This spring and summer I decided to bury myself in books and the reason behind that decision may not be 100% healthy but compared to the many other ways I could've handled what was going on in my life, it was the best choice, I think. *ahem* The point is that I read many good books in that time and today's post is all about sharing some of those with you.
I want to start with a few books that really stuck with me. I still find myself thinking about them and recommending them to everyone.
All the Rage by Courtney Summers--This book stunned me. The writing was fantastic and the content took my breath away. This book made me feel so many things about being a woman in the world today and am still looking for outlets for all of the emotions I feel when I think of this book. BUY IT.
Marrow by Tarryn Fisher--This book furthered my love of Tarryn Fisher and her dedication to writing characters who confound us and endear us and make us crazy. Margo was one of my favorite anti-heroines of the season. BUY IT.
Black Iris by Leah Raeder--This book is something I swear I'll teach one day. Not only is the writing supremely satisfying, but the non-linear plot, the anti-heroine, the diversity, and the mindfuckery will make this a top read for me; it'll take a lot to knock it off the list. I love that Raeder inserts art or music or poetry or literary references in her works; it definitely makes it a stand out read for me. BUY IT.
White Oleander by Janet Finch ---This book has been around for a while but I read it this year. The prose was deeply satisfying and Astrid's plight was heartwrenching. The mother-daughter relationship in this novel was a study in what not to do and the light she shed on the foster care system felt more important than cliche. BUY IT.
Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino--This book was so refreshing. Carlino gave me characters who were closer to my age and who had questions and regrets and the guilt and hope that these characters lived with felt so real and honest. The flashbacks and present day timelines were woven seamlessly into their stories and the incorporation of photography and music and poverty stricken college students contributed to what made this novel feel nostalgic for me. BUY IT.
You by Caroline Kepnes-- This book was simultaneously snarky and frightening. I found myself laughing and disgusted with Joe and it's a book that is a constant recommendation. BUY IT.
Dangerous Girls by Abby McDonald--This book was a surprise. I didn't know if I'd like it because sometimes books that seem too closely related to real life events aren't always my thing. Within pages, I was hooked. BUY IT.
Cam Girl by Leah Raeder--This book comes out in November and I've had the privilege of reading it while it was 'in production'. Where Raeder's Black Iris was vengeful and contained a constant thrum of bloody intensity, Cam Girl is softer. The actions of the characters seem to come from a place of love and wanting the best for others. As with all of Raeder's works, Cam Girl continues to give us characters who are diverse in their backgrounds and I love that she strives to make her characters reflective of the world we live in. (Oh and the geography porn was to die for). BUY IT.
God Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo--This book will forever be associated with my grief-soaked time immediately after my grandmother's death. It was emotional and special and has guaranteed that with every new thing she writes, I'll be grabbing a copy to read. BUY IT.
Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle--This book was unexpected; the only things I'd read by Halle (up to this point) had been violent and crime ridden and wonderfully outside of my usual. This book was slow building and it felt like Halle really honored what the characters needed or demanded. I know some didn't like the pacing but I wouldn't have wanted their relationship to happen any other way. I also fell in love with New Zealand because of this book and am still trying to figure out how to get there one day. BUY IT
These next books are more commercial and fun in nature and I'd be remiss if I didn't share these because let's face it, I like a good light read like everyone else.
I picked up Dahlia Adler's books this spring and I enjoyed every single one. All of them incorporated Adler's witty dialogue, quick pacing, and her dedication to writing diverse characters. All three of books included situations that challenged the characters to exist outside of their comfort zones and their reactions were so plausible and awkward and wonderful that I know I'll be buying her latest releases without hesitation. (Link to all of her books)
The Snapped Series by Ketley Allison --Allison was a new author for us and when she originally released her series, it was in monthly installments. Allison had us guessing about who did what until the very end. She's working on something new and we're eager to see what direction she'll take us next. BUY IT.
The Hardcore Series and With a Twist by Staci Hart--These are very different books and I liked that Hart changes things up; she doesn't stay in one writing 'lane'. The Hardcore Series took me into the world of parkour and the characters there were so different than what I was expecting; it was refreshing. With a Twist was a light, friends to lovers romance featuring a man bun, lit TA and a professional ballerina--yet another new combination of characters who were incredibly entertaining to read. (Link to all of her books)
The Morbid and Sultry Tales of Genevieve Clare by J.B. Hartnett-- I don't really know how to explain this other than it was not your usual NA romance and maybe that's why it didn't gain as much traction as I thought it would. It had a sense of longing that was often paired with humorous observations and engaging characters and it still stands out in the pile of reads I read this year. BUY IT.
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid--This novel loosely resembled one of those choose your own adventure books from when I was younger. While you don't actually get to choose which one to read, you do get to see how the protagonist's life would've been had she chosen one direction over another. It was a different approach that made it stand out and raised many questions. BUY IT.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon--This was another of my forays into YA lit; I haven't taken many outside of the reading I do for my classes but this one just intrigued the heck out of me, so I decided to take a look. It was something different, gave me some things to think about, and also scored high for me because of its focus on a character living with an isolating and debilitating disease and she also wasn't our prototypical white character. Living in a world where I see and work with people of different backgrounds all day, I think it's important to find books more representative of the world I live in and this one definitely did that. BUY IT.
Several authors who are really popular fan favorites or who we'd consider friends of this blog also released some of our favorite early 2015 novels and have upcoming releases that shouldn't be overlooked:
- Alessandra Torre is releasing Hollywood Dirt and the final book in her Do Not Disturb series.
- Kennedy Ryan has a 4th book in her Bennett Series and she's indie publishing My Soul To Keep.
- Kate McCarthy is releasing The End Game and is working on her next book in her Give Me Series.
- Ginger Scott has wrapped Wicked Restless and we'll see it hitting shelves very soon.
- K.A. Tucker has Surviving Ice out this fall...
- And also out with a fall release is Tiffany Reisz .
- Ella Frank has several things coming out and it wouldn't be surprising if she had many surprises up her sleeve.
- And the Ritchie sisters are releasing a final (I think?) book in their Addicted Series
You can currently pre-order some of the titles listed and the others we'll link to as they become available.
What a great year it's been for reading. I cannot wait to see what we read next as we continue to try to expand our reading to new and diverse authors who undoubtedly will offer various perspectives, writing styles, important topics, and questions.