didn’t put it down until I finished it. Right away you’re drawn to the character of Lucky. His voice is in turns relatable yet wholly unique. There are a few little twists in the story that throws you off balance, but in a good way because it makes you keep turning the pages to see how everything plays out. And even after I turned the last page, I kept thinking about Lucky and his story. THAT is the true test of a strong character.

A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD by Jennifer Egan

I’ve wanted to read this book since it came out years ago since I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about it (it won the Pulitzer after all!). Each chapter focuses on a different character and it really isn’t immediately clear how they’re all connected. Like with The Diviners, I was in total awe of the storytelling. A few times I stopped myself and looked back at a previous chapter to realize that she’d left subtle hints about what was to come. It really is brilliant, one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s on the favorite list. And it has made me rethink how I put together a story. Seriously, if you haven’t read it, pick it up. NOW.

What a month! I know it might seem like I like all the books I’ve read, but this month really stood out. It truly is an amazing time for books. People who think the book industry is dying apparently don’t read good books.

Hope your fall is treating you well! 

XOXO, Elizabeth

2012 Reading Challenge: Don’t Call It a Comeback!

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Hello all! Well, last month I declared that I would read six books in August for my 2012 Reading Challenge. I didn’t… I read SEVEN. BOOM! Now all I have to do is read a book a week and I’ll be all set. Err… 

Since there are a lot of books this month, I’ll try to be brief. Just click on the title to read a synopsis of the book. And away we go!

THE NEXT BEST THING by Jennifer Weiner

I’m a huge Jennifer Weiner fangirl. She’s one of my favorite authors and I always look forward to her next best thing (I’m so punny). She’s a smart, fun writer who writes about strong women. And Jennifer stands up for female writers. I loved The Next Best Thing – especially knowing the inside scoop on the book. I went to one of her readings and learned about how her work on the short-lived ABC Family show The State of George inspired it. I have friends who work in TV in Hollywood and have heard many stories about how many hands get into the creative process. This book made me very happy to be in book publishing, where it’s pretty much you and your editor (who deal with the content of your book)!

Me fangirling out with Jennifer Weiner!

THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Stiefvater (coming September 18, 2012)

I adore Maggie. I loved The Scorpio Races. So I was so excited to read the first book in her new The Raven Cycle series. Holy. Crap. SO GOOD! I was riding the train when I got to this part with a twist and GASPED aloud causing people to turn around. Fortunately, security was not called. This book blended magic, legend, mystery, humor, oh, and HOT BOYS in one fast-paced, amazing read. Once you think you know what’s going on, Maggie pulls the rug out from under you. But you’ll love her for it. Believe me, once you finish this book you’ll want to talk to someone about it immediately. (Which is the problem when you read an ARC, but luckily I knew the editor and talked his ear off about its brilliance). My only gripe with the book is that I now have to wait a year for the sequel (yep, I’m one of THOSE people). ;)

SKINNY by Donna Cooner (coming October 2012)

We all have that voice in our head. The one that bullies you. I wish I could say that I’ve learned to quiet that voice completely, but I haven’t. It’s WAY better than when I was as a teen. I found this debut novel so powerful. While the journey that the main character Ever faces may not necessarily relate to a lot of people (having gastric bypass surgery), those nagging thoughts in your head, and the self-sabotaging that we can do, will. I was so invested in Ever and her story, and cheered her along the way. I wish I had this book when I was a teen. But we have it now!

THE BEST NIGHT OF YOUR (PATHETIC) LIFE by Tara Altebrando

When I heard this title I immediately knew I had to read this book. Then a friend told me that it read like a John Hughes movie (which to me is the greatest compliment a book can get!!!). That sealed the deal. This book takes the reader on one crazy, hilarious adventure. Besides all the crazy items in the scavenger hunt, I think what I loved most were the characters: they were real, flawed, surprising – each with their own individual identity. Like how people are in real life! I’m glad I didn’t have this book as a teen, because I’m pretty sure my friends and I would’ve tried to do something like that and it would’ve been a disaster. WITHOUT the hilarious results!

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein

This was my book group’s August selection. It has gotten pretty much every star review known to publishing. It sparked a really great book club discussion, which is all you can really ask.

LES PAUL: GUITAR WIZARD by Bob Jacobson

My mom got really excited when she found out that I have a Les Paul electric guitar. Not because she knows anything about guitars, but because Les Paul was born in Wisconsin. So I came home this month to find this book on my bed. I opened up to read it and discovered it’s for middle-grade students (ah, thanks for the hint, Mom). Besides the glossary of difficult words like “tips” and “natural,” it was a great read even for this GROWN ADULT (MOM!). While I knew Les Paul’s influence on electric guitars, I had no idea how much influence he had over how music is recorded today. It was a fascinating story. He left a lasting legacy for anybody who enjoys contemporary music. (I recently added the documentary Les Paul: Chasing Sound to my Netflix queue, so you might want to check that out if you’re interesting in learning about this legend). 

ROCKOHOLIC by C.J. Skuse (coming in November 2012)

So this might be shocking to you, but I’m a bit of a music junkie and fangirl. Oh wait, did I say shocking, I meant OBVIOUS. So when my lovely publisher sent me an ARC of this book I knew I would love it. After all, I often think about meeting my celebrity crush and just KNOW he’ll fall in love with me the moment he sees me. Duh. I was beyond obsessed with Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block when I was a tween. I was so grateful that I didn’t meet him until I was an adult as I was totally convinced at 12 that if he met we’d be together. Forever. So in Rockoholic when Jody not only meets the rockstar of her dreams, and accidentally kidnaps him (with a candy bar – why didn’t I think of that!!!!), things don’t turn out exactly as she planned. I loved this book and was so excited to blurb it: “Perfect for the inner fangirl in us all. A hilarious look at what happens when fantasy and reality collide. Fast-paced, squirm-inducing, heartbreaking, life-affirming: It will make you think twice about your celebrity crushes. But not stop them. That would be crazy talk.” And it would be. 

Phew! 31 books down, only 19 to go! On to September – I’ve got some big books I want to read so hopefully I won’t fall behind…yet again.

Happy fall (wait, it’s almost fall – how did THAT happen?)!

XOXO, Elizabeth

2012 Reading Challenge – Slow and Steady…

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Happy August! Well, I’m starting to think those people who thought I was crazy for trying to read 50 books this year may be right. At the end of August, I’m at 24 books read. A little behind, but I swear August is going to be my month! I’m traveling this upcoming week, which always means I get reading done. I’m declaring, right here, right now that I’ll have AT LEAST six books read in August (gulp). 

I also recently came across “FiftyFiftyMe” on Twitter, where other people have promised to read 50 books and watch 50 movies this year. I’m pretty sure I’ll see 50 movies this year, but I may also see 50 concerts! As anybody who follows me on Twitter and Facebook knows, I like me some concerts. I decided to keep track and counting tonight’s Miniature Tigers concert, I’ll have been to 23 shows so far. I’ve got two more this month and five planned, so far, in September. So we shall see!

But now to the matter at hand – my July reads! I wanted July to be the month of reading fall ARCs. Um, well, I read two. But hey, better than none, and I REALLY loved those books. So here they are, my July reads (click on the title for details on the book since I’ve realized I’m horrible with synopsis).

 

EVERY DAY by David Levithan (coming August 28, 2012)

Full disclosure: David is not only one of my closest friends, he’s also my editor. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this novel since I heard about its premise: “A” wakes up every day in a different body, then he falls in love with a girl, and everything changes. I gobbled up this book in one sitting. I was in turns mesmerized by how the story unfolded, not knowing what the future held for A (but then again, neither did A), and my conflicting emotions about what would be best for all involved. Um, I don’t want to say too much, so I’ll just stop there and simply say that this is my favorite book of David’s – and that’s saying A LOT! And there’s been so much buzz about it, if it isn’t on your to-read list for fall it should be!

THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST by Emily M. Danforth 

This was my book group’s July read. And it’s really hard to talk about this book without giving anything away. I discovered this at book group when only two of us had finished the book (it’s nearly 500 pages long – I so think I should get credit for two books!). I will say that the book was beautifully written – I’ll fully admit that I’m not a great writer in terms of description, and Danforth is a great descriptive writer.

THE SHADOW SOCIETY by Marie Rutkoski (coming October 16, 2012)

I want to preface my review by saying that counting Every Day, I have only read four books this year that could be counted as either fantasy or science fiction. What usually happens is this: I hear about great fantasy or sci-fi books then drag my heels to read it. When I finally sit down to read, I love it! You’d think I would learn by now that I like all kinds of books and stop being unadventurous!

That being said, I was super excited about Marie’s book because I adore Marie (oh look, I’m name dropping again, as I do). I was hooked on this book from its first sentence. It read like a contemporary adventure book with plenty of romance (CUTE BOY ALERT!) and humor (some awesome banter and hilarious human friends). Oh, and it just so happens that there is an alternate universe. The details and layers of this book were so impressive from a storytelling perspective and it’s such a fun, enjoyable read (I read it in two days). It’s really accessible to those of us who just don’t think they can “get” into fantasy. And like Every Day, this book really made me think about the choices we make and decisions that define us. So you’ll definitely want to add this to your fall reading list as well! (I know! TWO fantasy-ish book recommendations from me – who knew?!?!?)

Oh, and clearly the cover in the above photo was just for the ARC. I love the final cover:

 So that’s July! Hope everybody is enjoying their summer! Now I’m off to finish reading Jennifer Weiner’s The Next Best Thing – I told you August is going to be my month!

XOXO, Elizabeth

2012 Reading Challenge: The Halfway Point

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Happy July, everybody! It’s crazy that the year is already halfway over. And since I declared I was going to read 50 books this year, I’m just a tad behind with 21 read. But I’m hopeful I’ll get a lot of reading done this summer even though I’ve begun writing my next novel (that would be book number FIVE – say wha?). 

So without further ado, the five awesome books I read in June (click on the title for details on the book since I’m horrible with plot synopsis). 

KEEP HOLDING ON by Susane Colasanti

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this new novel from Susane since it’s her most personal book to date. While this book is about bullying, it’s also about the importance of realizing your worth. I seriously think this book should be required reading in school. Not just for people who are being bullied, but for people who stand by and watch someone getting bullied. This book broke my heart and then put it back together again.

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE TERRIFYING RETURN OF TIPPY TINKLETROUSERS by Dav Pilkey (coming August 28, 2012)

Talk about a 180 in terms of reading material. Who goes from a book about bullying to a book about a superhero who fights for all the is preshrunk and cottony? –>THIS GIRL!<– I am a HUGE Captain Underpants fan. It was my favorite series I ever worked on as a publicist so I was excited to get an ARC of the new book coming this fall. It is HYSTERICAL! It even has a reference to one of my favorite movie titles (and constant punchline for sequel titles): Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. I can’t even get into all the things I love about this book as it has a ton of plot twists. All I can say is “Welcome back, Captain. I’ve missed you!”

BURN FOR BURN by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (coming September 18, 2012)

I squealed when I got this ARC at a BEA party. I love both Jenny and Siobhan so the fact that they were writing a book together made me doubly excited. And they did not disappoint. Everybody needs to put this on their fall reading list NOW. Who doesn’t love a good revenge tale? (Please, please have people be interested in books about revenge!) The three main girls in this book couldn’t be more different, but in a way extremely relatable. And just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, a new surprise was waiting for you on the next page.

But here’s the problem with ARCs. While you get to read a book before it comes out, which is super cool, it means you have an even longer wait for the sequel! GAH! Fortunately, I have Siobhan’s number so I texted (some may feel the word harassed is more appropriate) to get some scoop on the next book as I CANNOT WAIT. But these lips are sealed.

WHERE THINGS COME BACK by John Corey Whaley

I was so happy that this was my book group’s June selection. I’ve wanted to read this book since it won the Printz. And then I met Corey and love him. This book is the definition of a page turner. I was hooked from the very beginning. It had lots of twists and turns – I gasped out loud toward the end when everything started coming together in a very surprising way. I love it when award committees get it right!

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE PREPOSTEROUS PLIGHT OF THE PURPLE POTTY PEOPLE by Dav Pilkey 

Did I mention that I’m a big Captain Underpants fan? I got this book for my friend’s two sons who have recently discovered the Captain. I got them this book because (BRAG ALERT!) it’s dedicated to me. Yep, I’m super cool. It was the first time I’ve read a Captain book to kids. It was awesome to have these two young boys sit still and listen to the story. They did ask me to reread one page over a dozen times because the words “poop” and “pee” were repeatedly used. Then I taught them “Na-na-na-na, boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo” right before they went to church. I’m such a responsible adult. And yes I’m counting this as a book because a) I read it, b) it’s 170 pages long, and c) it’s a book! I never said it had to be a YA or adult novel. So, na-na-na-na, boo-boo stick YOUR head in doo-doo. Are we all seeing why I’m such a big fan?

I’ve decided that July will be my month of reading fall ARCs. You know, so I can braggy brag that I get to read books before they come out. Then get annoyed I have to wait over a year for any sequels. 

Happy reading!

XO, Elizabeth

 

 

My 2012 Reading Challenge: May reads!

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Happy June, everybody! Can you believe the year is almost halfway over? Hope everybody’s new years resolutions are going well. In addition to reading 50 books this year, I also want to be able to master the crow pose in yoga. It looks like this:

 

And today I finally was able to balance…and then fell over 1.2 seconds later. But that doesn’t matter! I’m getting close. And believe me, when I finally tackle this pose, I’ll get a pic and post it for the world to see. I guarantee you I won’t look as good as the woman above.

I read some amazing books this May, all should be added to your Summer Reading list asap! (Click on the title for the author’s webpage and description of the book.)

 

OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF TIME by Ally Carter

Anytime I’m asked about my favorite young adult authors, Ally’s name is always at the top of the list. I love her books for many reasons, one is that they feature very strong female characters who don’t need a guy to save them. Actually, most of the time the girl does the saving!! I’ve been eagerly anticipating the new Gallagher Girl book and Out of Sight, Out of Time did not disappoint – it’s my favorite in the series! I’m super against spoilers and I don’t think you can talk about this book without giving anything away so I’ll just say this: go run out now and get this book. And if you’re new to the Gallagher Girl world, start with the the first book I’d Tell You That I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You. You can thank me later.  ;-)

WHEN IT HAPPENS by Susane Colasanti

I’ve been a huge admirer of Susane’s writing for years, but I (shockingly) had never read her first novel, When it Happens. So I wanted to read it before her newest book, Keep Holding On (which is next on my t0-read list), came out. I guess I should do a full disclosure that I’ve been lucky to become good friends with Susane in the last couple years and she’s awesome. We have a lot in common so I went into reading the book knowing that I would love it. And boy did I! Susane perfectly weaves a compelling, funny, and at times heartbreaking love story through two points of view. Each voice was unique and authentic. And believe me, it really annoyed me that this was her first book. Come on Susane, stop making the rest of us look bad!

THE DISENCHANTMENTS by Nina LaCour

Um, hello? A book about an all-girl rock group and boy best friend touring after graduation that has heart, surprises, and ah, Heart (the group)? This book should’ve been called: Written Especially for Elizabeth Eulberg. But I do agree that The Disenchantments is a better title from a marketing point of view. I loved this book right from opening lyrics of “School Days” by The Runaways. It’s no secret that I LOVE MUSIC so I appreciate anybody who can capture that passion in the written form. But this is about more than just a roadtrip book, it’s also about coming into your own and discovering the kind of person you want to be. Oh, and it’s written from the point of a view of a boy who I now have a crush on. Hey Colby, call me! 

UNBREAK MY HEART by Melissa Walker

One of the best experiences I ever had on vacation was spending two nights on a sailboat traveling around the Whitsunday islands in Australia. So I brought along a lot of great memories when I read this book and quickly became thankful that I wasn’t trapped on a boat with my family for the entire summer. But Clementine’s family was the kind of family that I would want if I was a teen who had her heart broken and felt lost. I think a lot of readers can identify with beating yourself up over something, especially when you don’t have a group of friends to rely on. Even with the heaviness inside Clementine’s heart and head, Unbreak My Heart was in turns hopeful and healing, with a very good dose of cute boyness.  (I think I just made up a word.)

I’m now realizing that all these books are contemporary/realistic fiction. And some people think our genre is on the downswing! I’m also very excited that I’m doing events this month with Susane and Melissa so hopefully we’ll see some of you out on the road. I’ll try to not ask them all the questions about their amazing books and leave some for the rest of you.

16 books down, 34 to go (gulp)! Happy summer reading! Anything good on your list?

XOXO, Elizabeth

My 2012 Reading Challenge: The Name Drop Edition

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Hello all! As some of you may remember, my new years resolution was to read 50 books this year. I started off pretty well: three books in January and three in February. And then in March, I read, um, one book. Yikes! I was on deadline for most of March. And while it is possible for me to read while on deadline, the last thing I can handle after 10-12 work days is sitting down with a book. Usually I curl up on my sofa (or under my desk) and let that glowing box called TV entertain me. BUT! I’m happy to report that I was able to read FIVE books in April (thank you Take a Bow tour and your many flights)! I’m making a comeback! So without further ado, my March and April reads. (Click on the individual book title for the author’s webpage and synopsis of book). 

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

This was my one March read, or more appropriately, reread. I first read this book years ago (before the book even came out) and LOVED IT. I’ve wanted to reread it for a long time, but haven’t gotten around to it. So with the movie coming out, I knew I wanted to read it again. I got surprised with an invite to a screening, so I didn’t have a chance to read the book before seeing the movie. And I’m glad I didn’t. While I remembered so much of the book, I ended up enjoying the movie without comparing it so closely to the book. So then I read the book and watched the movie again. (Yep, I’m a HUGE Hunger Games fangirl and Team Peeta, obviously!) I love this book so much and (name drop alert!) Suzanne Collins is one of the nicest people, so I’m EXTRA happy for all of the success of the book and movie. I’m hoping to get to revisit Catching Fire and Mockingjay this year as well.

THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater

I’ve wanted to read this book since I heard Maggie read a teaser last spring at Scholastic (name drop #2!). This book is astonishing and several times I thought, “Yep, that Printz honor sticker so belongs on this book!” First, Maggie created such a well-founded world that was in turns familiar and foreign. Yet, I resonated with the characters and their different challenges and wants. And then there’s the action! There were times I was literally holding my breath wondering what was going to happen. I really wanted to close my eyes toward the end, but that would’ve been hard since I needed to, you know, READ the book. And it had humor in just the right places. Oh, and it really made me want to eat sticky buns. And since I haven’t named dropped enough yet (just you wait!), I got to go on tour with Maggie in Texas and we had a blast (read her tour blog here). She has officially become one of my favorite people EVER. 

CONFESSIONS OF AN ANGRY GIRL by Louise Rozett (coming August, 28, 2012)

One of the many cool things about being an author is that you get asked to read books coming out for a possible blurb. I’ve only been able to do this a couple of times due to pesky deadlines, but when my friend TS told me about this book I wanted to read it from the title alone! It did not disappoint. I found myself laughing, cheering on the main character, and nodding a lot while reading this book. I think the blurb I gave sums up my feelings best: “Confessions of an Angry Girl gives readers a refreshingly honest character with Rose, a smart, sassy heroine with heart. You’ll cheer Rosie on through the many ups and downs of Freshman year: first crushes, loss, and just trying to fit in. Louise Rozett delivers a debut novel that is in turns sweet, heartbreaking, and empowering.”

I was given the green light to share the cover with you (LOVE IT).

WHATEVER AFTER: FAIREST OF ALL by Sarah Mlynowski 

I love Sarah (name drop #3!). I was so excited when I found out she was doing a middle grade series that mixed up well-loved fairy tales. The first one takes on Snow White. I was cracking up while reading this book. It is hilarious, and adorable, and clever — everything I love in a good book! I don’t have it pictured above because I was on the road and gave it to a middle school librarian after I finished reading it. It’s so important to (legally!!) share book you love! 

THE STORY OF US by Deb Caletti

I was on a panel with Deb at the Texas Library Association (name drop #4!) and was given her newest book before our panel. I found myself stopping myself a few times while reading this book and studying how Deb lets the story unfold (it appeared seamless, but I know there must’ve been a lot of work involved). I always try to take note when I’m awed by an author’s storytelling ability and I’ll hopefully be a better writer for it (I learned a lot from ALL these books). 

PURITY by Jackson Pearce

So…I’m going on the road with Jackson this weekend (ding! ding! ding! Name drop OVERLOAD!). I was looking forward to reading Purity since I’ve heard so much about it. I devoured it in two sittings. I’m so impressed with how Jackson was able to tackle a very personal topic, losing your virginity, with such wit, humor, and sensitivity. What makes this extra impressive is that fact that this is a pretty big departure for Jackson (who’s previous novels, Sisters Red and Sweetly, have been best described as “twisted” fairy tales). I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next from her!

Phew! So that was March and April. Can I just say, how cool is my job that I get to hang out with these authors and get to read books before they come out? Let me answer that: VERY.

As I’ll be on the road, I’ll hopefully get more reading done in May. I still have a lot of catching up to do. But fortunately (?), I have a HUGE to-read pile waiting for me to dive in.

Happy reading!

XO, Elizabeth

 

My FAB February Reads!

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Happy March! (March?!?! Moving fast much, 2012? The good news is that this means Take a Bow will be out soon!!!)

When I decided that I was going to blog about the books that I’m reading this year for my 2012 Reading Challenge, I was worried about what would happen if I read a book and I didn’t like it. I’m not much for trashing something, because everything is subjective. And just because I didn’t like something doesn’t mean that others won’t. Fortunately, that wasn’t an issue this month as I absolutely loved the three books I read. (I was hoping to read at least one more, but a nasty cold this past weekend left me practically in a coma.)

Since I’m not great at summarizing, just click on each title to go to the author’s website to read a description of the book.

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I’ve been hearing buzz about this book for months before its publication last fall. Completely worthy of all the praise. First, I’m in awe of Taylor’s writing, such gorgeous prose. Second, her characters are in turns relatable, funny, and mysterious. Even though the book is over 400 pages, I found it a very quick read because everything happens so fast that I kept turning the page wanting more!

My friend Natalie loved this book and she even transformed one of her Monster High dolls into the main character, Karou. Check out the photos here

The List by Siobhan Vivian (coming in April)

I’ve been looking forward to The List since my editor (and Siobhan’s), David Levithan, told me about it. Loved this book so much. Each of the eight girls profiled in this book came to life and I was thrown for a loop more than once – love when that happens! I found myself thinking about the characters long after I turned the last page, a testament of a good book. It also makes you think about the labels we give others, as well as ourselves. AND I’m doing a couple events with Siobhan this April so I’m extra excited to go all fangirly on her!

Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy (Coming in May)

I know I already said this on Twitter, but it needs repeating: If books could have BFFs, this book would be Take a Bow‘s. Seriously. And I couldn’t be happier for Terra’s success. Terra and I worked together years ago at Scholastic. I’ve been so happy seeing her blossom into one of my favorite authors. As someone who loves music and writing about it, Being Friends with Boys makes you feel the music in the book, something very difficult to do. You feel like you’ve been given a backstage pass into these character’s lives and know their inner thoughts. And just when you think you know where it’s all going, Terra has some surprises for you. Gah! I love this book!

I’m telling you, the spring is going to be an amazing season for books. You have to put The List and Being Friends with Boys on your spring list (um, along with Take a Bow, obviously…ahem). And since I’m so excited for these books and I’ll be seeing Terra and Siobhan this spring, I’m going to get autographed copies of each and do a giveaway. Just doing my part of spreading the book love!

So 6 down and 44 more to go! Yikes, March is going to be a tough one as I have to finish my edit on book #4. The good news is that I’ll be traveling a lot in April and May and I always get a ton of reading done in airports, airplanes, hotels… ah, the glamorous life on the road!

XOXO, Elizabeth

My January Reads

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Happy February! (How did it get to be February?!?!?)

My New Year’s Resolution is to read 50 books this year, about a book a week. So how did I do in January? Um, okay… I read three books! Not as much as I was hoping, but I was on a pretty serious deadline for two weeks so I wasn’t able to read during that period. When I spend 10-12 hours in front of the computer working, all I want to do when I’m done is stare at a TV and turn into a zombie.

Without further ado, my January reads:

1) Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella – Sophie Kinsella is one of my favorite adult “chick lit” authors. Some fun facts: Penny’s last name in The Lonely Hearts Club was inspired by the character of Rebecca Bloomwood in Sophie’s Shopaholic series (which is also why Mrs. Bloom’s first name is Becky). I went to one of Sophie’s signings last year for Mini Shopaholic and picked up this book as well. It was so much fun. Basic premise: Lara is haunted by the ghost of her great-aunt Sadie, who makes Lara find her missing necklace before she can properly “rest in peace.” The duo continually spar over clothes, guys, family – they don’t see eye to eye on anything! It’s parts comedy, romance, mystery, and family drama. Highly recommend!

2) Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link – This was my book group’s January read. It’s a collection of nine short stories. All the stories were very clever and extremely diverse. You have one where a guy accidentally digs up the wrong grave, another where a father and son are stuck in quarantine, then there’s one with a magical handbag that contains an entire village inside it. I found myself wanting more at the end of most of the stories, which I think is a test of a great story!

3) Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein – I went to a lecture given by Gabby on 11/11/11. I really believe in putting good intentions/dreams out into the universe. But sometimes I get caught up in the every day that I forget to take time out for myself to reflect. This book was a nice reminder to not give into fear, let go and forgive, not be afraid to ask for help, and to listen.

I’m not going to speculate on the books that I’m going to read this month. I already have five books set aside, but you never know what’s going to happen! I’m going to Puerto Rico next week and plan on sitting by the pool and do nothing but read and relax for a few days so I’ve got my fingers crossed for lots of reading this month. Unless I’m hit with another deadline. Which is bound to happen sometime soon (let’s just hope it’s not when I’m on the beach!) 

That’s it for my list. Have you read any good books this month?

XO, Elizabeth