Rather Be Re-Reading | Top 10 Tuesday

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

Greetings! We’re switching this week’s Top 10 Tuesday up a bit. Instead of ten books we recently added to our lists… how about ten books we’ve recently added to our re-read list? The truth is Magan and I are pretty much failing at the re-read this year. I guess that happens when you love the books you’re reading… but, sooner rather than later, we’re going to want to fall back on some of our favorite comfort reads. (Yum. Like comfort food. Ice cream. I’m hungry.) Plus, we need to get our ducks in a row for the re-read challenge hosted by Kelly and Hannah.

We’re committed. We’re prepped. Here are the books on our re-read list:

Rather Be ReReading Top 10 Tuesday Spring 2015

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell | From What I Remember by S. Kramer & V. Thomas
To All The Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han

On the Fence by Kasie West | Open Road Summer by Emery Lord |
The Summer of Firsts and Lasts by Terra McVoy | The Comeback Season by Jen E. Smith

The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler | Unbreak my Heart by Melissa Walker |
Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble


Can’t wait to see which books you tempt us with this week! Happy last day of March!

Our Spring TBR List • Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

Hello, again, friends! We’re participating in the Broke and Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday this week where we’re discussing the books that are at the top of our to-read lists this spring. Estelle’s list includes a couple of library books she just took out and some review books, while mine includes the next five books on my review schedule (because I have become a little more regimented with my reading so I don’t miss deadlines and release dates). Here’s our collaborative list:

list of upcoming young adult book releases, books checked out from library

All the Rage • Things We Know by Heart • A Court of Thorns and Roses
Every Last Promise • Finding Paris • My Best Everything
LOL • Making Pretty • Scarlet Undercover
The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley

> > > < < <

What are you looking forward to reading this spring?
What are you most excited about on our TBR?

Thanks for joining in! Don’t forget to check out more Top Ten Tuesday lists linked up at The Broke and Bookish!

Santa, I Promise I’ve Been Good This Year | Top 10 Tuesday

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish


Welcome back for Top 10 Tuesday, where this week participants are discussing which books they hope to find under their Christmas trees this year. Santa, are you listening? In addition to these books, I’ll happily take a few solid days off work and will soak up any given opportunity to read them. Promise.

Lights Large


Four • Just One Night • Rebel • The Lonely Hearts Club • Ask Again Later

(Truth: My favorite Elf, Estelle, just surprised me with Ask Again Later. Eeep!)


Me Since You • The One • One Plus One • Don’t Call Me Baby • Twelve Days to Christmas


Thanks to the Broke and the Bookish for hosting Top 10 Tuesday!
Be sure to check out which books they hope to unwrap in a few days + tell us what you’re most hoping for…

Top Ten Tuesday: Tough Subject Books

I’m pretty drawn to tough subject books. I scoured my Goodreads lists and narrowed it down to these FIFTEEN tough subject books instead of ten. (Bonus reads!) Obviously I didn’t follow the rules very well. Some of these were harder than others, but they all have aspects of them that really open your eyes to some difficult-to-discuss topics. If you have recommendations for me, I’d love to know what you suggest I add to my TBR.

I broke these down into a few topics and added brief notes for why they were difficult. No spoilers included. All links go to either a review on Rather Be Reading or Goodreads so you can check out the summaries.



young adult books about bullying recommendation

  1. Rites of Passage — bullying, sexism, hazing
  2. Tease — teen suicide, bullying
  3. If I Lie — knowing the secret truth about characters, bullying, ass-hat father
  4. Some Girls Are — bullying. bullying. bullying. stupid high school.



young adult books with difficult topics, circumstances, and uncomfortable relationships

  1. The Tragedy Paper — albino character, seclusion, longing after an unavailable girl
  2. Ketchup Clouds — written to a prisoner, hidden identity of main character
  3. The Lucy Variations — uncomfortable relationship with an adult, parents dictating every move
  4. When You Were Here — loss of a parent, misuse of prescription pills, loss of sense of self
  5. Small Town Sinners — discovering one’s own religious beliefs apart from what parents have taught you to believe
  6. Room — being held hostage, abuse, kidnap, written from the POV of a 5 year old



young adult books about sex, mental and sexual abuse, and pregnancy

  1. Where the Stars Still Shine — mental/emotional abuse MC suffered from mother’s instability
  2. Please Ignore Vera Dietz – implicit sexual fetish, death of a friend, crumbling friendship
  3. Me, Him, Them, & It — teen pregnancy + working through the decision to keep, abort, or give up the baby for adoption
  4. Uses for Boys — language + actual way it was written, but also sexually explicit, borderline uncomfortable for me — sex isn’t described as overly poetic and is raw and often very in-your-face
  5. Live Through This — sexual abuse by a relative, mental instability of the MC who questions right from wrong



Which of these books was most difficult for you to read?
What tough subject book recommendations do you have for me?

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


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…)

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!