A Tribute to 2014 Reading: End of Year Survey

Hello! Happy new year & all that! Most of the weekend, I’ve been exclaiming in disbelief how this is all possible. Fastest year ever, right? My final duty of 2014 is always feeling out the End of Year Survey. It’s so much fun, but also hard to wrap my head around the 180 books I read this year and make sure I spotlight as many of them as I can. I hope you find a lot of variety  and some good stuff to add to your own lists.

As always, thanks for checking in! ♥

reading-stats-2014

Number Of Books You Read: 180
Number of Re-Reads: 10
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary YA

best-YA-books-2014

Top Reads of 2014 Rather Be Reading Blog Estelle1. Best Book You Read In 2014?

Sorry, friends. I can’t pick just one. Here are the books I would talk your ear off about at a cocktail party.

Young adult:

Big Kids:

New Adult:

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares: The anticipation was SO high; it’s been a long time since we had a new book from Brashares but the premise was not fleshed out enough.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?

In Deep by Terra Elan McVoy: Have you read any of McVoy’s books? All of them are so different but I thought this was super clever. She released a prequel this year about a character from one of her older books. One of those I am planting myself on my couch and not moving until I finish and really tests how you feel about people and their actions.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

I bought a lot of copies of Breathe, Annie, Breathe for runner friends who didn’t necessarily read YA and I am happy to report to say they really enjoyed it and related to Annie’s experience. I also pushed Summer of Yesterday by Gaby Triana and Make It Count by Megan Erickson on as many people as I could.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

Jessica Darling’s IT List 2 was fantastically charming and funny; Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott was a nice look at a serious couple in high school struggling with all the challenges graduation brings. (This Cupid stuck in NJ series is just hilarious.)

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

How about 3?

  • Jason Reynolds, author of When I Was the Greatest and the upcoming, The Boy in the Black Suit. Brilliant, real writing. (Why is he so underrated?)
  • Robin Talley, author of Lies We Tell Ourselves. Not only did her historical fiction knock my socks off but her upcoming work sounds so unique. Can’t wait.
  • Sara Farizan, author of If You Could Be Mine. I read both of her books this year, and wow, she has a way of tackling some very serious situations with humor and realism. It’s tough for me to explain as a reviewer so I strongly suggest you check her out soon!

Alienated by Melissa Landers and Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

Alienated by Melissa Landers; I didn’t review this one for some reason but the Roswell-esque, dual-POV book was so spectacular. The chemistry between the two characters was SO intense, and the female lead was one of the strongest I read all year.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley: I sat on my couch and did not move until I reached the very end of this book and then I screamed a lot. A LOT.

9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

It’s most likely that I’ll be reading Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally because it will be released with a brand new cover in paperback in the spring

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour is gorgeous. I love the silver!

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

11. Most memorable character of 2014?

I’m still a huge fan of Cricket from the Nantucket Blue books. This year, Nantucket Red was released and I couldn’t stop myself from thinking of Cricket as someone I could easily bump into on the subway or something. She’s one of my favorite characters of all-time.

Beautifully Written Books of 2014 Rather Be Reading Blog12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot: Did you ever read a book and find yourself holding your breath the entire time? Magan loved this book, and I’m so glad I borrowed it from the library. Holy crap; beautiful but not in an inaccessible way.

Runner-up: Steal the North by Heather Bergstrom, a big kid book that blew me away. So emotional, so grounded in nature.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book of 2014?

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid made me thinking a lot about relationships and how we keep them fresh as the years ago on; Like No Other by Una LaMarche made me think about bravery and how sometimes the right decision isn’t the decision everyone else would make; Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu made me think about how we relate to others, how people make quick judgments, and how it feels to be lonely.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read? 

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos: Okay, this book only came out in 2013 but still, the male POV is so sharp and the book has such an interesting family dynamic. I want more people to read it. (Yes, you.)

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

“I am a vacation. I am the Caribbean, and a fruity drink and a sunburn and a break from real life. But I am not real life. No one lives in the Caribbean. No one wants a fruity drink every day. I’d rather be water: necessary.” — from Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu.

“Isn’t it nice… once you’ve outgrown the ideas of what life should be and you just enjoy what it is?” — from After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

“I can’t surround myself by people who are hiding their pain beneath swagger and a grin.” — from Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

  • Shortest: The Reluctant Elf by Michele Gorman (a 100-page novella)
  • Longest: Take Me On by Katie McGarry (a bit too long, if you ask me at 546 pages)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Blazed by Jason Myers. This book isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s full of very heavy drug use and a lot of… tough situations but Myers is a freaking GREAT writer and so maybe the material was shocking but what’s more shocking to me is that I don’t see more people reading his work. GO TO IT.

18. OTP of the Year

Annie & Jeremiah in Breathe, Annie, Breathe: Things start off hot and heavy but Miranda Kenneally does such a great job of developing a strong friendship between Annie and Jeremiah. His care (especially since it almost seemed out of character) was so compelling and incredibly sexy.

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

The sister relationships in All The Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han and Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan were so fantastic, and like so many others I loved the friendship between Reagan and Lilah in Open Road Summer. What I loved about all of these, actually, is that they weren’t glossed over, superficial relationships. Each of these authors gave us the complicated, and the nitty-gritty.

Best Relationships in 2014 Reads Rather Be Reading Blog

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

WHY MUST I PICK? Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu & Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally. As for a “big kid” pick, After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Charlie Glass’s Slippers by Holly McQueen: This was one of those lucky accidents when I met someone at a book event and they told me all about this book. SO GLAD I brought it on a beach excursion with me. So funny, so sweet, and a ton of fun.

22. Best 2014 debut you read?

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (yes, it lives up to the hype); When I Was The Greatest by Jason Reynolds (his YA debut); Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley.

23. Best World-building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer: I may not have loved it as much as Endangered but Schrefer brought me into a brand new world with Luc’s story and his bond with chimpanzees.

24. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas: This Sliding/Doors-esque book was super adorable. I read it in one sitting, and you can’t do that with a book that isn’t fun.

25. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos & Pointe by Brandy Colbert: Two books that had me openly crying on the subway in front of strangers. Beautiful books for very different reasons but two of the most impressionable books I read this year too.

26. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian: Carrie is such an honest writer, and this book from the male POV had such a surprisingly profound effect on me. Senior year of high school = tough, tough, tough but also exciting because it’s the first time we start to make decisions for ourselves (mostly, I think).

Noteworthy Reads from 2014 and Rather Be Reading

27. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Pointe by Brandy Colbert: I related to part of this book so much that I felt extremely anxious and emotional (again on the subway). Colbert wrote a beautiful, heartbreaking story that was so perfectly paced; the reveals were shocking but sometimes not and that made it even more difficult to read. So worth it. This author deserves all the praise she is getting.

28. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014? 

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer: I was nervous about picking this one up because it had a science-y premise but once I got over the hump, it totally worked and the second storyline was so surprisingly and not what I was thinking AT ALL. So effective and memorable.

29. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?.

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin: Rose is such a caring, loyal little girl and I was so angry about how people treated her in this book. It was downright heartbreaking and I wanted to punch a lot of people in the face.

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?

  • Rosie at Eat, Read, Glam reviews book, Lush products, and has the most adorable accent. Her v-logs are great!
  • Andi at Andi ABCs is forever thinking up some amazing feature ideas, bringing the community together, and is just one of the kindest (most fashionable) souls I know.
  • Sarah at You Should Read This YA: an old supportive friend who finally got her blog up and running. Go & read it!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014? 

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Second: Blazed by Jason Myers. Third: Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

When Magan first had Baby E, I had a blast putting together the Baby Book Blogger Guessing Game. My god, these pictures were adorable and the post inspired everyone to be very interactive.

As a joint venture, BEFRIENDED was a new feature M & I thought of to show another side of authors & books through friendship. Our first post was an interview between the lovely Corey Ann Haydu and her true life best friend.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I had a great time at the New York Teen Author Festival this year with Maggie from Just a Couple More Pages. (Her recap can be found here.) The evening reading with Rainbow Rowell and Jennifer E. Smith was by far one of my favorite events I’ve been to.

Big hugs to Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide for organizing the Pub Date feature I work on every month with a great crew. (Not that I need another excuse to buy a fun craft beer, but it’s nice to be able to get a little personal on the blog and think about books in a different way.)

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?

Once again, BEA brought some fantastic ladies into my backyard and I loved that we had extra time to hang out with one another.

RBR 2014 Moments

I’m so grateful for the emails, the drinks, and the meals I’ve shared with various people in this community and most importantly, the friendships that continue to blossom. It means more to me than any book.

6. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Ha! It seems my birthday post celebrating Dawn Schafer from The Baby-Sitter’s Club was the most popular of my posts this year. I had so much fun writing that one.

7. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

While I love my Big Kids’ Table feature, I still wish it got a little more love especially my 2014 summary post. (Does anyone else thing the blog world is inundated with too many features? Does it make features in general less unique and special? I have my theories…)

8. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Hannah @ So Obsessed With continues to be my life coach… her Wunderlist post definitely helped my organizing.

9.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

My goal was to read 175 books this year, and I just about made it… but I’m more proud of FINALLY getting my local library card and not buying as many books and also re-reading so many of my favorites. (It was so nice to rediscover Miranda Kenneally’s books again.)

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. I bought it when it came out over the summer, but I won’t get to it before the new year. I tried, I really tried!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu; The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler; Drive Me Crazy by Terra McVoy (middle grade!), The Forget-Me-Not Summer by Leila Howland (another middle grade!).

Anticipated Reads of 2015 Rather Be Reading Blog

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

Since Magan couldn’t stop praising it, I’m going to say All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. (M sweetly bought me a copy; can’t wait to drop everything and read it. M demanded it!)

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

P.S. I Love You by Jenny Han: I’m so glad I made the first book a priority this month but I also sort of hate myself because I need book 2 NOW.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

I’m so looking forward to meeting new bloggers and discovering new blogs by taking part in the Reread Challenge + co-hosting Dive Into Diversity reading challenge. I never commit to these because I’m scared of not having time but since they are so lax, it just seems like a bonus to be a part of something.

It’s already started this year but I want to improve my blogging vs. real life balance. In the last few months, I’ve had to pull back on what I can accomplish for the blog (sometimes this really sucks because nothing hurts more than an idea that never turns into anything because of lack of time) so maybe my real challenge will be figuring out how to make our hours increase to 26 per day. (ha ha)

All in all, I want to be inspired by the books I’m reading and inspire others to pick up those books.


 Thank you so much for reading this whole thing!
Be sure to check out other End of Year Surveys at The Perpetual Page Turner.
(I swear it’s the best way to get book recs you may have missed!)

♥ ♥ ♥

December Madness | An Estelle “Shelve It”

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

Greetings! How are you? Have you been trampled by crowds of shoppers this weekend, perhaps spending time with family, or maybe making some delicious desserts? Well… we have been busy with last minute shopping and lots of crafting (glue everywhere!). Oh the joy of December. This also means: great mail! I’ve been so fortunate to receive some goodies lately so I thought I would share. Tons to look forward to in my reading future; that is for sure.

Enjoy! I hope you like how I dressed up for you! 😉

gifted.

From Hannah | So Obsessed With:

Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer
Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes
Last Letter from My Lover by Jojo Moyes
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

From Alex | Little Wing Books + @spiritbeauty_

Mosquitoland by David Arnold (March 2015)
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (February 2015)
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (March 2015)
I Was Here by Gayle Forman (January 2015)

From Rachel | Hello, Chelly

Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen
Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry

From Brittany | The Book Addict’s Guide

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Size 12 is Not Fat by Meg Cabot
Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

From NOVL/Poppy:

Love, Lucy by April Linder (January 2015)
Kissing Ted Callahan by Amy Spalding (April 2015)

From St. Martin’s Press:

The Secret of Midwives by Sally Hepworth (February 2015)
In Some Other World, Maybe
by Shari Goldhagen (January 2015)

thank you so much!

what’s new around here:

*** We have two international giveaways ending in two days so be sure to stop in and enter. Free books! Did ya hear? Free books! Win an anniversary copy of Harriet the Spy for #SoRatherBeYoung kick off or two options for #DiversityDive challenge! ***

Also a huge, huge congrats to our friend Ginger & Elena, who both graduated from college this weekend! xoxo

have a great, great evening & thanks for stopping in!

 

Big Kids’ Table: Leah + Her Pretty Good Book Jar

big kids' table - adult fiction feature on rather be reading

Hello, reading buddies! It’s been awhile — I skipped last month, eek — but don’t worry, I’m back and even better I’m back with a huge book enthusiast who reviews “big kid” books all the time on her blog: The Pretty Good Gatsby. Leah is better than “pretty good”. Magnificent? Enthusiastic? Smart, awesome, lovely, and always inspiring me to pick up hidden gems? Yep. Pretty much all the above. I love her blog + I can’t think of anyone better to be a part of Big Kids’ Table.

Leah from The Pretty Good Gatsby

Note: this is Leah but not her cat.

This month, Leah is taking charge and giving us some amazing suggestions. Enjoy!

♥

Hi guys! I’ve been a huge fan of Big Kids Table since Day 1 and I’m so excited to be here with you today! Here’s the deal – instead of choosing my books, we’re switching it up a bit: I’m having them chosen for me. Back in July, I made a super easy Book Jar. If you’re anything like me, staring at a giant mountain of books can be a little overwhelming. This takes all the stress out of it. Whenever I’m in the mood for a book and can’t decide, I pull out a star and I’m set.

For this edition of Big Kids’ Table I’m letting the jar pick for me – fingers crossed!

BOOK ONE: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Okay, confession time: I miiight have squealed a little when this was the first pick. Yes, I’ve had this book on my shelves for ages and yes, I’ve heard how super fantastic awesome it is! So many bloggers I adore and trust absolutely love this novel: an orderly, socially awkward professor is on a quest to find a wife. I’m all about quirky, charming novels and even better – a sequel is coming out in December!

BOOK TWO: The Venetian Bargain by Marina Fiorato

Venice, 1576. A passenger aboard a cargo ship sends the Bubonic Plague tearing through the city. Don’t judge me, but I love reading about deadly plagues and diseases. The Venetian Bargain seems to have a little bit of everything: romance, mystery, real-life events. Although I love Historical Fiction, I’ve noticed I tend to stick to certain time periods, but I think coming out of my comfort zone won’t be too difficult with this one!

BOOK THREE: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy

OMG CAN WE DISCUSS THAT SECOND SEASON CLIFFHANGER?! If you’re not watching this show you should probably fix that. It’s campy and ridiculous and a ton of fun! A Gypsy boy who turns into a werewolf, a fabulously wealthy vampire with a Frankenstein-esque little sister. Seriously, what’s not to love? I immediately bought a copy of this book after watching the first season but never got around to reading it. I made the horrible mistake of binging on the second season (thanks a lot, Netflix) and the withdrawal is torture. With season three not coming back until next summer I’ll need to get my fix with the novel!

BOOK FOUR: Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen

So now that I had my book jar pick some books for me, I think it’s time I highlighted one I’ve actually read! You know a book is special when you still think about it eight months later. Raise your hand if you grew up reading Little House on the Prairie! Looking for an adult version? I’ve got you covered. Pioneer Girl tells the story of a Vietnamese-American woman and the family heirloom that sends her on a cross-country journey. I love dual narratives and Lee’s story was just as fascinating as Rose Wilder’s and when the pieces finally came together…perfection.

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My reading list is going to hate me, but ahh — I love the sound of these. Thanks for sharing, Leah!

To make sure you get great book recs from Leah ALL the time, follow her blog and tweet her!

Be sure to leave any awesome reading suggestions below too!

Top 10 Tuesday: THE UNDERRATED (5 Books + 5 Authors)

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

“Underrated” is pretty much an Estelle buzzword. I love talking and sharing books with people but nothing gets me more excited than sharing a less known title and author, and having others fall in love with them too. Almost 4 years into the blog and it’s still the best high in the blogging universe. So I’m back for Top 10 Tuesday by the brilliant folks at The Broke and the Bookish!

Today I’m talking contemporary young adult (so dear to my heart) and decided to divide my list in half: books and authors. I can’t wait to discover some new writers and books this week, and — fingers crossed — hope this list does the same for you! xoxo

(five) underrated authors

1. Miranda Kenneally: I’m still shocked when I hear readers haven’t picked up a book in the Hundred Oaks series. Is it the titles? Is it the book covers? I have no idea. I’ve reread the books for the third time through this year, and I was even more amazed by how sex positive they were, how much they had their characters exploring their beliefs in tough, sometimes self-destructive ways, and, especially, strong imperfect female characters. Miranda’s writing continues to get stronger as the series goes on and her latest, Breathe, Annie, Breathe, is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Period. It’s a book I believed in so much that I gifted it to 4 people who don’t read a ton of YA but I thought would get something out of it. (I’ve heard from 3 of the 4 so far and it’s been a hit; if that doesn’t say something then I don’t know what will.) From friendship to healthy family to moving on to college and dealing with all the pressures of teenage life? This series has you covered. (Tip: you don’t necessarily have to read these in order.)

2. J.H. Trumble: If you are looking for some seriously great, multi-dimensional gay characters who feel like they are practically your best friends at the end of of your reading experience then I can’t recommend J.H. Trumble enough. Her books are addicting, and I love how her characters explore love, sex, complications with family, and making friends. Like Hundred Oaks, all the characters tie into each other but they don’t necessarily have to be read in order. I am dying for an announcement about her next book.

3. Jessica Martinez: The Vow, about two best friends who decide to marry so one can stay in the country for senior year, blew me away last year. I went back and read Virtuosity, and I can anxiously awaiting Kiss Kill Vanish. I don’t see too many people talking about Jessica, and I’m not sure why. First of all, her tweets are honest and amazing and second, she brings such depth and a fresh voice to the young adult genre. You want diversity? Read The Vow. You want focused, strong female characters? Read The Vow or Virtuosity. (I haven’t read her second book, but I swear it’s on my list.)

4. Terra Elan McVoy: Terra has written a lot of books, and I’ve read four of them and have a fifth sitting on my bookshelf. The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, Being Friends with Boys, Criminal, and this year’s In Deep? She’s a genius because each of her books are so different, and keep me captivated just the same. Her characters are well-developed, imperfect in the most relatable way, and you can see (especially if you read them back to back) how much she challenges herself in each piece. I love that because it also means she is making her readers work too. I am so jealous of all of you who get to read her for the first time.

5. Tara Altebrando: YOU GUYS. I went to Coney Island for the second time in my life last weekend, and all I could think about was Dreamland Social Club — this gorgeous book that Tara wrote years ago. This year, she wrote a middle grade (loved it) and last year she wrote an amazing in-between senior year and college book with Sara Zarr called Roomies. Her books hit me right in the heart. I love the writing, the characters, the lessons, the relationships. I want all of her books in my collection and I want her to write forever.

Underrated YA Authors at Rather Be Reading Blog

(five) underrated books

1. Starstruck series by Rachel Shukert: 1930s Hollywood, different female perspectives, well-researched, and so readable. I just realized I shifted from contemporary to talk about a historical YA but oh well. I talk this one up as much as I can because I think Rachel takes this glam time (fashion! stars!) and manages to integrate the political nature of the time too. It’s a very smart book, and does not talk down to its readers.

2. Bumped series by Megan McCafferty: Whoops. I messed up again. Yes, this is young adult. But it’s also dystopian. The author known for the Jessica Darling series took a leap writing about two girls with such varied beliefs stuck in a world where having a baby super young is the way to be because people are buying babies right and left, and glamorizing the whole thing like you wouldn’t believe. In our internet, celeb-saturated world, McCafferty provided some interesting commentary on who we are today and where we can go.

3. The Comeback Season by Jennifer Smith: I cringe when I hear/read that Jennifer Smith’s debut was The Probability of Love at First Sight because no dammit, The Comeback Season is and it is ah-mazing. Jennifer parallels the history of the cursed Chicago Cubs with a young girl dealing with the delayed grief of her dad’s passing, as she meets a boy (a fellow cubs fan). The prose I have come to love from Smith is so superb here; I read the book in close to one sitting and it cemented by ultimate devotion to this author and her work. For baseball fans, for those who love some gorgeous, visual writing, you must check out this gem.

4. Past Perfect by Leila Sales: This book needs a new cover. Pronto. I never reviewed this book on the blog, but it was a lovely birthday present from Hannah (So Obsessed With) and I loved the dialogue between the two best friends, the historic village summer job wars, great romance, and ugh — I flew through it, marking a ton of quotes I loved. Read it, read it, read it. It’s my favorite Sales book (and I was a huge fan of This Song Will Save Your Life).

5. Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Schiedt: Another one I didn’t review but oh my god, if you love really crisp, amazing, emotional writing styles, Uses for Boys is a must for writers. Yes, it’s painful and heartbreaking and we don’t always understand why the main character does what she does (I mean, do you understand all the decisions your friends make) but I like to think the main character was searching for home, searching for a place where she could be herself. She took a lot of detours but I couldn’t put the book down. The language was beautiful despite all the darkness of the story.

Underrated YA Books from Rather Be Reading Blog

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I could probably keep adding and adding to these lists until I have an ungodly number of recommendations.

So basically, it’s just a little taste. (But if you want some more check out Marisa Calin, Jason Myers, Colleen Clayton…)

Shelve It: New Books / New Friends / Giveaway

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

I wonder if I’ll ever NOT be amazed by how fast time is flying. It’s practically been a month since I’ve done one of these, and when I was getting my books together — I was pleasantly surprised how few i’ve bought in the last few weeks. Go me? Don’t get me wrong; so many great books are coming out but i’m so behind on reading what I own i’ve been making a conscious effort to do that. So this is what’s been happening…

What I bought:

Rather Be Reading Shelve It

Like No Other by Una LaMarche
Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Fun goodies in the mail:

Rather Be Reading Blog Shelve iT

From Harlequin: The Oleander Sisters by Elaine Hussey
From Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook: Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
From Melissa @ Rolling with the Magic: Beer and Food by Mark Dredge

THANK YOU ALL!

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Speaking of BEER, this week debuted my contribution to PUB DATE — a new feature I’ll be working on with a few fantastic bloggers and beer lovers. My sister made the banner and i am feeling way proud of her! So if you are curious about beer or just want another way to find a book recommendation, be sure to stop in!

In other blog news, Magan and I are so excited to share in the launch of THE PAGE GIRLS — a new online magazine dedicated to books, friendship, and cocktails. Seriously, could this new venture be any more perfect for us? I think not. So to spread the love, the gals of The Page Girls have donated some lovely blog-themed coasters and an eBook of a winner’s choice. If you’re a fan of finding super fun mail in your box, I recommend you enter this giveaway!

Page Girl Coasters 2

Here’s a little bit more info:

About The Page Girls | The Page Girls (www.thepagegirls.com) is a new online mag with an emphasis on books, cocktails, and female friendships. Each week, they publish a themed issue containing short stories, book reviews, personal and funny essays, videos, cocktail recipes, and more. Some sample issues include The Craziest Thing I Did For Love and LYLAS (Love You Like a Sister).

Sign up for The Page Girls’ weekly newsletter to get notified about new issues, and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Ebook giveaway (Winner chooses 1 title):

An Imaginary House by the Sea by Cecily Gates (Contemporary Romance)
HDU by India Lee (New Adult)
Normal is the Watchword by Jasmine Tru (YA Thriller)
Here for the Cake by Emily Poule (Rom-Com)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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In case you missed it:

  • I want you to consider buying AFTER I DO (contemporary fiction) + BLAZED (dark contemporary YA).
  • Magan wants you to borrow EXILE (a YA book for music fans).

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How’s your summer been? Let us know + don’t forget to enter The Page Girls giveaway!

We hope you have a great week full of sunshine, books, and maybe a donut? Yum!

Shelve It: A Pre-July 4th V-Log

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

Hello! I know, two weeks in a row of Shelve It? What?!? I find it motivates me more when I do these + it’s been forever since I’ve done a v-log. (Don’t ask me about Instagram videos though… I am a wreck at those. How how how do you say anything in just a few seconds? M is my hero.) Anyway…

Good weekend, so far? I can’t believe it’s Sunday evening. I did so much walking yesterday, did a little reading, and I’m excited to settle in for the evening and also share what’s been hitting my mailbox this week. Some very exciting details that are making me wish for a reading vacation. Do those exist?

Before you check out the v-log, we wanted to wish Rachel (you may know her from Hello Chelly) a very very very happy birthday! She’s one of the sweetest, loveliest people in the world! Yay Rachel! xo

Bought:

Summer of Yesterday by Gina Triana
The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra Elan McVoy
Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler

From Atria Books:

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Out 7/1)
The Price of Inheritance by Karin Tanabe (Out 8/5)
Charlie Glass’s Slippers by Holly McQueen (Out 8/5)
For Once in My Life by Marianne Kavanagh

From Harlequin:

The Beekeeper’s Ball by Susan Wiggs
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica (Out 7/29)

From Scholastic/Chicken House:

Breaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais (Out 8/26)

From Random House/Crowne:

Brunette Ambition by Lea Michele

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On the blog this week:

The Promise by Robyn Carr: lovely small town + sweet romance!
A favorite of 2014: My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter
Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker: Nashville, country music, families, oh my!
Fan Art by Sarah Tregay — not exactly what I was hoping for.
A collaborative country music OPEN ROAD SUMMER playlist for your enjoyment!

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Thanks so much for checking out my Shelve It v-log today! I actually did that one in 2 tries! Woo hoo!

So now it’s your turn. There’s ONE question you can answer from my vlog and now here’s another: what did you buy this week??