Big Kids’ Table: A 2013 Overview

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

The LAST Big Kids’ Table of the year? What?! Unfortunately I did miss last month but I hope you’ll forgive me with today’s post. It’s been so much fun to stretch the possibilites of this feature throughou the year: getting other bloggers involved (Rachel, Hannah, Ginger, Asheley, Cassie, and Elena), completely hacked by Daphne at Gone Pecan, and probably one of my favorite posts of the year: some of my top YA authors recommending their own big kid picks!

I can’t thank everyone who was game to help me out enough… especially Cassie, Hannah, and Asheley for always being enthusiastic about this feature and always refreshing my own affection for it! Yay!

So today TODAY is the day I make the final push for some great big kid books I devoured this year!

most surprising.

Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson + The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard

Big Kids Table Most Surprising Reads 2013

These are two super different books (divorce/marriage and family/possible crime) but I became so unexpectedly obsessed with each that I read them both in close to a day. (Different days, of course.) Both are intense, heavier reads that are paced so cleverly and keep you interested until the very end.

a recommendation that was right on the money.

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer

book cover of Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer

I’ve never given into Cassie‘s book pushing before like I did with this one. Well-developed characters, real feelings, and a ton of charm are all encompassed in this little book (that I think a lot of our moms and best friends who are not total YA people would enjoy too). Did I mention the southern setting, a sister named Merry, high school football, and the best sounding food ever? There’s just so much to enjoy here and I’m so glad I took the time to seek it out (it was sold out at my B&N) and read it ASAP.

holy moly five stars.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Big Kids Table Five Star Read 2013

I didn’t review this one; I’m not sure why. It’s a really long book, a total commitment but so worth it. I wanted to read it because I’m pretty obsessed with anything Kennedy but King made this book so much more. Time travel, the butterfly affect, falling in love, and how figuring out what is right takes a lot of tries. I was so emotionally moved by this book, completely re-energized about the history surrounding Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, and totally IN this world of time travel and its many many rules.

oh la la romance.

The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins + Three Little Words by Susan Mallery + I Only Have Eyes for You by Bella Andre

Big Kids Table Top Romance Reads 2013

After reading a tremendous amount of romance this year, it was not easy to narrow down this list. Just a quick FYI: the last two options are super sexy, super racy. And just SO fun. I really liked both the stories. (They both have heroines who have had crushes for a long, long time.) And The Perfect Match? Great combo of comedy and romance. I can’t say enough positive things about it. A lot of the times the characters in romance novels aren’t super memorable, but I felt differently about those in The Perfect Match.

feels like the first time.

Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid + Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Big Kids Table Best Debuts 2013

Two debuts that made my TBR a very very happy place. Both main characters in each of these books are in their late 20s (strange coincidence) but one is dealing with the sudden death of her very new husband, and the other? Career aspirations, and wondering if she will ever make it in the big city. If anyone had either of these books under the Christmas tree, they would be very very lucky people. Beautiful writing, charming characters.

man and muppets

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

Jim Henson The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

One of the absolute best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. I know, I know. I’m a huge Muppet fan but I truly believe people interested in the arts, pop culture, Disney fans would sincerely be touched and get a kick out of what a workaholic Henson was, how his creative mind NEVER stopped working, and the origins of so many characters we hold near and dear.

here’s to the future and you.

Big Kids Table What I Want to Read Next 2013

Claudia Silver to the Rescue by Kathy Ebel + The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum + Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Ah the hefty reading list. A burden a lot of us bring on ourselves. But that’s why we are here. A support system and the inevitable list of more books I want to make sure I get to next year. (Am I already jinxing myself?) I own the first two and I’ve heard such fantastic things about the third… must make these happen ASAP.

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Thanks again for all of your support with this feature! I so appreciate it and
I’m looking forward to trying out some new things in 2014!

Now dish: what adult book fits in any of the above categories for YOU?

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

Top Ten Tuesday: Five and Five Favorites

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

Oh hi! It’s Top Ten Tuesday Day thanks to the geniuses at Broke and Bookish! Today we’re teaming up to share with you the top reads we’ve experienced so far this year — no easy task! At all! It’s just so hard to choose when you fall in love with so many things for different reasons but we’re going to try very hard to get you excited about these titles today!

estelle.

Estelle's Top Five Favorites of 2013 So Far with a Bonus

1. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (July 16 release): To call this book a page turner is just about the understatement of the year. A spring break turned murder and conviction totally changes the dynamic of this group of friends. The story is told from Anna’s perspective as she awaits her trail in the brutal death of her best friend. So sinister, so twisty, surprisingly sexy, and well-done. I finished this two weeks ago and still can’t stop thinking about it.

2. Starstruck by Rachel Shukert: One of the most literary, multi-dimensional young adult books I’ve read ever. Rachel takes us back to 1930s Hollywood and focuses on the lives of three very different young ladies. The secrets behind the glamour, the unexpected friendship, the romance, and politics all play a part. This is the first in a three-book series and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. (Esp. with the WTF ending.)

3. Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy: So (strangely?) proud when an author I love takes a risk with her work and blows me away. McVoy says bye bye to high school bands and summer camps and wraps us up in a story of a love so full of devotion, it spells disaster for Nikki. She ends up in jail when the love of her life gets her involved in a murder. Secrets, growth, frustration make up this succinctly written masterpiece. You will not be able to put it down.

4. Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland: A beautiful setting with a not so happy story attached to it. Cricket has no idea what is going on with her best friend, Jules, and why she has suddenly turned her back on her. Hoping to somehow fix whatever it is, Cricket follows her to Nantucket, gets a job at a neighboring in, and falls in love with the most surprising person. This book is so honest when it comes to conflicting feelings of friendship and I think that’s why I love it so much.

5. Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham: A big kids book to round out the list… Frannie is in her late 20s and still trying to figure out what to do with her life. She has a few months left in her own goal to make it as an actress, and when a mistake lands her an agent… she thinks it might actually be happening. This book talks about the path least taken, the one where you go out for your passions and don’t follow the crowd. I loved that so much and was rooting for Frannie the whole time. (This is also the first book in a series.)

Surprise pick: Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia: All my picks above are 2013 releases, and Fingerprints of You came out last year and it’s one of those… “why did I wait so long to read this?” picks. Lemon is pregnant and decides to go with her best friend to California to find out more about the dad she never knew. Madonia has written a fast-paced, gorgeous book with an awesome best friendship, a difficult mother, and amazing discoveries.

magan.

best young adult books of 2013 so far

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite 2013 books. I never wanted it to end. I felt so emotionally invested in the story because Rainbow’s writing is so spot-on. She made me feel emotional over the simplest of things (the hand-holding scene had my heart beating so fast!). I am positive Rainbow Rowell is an auto-buy for me from here on out.

2. I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella: I just finished this one this past weekend and really, really enjoyed it! Sophie Kinsella has been kind of hit or miss for me. The main character in the Shopaholic books really grated on my nerves (would she never learn her lesson?). BUT — I found Poppy to be funny and intelligent and I laughed out loud so much my husband wanted to know what was going on.

3. Winger by Andrew Smith: There’s nothing about Winger that I didn’t absolutely love. I wish I could experience it over and over and over again for the very first time because I want to swim in Andrew Smith’s words. I loved the main character, Ryan Dean, more than I can possibly express in words. (Got any other awesome male POV young adult book recs for me?)

4. manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen: Surprise! Another male POV book! I loved Zero last year by Leveen and really fell more in love with his work after reading manicpixiedreamgirl because he made the complex love scenario so understandable — even if you haven’t been in the exact situation, I think it’s still relateable. Leveen’s writing is just … killer.

5. Golden by Jessi Kirby: My review of Golden was practically one big gush fest, but that’s because Jessi so, so deserves a standing ovation for this one. I’ve enjoyed her stories in the past, but when I finished the last page of Golden, I felt like I was suffering through a break-up I just didn’t want to end. (This is probably why I own three copies of the book…)

Mom pick: I don’t really want to infuse Rather Be Reading with lots of kids stuff, but let me be honest for a second and say I read a bazillion kids books every day to our foster daughter. Some of them are so repetitive and boring (to me, an adult, but great for kids development, of course). My favorite, hands down, has been Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin because it’s comical and intelligent. And! The illustrations are impeccable.

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Looking forward to seeing everyone else’s picks! It’s going to be a good week!

Estelle’s Shelve It >> Cinco de Mayo Books

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

It’s a little too early for a margarita and some guacamole, but I hope at some point today you are enjoying both!

No v-log today… I stayed with my parents last night and I have total bedhead right now. Not so pretty. But I do have some fun books to share with you! Woot woot!

The best part of this week was definitely going to the Lauren Graham signing at Barnes + Noble. Unfortunately/fortunately, plenty of people got there before Rachel, Alexa, and I and we stood in line without hearing her talk about her new book, Someday, Someday, Maybe BUT after 2 hours, we each got to meet Lauren. She is gorgeous and very sweet in person.

Lauren Graham Someday Someday Maybe Tour and Signing

She was a total rock star because she signed over 500 autographs that night. Definitely the biggest and most popular signing I’ve ever attended! Just to help you (of course), I am going to provide an Amazon link to Lauren’s book because You Really Must Read It.

In other happy news, Heidi from the YA Bibliophile was sweet enough to get me an autographed Sarah Dessen book after I sent her a box of books for a teen summer program!

Signed Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

I am absolutely in love with the Sarah Dessen cover redesigns + I love that I now have the first one I read/my favorite in my collection. Thanks so much Heidi!

For review, I have these beauties:

Shelve It For Review May 5 2013: The Newcomber by Robyn Carr, Some of Tim's Stories by S.E. Hinton, Piece of Me by Lynn Madelenna Menna

The Newcomer by Robyn Carr | Release Date: June 25, 2013 (Goodreads)
Some of Tim’s Stories by S.E. Hinton | Release Date: April 30, 2013 (Goodreads)
Piece of My Heart by Lynn Maddalena Menna | Release Date: June 18, 2013 (Goodreads)

Looking forward to these!

And, last but certainly not least, I bought a copy of Tom Leveen’s Party after a huge recommendation from Lena (Addicted 2 Novels). I absolutely adored manicpixiedreamgirl (his new release) and must read everything he has written.

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In case you missed any of our posts this week, here’s a quick rundown:

The GLORIOUS list of May releases
Magan’s glowing review of Winger by Andrew Smith
My EEE I’m so excited review of Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
A review of Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike, which came out this week.
Magan’s exciting review of The Originals by Cat Patrick

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Thanks for hanging out this week! What are YOU reading? Anything amazing?

Estelle: Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren GrahamSomeday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham ( tweet )
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 352
Target audience: Adult
Keywords: NYC in the 90s, acting, success
Format read: ARC from NetGalley via Publisher. (Thanks!)

Summary: Franny always dreamed of being an actress (preferably working in the theatre). After college, she sets a three-year goal to make it in the entertainment industry in New York City. With six months left to get the ball rolling, Franny’s not sure she’s any closer to making her big break.

There’s a certain amount of trepidation when a celebrity writes a book. Especially a celebrity you really like: one you’ve seen in both her hit television shows and singing and dancing on Broadway. As an extension of your fandom, you want to like everything else they do. Right? But the fear! The fear!

Friends, I tell you: fear not and get your hands on a copy of Someday, Someday, Maybe as soon as you can.

It’s hard to hack it in New York City. And no one knows that better than Franny. Sometimes the city can feel oh-so magical, and other times it can chew you up and spit you out. With six months left to go in her self-created goal to become an actress, her “big break” comes unexpectedly when she messes up her scene in a showcase for her acting class. Soon she has an agent (although maybe he’s not the perfect fit), and a spot on a TV show (even though there’s no air date), and James Franklin, an actor who has had actual roles in movies (!!), is looking her way.

This is SO happening, right?

Well, kind of. Graham shapes a really great story around a 27-year old who doesn’t have it all figured out. One minute her phone is ringing with opportunities and other times it’s like they forgot her number. She thinks about going home and being an English teacher (like her dad) or finally settling down in the suburbs with Clark (her sort of boyfriend). She bumps into other friends who are her age and successful while she’s working some crummy part-time job to pay her rent. There aren’t enough books written about people in their late 20s who may not be on a straight and narrow path, and I really appreciated how Franny could strike gold one day and be flailing the next. (So relatable!)

Set in 1990, every few chapters begin with a glimpse into Franny’s datebook (cheese puffs, call backs, rent checks, a tally of margaritas drank in a night) and messages left on her answering machine (some of the best are from her adorable dad).  There are also a few tongue-in-cheek NYC jokes that made me giggle. Best of all, though, were her roommates: best friend from college, Jane, who was the kind of friend who nicknamed all of Franny’s boyfriends and could tell her she’s watching too much Leeza (do you remember that show?) and Dan, an engaged guy and budding writer, quietly working on some science fiction while sipping a beer. We never get to spend an unbelievable amount of time with either (it was so well-balanced) but I loved how close you could see Jane and Franny were, and ya know, for some reason, I kept on rooting for the endearing Dan who had much more in common with Franny than she realized.

When I first started the book, I did struggle with the fact that it was so heavy into the acting. How am I going to relate to this? I thought. But pretty soon after that, Someday, Someday, Maybe, came to be about so much more. When we are little kids we are taught we can be anything, but I don’t think the reality hits that maybe that won’t come true or it’s harder than we think until we are knee deep in it. Not to mention the discovery that not everyone takes the same path. There really is no right one, no matter how many naysayers you encounter. It’s really nice to have a book that explores that other side.

Someday, Someday, Maybe is so charming, so authentic, and so special.

Also I dare you to read this without picturing Franny as Lauren Graham. Go ahead. I, indeed, failed this challenge.

Note: I found out after I finished that Jennifer E. Smith (This is What Happy Looks Like) was the editor of this book. Really. Can this book get any better?

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

Goodreads | Amazon

Estelle + Magan: Nailed It (+ Giveaway)

Happy Tuesday, friends! Unfortunately this new feature was a casualty of our server issues from last week. Originally, we planned to post this last Sunday but here we are today instead! (In the future, look for a Nailed It post celebrating upcoming releases every three to four weeks!)

Here’s the story: We both have Julep Maven nail polish subscriptions and are (quite frequently) purchasing new colors. We have serious, serious addictions. (We both have very incriminating photographs of our polish collections. Eeep!) As we’re gearing up for warmer weather, summer reads, tans, and lots of sunshine, we decided to pick polish colors to pair with a book we’re each looking forward to. Our selections for April are…

Estelle’s Pick:

The timing for this post actually worked out because you will get to read my review of Someday, Someday, Maybe TOMORROW. Actress Lauren Graham has penned her fiction debut, and it was such a pleasure to read. I know the cover is a little muted when you think of summer colors but there are so many hidden gems of color when you really give it a look. Just like the book. Set in New York, I like there are a few lighter tones with a pop of red. It makes it fancy and a little glamorous.

My Julep color selections are: Julianne | Rose | Helen

Estelle Nailed It Someday Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham

 

Giving these colors a second glance, I want to push the YES button and buy them. The colors are definitely versatile enough to get you through the entire year!

Don’t forget to check out Someday, Someday, Maybe + stop in tomorrow and read my review!

Goodreads | Amazon

Magan’s Pick:

The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise stands out to me because of the colorful, bright cover.  And of course, if you read the book summary, it involves kissing lots of boys + a girl that’s amazingly talented (read: a smarty pants) and is developing an app to win a scholarship + she’s about to enter college (yay, older characters!). I’m guessing there are going to be some mishaps along the way, and hopefully a boy that she falls in love with!

My Julep color selections are: Susan | Portia | Amy

I would apply the pink on my toes because how cute would this color be with flip flops or sandals? So girly! And I would use the blues on my fingernails to do an accent nail with Portia. I personally own Amy, but dang, now I want all of them!

Goodreads | Amazon

Win a Julep Nail Polish Color

Because this is SUCH an obsession of ours, we want to spread the love. (And aren’t you so excited for your nails to have a pop of color?) One winner will receive a Julep nail polish color of their choice. Enter by telling us which color (of those we’ve listed above) you’d like to win in the comments below. The contest is only internationally to anyone over the age of 13.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One last thing! Be sure to check out Mandee over at the BookishManicurist where she makes unbelievable pieces of art with her nails to correspond with the books she is reading/reviewing. It’s pretty unbelievable and she has the best nail polishing tips in town!

Thanks for stopping by Rather Be Reading today!