the glass castle, the mysterious benedict society, something borrowed, north of beautiful, the piper's son

Magan: Top Ten Tuesday — Books I Read Pre-Blogging

So I kind of cheated for today’s Top Ten Tuesday. I only chose nine books. This is so incredibly OCD of me, but when I was doing the layout, I did a grid that only had room for 9 books. I’m a bit neurotic and couldn’t force myself to squeeze in a tenth book. Oops?

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and The Bookish) is Top Ten Favorite Books I Read Pre-Blogging.

the glass castle, the mysterious benedict society, something borrowed, north of beautiful, the piper's son

  1. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls — *gasp* I KNOW! You guys don’t see me read a lot of adult fiction (much less memoirs), but ohmygosh this book is so flipping fantastic. I had a very deep emotional connection to this one.
  2. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart — I also don’t read TONS of middle grade books, but this serious is so fantastic. It’s about kid geniuses who need good homes and they’re always trying to solve a mystery.
  3. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin — By now I’m sure we’ve all seen the movie, but I was a major chick lit girl back in the day.
  4. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley — This was shortly before I became a blogger (but still a rec from Estelle) and … wow. Gorgeous writing. Lovely story.
  5. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta — All hail Melina Marchetta. By far my favorite of her books. Love, love, love.
  6. Hourglass by Myra McEntire — Time travel? What? In addition to that and the steamy tension between the characters, this is a total win.
  7. Perfect Fifths (Jessica Darling #5) by Megan McCafferty — Yes, I chose the FIFTH book and not the first. It’s my favorite. What’s yours?
  8. Love Story by Jennifer Echols — I’m kind of in the minority, I think, for loving this book the way I do. There’s not a perfect ending, but boy do I like the open-endedness.
  9. Staying at Daisy’s by Jill Mansell — And one more chick lit book for you guys. Jill is hilarious. Her characters are always in some undeniably terrible point in their lives. I need to read another of her books ASAP.

(Okay, so what would my tenth pick really be? The entire Harry Potter series. Ooops — I just cheated again. That makes 16 books. ;))


Don’t forget to check out the fabulous list over at The Broke and the Bookish!

What were your favorite books pre-blogging?

weekly feature focusing on the books we bought, borrowed, and received from publishers

Magan: Shelve It — September 9, 2012

weekly feature focusing on the books we bought, borrowed, and received from publishers

Hi friends! Thanks for stopping by for this week’s Shelve It. As you can see below, no vlog from me today. I’m currently lookin’ a mess and selling things on Craigslist. The husband and I have been hard at work on an amazing new house-related project this weekend. This has resulted in me deciding enough is enough with us keeping things we don’t need. I stayed up ridiculously late last night posting things on Craigslist. I’m now cleaning everything and sorting lots of stuff into keep / goodwill / donate-to-library piles.

Now do you see why I probably look a little ridiculous today? As if you needed further proof, here’s what I look like right now — no make-up, crazy hair:

magan rather be reading blog

Okay, I get it. You’re here for the books. I racked up a fine at the library because surprise, surprise I forgot to renew my books on time. I decided not to check more out for now because I still have a few that I want to get to. I did renew them and am thankfully not accumulating more fines.

Hachette Book Group surprised me with an awesome package this week! They gifted me finished copies of Adaptation by Malinda Lo and Fathomless by Jackson Pearce. I’m currently reading Adaptation and thoroughly enjoying it! This is my first Malinda book. Thank you so, so much to Hachette!

For those of you who’ve read Jackson’s series, do I need to read the first two books in the Fairytale Retellings series before moving on to Fathomless?

books received unsolicited from the hachette book group

My amazing co-blogger, Estelle, sent me an AWESOME package stuffed with all kinds of goodies for my birthday last week. She sent me a copy of one of her favorite books, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, a copy of one of my favorite books (that I didn’t yet own), The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, and a copy of Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins. I’ve talked to Estelle a whole lot lately about how I love the look of watercoloring and was really wanting to try it out. She included lots of goodies in her box, but I ADORED that she remembered our watercoloring talks and included a mini sketch book, a set of watercolors, and brushes.

Estelle, you are simply the best! Thank you so much for making me feel so loved and celebrated on my birthday! xoxoxo

goodies and books received from estelle for magan's birthday

Last, but certainly not least, is the awesome surprise gift I received in the mail from my lady love, Jess, at Gone With the Words. Jess gave me a copy of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, book one in The Mortal Instruments series. You guys are going to GASP when I admit this to you: I haven’t read a Cassie Clare book yet. I know, I know! Jess is working to remedy this. Thank you so much, Jess! This was so kind of you and I can’t wait to read it!

the mortal instruments series

Rather Be Reading Recap:

> A List of September 2012 Young Adult (YA) Book Releases
> A Review of Where You Are by Tammara Webber
> A Review of All Summer Long by Susan Mallery
> A Review of Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
> Travel Tales: A Round Up
> A Review of Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

And that wraps up this week’s Shelve It. I’m going to continue scaring Craigslisters with my no-make-up face. Enjoy your Sunday!

Travel Tales: The Aussies Know How to Write

travel tails feature with rather be reading, alexa loves books, and novel sounds

Welcome back for another Travel Tales special edition post! Travel Tales is a feature we’re participating in with Alexa at Alexa Loves Books and Elena at Novel Sounds. This week we’re exploring books that will sweep us off our feet and take us to another country. One country comes to mind that is continuously cranking out fabulous authors and amazing work.

Dear Australia,

There’s something so alluring about all of the books I’ve read from your amazing Aussie writers (including Melina Marchetta, Laura Buzo, and Markus Zusak). There’s tenderness that deeply touches my heart. I 150% appreciate the incredibly well-rounded group of characters that always seem to emulate friendships I wish I had in real life. The writing is raw and fearless — leaping over all boundaries to effectively tell the story. While I should keep this post short and sweet on behalf of our dear readers time, you, Australia, have produced too many good books to allow for brevity.

One of my favorite citizens of your great country is this lady:

australian books young adult, ya australian books, aussie ya books

My favorite, favorite of Melina’s books is The Piper’s Son. My gosh – my heart just about broke while reading it, but I COULD NOT put it down. Tom had lots (LOTS) of issues and things going on, but seeing him deal with them was an incredible journey. I wanted to know his family and walk the streets with him. I wanted to listen to him croon his sweet tunes.

I must admit, the book that swept my Texas heart away to Australia was Jellicoe Road. It took a bit to adjust to all the characters and seeing how the stories interwove, but when I understood how everything pieced together — WOW. After reading this, I went on a frenzy and checked out everything available of Melina’s from my local library. (Aren’t you excited, Australia? My Austin, TX library loves you.)

 Saving Francesca is to be noted because a) not only is it also fab, but b) it was written before The Piper’s Son, which is a companion book. We meet Thomas in Saving Francesca, then really get to know him in The Piper’s Son.

There’s just not enough time in the day for me to keep up with all of your fabulousness, dear Aussies. You see, I’m a bit behind on Melina’s work. These are two that I own and have heard rave reviews about from Sasha. I swear I’ll get to them soon. Finnikin on the Rock and Froi of the Exiles are part of her Lumatere Chronicles series. YAY for a fantasy series!

melina marchetta's fantasy series young adult

A new-to-me author is Laura Buzo. It’s not even fair that you have produced so many amazing authors, Australia. You should really let the rest of us catch up.

OH MY GOODNESS am I so excited to have read Love & Other Perishable Items. I love, love, loved this book. It’s about a young 15 year old girl falling in love with a 21 year old guy. He’s older, obviously. She thinks he hung the moon. Buzo’s writing is intelligent, relatable, and all-consuming. My review is coming soon, but DANG did I feel nervous to write it — how could my review measure up to this incredible book?!

Not only are your books fantastic, but you’ve got some pretty amazing people living within your boundaries. My Aussie book friend Mandee at VeganYANerds gifted me Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo. Mandee raved about Holier Than Thou in her review — ahhh was I so excited when this arrived in the mail. *happy dance* This one sounds like it is one of the new adult books bridging the gap between young adult and adult fiction. I’m thrilled to have more to read from Buzo — so anxious to start  reading this one:

I warned you, Australia, that this was going to be a love fest. You’ve given me so many books to swoon over. In fact, you’re simply breaking my bank. I feel like a kid in a candy store when I hear about books that are releasing there. Can we strike a deal? How about you release more of your amazing work in the United States? That would make this girl’s heart oh-so-happy.

I haven’t read anything by the following authors yet. That’s all going to change soon since Mandee gifted me with I’ll Tell You Mine and I decided it was a-okay to purchase Raw Blue and Graffiti Moon for my birthday-gift-to-self. I’m linking up a few reviews of each of these books below so you can read about their awesomeness.

books written by australian authors

Reviews for I’ll Tell You Mine:

  • Mandee says, “Pip has created some interesting and genuine characters that any lover of realistic YA fiction will want to get to know.”
  • Cuddlebuggery says, “If you’re a fan of Aussie nov­els, Melina Mar­che­tta, heart-warming tales or good times, then I highly sug­gest you give this one a go.”

Reviews for Raw Blue:

  • April says, “Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar is very much a quiet, character driven novel…”
  • Ginger says, “It’s the raw, vulnerable words that have stirred something inside me.”
  • Jen says, “There’s really not many words that can express the beauty of this story.”

Reviews for Graffiti Moon:

  • Anna says, “For a gorgeous, romantic book that will make your heart soar, check it out.”
  • Sasha says, “All of the scenes – from the party to the school – felt so right.”
  • Alexa says, “This novel was brilliant, funny and heart-warming.”

Dearest Australia — I thank you on behalf of all readers that love and appreciate the incredible work of your authors. I hope a few more people will be convinced to hunt down some of these books (check your local libraries, folks – they may surprise you!). Every reader needs to have read a good Aussie book!

Most sincerely,

Don’t forget to swing by Alexa Loves Books and Novel Sounds for more Travel Tales posts! Also — Alexa is doing a giveaway! Go enter…

Estelle: Shelve It (7/22/2012)

weekly feature focusing on the books we bought, borrowed, and received from publishers

And it’s Sunday again! Funny how that happens! How has your weekend gone? Hopefully relaxing and productive! We’ve been hosting a garage sale for the past few days… and you know… some interesting people go to garage sales. Some good, some bad. Has anyone written a book about this? It could be a best seller! Anyway, here’s my vlog for this week, featuring me blabbing in my backyard!

Books borrowed from the library:

Miracle by Elizabeth Scott (Goodreads)

“Though it’s a fictional story, the truth about post-traumatic stress disorder is very real.  Seeing this issue brought forth in a young adult novel in such a quiet, yet alarming way earns so much respect from me.” – Ginger, GReadsBooks

“ I was yet again so emotionally invested in an E. Scott story that I felt physically spent after reading it – and that, my friends, is the mark of an amazing story.” Tara, Fiction Folio

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley (Goodreads)
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden (Goodreads)

“A beautifully written book with a twist of mystery.” Tara, Fiction Folio

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (Goodreads)

“Summers’ characterization and ability to make me connect with the stories she writes is unbelievable. The story was about zombies, yes, but ultimately, it was about fighting for your life.” Magan, RBR

Being Friends with Boys by Terra Elan McVoy (Goodreads)

“This may sound weird or harsh, but I love reading a story where the MC is just utterly confused, frustrated, and spinning in circles. I remember what it was like to feel like every single thing was a major catastrophe, and I love reliving that pure emotion in YA.” Tara, Fiction Folio

“ I thought Terra Elan McVoy made Charlotte’s struggles feel real and authentic, because for some people their lives have more than one complication or twist.” April, Good Books & Good Wine

Other books mentioned:

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (Goodreads)
Bloom by Elizabeth Scott (Goodreads)
Never Enough by Denise Jaden (Goodreads)

Around the blog:

+ Time for some adult fiction! A bonus vlog! Get excited!
+ Pizza, Love & Other Stuff by Kathryn Williams, a review.
+ The Summer of Firsts & Lasts by Terra Elan McVoy, a review.
+ Counting Backwards by Laura Lascarso, a Magan-tastic review!
+ I share another story of teen angst set to music.
+ Kissing Shakespeare by Pam Mingle, a review.


 I dreamed up a wardrobe for Sam in Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next Door over at Sash & Em’s!
 So fabulous to meet Sasha in person & she is doing the ultimate Melina Marchetta giveaway over at S&E to celebrate meeting the author! 

Thanks for listening & reading! See ya around the blog!

good books that aren't popular to read

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Have Flown Under the Radar

Hiya, friends! We’re so happy to be sharing underrated books for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the incredible ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.

Something we talk about often are books that we love that haven’t hit the blogosphere and aren’t circulating like crazy but should be. We were talking about From What I Remember last week and that’s when our conversation spiraled out of control and we couldn’t stop ourselves from creating a list of books we wish more people would read.

It just so happened freebie week was coming up, so we decided we should share the list of underrated books you should definitely read. Underrated to us means: books that are amazing, unputdownable, sit-in-one-place-until-you’ve-devoured-it kinds of books, beautiful writing, books that have imagery or scenes that linger.

good books that aren't popular to read

1. From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

This is the book that inspired this whole post. It’s so completely absorbing, funny, and goes into a bit more character exploration than we were anticipating, which totally made it even more awesome. goodreads / amazon / E’s review

2. Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando

When E saw Tara at a reading panel talking about DSC and how felt she wrote all she could do about losing a mom, she added it to her TBR list immediately. This book is so rich in its characters and its words and she wishes she could swim around in those feelings forever. It piques a ton of curiousity about Coney Island, and also discovery of one’s own parent. goodreads / amazon / E’s review

3. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

We both read this book before we became official bloggers, but it’s one that we definitely wish got more attention. M read the entire book on a plane after E told her she shouldn’t read another book until devouring this. Despite her embarrassment of ugly crying in public, M let the tears flow. goodreads / amazon / M’s goodreads review

4. The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

M loves all the things by Melina Marchetta. Melina is one heck of a fantastic author, but this book stands out from the rest. It’s the one that has caused random scenes to pop up at unexpected moments. It’s the one where M fell in love with male protagonists. Being broken can be so, so good. (This was also a pre-blog-book-read.) goodreads / amazon / M’s goodreads review

 5. I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

A story about two neglected brothers and a girl and her family who learns to care for them. It’s dramatic but in a quiet day and there is a lovely fairy tale like quality to the pacing of the book and the twists and turns these characters take. goodreads / amazon / E’s review

books that aren't popular that should be read, good books to read

6. Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett

This book doesn’t have a ton of reviews on Goodreads, but this bad girl trying to seduce a good boy tale deserves so much more love. It’s raw and powerful and so many details are beautifully woven together. Bennett did an incredible job of making sure each part of her story was well-crafted. (And it’s only $4.29 on the kindle!) goodreads / amazon / M’s review

7. Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Sometimes books can be overly complicated with too many issues; it was a nice change of pace to read about a 19-year-old girl indecisive about her future – to continue to pursue being a professional ballerina or to move on with her life – that was her struggle. goodreads / amazon / M’s review

8. Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble

An engaging love story between two boys who are forced to work their relationship long distance. DLMG illustrates the pain and exhilaration that come with being who you are and letting the world know it, the difficult of young love, and the power of acceptance. goodreads / amazon / E’s review

9. The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

E absolutely could not put this title down. E was thoroughly surprised by the multi-dimensional storyline and the fact that an author could make me sympathize with a poor little rich girl. The joys of writing shoot from every direction in this book and there are so many moments to treasure, as well as so many that are difficult to experience. What are you waiting for? goodreads / amazon / E’s review

10. The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith

As a huge fan of baseball, E already had a feeling she was going to get a kick out of this book. But Smith’s writing and description really shines as she weaves together the history of the Chicago Cubs with the story of a girl who is still mourning the loss of her father. A beautiful story that had me in tears. goodreads / amazon / E’s review

Bonus Books: We just couldn’t stop ourselves when we were making the list, so here are two additional underrated books you need to read ASAP!

11. The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg

E love, love, loved this book. So much so that M bought it as soon as E finished. We happen to be big Eulberg fans around here. (Who doesn’t love a little comeback when it comes to silly stupid boys?) goodreads / amazon

12. The Stalker Chronicles by Carly Moore

Cammie is a really refreshing character who has a tendency to get really nosey. E loves the family dynamic in this story, and watching as Cammie tries to overcome her (unique) flaw. goodreads / amazon / E’s review

Let us know which books you think are underrated? We’d love to know your faves!

(Don’t forget to check out the people who’ve linked up over at The Broke and the Bookish. Everyone’s topics will be different so it’s a great week to scope out lots of blogs!)

Top Ten Books I Snagged at ALA!

Hi, friends! Magan here. It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted each week by the Broke and the Bookish. (Check out Jamie’s Top Ten Historical Fiction books here!) This week’s topic can be about anything we want. Since I just got back from ALA in Dallas yesterday, I wanted to share the top ten books that I am freaking out over the most right now. I’m also going to include a bit of a recap and photos of the books at the bottom, so consider this your warning: this might be a long post.

And also, I’m REALLY TIRED so if I don’t make sense, please excuse me. ALA was exhausting and all the projects my hubs and I did (see bottom of post) wore me out even more.

(Note: I took pictures of all the books tonight on my iPhone, so the quality is a little wonky, but I did want you to see the actual book, and not the picture downloaded from the Internets).

february 2012 young adult releases, ALA february release ARCThe Catastrophic History of You & Me by Jess Rothenberg

Release Date: February 21, 2012
Publisher: Penguin
How/Why I Snagged It: Pure luck. I got it the first evening of ALA right before everyone was ushered out of the convention center at the closing time.
Add to Goodreads
| Pre-Order on Amazon



book cover for thumped by megan meccafferty, arc for thumpedThumped by Megan McCafferty

Release Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
How/Why I Snagged It: Estelle read Bumped and I knew she would want to read the sequel. I tried to keep my eyes peeled for books she might like to read, too!
Add to Goodreads | Pre-Order on Amazon



cover of in honor by jessi kirby, book cove for jessi kirby's new may 2012 bookIn Honor by Jessi Kirby

Release Date: May 8, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
How/Why I Snagged It: Jessi Kirby’s writing is just…beautiful. I loved Moonglass so this was one of the books I am most excited to have walked away with.
Add to Goodreads | Pre-Order on Amazon



books similar to anna and the french kissFlirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson

Release Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
How/Why I Snagged It: This book is being hyped as the next Anna and the French Kiss. Um, hello. If you follow me on Twitter, I can’t get enough of AatFK, so of course this sounded awesome and right up my alley.
Add to Goodreads | Pre-Order on Amazon



Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

Release Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Candlewick
How/Why I Snagged It: I am a HUGE Melina fan. I haven’t read Finnikin of the Rock yet, but one of the sweetest ladies at Candlewick convinced me that I must read this series. She snuck me a copy because they hadn’t announced they had it yet.
Add to Goodreads | Pre-Order on Amazon



the disenchantments ARC from ALA, books with covers with girls wearing glassesThe Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

Release Date: February 16, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
How/Why I Snagged It: Road trip. Older characters. Music. Beautiful cover. Enough said.
Add to Goodreads | Pre-Order on Amazon



Various Positions by Martha Schabas

Release Date: February 14, 2012
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
How/Why I Snagged It: I confess. I’ve always wanted to be a ballerina. Or at least I’ve always been obsessed with the world of dance. If I can dance in real life, why not read about it?
Add to Goodreads | Pre-Order on Amazon



sequel to delirium by lauren oliver, pandemonium, dystopians and dystopias for young adultPandemonium by Lauren Oliver

Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
How/Why I Snagged It: Getting this book was … terrifying. HarperCollins did a big book dump all at once of tons of ARCs and this book was included. It was pure insanity (and not to be totally ridiculous, but the whole thing caused pure pandemonium for real).
Add to Goodreads | Pre-Order on Amazon


The List by Siobahn Vivian

Release Date: April 1, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
How/Why I Snagged It: This book just sounds riveting. It’s been on my TBR list since October! I was thrilled when Scholastic had a surplus of them to giveaway.
Add to Goodreads | Pre-Order on Amazon



books by courtney summerFall for Anything and Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Release Date: Fall for Anything: December 21, 2012 and Some Girls Are: January 5, 2010
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
How/Why I Snagged It: I have already read both of these, but NOW I ALSO OWN PHYSICAL COPIES!
Fall for Anything: Add to Goodreads | Order on Amazon
Some Girls Are: Add to Goodreads | Order on Amazon


That wraps up the top ten books I snagged! Thank you so much to all the publishers for their generosity. I am beyond thrilled and so thankful for all the books I received.

What do you think, readers? If you also went to ALA, what was your favorite book to have received?

Here is a little project that went down on Monday at my house to make room for all of my new books. A HUGE thanks to my hubby, Dustyn, for all his help and patience. We’ve had the bookshelves for over a month; Sunday night I sprung the news that I wanted to put them together. He had taken the day off to spend with me since I was out of town all weekend. Here’s how we spent our day:

Assembled bookshelves. Bought paint (Brand: Behr, Color: Intellectual). Painted backs of bookshelves.

 Progress of painting backs of bookshelves. (BTW, shelves are from Ikea, the Billy bookshelf.)
And that’s me.
Literally waiting on paint to dry.

This is in our guest bedroom, which I’m turning into a reading room / DIY craft project room.

And here’s the part many of you have been asking about. What did I receive from ALA (in its entirety)?
The books are organized by their release date month.
(Sorry I’m not linking every one of these to Goodreads / Amazon. There are just too many!)










That wraps up the world’s longest Top Ten Tuesday post with a quick run down of the books I received. I will post a more in-depth review of ALA soon. I think this has gotten entirely too long for tonight…and I haven’t had a chance to read at all today, so I’m off to do just that!