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.

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.

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.

Top Ten Books I’ve Added To My TBR and Forgotten Why

Hey everyone! There was a little too much going on in the States last week for me to post a summer-vibes book list. (When everyone is protesting a very real issue, it’s hard to find motivation to do something light and fun.)

I feel like this one is going to be pretty easy. I’ve been on Goodreads since 2008 and there are still some books on my TBR there that I haven’t gotten rid of since then, even though I try to purge it yearly as my tastes change.

So let’s have a look!

Top Ten Books I’ve Added To My TBR and Forgotten Why

1. Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

I went through an Elizabeth Scott phase in high school (so there’s at least one other book of hers on my TBR), but like now…why is it still there? I haven’t read anything by her in at least 10 years.

2. Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

Ok, so I’m quickly realizing that this list isn’t so much “why did I add this” to “why is this still there?” A friend of mine in college recommended this series, but then she said the series goes downhill. So…do I read this knowing that eventually it’s going to suck?

3. Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

This is an adult book about a mysterious company that specializes in arrange marriages and like, in a way, it sounds kind of cool, but in other ways…super creepy. I’m not sure why this is still there. Curiosity?

4. Silver by Talia Vance

Oh boy. Rereading the book jacket for this, it makes it sound a LOT like the book I just gave up last week. Yikes. I’ve really gotta purge these early 2000s paranormal things. They’re just so cringey anymore.

5. 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma

This book is about girls who have been kidnapped and…let’s be real, the world’s enough of a mess right now and I don’t need to be more afraid of going outside. Already, the idea of going to a big graduation party is freaking me out. I haven’t been around more than like 10 people at a time since March.

6. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I know I added this because of the movie and I think it was maybe just to see if the book was better? I like the movie enough, though it wasn’t ever my favorite. I’m not big on zombies, but they’re alright. I don’t know.

7. Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan

This one is a big question mark. This is apparently the 3rd book in a series I’ve never read. I think maybe I added it because it’s about theater?

8. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

I’m going to draw some ire for this, but I didn’t really care for the first book very much. (The Netflix movie, however, was really cute.) I haven’t read this one or seen the 2nd movie yet, but I just don’t know why I added this when I’m not sure I wanted to continue reading it.

9. Just One Night by Gayle Forman

Pretty much the same as the last point. I read the first two books in Forman’s Just One Day series and this is the novella “conclusion” or whatever, but at this point, I just don’t remember enough or care enough about the story to want to read this.

10. 738 Days by Stacey Kade

Like what I said about 17 & Gone, this is about a girl who is kidnapped and freed after 738 days. I’m not sure I can handle that right now. I’m not sure I could have handled this years ago when I added this either.

Top Ten Reasons I Love YA Contemporary Romance

I’m not going to lie to you guys. When I saw that this top ten was a freebie as far as “Reasons I Love [Insert Here]”, I for sure thought I was going to do just straight up YA. Or YA historical fiction. Or YA fantasy.

When I started typing the title of this post, though, contemporary romance came out. So I’m going to run with that.

I do think contemporary romance gets a bad rep because it’s “for girls” and that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. So let’s take a look at what makes contemporary romance so awesome (and maybe see a few examples along the way…) The common question I asked as I wrote this was, “Was this something other YA genres have/do?” And the answer is, of course. But for each of these, I think YA contemp just does it better.

Top Ten Reasons I Love YA Contemporary Romance

1. The Characters are Relatable

Immediately the books that came to mind for this were Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. It’s been years since I’ve read either one of those books and yet they’ve stuck with me. Why? Because I connected with the main characters. I felt Anna’s pain of having an unrequited love, going through that myself at the same time I read this. I related to Cath by being quiet and awkward and uncomfortable in college like her. The books felt so much more real when I was actually in those shoes.

2. The Emotions Run Deep

What I love so much about romance as a genre in particular, regardless of whether it’s YA or not, is that it knows how to pull at the heartstrings. So while love and affection are the main emotions, they’re joined by others. Sarah Dessen and Katie McGarry are masters of this, crafting stories that aren’t always going to be happy and carefree rom-coms, but they can make you scared or nostalgic or sad as well. The emotions are just heightened. Prime examples: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen and Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry.

3. I Can Experience A Different Life

Reading is about living a life that isn’t your own. I love reading about different cultures and different types of people. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon is super cute and focuses on Indian culture, allowing me a glimpse into that. Something Real by Heather Demetrios is about a reality TV star. Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols deals with the realities of being poor and living paycheck to paycheck. No matter what end of the spectrum it is, I can experience a life I haven’t lived. That’s all I ask from a good book and the more I can feel like I’m a part of it, the better the book is.

4. They Cover Deeper Topics Than You Think

This is perhaps my favorite part of these books. Everyone struggles with issues and these books don’t shy away from it. That Night by Amy Giles is about two people who feel alone in the aftermath of a shooting that shook both of their worlds. On The Spectrum by Jennifer Gold deals with autism and eating disorders. This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes deals with internet bullying and death. Made You Up by Francesca Zappia deals with mental illness. I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. These characters feel real because they’re dealing with real problems.

5. They Are Super Exciting

Just because they’re romances doesn’t mean they can’t be exciting page turners. Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter is about a Secret Service agent’s daughter and her friendship with the President’s son. (It also may not technically be “contemporary romance” but it’s set in the present and there’s a love angle, so I’m going with it.) Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally is a wonderfully written story of summer camp and a tortured main character who only drops hints about why she’s so upset. And Katie McGarry’s books are full of danger and suspense. Romances aren’t just mush.

6. It Feels More Like My Life

As much as I love historical fictions and fantasies (and I do), I also love dropping into a story that feels like something I went through or could have gone through. On The Fence by Kasie West is about a tomboy who falls for her best friend/the boy next door. I related to Charlie so much. Same with Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally because Jordan truly doesn’t understand how to be a girl. She just knows how to talk football. (I grew up with 3 brothers…) Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira is about a girl with a crush who turns to her books to figure out how to deal with her crush. If you’ve never done that, you’re lying to yourself.

7. The Feelings of First Love

I’m long out of the target audience for YA (I’m in my late 20s), but it’s so much fun to read YA and feel again the way a first love feels. The nerves, the excitement, the rawness. I don’t really have examples for this one because it happens in so many of them that I can’t really pick just a few to exemplify this. But I’m sure you know what I’m talking about anyway.

8. The “Growing Up” Struggle

This one also happens in so many YA stories. This is that dichotomy between still sometimes wanting to be a child and wanting to be an adult. Sometimes they want to lean on their parents, sometimes they want to completely ignore that they have parents. We’ve all been there, to some extent. And pretty much all of us have had to make big decisions we didn’t feel old enough to make (college, jobs, etc.).

9. Comedy is Common

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how emotional these romances can be, but let’s be realistic too: some of them are just downright funny. They’re supposed to be! All The Feels by Danika Stone is complete ridiculousness wearing a ComicCon costume. My Faire Lady by Laura Wettersten by about people working at a Ren Faire and it’s wild. A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker is about a high school that forces seniors into a mandatory Marriage Education class…and matches them up with a “spouse” for the year. They’re bizarre, but they’re funny and great for a laugh.

10. They Remind Me of My Favorite Rom-Coms

And speaking of comedies, some of them literally are based on some of your favorite rom-coms! Take Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett for example. It’s based on the movie You’ve Got Mail. Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein is a YA version of When Harry Met Sally.