Category Archives: Discussion

Discussion: Why DNFs Are Not a Bad Thing


It’s summer! Usually that seems to mean less obligations. More time for relaxing! Fun in the sun! But this year seems to be the busiest year I’ve ever had, with trips to take, weddings to go to, and my own wedding to plan. I’ve mentioned before that I’m trying to get more selective about the books that I’m picking up and request less ARC/egalleys and I do think I’ve been doing a good job of that, but sometimes even the books that I THINK I’ll love don’t always turn out to be amazing for me.

I’m currently in a situation where I’ve started at least three different books and making it about 20% into them, I can just tell I’m not enjoying them. I’m not one who’s afraid to DNF and I always feel like I have good reasons to when I do, but it’s still feels like giving up sometimes and I just hate that feeling. With three books that I’m just not into recently, I feel incredibly guilty contemplating the big bad DNF for all of them, but sometimes not finishing a book is not a bad thing.

Firstly, putting a book down is a good thing for my reading schedule. If I’ve given the book a fair chance (which I always make sure I do), then what’s to stop me from saying that this book just isn’t working for me? I know I have a busy life. Besides that I have a busy READING life. I have a whole bookcase of books that are begging to be read, not to mention all of the other ARC copies — both physical copies and egalleys — that I still have to get to as well. Sadly, many a book has gone unread for the time being because I’m working my way through other books… So why force myself to finish a book that I’m just REALLY not enjoying and not spending that time on other books that I could be reading that I may totally love? It’s a better idea to just mark as DNF, know I gave it a really good shot, and move on to something that I’ll really enjoy.

DNFs often seem like the mark of death for a book, but really, I think it’s kinder than making myself finish something I’m really not enjoying. Sometimes I know it’s a case of, “It’s not you, it’s me” — and it truly is. There have been a lot of books that I really didn’t enjoy or that I chose to put down because I could tell they just didn’t jive with my reading tastes, and that’s okay! Not every reader will love every book. I do the best that I can to pick what I think I’ll enjoy, but sometimes I’ll try to get into it and just realize this book and I were never meant to get along. I think it’s a nicer thing to mark the book as DNF, explain why I wasn’t enjoying it, and move on instead of forcing myself to finish and writing a one or two star review saying how much I didn’t enjoy it. This system may not work for everyone because some people rate their DNFs as a one star book, but I don’t rate my DNFs for that reason — sometimes I really do think a book is that bad, but most of the time, I know it just wasn’t for me and I don’t think an author deserves a one star rating from me because I just wasn’t the intended audience! I think stopping what I was reading and not rating the book is far kinder.

Putting a book down also takes away that stress of feeling forced to finish it! I feel terrible not finishing review copies because I really do feel that obligation to read them since they were given to me for that expressed purpose… But I’ve been in a couple situations before where that weight has just been lifted off my shoulders once I decide to put a book down! I think that’s how you know you made the right decision!

And if all else fails, you can always come back to it! Even if you give the book away, you can always come back to it again. Maybe see if it’s at the library, borrow it from a friend… But if you feel that guilty about not finishing a book, you can always come back to it later! Maybe that will really tell you how you’re feeling about a book too. I usually put books aside and come back a couple days later just to see if I’m really feeling like I don’t want to finish, and usually my feelings haven’t changed, but it’s always good to have that option if you need it!

When it all comes down to it, I ask myself one question: If I weren’t blogging, would I keep reading this book? I never had a problem putting books down and walking away from them before I started blogging and before the days of ARCs in my world. Even if I had purchased the book or someone purchased it for me, I just didn’t feel any sort of obligation to read it. If I wasn’t enjoying it, I wasn’t enjoying it and I was picking a book to read for fun. Blogging is my hobby and as much as I do want to do these books justice and also feel responsible for reading ARCs I receive, I just have to know that not all books will be right for me.

I do still feel guilty for marking books as unfinished… but sometimes that’s a very beneficial thing to my reading experience, my blogging career, and even to the author. It seems like the most negative thing you could possibly do, but I don’t really think it’s terrible. I really try to finish the books I pick up, but sometimes I just have sort of cut my losses, so to speak and realize that a book just may not be ideal for me through no fault of its own.

So tell me! Do you DNF? Do you feel guilty for putting books down or is it just part of the natural cycle of choosing books? Do you always feel obligated to finish or do you think it’s better to just walk away if you’re not enjoying a book?

A big thanks to ChristinaNikkiGingerEstelleLauren, and Leanne for a great Twitter conversation about this topic and helping inspire this blog post!


On the Same Page: Landline by Rainbow Rowell


  Rainbow Rowell: Relationship Expert

For the month of June, On the Same Page read Landline by Rainbow Rowell and it really just struck me that with each book of hers that I read, I just totally and completely lose myself in the relationships that she creates. It’s no exaggeration to say that Rainbow Rowell is easily one of the best contemporary writers out there in my eyes for her creation of characters and the relationships she creates amongst them.

I’m actually in the middle of re-reading Attachments via audio at the moment because having read all of Rainbow Rowell’s works and seeing how her writing has developed over time, I had to go back to the first book I ever read of hers and revisit it. I had read it when I was still in my early 20s and I was in a completely different mindset back then. I didn’t read books then the same way I do now (still relaxed and for enjoyment although a bit more analytically now that I’m actively reviewing books) and I wasn’t at the proper stage in my life to really appreciate the characters, their relationships, and their daily lives. It’s so interesting to go back to her first book and see where she started from after just having finished her most recent book and seeing how much her writing has grown.

I’m pretty sure Rainbow Rowell has written some of my favorite character interactions and relationships that include a perfect blend of friendship and romance. They ebb between showing a character’s vulnerability and building up their strengths. The characters play off of one another to discover things about themselves and really help each other grown exponentially as well. I think one thing that’s very important to me as a reader is seeing the base of a relationship — the heart and the core of everything that exists between two characters, and Rainbow includes this in every story and the way that she sews it seamlessly into the book is just amazing. She’s an author that doesn’t have to outright say something to make it known. It’s the subtle ways that characters might look at each other or touch each other or react to each other. Each little nuance builds their back story and shapes their relationship almost without the reader even realizing and I think that’s one of the most important things in character development that I didn’t even know what I missing. Sometimes it’s the things you don’t say that end up meaning the most.

Each relationship in her books also has a very strong friendship. The characters may not have started out as friends before they got involved romantically, but the basis of friendship is there. Trust. Loyalty. Patience. Faith. The willingness to do anything for someone at the risk of your own happiness. The willingness to fight for a relationship before its even put in jeopardy. And every story isn’t afraid to show the truth: that any relationship — friendship or romantic or meant to be — gets messy.

Landline was an especially interesting addition to the Rainbow Rowell collection. (Can we call it that? I think Rainbow Rowell fans need box sets. Just saying.) This was the first book of hers where we see one of those beautiful relationships that she creates already in progress and not just the beginning… and what started as a beautiful beginning (which we actually get to see through flashbacks) may have slowly started to unravel at the seams and we start the book as main character Georgie is desperately trying to stitch things back together, hopefully before it’s too late. I loved seeing a different side of relationships from Rainbow. As much as I love falling in love with her characters as they fall in love with each other, it was interesting to witness a relationship in progress and how a marriage needs as much tender loving care as a blossoming relationship. I don’t read adult books as much anymore — on occasion because I’m just not a fan of reading about relationships that end in divorce or separation (hence why I read a lot of YA with first loves) — so it was definitely something different for me to pick up Landline and really appreciate that aspect of the book. It has both the characters and the readers take a step back and assess their relationships to really see what they could do to make it better.

Landline showed me that no matter what kind of relationship Rainbow Rowell writes, she’ll nail it every time. Her characters and the way they interact with each other are always one of my most favorite things about her books and I love how different those relationships are in each book. It’s refreshing to still feel that same style of writing that’s so recognizable as Rainbow but still have a completely unique story and unique characters to get to know. Whether it’s Attachments or Eleanor & Park or Fangirl or Landline, readers of any age or any genre can find characters to identify with and learn from. Each book brings something different to the table, all the while containing the same universal messages and feelings. Whether Landline ends up being your favorite Rainbow Rowell book to date or not, I think it’s easy to see that the relationships she creates are only growing in style and strength.

Can’t get enough Rainbow? Check out these other posts featuring the author and her works!

Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts about Landline today too!

Alyssa (Books Take You Places) //  Amy (Tripping Over Books)

Whatever You Do… Don’t Look Back! (Thoughts on Old Reviews)


Oh, nostalgia. I love looking back at my life — both my blogging life and personal life — and reminiscing about where I’ve been, what I’ve gone through, and how things have changed since then. It’s wonderful to see how much I’ve grown or places I could still use some improvement. I love remembering the good times and try to learn from the bad. But it’s easy when all of those memories are inside of your head… The good and bad thing about being a blogger is that every step of my blogging life has been documented in print and when I look back at old reviews… well, my advice to you is…


Kidding, of course. Well, for the most part.

I just recently started cross-posting my reviews to Amazon (and Goodreads) which is a BIG job considering I had only posted a few reviews on Amazon (started cross-posting to Goodreads a little while ago so that wasn’t as bad) and I literally have hundreds of reviews after two years of blogging. Thankfully, I started with more recent reviews and am working my way backwards, but I just had an incident where I updated a review from 2012, only a couple months after I had started blogging. And boy, was that review a hard one to read.

Looking back at my time as a baby blogger can be downright embarrassing at times. I do enjoy seeing how much I’ve grown and changed my style since then, but BOY OH BOY are those reviews downright embarrassing. I still have qualms about my review styles right now but looking back at my very first few months of reviewing… I can’t believe that was me! They weren’t bad reviews, but the writing just seemed so sloppy, so rushed, and my reviews were so short! I had no idea that world building was a thing. I never really thought about writing styles unless it was incredibly obvious. I really didn’t just didn’t have the experience writing reviews. Everything I had done up until that point was just a quick jumble of thoughts spit out into Goodreads. The more I wrote, the more I read, and the more I interacted with other bloggers, the better (and less harsh) my reviews started to sound.

I do plenty of linking up to old reviews. All the time, actually. Discussion posts, full reviews, Top Ten Tuesdays… Lots refer back to those embarrassing reviews from when I first started and it ALMOST makes me want to go back and rewrite them. There are some reviews for some of my FAVORITE books that just don’t seem to do them justice now that I read them again and it pains me to share those poorly written reviews when trying to promote a book that I just couldn’t seem to put into words at the time!

So what can I do? Nothing, really. I can’t go back and change my reviews because those were my relevant thoughts at the time, no matter how they ended up on the page. I won’t stop linking up to them either because they’re still incredibly relevant reviews. The only thing I’ve been able to do so far is re-read. I’ve been doing a few re-reads of my favorites — not for the intention of wiping out the bad reviews, of course. Purely for the fact that I want to re-read them — but that gives me an opportunity to both reevaluate the book and reevaluate my original thoughts. I get a brand new review with new ideas and opinions!

I know I can’t re-read everything. There will just be those older reviews out there and I’ll just have to suck it up and know that even though they’re not always being actively promoted, people will still end up reading the old, embarrassing reviews. I just hope that people take into considering when I wrote them and that the feelings come across well, even if the words aren’t sufficient! And I’m sure to other people they don’t read NEARLY as bad as they do to me. I’m probably my harshest critic after all!

But old and embarrassing reviews aren’t ALL bad. At least I know I’ve grown over time! I’ve developed a review style that I really enjoy and feels effective for me. I still have quite a few elements from my “early years” in place and I’ve also added and removed quite a few things. It’s obvious how much I’ve grown as a blogger and a reviewer and the fact that things are so different now make me feel like I’ve really settled into my own little corner of the internet. When I first started, I would have never guessed my blog would  be ANYTHING like this or that I would read so many books or that I would have so many amazing bookish friends.

So that advice of “Don’t Look Back”? Maybe that’s not the best advice to give. It’s always okay to look back and even to be a little embarrassed of your “baby blogger” days.


… But with caution! 😉

On the Same Page: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls


Pinterest Board

For the month of May, On the Same Page read The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire LeGrand! I had a really great time reading it and I felt like it was really visually dynamic! Think a cross between Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton and that’s the vibe I was really picking up from the book. Definitely Pinterest board-worthy, am I right? Besides the illustrations in the book (which were awesome!) I had a lot of pictures pop into my head so the Pinterest board was the way to go here!

Here are a few of my favorite selections! You can visit author Claire LeGrand’s Pinterest board for her own visions of the book. Here are a few of the images that would be on my Pinterest board!


Mysterious Garden

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Curly blonde + Blair Waldorf style

  a6db1d9ef681bd5e5bf5938eb4c84d66      6c75cd643a05d09e43eb6ed2cf34dae7

White stripe hair + Ron Weasley style



Younger Courteney Cox + prim & proper style

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Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts today too!

Alyssa — Books Take You Places //  Amy — Tripping Over Books

Total Romance Domination?

A lot of my discussion posts happen to be based on current trends in my reading or trends I’m noticing throughout the blogosphere and lately I’ve been having issues with fantasy and dystopian books. Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE them. I appreciate the action, adventure, and world building that they provide and they will always hold a special place in my heart, but I’ve been wondering if lately we as readers are being marketed books based off of their romances instead of the foundations of the stories themselves.

I love a good romance in ANY book. Of course I’m expecting (and hoping!) to see a good romance in most of the books that I read and I think romances add a great depth to any given book in any given genre. I tend to learn a lot about a character by who they choose as a love interest and how the two interact. My issue lately is that I feel like romance is taking over the non-contemporary reads. I love a good contemporary romance and hello, it says it right there — contemporary romance. I fully expect (and want) the romance to be one of the major plot points in those books… But I’ve been through a string of books lately that could have very easily been five star books, except for the fact that the romance seemed to take over the story, pushing a lot of the world building to the back burner. Then the world building didn’t reappear much until the latter half of the book when it was needed for plot twists or reveals or the history of a specific character. I know this is my personal reading preference, but for me? I need a lot of that world building up front. When I start a fantasy, sci-fi, or dystopian, I’m entering a totally new world. I don’t know the history of it. I don’t know the people. I don’t know the culture or the traditions and may not even know the language, and all of those things are really important to me in order to be immediately captivated by this new experience and this interesting place which admittedly, I’m always eager to explore.

Of course, I don’t need ALL of the world building right away. There’s a fine line between establishing a world and explaining as the book goes along and infodumping. I’m no author so I can’t say exactly how hard it is to toe that line because I haven’t attempted to do it. (Actually, I made one sad attempt during NaNoWriMo of 2012 and I wrote myself into a corner with both plot and world building so I’m gonna say, it’s pretty hard!) I guess what I’m saying is, I feel like a romance should be interspersed throughout the story. It should grow from beginning to end, whether that relationship was previously established or two characters are meeting for the first time. I don’t like when the heroine (as it’s usually a female in the books I’ve read) gets so overwhelmed with her current relationship issues (whatever they may be) that all of these amazing details about this new world that the author has created take a backseat. I always appreciate when an author is so skilled to mix in world building, plot, suspense, romance, and character development all in one and I honestly don’t know how they do it because it’s incredibly amazing when it all meshes so perfectly!


Part of it makes me wonder… Am I noticing this because it’s intentional? Is the market swinging toward heavier romance subplots (or in this case, becoming a main plot)? Are authors being swayed by editors and publishers and other industry professionals to amp up the romance? Or is this just a totally random thing happen to pick up with my recent reads?

Now, I know we all have different reading tastes and obviously that’s a good thing! Some of those books I ended up rating completely differently than I might have had the romance aspect not taken over the plot and dwarfed the world building. Is that a personal preference? Absolutely. But I’m also wondering if this is something that anyone else has noticed too. Those same books that I ended up rating lower because I felt so overwhelmed by the romance and underwhelmed by the world building, others really loved.  I always feel like I’m missing something when that happens, but I can’t help but feel like the book had so much potential and I was just too blinded by this love interest and the drama that surrounded it that so many other things just got lost.

Obviously I can’t agree with everyone on every book — and frankly, that would be boring! — but I have to ask if anyone else has been feeling like they’re drowning in romantic drama lately. Are we (Readers? Authors? Editors? Publishers?) putting a larger emphasis on the romances in the books that we’re reading nowadays? Or is it just something that I’m feeling personally because I’m someone who is obsessed with world-building?

So let me know! Do you have issues with certain romances in some of your dystopian, fantasy, or sci-fi reads? Do you ever wish for more world building in place of the stage time some of the romances take or is a good romance a key element of your non-contemporary reads?

The Book Addict’s GUIDE… to “Crossover” Books!

More and more lately I’ve been really getting into making infographics and recommendation guides. I had a blast making my first two recommendation guides — contemporary and paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy — and I really wanted to make a new one, but with a few genres down, I wasn’t sure where to start again. Naturally, I went to Twitter to ask for suggestions and Elizabeth from Don’t Take My Books Away recommended a list of young adult books that would appeal to adults as well and that seemed like the perfect idea!

I decided to take it one step further and add my favorite adult reads that I felt would appeal to readers of young adult fiction as well. Since most of my blog readers are in their 20s/30s/40s reading YA and a few in their actual teens, some of the books on the list are ones I feel would appeal to readers of YA and not necessary young adults themselves. Sounds confusing, but what I mean is that some books will have more adult content than others, but no worries! I’m including a details of which adult books on the list would also be appropriate for younger readers and which are intended for a more mature audience.

Missed my first two “guides”? No problem! Just check out the links below! 

Book Addict’s GUIDE #1: Contemporary
Book Addict’s GUIDE #2: Paranormal, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy

So! Ready to get started? I know you are! Here are my favorite “crossover” books that best appeal to a wide age range!

Crossover Books Infographic Reading Guide



Here’s a list of the books mentioned! All links will take you to my reviews (books that I haven’t reviewed on my blog will take you to the Goodreads page). All adult books will also have notes if they’re appropriate for younger audiences or not!

  1. (YA) 45 Pounds (More or Less) – K.A. Barson // Keywords: Weight loss, family, weddings
  2. (YA) Something Like Normal – Trish Doller  // Keywords: Military, PTSD, family, romance
  3. (YA) Fault Line – Christa Desir // Keywords: Sexual assault, relationships, support
  4. (YA) The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler // Keywords: Alzheimer’s, motorcycles, sisters, romance
  5. (Adult) Degrees of Wrong – Anna Scarlett // Keywords: Epidemic, romance, chocolate, sea exploration // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. Some adult humor and sexual references.
  6. (Adult) Slightly Single – Wendy Markham // Keywords: New York, absentee boyfriend, friends // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. I read this quite a few years ago and remember it being fairly appropriate for a mature teenage audience. Some adult humor and sexual references.
  7. (Adult) Remember Me? – Sophie Kinsella // Keywords: Memory loss, designer products, humor // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. Same as above — read quite a few years ago but should be okay for mature teen audience. Some adult humor and sexual references.
  8. (Adult) Wedding Season – Darcy Cosper // Keywords: Weddings, New York, comedy // Suitable for teens? Yes? To be honest, I read this one too long ago to remember its specific content BUT I think I was actually a teen when I read this one myself (somewhere around 18, I believe) so I would lean more towards yes!
  9. (YA) The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight – Jennifer E Smith // Keywords: Weddings, travel, flying, remarriage, London
  10. (YA) The Sea of Tranquility – Katja Millay // Keywords: Identity crisis, trauma, loss, romance
  11. (Adult) One Day – David Nicholls // Keywords: Friends, relationships, missed opportunities // Suitable for teens? More mature audiences. Adult content and spans from twenties age up through forties.
  12. (Adult) The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks // Keywords: Young love, forbidden love, Alzheimer’s // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. Personally liked the movie better (gasp, I know) but the book was also great and suitable for younger audiences.
  13. (YA) The Distance Between Us – Kasie West // Keywords: Family business, mother-daughter relationship, wealth vs “working class”
  14. (YA) The Chapel Wars – Lindsey Leavitt // Keywords: Las Vegas, wedding chapel, loss, rivals
  15. (YA) Open Road Summer – Emery Lord // Keywords: Country music, tour, road trip, famous, romance
  16. (YA/New Adult) Dirty Little Secret – Jennifer Echols // Keywords: Nashville, country music, redemption, performing, romance
  17. (Adult) The Nanny Diaries – Emma McLaughlin // Keywords: Working, nanny, family, family issues // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. The movie came out in 2007 and I know I read the book before the movie so I was still a teen (older teen) but it seemed perfectly suitable for a younger audience! (The book was also WAY better than the movie, FYI)
  18. (Adult) The Devil Wears Prada – Lauren Weisberger // Keywords: New York, fashion, post-college, career // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. Unlike The Nanny Diaries, I found both the book AND the movie to be fantastic and suitable for teen audiences as well.
  19. (Adult) What Looks Like Crazy (Kate Holly #1) – Charlotte Hughes // Keywords: Psychology, divorce, humor // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. Charlotte Hughes has a very Janet Evanovich-style and while there are more mature themes and references, a mature teen audience could enjoy this book as well.
  20. (YA) The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey // Keywords: Aliens, invasion, post-apocalyptic
  21. (YA) The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins // Keywords: Government, dystopia, battle to the death
  22. (YA) Under the Never Sky – Veronica Rossi // Keywords: Dystopia, science-fiction, technology, wilderness, survival
  23. (YA) The Raven Boys – Maggie Steifvater // Keywords: Prophecy, tarot, paranormal, private school
  24. (YA) Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) – Marissa Meyer // Keywords: Sci-fi, cyborg, Beijing, Cinderella
  25. (YA) Ready Player One – Ernest Cline // Keywords: 80s, pop culture, virtual reality, future
  26. (Adult) The Passage – Justin Cronin // Keywords: Vampires, plague, post-apocalyptic // Suitable for teens? Maybe. It’s a really big read and takes a while to develop, but if you’re willing to stay in it for the long haul, I think a more mature audience could enjoy it.
  27. (Adult) Vicious – V.E. Schwab // Keywords: Science fiction, extraordinary, superheroes, revenge // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. A delicious tale of revenge set at an adult age. Mild violence and darker themes, but okay for teen readers.
  28. (Adult) Dead Until Dark – Charlaine Harris // Keywords: Vampires, romance, Louisiana // Suitable for teens? Maybe. Strong elements of romance.
  29. (Adult) Gameboard of the Gods – Richelle Mead // Keywords: Mythology, mystery, military, science // Suitable for teens? Maybe. Definitely more mature teens if recommended for younger audiences. Some sexual situations and explicit content.
  30. (Adult) The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams // Keywords: Sci-fi, space, humor // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up.
  31. (Adult) First Grave on the Right – Darynda Jones // Keywords: Grim reaper, ghosts // Suitable for teens? Not recommended. While the book has a fun and easy feeling, there were strong themes of sexuality and some violence.
  32. (YA) Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor // Keywords: Chimaera, angels, Prague
  33. (YA) Fairytales for Wilde Girls – Allyse Near // Keywords: Fantasy, fairy tales, mental illness, magical realism
  34. (YA) The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski // Keywords: Fantasy, politics, music, slavery
  35. (YA) Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy #1) – Leigh Bardugo // Keywords: Fantasy, Russia, powers, army
  36. (YA) Graceling – Kristin Cashore // Keywords: Fantasy, kingdom, abilities
  37. (Adult) The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern// Keywords: Circus, magic, illusion // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. A truly magical story with plenty for any age
  38. (Adult) The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) – Scott Lynch // Keywords: High fantasy, gangs, thieves, comedy, bromance // Suitable for teens? Maybe. Excessive swearing, some violence, very little sexual content. Possibly suitable for mature teens.
  39. (Adult) The Princess Bride – William Goldman // Keywords: Fantasy, fairy tales, true love, sword fights // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. Suitable for any age. A timeless classic.
  40. (Adult) A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin // Keywords: Fantasy, kingdoms, royalty, politics, conspiracy // Suitable for teens? Thumbs down. Not recommended for younger readers despite its variety of age ranges present. Violence, sexual content, mature language.  But good for the adult YA readers who love fandoms and great high fantasy!
  41. (Adult) Stardust – Neil Gaiman // Keywords: Fairy tale, fairies, unicorn, star // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. Absolutely. If I hadn’t heard an interview with Neil Gaiman at the end of the audiobook calling it a fairy tale for adults, I may have classified it as YA. Suitable for any age.
  42. (YA) Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein // Keywords: Historical fiction, WWII, flying, torture, best friends
  43. (YA) Grave Mercy – Robin LaFevers // Keywords: France, 1400s, politics, mythology
  44. (Adult) The Help – Kathryn Stockett // Keywords: 1960s, race, Mississippi, maids // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. I think this is an important book for all ages!
  45. (Adult) Water For Elephants  – Sara Gruen // Keywords: Circus, the Great Depression, romance // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. Technically billed as adult but I think there are a lot of things teens would appreciate about this book. Possibly better suited for older teens.
  46. (YA) Paper Valentine – Brenna Yovanoff // Keywords: Ghost, murder, summer
  47. (YA) How To Lead a Life of Crime – Kirsten Miller // Keywords: Crime, boarding school, redemption
  48. (YA) Killer Instinct – S.E. Green // Keywords: Serial killer, high school, mystery
  49. (Adult) The Spellman Files – Lisa Lutz // Keywords: Private eyes, they’re watching you, family, comedy // Suitable for teens? Some drug use, drug references, and cursing but I think it would be enjoyable for older teens as well
  50. (Adult) One For the Money – Janet Evanovich // Keywords: Bounty hunter, mystery, New Jersey, comedy // Suitable for teens? Maybe. Good for older teens as well as adults. Janet Evanovich’s books are so much fun with some mature themes but okay for older teens.
  51. (Adult) The Pact – Jennifer Sturman // Keywords: Mystery, wedding, Diet Coke // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. Written for adults but lots of fun! I think this would definitely be okay for older teens.
  52. (YA) Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell // Keywords: 80s, misfits, family, first love
  53. (YA/New Adult) Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell // Keywords: College, twins, fan fiction, social anxiety
  54. (Adult) Attachments – Rainbow Rowell // Keywords: Y2K, e-mail, best friends // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up! Rainbow Rowell’s books are fantastic and I know Attachments is fun and absolutely suitable for many ages. I read it myself in my early 20s and I feel like I need to re-read it because I would appreciate it so much more now!
  55. (Adult) Landline – Rainbow Rowell // Keywords: Marriage, issues, communication with the past // Suitable for teens? Landline doesn’t come out until July so the verdict is still out on content but from the early reviews, it sounds like this could be amazing for all ages as well!
  56. (YA) If I Stay – Gayle Forman // Keywords: Tragedy, loss, family, first love
  57. (YA) Where She Went – Gayle Forman // Keywords: Reuniting, careers, lost love, emotion
  58. (YA/New Adult) Just One Day – Gayle Forman // Keywords: Europe, college, first love, self-discovery
  59. (YA/New Adult) Just One Year – Gayle Forman // Keywords: Travel, loss, family, self-discovery
  60. (YA) The Princess Diaries – Meg Cabot // Keywords: Princess, royalty, family, confidence
  61. (Adult) Size 12 Is Not Fat – Meg Cabot // Keywords: Mystery, college, murder, pop star // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. Some mature content but mostly mild. Set at a residence hall and several (fake) pop culture references!
  62. (Adult) The Boy Next Door – Meg Cabot // Keywords: Apartment, mystery, neighbors, romance // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. Another book I read around the time I was an actual teen and I remember it being fairly appropriate. I can’t remember the details, but Meg Cabot’s work is usually pretty mild on the adult content!
  63. (Adult) Queen of Babble – Meg Cabot // Keywords: Gossip, London, weddings // Suitable for teens? Thumbs up. Same as above — I think Meg Cabot’s books really fit a wide age range!

Whether you’re a Young Adult reader looking for more Adult books to get into, an adult who isn’t as familiar with YA, or a teacher or librarian looking for recommendations, hopefully you can find a great place to start on this list! These are just some of my favorites that no matter the age are able to appeal to a wide variety of readers. 

I’d love to hear what you think! What are your best picks for books with crossover appeal? Are there any specific authors you think appeal to any age? Any Middle Grade books? (Which I don’t have as much experience with) If you find a great book in a different age range, I’d love to hear which one worked for you! Leave me a comment below with your picks or new discoveries! 

Looking for more reading recommendations? Here are some more posts to check out!

  • The Book Addict’s GUIDE to paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy: The second in my series of guides! I hard a hard time separating these three so they all got smushed together.
    Infographic: A guide and compilation of paranormal, sci-fi, and fantasy recommendations
  • The Book Addict’s GUIDE to contemporary: First of many to come! I created a road map/choose your own adventure-style guide to YA contemporary romances. If you’re looking for a good contemp read, start here!
  • If You Liked… If I Stay: For fans of IF I STAY, here are a few hand-picked selections of books you should read next!
  • If You Liked… The Fault in Our Stars: With so many great YA adaptations hitting the big screen, I wanted to make a lovely graphic of suggestions for people who have enjoyed them! This one kicks off the series with recs for THE FAULT IN OUR STARS fans!

On the Same Page: Fairytales for Wilde Girls


Darker Fairy Tales

April’s choice for our On the Same Page read was Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near. It’s an Australian-born book but I was so lucky to have received it for Christmas from my dear friend Amy (Tripping Over Books) and we had heard such good things about it that we decided to make it our April pick.

Don’t let “fairytales” fool you — there’s plenty beneath the surface of this book. It’s actually described as “bubblegum gothic” so if that sounds like something that’s appealing to you, I can tell you not to hesitate to pick this one up! It’s a giant ball of fairy tale, fantasy, contemporary, and magical realism all rolled into one but the fantasies and fairy tales aren’t for the faint of heart. Things get a little dark. Things get a little twisty. Things get a little horrific. And I loved the darkness of it.

So many people grow up on the milder fairy tales. Heck, we all love Disney (I surely will never deny that) but Disney adapted many fairy tales to show the softer side — the kid friendly side — and many of the adaptations out there don’t know the “true” nature of these stories. I mean, have you read a true, unaltered story from The Brothers Grimm? I was actually reading up on some original versions of fairy tales and found this article from The History Channel, actually, called The Dark Side of the Grimm Fairy Tales and Stylist Magazine details their choices for The Eight Darkest Fairy Tales which give you a little insight on the gory, gritty details of some of the originals. There are many, many things that have been cut out for the sake of protecting our ears and our minds! Fairy tales were not always for children. (Or maybe they were for scaring kids… Either way.)

I loved that Fairytales for Wilde Girls appealed to both the childhood nostalgia of fairy tales as well as a twist on what those tales actually were. It’s a story for the older crowds and yet still maintains that tug on the heartstrings of the child in us all. In honor of the darker side of these childhood-favorite stories, I’m sharing some of my own personal favorites as well as other darker and more sinister fairy tales for you to check out:


Still kid-friendly, Jon Scieszka has a couple of fairy tales modified to show a slightly darker side but still incorporate a lot of humor and not scare the kids too much. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man are two that I remember hearing as a kid that were fun, but didn’t always have a happy ending.


Gregory Maguire is obviously a popular one and actually, the broadway adaptation of Wicked and Gregory Maguire’s originally version is kind of a perfect example. The broadway show is one of my favorites. I love the pieces of music and I loved the retelling as adapted by Stephen Schwartz (you know… musicals will pretty much always reel me in) so I decided to actually try and read the book the musical was based off of. It was actually a LOT darker and more twisted than I had expected so it really took me by surprise (and oops, not in a good way) but if you’re looking for twisty retellings, Gregory MaGuire’s books are sure to shock you!

Speaking of The Wizard of Oz… Although the Return to Oz I’m referring to is the movie and not the book, it’s still kind of a twisty and darker adaptation that I know I’ve had discussions about before and my fellow Return To Oz-watchers kind of couldn’t believe we watched this movie as kids. Some parts are pretty terrifying and kind of disturbing even as an adult! Still kind of awesome, though.


I actually haven’t read them yet, but Adam Gidwitz’s A Tale Dark & Grim books seem like perfect additions to this list! I got book one signed last year from BEA and I’m definitely looking forward to picking it up sometime. They’re middle grade books so although they’re darker, they’re also designed to not be too horrific so a bit younger of an audience can enjoy them as well.


Neil Gaiman: Now I’m a Neil Gaiman novice having only read The Graveyard Book and Stardust, but I feel like his writing fits perfectly in with this general theme. The Graveyard Book was definitely the darker of the two (which is almost amusing considering that was the one for a younger audience) but Stardust had more of the fairy tale feeling. (I would consider The Graveyard Book to be more straight-up paranormal-type.) I actually saw the movie for Coraline and still haven’t read the book yet but that definitely gives off the same vibe as well! I’m hoping to pick up Neverwhere soon because Alyssa has told me great things about it and I’d really like to make that one of my next Gaiman reads!

And of course, the book we came here to talk about today — Fairytales for Wilde Girls.  It’s definitely one of the more original books I’ve read and it combines so many wonderful elements to make one great story. I really got to know all of the characters, the setting, the plot — everything really just clicked and so the horrifying parts felt even more real and the personal relationships did as well. Sometimes it’s hard for me to get into things like magical realism or certain fantasy aspects but Fairytales for Wilde Girls just drew me in and I was mostly able to just lose myself in this book!

I know I’m missing SO many because there are just so many more darker or “true” fairy tales that I have to read. There’s still some collection of “true” fairy tales that I used to own as a kid that for the life of me I can never find, but I know it exists out there somewhere! Which ones are you favorites? I’d love to hear your suggestions! 

Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts for Fairytales for Wilde Girls today too!

Alyssa — Books Take You Places (Quotes)  //  Amy — Tripping Over Books (Pins + Pinterest board)




Do the Endings of Books/Series Affect Your Overall Opinion?

Thankfully I’ve been going through a lucky streak lately with some of the series that have recently come to an end: I’ve been falling in love with the first in a series, NOT have issues with the second book, and (since they’re most often trilogies) having great success with the last book! I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this recent change in pattern because for a while there, I felt like all of my favorites series were ending with a less-than-thrilling conclusion.

I’ve also had similar experiences with individual books as well, whether it was the beginning or middle of a series or a standalone — I had some books with which I had “slow start” issues but then the book closed with a bang!

The issue I tend to be having lately is that the way these books are ending is obviously the last feeling of the book I have… And that tends to affect my overall feelings and the rating of a book or series. Of course authors and readers alike want the endings of their books or series to be memorable, but where I run into issues is I feel like I let myself be TOO affected by the endings and that seems to be all I remember. Here are some common occurrences for me:


I’ve read a lot of books recently that I felt started out a little slowly and then the endings totally made up for the slow pacing in the beginning! But wait, is that fair for the ending to “make up for” elements I didn’t quite enjoy in the beginning? Should fantastic endings really wash away the slower parts in the beginning of the book? I recently had an experience where I was overwhelmed with how much I loved the second half of a book (a total 5-star ending, in my opinion) and so when I finished and rated it on Goodreads, I immediately clicked five stars. When it came time to write my review, I remembered the slower start and the little things I had issues with in the beginning which ultimately led me to CHANGE my rating down a little bit. Only to 4.25 to 4.5 stars, but still. I didn’t think it was fair to give a book a five star rating if I wasn’t enthralled the WHOLE book.


Especially with the recent series finale of How I Met Your Mother (although not book related), it’s become apparent that the ending of a book or series really can affect someone’s entire opinion of the overall picture. There have been a couple different trilogies I can think of where I loved book one, even enjoyed book two, but the last book really disappointed me and I was incredibly upset at how the series wrapped up. The fact that I didn’t like the way the series ended actually made me want to not recommend someone else to even start it. I can’t suggest that someone else start a series if I was so disappointed with the way it ended.


Ever finish a book and you were just baffled that THAT was the way the book ended? Whether it was something totally out of character, a random twist, a too-easy cheesy ending, or a complete change of character personality, there are some occasions where I have enjoyed a whole book… UNTIL THE ENDING. Aside from a bad series ender, I think this is one of the most disappointing things to come across. It’s a terrible shame to enjoy a whole book and then hate the way it ended.


Personally, I don’t usually get upset over cliffhangers. I know a lot of people hate being kept in the dark until the next book and sometimes I do think cliffhangers make it difficult to remember exactly what happened before starting the next book because I have to remember EXACTLY where the book ended. Then again, cliffhangers may also help you remember EXACTLY how the previous book ended because you’ve been wondering the whole time!
More frustrating for me is an open ending. I like a good, solid, closed-book finish. There are some instances in which I know where the author truly was leading and I can fit the pieces together. There are other cases where a little too much is left open-ended and all I want is the author to tell me HOW THIS BOOK OR SERIES REALLY ENDED. Especially if it’s a series — I invested so much time to see how it ends and then I don’t really get to see how it ends!


On the flip side, I always appreciate when an author totally turns a book or series around for the better! There are a few series where I enjoyed the first couple books but you can really see how much the author grew through out the series in terms of writing, plotting, character development — the works. I love seeing an author truly grow with their works!
Similar to the slow start, I also like when things really start to come together in the second half of a book! I may get impatient sometimes with slow starts or with a lot of set-up, but I feel like once the plot gets rolling and the book needs to start heating up the conflicts so they can be resolved, the pieces really start to come together and feel like a more cohesive story. Times like these I tend to finish a book and possibly change my review to increase my star rating.

So the big question is, does the conclusion of a book affect your overall opinion of it? Would you ever change your rating based on further analysis? If a series ends poorly, does that make you not recommend it even if the rest of the books were good? Or vice versa, if a series ends well but you had lukewarm feelings about the beginning, would that pop up on your recommendations list? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

In the meantime, here are some of the more positive experiences I’ve had with series enders and fantastic standalone enders! These are ones that I highly recommend and I don’t feel will disappoint! (Photos will lead you to my reviews!)




(Technically hasn’t ended yet but each book gets better and better!!!)



On the Same Page: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch


“The Gang’s All Here”

March’s choice for our On the Same Page read was The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. If you aren’t familiar with the book, the best way I can describe it in a nutshell is a sort of fantasy Ocean’s 11. The book takes place in a fantasy world, mainly in the town of Camorr where Locke Lamora and his gang or marry thieves case the city in pursuit of their next big job. The book alternates back and forth between the “present day” story line and backstories of Locke Lamora as well as snippets of history and backstories of other minor characters as well.

One of my favorite things about this book was the Gentleman Bastards themselves (Locke’s gang). The gang of orphans was “raised” by Father Chains, the “blind priest of Perelandro” (honestly, so many things have to be put in quotes because as with any group of specialty scoundrels, nothing is what it seems) and taken in specifically for their special talents which Father Chains took great care to help them fine tune.

One of the things I loved so much about the Gentleman Bastards was obviously their cunning knack for disguises, costumes, and mummery, but I loved how each member of the gang had a specialty and a very specific role in the gang.

  • Locke Lamora is very much the master of disguises. He could accommodate for any role with accents, facial expressions, costumes, body language, and anything else he could possibly change about himself to become a different person entirely. There is no one else as good as Locke when it comes to impersonating another man, real or fictitious. He’s also the brains behind ALL of the operations. Locke Lamora is first and foremost a clever man and all of the plans stem from his brain before they ever get put into play.
  • Jean Tannen is the muscle of the group and he’s Locke’s right hand man (and seriously check out Alyssa’s post regarding their bromance because it really is one of the best I’ve ever read — And I also have a serious crush on Jean). He’s trained specially for fighting of all sorts and where Locke severely lacks in the self-defense aspect, Jean is always there to have his back.
  • Calo and Galdo are more of jack of all trades. They’re twin brothers, also experts at disguise though not as good as Locke, and they’re sort of the support system of the team. They fill in any extra roles the group might need, constantly bobbing in and out of play and working with a lot of behind the scenes set-up as well.
  • And young Bug is the rookie of the group. He does a lot of brunt work since he’s the young one and obviously the newest to the gang and he also acts as a lookout when the Gentleman Bastards need one. Because of his age, he’s also able to get away with a few things that the older men can’t.

I think the thing I appreciate the most is that although Locke is the title character, he isn’t without flaws. He has definite weaknesses but he isn’t ashamed to admit them and he allows the rest of his team to rise up to glory in their own specialties. He knows that he can’t do these jobs alone and he doesn’t try to. Most notably for me was Locke’s reliance on his best friend and support Jean Tannen. Locke knows Jean always has his back and Jean will always be there for Locke, whenever he needs him. These two especially would risk their lives for each other and do on a number of occasions. The whole group works together not only to complete their jobs but to protect each other and help each other no matter the cost. I love their friendships and bonds between all of these characters and it really just adds another layer to the entire book. The amount of detail that Scott Lynch puts into knitting this group even closer with every obstacle they face really makes the book that much more special.

I love books with a cast of characters who work together on one big job or mission! I think it really helps establish minor characters as well as giving the spotlight to main characters without having them be unreasonably talented. Here are some of my other favorites from books to TV featuring a great cast of characters, (somehow they’re usually surrounding heists…) and let’s be honest… You should probably just go watch/read these right now.


The Brains: Kat Bishop
The Co-Conspirator: Hale
The Support Squad: Hamich and Angus
The Tech: Simon



The Leader: Maggie
The Brains: Angelo
The Support Squad: Roux


The Sure Shot: Katniss Everdeen
The Heart: Peeta Mellark
The Brains: Beetee
The Muscle: Johanna Mason
The Charmer: Finnick Odair


The Chosen One: Harry Potter
The Co-Conspirator: Ron Weasley
The Brains: Hermione Granger
The Heart: Neville Longbottom
The Support Squad: Luna Lovegood, Ginny Weasley, Seamus Finnigan, Dean Thomas


OCEAN’S 11 (movie)
The Brains: Danny Ocean
The Co-Conspirator: Rusty Ryan
The Tech: Livingston Dell
The Support Squad: Turk and Virgil Malloy
The Inside Man: Frank Catton
The Pickpocket: Linus Caldwell


The Brains: Nathan Ford
The Master of Disguises: Sophie Devereaux
The Muscle: Eliot Spencer
The Thief: Parker
The Tech: Aldis Hodge


CHUCK (TV Show) 
The Brains: Chuck Bartowski
The Leader: Sarah Walker
The Co-Conspirator: Morgan Grimes
The Muscle: John Casey
The Support Squad: Jeff and Lester
The Heart: Ellie and Devon


 Well there you have it! I love books and TV shows with awesome ensemble casts and gangs of characters who work together to get a job done. Keep an eye out for my review of THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA, coming soon! In the mean time, you should really pick this book up and read it because even though it’s a big hefty (my mass market was just over 700 pages), it’s a really fun read and absolutely worth your time and effort! I’m already dying to read the next books in the series!

Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts for The Lies of Locke Lamora today too!

Alyssa — Books Take You Places  ||  Amy — Tripping Over Books

Book Therapy Session

I started this post immediately after having an afternoon-long email conversation with Estelle, who is now my un-official book therapist. I’m not talking book therapy as in “I’ve had a long day and reading is my therapy to help me unwind”. I mean actual, “take a look and what you’ve been reading and how you’ve been reading so far and how it’s affecting your life”.

2014 was supposed to be my year of less stress. I vowed to make less commitments. I vowed to stay ahead of my ARC schedule to alleviate the stress of all the things I needed to catch up on. And really so far, I’ve been doing a good job of that. But while talking with Estelle, we realized something. While I’ve been enjoying the books I’m reading and I really have stuck to my resolutions, I’ve still been scrambling to keep up with my Goodreads goal and stay on track to hit 135 books this year so I could at least hit the same goal I reached last year. And therein lies my problem.

I don’t mind trying to keep up with ARCs and I’m enjoying the groups and commitments that I have been a part of so far this year… But the sheer number of books I’ve committed to read in 2014 is already daunting and causing me stress. Reading is a passion. Blogging is a hobby. And as much as I want to read quickly and keep up with my own books and new books and books that everyone else is reading, that sheer quantity alone is not possible for me right now.

I’m planning a wedding this year. It’s actually coming up pretty quickly (November 8th!) and at first, I honestly didn’t think it would take up that much time. A lot of the plans are things I can easily accomplish, right? Well, sure. But there’s also going to halls. Going to chapels. Researching. Getting together with the friends I ask to be bridesmaids. Meeting with my family. Going to open houses. I suppose it’s not a LOT of time being taken up, but it still is quite a bit of outside activity that I normally reserved for reading and blogging. The things we end up doing on the weekends for the wedding — besides the projects on our house and our normal chores like grocery shopping and laundry — end up using the time that I normally had set aside for bookish things. The more Estelle and I talked, the more I realized that I just don’t have the amount of time I used to before I owned a house, before I got engaged, before I was planning a wedding and staining a bookcase and finishing a basement. I just don’t have the time that I used to and you know what? That’s okay.

Being a book blogger usually means that we read a reasonably larger number of books each year than the average person. We have blogs to keep up with, a whole INDUSTRY to keep up with, our friends to keep up with and even just our own personal goals, and my personal goals just aren’t reasonable at the present time. It’s the third week of February and I’m already stressed out about staying on top of my 135 book goal. I have enough things to worry about this year that I can’t afford to stress myself out over my hobby and something that I do for fun and to relax. After thinking long and hard about it, I asked a couple important questions:

What means more to me? Stressing all year to meet my 135 book goal or taking it easy and not reading as much as I did last year? Why do I need to beat my goal from last year? Why do I need to compete with myself? Isn’t the point of a goal to make myself happy that I read that much? And if I’m stressed out over meeting my own goal, what does that accomplish for me?

So after Estelle and I had this conversation, she suggested and I actually had the same thought forming in my head… I should lower my goal. A goal of 135 books beats my reading accomplishments from last year by five books, but it’s already been stressful trying to keep up! I’ve already lowered my goal by just five books to 130 for the year and I already feel a weight off of my shoulders. I’m currently on track to be either one or two books ahead if I keep up with my current reading schedule and it already feels SO much nicer to be ahead (possibly all year?) and feel happy about being ahead instead of stressing about being behind on a self-imposed goal. I kept thinking it was the stress of trying to balance ARCs and my own books and my commitments but what I was overlooking was how MANY books I was trying to read in a given week or month or year.

A book blogger is not successful based on how many books they read in a given year. Haven’t we always known it’s about quality and not quantity? I’ve also already proven that to myself in a different way in that I’m way behind on reviews right now. I used to be the person who wrote and drafted reviews right after I finished a book (which would be nice to still be able to do, but again. The time.) and as of right now, I’m probably about five or six books behind… And that’s because my book blog isn’t all about reviews. I love having a mix of discussions and reviews and features and interviews and events. Reviews are important to me and really the whole reason I started my blog, but I also don’t want to feel stressed and pressured to write them either. Anyway, the point is, I’m taking a small step backwards to take a little bit of reading pressure off myself and just enjoy being a book reviewer, a book blogger, and an avid reader! I tend to get a little bit overzealous sometimes but that’s only because I love reading and blogging so much that I just want to be able to outdo myself and really put forth that extra effort so everyone can see and feel the enthusiasm that I do when they read my blog.

So what about you guys? Do you feel pressured to maintain a certain goal for the year? For the month? For the week? What do you do to relieve the stress of keeping up with your goals? Do you think that we as book bloggers and/or reviewers put too much stress on ourselves to read ALL THE BOOKS and stay on track?