Top Ten Tuesday- Most Anticipated Books of 2013

Hey! Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the ladies at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they choose a topic and we all babble and create lists (I love lists) of our top ten things within that subject. And sometimes I cheat, you know, because it’s really hard to only list ten things.

This week we’re discussing our most anticipated reads of 2013 and I have to tell you, I’m really bad at this. There are all kinds of books I’m super-excited about and yet next year, when I’m making my Most Anticipated Reads for 2014 list, I’ll probably still not have read a bunch of my 2013s.  It’s not because I’m not excited. Sometimes I just prefer to wait until a series is complete to finish it. Sometimes I just have so many books to read that I put myself on the library wait list instead of pre-ordering (because even when I do, I never read them. Hello, A Million Suns. Remember when we were friends back in February and I was dying to read you? Still am and yet there you sit on my bookshelf). And sometimes, in fact, quite often, I just get distracted by other shiny objects.

Either way, this is what I’m excited about right now. At this very moment.  Like, I can’t wait.

1. Requiem by Lauren Oliver- It’s the final Delirium. And spoiler alert, if Lena ends up without Alex I will lose it.  Kthanksbye.
2. Prodigy by Marie Lu- The next Legend.  I really liked the characters here and I want to know more about how America came to be all dystopic.  Also, I picture Day as Leo from his R&J days, and that is never a bad thing.

3. Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi- The second book in the Shatter Me series. Here’s to more steamy kisses and more of my love/hate thing for Warner.

4. The Elite by Kiera Cass- This is book two in The Selection series. Guuuurl, I gotta know what happens with that whole love triangle (I have no idea who I want her with, but I think it’s definitely probably Maxon).  Also, I must know why those rebels keep attacking the castle.

5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3 by Laini Taylor- So, the second book, Days of Blood and Starlight is out now and I already need the final book. Oh I said it. Need.

6. Awaken by Meg Cabot- This is the third and final book in the Abandon series. I love this series, even though it is a little darker for Cabot (though not dark dark).  I have to know what happens with Pierce, especially after what happened with John…know what I’m saying?

7. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare- This is the final book in the Infernal Devices series and I have to know: Will or Jem (please say Will. Please!).

8. The final Divergent book by Veronica Roth- I should probably read Insurgent, but I’m still excited.

9. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen- I love her. I love her books. It’s been too long since the last one.

10. Fire with Fire by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian- This is book two in the Burn for Burn series. I liked the first book. I’m intrigued.

So what are you psyched about reading next year?

We’ll Always Have Page 187, Edward

by Vee ( I know right? She’s back with a sweet goodbye to her beloved Twilight franchise.)

There’s a new break up that has the paparazzi abuzz…the much followed relationship that started in 2008 between The Twilight Movie Saga and millions of women all around the world has ended.  Spokespeople for both camps tell us that they’ve parted ways amicably and wish each other all things wonderful.  They promise to remain friends via DVD and BluRay sales and rentals.

I’m not gonna lie.  For me, it wasn’t always the perfect relationship but as I look back on it, with everything said and done, I will cherish our time together with love, scent of stale popcorn and all.

I remember sitting in the movie theater, as excited as a girl on her first date, to see the Twilight movie on November 21, 2008.  If this had been a first date for realsies I would have said the “dinner conversation” Edward provided left much to be desired, but boy was he a good kisser.  I think all sins were forgiven – cough…Bella’s ceaseless lip biting…cough…and wait, did Edward just say he read that guy’s mind and he’s thinking about HIS CAT?!…cough – the very moment they had their first kiss.  Oh.  My.

Ok, ok, ok, so I think it’s only right that we rewind just a little bit to touch on how we first met, these books and I.  Metaphorically speaking it was through a blind date set up by my homie, and yours, Tee.  True story.  I refused but finally for reasons I don’t remember – perhaps Tee just broke me down – I relented.  And it was as if a clever suitor was wooing me with his delicious, toe curling words.  Who isn’t a sucker for a dude that says stuff like:

You are my life now.”

Be safe.” (Written in free hand calligraphy, no less.)

And so the lion fell in love with the lamb.”  (Ha, ha!  Just kidding…that was kinda cheesy, but I was so lost in the romantical saga that I was too far gone to care.)

My fervor for the written story was how I forgave New Moon the movie for making vampires brittle like a piece of frail marble (ick, that was so weird), or how Eclipse never quite captured the deliciously smug Edward handling Jacob after Jacob kisses Bella.  (Jacob: “May the best man win.” Edward: “That sounds about right…pup.”)

Of course, throughout the release of all the movies, I continued to be distraught by Bella’s lip biting and weird choking noises to express distress.  Did she swallow a piece of an apple that was too big?  Maybe her allergies while in Forks were killing her?  No one could explain it to me.  Add to my concerns the pained face Edward made (and the grunting noises?!?!) when he kissed Bella.  I worried, wondering if the good was enough to outweigh the “other” stuff.  P.S.  I totally KNOW he’s “supposed to be in pain”, but still…my own pain was starting to get uncomfortable.

BUT, it is only fair that we do touch on the good, is it not?  (Indulge me.)

Um, there was that one part in New Moon where Bella jumps into a very shirtless Edward’s arms and saves him from the sun’s rays and what they might reveal.

Page 187, as I will forever call that scene, when Edward shows Bella how he, um, remodeled his bedroom in Eclipse.  And though it was never quite as good in the movie as it was in my head, it was, uh, pretty good.

Of course, then came Breaking Dawn Part One, and I saw a true glimmer of hope that the series just might end on the up and up.  I present to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury exhibit A: the headboard scene.  Need I say more?

I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on the characters beyond Bella and Edward that I enjoyed in this relationship.  They were like your boyfriend’s friends and/or family that you really, really like hanging out with maybe a little more than you will admit you like hanging out with him.  Charlie – no wait that goes more like this: Chaaaaaaaarlie, Jessica, Mike, Alice, Carlisle, Emmett.  Let’s K.I.T. you guys…love ya.

And so, with some trepidation, much like my first date back in 2008, I arrived at the movie theater to witness the last interpretation of the book series that made me sigh as I turned pages on late nights in my living room.  I know that’s a lot of pressure to put on anyone, so I once again resigned myself to focus on the parts I really loved in Breaking Dawn Part Two, hoping to blur out the parts I didn’t.

To my utter delight I can report that my last date with this movie series was divine.  Not only was the story what I’d hope it would look like on the silver screen, but as the girl turned vampire — gasp — gone were Bella’s annoying quirks!  Not one cacophonous sound coming from her throat, if there was any lip biting, I didn’t see it.  And (BONUS!), with Bella’s scrummy, yummy, human scent a thing of the past, kissy faces for Edward no longer included the look of a man smelling rotten egg; this was replaced by a really H-O-T vampire in love with his new bride, getting steamy and all bothered.

And then all-a-sudden (WARNING: DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS POINT IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE…TRUST ME JUST SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH…OK, YOU’VE BEEN WARNED…)…as I was saying, all-a-sudden, Carlisle’s head gets chopped off!  SAY whaaaaaaat?!?!  I know.  All sort of insanity ensues, to the point where I thought this was Melissa Rosenberg having a last, cruel laugh at my expense.  (She is and will forevermore be the byotch-who-stole-my-pads for the butchering of the first movie!)

So in the midst of insanity, just when I was about to cry and run out of the theater, sweet relief, they brought things back to what they were meant to be.  I’ve spoiled things enough already for those of you that didn’t heed my warning, so I won’t reveal what I mean by that…cuz it’s pretty fly.  Once sanity IS restored, the movie keeps the end rather true to the book in a most satisfying way.

I felt peace, happiness, a little breatheless from that crazay thing there at the end – but in a good way – and an all around sense of kumbaya.  Best break up everrrrrr.  And now, with a renewed sense of love  for my Twilight movies I can move on with my life.  I think I can actually watch Bella bite that lip knowing that perhaps, just maybe KStew decided that was going to be a character trait of pre-vampire Bella.  Edward and I will always have Breaking Dawn Part Two (and page 187), and we really do wish the best for each other as we move on with our lives.

Which is good since, now older and wiser maybe a little more mature even, I’m considering accepting a first date from this new guy who’s been giving me a bit of the stink eye for some time now.  Name’s Christian Grey, and word around town is he’s kinda dark and broody, filthy rich, knows how to play a mean piano sonata, loves to do the clever banter thing.  Wait a minute…

Top Ten Tuesday- Authors/Books to Be Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.  This week we’re discussing bookish things to be thankful for, specifically authors and books.  Holy wow, where do I begin?

1. Jane Austen- For paving the way.

Michael Fassbender. I know. You don’t have to thank me.

2. Charlotte Bronte- Ditto. And also for creating such a wonderful tortured hero.  Mr. Rochester may have been my first real literary crush simply because he was so very imperfect. Clearly I’m not the only one who feels this way.

One of my favorite covers of The Princess Diaries

3. Meg Cabot- Because she makes reading fun!  And because she created Michael Moscovitz, quite possibly the swooniest guy ever! Also, her books make me feel like she gets me.

4. Jandy Nelson- Because her words are so beautiful and funny all at once.

5. Melina Marchetta- Because yes. Yes, to pretty much everything she writes.

6. Sara Zarr- For writing such sweet, somewhat melancholy stories, especially  Once Was Lost and How To Save a Life, books where she manages to put in the difficulty and the honesty that comes from living a life of faith.

7.The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games trilogy- For opening up a whole new world of YA and expanding its horizon ( I mean, some of us were already YA people, but others discovered this genre because of those books). I’m all for anything that helps to broaden the base of YA and get it the attention it deserves. For too long women have been ashamed to read it (or they steal it from their kids)!

8. For Judy Blume- Whose books nurtured a love of reading in me.

9. For Roald Dahl- Whose books sparked my imagination. And now my children’s.

10. For The Time Traveler’s Wife– The book that always makes me fall in love with love over and over again. And, let’s face it, it has serious sexytimes with a hot librarian. Doesn’t get much better than a guy who likes to read.

Casting Call-If I Stay

Welcome to our new fantastically fun feature, Casting Call, hosted along with my good friends at Gone Pecan, The Book Addict’s Guide, The Grown Up YA and Teen Lit Rocks.  Each week we’ll be dream casting some of our favorite books and blogging about it. Come on. You know you want to join us.
This week we are discussing one of my absolute favorite books, If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, adoring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices.  Then, in an instant, almost all of that is taken from her.  Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left—the most important decision she’ll ever make.

After a terrible accident kills her family, Mia is faced with choosing whether she will die or live a life without the ones she loves.  In the span of a day she reflects on her life with her parents and little brother, her best friend and her boyfriend and she watches–detached from her own body–as her remaining loved ones come to the hospital to grieve and care for her.

This is book is so beautiful, so sad, so sweet and romantic and heartbreaking and uplifting…it’s really difficult to put into words.  I loved everything about it and I felt such a connection to the characters, especially Mia and Adam.

Mia

Melissa Benoist

Mia is this incredibly talented, strong girl who is bright and smart and so much like you or me–except not.  She is a wonderful character, so full of love and honesty, a part of this incredible family I wanted to meet and know, and the other half of this gorgeous, romantic coupling of high school love that is absolutely the real deal. I can’t say enough how much I loved this girl.
I think Melissa Benoist of Glee would perfectly capture her.

Adam

Hunter Parrish

Oh my gosh, how long do we have to discuss Adam? Adam, number two on my list of literary crushes.  You guys, he’s in a band. He’s cool. Cooler than Mia and yet he loves her so much. You can see it in his every word, in his facial expressions and in his utter devotion to her. And I dare you not to swoon at their first date. It’s so adorable it made me giddy.

I think it’s pretty impossible to find a guy who can be what I envisioned,  but for now I’ll go with Hunter Parrish (though I think his hair should be darker).  I think I’ll always be on the lookout though.

So, who would you pick for Mia or Adam or any of the other characters in this awesome book? Be sure to tell us or link up your own post at Teen Lit Rocks. Also, stop by and see picks from our other blogging friends:

Gone Pecan

The Book Addict’s Guide

The Grown Up YA

Teen Lit Rocks 

 

Happy Friday!

The Selective Collective: Meant to Be


Welcome to one of our newest features, The Selective Collective. Together with our friends at The Book Addict’s Guide, Gone Pecan, The Grown Up YA and Teen Lit Rocks, we’ll be exploring a new release in its entirety, from review to author spotlight, to a roundtable chat, among other fun things.

This week, we’re discussing Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill:

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question. 

It’s one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she’s queen of following rules and being prepared. That’s why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that’s also why she’s chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB (“meant to be”).But this spring break, Julia’s rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she’s partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be. (Goodreads)

OK so, if I could squeal with giddy excitement I would. This book is adorable, full of funny moments and sweetness and total awkwardness.  I loved it. And it takes place in London!  Sign me up.

I have the awesome job of casting the main characters. As much as I loved them, man this was difficult!  I just adored these people and I felt no one could really do them justice…but I think I came close (thanks to some help from my fellow SC blogging friends).

Julia

Hailee Steinfeld

Julia is cute in an unassuming way. She’s an uptight smartypants who always, always goes by the book and as a result, she’s really unintentionally funny. On her trip to London she gets paired with slacker, Jason, and she learns to loosen up a bit, break a few rules and have some fun in the process.  I think Hailee Steinfeld would be perfect if there were ever a film made (yes, please!).

Jason

Cameron Monaghan

Oh, my word, I had a tough time with Jason. This is because there seems to be a shortage of cute, ginger guys in Hollywood.  And it didn’t help matters that I pictured Simon Woods (also known as Mr. Bingley from the Keira Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice) the entire time. Obviously that wouldn’t work because, cute as he is, Mr. Woods is too old to play Jason.

And that’s where Cameron Monaghan comes in.  He’s got the hair, and there’s just something about his face that says Jason to me.  Jason is a smart guy, but he’s naughty, not in a bad-boy sort of way, but in a prankster, funny, I’m the guy everyone loves sort of way. It’s impossible not to like him, especially because he knows how to get under Julia’s skin.

Mark

Asher Book

Mark is perfect. He’s Julia’s one and only. He’s her Meant to Be. I mean, he doesn’t know that, but Julia does.  I don’t want to give away too much about him except to say that in Julia’s eyes, he’s everything a boyfriend should be: handsome, smart, talented and sensitive and he’s probably just waiting for the right moment to tell her she’s the one.

Ahem.

Phoebe

Malese Jow

Phoebe is Julia’s best friend. She’s a voice of sanity and a source of support to Julia in all of her MTB craziness and irritability over Jason.  We don’t see a ton of her since she isn’t on the trip to London, but through texts and flashbacks we get a feel for their relationship and for the honest loyalty there.

I instantly pictured Malese Jow as Phoebe. I think she’d have that perfect amount of self-confidence and sass to be Julia’s no nonsense sidekick.

Please be sure to visit by blogging partners in The Selective Collective and check out the cool things they have in store:

The Book Addict’s Guide- Book Review

Gone Pecan- Author Spotlight

The Grown Up YA- Roundtable Q &A

Teen Lit Rocks- Opposites Attract

Thank you to Random House for sending us all copies of Meant to Be. I loved it!  It’s in stores now.

Top Ten Tuesday- Books I’d Take to a Deserted Island

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic is Books You’d Want on a Deserted Island (which is, of course, totally how I think. Books and chocolate and I’d be set).  This is actually a very tough topic because as much as I love to make lists, the idea of whittling down my favorites to only ten is practically impossible. So this list is based mainly on how these books make me feel. There are so many others I’d like to add, but TEN you guys, only ten (OK, I may have cheated a little).

1. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger– This is my all-time favorite book. No question about it.

Lookit…there’s the swoon.

2. Emma by Jane Austen– I love me some Pride & Prejudice and Darcy, but give me the folks at Hartfield and a good lecture from Mr. Knightly any day.

3. Forever Princess by Meg Cabot– Holy wow, I love this entire series, but since this is the final book and the Michaelness is so particularly lovely and Mia is so adorable and still so grown up, this is the book I’d have to choose as my favorite to read over and over again for all time.

4. Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling– Oh, this one is hard too. I love this whole series, especially The Prisoner of Azkaban and the last two books (and all of them), but the drama in this one killed me.  It was so excellent.

5. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson– I could probably read this one every day forever and ever and never tire of this gorgeous, funny, incredible book.

6. Where She Went by Gayle Forman– I loved If I Stay as well, but if I had to choose a favorite of the two, it would be Adam’s story in WSW.  This book made my heart sing. It was breathtaking and romantic and sad and uplifting. It’s everything Mia and Adam’s story should be.

7. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness- Now, this may not be the happiest of books, but the relationship between Todd and Viola really impacted me.  This book was amazing.

8. Austenland by Shannon Hale– This is one of those books I can read a thousand times and still want to dive back in. It’s Austeny, it’s cute, it’s funny, it’s romantic. And it’s completely original.

9. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen– This is my favorite Dessen book. I could fall in love with these characters over and over again. Also, Wes.

10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte- A book with drama (like a soap opera, only not cheesy), with romance and heartbreak and tragedy, and one of the most well-written heroines ever created.

11. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee– I can’t say enough how much I love this book. It surpasses everything you’ve ever heard and it has the man I think is the best literary character ever written (male or female), Atticus Finch.

12. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- Beautiful, just beautiful. And funny and sad and so very romantic.

Have a great Tuesday!

Like Moonlight at Low Tide

Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley

For Missy Keiser, returning to Anna Maria Island, Florida, means two things: her mother made another poor decision with men, and Missy will have to reenter a world where she’s known as “Messy,” a social pariah who dared to have a crush on Sam King, the most popular boy in school.

But much has changed in the three years she’s been away. Missy’s next-door neighbor is no longer an elderly woman but Josh, an intriguing boy who seems genuinely interested in her. At school, she’s surprised to find few people remember who she once was. And any remaining taunts of Messy are silenced when Sam King gives her his nod of approval.

Just as things seem to be perfect, Josh’s sudden distance, her mother’s latest relationship implosion, and her brother’s strange behavior threaten to ruin it all. Missy is forced to decide between the boy she’s always wanted, a boy who is intent on trying to save her, and the brother she’s known all her life. And her decision could have consequences she can never undo. (Goodreads)

The Story:

After three years away, Missy returns to her island home in Florida hoping her painful life filled with endless bullying at the hands of the popular kids will be long-forgotten. It’s not easy being raised by a flighty, irresponsible mom willing to shack up with practically any guy who’ll pay her way.  This often leaves Missy with the job of caring for her younger sister and keeping an eye out for her troubled older brother, Robby, who seems to be headed down a dark path.

In those first few days after her return to school it becomes evident that everyone remembers Missy and no one has forgotten how to torture her. Her only saving grace is her best friend, Julie, who is as devoted as always.  She encourages Missy to ignore the teasing, to go to parties, and to create a different life than she had before.  And because Julie is dating a pretty popular guy who is absolutely nuts for her, they take Missy to the best bashes and hang outs, where she basically just tries not to be noticed. Missy’s only real escape from her home life and her fears about not being good enough is in the friendship she begins with her next-door neighbor, Josh.  Josh is a popular guy, but he’s also pretty unfazed by it all. He doesn’t treat Missy with disdain, but with kindness.

Missy eventually gains the attention of Sam King, the big guy on campus, and when they start dating, life changes for her. She’s popular, she’s accepted and she feels beautiful–but she fears losing it all.  Josh discourages her new life and new behaviors, and it affects their friendship because Missy can’t understand why Josh doesn’t see that she’s better off. And between worrying about keeping Sam happy, worrying about what Josh says, and trying to take care of her brother, who is spinning out of control, Missy just can’t keep up with it all. At times it feels like she has to choose between her boyfriend, her friend and her brother.

My Take:

I really liked this book. There are Christian overtones here, which didn’t bother me at all because I am a Christian, but if you are someone who might avoid a book of that nature (and I normally do because they tend to be hokey), please do not skip this one for fear of preachiness or kumbaya or anything like that.

Nicole Quigley has done such a beautiful job at tacking real issues like bullying, partying, drug abuse, sex and suicide, with realism and grace. These things are faced head on, without fear, and yet they aren’t in any way gratuitous.  The more religious topics are done simply and tastefully, and while they are an underlying inspiration in the story, they aren’t the only focus.

Missy is an imperfect girl who is, like so many of us, seeking happiness in the approval of others. She finds a temporal peace with Sam, but there’s always this threat looming in the balance, a deep fear that she’ll slip up and lose it all.  I loved her character because I related to her way of thinking, the belief that everything will be good if I do things just right. It’s such an exhausting way of life, and I think Quigley nails it.

Josh was also very well-done.  He’s a good boy without being mega preachy.  He has the right words and intentions, but often his reactions are flawed. His concern for Missy sometimes plays out in cold-shoulder responses because he doesn’t know how to deal with his own jealousy, anger and frustration.  He spends far more time being a solid foundation to her than he does spouting Bible verses and I think that makes him the very essence of what it means to be a Christian.

This was a wonderful, sad, and somehow uplifting book. The issues feel authentic, the relationships ring true and lessons about grace and forgiveness are ones we should all take the time to learn and remember.  It was an excellent read.

Crush Intensity: 4.25/5

Memorable Quote:

This is not a story about suicide. But you should know that when I was seventeen, the only boy who ever called me by my full name took his own life.  It was the first time I ever saw a mistake that was permanent, that couldn’t be undone with whiteout or atoned for with an after-school detention. Nothing else I do for the rest of my life will ever be able to change this fact.

This story is actually about three boys. One who loved me. One who couldn’t. And one who didn’t know how.

Thank you to Zondervan for sending me a copy of Like Moonlight at Low Tide!

Top Ten Tuesday- Childhood Favs

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week is a freebie topic. Woot! I love that. I can’t wait to see what everyone has chosen. For me, I’d like to go back to where it all began:  Childhood Favorites.

Surprisingly, I did not come from a family of readers. I was a nerd loner in my house (only child).  My grandmother, on the other hand, was a huge reader, b book a day, within an hour or two. And she loved her bodice-rippers and Danielle Steel–books that, to this day, still make me giggle with their descriptions of nipples and male body parts. I’m just not mature enough for it. Anyway, my grandma and my parents  always encouraged me to read and constantly took me to the bookstore and somehow a nerdypants book lover was born.

1. Superfudge by Judy Blume– I think I’ve confessed before that I already thought Peter was pretty darn cute.  What did I know? But, I loved this book. I loved it even more than its predecessor, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Superfudge is so funny and is often referred to as the book that spoils the Santa secret.  Ooops.

2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak- I loved it as a kid and I can still recite it from the years spent reading it to my children every single night. Max and his bedroom antics were truly magical to me.

3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl– Oh, to find a book that makes me feel the way this one always did.  There is such humor, such magic in each of Dahl’s books, but none more than this one.  Even the films couldn’t recreate the incredible, whimsical images he created in my mind.

4. Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal– I know.  But don’t tell me you didn’t read them and hate on Elizabeth and Jessica–those blonde haired, blue-eyed, all-American brats– the same way I did.  It was like a bad soap opera and I just couldn’t help myself.

5. The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright– Scared the pants off me.  Dolls. That move on their own. And try to solve a murder. But I must have read this book fifty times (and probably thought I was super-brave for it).

6. Otherwise Know As Sheila The Great by Judy Blume– I had a boxed set of Judy Blume books, complete with the Fudge books, Blubber, Are You There God It’s Me Margaret and this little gem about Sheila. I honestly can’t remember what this book was about but I remember reading it over and over because I thought it was funny as heck.  Judy Blume was such a huge part of my childhood.

7. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein– What a beautiful, lovely book. It only resonates more with me now that I have children. I still read it to my Girl Scouts, even the older ones (and they love it!).

8. How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess– Well, we know that his head isn’t screwed on quite right and that his heart is two sizes too small, but man I love that Grinch.  That story never, ever gets old. No Dr. Suess story does!

9. The Mouse and The Motorcycle by Beverly Clearly– I was totally enraptured with the idea of a mouse who rode a motorcycle. I can’t explain it. Plus it was Beverly Clearly. Her books were like gold to me.

10. The Ramona Books by Beverly Clearly– Oh, ditto. Ramona was such a cute, loveable brat. To this day I’m still tempted to sing the National Anthem with the words “dawnzer lee light.”

11. The Anastasia Books by Lois Lowry– Didn’t Anastasia try to get a job as a maid by dressing up as an old lady, complete with fake boobs and gray hair? Inspiring. I loved this series.

Have a great Tuesday!

Casting Call- Lola and The Boy Next Door

Welcome to our new fantastically fun feature, Casting Call, hosted along with my good friends at Gone Pecan, The Book Addict’s Guide, The Grown Up YA and Teen Lit Rocks.  Each week we’ll be dream casting some of our favorite books and blogging about it. And we’d love for you to join us!

This week we are doing a book that everyone on the planet loves (OK, everyone on the planet who’s read it), Lola and The Boy Next Door. Oh, you guys, I love this book. I love it even more than Anna and The French Kiss.  What? I know. There is just something about Lola. And Cricket (you’ll get past the name, I swear) and her dads. And everything Stephanie Perkins writes. She writes contemporary stories that are so funny, so witty, so completely engrossing and charming that I’m sad when they come to an end. And that’s what we have with Lola and The Boy Next Door.

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit — more sparkly, more fun, more wild — the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket — a gifted inventor — steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. (Goodreads)

Obviously we first need to discuss this cover because it completely influenced my mental images of Lola and Cricket. I mean, come on, these are some pretty people. But in the end, I have no idea who they are, so I went with my own picks.

Lola Nolan

OK so obviously, my picks are a little older, but there is something in these faces that embody what I envisioned when I read this book.  For Lola, I pictured someone like Emmy Rossum, who was pretty and had those beautiful, large, innocent eyes. I don’t know why, but it’s just how I saw her. And I think Emmy Rossum has this quality about her where one moment she can look adorable and sweet and the next she can look grown up and vixenish (not that Lola is vixenish, but she is quite the chameleon).

Cricket Bell

I know, so don’t hate me here. I completely see someone like Robert Pattinson as Cricket. Only not the guy in this picture. Not the guy in Twilight or even the guy who plays Cedric Diggory. I’m talking about that really, really awkward guy in all those early Twilight interviews. The one who made you cringe because he was so adorably dorky.  Have you seen any of those?  Wow, right. Still makes me feel embarrassed for him.  I tried to find a picture that would convey that feeling, but this guy somehow manages to look hot in every photo he takes. It’s a travesty (and so is searching through all of those beautifully perfect photos. Tough work, I’m telling you). And I think Cricket is really cute too, but in an adorably sweet, somewhat dorky kind of way. Plus smart= hot.  Also, I think Cricket has no idea how cute he really is and that is sort of endearing.

So, who would you pick? Be sure to tell us or link up your own post at Teen Lit Rocks. Also, stop by and see picks from our other blogging friends:

Gone Pecan

The Book Addict’s Guide

The Grown Up YA

Teen Lit Rocks 

 

Happy Friday!

Happy Birthday to Us!

  We’re two years old today. Hooray! Happy Blogiversary!

As many of you know, this blog began first and foremost out of a extreme, crazy love of all things reading, especially young adult books. Sooo we’re a little (OK, a lot) older than the YA target market. We’re just happy to spread the love.  And since I personally spent many hours on the phone or Facebook or e-mail blabbing to my pal, Vee, about things like Michael Moscovitz or my need to have sweet kisses in all of my books, or how much I hate Jacob, a blog seemed to be the natural solution.

It’s been a fabulous ride.  We have had wonderful support from friends, publishers and the authors we fangirl over, but more important we’ve made friends along the way. Thank you for being a part of that.

Here are a few fun stats:

What You’re Reading: The most popular page or post we’ve ever done is my Boyfriend List.  This makes me so happy. I have no idea why it is of such great importance to me not only to list my favorite male book characters but then to make sure everyone knows about it.  It just is.

Another popular post is our review of Blue Bloods. That just cracks me up because who knew?  Jack Force probably did because he is insanely awesome, but still. I had no idea.

Chatty Cathys: We’re so thankful for every person who takes the time to comment. Our recent top commenters are Candice from The Grown Up YA and Maggie from Gone Pecan. I love these ladies! 

Where You’re Coming From: We get the most referrals from two of my favorite blogs, Forever Young Adult and The Broke and The Bookish.  I would tell you to stop by and visit them, but you obviously already do!

All in all it’s been another great year. I’d like to say that I’ve organized some amazing giveaway or contest, but I haven’t. I’m clearly not very organized. So let me just say thanks. We appreciate your support, your suggestions and your awesome comments more than we can ever properly express.

Have a great day!