What I’m Reading 2018

— Books I’ve Read in 2018 —


I am totally obsessed with this series and can’t seem to stop re-reading it! I get swept up in the story and absolutely love the characters. Doesn’t hurt that Maas gives us a fabulously female-positive world to play around in. Things like sex and menstruation are approached as if women and their choices MATTER. Exactly the kind of world – fantasy or not – that I’d want my own daughter to experience.


Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Plot summary for A COURT OF MIST AND FURY:

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.


Plot summary for A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN:

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.


Learn more about Sarah J. Maas here.



QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare

Damn! What a conclusion!

Looooooved this series so much! My favorite Shadowhunter series to date! Julian and Emma are great characters to root for.

Dark secrets and forbidden love threaten the very survival of the Shadowhunters in Cassandra Clare’s Queen of Air and Darkness, the final novel in the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling The Dark Artifices trilogy. Queen of Air and Darkness is a Shadowhunters novel.

What if damnation is the price of true love?

Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the disease that is destroying the race of warlocks. Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love.

Learn more about Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Series here.



LITTLE & LION by Brandy Colbert

Wow. This is such a beautiful book.

There was so much buzz about it, I had to pick it up. I’m so glad I did. What a beautiful story. I just absolutely loved it. The struggle with how to help someone with mental illness who doesn’t want to be helped is so real and so hard for everyone involved. All the heavy subjects Colbert’s characters struggled with were dealt with so well and you cared for them all and devoured their stories, hoping everything would turn out okay. Damn good book.

When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.

But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new . . . the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself—or worse. (Plot summary from author’s website.)

Learn more about Brandy Colbert here.



EVIL LIBRARIAN by Michelle Knudsen

Well if the title alone doesn’t intrigue you, I got nothing. This was exactly the kind of read you think it’s going to be – a little bit campy, a little bit scary, and just a little bit naughty. And with a splash of musical theatre.

Not a bad story overall. I’m not really intrigued enough to read the sequels, but it was fun enough for one book.

He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.

When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body! From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety). (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Michelle Knudsen here.




Linda came to our Fall SCBWI OK retreat a few years ago to speak and I got a signed copy of her latest book – this one! She is such an amazing writer and I have been a huge fan ever since reading CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT so many years ago. And her book CENTER OF EVERYTHING is so, so good! I loved hearing her talk and learning about craft from her – amazing! If you ever get the chance, take it!

I’m just now getting around to reading this story and it’s a fun read. Such a cute story. Perfect MG Adventure tale.

When magic came to Milo Speck, it came in the form of a sock. “Figures,” said Milo.

So begins Milo’s adventure in Ogregon, a place populated with hungry ogres, dino-sized turkeys, kidnapped kids, and—Dad? What’s Milo’s regular-old salesman father doing in Ogregon? For that matter, how did a shrimp like Milo end up there? He’s no hero. He can’t help those kids. Right?

But there’s no time for Milo to get the answers. After all, hungry ogres like nothing more than a tasty bite of boy, and what kid is going to stick around for that? A fast escape back home to Downriver is all that matters—until Milo realizes that what’s really afoot in Ogregon goes far beyond an ogre quest for snack food. And his own family may be somehow mixed up in the dastardly plot. But what can a small boy in a very big world possibly do about that? (Plot summary from author’s website.)

Learn more about Linda Urban here.




I first watched the Netflix movie based on the first book…an embarrassing number of times. So so so good! And then decided I should definitely read the book. No-one should be surprised that I found the book even better.

And then was so excited to discover it was a series!

Yay! More Lara Jean! What a wonderful character. (And now they are making movie number two! EEEEEE!!!!)

Now I’ll have to read the series again…Okay, okay, I GET to read it again. 🙂


LARA JEAN keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved.

When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only.

Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.


Plot Summary of P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU:

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

They were just pretending. Until they weren’t. And now Lara Jean has to learn what it’s like to be in a real relationship and not just a make believe one.

But when another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him suddenly return, too.

Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE, Lara Jean is about to find out that falling in love is the easy part.



Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

(Plot summaries from author’s website.)

Learn  more about Jenny Han here.



ALEXANDER HAMILTON: American Hero by Barbara Lowell

This was a good year for my critique group! My dear friend Barbara wrote this wonderful book.

Great introductory read about Alexander Hamilton. It will encourage young readers to want to learn more about this important historical figure.

With his face on the ten-dollar bill and an award-winning musical about his life, it’s clear that Alexander Hamilton’s story is one worth telling. Despite feeling like an outsider, Hamilton fought hard to form a united nation with a strong central government–and many of his ideas are still relevant today! With this illustrated leveled reader, kids can learn more about the man who, in many ways, was a true American hero. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Barbara Lowell here.


BEFORE THE DEVIL BREAKS YOU (The Diviners #3) by Libba Bray

I adore Ms. Bray and adore this series, however I did NOT know that this was NOT the end of the series! ARG! The exquisite torture continues! I thought I was going to die waiting for THIS book to come out – I am NOT a patient person. I know this title is BEFORE THE DEVIL BREAKS YOU, but maybe the next one should be BEFORE LIBBA BRAY BREAKS YOU. (Dramatically faints on newly purchased fainting couch that I apparently will be needing more and more in the future.)

Ignore all that and just read this fabulous book!

New York City.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming…

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They’re more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward’s Island, far from the city’s bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten–ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they’ve ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation–a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Libba Bray here.




UGH! Rip my heart out and stomp up and down on it!

But in a good way?

This is such a good book. Just reading the title you feel the tension of what’s going to happen and HOPE TO HELL it’s not when you finally figure out WHO it applies to.

You can’t help but think while reading this, what you would do if someone called you at midnight and told you that’s it, today’s the day you die. Fascinating concept and so well executed. Loved it as much as it broke my heart. Damn you, Adam Silvera. (But in a good way.)

Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

Learn more about Adam Silvera here.


CLOCKWORK ANGEL (The Infernal Devices #1) CLOCKWORK PRINCE (The Infernal Devices #2), and CLOCKWORK PRINCESS (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare

After reading so many of the Ghosts of the Shadow Market stories that were focused on Jem’s character I wanted to reread this series where we are first introduced to Jem, especially since her one of next series will also be set around this era.

It was nice to reread this series since I had never done so. It was like reading it for the first time all over again.

Plot summary for CLOCKWORK ANGEL:

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

Plot summary for CLOCKWORK PRINCE:

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.


Danger and betrayal, love and loss, secrets and enchantment are woven together in the breathtaking finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices Trilogy, prequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series.


A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

(Plot summaries from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Series here.

ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M McManus

EVERYONE was talking about this book and the cover was so eye-catching AND it promised a great mystery, so I just had to read it.

It was good. I think the hype may have gotten my hopes up for more of an enticing puzzle of a story than I found. I figured out the big mystery easier than I had hoped. Nobody’s fault, really. Sometimes it’s just a drawback to being a writer and recognizing patterns in stories. It happens. I still enjoyed it. And would recommend it to anyone who likes modern whodunits.

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Karen M McManus here.


ARE WE THERE YET? by David Levithan

One of Levithan’s early works that I hadn’t read popped up on the ebook daily sales special so of course I hit the download button. And off we went! I always enjoy Levithan’s writing. This one was a decent read – great for a weekend lazing about. I’m happy with my sale purchase. 🙂

Sixteen-year-old Elijah is completely mellow and his 23-year-old brother Danny is completely not, so it’s no wonder they can barely tolerate one another. So what better way to repair their broken relationship than to trick them into taking a trip to Italy together? Soon, though, their parents’ perfect solution has become Danny and Elijah’s nightmare as they’re forced to spend countless hours together. But then Elijah meets Julia, and soon the brothers aren’t together nearly as much. And then Julia meets Danny and soon all three of them are in a mixed-up, turned-around, never-what-you-expect world of brothers, Italy, and love.

Are We There Yet? isn’t about a place on a map, it’s about a place in the heart. David Levithan has written a magical story of a journey definitely worth taking. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about David Levithan here.


I AM MALALA: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Someone who I care about gave me this book and I was delighted to receive it. It was enlightening to read not only about Malala’s experience as an advocate for girls’ education, but as a young girl from Pakistan – really learning what her country was like from someone who loves it dearly and seeing it through her eyes. Even after everything that has happened to her.

I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala’s miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Malala Yousafzai here.



LEAH ON THE OFFBEAT by Becky Albertalli

This a perfect companion book! Absolutely loved it! Leah’s story was wonderful to read. I loved that she got her own story. It was well-deserved and an important one to share. (It was also nice to get a glimpse of our boy Simon!)

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Becky Albertalli here.

Tammi Sauer Books

My dear friend Tammi Sauer had SIX books come out in 2018 and devoted friend that I am, (you may even call me a superfan – she does) I bought and read all of them. I thought it would be easier to put the information for them all together in one handy section.

MAKING A FRIEND – Illustrated by Alison Friend

A clever picture book about the fun of making new friends and building unlikely relationships—and playing in the snow! From the bestselling author of Nugget and Fang.

Beaver is good at making just about everything…but not friends. One winter day, Beaver sees some snowflakes in the sky and gets a great idea: he’ll make a friend. Yes! A snowman will be a great friend!

Raccoon passes by as Beaver sets to work and offers a helping hand. The two work side by side to give their snowman everything a friend needs.

But when the snowman proves to be a little cold, Beaver discovers that he may have unknowingly “made” another buddy instead.

Perfect for snuggling together for a read-aloud, this sweet snowy friendship story from Tammi Sauer and Alison Friend will warm the hearts of young readers.

QUIET WYATT- Illustrated by Arthur Howard

At the noisiest of times, can the quietest kid save the day? Opposites attract in this sweet and funny friendship story from the author of Nugget & Fang.

Wyatt likes quiet. And being quiet works for Wyatt. He’s the model visitor at museums, the perfect tree in the school play—and he’s the absolute star of his ninja camp.
But when Wyatt is paired with noisy Noreen on a class field trip, his quiet world is shattered. She’s a know-it-all, and just too loud! So loud, in fact, that she might unintentionally cause some alarming problems . . . Can Wyatt overcome his shyness and speak up in time to save the day?
Here is a charming, humorous tale about being true to yourself, accepting others for who they are, and stepping outside of your comfort zone for the sake of a friend.

KNOCK KNOCK – Illustrated by Guy Francis

Knock Knock is a fresh and innovative method of humorous storytelling that uses knock-knock jokes to tell the story of Bear and his woodland friends Raccoon, Rabbit, Turtle, and others. With each new visitor, Bear grows increasingly frustrated at his lack of peace and quiet. Little does Bear know that his friends have a special surprise party in store to welcome him back during springtime!

“Knock, knock!”
“Who’s there?”
“Justin who?”
“Justin the neighborhood and thought I’d stop by.”

It’s sidesplitting storybook fun!

GO FISH! – Illustrated by Zoe Waring

From the bestselling author of Nugget and Fang, a funny picture book for little ones about Goose, his buddies, and the silliest fishing trip.

Goose and friends are off to the pond to fish. They have their rods, the perfect bait, and fishing gear—but when they cast their lines and GO FISH, there are NO FISH to be found! Maybe ONE FISH . . . but he’s awfully big!

A mostly wordless picture book that will appeal to fans of Big Blue Truck, Llama Llama Red Pajama, and Where’s Spot?, Go Fish! will have little ones calling out words and giggling.

The youngest readers will love the rhythm and tongue-twisting alliteration of the simple two-letter words go and no, as well as the sweetness of a friendship story with a classic feel.

Tammi Sauer and Zoe Waring have created the perfect follow up to Truck, Truck, Goose!, which is also now available as a board book.

BUT THE BEAR CAME BACK – Illustrated by Dan Taylor

What happens when a bear comes knocking at your door—and won’t go away?

“And I said, ‘Go home, bear.’
And that was that.
But the bear came back.”

Knock, knock. Who’s there? A BEAR! A furry, friendly PERSISTENT bear. And no matter how many times a grouchy little boy tries to tell him that bears don’t belong in houses, he keeps coming back—until, one day, he doesn’t. Only then does the boy realize how much he cares about the bear . . . and misses him. Can he find his friend again?

WORDY BIRDY – Illustrated by Dave Mottram

Meet Wordy Birdy, a very chatty bird who talks WAY more than she listens!

Wordy Birdy LOVES to talk. “Hello, sunrise. Hello, pink sky. Hello, orange sky. . . .” But does she love to listen? NOPE. One day, while she’s walking through the forest, her gift of the gab gets her into hot water: “That’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty danger sign and that’s a pretty tree. . . .” Will this inattentive bird walk right into danger? Will her faraway thoughts lead her along a path of doom? It’s up to her long-suffering, heard-it-all-before pals Squirrel, Raccoon, and Rabbit to save their distracted friend.

Plot summaries from Goodreads.

Learn more about Tammi Sauer here.



13 LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPES by Maureen Johnson

Let me just start off by saying that I did NOT know that this was going to be a series…so…

(Spoiler alert!!!!)

When we get to the end of the book and Ginny LOSES the last damn envelope and we never find out how the trip was supposed to end, I’m like…what kind of bullshit zen crap is this???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Probably a few more exclamation points. And more cussing.)

No, I did not take it well. Maybe because I was so invested in the story. Maybe because I don’t like to be left hanging. Either way, it wasn’t until a few months later that I saw there was a second book…I still haven’t been able to get up the energy to read it. You tell me what that means.

Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket.

In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat.

The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist.

Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/thief/ bloke about town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous though utterly romantic results. But will she ever see him again?

Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it’s all because of the 13 little blue envelopes. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Maureen Johnson here.



OBSIDIO (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Fantastic conclusion to this unusual, phenomenal series.

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Amie Kaufman here.

Learn more about Jay Kristoff here.



LEGENDARY (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber

I had the pleasure of hearing Stephanie speak a few times at the SCBWI LA summer conference. She was a delight and her journey to writing the first book in the Caraval series was so inspiring. If one MUST be a writer, one should NEVER give up! I’m so glad she didn’t.

This is such an intoxicating and fascinating tale. And I do love the puzzle of trying to figure out what’s going to happen and what the mystery is for each story. She’s very good at keeping you guessing. (And reading late into the night!) And I also love it when the bad guy turns out maybe to NOT be the bad guy? Or is he?

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever…

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . the games have only just begun. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Stephanie Garber here:




I hosted Pablo on a Twitter chat at the suggestion of a writer friend who was taking an MFA course under him. I wanted to get to know him before the chat so I read one of his books. This was an endearing story about family and growing up that I just adored.

(And BTW, Pablo was an outstanding guest on our chat – so informative!)

Save the restaurant. Save the town. Get the girl. Make Abuela proud. Can thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora do it all or is he in for a BIG, EPIC FAIL?

For Arturo, summetime in Miami means playing basketball until dark, sipping mango smoothies, and keeping cool under banyan trees. And maybe a few shifts as junior lunchtime dishwasher at Abuela’s restaurant. Maybe. But this summer also includes Carmen, a cute poetry enthusiast who moves into Arturo’s apartment complex and turns his stomach into a deep fryer. He almost doesn’t notice the smarmy land developer who rolls into town and threatens to change it. Arturo refuses to let his family and community go down without a fight, and as he schemes with Carmen, Arturo discovers the power of poetry and protest through untold family stories and the work of Jose Marti. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Pablo Cartaya here.



DIVIDING EDEN by Joelle Charboneau

I heard Joelle speak at one of my favorite indie bookstores. She was there with a few other authors for an Epic Reads event. I’d never read her books before, but I was so intrigued by this one, that I left with a signed copy, very excited to read her story.

I loved the idea of twins who know grew up knowing each other’s weaknesses and fears having to then fight against each other and seeing whether they would use that knowledge. Great book. Really enjoyed it.

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal? (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Joelle Charbonneau here.



WARCROSS (Warcross #1) and WLIDCARD (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu

I had the pleasure of hearing Marie Lu Speak at the SCBWI summer conference in LA but I was already a huge fan. This series is just outstanding. Lu continues to write phenomenal books centered around kickass female characters. This one is no different, except for it being set in, you know, virtual reality.

Fantastic book! Loved the immersive world of the Warcross game that Lu created. Erika is an outstanding character to root for. I couldn’t wait to read more in the next book! This fast-paced, no-holds barred duology had a very satisfying ending.

Plot Summary for WARCROSS:

When a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths. For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally.

When Emika hacks into the game illegally, she’s convinced she’ll be arrested, and is shocked when she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem … and he wants Emika for the job.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Plot summary for WILDCARD:

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

(Plot summaries from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Marie Lu here.


CAN I BE YOUR DOG by Troy Cummings

I had the pleasure of hosting Troy on one of my Twitter chats and he was just awesome. I had him on with SCBWI OK author Tammi Sauer. They created the book CARING FOR YOUR LION together – it’s a hilarious picture book. They were hilarious together during the chat and I just fell in love with Troy immediately. I didn’t hesitate to pick up his latest book when I saw it.

In this picture book, Troy does the heavy lifting of being both author AND illustrator in this adorable tale of a dog writing letters to everyone in the neighborhood asking them if he can be their dog. Awww! You’re heart is melting and you haven’t even cracked open the book, right?

There is so much heart in this canine tale! Loved, loved, loved every furry page.

A heart-tugging dog adoption story told through letters–deeply sincere and almost desperate pleas for a forever home–from the dog, himself!

This picture book shares the tale of Arfy, a homeless mutt who lives in a box in an alley. Arfy writes to every person on Butternut Street about what a great pet he’d make. His letters to prospective owners share that he’s house broken! He has his own squeaky bone! He can learn to live with cats! But, no one wants him. Won’t anyone open their heart–and home–to a lonesome dog? Readers will be happily surprised to learn just who steps up to adopt Arfy.

Troy Cummings’s hilarious and touching story is a perfect gift for a child wanting a dog, and for pet adoption advocates. It also showcases many different styles of letter writing, making it appealing to parents and teachers looking to teach the lost art of written communication. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Troy Cummings here.



LITTLE RED FORT by Brenda Maier

I’m so very proud to say that Brenda is one of my critique partners and I’m so excited for this book, her debut into the world of children’s publishing! (This woman is a machine and never stops coming up with fantastic ideas! Stay tuned for her next book out early next spring!)

Ruby is a character after my own heart! She sets her mind to something she wants and does it. If she doesn’t know how to do something, she figures it out. The illustrations add to the heart of the story and to Ruby’s charm. Love her!

In this retelling of THE LITTLE RED HEN, Ruby wants to build a fort, but her big brothers refuse to help her.

When the boys see the finished product, they really want to play in it, but it’s too late to do anything about it. Or is it?  

Learn more about Brenda Maier here.



I received an FNG from Hannah at our SCBWI OK spring conference before this book came out and I instantly fell in love this these characters!

Rupert and Levi are my new favorite friend pairing. I hope we see more of them! As someone who always sees themselves as the embarrassing friend, I’m glad there’s a book I can give to all of MY friends to show them how much I appreciate them.

Harrison’s playful use of language, paired with her awesome illustrations (the dodgeball scene is hilarious!), make this book laugh-out-loud funny. But don’t let that fool you, it will also hit you right in the feels. A Must-Read book!

Rupert is a rhinoceros of refined sensibilities. Levi, the new tickbird in class, is not. He burps the alphabet, tells corny jokes, and does really embarrassing air guitar solos. Worse, he lands right on Rupert and is determined to be Rupert’s symbiotic best pal! Rupert wants him gone. But when Levi finally does bug off, Rupert finds the peace and quiet a little boring. It turns out, Rupert could really use a friend like Levi.

This sweet and moving friendship story shares an important message of acceptance for every reader–whether they’re a Rupert or a Levi. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Hannah Harrison here.



AFTER THE FALL: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat

I’ve just come to the realization that this man is a certifiable genius. Not only for his artistic talent, which is undeniable, but the text in this book! Oh, man!

He punches you in the gut with emotion while exploring the concept of facing your fears in a very relatable way – for every age reader. And there’s one spread in particular that if you don’t have your heart in your throat just from that image, I don’t know what it takes to move you.


Everyone knows that when Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. But what happened after?

Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat’s poignant tale follows Humpty Dumpty, an avid bird watcher whose favorite place to be is high up on the city wall—that is, until after his famous fall. Now terrified of heights, Humpty can longer do many of the things he loves most.

Will he summon the courage to face his fear? (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Dan Santat here.




I had the pleasure of seeing Kelly Barnhill speak at the SCBWI LA summer conference. I’ve been wanting to read her Newbery book ever since. It took make a little while to get into the story, but then I was hooked. It was a very nice read.

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Kelly Barnhill here.


SON OF THE DAWN (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #1), CAST LONG SHADOWS (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #2), EVERY EXQUISITE THING (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #3), LEARN ABOUT LOSS (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #4), A DEEPER LOVE (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #5), THE WICKED ONES (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #6), THELAND I LOST (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #7), and THROUGH BLOOD, THROUGH FIRE (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #8) by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link, and Robin Wasserman

This is a series of short stories released one at a time that will eventually be released as a single collection.

It was fun to get a tiny does of Shadowhunter stories every few weeks and wonder how this would impact the final book of the Dark Artifices series – one of my favorites series she has written so far!

The Shadow Market is a meeting point for faeries, werewolves, warlocks and vampires. There the Downworlders buy and sell magical objects, make dark bargains, and whisper secrets they do not want the Nephilim to know. Through two centuries, however, there has been a frequent visitor to the Shadow Market from the City of Bones, the very heart of the Shadowhunters. As a Silent Brother, Brother Zachariah is sworn keeper of the laws and lore of the Nephilim. But once he was a Shadowhunter called Jem Carstairs, and his love, then and always, is the warlock Tessa Gray.

Follow Brother Zachariah and see, against the backdrop of the Shadow Market’s dark dealing and festival, Anna Lightwood’s doomed romance, Matthew Fairchild’s great sin and Tessa Gray plunged into a world war. Valentine Morgenstern buys a soul at the Market and a young Jace Wayland’s soul finds safe harbor. In the Market is hidden a lost heir and a beloved ghost, and no-one can save you once you have traded away your heart. Not even Brother Zachariah. (Plot summary from author’s website.)

Learn more about Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Series here.



CITY OF BONES 10th Anniversary Edition (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

Well, when one of your favorite series puts our a gorgeous tenth anniversary edition, what are you do, but pick it up and read it?

This is my gazillionth time reading this book and I still love it. Completely Clare fan to the bitter end. I hope she never runs out of Shadowhunter stories!

Celebrate the tenth anniversary of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones with this gorgeous new edition, complete with special content and exclusive color illustrations.

The tenth anniversary of Cassandra Clare’s phenomenal City of Bones demands a luxe new edition. The pride of any fan’s collection, City of Bones now has new cover art, gilded edges, over thirty interior illustrations, and six new full-page color portraits of everyone’s favorite characters! This beautifully crafted collector’s item also includes four bonus stories that have previously only appeared in limited distribution, and—best of all—a new piece written by Cassandra Clare. A perfect gift for the Shadowhunter fan in your life.

This is the book where Clary Fray first discovered the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world and back to their own. The book where she first met Jace Wayland, the best Shadowhunter of his generation. The book that started it all. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter Series here.


SON by Lois Lowry

Not sure how I feel about the fourth book in this series. I adored THE GIVER, and I think I’ve stuck with this series due to that love.

It was a decent story, I guess I was always wanting to follow the same characters all the way through, instead of from the corner of my eye. Not that this wasn’t a perfectly fine way to tell these stories, just left me longing for something more, something undefinable.

They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.

Son thrusts readers once again into the chilling world of the Newbery Medal winning book, The Giver, as well as Gathering Blue and Messenger where a new hero emerges. In this thrilling series finale, the startling and long-awaited conclusion to Lois Lowry’s epic tale culminates in a final clash between good and evil. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Lois Lowry here.




This book was just stunning.

Written in free verse, McCullough uses beautiful language choices to put the reader into the scene and let us feel and see every brushstroke, every emotion fully. Absolutely loved this book. What a fabulous debut novel!

A stunning debut novel based on the true story of the iconic painter, Artemisia Gentileschi.

Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint.

She chose paint.

By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

He will not consume
my every thought.
I am a painter.
I will paint.

Joy McCullough’s bold novel in verse is a portrait of an artist as a young woman, filled with the soaring highs of creative inspiration and the devastating setbacks of a system built to break her. McCullough weaves Artemisia’s heartbreaking story with the stories of the ancient heroines, Susanna and Judith, who become not only the subjects of two of Artemisia’s most famous paintings but sources of strength as she battles to paint a woman’s timeless truth in the face of unspeakable and all-too-familiar violence.

I will show you
what a woman can do.

(Plot summary from author’s website.)

Learn more about Joy McCullough here.


LIARS, INC by Paula Stokes

Discovered this author through the YA Scavenger Hunt. Great mystery. (And I’m a big fan of mystery stories!) Really enjoyed reading this one.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called “Captivating to the very end,” Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters. (Plot summary from author’s website.)

Learn more about Paula Stokes here.



WILDWOOD by Colin Meloy with Illustrations by Carson Ellis


Being a fan of The Decemberists, and also knowing Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis together have a son with autism, like me, I was intrigued to read their book. I was delighted with their collaboration. It was a fun read.

Prue McKeel’s life is ordinary. At least until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland. No one’s ever gone in—or at least returned to tell of it.

So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater, as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood. (Plot summary from author’s website.)

Learn more about Wildwood Chronicle series here.

Follow Wildwood Chronicles on Facebook here.


A DANCE WITH DRAGONS (A Song of Ice and Fire #5) by George R.R. Martin

Finally read the latest book in the series, so I’m all caught up – with Mr. Martin’s version. And now I’m am (impatiently) waiting along with the rest of the world for his next installment! I think that’s why I waited so long to read this one. Always hoping he’d be closer to finishing. But being a writer myself, I know you can’t necessarily rush these things, and I do NOT want to rush him. I want him to write the best book ever. So, take your time, Mr. Martin. We can wait! Even if we’re a bit impatient about it.

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again–beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has three times three thousand enemies, and many have set out to find her. Yet, as they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

To the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone–a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge yet. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

And from all corners, bitter conflicts soon reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all. . . . (Plot summary from author’s website.)

Learn more about George RR Martin here.

Follow George on Facebook here.

Follow George on Twitter here.


SEIZE TODAY (Forget Tomorrow #3) by Pintip Dunn

Very satisfying ending to this enjoyable series. One thing I would have liked better was if all the books followed the same character instead of each one being from a different POV. Or maybe having all from multiple POVs. I just really enjoyed the MC in the first book and you just don’t get to spend much time with her  throughout the rest of the series.

The other characters are great, too, but, just a personal preference, I guess. Still a fun series. I just loved the concept of how knowing something, even just a small something, about your future could effect your entire life. And where that left choice versus fate.

Conclusion to the New York Times bestselling and award-winning series, Forget Tomorrow. 

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Dresden is a precognitive. Since different versions of people’s futures flicker before her eyes, she doesn’t have to believe in human decency. She can see the way for everyone to be their best self-if only they would make the right decisions. No one is more conflicted than her mother, and Olivia can only watch as Chairwoman Dresden chooses the dark, destructive course every time. Yet Olivia remains fiercely loyal to the woman her mother could be.

But when the chairwoman captures Ryder Russell, the striking and strong-willed boy from the rebel Underground, Olivia sees a vision of her own imminent death…at Ryder’s hand. Despite her bleak fate, she rescues Ryder and flees with him, drawing her mother’s fury and sparking a romance as doomed as Olivia herself. As the full extent of Chairwoman Dresden’s gruesome plan is revealed, Olivia must find the courage to live in the present-and stop her mother before she destroys the world. (Plot summary from author’s website.)

Learn more about Pintip Dunn here.

Follow Pintip on Twitter here.

Follow Pintip on Facebook here.

Follow Pintip on Instagram here.



ALL FALL DOWN (Embassy Row #1), SEE HOW THEY RUN (Embassy Row #2) and TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP (Embassy Row #3) by Ally Carter





Exhilarating and fast-paced. Loved following Grace on all of her adventures on Embassy Row. Wonderful series. I raced right through all three books.

Plot summary for ALL FALL DOWN:

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her–so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door who is keeping an eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace–no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do.

Her past has come back to hunt her . . .  and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world all stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Plot summary for SEE HOW THEY RUN:


For the past three years, Grace Blakely has been desperate to find out the truth about her mother’s murder. She thought it would bring her peace. She thought it would lead her to answers. She thought she could put the past to rest.

But the truth has only made her a target.

And the past?

The only way to put the past to rest is for Grace to kill it once and for all.

On Embassy Row, power can make you a victor or a victim, love can turn you into a fool or a fugitive, and family can lead you forward or bury you deep. Trust is a luxury. Death is a very real threat. And a girl like Grace must be very careful about which secrets she brings to light.

Plot summary for TAKE THE KEY AND LOCK HER UP:


Centuries ago, the royal family of Adria was killed . . . or so everyone thought.
Now Grace Blakely knows the truth:

There was one survivor, and that survivor’s blood runs through her veins. This simple fact could cause a revolution — which is why some people will stop at nothing to keep it from coming to light.

There is only one way for Grace to save herself, save her family, and save the boy she loves. She must outmaneuver her foes, cut through the web of lies that has surrounded her for years, and go back to the source of all her troubles, despite the risk.

If she wins, she will inherit a throne.

And if she loses, she will inherit the fate of all the dead princesses who came before her.

Plot summaries from author’s website.


Learn more about Ally Carter here.

Follow Ally on Twitter here.

Follow Ally on Facebook here.

Follow Ally on Instagram here.



LOVE by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Loren Long

This is what the world needs more of…perfect timing, too. Absolutely beautiful story. Gorgeous illustrations heighten the emotional impact.

“In the beginning there is light
and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed
and the sound of their voices is love.

A cab driver plays love softly on his radio
while you bounce in back with the bumps of the city
and everything smells new, and it smells like life.”

In this heartfelt celebration of love, Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age. (Plot summary from author’s website.)


Learn more about Matt de la Peña here.

Follow Matt on Twitter here.

Follow Matt on Facebook here.

Follow Matt on Instagram here.

Learn more about Loren Long here.

Follow Loren on Twitter here.

Follow Loren on Facebook here.



THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich

I read this book at an agent’s suggestion as a mentor text for my current WIP. Wow! Did she ever get that right! I have so many great ideas for my own manuscript, now. Ways to push my story to make it even better.

This was such a fun/scary read! Loved the psychological aspect of the story which made it so much more fun trying to figure out what was real and what wasn’t. Great unreliable narrator! And the mixed media format – which reminded me a lot of the ILLUMINAE FILES , so awesome – really added to the experience. Super creeptastic in the best way!

Three students: dead.
Carly Johnson: vanished without a trace.

Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.”

Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson.

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it.

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich masterfully weaves together a thrilling and terrifying story using psychiatric reports, witness testimonials, video footage, and the discovered diary – and as the mystery grows, the horrifying truth about what happened that night unfolds. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

Learn more about Dawn Kurtagich here.

Follow Dawn on Twitter here.

Follow Dawn on Instagram here.



CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber

Relaxed & Groovy Book Club Pic

So magical!

Loved the twists all the way to end. Kept me reading well into the wee hours of the morning.

As fantastic as the plot was, the characters were just as amazing. Watching the growth of Scarlet’s character from fearful to brave was masterfully done. And Julian is no typical two-dimensional pretty boy, he showed great depth and there were many interesting twists to his storyline as well.

Dying to read the next installment!

Read full discussion here.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away. (Plot summary from author’s website.)

Learn more about Stephanie Garber here.

Follow Stephanie on Twitter here.

Follow Stephanie on Facebook here.

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ANOTHER DAY by David Levithan

Loved experiencing one of my favorite stories from the other side. Levithan still left room for discovery and character exploration. Always want more time with A. Beautiful story. Really, really made me want to read EVERY DAY, yet again. Still one of my favorite YA books of all time.

In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan (co-author  of Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all. (Plot summary from author’s website.)

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HOLLOW CITY by Ransom Riggs

I really enjoyed this sequel to MISS PEREGRINE’S PECULIAR CHILDREN. ( It did take some adjustment after watching the film so recently to remember the differences in the plot and characters.) Riggs really knows how to blend those creepy old photographs into his storytelling with panache. They add a level of spooky that makes your skin crawl like only odd black and white photos can.

This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises. (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

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