Rather Be Reading » A Young Adult Book Blog by Two Busy Girls Who Always Find Time For a Book

Masthead header

Now Batting: Books and Baseball

Today some may be celebrating Easter. Others Passover. But there is one major event we cannot forget. The first day of baseball season. Technically Opening Day kicks off tomorrow but tonight is the first major league baseball game of the year and I couldn’t let this huge moment go unnoticed. So here I am. Hello, baseball friends. Welcome back to the time of year where are dinners are spent watching a first pitch, our weekends are filled with the calm sounds of a game on the radio, and our newspapers are reporting on Alex Rodriguez instead of how the team actually performed. (If you’re from New York, anyway.)

I’ve written about my love of the game before, and even included a few of my baseball book recommendations. While I’m knee deep in nostalgia over the Sunday afternoons I spent at the ballpark with my parents to the ungodly hot Saturday afternoons I would spend with James before we were married, I’m also anticipating the upcoming season. As a lifelong Yankees fan, it will be the first one without Derek Jeter and (not only because of this absence) what I’m hearing will be a pretty lackluster game. I’m always one to root for the underdog so I’m going to be glass half full about this for the moment. Be sure to check in with me again around the All-Star Break though. Anything can happen.

In the meantime, let’s get into the baseball spirit. Don’t worry about your gloves or cleats. You might just want your wallet or your library card because this team is all about reading and not running. (Separately, maybe. I wouldn’t recommend doing both at the same time.) Here are nine books (for nine positions) that I’m challenging myself to read from today (April 5) until late October when one team out of thirty is awarded that world championship trophy. It might see far away, but it will fly by.

Baseball Fiction Books from Rather Be Reading Blog

LF: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach | CF: This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready
RF: Play On by Michelle Smith

3B: Pretend You Love Me by Julie Ann Peters | SS: Shakespeare Bats Cleanup by Ron Koertge

2B: Six Innings by James Preller | 1B: The Way Home Looks Now by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

P: My 13th Season by Kristi Roberts

C: Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Pena

So what do you say? Are you ready for some baseball? I certainly am! Here’s wishing your team great health and lots of luck this season!

Let’s play ball (or books)!

Psst: Let’s not leave anyone out. If you are in the market for some non-fiction baseball picks, here’s a great roundup featured on Esquire recently.

April 30, 2015 - 3:53 pm

It's a Wrap • So Long, April • Rather Be Reading - […] Part of It: My Budget-Friendly NYC Day Magan chats with author Paula Stokes Baseball and Book pairings Estelle chats with author Juliana […]

April 10, 2015 - 11:35 pm

Alisa @ Papercuttts - Gosh, I love and miss the baseball game experience. I live in Brazil now and there’s none of that down here, but I have such good memories of going to baseball games when I was younger. I might have to read one of these to get my fix!

April 9, 2015 - 11:00 am

Andi - I have been a sucker for anything baseball (books and movies) with a romance since seeing Summer Catch all those years ago. I’m so excited for Play On. And will check out the others!

Excellent post!

April 7, 2015 - 4:48 pm

Alexa S. - Because baseball isn’t really played in the Philippines, I only knew of it and never really experienced it until I came back to the US! I like reading about it though, and definitely want to check out some of the books you’ve recommended. Hope your team has a better season than everyone is predicting they will!

April 6, 2015 - 8:01 am

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - I love this idea! Sports books are some of my faves and there are definitely ones here that I haven’t read/aren’t on my TBR list.

April 5, 2015 - 6:16 pm

Leah - I LOVE THIS! In school I played a number of sports, but that was mainly because my friends had all signed up. Apart from a few, I’m not a big sports fan/player/watcher, but I LOVE me some sports in books!

April 5, 2015 - 2:54 pm

Stephanie at The Insouciant Sophisticate - Padres fan here-so excited for the return of baseball! I actually do have some reason to hope based on our off-season but you never know!

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

First and Fresh | Pub Date

Pub Date Header

It’s officially spring in New York City. I know this because I bought my first iced coffee of the season at lunch yesterday and the pull toward bright, lighter clothing is so strong. I am resisting but one thing I can’t resist are all the spring beers available on tap. If you are a little nervous about beer, I feel like spring is a good time to do a few tastings. Everything is light! (But it tastes better than anything labeled “light” or “lite” — score!)

This month, we’re getting into the spirit of Earth Day and in the spirit of recycling and reusing I’m going to chat about a beer I’ve had before but had again recently: Captain Lawrence’s Freshchester Pale Ale. It’s wheat-y, it’s light and it goes down so easily… you could probably have three and not even realize it. Bonus: this beer is recommended to be paired with pizza or Mexican food. Does it get any better?

It does! I am so pumped for my book recommendation today.

First There Was Forever and Freshchester Pale Ale

First There Was Forever by debut writer Juliana Romano pubs on the 14th of this month and in the spirit of Earth Day, the main character, Lima, loves to garden, her mom’s big into health food, and they love to go to the farmer’s market. She’s only 16 but she’s sort of an old soul and that’s probably why I felt for her so much when her best friend starts to change and life gets complicated very quickly. One of my favorite books this year, the cover is beautiful, and the inside will certainly get your heart pumping and your toes dying for a dip in the Pacific Ocean.

I have a hunch we’re in for a lovely spring — whether we’re talking brews or books. Go out there and have an adventure, okay?

Check out what’s brewing at: The Book Addict’s Guide | Andi ABCs | Just a Couple More Pages

April 27, 2015 - 8:00 am

Friendship & Kitschy California with Author Juliana Romano, Estelle - […] more on FIRST THERE WAS FOREVER: my pub date ; […]

April 7, 2015 - 4:45 pm

Alexa S. - I really like lighter beers in general, so I’m guessing that spring beers are the best bet for ones that I’d enjoy drinking. I’m also excited to look into First There Was Forever, which sounds like a pretty great read!

April 6, 2015 - 8:06 am

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - Great picks! They’re never a go-to brewery for me, but I always end up really liking Captain Lawrence beers. I haven’t tried this one, but I’ll have to pick it up.

April 3, 2015 - 9:06 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - I love your selections! Much more fitting than mine haha!
I think I’d enjoy this book too! I like reading about old souls and the main character sounds like my kind of gal. The beer sounds delicious too! I LOVE light and crisp beers, anything perfect for spring and summer. I like the wintery beers too but after drinking stouts and IPAs and brown ales all winter, I’m always ready for those fruity and light and zingy (yes, zingy) flavors!

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

Positively Beautiful by Wendy Mills • Estelle Reviews

Positively Beautiful by Wendy MillsPositively Beautiful by Wendy Mills ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Kids
Pages: 368
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: cancer, best friends, planes
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)

Summary: As if her mom having breast cancer isn’t hard enough, Erin finds out that she may have inherited a rare gene mutation (like her mom did from her grandmother) and she could have cancer too. Does she find out the truth now or does she forget this is even a possibility for now?

Last Friday, Angelina Jolie wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, sharing her decision to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes. As the carrier of the BRCA1 gene mutation, Jolie believed going through with this procedure (and, therefore, speeding along menopause) was the right decision for her — especially knowing that her grandmother, aunt, and mom all died of cancer very young. In her piece, Jolie urges women to know all of their options and emphasizes that everyone needs to choose their own path, but also makes sure we know: “Knowledge in power.”

This leads me to Erin in Positively Beautiful. Not only is she going through the motions of being a normal teenager (a mysterious boy from her class, a great best friend who starts ignoring her for a new boy, missing her dad, learning a new skill), she finds out that her mother has breast cancer and she could be a carrier of the gene mutation. Does she take the test and find out? Or does she forget about it? As you can imagine, it’s difficult to just ignore something this huge, this life altering, and Erin finds herself depending on online support from others in the same boat — most specifically, Ashley, a girl in Florida who is always trying to convince Erin to smell the roses and experience all the beauty there is in the world — especially when life seems so hopeless.

Wendy Mills has crafted a unique story here. I loved that Erin decided to take flying lessons. The late night, abandoned building adventures she took with her best friend and boys from school. Even the growing pains that Erin experienced with Trina, her lifelong best friend, when she landed a guy who finally appreciated her. To be in this position, with her mom sick and a mysterious cloud possibly hanging over her head, Erin is caught between the life of a typical teenager and a girl forced to grow up way too fast, forced to make decisions that could affect her entire life.

Shocker: we don’t always know what to do when life gets this out of hand. I won’t say Erin gets a get out of jail free card but she certainly takes an unexpected detour Survivor-style — granting her a respite — for a little bit anyway. She might be overwhelmed but she’s not silly enough to think she can escape her problems forever. Instead, supports shift and she returns to real life recharged and as ready as she will ever be to face the unknown.

While I personally may have turned down the drama in the high school aspect of this book, I thought it was great how Positively Beautiful shed light on a subject we don’t see much in young adult literature — without being preachy. It’s a book that definitely marches to its own drummer, and that’s exactly why I couldn’t read fast enough and sat in one spot until I reached the end. (Warning: tissues are not an option.)

rather be reading borrow from the library icon

Add POSITIVELY BEAUTIFUL to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy at B&N

April 7, 2015 - 4:43 pm

Alexa S. - I definitely agree that it’s great to have a YA book that tackles something we don’t often hear a lot about, and in that respect, Positively Beautiful was interesting to read.

April 2, 2015 - 12:33 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I don’t think I could read this book. It hits a little too close to home, although I’m glad it’s out there for other people to look into.

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

It’s a Wrap • See Ya Next Year, March!

Well, another month bites the dust. Who’s prepared for April and taxes? (UGH.) Ahem, sorry – that’s what I’ve been focused on a lot the last two weeks. April is going to be full of sunshine and reading outside and lots and lots of vitamin D. (We hope.) Here are a few highlights of our March:


We had an awesome time participating in Cassie’s #15beautifuldays in March! Thanks so much for hosting this, Cassie, and we hope you guys enjoyed seeing a bit more of our lives outside of books on our Instagram.

A photo posted by Estelle (@thatsostelle) on

A photo posted by Magan (@magan) on

SHOPPING LIST MUSTS

March-Must-Read-Recommendations-from-Rather-Be-Reading

Estelle’s Picks: The Wrong Side of RightA Mad, Wicked Folly

Magan’s Picks: Things We Know by HeartThe Start of Me and You

 WHAT TO CLICK

SUMMING IT ALL UP

Buy It:

Small Damages by Beth Kephart
Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark
Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson
The Winner’s Trilogy
In Some Other World, Maybe by Shari Goldhagen
Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Worth It:

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes
Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz
One Wish by Robyn Carr

Borrow It:

Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor
When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill
Dove Arising by Karen Bao

Free Writing:

Top Ten Books We Want to Re-Read
#YARunsA5K
The Beginning of Our Attachment (our Twitter/G-Chat beginnings)
Top Ten Books on Our Spring TBR List
Estelle and James’ Early Beginnings (inspired by The Start of Me and You)

Monthly Features:

Little Kids: Books About Feelings
Dive Into Diversity: They Work Hard for the Money
Pub Date: Can I Be So Blunt

DON’T FORGET!


What were some of your favorites in March? Let us know in the comments.

Here’s to amazing books, beautiful weather, and no terrible April Fool’s jokes being pulled on you today! 😉

April 7, 2015 - 4:36 pm

Alexa S. - It seems like y’all had a happy March! I loved the #15beautifuldays challenge too, and definitely enjoyed perusing all of the photos that were shared :)

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby • Magan Reviews

Book Review for Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

 

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby [twitterwebsite]
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 304
Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: death of a boyfriend, transplant donor recipients, moving forward
Format Read: ARC from Publisher (Thank you!)

Summary: Quinn feels unable to move on until she has closure about Trent’s last donor recipient, Colton, who received a heart transplant. When their two worlds collide, Quinn knows she should tell Colton who she is, but it’s easier said then done when she starts developing feelings for him.

• • •

Quinn’s boyfriend is killed in a freak accident while he’s out for a run early one morning. Quinn wasn’t with him, but any other day she would have been. When Things We Know by Heart opens, it’s been 400 days since Trent’s death. 400 days of Quinn’s life being on hold — removing herself from her activities, failing to apply for college, sleepwalking through graduation, and distancing herself from her friends. The one thing she’s successfully managed to do is meet four out of the five donor recipients.

But the fifth one puzzles her; why hasn’t he responded to her letters? Consumed with finding him, she pinpoints where he is by the magic of the Internet and stumbling upon his sister’s blog. Colton received Trent’s heart and Quinn feels if she could just see him, maybe she could finally feel some closure. She goes to his home town to catch a glimpse of him, but her startled clumsiness causes them to do more than bypass one another and begins a sweet friendship.

As the days tick by and Quinn’s silence becomes deafening, she knows she’s gotten in too deep with Colton. She knows she should have been upfront about who she was, especially once she can’t seem to think of him as just a friend. Though their relationship isn’t an honest one, she just can’t seem to back away. Kirby did a phenomenal job creating a complex storyline — How does Quinn reveal herself and not risk heartbreak (again)? — but she peppered Things We Know by Heart with great adventures, an awesome connection between Colton and Quinn that just made me smile, and really, really strong family dynamics. (The bond between Quinn and her sister Ryan is so authentic; when Quinn least wanted to get out of bed, Ryan was there to shove her out of it and to speak truth when it was the hardest thing to say.)

Things We Know by Heart is ultimately a simple story of moving on when you’re not sure you should or are able. Plus a sweet romance. The strength is in all the small details that are layered with beautiful moments and pacing that feels so effortless. I love that Jessi honed in on heartbreak and moving on and did it so, so well.

(My really, really minor complaint would be that I would have liked to have seen some of those friends Quinn neglected for the last year filter back into her life, but really — such a teeny tiny thing to have hoped for in a darn near perfect book.)

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

Add THINGS WE KNOW BY HEART to GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble

April 14, 2015 - 3:19 pm

Magan - I did, I did, Melissa! Thoroughly enjoyed it! Was this your first Kirby book? If so, I’m SHOCKED! You definitely need to read the others! Get on it, lady! :)

April 14, 2015 - 3:16 pm

Magan - I agree with you on both accounts, Alexa! The family was SO great and the scenery was just magnificent. I wanted to live in some of those scenes!

April 7, 2015 - 4:31 pm

Alexa S. - My favorite thing about Things We Know By Heart is a toss-up between the incredible details of the setting, and the amazing people in Quinn’s family. Both elements were such standouts to me! Glad you enjoyed Things We Know By Heart.

April 6, 2015 - 1:33 am

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - Oh, I’m so glad that you liked this one too! I hadn’t thought about her friends, but you do make a good point. I loved how her character evolved throughout the book, and it would have been nice to see some of that transformation rewarded! I am definitely going to check out more of Jessi Kirby’s books; I really liked her writing style =)

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email

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!

April 1, 2015 - 8:01 am

It's a Wrap • See Ya Next Year, March! - […] Top Ten Books We Want to Re-Read #YARunsA5K The Beginning of Our Attachment (our Twitter/G-Chat beginnings) Top Ten Books on Our Spring TBR List Estelle and James’ Early Beginnings (inspired by The Start of Me and You) […]

March 31, 2015 - 8:59 pm

Alexa S. - I’m definitely planning on rereading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before! I loved it so, so much last year, and it would be nice to reacquaint myself with Lara Jean. Especially since PS I Still Love You is coming soon!

March 31, 2015 - 8:12 pm

booklife4life - I really need to read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, heard such great things about it!

Good luck with your re-reads :)

My Top Ten

brooke @ booklife4life

March 31, 2015 - 12:57 pm

Natalie @ Flowers in my Books - To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is SO good! I read it in January and I’m already wanting to re-read it again. I’m glad you liked it enough to re-read it as well!! :)

This year I’m planning to re-read Fangirl (because it’s probably one of my favourite books EVER), Anna and The French Kiss and TATBILB before the sequel comes out. Happy reading!

March 31, 2015 - 12:40 pm

chloe @ yabookloverblog - While I haven’t been reading much at all this year, I do love to re-read my favourites. I definitely don’t do it enough though! The only book I’ve read from your list is To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and while I wouldn’t considerate a favourite, I can totally see how it would be a good comfort read :) Good luck!

March 31, 2015 - 11:38 am

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I just love re-reading. I’ve been trying to re-read a lot more this year. I’ve re-read 3 books so far, which isn’t too bad. But I’m feeling like a major historical romance re-read sense is in the near future.

I’d love to re-read Attachments, too.

March 31, 2015 - 8:03 am

Cassie - LOVE THIS. adding Nantucket series for you

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email