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Beautiful YA Book Covers that Grace My Shelves

You know the old adage–don’t judge a book by its cover. However, I would be lying (and I’m sure many people are in the same boat as me) if I said that I have never based my reading choices off of a cover. A cover can produce an immediate negative or positive judgement–it goes both way. There have been times where I won’t even look into a book because its cover is just horrendous. I have probably missed some great stories because of this, but it is really hard to control.

A cover is the first thing you see that is associated with the story in most cases. Just like there have been times I have not bought a book because of the cover, there have also been times where the cover absolutely drew me in. When a cover catches my eye, I will read the description, and if the book sounds good I will buy it. So of course, the cover does play a big part in getting a reader to read a particular book! Here are some of my all-time favorite YA book covers–some of them are just beautiful covers in a series and others attracted me to read the book in the first place!

Continue reading “Beautiful YA Book Covers that Grace My Shelves”

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Far from the Tree“A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment. Being the middle child has its ups and downs. But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family,including—Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs. And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fear are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.”    — Summary from Goodreads

5

Far From the Tree is a book that I put on my Christmas wishlist on a whim.  After glancing over the summary and seeing the ratings and beautiful cover, I decided to add it to my TBR. When I picked it up, I wasn’t expecting to stay up all night until I finished it. I wasn’t expecting to become so attached to the characters as the story went on. Most of all, I wasn’t expecting to read such a beautifully written, tear-jerking YA novel based on family.

I’ve said it once before, and I’ll say it again: there are few young adult books that realistically represent and ultimately focus on family. It seems like in most contemporary novels, the family is the side plot or ignored altogether. Not in Far From the Tree.  Robin Benway constructs a beautiful scenario to showcase three–albeit different–realistic families. She was able to incorporate several real-life occurrences–teen pregnancy, alcoholism, divorce, adoption–and fold them into a story where they didn’t feel cliche but genuine.

The three main characters–Grace, Maya, and Joaquin–all have hardships they have had to deal with in their life. When Grace puts her own baby up for adoption, she learns that she has two biological siblings, so she begins to reach out to them. The reader gets to see the relationship between these siblings grow from the awkward initial conversations to the vulnerable and open cry-sessions. Watching these bonds form is my favorite aspect of the book; at one point Joaquin stands up for his Grace, and it is one of the sweetest scenes I have ever read.

The topic of adoption is also handled very well by Benway in Far From the Tree. We get to see Grace’s perspective after giving up Peach as well as her determination to find her birth mother. On the other side, we see Maya and Joaquin’s frustration and anger toward their biological mother for giving them up in the first place. Adoption has had a different impact on all three of the kids. Maya feels like she doesn’t belong in her own family while Joaquin is having trouble accepting that a family can love him after he spent his life in foster care.

Overall, this was an absolutely fantastic read. I finished it at the end of 2017, and it easily became of my favorites of the year if not one of my new favorite contemporaries ever. I adore the focus on the family. While each character has their own side story that may include romance, the relationships that are focused on are the ones within families. Far From the Tree will make you laugh and cry (and then cry some more). Even after some thought, I don’t think there is any flaw in this book or anything that I would want to change. It is perfect the way it is.

 

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Spring Books: Pastel Edition

I don’t know about you guys, but I am really glad that Spring is finally here! This is one of my favorite seasons because everything comes back to life- the trees are blooming, the birds are chirping, and my flowers are starting to pop up! Another I love about spring is the pastel colors that come with it. Seriously I could get lost in the Easter decoration aisle forever, because all of the colors are beautiful!

In honor of springtime and Easter tomorrow, I decided I would compile a list of books based on the pastel them. Most of these are contemporary, since you don’t see too many hard fantasy books with pastel yellow and purple on them. Maybe one of this will spark your interest, and your next book will match the season!

(Summaries and Descriptions are from either author’s website or goodreads)

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Lock and KeyWhat happens when your past is not just past, but wiped clean entirely? How do you figure out where you’re going when you can’t even claim where you’ve been? These were the questions that inspired Lock and Key. It’s the story of a girl named Ruby who is abandoned by her mother and determined to make it on her own, even—and especially—when she is sent to live with her long-lost sister in a whole new world of privilege, family, and relationships. As Ruby learns, there’s a big difference between being given help and being able to accept it. And sometimes, it takes reaching out to someone else to save yourself.


 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & ParkEleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor. Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park. Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.


 

Meant to Be by Laura Morrill

Meant to Be

This spring break, Julia’s rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window)  when she’s partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts  . . .  from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.


 

Rebel belle Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1)

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts. Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.


All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.


 

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Mosquitoland After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.


 

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You

A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world. Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.


 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

FangirlBASICALLY THE BEST BOOK EVER AND I HAVE GONE ON AND ON ABOUT IT SEVERAL TIMES, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT GO TO A BOOKSTORE RIGHT NOW AND GET IT. SERIOUSLY.  IT’S MY FAV.

It’s about a girl named Cath who is obessed with the best-selling Simon Snow series. She’s a hardcore fan, and has a fanfiction that thousands of people read. Cath is like many of us, socially awkward book nerds, so follow her on her journey through her first year of college, twin troubles, and the boy in her room named Levi.


 

There is a handful of these that I haven’t read myself, so I may be picking up one of these pastel beauties in the future!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bout of Books 15 Round-Up!

Bout of Books 15

Technically, Bout of Books doesn’t end until tonight, but I know there is no way I am going to finish another book tonight. So, I decided to go ahead and post my round-up. This was my first read-a-thon, and I met my goal! I read a total of 3 books and started another. Every chance I got, I was reading! For some, 3 books in a week is normal for them, but with everything going on, it was quite the accomplishment for me! I definitely have some  full reviews in the works, but here are some quick thoughts on what I read.

Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle, #1)   Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle, #2)   Before I Fall

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

This book has been sitting on my shelf forever now, and I am really glad I got around to it! It was an extremely fun and unique read. I loved the different kind of magic pulled in, giving in a different feel, as well as the humor of it. It’s nothing thought-provoking, just a fun time!

Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins

I enjoyed Rebel Belle so much that I went out to the library to pick the next one up. While it definitely wasn’t as good as the first, I still had a great time reading it. Now I have another release (Lady Renegades) in April to look forward to, because I need to know what happens next!

Before I Fall

This will be quite an interesting review to write, as I simultaneously hate and like this book. It honestly was one of the most frustrating things I have ever read, but I still kept reading it. Much to say about this book.
I already had physical copies of Rebel Belle and Before I Fall, so I got to move 2 books from my TBR pile! In the future I would love to participate in more read-a-thons, and also partake in the challenges.

Before I Fall also counts toward my 2016 Contemporary Challenge, and will be my book for the “Read a contemporary with 400 or more pages.” So far in 2016, I have 4 books read and I am ahead of schedule. Who knows, maybe I will go over my goodreads goal this year!

 

 

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2016 Contemporary Challenge

Got the picture from Jillian’s Post!

This year I decided I wanted to partake in some reading challenges that would (hopefully) motivate me to read more. I came across this one and it seemed fitting considering the amount of contemporary releases I want to read this year. This challenge is hosted by The Book Belles and Jillian’s Books. All of the rules are on both sites, and you can sign up on either one!

There are six levels you can choose from for your goal…

  • Poppy: 1-5 books
  • Carnation: 6-10 books
  • Peony: 11-15 books
  • Lily: 16-20 books
  • Tulip: 21-25 books
  • Rose: 26+ books

I am going to shoot for Peony. I haven’t really paid attention to how many contemporaries I normally read, but this shouldn’t be too hard. In addition to your goal, they also have 12 challenges that you can complete.

  1. Read a contemporary from an author you’ve never heard of
  2. Read one that features mental illness
  3. Read a contemporary book with only one (1) word as its title
  4. Read one with watercolors on its cover
  5. Read one that you borrowed from the library
  6. Read a contemporary novel with more than 400 pages
  7. Read a contemporary book with a cover that features your favorite color
  8. Read a contemporary by a 2016 debut author
  9. Read a contemporary that’s been on your TBR for 1+ year
  10. Read a contemporary that starts with the same letter of your first name
  11. Read a contemporary that’s a standalone
  12. Read a contemporary recommended to you by someone else (friend, family member, blogger, etc.)

 

I love extra challenges because it makes me look for new books! I am looking forward to doing this in 2016, and will ensure more reviews are coming out. Definitely check out either of the sites for more information, it’s a great challenge!

Book Reviews, Menu

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern Review

Author: Cammie McGovern  Say What You Will

Publisher: Harper Teen

Published On: June 3, 2014

Genre: Contemporary

3 1/2Say What You Will

As you may know, for the last part of July, I have done a buddy read for the book Say What You Will. For the next few days there will be discussion posts about this book, but first I wanted to start off my review. Here is the goodreads summary if you want an idea of what this book is about.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can’t walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other’s lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

I will say I do have some mixed opinions about this book. There were some things that I loved, while other things that I didn’t. This book truly was very unique to me despite it’s flaws, and it wasn’t what I expected. From all the talk about this book, it sounded like it would take The Fault in Our Stars route, but it most definitely didn’t.

The characters in this book were very diverse and unique and that was the thing I loved most about this book. Cammie dared to be different by writing about a cerebral palsy patient and someone affected by OCD. They way she portrayed Amy and Matthew was truly wonderful. I loved how simple their relationship was in the beginning and seeing how it grew overtime. During this book, I learned a lot about two disabling disorders, and it was very interesting to see what these two had to go through.

The whole idea of having other students help Amy at school so she could make friends was amazing. At first, I thought every but Matthew would blow Amy off, but they really were there and I wish we would’ve had more development with them.  Overall, I loved the beginning of this plot, but as it went on, instead of getting better, it got worse.
Many people say they started disliking Amy when she started throwing all the tasks at Matthew to help his OCD. While it seemed very harsh in the book, I suppose that is a way you have to deal with it, and it really showed how much Amy cared about him to help him. Matthew was always so insecure and would just shut down, and while it was frustrating, I thought it accurately showed him as a character going what he was going through. The two had major miscommunication problems, and so many things could have been fixed if they would just talk.
The big “twist” of Amy being pregnant was when it started to go down hill for me. It sort of came out of nowhere and was really out of character. Everything afterward sort of dragged, and I feel the ending would’ve been much better if that twist was never enacted. There was all kind of build-up about the relationship of Amy and Matthew, and it ended very abruptly. There were many pages left in my book because of a preview, but I thought it was still part of the story. So when I came to the last page, I didn’t know it was the last page because there was no closure.
Finally, the main thing with this book was the 3rd person perspective. There were so many emotional parts of the book that you could see, but you could never really feel the emotion. I wanted to be inside the character’s heads as they went through all their hardships, but instead we just got an oustide glance.
Overall, I thought this was a great read, but there were many flaws. It was still a very intriguing read, and I would recommend it because the first half of the book is beautiful. If only it had continued like that the rest of the way.
P.S. I still have many thoughts on this book, so don’t think this is the end for the buddy read 🙂
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Top Ten Tuesday: Double Feature

fb76c-toptentuesday

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they give a certain topic or question and you have to try to list your top ten. The past few weeks I haven’t cared much for the topics or completelgy forgot about the ones I wanted to do. Since I haven’t done a top ten tuesday in awhile, I decided to mix it up a bit. I’m going to do 5 from one category I want and then another 5 from another category. Yes, I know it is Wednesday. (Oh well)

Top Five Characters You Would Like to Check Up On

1. The Whole Heroes of Olympus Crew- Blood of Olympus was not a good enough finale for me. There wasn’t much closure with the characters we love (cough cough Percy and Annabeth) and I would really like to see if Leo makes his way back to his friends. 

2. Harry Potter Crew- Specifically I want to check up with the second generation of kids and Neville Longbottom. I know Harry potter has the closest thing to a perfect ending ever, but I always want more of this world.

3. The Darkest Minds- I need to know that Liam, Ruby, Chubs, and Zu are okay and see how the government is rebuilding America.

4. Eleanor and Park- Because after the way that ended, I need to check up on these characters. I want to see Eleanor in her new life, and see if Park ever made it back to her.

5. Hazel Grace Lancaster- This would be the saddest check up of them all. I would see how she’s coping without Gus and see where her overall health is at.

The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)

Eleanor & ParkThe Fault in Our Stars

 

Top Five Books I Added to My TBR

1. The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne 

2. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufmen

3. Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn aka Morgan Matson

4. Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

5. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

The Wrong Side of RightThese Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend (Broken Hearts & Revenge, #1)

Liars, Inc.Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

 

 

 

Book Reviews

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Author: Morgan Matson   

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Published On: May 4, 2014

Genre: Contemporary

I’m not sure if I will be able to capture the perfection of this book with words, but I’ll try. For those of you who haven’t read Since You’ve Been Gone, this review may have some spoilers, so I would suggest reading it and then coming back. However, I will leave those of you who haven’t read the book with a short summary.

Emily wasn’t the bold type. She didn’t go to parties and wore the same sort of outfit. That is until she met Sloane. With Sloane at her side pushing her to do things, Emily was a new and improved version of herself. They were the best kind of best friends. The summer they had planned out was going to be epic, until Sloane disappears. No calls. No texts. The only thing she left behind was a list of crazy adventures for Emily. Some were easier, some were harder, but they all pushed Emily to things she normally wouldn’t do. As Emily goes the summer checking things off the list in hopes of finding Sloane, she meets amazing people and has great experiences. Maybe the summer wouldn’t turn out as bad as Emily thought.

I wanted to wait until Summer to read this, but I couldn’t. The concept was very appealing to me and it looked like a super fun contemporary. This book has humor, adventure, friendship, and even some romance. Reading it puts you into this extreme state of happiness. (If you can’t tell I really loved it) Enough with the gushing, let’s talk about the book.

The main thing I enjoyed about this book was the characters. I loved how close Emily, Frank, Dawn, and Collins grew over the summer. They were all helping with the list and had some amazing experiences together. You could see them grow closer and closer each chapter. A prime example of the developing friendship is Frank and Emily. They meet and Emily doesn’t really feel comfortable around him at all. But with each running session we seem them warm up to each other more, and then we have then staying up all night just talking. That scene on the beach was their true icebreaker. I guess you learn a lot about someone when you stay up all night with them. Since You’ve Been Gone had one of my favorite aspects when it comes to relationships: a budding friendship. When I read romances, my favorite thing is watching the two become friends. I do not care for love at first sight or anything. This book was great at it, and they didn’t even get together until the very end.

Another thing about this book that made it stand out was the extra things. The playlists and the constant flashbacks were great. We don’t meet Sloane really until the end, but we already know so much about her character just from Emily’s memories. Speaking of the end, I was really scared we wouldn’t get Sloane. I don’t know why I was thinking it, but I was so scared that they would never really find Sloane, but just a letter that explained what happened.

Overall, this was a pretty predictable book, but still very enjoyable. We knew Frank and Emily would get together, and we knew that when Frank went to New Jersey it was to break up with Lisa. However, it’s still entertaining to watch characters that don’t know what is going on. One of the best scenes is when Frank and Emily are in the car driving to Sloane, and it is just pure awkwardness. The last time they were together, Emily ran away from him (literally). In the end, they finally talk and everything turns out.

This was a super fun contemporary, and it makes me want to read more summer books! Winter is finally over and now I want to read all kinds of cute little romances! This was actually my first Morgan Matson boo. I’ve heard that this is her best of the three, but I still think I want to read her other books. Has anyone read them, and do you think I should?

 

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Organizing Bookshelves

Organizing your bookshelf can be a frightening experience. You want it to make it look great, but there are so many obstacles that get in your way. For example…

Not enough room              1 Paperback 2 Hard           NONE IN SERIES MATCH

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You just sit there thinking why in the world you buy paperbacks, and then you remember you are poor and can’t afford all hardback, which makes you even sadder. Not only do you run into these problems, but it is so hard to figure out how you want it organised, because you can do so many different things.

– Rainbow

– Alphabetical

– By favorite (which is unbelievably hard)

– Complete series and Incomplete

– By genre

After I pulled off all my books, I started trying some of these ways out. First, I attempted the some horizontal/some vertical series.

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1ST ATTEMPT = FAIL

 

It didn’t work out, because I couldn’t fit all of the books, and I refuse to separate series. So after that, I wanted to see what a shelf of all my hardbacks would look like.

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2ND ATTEMPT = FAIL

 

I didn’t even have enough to finish one shelf, and I didn’t like how so many different things were mixed together. After this, I decided I would have to deal with some of the books in my series being paper back while others hardback. My first shelf has science fiction/fantasy series that I own all of them, or at least all that are out as of now.

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For my second shelf, I wanted it to be pure contemporary. I put all the hardbacks horizontal and it worked out perfectly. Then I put books that have a sequel and after those I had my John Green books (from most favorite to least.) After that it was just other books and some I wanted to read. Toward the end of the shelf, I put extra books I have had forever  to fill the space.

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My third and final shelf is mostly my paperback fantasy books. I began with the series starters, which are from the series I only own the first book physically. Then, I have books from series that I haven’t read yet. Finally I have my very small collection of Rick Riordan books, and the smallness of it makes me sad. Toward the end of this shelf, I have books stacked horizontally, and they are pretty much all books I didn’t care for.

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THIRD SHELF

 

 

So that’s my bookshelf! It doesn’t look like much, but I buy a lot of my books on my kindle or lend them from the library. I know that organising your shelves can be a very daunting and difficult task, so I hope I gave you some ideas. There are so many possibilities, you just have to find what works for you! Mine seems pretty random, but in my brain I know where everything should go.

 

 

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New Stephanie Perkins Anthology!

Some of you may know that this past fall, Stephanie Perkins released her first anthology, My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Christmas Stories.

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

The other day, she came out and said that there will be another anthology like this but set in the summer months! It is projected to be out in Summer 2016 and already has a title! Summer Days & Summer Nights will consist of many of our favorite authors just like last time and their own short romance stories. Here is the list of authors that will be writing a story for this book.

  • Leigh Bardugo- author of the Grisha trilogy Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)
  • Francesa Lia Block- author of Witzee Bat
  • Libba Bray- author of the Diviners   The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)
  • Cassandra Clare- author of The Mortal instruments and Infernal Devices   Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)
  • Brandy Colbert- author of Pointe
  • Tim Federle- author of Tequila Mockingbird and Gone with the GinEverything Leads to You
  • Lev Grossman- author of The Magicians trilogy  Divergent (Divergent, #1)
  • Nina LaCour- author of Everything Leads to You
  • Veronica Roth- author of the Divergent trilogy
  • Jon Skovron- author of Misfit
  • Jennifer E. Smith- author of Statistical Possibility of Love at First Sight
  • Stephanie Perkins– author of Anna and the French Kiss

 

 

This is a very interesting group. I’m not really familiar with half of these authors but I do know Leigh Bardugo, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Nina LaCour, VERONICA ROTH, Jennifer E. Smith, and of course Stephanie Perkins. I think this will be a fun book with cute contemporary reads in it. It will defintiely be great when you just want a good summer romance, that’s for sure.