Top Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

Hey everyone! So with this Top Ten, I’m kind of expecting most of the authors I’m sure I’m going to find on this list. There are some VERY long series I’ve read or authors who are a go-to. But I’m also expecting one or two names to surprise me.

Ready? Let’s check it out!

Top Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

10. (Tie) Kelley Armstrong, Maureen Johnson, and Katie McGarry — 8 books each

All of these authors have multiple series (usually about 3 books long) that I’ve gotten into. They also have stand-alones that play into this total.

9. (Tie) Libba Bray and Ally Carter — 9 books each

Both of these women have been around the YA scene for years. I read Libba Bray back in the mid-2000s and I’ve been a fan ever since. I got into Carter years later, but I’ve enjoyed her work.

8. (Tie) Meg Cabot, Kimberly Derting, Sarah Dessen, and Kasie West — 10 books each

Interesting group. I’ve never actually finished a Meg Cabot series. I always start them and then get bored. I’ve always adored Kimberly Derting’s series because they’re fun and action packed. Sarah Dessen and Kasie West are the YA contemporary romance queens at the moment, so nearly all 10 of those are stand-alones, which is kind of impressive.

7. (Tie) Diana Gabaldon, Alyxandra Harvey, Sarah J. Maas, Gena Showalter, and Kiersten White — 11 books each

This is my fantasy/sci-fi category, apparently. Gabaldon wrote the Outlander series. Harvey has written all kind of paranormal series, including stories about vampires and witches. Maas is obviously Queen Bee of the fantasy world. Showalter has done adult and YA stuff, including Alice in Zombieland which is awesome. And White has done a lot of different things, from paranormal stories to twists on historical fiction. This is good company.

6. William Shakespeare — 12 plays

I was actually surprised to see I’d read 12 of his plays. I forgot I took a Shakespeare course in college.

5. Sarah MacLean — 13 books

She’s most well known for her historical romances (which are EXCELLENT, I might add), but she got her start with a YA historical romance called The Season that’s also boss. Her female characters are always much stronger and cooler than female leads I usually read about.

4. Chloe Neill — 17 books

The biggest numbers for this one come from the Chicagoland Vampires series that has like 14 books. I did vastly enjoy that series. She’s also got some YA books, but I didn’t like those as much.

3. Richelle Mead — 18 books

Mead has a lot of different books, but obviously her most famous in the YA world is the Vampire Academy series and the spinoff Bloodlines series. Good stuff. I’ve enjoyed most of her work.

2. (Tie) Rachel Caine and Rachel Vincent — 19 books each

I love that they both share the same first name! Caine’s numbers got a definite books from the Morganville Vampires series which, again, has like 14 books in the series, but she’s also written other things. And Vincent wrote the Soul Screamers series, which has 7 books. She writes a lot of fantasy books and I generally like her stuff.

1. Grace Burrowes — 21 books

I can’t say I’m totally shocked by this. Grace Burrowes is a historical romance writer who is the most prolific writer I’ve ever seen in my life. This woman works insanely fast. You know how most writers put out maybe 1 book a year, 2 if the timing works out right? She puts out 3-4 every year. And every different series usually has cameos from characters we recognize from previous stories, which is fun. They’re just fun.

S.T.A.G.S. (S.T.A.G.S., #1)

Amazon.com: S.T.A.G.S. eBook: Bennett, M. A.: Kindle Store

First Lines: I think I might be a murderer. Although, as I didn’t mean to kill, I suppose it was manslaughter, so technically I would be a “manslaughterer,” although I don’t think that’s a word.

You know, one of my favorite places to find super cheap books is Dollar Tree. True story. My local dollar stores usually don’t have a great selection of books, but sometimes you get lucky. I found this book there I think over a year ago. The cover and the jacket got my attention. Besides, it was only a dollar. Even if it sucked, I wasn’t out much.

Greer has recently transferred to St. Aidan the Great School–S.T.A.G.S.–as a scholarship student. She’s pretty excited. This is one of the most prestigious schools around. But Greer quickly finds out that things that are “new” are to be avoided–and that includes her. At best, she’s ignored. At worst, she’s mocked by the school’s perfect prefects known as Medievals. So Greer is shocked when she’s invited to a weekend retreat at the home of the Medievals’ leader, Henry de Warlencourt. It’s billed as a weekend of “huntin’ shootin’ fishin’,” and rumor has it whoever goes has a chance of becoming a Medieval themselves. But despite all the fancy clothes and the decadent food and lavish setting, there are predators lurking who are out for blood…

Initially, the premise reminded me of “The Most Dangerous Game,” the short story I read in high school. It left an impression, obviously, if I’m still thinking of it almost 15 years later.

I wasn’t sure I liked this at first. It reminded me a lot of something like One of Us Is Lying because there was clearly something going on that we weren’t always in on, but mixed with like Mean Girls. I don’t normally like things where people are being horrible just because they can.

But after a while, things started working.

While I feel like it’s never really clear why the Medievals rule the school or why their influence is so intense, once they leave STAGS and go to Longcross, it fits a lot better. You’ve got a bunch of powerful kids alone on an estate spending a weekend doing all sorts of blood sports. The danger is what makes it fun (to read).

Greer doesn’t hide things from us. Right from the beginning, we know someone dies. She starts every chapter as though she’s looking back on what happened, so we get clues that way. And honestly, I liked that a lot. It drew me in. What it took away from the “mystery” of the moment, it gained in suspense because we know what’s coming, but we don’t know how or why. That made the story that much more fun. It’s a distinction I think most YA mystery-ish novels are missing. Sometimes this way is more interesting.

The plot unfolds kind of slowly, which at the very beginning in Part I makes it a little bit of a drag, but it becomes better as the story goes on. The plot may move slowly (the majority of the story takes place over 3-4 days), but that allows the characters to shine. You get to see more of their personalities, their flaws, and the overall weirdness of the present situation. It really sinks in with the details.

But the big payoff is definitely the end. I’d say the last 50-75 pages or so, the twists get bigger and the surprises keep coming, up to the very last page. That was a lot of fun as a reader. I rather enjoyed that.

I’m not sure what genre to categorize this book as, but I don’t really think it matters. It’s the kind of book that simmers danger cloaked behind fancy clothes and lush landscapes. It’s a fun ride. 

Top Ten Most Anticipated Late-2020 Releases

Hey everyone! So today’s my BIRTHDAY! *confetti shower*

Anyway, I always like getting excited over books that are coming out soon, so this seemed like a pretty good way to spend the day. So let’s see what we should get hyped over!

Top Ten Most Anticipated Late 2020 Releases

1. Majesty (American Royals, #2) by Katharine McGee — Sept. 1

Why yes, I would like to read more about an American royal family descended from the Washingtons and their first Queen ever, thank you for asking.

2. The Glass Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil, #2) by Gena Showalter — Sept. 29

It’s a clever mix of fairy tales and I just can’t turn that kind of thing down.

3. More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood — Aug. 4

I’m not sure what exactly the ethnicity is of the main characters, but I don’t care. It’s billed as being similar to other rom-coms that deal with family expectations and other serious topics and that’s my catnip.

4. Igniting Darkness (Courting Darkness, #2) by Robin LaFevers — Aug. 4

The His Fair Assassin series is one of my favorites and while I didn’t necessarily love the first book in this duology like I loved the original series, I’m certainly not turning down the chance to go back to this very fun historical-fantasy world.

5. Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon — July 28

It’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist played out during a senior prank/game by two overachievers. I’m in. Also, the Goodreads ratings so far are insanely high.

6. Now That I’ve Found You by Kristina Forest — Aug. 25

Starlets, musicians, and a hunt for a famous grandma intent on avoiding the limelight. This sounds like a ridiculous rom-com and I am here for it.

7. Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe — Sept. 8

This book is about a first-generation Haitian son in NYC who is killin’ it at school and his dog-walking business…until a girl at his school catches onto his less-than-honest scheme and blackmails him into improving her rep at school. Apparently the story turns YA stereotypes on its head and really gets into the characters mentally. Sounds fun.

8. All Our Worst Ideas by Vicky Skinner — Aug. 11

When high school doesn’t go the way you thought and you end up working at a record store, I suppose this is what you get. This looks super cute.

9. Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power — July 7

Margot has no family other than her mother. In her search to find relatives–a family–she finds a picture of her mother as a younger girl that leads her to a town. But her mom left for a reason… This looks to be billed as horror? I’m expecting good things.

10. Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco — Oct. 27

Honestly, this looks like a version of Supernatural with girls from the blurb. Two witch twin sisters are blending in with humans–until the day one of the twins is brutally murdered. The remaining sister partners with the Wicked–a prince from Hell–to solve the mystery. This is the author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, so I know she can write dark. I’m just hoping the mystery is better.

Top Ten Lake Reads!

Hey everyone! So this is supposed to be a total freebie week, so I decided I’d go with a topic I’m excited about at the moment. With the 4th of July coming up, I figure a lot of us are gearing up to spend some time at the lake, if we haven’t yet. (BUT STAY SAFE, Y’ALL.) What better way to enjoy lake time while staying safe but by reading in the sun?

So here are some books that I’ve read that I think would make great lake reads, either because they are set at lakes/oceans or because they take place over the summer. Actually, in the course of making this list, I found some Queens of Summer YA. I highly recommend many of their books.

Top Ten Lake Reads

1. The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Queen Status. Anything by Sarah Dessen would be a solid win, but this one is particularly perfect for this list because it does, in fact, take place at a lake.

2. Summer Days and Summer Nights anthology edited by Stephanie Perkins

I feel like an anthology about summer would be kind of perfect for a lake day. Read a story in 20 minutes, go do something else. Win-win!

3. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

This YA version of You’ve Got Mail is light, fluffy, and fun–and it takes place on the Pacific coast! Easy rom-com reading, which I always think is fun for a day in the sun.

4. On the Fence by Kasie West

Queen status. Most of her stories are cute, fun love stories perfect for the lake, but I especially love this one because A) it’s set in the summer and B) Charlie spent her summer in much the same way I used to–playing sports with anyone who would join me. So if you’re looking for something a little less girly, this is a definite hit.

5. Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally

This is part of the Hundred Oaks series, but you really don’t need to have read the others to understand this. This book takes place at summer camp! But it’s also a bit heavier in content than some of these others. So if you’re looking for something a little more emotional and thought-provoking, this might be it.

6. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

I cannot overstate how much I loved this book. I can’t. It moved me. A girl without a voice from the Caribbean, a seaside Oregon town, and some real emotional depth. It’s cute for sure, but it’s about so much more than that. Very much The Little Mermaid vibes from this story.

7. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Queen status. Lord writes a lot of great summer books with deeper meanings. This one, her debut novel, is one of my favorites of hers. We’re going on a road trip with a teenage country superstar!

8. Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

I know thus far, I have included mostly more light-hearted books to this list, but this is not one of them. This is deep. A girl’s boyfriend dies suddenly and she’s obsessed with knowing who received his heart and like, knowing a part of him still lives on. It’s a dark read at times, but hey, there are lots of scenes on the beach? (If this is too dark for you, I recommend Golden by this author. More of a road trip read.)

9. My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten

Now we’re back to fun and silly. Just weirdly funny and random, we’re joining Rowena on this adventure as she gets a job painting faces at a Ren Faire. Like, what could go wrong?

10. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Queen status. Matson is the younger version of Sarah Dessen, in the way she writes cute romances with depth. I haven’t truly found a bad one yet. This book is going to really nail home the importance of family and forgiveness, but it’s going to do it in a super cute way. Oh, and if I remember correctly, lots of Beatles references.

The Half-Life of Planets

The Half-Life of Planets by Emily Franklin

First Lines: I am not a slut. Evidence exists that is contrary to this statement, but this is what I’m thinking in the hospital bathroom.

Another day, another book where I go, “Great, that’s really the first line I have to talk about?” My knowledge of this book goes way back to 2010. Oh yeah. I saw this on a shelf at a Barnes & Noble, I think and it looked interesting. Years later, I found a copy at a used book sale for super cheap and picked it up, thinking worst case I could take it to school for my classroom library.

Liana wants to be an astrophysicist only slightly more than she wants to kiss boys this summer. When she’s not in the lab looking at stars, she wants to be at parties or fairs or the dock hanging out with people–namely guys. What she doesn’t count on is meeting Hank. Hank’s funny and smart and a lot awkward, but in a cute way. Hank is spending his summer working at a guitar shop in hopes of earning enough money to buy a Fender Jazzmaster. Oh, and Hank has Asperger’s Syndrome. Neither was prepared for how their lives would change.

I loved the idea of showing representation with a main character on the Autism Spectrum. And I certainly wasn’t going to turn down a book about music.

But the execution was…ok, like the whole book was melodramatic to an extreme. I couldn’t even keep my sarcasm out of the book description, if you noticed.

When we first are introduced to Liana, she’s just found a note in her locker that labels her as a “slut.” So that keeps coming up over and over and over and over in the book because she’s now decided to stop kissing boys for the whole summer to prove that she’s not one. (It’s never very clear how this is supposed to help.) Her family virtually never communicates about anything real anymore, which (while realistic in some families) just added to the overall melodrama and miscommunications.

As for Hank…ok, I’ve had many autistic students in my classes over the years on varying ends of the spectrum. While Hank is not on the highest functioning end of the spectrum, he’s definitely closer to that end than the middle. He doesn’t pick up well on social cues, but he generally knows how people are “supposed” to act in a certain moment–he just doesn’t understand why. That part–and his fixation on music–were more or less accurate.

What bothered me the most about Hank is the fact that he is constantly thinking to himself about his physical…reactions…to Liana. I cannot say I have ever been in a teenage boy’s head (nor would I ever want to be), but I showed some of these passages to my boyfriend, who also commented that this was weird. Hank is constantly staring at Liana’s…chest…or commenting on his…desires. Never to Liana. Like I said, he knows enough to know that would make Liana uncomfortable, but as a reader it was highly uncomfortable for me. It’s one of the more explicit YA books I’ve read in a long time.

I actually rather enjoyed the book at the beginning, but it was hard to keep that momentum going when everything felt like a sad soap opera. I mean, the big “plot twist” at the end had me rolling my eyes and thinking about putting the book down–except I only had about 20 pages left.

Such a weird book. I had higher hopes than this.

Ten Books on My Summer TBR

Hello everyone! I’m not going to lie to you, I’m writing this right now so I can get my mind off some crazy strong anxiety I have at the moment. (I did something stupid and I can’t undo it and I’m just freaking out about it, even though I’ve done everything to mitigate the fallout and I’ve been told I’ve taken all the correct steps, but it doesn’t help.) So hopefully talking about books will help because little else is.

Let’s go!

Ten Books on My Summer TBR

1. Stain by A.G. Howard

The first five books on this list are already books that I have on my shelf, ready and lined up to be read. This one I got from the library. It’s got a great Goodreads rating and I know I’ll be in the mood for fantasy soon, to escape this world for a while.

2. Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

This road trip book feels perfect for summer. They broke up, but now they’re stuck going on this road trip together and it’s going to be awkward but that doesn’t mean we can’t all enjoy it.

3. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

I think this summer is the tipping point: I either read this book and figure out what happens next in the The 5th Wave series or I just give it up. I don’t remember a lot of how the first book ended, though I do get flashes of it when I think back.

4. Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

Back in the mid-2000s, Mead was easily my favorite author. I loved all her Vampire Academy and Bloodlines books. I even enjoyed some of her more adult offerings. But it’s been a long time since I’ve read something new by her and I’m just a little nervous about doing that. I bought this book super cheap a long time ago and I just need to read it.

5. Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon

The Outlander series is one of my favorites, but I’ve never read this spinoff series about, quite possibly, my favorite not-Jamie-or-Claire-or-Bri-or-Roger character. (That was a lot of caveats.) I just know it’s not going to have the same magic as the original series, but it can’t be horrible, right? Looking at their world through different eyes? Guess I’ll find out.

6. Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab

This book just came out last month and it looks really good. A swimmer tries to keep her career afloat (haha), but needs the help of a new coach and the friendship of another competitive swimmer. Since we can’t watch this kind of thing in the Olympics this year, I suppose I’ll make do with something like this.

7. Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

This fantasy novel is so up my alley it’s ridiculous. Zera is a Heartless, literally. Her heart is sitting in a jar in a witch’s house after Zera pledged to serve her after the witch saved her. Now the witch needs a Prince’s heart and sends Zera to retrieve one. Prince Lucien never feels challenged until Lady Zera shows up at court. I can already see the battle of wills (and wits) this must have. The ratings for this book are really good too.

8. We Walked the Sky by Lisa Fiedler

This book, about a circus acrobat in the 1960s and her granddaughter in the present, looks super interesting. Victoria is a runaway who joins the circus to find a more stable home, but the circus isn’t going to fix everything. Callie, her granddaughter, has grown up in the circus and loves the world she knows. So when her mom takes a new dream job at an animal sanctuary, Callie finds herself removed from the world she knows so well and into an even stranger world: high school. I think the juxtaposition of these two storylines will make this really interesting.

9. Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

This is the final book in the Thunder Road series and I’ve enjoyed the others so much that I’ve been trying to pace myself so I’d have more of these to read! I will probably need this engrossing, slightly dangerous and yet oh so cute romance at some point this summer. Maybe a lake read?

10. The Upside of Falling by Alex Light

I have to admit that, even though the Goodreads rating it telling me it’s probably not what I’m hoping it will be, it includes one of my favorite tropes and I just have to read it. Girl gets teased for not having boyfriend, boy gets teased for not having girlfriend, so they join forces to get their friends off their backs…and there may actually be something to this…

PS: for anyone wondering, this did moderately help with the anxiety. I do feel less stressed, though it hasn’t completely gone away. I’d consider that a win, even if only for a little while.