Tag Archives: summer reading

2022 Summer Reading Recap

For the last couple of years, I’ve been trying to post seasonal lists of the books I can’t wait to read. I love doing that, but I also want to post some kind of recap at the end of the season where I can talk about which books turned out to be my favorites that sort of thing. I’ve been struggling to find a format that feels satisfying to write up and read about, so here’s my first attempt: my 2022 Summer Reading Recap.

First, if you missed my most-anticipated summer release list, check it out to see what books started on my list. I also posted this Top Ten Tuesday list of backlist titles I hoped to read this summer, so I’ll include those in this check-in.

How many books did I read from my summer reading lists?

My most-anticipated summer reading list had 25 titles on it. Of those 25, I read 19 of them. I’ve started VALIANT LADIES by Melissa Grey as an audiobook but haven’t finished it yet. The other five–MASTER OF IRON by Tricia Levenseller, THE KING WILL KILL YOU by Sarah Henning, THE HONEYS by Ryan LaSala, MY IMAGINARY MARY by Hand, Meadows, and Ashton, and THE DRAGON’S PROMISE by Elizabeth Lim– are still on my TBR list for now.

2022 Summer Recap - TBR

I’ve read 8 out of 10 of the books on my backlist titles list. I still hope to get to ELATSOE by Darcie Little Badger and THE BLACK FLAMINGO by Dean Atta soon. I’ve heard amazing things about both.

So, in total, out of 35 books, I read 27. Not perfect, but not too shabby.

Favorite Summer Book by a Familiar Author

This one is easy, because there aren’t a whole lot of authors I’d read before on my reading lists for this season. My favorite book by an author I’d read before has to be THE STARS BETWEEN US by Cristin Terrill.

I love the description of the book as “Dickensian-inspired”, and it totally lives up to that, in my opinion. I also loved the characters and the sweet romance. It’s a book that still makes me smile when I think about it now.

The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A girl with an unexpected inheritance on a glittering planet. A mysterious young man who is always in her way. Secrets. Murder. An underground rebellion. A Dickensian-inspired space murder mystery romance.

Release Date: August 2, 2022 | My Review

Favorite Summer Book by a New Author

This is trickier because I read so many amazing debuts or books by authors that I hadn’t read before. I’m going to say my top favorite is BAD THINGS HAPPEN HERE by Rebecca Barrow.

I’ve bought some of Rebecca Barrow’s other books, but this is the first one I actually read so far. The characters felt so real in their small town setting. The disappearing girls gave me chills– I have chills now, thinking about it, actually. It was wow.

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: An island with a history of unsolved murders. A girl whose best friend and sister were both murdered on the island will stop at nothing to find out why.

Release Date: June 28, 2022 | My Review

Favorite Summer Book from My Backlist

I’m a little torn about which book from my Top Ten Tuesday list of backlist titles that I’d call my favorite. I loved HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones and THE POET X by Elizabeth Acevedo. I listened to both as audiobooks, and both were a great experience. THE POET X is read by the author, which I think makes a huge difference for a novel in verse. HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE was such a fun book to read. I loved the wacky things that happened and the way Sophie formed relationships with each of the characters.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: This is one of those books I can’t believe I haven’t read. A young girl under a terrible curse. An oddball sorcerer with secrets. A magical castle.

Release Date: April 1986

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: From Goodreads: “An Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth.”

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Book That Surprised Me the Most

I feel like this shouldn’t be true, because I probably would have said the same thing about the other book I read by this author, but I’m giving this one to BEFORE TAKEOFF by Adi Alsaid.

It’s strange. It juggles a lot of characters and elements that defy science or reason. There are so many reasons the book shouldn’t work, but it totally does! I remember being blown away at the moments the story changes point of view because it was so perfectly timed.

I got completely wrapped up in this story and each of the characters involved. I loved the social commentary. The bizarre-ness of the events unfolding at the airport. So good. I’m a huge fan of this book, and it only proves to me more that I need to catch up on Adi Alsaid’s backlist titles. I think I own all of them, so I have no excuse. Ha!

Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: This one pretty much had me at “THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR meets JUMANJI.”

Release Date: June 7, 2022 | My Review

Goals for Fall Reading and Blogging

I probably should add a section like this to my Fall TBR post, but this whole idea is a work in progress. Anyway.

So. Goals for the fall. The truth is, I’ve WAYYYY overcommitted for my fall reading. I tried to be reasonable. I did. Really. I said no to a lot of titles. But there are SO MANY amazing books coming out in September especially, and some of the titles I requested earlier in the year only just now reached me, so it is kind of a perfect storm of too many books. (In case you missed them, here are my TBR lists for fall MG and YA releases.)

All that to say, I’ll probably increase to four reviews per week for the short term. It’s really too many. I can’t do that on an ongoing basis, but I want to clear my queue a bit before we get into the holiday season, and I get REALLY SWAMPED.

Four reviews per week means I would post somewhere around 48 reviews between mid-September and early December. That’s a lot of books, but my fall MG and YA reading lists are already a combined 37 books. Plus I’ve got some backlist titles and titles released earlier this year that I really want to get to, so those spots are already filled and then some.

I’m also hoping to continue seasonal reading lists plus jump into the Top Ten Tuesday meme now and then. I’ve marked a few topics on my calendar that I’m interested in. I will also be sharing a Spooky Season reading list. And I’m planning to do another seasonal recap at the end of the fall.

What are the highlights from your summer reading?

Did you find a new favorite book or author? Let me know in the comments so I can add more books to my reading list! If you’ve read any of the books I talked about here, let me know if you liked them, too.

Do you have reading goals for the fall? What are you most looking forward to reading?

Let me know if you enjoyed this recap and want to see more posts like this. If I left out something you want to know– stats about what format I read books in or other superlatives about the books I read– leave a comment! This is definitely still a work-in-progress post, so I would love to know what you want to see more or less of.

25 Most-Anticipated YA Books Coming Summer 2022

Here are My Most-Anticipated YA Books Coming Summer 2022

I love reading during the summer. There’s something about the longer days that makes me feel like I can afford to squeeze in extra reading time. This year, there are so many titles I’m excited about reading. I have no idea if I’ll be able to get to them all, but I’m sure gonna do my best! I expect I’ll get to most of these most-anticipated YA books coming summer 2022.

As always, I’ll try to come back to this post as I put up reviews so that if you find it later you’ll be able to see how I liked the books I read. For now, enjoy the list, and happy summer reading!

25 Most-Anticipated YA Books Coming Summer 2022

Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: This one pretty much had me at “THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR meets JUMANJI.”

Release Date: June 7, 2022 | My Review

Forging Silver into Stars by Brigid Kemmerer

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Technically this one also made my spring anticipated books list, but the publication date has been pushed back. I’ve already read it, and I absolutely loved getting more time in the Curse Breakers universe.

Release Date: June 7, 2022 | My Review

Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A sweet and funny f/f romance between a cheerleader and football quarterback. This one looks like lots of fun!

Release Date: June 7, 2022 | My Review

Veil of Winter by Melanie Dickerson

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: This sounds like a historical Sleeping Beauty reboot by one of my daughter’s favorite authors. A sleeping potion gone wrong. A forbidden kiss. A desperate escape to Prague. I’m excited to check it out!

Release Date: June 14, 2022 | My Review

Breaking Time by Sasha Alsberg

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A dark force hunts for absolute power, and only Klara and the Scotsman from another time stand in their way. Sounds eerie and intense– I’m intrigued.

Release Date: June 14, 2022 | My Review

Valiant Ladies by Melissa Grey

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Inspired by real seventeenth century Latinx teens. Two teen vigilantes set off on an action-packed investigation to expose corruption and deliver justice.

Release Date: June 14, 2022 |

The Loophole by Naz Kutub

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Not sure I could say it better than the cover copy: “This YA debut is equal parts broken-hearted love story, epic myth retelling, and a world-journey romp to find home.” So excited for this one!

Release Date: June 21, 2022 | My Review

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: An island with a history of unsolved murders. A girl whose best friend and sister were both murdered on the island will stop at nothing to find out why.

Release Date: June 28, 2022 | My Review

Boys I Know by Anna Gracia

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Explores relationship expectations in love and family and the “overlap of Asian American identity and teen sexuality.”

Release Date: July 5, 2022 | My Review

The Charmed List by Julie Abe

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Road trip. Enemies to lovers. A girl determined to take risks and complete 13 items on her Anti-Wallflower List. Looks fantastic!

Release Date: July 5, 2022 | My Review

No One Is Alone by Rachel Vincent

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Secrets. Family drama. Grief over the death of a parent. This one looks like a really deep read.

Release Date: July 12, 2022 | My Review

We Made It All Up by Margot Harrison

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A town full of secrets. A love-story fan-fic written by two unlikely friends. A murder: the boy they’ve written about. Sounds twisty and suspenseful. I can’t wait to read this one!

Release Date: July 12, 2022 | My Review

Don’t Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A novel in verse. From Goodreads: “An affecting and resonant YA novel in verse that explores family, community, the changing ocean tides, and what it means to fall in love with someone who sees the world in a different way.” I love the sound of that!

Release Date: July 19, 2022 | My Review

Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: This one pretty much had me at Marching Band Romance. I’m hooked on the idea of this story about tentative friendship to something more.

Release Date: July 26, 2022 | My Review

Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A homeschooled math genius goes to Shakespeare Camp to prove to her parents that she’s ready for college at Oxford. This one promises lots of laughs and love.

Release Date: July 26, 2022 | My Review

Love Times Infinity by Lane Clarke

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: From Goodreads: “The swoon of Nicola Yoon meets the emotional punch of Elizabeth Acevedo in this breakout debut novel that answers big questions about identity, family, and love.” Looks amazing to me!

Release Date: July 26, 2022 | My Review

Master of Iron (Bladesmith #2) by Tricia Levenseller

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Sisters! A magically gifted blacksmith with social anxiety. Romance and danger at every turn. This is the conclusion to the Bladesmith duology. I loved BLADE OF SECRETS, so I’m super excited about this one.

Release Date: July 26, 2022 |

The King Will Kill You (Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #3) by Sarah Henning

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: The thrilling conclusion to the trilogy described as THE PRINCESS BRIDE meets GAME OF THRONES. I love Sarah Henning’s books, so I’m absolutely down for this one.

Release Date: August 2, 2022 |

The Honeys by Ryan LaSala

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: I’m not usually brave enough to read horror, but this is RYAN LASALA, y’all. So… I feel like I have to give it a try after the way I adored REVERIE. A twin’s sister dies under horrific circumstances, and he will do whatever it takes to find out why.

Release Date: August 2, 2022 |

The Stars Between Us by Cristin Terrill

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A girl with an unexpected inheritance on a glittering planet. A mysterious young man who is always in her way. Secrets. Murder. An underground rebellion. Tiny problems, really. Ha! I’ve read two other books by Cristin Terrill, and both were twisty and wonderful, so I have high expectations for this one.

Release Date: August 2, 2022 | My Review

Hello Goodbye by Kate Stollenwerck

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A perfect summer ruined by tragedy. A road trip to uncover lies. A girl who must decide who she is and what she values as her past and present collide. I love a good family drama, so I can’t resist this one.

Release Date: August 2, 2022 | My Review

My Imaginary Mary (Mary #2) by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: I really enjoyed MY CONTRARY MARY and this team of authors has been a solid win for me. This newest book follows the stories of Mary Shelley and Ada Lovelace. I really want to read this one!

Release Date: August 2, 2022 |

The Memory Index by Julian R. Vaca

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: An elite academy that will change science forever and a girl lucky enough to attend. Then students start disappearing, and she decides it’s time for her friends to find out what’s in the mysterious bunker in the woods behind the school. Looks gritty and suspenseful. I’m eager to check this one out.

Release Date: August 2, 2022 | My Review

Three Kisses, One Midnight Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon and Evelyn Skye

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: Three friends will use art, science, and the magic of a powerful legend to seek the perfect romance. I haven’t read anything by Evelyn Skye, but I love the books by Sandhya Menon and Roshani Chokshi that I’ve read, so this one looks like a sure win to me.

Release Date: August 30, 2022 | My Review

The Dragon’s Promise (Six Crimson Cranes #2) by Elizabeth Lim

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

What you need to know: A princess who must journey to the kingdom of dragons to deliver a pearl brimming with magic. I’ve loved the books by Elizabeth Lim that I’ve read, so I really want to read this one.

Release Date: August 30, 2022 |

What books are you most excited about reading this summer?

What are your most-anticipated YA books coming summer 2022? Are you looking forward to any of the books on my list?

Let me know what you’re most excited to read this summer. If there are titles you’re excited about that I missed– tell me about them, too!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Summer Reads

Summer–the perfect time to hang on the beach, barbecue with friends…or take the time to enjoy a good book. Here’s several that Kasey and I enjoyed, and that we think you will too!

Breakout by Kate Messner– June 5th, 2018

“Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek–two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town’s maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same.

Told in letters, poems, text messages, news stories, and comics–a series of documents Nora collects for the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project–Breakout is a thrilling story that will leave readers thinking about who’s really welcome in the places we call home.” 

Kasey reviewed this one on June 13th, saying “While the social issues are a solid, important part of the story, at its core, this is a tale of three girls who learn what it is to be friends. To take chances, to trust one another, to forgive, to put themselves in the other girls’ shoes. This is a great read for all those reasons.”

Bookish Boyfriends by Tiffany Schmidt– May 1st, 2018

“Boys are so much better in books. At least according to Merrilee Campbell, 15, who thinks real-life chivalry is dead and there’d be nothing more romantic than having a guy woo her like the heroes in classic stories. Then she, her best friend, Eliza, and her younger sister, Rory, transfer to Reginald R. Hero Prep–where all the boys look like they’ve stepped off the pages of a romance novel. Merri can hardly walk across the quad without running into someone who reminds her of Romeo.

When the brooding and complicated Monroe Stratford scales Merri’s trellis in an effort to make her his, she thinks she might be Juliet incarnate. But as she works her way through her literature curriculum under the guidance of an enigmatic teacher, Merri’s tale begins to unfold in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Merri soon realizes that only she is in charge of her story. And it is a truth universally acknowledged that first impressions can be deceiving…”

Fluffy, light-hearted romcoms are perfect beach reads. And ones that feature book nerds at the heart of the story? Sign me up. This book was such a fun story, and I’m hoping the author turns it into a series!

The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando– June 5th, 2018

“Natalie’s parents are taking her and her three best friends on a cruise for her seventeenth birthday. A sail-a-bration, they call it. But it’s only been a few short months since Natalie’s boyfriend died in a tragic accident, and she wants to be anywhere but here.
Then she meets a guy on the first night and sparks fly. After a moonlit conversation on a secluded deck of the ship, Natalie pops down to her cabin to get her swimsuit so they can go for a dip. But when she returns, he’s gone. Something he said makes her think he might have . . . jumped? No, he couldn’t have.
But why do her friends think she’s crazy for wanting to make sure he’s okay? Also, why do they seem to be hiding something from her? And how can she find him when she doesn’t even know his name? Most importantly, why is the captain on the intercom announcing the urgent need for a headcount?
With her signature thrilling storytelling, the author of The Leaving and The Possible explores our vulnerability to the power of suggestion-and the lies we tell others and ourselves-in a twisting, Hitchcock-inspired mystery with high stakes and dark secrets.

Rather dive into a chilling mystery than a fluffy romance? Then check out this intriguing read which Kasey recommends to “older suspense lovers as a nice beach or poolside read this summer.”

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West — May 29th, 2018

“Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.”

Kasie West writes sweet romances for young adult readers, and her newest book looks like it’ll be good one. I’m adding it to my reading list!

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett– April 3rd, 2018

“Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?”

This book sounds great for outdoorsy readers who like a good romance. Read Kasey’s review here!

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes– July 10th, 2018

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.’

This was an incredible historical fantasy that delved deep into relevant issues, such as race, gender equality, and faith. Definitely recommend this one for your TBR list!

Ginger Kid by Steve Hofstetter– March 20th, 2018

“In Ginger Kid, popular comedian Steve Hofstetter grapples with life after seventh grade . . . when his world fell apart. Formatted as a series of personal essays, Steve walks his readers through awkward early dating, family turbulence, and the revenge of the bullied nerds. This YA nonfiction is sure to be the beloved next volume for the first generation of Wimpy Kid fans who are all grown up and ready for a new misfit hero.

Here’s a great nonfiction book for readers who are busy this summer. Broken up into short essays, it’s book that delivers on humor and heart. Kasey recommends it “not just for misfits but for anyone who has ever felt awkward in a crowd or wrestled with self-discovery. If you’re looking for a lighthearted read, add this one to your list for sure!”

Mirage by Somaiya Daud– August 28th, 2018

“In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.”

This highly anticipated debut from Somaiya Daud features a strong heroine with a lot of heart. I loved the MC in this one, and I bet you will too.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer– November 7th, 2017

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Who doesn’t love a classic superhero story? And by Marissa Meyer? It’s sure to be good. This summer is a great time to read (or reread) Renegades, just in time for the sequel to release this winter.

The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell– August 7th, 2018

“When sixteen-year-old Sylvie’s brother takes over management of their family’s vast estates, Sylvie feels powerless to stop his abuse of the local commoners. Her dearest friend asks her to run away to the woods with him, and soon a host of other villagers join them. Together, they form their own community and fight to right the wrongs perpetrated by the king and his noblemen. Perfect for fans of fairy tale retellings or anyone who loves a strong female lead, this gorgeously written take on the Robin Hood tale goes beyond the original’s focus on economic justice to explore love, gender, the healing power of nature, and what it means to be a family.”

This one has been on my TBR list since I first heard about it, and it made our Top Ten Exciting 2018 YA Releases list earlier this year. I can’t wait to read this one!

What’s on your summer TBR list?

How about you? Do you have a favorite beach read you’d like to recommend? Comment below; we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Monthly Wrap-Up: August 2017

August means the back-to-school rush, and this year that meant taking my girl through the halls of my former junior high school, which doesn’t even seem possible, to be honest. That much time can’t have passed, can it?

It also means finishing up some summer-time cleaning out and re-arranging, which means new and fun things for my bookshelves! This past month my husband built custom wall-mounted shelves for me and hung them up in our living room. I love the way they look.

Here are the reviews you may have missed this month and a bit about each book. You’ll notice a couple titles reviewed by the amazing and wonderful Gabrielle in addition to titles I’ve reviewed. Check them out!

Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

This is the first book I’ve read by Kwame Alexander, and I must have more. I loved the lyrical, deeply moving lines of poetry and the story of this boy trying to find himself.

Bullied by J. D. Jacobs

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Bullying is a huge topic in YA, but sometimes the most compelling stories about it contain a lot of explicit content, which isn’t great for all readers. I am always looking for cleaner options for sensitive readers to turn to, and was glad to find this book.

Trashing the Planet:Examining our Global Garbage Glut by Stuart A. Kallen

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I liked the way this book presented problems along with some exciting opportunities for solutions. The problem of too much trash can seem overwhelming, so I liked feeling empowered to make changes and the chance to be better educated about the issue.

Hedy’s Journey: The True Story of a Hungarian Girl Fleeing the Holocaust by Michelle Bisson

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

This was an unusual format for a book on my reading list as it had a lot of illustrations– which were lovely. I liked that they elevated the impact of the story. Definitely a great reminder of what some people faced during World War II.

The List by Patricia Forde

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I am a total sucker for a good dystopian story, and this is exactly what I found in this book. Loved that it’s word-focused and has a bit of romance in it, too.

Unraveling by Sara Ella

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I wasn’t as taken with this book as with the first in the series, but loved following the next part of the story. I gotta say, I’m mostly holding out as team Joshua.

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

If you like fantasy with engrossing culture or politics, I highly recommend this book. It’s got some sexual content, so check the notes in my review if that’s an issue for you.

Reintegration by Ashley Bogner

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

After reading Gabrielle’s stellar review, I’m eager to check out Reintegration myself. If you’re a dystopian lit fan like me, this sounds like one not to miss.


It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

This was a tough read for me because it made me reevaluate some of the experiences I had as a teen growing up in the kind of church where the main character, Mike, feels like such an outsider. I think that kind of reflection is ultimately healing and helpful, though. And I loved the power of Mike’s story and the raw emotion the author uses to convey it.

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

This book has been on my To-Read list for quite some time, and now that Gabrielle has had such great things to say about it, I’m even more eager. Definitely into the whole rewritten history aspects and the deep characterization.

Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I liked the snarky humor with which this story tackles depression and difficult teen relationships. It reminded me a little bit of a Matthew Quick novel.

A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Another really imaginative dystopian story about a female-dominated society. If you like the more literary-style dystopian tales, you need this one on your list.

What’s on your back-to-school reading list?

Are you reading anything interesting now that school has started up again? Still trying to squeeze in a few last-minute planned summer reads? Share the title and what you think of it so far in the comments below!





Monthly Wrap-Up: July 2017

The summertime always flies by, but July 2017 seemed like an especially busy month. My girl participated in a local theater production of The Lion King, which was loads of fun, and our fantastic new contributor, Gabrielle, posted her first review, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber.

In other big news, a new little reader will be joining my family this winter. Yep. In about five more months, my girl, who has been a solo kid her whole life, will become a big sister. We’re all excited and busy busy with the changes it will bring to our family.

Unfortunately, that means slowing down my blogging a little bit. If you’ve been to the review request pages, you’ve probably already noticed I’m not accepting new review requests at this time. I’ve got plenty of books to keep me busy through the fall, so I’ll continue to post reviews, but I don’t feel comfortable making commitments to authors and publishers when I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep them.

Had your own busy summer schedule? Here are the books you may have missed. Check them out and see if you can’t squeeze in a few more summer reading titles!

July 2017 Middle Grade and Young Adult Book Reviews

Frog Princess Returns by E. D. Baker

Review | Amazon | Goodread

Emma’s back to save her kingdom from another unknown threat. A quick, fun read, perfect for summer.

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Gabrielle calls this book a bold approach to heavy topics and unique in its plot. As a Mary Weber fan myself, I’m excited to have this one on my own reading list.

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Loved the imaginative storyworld and the sailing elements of this story. Caro had me from the getgo, and I could not wait to see how the situation with her secret cargo played out. One of my favorite summer reads so far.

Day Moon by Brett Armstrong

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Another unusual read. I liked the sci-fi elements and the use of Shakespeare (the first of two novels I read this month which used clues from Shakespeare to solve a mystery) as clues Elliot’s grandfather left him.


Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I’d been waiting for this book for a whole year, and I was not disappointed in any aspect of it. The full cast of characters from Ink and Bone return to fight against the powerful Library. I couldn’t stop turning pages, and I already can’t wait for the next installment!

The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

The writing in this book was so good I could have eaten it with a spoon. I loved the protagonist and the way the author created a mystery around the works of Shakespeare.

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Gabrielle gave this book 5 out of 5 stars, so you know it’s got to be good. I’m a huge sucker for blends of historical and magic or fantasy, so this sounds like a win to me, too!

What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Funniest book I’ve read this summer, easily. I enjoyed the quirky dialogue and fun characters. Enough science to satisfy, plenty of humor to entertain.

The Song From Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Probably the most unexpected story I’ve read this summer. Reminded me a little bit of Roald Dahl in its dark-ish feel and fantastic, unusual characters.

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

If you’re a fan of Ellen Hopkins, you definitely want to check out this book. It’s angsty and packed with emotion, forbidden love, and social issues.

What have you been reading?

How’s your summer reading going? Read anything awesome? Leave me a comment! I’d love to know.

Top Ten Reasons to Take That Crazy Perfect Someday by Michael Mazza to the Beach

For today’s stop on the Irish Banana Blog Tour, author Michael Mazza shares with us his top ten reasons to take his novel That Crazy Perfect Someday to the beach. Before I get too carried away, let me give you a little more information about the book.

That Crazy Perfect Someday
Michael Mazza
Turtle Point Press
Published June 13, 2017

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About That Crazy Perfect Someday
The year is 2024. Climate change has altered the world’s wave patterns. Drones crisscross the sky, cars drive themselves, and surfing is a new Olympic sport. Mafuri Long, UCSD marine biology grad, champion surfer, and only female to dominate a record eighty-foot wave, still has something to prove. Having achieved Internet fame, along with sponsorship from Google and Nike, she’s intent on winning Olympic gold. But when her father, a clinically depressed former Navy captain and widower, learns that his beloved supercarrier, the USS Hillary Rodham Clinton, is to be sunk, he draws Mafuri into a powerful undertow. Conflicts compound as Mafuri’s personal life comes undone via social media, and a vicious Aussie competitor levels bogus doping charges against her.

Mafuri forms an unlikely friendship with an awkward teen, a Ferrari-driving professional gamer who will prove to be her support and ballast. Authentic, brutal, and at times funny, Mafuri lays it all out in a sprightly, hot-wired voice. From San Diego to Sydney, Key West, and Manila, That Crazy Perfect Someday goes beyond the sports/surf cliché to explore the depths of sorrow and hope, yearning and family bonds, and the bootstrap power of a bold young woman climbing back into the light.

Top Ten Reasons to Take That Crazy Perfect Someday to the Beach
by Michael Mazza

  1. Booklist calls it a “[A] beach-bag must-have.”
  2. Many of the scenes take place on a beach!
  3. Read it on a beach. With the sand fleas, stinky kelp odor, and sea spray, you’ll have a truly interactive experience.
  4. It’s a conversation starter for that hunky, tropical resort bartender fixin’ up your fourth Mai Tai.
  5. It’s a story with drones, sharks, Aussie surf thugs, monster waves, bonobo apes, a Louis the XIV wedding, and celebrity wipe-outs. Who doesn’t like celebrity wipe-outs?
  6. Your mom would approve of it—wait, scratch that.
  7. It makes a great sunshade when not in use.
  8. Word is that fish love it! Sea mollusks too!
  9. It goes great with a refreshing umbrella drink.
  10. The sun gods will shine their heavenly goodness upon you for reading it. And isn’t that reason enough?

Finally, always wear sunscreen, never drop in on another surfer, and support your local indie bookstore.

About Michael Mazza

Website | Twitter | Instagram

Michael Mazza is a San Francisco Bay Area fiction writer whose stories have appeared in Other Voices, WORDS, Blue Mesa Review, TINGE, and ZYZZYVA. He is also an internationally acclaimed art and creative director working in the advertising industry. That Crazy Perfect Someday is his first novel.

Visit the Other Stops on the Tour!

6/19: Never Too Many To Read: Photo Collage

6/20: The Story Sanctuary: Guest Post (you are here!)

6/21: Here’s to Happy Endings: Q&A 

6/22: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes: Review

6/23: Quarzfeather: Review