Best YA Books of 2017 | Provo Library Event

Every year the Provo Library puts on a “Best of…” event where they go over the best YA, Adult, and Children’s books from the previous year. Most years I just go for the YA session and I’ve usually already heard of most of the books that they mention. But every once in a while they talk about a book that I haven’t heard of and I’m intrigued. So I thought I’d mention a few of the books that caught my eye here.

Bull by David Elliott – This is a book written in verse that also has some visual elements. It’s a retelling of the myth of the Minotaur. I have always loved mythology in general and I’m intrigued by this premise.

Damsels by Leah Moore – More retellings! This one is a graphic novel and brings together many of our favorite fairy tale heroines. This is not your typical “damsel in distress” book.

Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman I think somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that Vincent Van Gogh had a brother, but I wouldn’t have been able to come up with his name. This book sounds really interesting in exploring their relationship and how it may have influenced Vincent’s art. Also, this is from the same author who gave us Charles and Emma.

The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato – This book was very intriguing to me. It’s set in D.C. and I think has an American History element to it with maybe some magical realism?

Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld – I have loved Scott Westerfeld ever since I read the “Uglies” series back when they were coming out when I was in junior high. This is a graphic novel and was described as being horror-ish. I’d like to read more graphic novels so I’m definitely interested in this one.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds – Okay, so I think this is another book that’s written in verse. It’s about a boy whose brother got shot and so now he’s trying to take out the guy who he thinks was the shooter. He’s on this elevator and on each floor a ghost gets on to talk to him? It sounds kind of trippy but also just really fascinating.

Have you guys heard of these books? What were some of your favorite reads from 2017? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: The Best of 2017 So Far

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far

I haven’t been able to read as much this year as I thought I would (I’m about 14 books behind on my Goodreads challenge), but I’ve still read some good ones. Here they are in no particular order (titles link to Goodreads).

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure – 5 Stars
Once and For All by Sarah Dessen – 5 Stars
180 Seconds by Jessica Park – 5 Stars
The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy – 5 Stars – Review
The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares – 5 Stars – Review

Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger – 5 Stars – Review
A Million Junes by Emily Henry – 4 Stars – Review
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer – 4 Stars – Review
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – 5 Stars
Things I Should Have Known by Claire LaZebnik – 4 Stars – Review

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer 2017 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Summer Reads Freebie

Summer used to be this great time when I didn’t have to go to school and I could just relax and read ALL THE TIME. But then I grew up and got a full-time job and now I don’t actually have any extra time to read during the Summer. Summer is now just like any other time of the year *sigh*. Can anyone relate to this???

Despite all of that, I still have some books that I’m hoping (fingers crossed!) to get to this Summer just to have an arbitrary deadline. Here are my top ten picks (links to Goodreads):

1) Once and For All by Sarah Dessen – My husband pre-ordered this one for my birthday and I’m SO EXCITED.

2) Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I picked this up a few weeks ago at B&N and I’ve only heard good things!

3) The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken – I follow Mandy Moore on Insta and I guess this is being turned into a movie and she’s in it? So I’d like to read it sometime before the movie comes out.

4) Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine – I really love this series! I have the ARC on my Kindle right now and I can’t wait to dive into it!

5) Beastly Bones by William Ritter – I read the first one last year and have books two and three on my shelf, I just haven’t had time to continue the series even though I liked the first one.

6) The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley – Similar story as Beastly Bones–I have pretty much this whole series and LOVED the first book, I just need to keep going!

7) Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – I liked the second book less than the first book, so I’m hoping this third one really does it for me (and has about ten times the Kitty).

8) Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake – This was one of my most anticipated books, but I honestly kind of forgot about it. Hopefully I can still get to it this summer though!

9) A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – My mother-in-law really loved this book and my mom is also reading it right now. I think it’ll be a nice departure from my norm.

10) Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab – I was just scanning my Goodreads to find a #10 and I didn’t realize how soon this book comes out! So pumped!

Which of these should I read first? And what are some books on your Summer 2017 TBR?

Buzz Books 2017 | Young Adult Spring/Summer (Part 1)

Buzz Books 2017 Spring/Summer

NetGalley puts out this great compilation every season of some of the hot new Young Adult books that will be coming out. Here are my thoughts on the first 10 books featured (covers link to Goodreads).

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh (5/16)

Flame in the MistCover: Just looking at the cover, I thought this book was part of the author’s other series. I don’t think it is though. The cover is a little confusing to me. There’s a phoenix and some throwing stars…I just don’t really know what to expect from this book. Is it going to be set in the middle east like her other series? Is it going to be something more current? I just have no idea what this book is going to be about from the cover even though it looks nice-ish. 5/10

Premise: I’m all for Asians being represented in YA literature, so that’s a good start. Thus far, I haven’t been a HUGE fan of the trope of girls pretending to be boys, but we’ll have to see how this one plays out. It sounds like it could be a kind of retelling of Mulan in a way? But maybe I’m just trying to make that connection because Ahdieh’s first series was based off of a folk tale/fairy tale. 7/10

Excerpt: Well…that was quite a gory beginning. I think it’s pretty obvious by now that Ahdieh is a great writer and you can see that in just this short excerpt. I’m already interested in the characters and I love the cultural elements that have been woven in. 9/10

TBR?: Yes

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr (5/16)The One Memory of Flora Banks

Cover: Another cover that gives me no indication of what this book is about. Just from the design it looks like it might be thriller-esque? I mean, it’s pleasing enough to look at, but I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to get from it. 5/10

Premise: First of all, I hate books where girls kiss their best friend’s boyfriends. Secondly, this book is giving me serious Everything, Everything vibes. Girl with uncommon illness meets a boy who makes her want to be brave and take chances. Leaves home when (obviously) inadvisable. I liked Everything, Everything, but this book kind of sounds like it’s everything I didn’t like about it in a new book. 3/10

Excerpt: I’m sure the book will get into it, but I’m having a hard time understanding how Flora’s memory works. Overall, I’m just a little confused by everything and I’m not all that sure that I like Flora as a character anyway. 5/10

TBR?: Probably not unless I hear really good things about it

Dream Me by Kathryn Berla (7/11)

Dream MeCover: I really don’t like this cover. It just looks cheap to me for some reason. If I saw this on a shelf I wouldn’t pick it up. But anyway…it looks like maybe the book is going to have something to do with photography or film or fame maybe? Hard to tell. 1/10

Premise: The summary mentions migraines which I don’t really understand how they fit in with her dreaming. I know that’s a little thing, but it stood out to me for some reason. I’m just not very enthused by the whole premise. Time/dream travelling seems a little much. Maybe pick one or the other? 3/10

Excerpt: Honestly, I just skimmed the excerpt. I didn’t particularly care for either of the main characters. Their introductions weren’t very strong, and I also feel like both of their voices precariously border being extremely whiny (also, who is named Babe???). 3/10

TBR?: No

Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs (3/1)Future Threat

Cover: This cover is just okay for me. It doesn’t look particularly YA-ish, if that makes sense. I probably wouldn’t pick this up from off a shelf. 3/10

Premise: The summary makes the plot sound really confusing with multiple trips to a future that keeps changing. This is the second book in a series and I have read the first one. I liked it more than I thought I would, but I’m not particularly interested in reading more. 4/10

Excerpt: Wow, so there was a BIG data dump right at the beginning. It seems like it must be really hard to write second, third, etc. books in a series because you have to remind your readers about what happened and you’ve got to do it in a way that flows and makes sense. Especially with a series that is as complicated as this one, there’s a lot to remind readers of. I didn’t think it worked that well, but it could have been much worse I suppose. 5/10

TBR?: No

Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan (2/28)

Piper PerishCover: This cover is kind of intriguing. I like that it’s really colorful and it looks like it’s written in some kind of funky paint marker. It seems like the book is going to be about a girl (probably named Piper) who is artistic and spunky–maybe a little out of the box. 6/10

Premise: After reading the summary, I feel like this book could either be really deep or incredibly shallow. I don’t like that there is drama involving three different guys, but I do like that the main character will be dealing with doing what she wants versus doing what she feels she needs to because of familial duty. 6/10

Excerpt: Well…it’s interesting that the main character idolizes Andy Warhol–that’s different. Other than that, I didn’t like much. Maybe it’s just the situation, but the main character seems like the ultimate whiner/complainer if she’s not getting her way. I think the relationship she appears to have with her sister is pretty sad as well. I think it’s kind of supposed to be in diary format, but the only way I can tell that is from the different sections that start with the date and time. 3/10

TBR?: No

Roar by Cora Carmack (6/13)

RoarCover: I’m just not really a fan of this one either unfortunately. It doesn’t look contemporary and the colors are all a little too muted for my tastes. It looks like a typical fantasy novel cover. 2/10

Premise: The premise of this book sounds pretty good. There are some elements that I think have been overdone at this point, but it seems like an interesting twist on a familiar type of story. I’d be interested in reading it I think. 6/10

Excerpt: The writing is a little much and I don’t think the world is as well-developed as I would like, but I think I might be willing to give it a chance. 6/10

TBR?: Maybe, I’ll have to see what others say

This is Really Happening by Erin Chack (4/25)

This is Really HappeningCover: I actually really like this cover. I’d bet that some of the things on the cover have significance in some of the stories in the book. I like that there’s a lot to look at but that the layout itself is pretty simple. 8/10

Premise: This book sounds pretty interesting. Since taking a class on nonfiction last semester, I’ve become more interested in branching out and trying it. It sounds like the author has already lived a pretty full life and while I’m sure her stories will be interesting and impactful, I am left wondering, “Who is she? Why is she writing this book?” 6/10

Excerpt: Wow…that excerpt actually made me tear up. So I still don’t really know who this person is and why I should read her story, but after reading that excerpt, I think I will. Maybe there’s something about her just being another normal person that will make this book that much more powerful. 9/10

TBR?: Yes

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau (6/6)

Dividing EdenCover: Oh. My. Gosh. That. Cover. This is what I’m talking about! I absolutely love it!!! It’s simple, but intriguing at the same time. I love the black and white color scheme and the paint dripping from above. Just amazing. 9/10

Premise: This sounds so promising! I’ve really liked that stuff that I’ve read from Charbonneau in the past so I’m sure I’ll like this one too. It does remind me a little bit of Three Dark Crowns but I’m not even mad about it. The only thing I’ll say is that even if they’re twins, one of them had to have been first, right? It’s not like they could be born simultaneously. So I don’t see why it would be so difficult to figure out who’s next in line for the crown. 9/10

Excerpt: It’s interesting to me that they live in a place called Eden. Is it literally the garden of Eden? Or just a place also named Eden? It seems like the twins will both be interesting characters and I’m very interested to see how the rest of the story goes. 10/10


The Legend of Skyco: Spirit Quest by Jennifer Frick-Ruppert (4/4)

the legend of skyco spirit questCover: The cover is nice, I guess, but nothing too eye-catching. I think from the design it seems pretty obvious that this is more of a middle grade book. 6/10

Premise: I love that it’s about a Native American boy and his tribe. I’d be very interested to learn more about Native American rituals and culture. That being said, I’ve never been a huge fan of things that are abstractly spiritual so if that’s a big part of this book, I’m not sure how I’ll like it. 5/10

Excerpt: Even though the first few pages are filled with quite a bit of action, I’m not really drawn in to the story. I don’t really feel like I need to know what happens next. The characters seem nice enough, but I haven’t connected with them. 4/10

TBR?: No

The Black Witch by Laurie Forest (5/2)

The Black WitchCover: This cover’s not bad. I like that there is a forest coming out of the feather. I will say that it kind of looks like a lot of other covers that I’ve seen though–not very original. 7/10

Premise: I’m seeing a new trend emerging here…instead of main characters being special snowflakes because they have powers that others around them don’t, it seems like now characters are facing the reverse. Everyone around them has powers when they don’t. That could be an interesting premise depending on how it’s executed. 5/10

Excerpt: The main character seems like she’s probably okay. Not particularly annoying or anything like that. Just from that excerpt, though, I’d say she might be a little boring. I’m not sure how much I really enjoy the world that’s been created either. 5/10

TBR?: Not right now, but maybe if everyone starts raving about it

Those are the first ten, I’ll be posting my initial thoughts on the second ten soon.