Top Ten Books On My TBR List This Fall

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

1. A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies.  Young woman has a dark past even she doesn’t know about? 2 mysterious strangers she is drawn to? Sounds like sexy hotness galore!
2.  Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey. Another dark love triangle. Where can it go wrong?
3. Dearly Departed by Lia Habel. A young woman is kidnapped by a troop of zombies and ends up falling in love with one of them. Very different, I’d say. Sort of reminds me of Warm Bodies which I enjoyed.
4. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Sounds like a good old-fashioned ‘girl has a secret crush on the boy next door.’
5. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. True love as felt by 2 strangers on a plane. Better than snakes, right?
6. Amplified by Tara Kelly. 17 year old girl leaves everything she knows and moves away to live in a beach house with 3 boys and sing in their rock band. Sounds delicious.

The rest have already been released but are still on my tbr list:
7. Dreamland by Sarah Dessen. Sounds like an excellent real take on young girls in violent relationships, both how they got there and why they stay. It’s gotten excellent reviews and I am looking forward to reading it.
8. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. funny, heartbreaking and romantic, with great reviews. What more could you ask for?
9. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Sounds like a great premise and promises lots of romance.
10.Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien. The token dystopian book for the list. Sounds unique and has gotten great reviews.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen {Review}

Title: The Truth About Forever
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Puffin on May 11, 2004
Format: Paperback, 374 pages
Source: Purchased
4 Stars
The sum up

The Truth About Forever is a fun book that drew me in and was entertaining but won’t stay with me for long.

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The Host by Stephenie Meyer {Review}

Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company on May 6th, 2008
Format: Hardcover, 619 pages
Source: Purchased
5 Stars
The sum up

The Host is an amazing, un-put-downable story. The writing is vivid and the characters are real and full. It’s a long one, but I found myself hurrying to find out how it ends and wishing it would go on and on.

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Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park {Review}

Title: Flat-Out Love
Author: Jessica Park
Publisher: Self Published on April 11, 2011
Format: eBook, 400 pages
Source: Purchased
5 Stars
The sum up

Flat-Out Love has become my favorite book. Ever. It has everything I’m looking for in a book: unique plot, interesting and relatable characters, fun dialogue and lots of romance. This needs to be on your must-read list pronto.

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Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler {Review}

Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on June 1, 2009
Format: eBook, 290 pages
Source: Purchased
4 Stars

According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.

My thoughts

Matt and his sister Francesca (Frankie) have been best friends with neighbor Anna forever. Anna’s been in love with Matt for about that long. But she hasn’t told Frankie. One day Matt kisses Anna. They start a secret relationship and Matt promises to tell his sister Frankie soon. But instead he goes and dies. Bummer, right?

There’s sadness and crying and loss. Anna still can’t tell Frankie the truth because she promised (the now dead) Matt she wouldn’t. Even though he’s dead. Because she promised. Okay, moving on.

What better way to forget about your problems then go on a family tradition month-long trip to the beach? To fill the empty space the now dead Matt left, the family invites Anna to join them. The girls (mostly Frankie) decide they will meet/hit on/be hit on by/make out with/have sex with at least 20 boys. Because Frankie lost her v-card already and now it’s time for Anna to lose hers. But Anna’s still hung up on Matt. But she can’t tell Frankie that because she promised Matt. Who’s now dead.

The majority of the book takes place during that month-long trip, so it’s not all sadness and gloom. There’s sun and sand a’plenty. There’s also tanned surfer boys. And therein lies Anna’s problem. If she likes cutie patootie Sam, does that mean she doesn’t love Matt anymore? Or that she never did? How long should she hold onto his memory? Because nobody knew about Anna and Matt’s relationship (big secret, remember?), Anna is not able to grieve in the way other people are. She has to worry about being there for her best friend who lost her brother. How can you get over a loss that you never really had?

The besties meet a couple of guys that they bond with and start spending most of their time with them. Despite Anna’s misgivings, she finds herself enjoying Sam’s company.

In our short time together, the four of us become the kind of impossibly close that only happens with people you barely know — people who live hundreds of miles and entire states away from you. People who don’t know your secrets.

The characters are all very real and well-developed. Their actions and thoughts are believable and honest. They speak to each other just like you or I would. They have depth and emotions that draw you right in. The girls do all the teenage things you expect, they act out, drink, make out and spend a lot of time worrying about how they look.

The writing is excellent (in fact, I’m surprised this was Ockler’s debut novel) and the pace is right on. There is a bit of a graphic sex scene (it’s honest and real graphic, not porn graphic).

Ockler does an amazing job of setting the scenes, you really feel like you are there with Anna and Frankie on the beach, with toes in the sand and sun on the face.

One of my favorite quotes comes as Frankie and Anna are angry at each other, but trying not to let Frankie’s parents know, as they play a game of paddleball on the beach:

After half an hour of forced family fun, in which I score fifty points and take out at least seventy-five percent of my anger trying to blast Frankie with the ball, our game is cut short. Princess [Frankie] gets stung on the top of her foot by a teeny-tiny newborn baby of a jelly-fish and carries on like some shark just swam away with her torso.

The entire book is peppered with fun visual images like this, little nuggets of snark and teenage angst.

The sum up

Twenty Boy Summer is a fantastic, fun read that will pass by so quickly you’ll wish it was longer.

About the author

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of novels for teens, including Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, and the critically acclaimed Twenty Boy Summer, a YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominee and IndieNext List pick. Her latest, The Book of Broken Hearts, hits the shelves in May 2013.

Sarah is a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading at home in Colorado, she enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.

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Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah {Review}

Title: Firefly Lane
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press on February 5th, 2008
Format: Paperback, 513 pages
Source: Purchased
3 Stars
The sum up

Firefly Lane was enjoyable. Not your average chick-lit breezy beach read, but it will do to pass the time.

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Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles {Review}

Title: Perfect Chemistry
Author: Simone Elkeles
Series: Perfect Chemistry #1
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers on December 23, 2008
Format: eBook, 357 pages
Source: Purchased
5 Stars
The sum up

Perfect Chemistry rocks. The premise feels new and fresh. The romance is raw and honest. Put this on your must read list right now.

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