Tag Archives: YA

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside the US

TTT 1.0

For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new theme and everyone is invited to join in! (Note: all book cover images in this post link to that book’s Goodreads page.)

Today’s Theme: Ten Books Set Outside the United States

After taking several months off, it’s so nice to do a Top Ten Tuesday post! Many of these have a fantasy element, but I only included those that are still modeled after our world.

From my TBR:

Beautiful Ruins  Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)  Every Breath (Every, #1)  Paris Time Capsule  My Lady Jane

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – Throughout time in Europe and the US (a little cheaty…)
Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor – Nigeria
Every Breath by Ellie Marney – Australia
Paris Time Capsule by Ella Carey – France
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows – Historical England

Some of My Favorites:

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)  Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)  Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)  Carry On  Die for Me (Revenants, #1)

The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Historical Persia
Daugther of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor – Czech Republic
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – France
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – England
Die for Me by Amy Plum – France

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Which books made your list this week? I’d especially love to find more books set outside of the US AND Europe. Link your own Top Ten Tuesday in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed That Weren’t My Typical Read

TTT 1.0

For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new theme and everyone is invited to join in! (Note: all book cover images in this post link to that book’s Goodreads page.)

Today’s Theme: Ten Books I Enjoyed That Weren’t My Typical Genre

This week’s theme was really hard for me, and if I weren’t already making an effort to read more broadly, this would be a serious kick in the pants for me! I had to cheat a lot with this list, and most of my “atypical” genres aren’t really all that atypical – most of them are just romance sub-genres I tend to avoid. That being said, most of the ways I want to expand my reading focus on exploring different cultures and perspectives rather than genres, and I’m okay with that, at least for now. So with that out of the way, here are my top ten!

Young Adult

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)  Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers, #1)  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Science Fiction is one genre that I feel like I should love, but I can rarely get into. I definitely did not have that problem with Illuminae. The fascinating format and action-packed plot kept me racing through the story and I finished it in a couple sittings!

Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron – I’ve reviewed both this book and it’s sequel, so you may have seen them on here before. It’s genre-nonconformity makes this series hard to describe to others, and I was initially hesitant to pick it up, but I’m so glad I did!

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – I can be a little wary of YA Contemporary, but more than that, I almost never read books from the perspective of one male main character. This is definitely something I’d like to change!

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – I adored this book, and retellings/YA romance aren’t exactly a stretch for me. I’m including this one because it’s also a more diverse YA novel, taking place in historical Persia and having been written by a woman with a mixed-race heritage. We absolutely need more diverse perspectives!

Adult

Venetia  Fortune's Pawn (Paradox, #1)  Hard to Be Good (Hard Ink, #3.5)  A Spear of Summer Grass  Silver Lining

Venetia by Georgette Heyer – I usually shy away from purely historical romances, despite being a lover of Jane Austen. This is largely because I often run into historically accurate context (like discrimination and xenophobia) that detract from my enjoyment of the romance. I didn’t encounter that in Venetia, though it does crop up occasionally in other Heyer novels.

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach – Here’s another Sci Fi! Just like I mentioned with Illuminae, this one was seriously action-packed, and it sucked me into the story.

Hard To Be Good by Laura Kaye – This novella was my first M/M romance, and I loved it 🙂 I was already a big fan of Kaye’s work, so I was more than willing to step out of my box for this one. It’s a good thing, too, because I discovered a new sub-genre to enjoy!

A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn – Here’s another Historical Romance. This one did have a couple cringe-worthy historical scenarios, but the African setting was vibrant and engaging, and the story was fascinating.

Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne – I have to admit, I only picked this American western historical romance up because it was a book club pick. I won’t be reaching out for the genre again any time soon, but I can say that Silver Lining made me laugh, and I’m really glad I gave it a shot.

Top of my TBR

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor – For my tenth pick, I’m going with another diverse book that’s on the top of my TBR pile! This is a YA Fantasy taking place in Nigeria, and the blerb sounds fantastic 😀

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Which books shook things up for you? Link your own Top Ten Tuesday in the comments!

My Weekend Read

I’ve been in a general reading slump for the past couple weeks, but despite that, my weekend reading has actually been going really well! For the last two weekends, I’ve picked a book on Friday with the goal of reading it cover-to-cover over the weekend (because who doesn’t need one more excuse to read instead of study?)

Since this has worked out really well for me, I figured why not post about it? It also seems like a great way to get recommendations if you guys join in the fun! So keeping that in mind, here are the things I’m going to include in the post (and the things I’d love to know from those of you who also have weekend reads):

  • Which book is your weekend read?
  • What is the first sentence or synopsis?
  • Where did you first hear about it?/What convinced you to pick it up?
  • What format will you be reading in (hardcover, paperback, e-reader)?

Or you could go the TLDR route and just share what you’re currently reading 🙂

If you write up your own post, please just include a link back to Amorous Reads, and leave a link in the comments here so that others can find your post, too. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to know what you’re reading 😀

I’ll be posting occasional updates on my instagram and twitter accounts  (@amorousreads), so feel free to check in there, too!

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Now that the logistics are out of the way, here’s my first official weekend read:

These Shallow Graves
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

The first few sentences:

Josephine Montfort stared at the newly mounded grave in front of her and at the wooden cross marking it.

“This is the one you’re after. Kinch,” Flynn, the gravedigger, said, pointing at the name painted on the cross. “He died on Tuesday.”

I first saw this book on another blogger’s Top Ten Tuesday post last autumn – I wish I could remember which blog. The cover immediately caught my eye, and I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews since then, so I’m really excited to be giving it a go. I was lucky enough to find a used hardcover copy in pristine condition at my local bookstore, so that’s the one I’ll be reading.

What is your weekend read? I am always in need of recommendations, after all 😉

Top Ten Tuesday: A Valentine’s Day Rainbow

TTT 1.0

For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new theme and everyone is invited to join in! (Note: all book cover images in this post link to the book’s Goodreads page.)

Today’s Theme: Ten Books in a Valentine’s Day Rainbow

This week’s TTT is a Valentine’s Day freebie, so I decided to go with a color theme 🙂 As a result, this mini collection includes a pretty wide variety of romantic stories, including Adult and Young Adult, Contemporary and Fantasy, Series and Standalone. There’s even a novella thrown in.

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)  Fated (Servants of Fate, #3)  First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)  Fangirl  A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – (YA, Retelling/Fantasy, Duology Book 1) – This is my favorite book of those I’ve read this year so far. The setting is absolutely stunning, and it’s perfect for being whisked away for a few hours.

Fated by Sarah Fine – (Adult, Mythology/Fantasy/Apocalyptic, Trilogy Book 3) – I love Sarah Fine’s work because it never fails to draw me into the story 100%. This is the third book in her adult series, and it definitely didn’t disappoint.

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones – (Adult, Paranormal/Chick Lit/Urban Fantasy, Series Book 1) – A fun, quick read that is full of snark, this is a prime example of a beach book.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – (YA, Contemporary, Standalone) – One of my favorite YA novels, Fangirl is an excellent valentine’s day read!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – (YA, Retelling/Fantasy, Series Book 1) – This one is a loose Beauty and the Beast retelling with fae lore thrown in, and now is the perfect time to read it, since Book 2 is coming out in May.

Die for Me (Revenants, #1)  Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)  Wife by Wednesday (The Weekday Brides, #1)  Entwined (Darkest London, #3.5)  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Die for Me by Amy Plum – (YA, Paranormal/Fantasy, Trilogy Book 1) – This is a perfect choice for fans of romantic paranormal YA! To top it off, the series is set in Paris, the author’s home, and is full of romantic Parisian atmosphere.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – (YA, Contemporary, Companion Trilogy Book 1) – Another YA set in Paris, this one is contemporary fiction and ALSO full of romantic Parisian atmosphere 😉

Wife by Wednesday by Catherine Bybee – (Adult, Contemporary, Series Book 1) – This is probably the most stereotypical romance novel on this list, but it is also a quick, fun read with a satisfying ending.

Entwined by Kristen Callihan – (Adult, Fantasy/Steampunk, Series Prequel Novella) – Despite being a companion novella to a larger series, this is a good representative of Callihan’s work, and the novella is perfectly enjoyable on its own. It is also one of my favorite novellas in general, and I think of the story as a loose retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – (YA, Contemporary/LGBT, Standalone) – This one was tied for my favorite 2015 read. I can’t recommend it enough 😀

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What books do you read around Valentine’s Day? Do you read romance or avoid the genre altogether? Link you own TTT in the comments so I can check out your freebie theme!

Minute Review: One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron

One Good Dragon Deserves Another (Heartstrikers, #2)One Good Dragon Deserves Another by Rachel Aaron (Heartstrikers, Book 2)
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

“This isn’t a game, you know.”

“Of course it’s a game,” the seer said, walking back over to the couch where Marci was standing over Amelia. “Everything’s a game, Julius. It has to be. Life is whimsical, random, and cruel, but a game is something you can win.”

This is a great second in series! It was longer, but read very quickly, and everything was explored in more depth: the characters and relationships, world building, and the magic system. The end result was a great story that had me falling in love with the series even more, and I am dying for Book 3, which isn’t due to come out until the middle of this year.

Recommendation: If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you should give this series a try starting with Book 1 (Nice Dragons Finish Last). It’s dragons instead of magicians, but the vivid story and amazing character dynamics remind me so much of when I read HP for the first time.

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass, Book 2)
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
(Spoiler Free!)

“Enough! We have enough enemies as it is! There are worse things out there to face!”

Celaena slowly turned to him, her face splattered with blood and eyes blazing bright. “No, there aren’t,” she said. “Because I’m here now.”

I am so overwhelmed by this book! I don’t know if it’s because this is part of a series and not a trilogy, or if it’s just due to Maas’s wonderful storytelling, but Crown of Midnight doesn’t have even a single trace of Middle Book Syndrome. Even though the story achieves everything that a middle book must fight to achieve (world building, character building, and plot advancement without an actual finale), this doesn’t read like filler–it reads like an essential and exciting part of the journey.

Here are some of the aspects that I loved: getting to witness Celaena as an assassin, SO much more action than in Book 1 (TOG), the explosion of culture building, learning about Celaena’s backstory, getting to know Chaol (though I STILL have no idea how to pronounce his name), and more unveiling of the king’s evil plots. And when The Horrible Thing happened, it completely sucker punched me, even though I knew it was coming. I actually had to put the book down for a day before picking it up again and racing through the rest of the story.

The one element I could have done without was the romance-related anxiety of the characters, specifically when it was not part of the main plot. To be extra clear, I’m NOT talking about the main romantic developments of the story, just the side stuff! While this story somehow avoids having a blatant triangle, there are several moments of internally expressed jealousy and/or heartache on the side. There is so much amazing plot happening here (both romantic and otherwise) that I found those moments distracting. They pulled me out of the badass fantasy and made me sad for all of these characters that I love.

As it is, though, I don’t expect this to go away any time soon, so I’m trying to cope by sticking with the mantra from my review of TOG: I am team Celaena all the way! Regardless of any romantic ties Mass makes and breaks along the way, this is Celaena’s story, and I’m just going to keep rooting for her to come out on top!

As I’ve said, this is an excellent sequel, and many others have said they liked it even better than TOG. I love this series on the whole, and I can’t wait to pick up Heir of Fire to see where Celaena will go from here 😀

Minute Review: Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Boy Meets BoyBy Meets Boy by David Levithan
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

We all need a place. I have mine–this topsy-turvy collection of friends, tunes, afterschool activities, and dreams. I want him to have a place, too. When he says, “I like it here,” I don’t want there to be a sad undertone. I want to be able to say. So stay.

This is a sweet, sad, quirky, and whimsical tale about a boy named Paul and his many friends. Being set in a world that reminds me of a carnival-mirror version of our own, it explores a lot of serious issues while wrapping them in humor and whimsy. I know some reviewers didn’t appreciate the seemingly unrealistic community of characters, but I thought they framed the story beautifully, allowing me to imagine a world, not too different from our own, in which acceptance can come a little easier.

Recommendation: Read this if you are craving a wacky, whimsical world in which the high school’s top drag queen can also be the star quarterback.