Top Ten Books That Give Me All The Romantic Feels

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is All About Romance Tropes/Types, but when I started to make those lists, I realized that I haven’t read any one trope enough to make a good Top Ten list. In place of that, here are ten books whose romances made me laugh, cry, and smile.  

1. Fire by Kristin Cashore

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This book is so much more than its romance, but damn, its romance breaks my heart every time. I have reread certain scenes over and over, just to suck all of the romantic feels into my soul.

2. The King of Attolia (Queen’s Thief #3) by Megan Whalen Turner

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This series is not about romance. At all. But no relationship makes my heart feel as much as this book’s romance (and I’m being purposefully vague, by the way).

3. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

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God, I love Puck and Sean together so much. This was one of the first slow burn romances I read, and it remains one of my favorites ever.

4. A Company of Swans by Eva Ibboston

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All of Eva Ibboston’s books broke (and then healed) my heart, but A Company of Swans was by far my favorite. I haven’t read it in years, but its bittersweet romance has stuck with me.

5. Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander

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This book made me sob. I don’t usually read “cancer books,” but the mathematical motifs in this book convinced me to give it a shot. And wow, it was worth it. I loved this book for its humor and for its heartbreak.

6. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

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This is one of the only books that I have read that pulls off instalove. Khalid and Shazi’s relationship is inherently instalove, but it is also one of my favorite relationships ever.

7. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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Another book that is about so much more than romance, but is still painfully romantic. It has been way too long since I read this incredible novel, but even thinking about these star-crossed lovers makes my heart hurt.

8. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

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I was not prepared for the romance in this book. The first time I read it, it took over my life for forty-eight hours, I shipped the couple so hard. They definitely are not your average, or your perfect, couple, but I still love them to pieces.

9. Going Underground by Susan Vaught

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This is one of those books that I can truthfully say changed the way I see the world. It tackles the issue of sexting and “Romeo and Juliet” laws with a stark honesty that ensured it will forever be a favorite. Yet it still has a subtle, gorgeous romance that compliments the societal commentary without overpowering it.

10. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

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I gave this book to my friend to read, and about halfway through, she texted me, “So they really meant the unexpected EVERYTHING.” I don’t know a better way to sum up how surprising and refreshing this book was. On one hand, it is your basic YA contemporary romance, but it was a lot more than that for me.


Have you read any of these books? Which books would you recommend for their heart-wrenching romances?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Top Ten Books I Wanted More From

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I Wish Had (More/Less) X In Them. I chose to just highlight a collection of books that I wanted more from. Some of them needed better characters, some needed better world building, others just fell flat.

1. Every Day by David Levithan

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I loved the premise of this book, and for the most part, it was executed well. And yet, I just wasn’t swept off my feet by this book the way I feel like I could have been.

2. Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton

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This book was set up to be an all-time favorite. A girl that sees emotions as people? I wanted to love it—but it ended up lacking that special spark that would have made it memorable.

3. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

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This book was a complete hype buy for me, and like many hype buys, it didn’t work out. It had a cool plot twist, but the story overall annoyed me, because it felt like the story existed for the plot twist only. (my review)

4. Angelfall by Susan Ee

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Another hype buy that drew me in with rave reviews and an interesting premise, but I felt cheated. I was promised a captivating romance and a kick-ass protagonist, but I didn’t feel like I got either. I read the whole trilogy, but continued to feel like it wasn’t living up to its potential. (my review)

5. Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

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To be honest, I don’t know why I keep coming back to this series. It should be cliche and forgettable, but somehow, it isn’t. It is the dictionary definition of a book that I constantly want more from, but I’ve stuck with the series so far, so I clearly believe it can (and will) improve. (my review)

6. The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

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This was the first Kasie West book I read, and while it was adorable, it was mostly fluff. The Fill-In Boyfriend was a much more compelling (and cute) romance for me.

7. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

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I liked this book, I really did. But when I finished it, I felt unsatisfied. The premise, the characters, and the world building were wonderful, but I wanted the story to develop more, I guess. I can’t wait to read her next book, though. (my review)

8. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

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This was supposed to be a really haunting fairy tale retelling. While I enjoyed the story, it wasn’t creepy at all, leaving me feeling cheated. (my review)

9. The Ghost Bride by Yangzee Choo

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I just finished this book. I loved the way Choo wove the Malaya culture into the story, and the last half of the book captivated me. The first half of the book dragged on and on, however, keeping me from completely falling for the book.

10. Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst

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I read this book years ago, and I don’t remember much. I was sucked in by the premise and the characters, but the ending felt incomplete and sudden. But look at that cover!


Honestly, I enjoyed parts of all of these books. They aren’t on this list because I hated them, they are just on this list because I wanted more from them.

Have you read any of these books? What books did you want more from?

January Wrap-Up 2017

In My Life

This month was hard. It started out great, with a trip with my grandparents and spending lots of time with my friends, but then school started. This semester is going fairly well, but it is still extremely stressful and tiring, and I still have college applications looming over me, even though I’ve turned them all in.

Trump’s inauguration made everything worse. I honestly have trouble believing what our country has come to in so short a span of time. I’m angry and terrified, and honestly, feeling hopeless. The stress of school, which I’ve barely learned how to manage, is now matched with the stress of wondering what horrific thing Trump will do next. Seeing the world come together at protests is incredible, but it’s not enough to snap me out of the constant funk of despair. Additionally, the violence that we’ve seen across the world has broken my heart.

But this month was not all bad. Here are some good things:

  1. My journalism class published another issue, and it looks incredible.
  2. I made a jar in ceramics with a lid that fits.
  3. I started a (low key) bullet journal for 2017.

On This Blog

I had nine posts this month. Not as many as I’d like (I’ve already broken my three posts per week goal…wow), but more than there could have been. I’m happy with the content I put out, so that’s what really matters.

Top Ten Tuesdays

Discussion Posts

In Reading and Reviewing

I read three books this month, and started four others. I know. It’s pretty bad. I am in the middle of two books for school—Twelfth Night and Dante’s Inferno—and I am enjoying both. I started two others, The Ghost Bride (which I might DNF because I have been reading it for a month) and Slasher Girls and Monster Boys (which I will finish, but it is a short story anthology and I am taking it slow).

Here are the books I actually read:

  • Black Powder War (Temeraire #3) by Naomi Novik — 3.5/5 stars (probably won’t be reviewed)
  • My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows — 5/5 stars (review)
  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn — 3.5/5 stars (review)

Long story short, there will be lots of reviews to come, as soon as I finish reading the ones I am in the middle of.

In Writing

This month was AWFUL for writing. I finished my WIP right at the end of 2016, and although I have lots of research, editing, and character development work I want to do…I just didn’t do it. I didn’t even really work on scholarships (although I did submit a few applications). I have big plans for productivity in February.


How was your January? Did you read any great books? What books do you plan to read February?

Discussion Post: You Cannot Read Them All, So Make the Books You Do Read Count

One of my goals for 2017 is to read more diversely, but I do not think I can say I accomplished that goal if I do not follow with a second, related resolution: read less problematic books.

Yes, we can have problematic favorites. I have a lot of them. I’m doing my best to understand their problems and to reshape my view of some of my favorite books based on others’ critiques. I have a whole lot of privilege in my life, but I’m trying to look past it and to become a more aware, conscientious reader.

In this spirit, I have been adding diverse books to my TBR while scratching others off it when they are called out for harmful representation. Some of the books I have ex-ed out are upcoming releases, but most of them are books that have existed for a while and that I meant to read eventually.

A lot of the books I crossed off my TBR list were ones that I was never extremely passionate about reading anyway. It does not feel like a big loss to make a mental note to avoid a book that I had not yet felt compelled to pick up, especially if it had existed for months or years already.

But other books? They are written by favorite authors. They are continuations of beloved series. They are books that I wanted to rush to defend when people first called them problematic.

Thankfully, I listened instead of jumping in rashly, and now I see where other people were coming from. It was a rough transition, but one I’m proud of making.

There was one thing that I constantly had to remind myself of throughout the process:

I can read any book. There are hundreds of thousands of books out there, with new ones being published every month. There is literally no such thing as a “must read”—no matter how hyped a book is, or how much I love the author’s other work.

I keep seeing favorite authors’ books being criticized, especially when new releases are announced. I’ll be honest: my first impulse is to ignore the criticisms. It’s my favorite author, I think. How could I not read everything they write?

But then I catch myself, and remind myself that I don’t have to read anything

If I don’t read a favorite author’s new book, does it actually matter? If I don’t read a hyped book, who cares?

I’m the one who will be experiencing the stories. I’m the one who will be giving up my time and money to enjoy the work of authors. What books other people think I should read—even if that “other person” is just Me from a year ago—should not matter. That’s part of growing as a reader and as a person.

I read about 50 books of my choice a year. That’s a tiny drop in comparison to the ocean of books out there. That means I need to think carefully about which 50 books I decide to A) spend money on, and B) read, review, and feature on my blog.

Reminding myself that there is no way for me to read every book that exists helps me deal with not reading books that I always assumed I’d read. With so many non-problematic (or at least less problematic) books out there, why would I give my time, energy, and support to blatantly problematic books?

I can read anything. And every time I remind myself of that, the excuses for continuing my dedication to problematic favorites get less and less believable.


What do you think? Was this post relatable? Have you given up any favorite authors when they were called out? Do you think this advice will be helpful in the future?

Discussion Post: Parents in YA

There’s a recurring joke in the YA world that all parents in books are either

  • A) Dead
  • B) nonexistent
  • And when they do exist, they’re awful

There honestly is a lack of good parents in YA—a lack, even, of parents at all.

Out of this, a lot of bloggers often call for more good parents in YA. I understand the idea behind this: if reading is supposed to be an escape, then giving young adults a world in which parents are kind and supportive is an important responsibility of YA.

That being said, I also want to see more bad parents in YA.

The point, I think, of having good parents in YA is to give teenagers with awful ones an escape. Those books show teenagers what encouragement and love feels like and gives them positive voices to listen to when the real ones are negative.

However, reading should not just offer an escape from reality, but sometimes confront reality. This reminds people that others have survived what you are living through.

Here is the problem: the same way that YA has basically no parents, it also seems to have only a few types of bad parents. There are the parents who have fallen out of touch with their teens as they grew up, the parents who flat-out ignore their children, the parents who fail to recognize or accept their children for who they are.

But they have one thing in common:

At some point, there is a conversation and/or realization that brings the kid and the parent together, ending in understanding and forgiveness.

That relationship evolution is based in the idea that no parents are so blind or rooted in their beliefs that they could face their child in a moment of honesty and not fix themselves. It is based in the idea that teenagers and parents just don’t “work”—until they have breakfast together, cry it out, and reconnect. It is based in the idea that no parent is unforgivable, unfixable.

I’ve had a lot of friends, with a lot of parents who screwed them up in different ways. Parents who

  • Taught their children strict body image ideals that permanently made them to value being skinny over being healthy
  • Ignored their child’s depression, even when the child point-blank told them how they felt
  • Ignored their child’s attempt to speak about abuse
  • Decided their child was a chronic liar instead of listening to them recount problems they faced
  • Made their child fear the imperfection of an A- (let alone a B) so palpably that the child chose to value studying over taking care of their physical and emotional well-being

Parents who were more than clueless, more than out of touch. Parents who continued their behavior after confrontation.

Parents who honestly, I won’t forgive.

I am not saying that this applies to every bad parent in YA. They are not all bad in the same way, nor are they all forgiven. They aren’t. But it feels like there is a strong trend in favor of acting like parents making their children feel like shit was just a misunderstanding. And I’m not okay with that.

At best, it isolates teenagers. It takes a story that could be a beacon of hope—this character lived in the same situation but survived like this—and turns it into a “whoops, just kidding, you’re on your own.”

At worst, it gaslights teenagers into blaming themselves for their parents choices by making them believe their parents would be kind if they could just have the right conversation. This might sound like a far-fetched idea, but a lot of the teenagers I know have tried to talk to their parents about their issues, and it didn’t work. Not all of them, of course, but there are more than the two options: silence and forgiveness.

Young adult literature is complex. It cannot be defined by one trend or cliche. It has fluffy romances and heart-wrenching plots in both fantasies and contemporaries. YA has something for everyone to connect to. It gives readers things to laugh about and things to cry about. It helps us escape reality, and it gives us the tools we need to confront reality. The multitudes of YA are what makes it so incredible. 

I do not want every book published to have awful parents. I do not want every awful parent to end un-forgiven. What I do want is a YA that presents all types of parents, even the ones we would like to pretend don’t exist. 


What do you think? Was this post relatable? Are there any books you can recommend that break the forgiveness model?

Top Ten Diverse Books I’m Excited to Read in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Reading more diversely is my main reading goal for 2017. There are books I own that I want to read, backlist books that I have been meaning to get to for ages, and upcoming releases that promise that the future of YA is a lot more diverse than its past. These are of course not the only diverse books I want to read this year, but a place to start at least.

Books I Own

1. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

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(Goodreads)

2. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

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(Goodreads)

3. If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth

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(Goodreads)

4. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

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(Goodreads)

Backlist Books I Want to Own

5. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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(Goodreads)

6. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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(Goodreads)

7. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

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(Goodreads)

Upcoming Releases

8. You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

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(Goodreads)

9. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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(Goodreads)

10. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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(Goodreads)

11. Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee and K.E. Ormsbee

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(Goodreads)

12. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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(Goodreads)


Have you read any of these? What did you think? Which diverse books do you want to read this year?

Top Ten 2016 Releases I Will (Probably) Read in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

My first TTT of 2017 is a look back at 2016. A ton of incredible books came out that I 100% planned to read…and didn’t. Here are some that I still plan to read (hopefully).

1. Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

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I was so drawn in by the concept of this book, but I was just…never in the mood to actually sit down and read it.

2. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

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I have been meaning to read more by Schwab forever, and I honestly though 2016 would be my year. Hopefully it will be 2017. 🙂

3. Gemina (Illuminae #2) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

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I don’t blame myself for not having the emotional courage or energy to read this book. Besides, it has been getting mixed reviews, and I do not want to have my hopes dashed. Still, I have to know what happens next in this amazing series.

4. And I Darken by Kiersten White

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I love the idea of this book, and rave reviews have given me hope that it lives up to its potential. I honestly have no excuse for not reading it besides that I never bought it for myself.

5. Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

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This book has been on my radar forever. I keep coming back to it, though I have yet to buy or read it—something I want to fix.

6. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

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My sister just read this book and LOVED IT. I feel ridiculous for not picking it up sooner, but I plan to ASAP.

7. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

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From everything I’ve heard, this book has incredibly gorgeous prose, which I need more of in my life.

8. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

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Kasie West always surprises me with how she is able to take a flippant premise and create an adorable, sweet, and thought-provoking story. I want to read more of her work, and the synopsis of this one is A+.

9. Blood for Blood (Wolf by Wolf #2) by Ryan Gruadin

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Another sequel I held off from to save my emotions. When it came out, I was not ready to read it—but I cannot go an entire year without finishing this ridiculously powerful duology.

10. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

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This book (for me) came out of nowhere and took over the blogging world. I think it will ruin me emotionally, but sometimes that is worth it.


What 2016 releases did I miss? I always want to increase my TBR, especially with books that might not be on my radar yet!

What books do you plan to read in 2017?