Liebster Award Part 2!

You guys! My ego is going to explode from all this blogger love: I’ve been (re)nominated for the Liebster Award by two people, SJ (Delirious Antidotes) and Cassie (Book Reviews & Haikus)! Thanks so much SJ and Cassie! Please go check out their blogs :)

I love answering random questions, so here we go!

Sidenote: when I was 17-18, I spent half my time on Facebook filling out those random questionnaires that you could post as notes, so this is pretty much my jam.


Last time, I used the standard turquoise-y one, this time I wanted the pretty pink badge!

Questions from SJ:

1) Let’s kick this off with a little bit of self promotion, as it never did any harm: tell me about a project, website, post etc. that you want to draw attraction to. (URL’s are allowed)

My friend Jane and I are working on a pop culture website which we’re both very excited about! It officially launches on June 1st, but you can check out our snazzy home page here!

2) How did you/do you cope with exam season?

I made a lot of notes. Mostly on graph paper because, for some reason, it helped me focus (I was an English/French major, so I actually had to go out and buy graph paper, come exam time).

3) Who is your favourite band/musician?

How much time do you have?? I can narrow it down to my top five (in no particular order): You Me At Six, Panic! at the Disco, All Time Low, The Maine, and Fall Out Boy.

4) What is your favourite book?

One of my most favourite books of all time is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.

5) When did you start blogging?

I started my blog in August 2013. I started talking about books in October 2013, and I’ve been reviewing ARCs/giving books actual ratings since April 2015 (before, I just talked about whether or not I liked the book).

6) What is the best advice you have ever been given?

“Everything happens for a reason”. It’s not really advice so much as a proverb (is it even a proverb?) and I know it’s somewhat cliched, but it’s something I hold on to.

7) Explain the title of your blog.

My oldest sister nicknamed me “Bella” when I was little; she still calls me that and so now my three nieces call me “Bella” as well. When she was about three (she just turned nine), my oldest niece figured out that “Bella” and “books” both start with “b”, and thus she christened me “Bellsiebooks”.

8) Tea or coffee?

Tea! I have a borderline absurd collection of tea, but I love it.

9) What is your least “politically correct” opinion?

That’s a tough one…I don’t know how to answer that!

10) What did you think about before you fell asleep last night?

I’ve been telling myself stories to fall asleep ever since I was a child. For years, it’s been how I’ve worked out plot points for the books I’m trying to write.

Questions from Cassie:

1) What are three things you want to do/accomplish in life?

a) Publish a book (multiple books, ideally)
b) Become a kids’ book editor (or work in marketing for kids’ books…I’d take anything at this point)
c) Travel the world

2) Do you have a favorite musical genre and/or musician/band?

Pop-punk and similar genres (pop rock, metal, “emo”, etc). Please see above for my top five bands!

3) What was your first concert?

I saw Bon Jovi on the “One Wild Night” tour in 2001 with my sisters (I was 11).

4) Who is your favorite author? [If you don’t have one, what’s your favorite book genre?]

I love many authors, including Neil Gaiman, Libba Bray, Melissa Marr, and J.K. Rowling. I read a lot of YA (which is a category, not a genre), and I tend to enjoy contemporary or paranormal/supernatural/urban fantasy.

5) What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

I cannot possibly pick just one!! Ella Enchanted has been one of my favourite books for 17 years (I read it when I was 8), but I’m always swooning over some book or another.

6) When do you read most?

When I was working, I’d read on the morning commute and then continued for a bit when I got to work. Since my internship ended a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been reading a lot more at night.

7) What’s your preference: “real” physical books, e-books, audiobooks, or a mix of all of them?

Real books!!! I have a Kindle (which I stole from my dad) for my NetGalley ARCs and I sometimes use my phone if I don’t want to carry the e-reader around, but I much prefer the feel of physical books.

8) If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?


9) What fictional character would you like to be friends with most? Why?

Oh, so many! Anyone from the Harry Potter universe, of course, but sometimes I wish I had a tiger friend like Hobbes (he’s furry and good for conversation!). And if we’re going outside of books, then I’d want to be BFF’s with Marceline from Adventure Time because she is my hero.

10) Do you have hobbies besides reading?

I write and I’m a huge music fan, so I’m constantly a) updating my collection or b) attending a concert.

11) What’s your favorite food or drink to have while reading?

I don’t really eat/drink when I’m reading, but I guess tea. And I’ll eat chocolate at any time of the day, so I wouldn’t say no if someone were to hand me a piece of Dairy Milk while I was reading :)

Thanks for reading! And thanks again for the nomination(s)!

You may recall that I was nominated for this award in April, so I’m not going to officially nominate blogs. However, here is a list of the last 10 blogs I followed – you should check them out too!

a bookworm’s escape
thoughts and afterthoughts
Becca and Books
Owls and Things
Just my humble life
Barda Book Talk
Hardcovers and Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten ALL TIME Favourite Authors


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

This week’s prompt is Top Ten ALL TIME Favourite Authors, which was a lot harder than it sounds. The top five are probably constant, though the others could shift up or down or maybe even be replaced, depending on my mood. But they are all authors that make me react like Jake the dog when someone interrupts me:

reading time

  1. J.K. Rowling
  2. Neil Gaiman
  3. Libba Bray
  4. Melissa Marr
  5. Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler
  6. Jonathan Stroud
  7. Ellie Marney
  8. Page Morgan
  9. Robin Benway
  10. Gail Carson Levine

A year ago, Ellie Marney and Page Morgan would not have been on this list, but after discovering them over the past few months (Marney’s Every series and Morgan’s The Dispossessed trilogy), I can say with certainty that they made it onto my “as soon as they release a new book, I’m going to run screaming to the bookstore” list.

Actually, a year ago, Neil Gaiman wouldn’t have been on this list either, and my reading life would not have been nearly as FULFILLING as it is now that I’ve “discovered” him (why did it take me so long to read his books?!? WHY?!!).

gaiman reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters You’d Like To Check In With


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

This week’s prompt is Top Ten Characters You’d Like to Check In With and is described as being characters in books/series that are over “and you so just wish you could peek in on the “life” you imagine they are leading years down the line after the story ends”.

I can’t talk about them without spoiling the last book in the series, so here’s a list in no particular order:

1) Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire (and Beatrice Snicket!)

From Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (13 books)

2) Artemis Fowl (and Butler and Holly, obviously)

From Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series (8 books)

3) Charlie Bone and friends

From Jenny Nimmo’s under-rated Children of the Red King series (8 books)

4) Aislinn, Seth, Donia, Keenan, Niall, and the other faeries

From Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series (5 – technically 6 – books)

5) The Vampirates crew

From Justin Somper’s Vampirates series (6 books)

6) Gemma, Felicity, Ann, and (maybe) Pippa

From Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy (3 books)

7) Bartimaeus the demon

From Jonathan Stroud’s Bartemaeus Sequence (4 books)

8) Lydia, Emily and Cassie (and their respective boyfriends)

From Jaclyn Moriarty’s The Year of Secret Assignments (standalone, but technically part of the Ashbury/Brookfield books)

Sidenote: I love that it’s called Finding Cassie Crazy in the UK.

Fun fact: I have an ARC of it, and it was the first time I learned that there was such as thing as advanced copies (I was 14 and my sister had got it from work).

9) Audrey/James, Victoria/Jonah

From Robin Benway’s Audrey, Wait! (standalone)


Do I even need to tell you who wrote this series?

Sidenote: Yeah, there’s all the extra content on Pottermore, so maybe I’d get my fix if I actually logged in once in a while, but I’m sure most HP fans will agree: sometimes I just want random details about their day-to-day lives. In book form. So that I can read it forever.


Rachel Watts and James Mycroft

From Ellie Marney’s Every series

Technically the last book has not been released in North America, but I’ve read it and it was wonderful, and I just want 5346984 more stories about Rachel and James. Wattscroft forever!

Desert Tales – Melissa Marr

New year, updated look for Fiction Friday! Man, it’s been a while since I read a not-work-related book.

Desert Tales – Melissa Marr

The Mojave Desert was a million miles away from the plots and schemes of the Faerie Courts—and that’s exactly why Rika chose it as her home. The once-mortal faery retreated to the desert’s isolation after decades of carrying winter’s curse inside her body. But her seclusion—and the freedom of the desert fey—is threatened by the Summer King’s newfound strength. And when the manipulations of her trickster friend, Sionnach, thrust Rika into a new romance, she finds new power within herself—and a new desire to help Sionnach protect the desert fey and mortals alike. The time for hiding is over.

I knew that there had been a manga version of Desert Tales but I didn’t know it had been turned into a novel until late last year. Since I’m a huge Wicked Lovely fan and generally enjoy Melissa Marr (with one exception), I had to check it out.

It was good. It wasn’t stellar, but it wasn’t horrible either. I think my main problem was that I didn’t love any of the characters.

Rika had a pretty good character arc as she slowly embraces her powers, but it just takes forever. I’m not sure how long she had been the Winter Girl and I’ve never been clear on when Donia took over, but she (Rika) wallowed in self-pity for a really long time before she decided to take charge. She came across as quite wishy-washy, and, while I understand why (Keenan totally screwed her over), I just feel like she didn’t bother making an effort to get past it until Sionnach literally dragged her out of her (literal) cave.

I wasn’t completely sold on her relationship with Jayce, he was sort of bland (maybe because I just compare all of Marr’s heroes to Seth from Wicked Lovely who I hardcore love…) and I couldn’t figure out how I felt about Sionnach. At first, I thought he would be “bad” i.e. that he was Rika’s friend who would end up betraying her for his own selfish reasons. I was fully prepared to like him as a Dark Court-esque faery, but he wasn’t as brooding as Niall or as charismatic as Irial.  Sure, he was occasionally endearing, but he was so manipulative. I don’t care if he’s a fox faery and that’s just what they’re like, he came perilously close to crossing the boundary between “I do this because I love you” and “I do this because I’m controlling”. Once a male character gets too controlling, I lose interest.

Also Malli reminded me of Bananach (who shows up in later Wicked Lovely books), except less cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs (and, by extension, less interesting to read about). Bananach had such a fantastic personality – like a faery-version of Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange – and her threats were actually backed by power, whereas Malli was all “I could challenge you for Alpha status, but I won’t. But I could, you know.” Not quite the same effect as Bananach letting loose and trying to kill everyone.

I wonder how the story plays out in the mangas. When it was turned into a novel, she obviously had to flesh the story out a little more, and her descriptions are still as evocative as always. There are some really well written moments, but I just couldn’t connect with her characters this time around.

Best books of 2014

Similar to what I did with my “best albums of 2014”, I decided to do a top 14 picks. This was especially hard for books because of the 60+ that I read this year, less than half were 2014 releases. But here they are, in no particular order, with links to any relevant Fiction Friday posts (books that weren’t previously discussed for Fiction Friday have a blurb):

The Whispering Skull – Jonathan Stroud

Holy frack, that cliffhanger! Also, I heart Lockwood.

Made for You – Melissa Marr

If you want spine-tingly YA, pick this one up now!

The Enchanted – Rene Denfeld

Who would have thought that a book about a prisoner on death row would have this big an effect?

How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran

Funny, sassy, British – is there a better combination of words?

Station Eleven – Emily St.John Mandel

Don’t read this if you were even remotely afraid of being infected with Ebola…

The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton

A scandalous, well written historical fiction debut.

Hollow City – Ransom Riggs

The sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – excellent for its use of creepy old photography.

Bird Box – Josh Malerman

There were moments when my heart actually started pounding with fear.

The Hangman’s Revolution – Eoin Colfer

Not the best Eoin Colfer book I’ve ever read, but yay time travel!

Shouldn’t You Be in School? – Lemony Snicket

I’ll probably read Lemony Snicket books forever. Quick, mildly complex, and with a hint of nostalgia.

Every Breath – Ellie Marney

Though technically released in 2013 in her native Australia, Marney’s Sherlock Holmes-inspired YA novel came out in Canada in October and I love it. I haven’t felt this way about a fictional character since Lockwood (see The Whispering Skull).

Comfort Food – Jamie Oliver

I don’t usually buy a cookbook and I certainly wasn’t expecting to include a cookbook in my “best books” list, but it’s Jamie Flippin’ Oliver, and this is a gorgeous book (food-wise, but also the actual design).

Edie’s Ensembles – Ashley Spires

Edie might actually be my spirit animal. I’m not super stylish, but I like putting colours together and when my outfit is particularly (in my opinion) stellar, I do feel a little sad if no one notices. Sidenote: Edie’s best friend Andrew’s cuteness kills me.

Chu’s First Day of School – Neil Gaiman/Adam Rex

Chu’s sneezes are so cute, I can barely stand it! Plus my two year old niece loves this book (and the first one, Chu’s Day), which makes them extra adorable.


Speaking of Neil Gaiman: hands down the best book I read this year, however, was Neverwhere. My interest in Gaiman’s work was renewed when I read The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but Neverwhere was the book that tipped me over into straight-up obsession.

The Arrivals – Melissa Marr

The Arrivals:

“Chloe walks into a bar and blows five years of sobriety. When she wakes, she finds herself in an unfamiliar world, The Wasteland. She discovers people from all times and places have also arrived there: Kitty and Jack, a brother and sister from the Wild West; Edgar, a prohibition bootlegger; Francis, a one-time hippie; Melody, a mentally unbalanced 1950s housewife; and Hector, a former carnival artist.
None know why they arrived there–or if there is way out of a world populated by monsters and filled with corruption.
Just as she did in Graveminder, Marr has created a vivid fantasy world that will enthrall. Melissa Marr’s The Arrivals is a thoroughly original and wildly imagined tale about making choices in a life where death is unpredictable and often temporary.”

You know how sometimes you love an author and you find out they’ve written a book that you haven’t read and you’re all “OH MY GLOB, I NEED THIS” and then you finally read it and it’s amazing? This was not one of those times.

I love Melissa Marr; I recently read her latest YA, Made For You, and, even though I found part of it to be predictable, I still loved it. I did not enjoy The Arrivals even half as much as Made For You.

For one, don’t let the synopsis fool you – Chloe doesn’t show up until about a quarter of the way through. Which is fine, but holy smokes, it takes forever for anything to happen. And, because Chloe is new to this world, but  you’ve already spent 60 pages in the Wasteland, you already know what’s going on before she does.

That was the main problem with this book: it felt like there was a lot of repetition. The chapters alternated from multiple points of view – Chole, Jack, Kitty, and Ajani (the bad guy) – which made it feel like everyone was telling me the same thing, only from slightly different perspectives. Honestly, the entire book felt like it was an early draft – that the ideas hadn’t been fully formed and that if there had been more time (it was less than 300 pages), it could have been epic.Instead, it just left me with a lot of questions.

I also didn’t really like any of the characters. Normally I love Melissa Marr’s heroes – Seth from Wicked Lovely (actually, most of the guys from WL, including some of the “bad” guys), even Nate from Made For You – but this guy, Jack – despite being a cowboy and having the name “Jack” (I often love people/characters named Jack – Jack Skellington, Jack Barakat, Captain Jack Sparrow, etc), he was kind of meh. Kitty was boring, I stopped caring about her relationship with Edgar, the other Arrivals weren’t super developed, and Chloe – well, I don’t know if prancing around a new world in a skirt with a thigh-high slit and no underwear is a good idea (and she wonders why she keeps “falling for the wrong guys”. Maybe make sure you’re wearing underwear before you run around with a gunslinger? Also, if she showed up in jeans, what were the odds that her legs were shaved (or hairless) so that she could wear such a revealing skirt and not be all “my legs are too hairy for this, I feel weird”? This question haunts me whenever I read a period piece).

The only character I found interesting was Garuda, the vampire-like creature who offered friendly advice. And possibly Daniel – Kitty’s former lover who worked with Ajani – but he was in it for all of five pages (and, since he was described as looking like Jack – Kitty’s brother – I thought it would have worked better if he was their older brother because then you could talk about family loyalty and whatever, instead of another pseudo-love triangle).

The thing is, this is Marr’s second “adult” book, but it read like a (not very well written) YA novel. I read a lot of YA, so normally this isn’t an issue, but if I’m going to read something that’s classified as “adult”, it has to be different than YA, otherwise what’s the point? Throwing in a bit more cussing and some awkwardly-timed sex scenes doesn’t actually make it “adult”.

Overall – as you can probably tell – I was very disappointed. I wanted to like it because I’m a big Marr fan, but – unlike her other books – it felt like a chore to finish. Great concept, but mediocre execution.

Fortunately, the Milk – Neil Gaiman // The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway // Made For You – Melissa Marr

Fortunately, The Milk:

‘”I bought the milk,” said my father. “I walked out of the corner shop, and heard a noise like this: T h u m m t h u m m. I looked up and saw a huge silver disc hovering in the air above Marshall Road.”

“Hullo,” I said to myself. “That’s not something you see every day. And then something odd happened.”

Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young.’

The other day, I asked Ro, “What was my life like before I discovered Neil Gaiman?” to which she absent-mindedly replied, “I don’t know, it was probably really boring.” Which seems rude, but is also mostly true.

Fortunately, The Milk is one of Gaiman’s most recent children’s books. It’s very short (128 pages, but most of them have illustrations that take up at least a quarter of the page) and very quick, but also hilarious. I literally laughed out loud a couple of times. I mean, any book that has a time-travelling stegosaurus has to be good, right? Plus, despite being very random, there’s still a very good plot hidden amongst the nonsense.

The Sun Also Rises:

“The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style.

A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway’s most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.”

This is not the edition I read, but it doesn’t really matter (I can’t find the cover for the one I read; granted, I haven’t looked very hard…).

I’ve never read Hemingway before. I don’t know how I managed that since I majored in English, but clearly we weren’t as well read as we should have been. I expected him to be stuffy and boring, but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to read.

It’s also much more scandalous than I imagined – Lady Brett Ashley in particular clearly got around but did not explicitly say what she was getting up to. The description of the running of the bulls at Pamplona was very well done – I could picture it perfectly. I felt the plot itself was a bit slow at first but once it got going, it barrelled to the end – not unlike bulls in Pamplona.

For my first time reading Hemingway, it went along swimmingly – which is good, because I have two of his other books sitting on my “To Read” pile (The Old Man and the Sea and Farewell to Arms), and I was worried I wouldn’t like him.

Made For You:

“When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.”

I didn’t realize quite how varied my reading list this week was until just now…

I’m a huge Melissa Marr fan so I was VERY excited to hear about this book. IT WAS EXCELLENT.

I may be biased (because I’ve been a fan since Wicked Lovely came out in 2007), but I’ve always liked Marr’s writing style, her way with words. This book was no exception. In fact, I think she got even better.

The story is told through alternating points of view: Eva, her best friend Grace, and “Judge”, the killer. I don’t know if the hints were obviously there or if, because of the amount of YA I read, I was able to piece it together on my own, but even though I guessed who he was, it still sent a shiver up my spine when Judge’s true identity was revealed. It was creepy to get inside his head, especially toward the end.

I also liked the addition of Eva’s new “skill” – the “death visions”, as she called them. She doesn’t just see how people will die, she experiences it as if she was that person in that particular moment, and it makes for some truly compelling reading.

10 Books That Have Never Left You

There’s a “thing” (a Facebook note or something) that’s been going around asking a variation of the question: what ten books have stayed with you (in some way) after reading them?

I found out about this from a Writer’s Digest post, and decided to try it myself. The point is that you’re not supposed to think too hard, but I over-think everything, so this took me longer than it should have.

Sidenote: these aren’t in order and they’re not necessarily my favourite books (not all of them, anyway). They’re just books that stand out for me.

Also: SPOILERS ABOUND. You’ve been warned.

1) Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine

I’ve read this book so many times, my 16 year old copy is falling apart and there’s tape on one page from when I accidentally ripped it (and cried), but it’s one of my absolute favourites. Don’t talk to me about the movie, though.

Favourite chapter: Hard to choose, but I’d have to say the letters between Ella and Char. No matter how many times I read it, I still feel all warm and fuzzy the first time Char tells her he loves her.

2) Audrey, Wait! – Robin Benway

The characters are so real, I want to be friends with them. Plus so many music references – as Audrey said, “You’re finally speaking my language!”

Favourite quote: “If you really want to know something about me, you should know this: I like my music loud. I mean loud. I’m not talking the kind of loud where your parents knock on your bedroom door and ask you to turn it down. Please. That’s amateur hour. When I say loud, I mean you-can’t-even-hear-your-parents-knocking-and-the-neighbors-are-putting-a-FOR-SALE-sign-on-their-house-and-moving-to-another-block-because-they-can’t-handle-the-constant-noise-anymore loud. You have to turn it up so that your chest shakes and the drums get in between your ribs like a heartbeat and the bass goes up your spine and fizzles your brain and all you can do is dance or spin in a circle or just scream along because you know that however this music makes you feel, it’s exactly right.”

3) Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling

Do I even need to say anything?

Best back story: Prisoner of Azkaban (it was my favourite for the longest time) – the Marauders were amazing; and

Best series ending: Deathly Hallows – I love how she tied everything together.

4) Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

Probably my earliest experience with death in a book. I remember being devastated when Charlotte died (I was about 7. This was also the one and only time I was sad about a spider’s death). My oldest sister (Vanessa) read it to me around the same time we read Anne of Green Gables together and it was an emotional year (Matthew’s death traumatized me for life).

Tearjerking moment: when three of Charlotte’s children decide to stay with Wilbur…even though the idea of a sack of spider eggs freaks me out.

5) Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Ask me again in a couple of years, and I’ll likely have replaced Coraline with Neverwhere (heck, half this list will probably be Gaiman-ized by then). A lot of Coraline’s story stayed with me in the 10+ years between my first and second reading of it: the dismembered hand, the button eyes…Scary but oh so good.

Creepiest scene in a children’s book: the three ghost children behind the mirror, especially when they explain that the Other Mother has their souls.

6) The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton

We read it in grade seven and it was my favourite book we were ever required to read. Plus Hinton was only in her teens when she wrote it, which makes it even more impressive. My dad read it relatively recently and I kept flipping through it whenever he put it down. The ending made (makes) me cry.

Memorable quote: “Stay gold, Ponyboy.”

7) Wicked Lovely series – Melissa Marr

Easily one of the best YA fairy series I’ve read (sounds specific but you’d be surprised at how many YA fairy series there actually are). Extremely well written and fascinating. Also had one of the best series’ ending.

Best bromance despite being from separate courts: Seth, the Summer Queen’s beloved/the High Queen’s adopted son, and Niall, the Dark King – especially in my favourite book, Fragile Eternity (#3). They’ve always been my favourite characters, and I loved that they both had bigger roles in the second half of the series.

8) Gemma Doyle trilogy – Libba Bray

Admittedly, I don’t remember many of the details from this trilogy, but Libba Bray is one of my favourite authors and I’ve always loved her writing style. On my “to re-read” list.

Memorable scene: That time when Kartik turned into a tree and fans had a collective heart attack. I was distraught, at the time, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Plus The Sweet Far Thing was the first book to set me on the “endings don’t always have to be happy” route, which has definitely influenced me as a reader and a writer.

9) Archer’s Goon – Diana Wynne Jones

It took two readings before I fully figured out what happened. She took a basic idea (boy who doesn’t know he has powers) and exploded it into something completely new. You think you know what’s going on but then there’s the bombshell at the end and you’re all “WHAAAAAT the heck just happened?” Extremely well done.

Best set of siblings: Torquil and Hathaway. And Awful gets a shout out because, despite what her nickname suggests, she was hilarious.

10) Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen

A bookworm who has trouble separating fiction from reality – I relate to Catherine Morland on so many levels. (Sidenote: the “retelling” by Val McDermid is only good if you like stupidly stereotypical teen protagonists).

Best (Austen) hero (in my opinion): Henry Tilney. Mr. Darcy’s great and all, but you have to give Mr. Tilney props: he knows full well how naive and silly Catherine can be and yet still puts up with her. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.


Apparently it’s “I read YA” week on the interwebs. I didn’t know this was a thing otherwise I would have properly prepared myself (for one, I might have put more thought into this blog post, or maybe read a YA book this week, even though as I keep saying – if only to convince myself – I’m “taking a break” from young adult fiction).

i read ya

But this was too good an opportunity to pass up. Even though I said Writing Wednesday would be every other week (and technically this should be a Fiction Friday post, but I already have a half-finished post lined up for that).

Why do I read YA? Honestly – I don’t know. I guess it was just the category of books I started reading as a pre-teen and never really “grew out of”. It has just as much death and romance, sex and violence as so-called “adult” books (though less graphic for the most part…); just as much depth and symbolism and emotions – except the characters happen to be younger. But trying to explain what I like about YA is like trying to explain why I’m a pop-punk fan. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is about YA that draws me to it, but the pull is strong enough that I’ve made it my life goal to publish a YA series of my own (sidenote: in a perfect world, I would also be in a pop-punk band, but that might be asking for a little too much).

So, to celebrate “I read YA” week, here are a few authors (who fall into categories that I just made up):


Libba Bray can do no wrong, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve read just about everything these she’s produced and her Gemma Doyle ranks among some of the best YA books I’ve ever read.


Melissa Marr technically belongs in the “ONES I LOVE” category, but I think she may have just released something. Either way, her Wicked Lovely series is very high up on my list of favourites.

Robin Benway‘s Audrey, Wait! is one of my absolute favourite novels. I haven’t read her two spy books yet, but I’m desperate to.

Ann BrasharesThe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was probably the first YA book I read (I was 12. I also didn’t know there was such a thing as “YA”). I’ve read almost everything she’s produced, even if I didn’t love it, but I haven’t gotten around to picking up her most recent book.


Lauren Kate‘s Fallen series (not to be confused with Thomas Sniegoski’s Fallen series which, incidentally, is decent) was wonderful and I devoured the last book…but then Teardrop came out and I wondered if maybe I had outgrown her. We’ll see if I read the sequel.

Likewise, Gena Showalter‘s Intertwined trilogy was so good I almost stopped breathing when I read the last page (is she EVER going to write a fourth volume?!), but Alice in Zombieland left me breathless in a bad way (like I’d been punched in the stomach).


Cassandra Clare. Oh, Cassandra Clare, remember how much I loved the first Mortal Instruments trilogy? And then you wrote a second trilogy. And a Victorian trilogy that I probably would have loved even more except the characters were so boringly familiar. I keep promising myself that when City of Heavenly Fire comes out, it will be the last C.Clare book I read…but we all know she’s planning another series that I may or may not end up reading.

Well, this post has gone on long enough and I’ve really only touched half a bookshelf (plus I haven’t even mentioned THE AUTHORS I GAVE UP ON which includes Alyson Noel and Melissa De La Cruz. Or THE I DON’T KNOW IF THESE ARE YA OR MIDDLE-GRADE BUT THEY’RE AWESOME, home of Eoin Colfer and Justin Somper). So I’ll just leave this here as my contribution to this week because #IreadYA and I’m proud of it.