Shelve It: Saturday & Summer

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

Oh man. It’s been about a month since I did one of these. But hello! I’m here. How are you all doing? It’s been a busy few weeks so far — friends visiting, lots of work changes, James finally got a small break from school, the weather is nice — you know the drill. Basically the books keep piling up and I haven’t shared them with you. Well, well, well. Today is your lucky day. Hope you find something in these piles that catches your eye!

Oh hey, it’s the first day of summer! Do something fun! And go wish Anna of Anna Reads a happy birthday!


Let’s get started:

From Jamie (Perpetual Page Turner) ♥

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern (I read this + loved it.)
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang (September 2014)
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick (September 2014) — verse book!

From Elena (Novel Sounds) ♥

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Starstruck by Rachel Shukert
The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith (The original cover!)
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (prepared to give this a second try)

From Maggie (Just a Couple More Pages) ♥

Boomerang by Noelle August (July 8 release)

Shelve It June 21 Gifted

From Bloomsbury (Thanks Courtney!)

My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter (A favorite of 2014 for me.)
When Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan

From Harlequin (Thanks!)

The Fragile World by Paula Treick DeBoard (October 2014)

Shelve It June 21 For Review


Behind the Scenes by Dahla Adler (out 6/24; I really enjoyed it!); thanks Rachel!
Searching for Sky by Jillian Cantor; thanks Lauren!

Shelve It June 21 Borrowed


Since Last Summer by Johanna Philbin
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (My original copy got rained on.)
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally
Triangles by Ellen Hopkins ($1 at my used bookstore) * verse + grown up book *
Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers ($1 at my used bookstore)

Shelve It June 21 Bought

(For my Nook)

Fever (A Songbird Novel) by Melissa Pearl
Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker
Just One Night by Gayle Forman
The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn


In Deep by Terra McVoy (Out Jul8 8; read it this week + omg, can’t get enough)
Make It Real by Sabrina Elkins (eBook out July 1)

Big thanks to those who contributed to my book collection in the past couple of weeks! xoxo


Actually, I’ve done pretty well on the “not buying as much” thing. Really! This is been a month of progress.

What’s been in your shopping bag lately? 🙂

Psst. Thanks for stopping in… we’ll be back tomorrow with a long overdue NAILED IT! 🙂

Top 10 Tuesday: Best Reads of 2014 (So Far)

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

I had to participate this week because it’s like an experiment. Will these 10 books still be on my list in 6 months? Will they be bumped by something else amazing? It’s hard to say and I love the mystery. (Even if I am an impatient person.) I know I am so pumped to see what everyone else is listing today too so, as always, thanks so much to The Broke and Bookish for hosting. 🙂

the five stars

I have a post coming up about this subject (the PERFECT books) but for now, I’m sharing with you the three I read this year so far. I can’t imagine any books really topping them. SO I CHALLENGE YOU BOOKS. Can you possibly be better than these?

Halfway Mark Top Reads of 2014 The Five Stars

(1) Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

LA setting, a main character with the coolest job ever, a unique love story, a great friendship — I could go on. From the minute I started this book, I was totally sucked in and once I finished, I was ready to give Nina’s other book, The Disenchantments, a second chance. I think that says it’s all right there. The writing of this book is SO seamless. It deserves all the readers.

(2) Pointe by Brandy Colbert

I haven’t had an emotional reaction to a book like I had to this one in a long time. Theo is dealing with her best friend returning from a kidnapping, auditioning for dance schools, and surviving the rest of high school. What struck me so much about this book was Theo’s journey to find herself worthy of anything really and also how brilliantly paced her growth was unveiled through the writing. Small details, small epiphanies piecing the story together. It’s truly a masterpiece.

(3) There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos

A book about grief from the POV of a male narrator who has lost his twin sister in a car accident. (Interested in the Diversity in YA campaign? The main character and his family are Filipino.) There’s a bucket list, a girl best friend, a supportive family feeling out this tragedy together and apart, and a school project that really kept the book moving. I cried on the subway, I laughed, and I even swooned. Such heartfelt honesty = blew me away.

the ones that didn’t come out this year

Halfway Mark Top Reads of 2014 Not Released this Year

(4) Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick

I bought this one last year, and it was originally released in 2010. The main character was a bit hard to connect to in the beginning so much that I got a little nervous I wouldn’t finish but I’m glad I hung on. A story of kindness, tragedy, and moving forward with some of the most vivid personalities I’ve ever met in my books.

(5) Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos

I don’t like to compare books to one another much but if you enjoyed WINGER, I think you should try this one out. The character has a unique voice, dealing with depressing, first love, and family. Underneath the sadness there is a layer of comedy and I enjoyed that balance. (I actually lent this one to my mom when I finished.)

(6) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I was petrified to read this because I heard about how much of a tearjerker it is. Don’t get me wrong; it’s definitely a sad story but the main character is more spunky and quirky than I ever could have imagined. There are amazing little details, wonderful friendship blooming, and even that complicated relationship between sisters (and also the one parents have with each of their kids). Everyone was right about this book but I want to make sure I say more than YES IT’S SAD. It’s so much more than that.

the final four: why haven’t you read these yet?

Halfway Mark Top Reads of 2014 Why Haven't You

(7) Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Everyone is going to have this one on their list, and I’m guessing it will have a lot to do with Reagan and Matt. I loved them together, I did but what really sold me was the honest relationship between Reagan and Lilah. Friendships like these don’t happen every day, especially after wading through all of this crap. But Emery has all the layers down and had me feeling so much. Hands down, one of the best gal friendship stories I’ve ever read.

(8) The One and Only by Emily Giffin

I’m just as surprised as you are. Really. This love story is so unconventional but if love football and complicated romances… Emily has a slam dunk with this one (after a few misses). She writes a lot of exposition in her books (just a reminder) and once I settled in, I read this (very large) book in less than 24 hours. The main character goes through quite a journey (friendship, family, career, love) and tries to deny her heart so many times in hopes of not hurting other people. This one is definitely worth your time. (I do suggest buying the eBook though because the hardcover is super heavy.)

(9) The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

It’s important to remember the characters in this book are 15 years old. Because they act like 15-year-olds do. They don’t over-complicate what you might think but Frankie is still reeling from the drowning of her little brother and thinks she has found his soul in the new boy she is baby-sitting for the summer. His name is Frankie too, but you can call him Frankie Skye. This book is about the surprising people who come into our life and help us move forward.

(10) Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu

Online communities, body image, broken friendships, parents/kids, secrets, loneliness — there’s a little bit of all of this in LBC. Imagine you think you’ve found your safe place and you realize it’s not quite that safe after all. That’s exactly what happens to Tab when she “gives” a secret and is given a task from the online community she has joined. It doesn’t feel like bravery anymore when you are affecting the lives of the people you love.

bonus (can’t help myself)

Halfway Mark Top Reads of 2014 Bonus

** When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds: loyalty, family, friendship, Brooklyn. Packed a punch for a short book (and had me crying).

** The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor: first love, culture clash, finding yourself. Great characters, gorgeous writing.

♥   ♥   ♥

Oh gosh. That was so hard. I’m already thinking of 2 titles I’m missing.

Hope you’re convinced to add a few of these to your “must-read” list! Can’t wait to read everyone else’s picks!

Happy Tuesday!


Top 10 Tuesday: Not Reviewed but Highly Recommended

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

Oh hey there! Since it’s a freebie week, I thought I would jump in today and BE CREATIVE. I recruited my husband to help me think of a topic. Options ranged from BOOKS WITH MUPPET REFERENCES and BOOKS THAT COULDN’T FIT INTO ANY OTHER TOP 10 LIST. But I settled on this one because it’s true — sharing the blog with Magan means not reviewing every book I read, which is great. I do make the time to read the books she loved + reviewed, reread old favorites, check out other books, etc. There’s no real rhyme or reason to what I pick to review. I make sure I absolutely HAVE SOMETHING I WANT TO SAY and then I just go from there. But sometimes, there just isn’t time or space or whatever reason.

Here’s where today’s list comes in. I hope something catches your eye!

1-2. Time Between Us series by Tamara Ireland Stone

For awhile, I had quite the aversion to books that were not contemporary. I know it was just fear of the unknown, and gosh, I am so glad I let go of all of that and checked out this series after seeing Tamara at a reading. The music references, the romance, the family aspect… this series kept me up WAY late.

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

3. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth

An intense story where the main character is forced to change who she is. I read this at the end of the 2012 and remember sitting on my couch, completely riveted but all the emotions and intense characters. The book is very long but spans a ton of time, and is worth picking up. (When is Emily writing another book?)

rather be reading worth it icon

4. The Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky

I reviewed Snadowsky’s second book, THE ANATOMY OF A SINGLE GIRL, having no idea that it was a companion to this book. A few things were spoiled sure, but I loved reading about Dom’s senior year, her first time falling in love, and her (difficult because of high pressure) relationship with her supportive parents as she sets forth to make big decisions like picking a college and choosing to live away from home or not. It was definitely authentic to my own senior year experiences.

rather be reading worth it icon

5. Alienated by Melissa Launders

I know… Estelle and a book about aliens? What is happening?! It’s true, folks. I totally loved this one. The chemistry between the two characters is great, I loved Cara’s tenacity and loyalty, and the world that Melissa dreamed up was so so so fantastic. I read it, immediately lent it to my coworker, and put it on my shopping list. I also cannot WAIT for book 2.

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

6. Past Perfect by Leila Sales

The LOVELY Hannah from So Obsessed With gifted me this one for my birthday + I read it pretty soon after I got it. Whenever someone is looking for a great book about BEST FRIENDS … this is one of my recommendations. Hands down. The relationship between the main character and her best friend is not perfect (in the best way). This is why it felt so real, and why I couldn’t put it down. (Plus there’s a swoony romance and an interesting setting — historical village!)

rather be reading worth it icon

7. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos

Um, I have to scream about this book from the rooftops. I am so ashamed that I haven’t. Ugh. Terrible, Estelle. Terrible. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and I just wanted to hug it. (Instead, I just passed it to my mom to read.) A main character who is battling abusive parents, his runaway sister, and falling in love at school. It was so charming and so realistic. Read it. Now. (I am thinking about ways to plug this book in the future… right now.)

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

8. Uses for Boys by Erica Lorriane Scheidt

I know this book left a lot of readers up in arms over it. WHAT DID IT ALL MEAN? But I thought it was heartbreakingly beautiful and the writing was so poetic — I wanted to just fall into it. Yes, the main character does latch on to guys. She does. But, like everyone in the world, she was trying to find HER home HER happy place in many unfortunate situations. I read it in close to one sitting and wow, it totally blew me away.

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

9. Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole

A road trip, best friends, self-discovery. A very unique take on all three of these things; so gorgeously written and so well-done. I bought a copy for Magan right after I finished. (I think I borrowed mine from the library.) I think that should tell you all you need to know right there.

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

10. Freefall by Mindi Scott

Thanks to the awesome Ginger for bringing Mindi Scott into my life; both of her books are fantastic but I’m spotlighting Freefall today. I remember devouring this story of a boy dealing with the death of his best friend and slowly trying to change what is expected of him within his family and his town. Mindi does a great job of dissecting the more difficult situations in life, and she really wowed me with this one.


Okay! A quick recap:

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

rather be reading worth it icon

TTT Worth It Not Reviewed


A few thoughts… do you share reviews for every book that you read? How do you decide?
Any that you want to recommend to me?? I’d love to hear them!

Thanks for stopping in! Happy Tuesday!

Shelve It: Some Books + Pepper

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

Can you hear the relief that comes with a 3-day weekend? Especially the one that signifies the start of summer?

I’ll admit — the weather isn’t exactly summery in NYC right now. J + I spent the day dodging the rain and also commenting on how chilly it was feeling out. I’m hoping as most of you barrel into the city for BEA this week that the weather perks up and the temperature jumps a bit. (But not too much. Anyone here for BEA last year has to remember just how sticky and gross it was. Yuck.)


Quiet book week but I wanted to share anyway. I was sadly not feeling well on Tuesday + didn’t get to attend the contemporary YA event at Books of Wonder because of it. (You can catch a short + sweet recap of it on Alexa’s blog. Just scroll to the bottom.) I’m bummed… but what can you do? Sometimes you just have to take a night off; in some ways, I think my wallet isn’t too upset this happened.

But I went to the bookstore on Friday afternoon to shop for someone else + ended up with two books anyway. Such is life!

Shelve It and Pepper

When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison (under $5 at B&N)
More Like Her by Liza Palmer (under $5 at B&N)
Starry Night by Isabel Gillies (sent to me from Macmillan Kids – Thank you!)

Oh — I also forgot to say that I saw the Fault in Our Stars movie on Monday afternoon thanks to a lovely friend who invited me as her plus one. I liked it. I wasn’t a huge huge mega-fan of the book but I did like the movie and a few of the cute things they did and also the Hazel/parent relationship was done super well. They could have just ignored it and focused on the romance but I found it very touching and very real. Will you guys be seeing it when it comes out? (P.S. The soundtrack was great. I may be buying it.)

Also — I read a few books this week but I absolutely loved two of them. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read. Truth be told, I never finished Nina’s The Disenchantments but I am determined to give it a second try after finishing this. It’s such a beautiful full story. I also have to recommend Emily Giffin’s latest, The Only & Only. It’s not a conventional love story by any means but if you like a main character who is really trying to find her place in the world against a setting of college football in Texas — this one will be for you. I could NOT put it down.

One more quick thing… if you haven’t heard about the conflict between Amazon + Hachette, be sure to check out this article in Publishers Weekly. I think it goes without saying that I’m a big believer that buying books from wherever you choose is important because you are supporting this industry and the tireless work of many people. But it’s also very scary to hear about how a retailer is strong-arming not only this publisher but their clientele as well. (Think of it this way. If the Gap does not have the jeans you want, you will find them elsewhere. You will not go without jeans. You will always find another store.)

Whoops! Clearly I had more to say than I thought 🙂 Hope you are all enjoying some free time with friends and family this weekend. If you are traveling to NYC, have a safe trip and remember to take a deep breath and enjoy! xoxo

♥   ♥   ♥

In case you missed it:

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As always, thanks for visiting!!

Shelve It: Oh Hello + Books

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

Happy Sunday!

Books, books, books! Lots to read and share with you today. I swear, my apartment is going to cave in some day. If that happens, I’ll be sure to record it so I can share it on a future Shelve It. (Ha.) I hope your reading is going well, and in addition to the reading time, you are having fun doing some other stuff. It’s summer! This means a lot of park time, especially now that James is off from school for the semester! Yay!

Also exciting news — I mention this in the video but I visited a new bookstore in Brooklyn called BookCourt. It’s super cute + easy to get to from midtown if you want to check it out!

Okay, without further delay, here’s my vlog. It’s 15 minutes long but I am talking about 12 books. If you make it through the whole thing, I will send you 10 virtual hugs. 🙂

From Harlequin

The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst (May 2014)
Empire Girls by Suzanne Hayes + Loretta Nyhan (May 2014)

From Macmillan

Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton (September 2014)
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry (September 2014)

From Harlequin Teen

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto
Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid


Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Nantucket Red by Leila Howland
Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu
What I Had Before I Had You by Sarah Cornwell


On the blog:

The Lonely Hearts Club by Brenda Janowitz (my first review in tweets)
Estelle writes about Cricket from Nantucket Blue + Nantucket Red
Magan reviews Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Befriended with Corey Ann Haydu + her BFF (plus friendship in YA)
Estelle reviews Broken Hearts, Fences… by Katie Finn

And for those you coming to NYC super soon, check out the roundup of this year’s BEA Part of It series!


Thanks for stopping in!! Happy reading! xo

Big Kids Table: More than Just Romance

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

Welcome! How is it the last day of April already? Didn’t I just take my Christmas decorations down? I’m flabbergasted by how fast this year is flying so far. But the end of the month does mean BIG KIDS’ TABLE and I do love working on this feature. Big thanks to those of you who gave me positive feedback on last month’s Receipt Recommendations; I will hopefully be doing another one sometime in the future. (But I really must take a break from buying book so sit tight.)

Today, though, today I am focusing on Harlequin. Yep. You read that right. Now raise your hand if you hear Harlequin and think of romances. It’s okay. No one will throw tomatoes or hardcovers at you, I promise! Because, for a long time, I didn’t know there was more to Harlequin than romance either. Don’t get me wrong — I love Harlequin romance writers like Kristan Higgins and Susan Mallery but last year I was psyched to discover writers like Jason Mott (The Returned) and Paula Treick DeBoard (The Mourning Hours) — a supernatural and thriller, respectively — from the MIRA imprint.

So this year, I’m anxiously looking forward to the non-romance titles being released from Harlequin in hopes I have similar reading luck! Here are a few that have caught my eye…

Where Earth Meets Water by Pia Padunke (paperback release date: April 29, 2014)

Where the Earth Meets Water

Karom Seth should have been in the Twin Towers on the morning of 9/11, and on the Indian shores in 2004, when the tsunami swept his entire family into the ocean. Whether it’s a curse or a blessing, Karom can’t be sure, but his absence from these disasters has left him with crushing guilt—and a belief that fate has singled him out for invincibility.

Karom’s affliction consumes everyone around him, from his best friend, Lloyd, to his girlfriend, Gita, who hopes that a trip to India will help him find peace. It is in Delhi that he meets Gita’s grandmother, Kamini—a quirky but wise woman with secrets of her own. At first Karom dismisses Kamini, but little does he realize that she will ultimately lead him to the clarity he’s been looking for. 

Estelle notes: It’s so rare for me to read a book that includes a trip to India. (My mind always moves toward The Namesake, which I loved.) Definitely want to check out another.

Empire Girls by Suzanne Hayes + Loretta Nyhan (release date: May 14, 2014)

Empire Girls

Ivy and Rose Adams may be sisters, but they’re nothing alike. Rose, the eldest, is the responsible one, while Ivy is spirited and brazen. After the unexpected death of their father, the women are left to reconcile the estate, when they make a shocking discovery: not only has their father left them in financial ruin, but he has also bequeathed their beloved family house to a brother they never knew existed. With only a photograph to guide the way, Ivy and Rose embark to New York City, determined to find this mysterious man and reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

Once in New York, temptations abound at every turn, and soon the sisters are drawn into the glitzy underbelly of Manhattan, where they must overcome their differences and learn to trust each other if they’re going to survive in the big city and find their brother. Filled with unforgettable characters and charm, Empire Girls is a love letter to 1920s New York, and a captivating story of the unspoken bond between sisters.

Estelle notes: NEW YORK + THE 1920s? Sign me up.

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica (release date: July 29, 2014)

The Good Girl

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn’t show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia’s life. 

Colin’s job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia’s mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family’s world to shatter. 

Estelle Notes: Thrillerrrrr. If this book is anything like The Mourning Hours, I will be reading it under my desk at work. (Um, no. Just kidding. I did not do that. Okay fine… I did but it was a Friday afternoon in the summer!)

And, two of my most anticipated this year, bring us right back to the beginning of this post. Jason Mott is releasing a new book in September called The Wonder of All Things:

The Wonder of All Things

On an ordinary day, at an air show like that in any small town across the country, a plane crashes into a crowd of spectators, killing and injuring dozens. But when the dust clears, a thirteen-year-old girl named Ava is found huddled beneath a pocket of rubble with her best friend, Wash. He is injured and bleeding, and when Ava places her hands over him, his wounds miraculously disappear.

Ava has a unique gift: she can heal others of their physical ailments. Until the air show tragedy, her gift was a secret. But now the whole world knows, and suddenly Ava is thrust into the spotlight. People from all over the globe begin flocking to her small town, looking for healing and eager to glimpse the wonder of a miracle. But Ava’s unusual ability comes at a great cost—her own health—and as she grows weaker with each healing, Ava begins searching for an escape. Wash agrees to help Ava, but little does she know he has his own secret he’s been harboring, and soon Ava finds herself having to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to save the one she loves most.

And so does Paula Treick DeBoard with The Fragile World (October 2014):

The Fragile World

The Kaufmans have always considered themselves a normal, happy family. Curtis is a physics teacher at a local high school. His wife, Kathleen, restores furniture for upscale boutiques. Daniel is away at college on a prestigious music scholarship, and twelve-year-old Olivia is a happy-go-lucky kid whose biggest concern is passing her next math test.

And then comes the middle-of-the-night phone call that changes everything.Daniel has been killed in what the police are calling a freak accident, and the remaining Kaufmans are left to flounder in their grief. The anguish of Daniel’s death is isolating, and it’s not long before this once perfect family find themselves falling apart. As time passes and the wound refuses to heal, Curtis becomes obsessed with the idea of revenge, a growing mania that leads him to pack up his life and his anxious teenage daughter and set out on a collision course to right a wrong.


So there ya go — five new books for the price of one post. Hope there’s something here that floats your boat!
As you can probably tell my boat is pretty much forever floating. 😉

Happy reading!

P.S. If you read any non-YA titles this month, definitely let me know! It’s only fair 😉