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?

Top Ten Book Covers I Would Wear If They Were Clothes

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

This week’s topic is “All about the visuals.” Since I don’t read graphic novels and just talking about my favorite book covers seemed boring, I decided to go with Top Ten Book Covers I Would Wear if They Were Clothes.

…And if I were more fashionable than I am.

1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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I’ll start with an obvious one. I absolutely love how classy and sweet this cover (and this book) is. I feel like clothing designed off of it would have to be a sundress of some kind, or a really nice sweater and pants pairing.

2. More Than This by Patrick Ness

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This cover would make an amazing graphic tee or a really interesting mini dress/t-shirt dress. Something casual and clean but with an edgy vibe, like this book itself. Bonus points if the garment communicates vague existentialism.

3. Across A Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

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Definitely a ball gown of some kind, though not exactly the one shown on the cover. It would be whimsical and dramatic in equal measures, and it would look like it was part of the ocean.

4. The Wrath and the Dawn by Rene Ahdieh

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How could I have a fashion-inspired blog post without mentioning TWATD? I love the colors of this cover and the gorgeous fashion described throughout the book, so I don’t know how any clothing piece inspired off of it could be anything but drop-dead incredible.

5. The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick Ness

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Apparently my brain really wants to wear Ness’s covers as clothing? Regardless, any of the Chaos Walking trilogy’s covers would inspire incredible fashion (I’m thinking a dress of some kind), but I chose this one because I love the shade of blue.

6. The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

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Look at that minimalist cover! It would be an amazing graphic t-shirt, but I also think that you could design a really compelling avant-guarde gown off of it.

7. The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Look at the colors. Look at the cool smoke thing. Think of the possibilities. (As a side note, I absolutely loved this series and I need the next book to come out!)

8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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This is one of my all-time favorite books, with one of my all-time favorite covers. Anything inspired by the cover would be incredible, especially if it somehow combined the historical feeling of the book with the fantastical circus elements.

9. The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella

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Okay, so I still have not read this book. But my sister loved it so much that she forced me to include it in this post. And look at that cover. It would inspire some adorably pink vintage-style clothing.

10. Graceling by Kristen Cashore

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Putting aside the fact that Graceling is one of my favorite books ever, the colors on the cover are gorgeous. I want to see someone create an outfit that combines the gentle beauty of the colors with the, well, badass-ness of the dagger and the story itself.


What do you think? Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favorite covers that you would wear as clothing?

Book Review: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

An adorably fluffy romance that got me in the holiday spirit (in the middle of January) while making me laugh out loud.

3.5/5 stars

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synopsis for reviews 2

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Add it on Goodreads

my thoughts for reviews 1

This is one of those books that I have been meaning to read forever, so when I got it for my birthday, I didn’t let it sit on my TBR shelf. I expected it to be a cute, ridiculous love story, and it was.

I loved the premise of this book. Two teenagers united by a book of dares and a favorite bookstore? I’m in. And while the story takes place during Christmastime and is full of holiday cheer, I did not have any problem reading it in January.

Dash was by far my favorite character. He’s an honest-to-God introvert, something that I don’t see a lot of in YA. And while he hated the idea of going to Macy’s two days before Christmas and genuinely loved being alone, he wasn’t cringey or awkward the way most introvert characters are. He’s wordy (which might come off to some readers as pretentious), but I loved it. Add in a whole lot of sass and there was no way I wouldn’t fall in love with Dash.

I did not connect as directly to Lily, but I did enjoy her character. She was optimistic and energetic in an endearing way, but she also had her fair share of insecurities and frustrations. She wanted to be daring and ridiculous, but she also struggled to form friendships or break out of her comfort zone. I liked this take on extroversion—another character type that I haven’t read often.

Parents played an interesting role in both characters’ stories. Neither set of parents is in town, or paying much attention to their children. The specifics of how each teenager accomplished this was a little ridiculous, but I rolled with it. Still, the parents affected Dash and Lily from afar, adding subplots and forcing their characters to develop, which I appreciated.

Of course, the maybe-romance between Dash and Lily was the central focus of the book. The two of them bounce off each other for most of the book, interacting through the notebook while living their own lives separately. I enjoyed the way that the romance was handled in this book. Romance didn’t overpower the story, and it definitely wasn’t instalove, but it was there.

Let’s be honest, if I left a notebook full of dares in a bookstore and a guy decided to take me up on it, I would spend a lot of time trying to figure out if he was someone I could date. And if I picked up said notebook, I would do the same. But while both Dash and Lily think about the possibility of their relationship, neither falls head-over-heels for the other, and both remain skeptical about the chances of a random passerby being The One.

I loved the constant uncertainty of the romance. For most of the book, even couldn’t decide if I thought they were meant for each other or if they should go their separate ways. This kept me reading more than instalove ever would have, and was another part of this book that I appreciated for breaking the contemporary romance mold.

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares was paced really well. There were enough subplots that I was always worried about what would happen next, but also enough lighthearted moments that I got the fluffy feels I wanted. The plot was not long or overly complex, but it was not so simple that I got bored. The story was filled with humor (some, but thankfully not all, cringe humor), literally making me laugh out loud—which I never do.

Side characters make this book. None of them played major roles in the story, but all of them collectively made the book what it was. I loved the contrast between Lily’s massive family and Dash’s more reserved group of friends, as well as how both of those groups worked to bring the two of them together.

On a side note, I loved this book for all of the LGBT+ side characters. While this book is definitely not Diverse™, it destroys the idea that a straight contemporary romance needs to exist in an entirely straight universe. It’s a small step in the right direction that made reading this fluffy book infinitely more enjoyable.

I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a fluffy story that will make them smile. It is not a heart-wrenching romance, nor it is even a transformative book about self-discovery. It is simply a sweet book that has romance, self-discovery, and lots of allusions to authors and poets. I will definitely read Dash and Lily’s Twelve Days of Christmas, but I might wait for the 2017 holiday season.

Have you read it? What did you think?


Problematic Moments and Trigger Warnings: (A new section where I call out books for problematic moments and alert readers to possible triggers. Please note I am by no means an expert on either, but I will do my best to research the books I review as I write this section. I added this to help readers, but I cannot promise it will be perfect. I am still learning, and any critiques you have will be greatly appreciated. If I missed something in either category, tell me and I’ll edit the review to include it.)

Problematic Moments: While DALBOD didn’t strike me as very problematic, is is not perfect. In one scene, Dash is really flippant about Hanukkah. Comment if you want more specifics.

Trigger warnings: parent with alcoholism, drinking, semi-blackouts

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?