Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This post is actually difficult to write because despite my list, many of the books I read this year are written by authors I’ve read before. I consider that a good thing because it means former debut authors and new-to-me authors have continued to impress me. I’d love to know which authors are on your list! Hopefully we’ll share some similarities. Hopefully I’ll discover even more authors!

Top Debut Authors:

Hilary T. Smith–Wild Awake has engaging characters and beautiful writing. I hope she writes another book soon!

Rainbow Rowell–Eleanor & Park is Rowell’s debut YA release which rocked my world. Seriously. I LOVE that book.

Hollis Seamon–Somebody Up There Hates You surprised me in a great way. It was fun to read despite being a “cancer” book.

Robin Constantine–As soon as I finished reading The Promise of Amazing I wanted to read another one of Robin Constantine’s books. It’s too bad this hasn’t even released yet because that means I have to wait even LONGER for her next book.

Jessica Verdi–She tackles a big issue in My Life After Now without getting preachy. Plus, it’s an issue not enough found in YA. Win, win.

Aaron Hartzler–Rapture Practice is a great example of YA memoir while also being a fabulous and relevant story.

K.A. Barson–45 Pounds is a fun book that many of my readers will relate to. Plus, K.A. Barson is a Michigan author!

Top New-to-Me Authors:

Benjamin Alire Saenz–I can’t begin to explain how beautiful Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is.

Jo Knowles–So technically Jo Knowles isn’t new to me since I read Lessons From a Dead Girl a few years ago. I’m including her on this list because I read three of her other books this year and loved all of them. I feel like I truly discovered her this year.

Amy Reed–I loved reading Over You and now want to read everything Amy Reed writes.

Flash Reviews (23)

Flash Reviews

Two books I really enjoyed–Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles and New Money: A Novel by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal–are releasing today. They’re both books I plan on buying for my classroom library and sharing with my students.

Living with Jackie ChanTitle: Living with Jackie Chan

Author: Jo Knowles

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Source: NetGalley

Summary (From Goodreads):

After fathering a baby, a teenager moves in with his karate-loving uncle and tries to come to terms with his guilt — and find a way to forgive.

This isn’t how Josh expected to spend senior year. He thought he’d be hanging out with his best friends, Dave and Caleb, driving around, partying, just like always. But here he is, miles from home — new school, new life, living with his Jackie-Chan-obsessed uncle, Larry, and trying to forget. But Josh can’t forget. So many things bring back memories of last year and the night that changed everything. Every day the pain, the shame, and the just not knowing are never far from his thoughts. Why is he such a loser? How could he have done what he did? He finds some moments of peace when he practices karate with Stella, the girl upstairs and his one real friend. As they move together through the katas, Josh feels connected in a way he has never felt before. He wonders if they could be more than friends, but Stella’s jealous boyfriend will make sure that doesn’t happen. And maybe it doesn’t matter. If Stella knew the truth, would she still think he was a True Karate Man? Readers first met Josh in Jumping Off Swings which told the story of four high school students and how one pregnancy changed all of their lives. In this companion book, they follow Josh as he tries to come to terms with what happened, and find a way to forgive.

Flash Review: So first of all, I didn’t realize this is a companion to Jumping Off Swings until I started reading it. I guess I wasn’t paying close attention to the summary!  Second, I was pleasantly surprised because I wanted more of Josh’s story when I finished reading Jumping Off Swings.

Living with Jackie Chan is an all-around enjoyable read that is full of heart. Josh is a character readers will relate with and probably learn from. He was really suffering in Jumping Off Swings and that suffering is even more evident in this companion novel. He simply doesn’t know how to deal with what he did and what happened to him. His guilt and remorse are eating him up from the inside out, but thankfully he has a supportive family and group of friends to help him. I love his uncle Larry for this reason. Larry is encouraging, enthusiastic, and supportive without being over-bearing. He’s a gem of a character and so much fun to read. My one minor qualm with Living with Jackie Chan is that it felt a little long. Towards the end I was ready for Josh to heal and stop being so remorseful; his narration and feelings began to feel repetitive. Despite that, I really liked this book and am looking forward to sharing it with my students.

New MoneyTitle: New Money: A Novel

Author: Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (Thomas Dunne Books)

Source: NetGalley

Summary (From Goodreads):

A young Southern woman of modest means suddenly finds herself thrust into New York’s high society when she discovers that she is the illegitimate daughter of a recently-deceased billionaire.

Savannah Morgan had high hopes. She dreamed of becoming a writer and escaping her South Carolina town, where snooty debutantes have always looked down on her. But at twenty-four, she’s become a frustrated ex-cheerleader who lives with her mother and wonders if rejecting a marriage proposal was a terrible mistake. Then Savannah’s world is shaken when she learns the father she never knew is Edward Stone, a billionaire media mogul who has left Savannah his fortune on the condition that she move to Manhattan and work at his global news corporation. Putting aside her mother’s disapproval, Savannah plunges into a life of wealth and luxury that is threatened by Edward’s other children—the infuriatingly arrogant Ned and his sharp-tongued sister, Caroline, whose joint mission is to get rid of Savannah. She deals with their treachery along with her complicated love life, and she eventually has to decide between Jack, a smooth and charming real estate executive, and Alex, a handsome aspiring writer/actor. Savannah must navigate a thrilling but dangerous city while trying to figure out what kind of man her father truly was.

NEW MONEY is a keenly observed and exciting peek into a world of privilege and glamour with a spirited and charming heroine at its center.

Flash Review: New Money is Lorraine Zago Rosenthal’s sophomore release. Her debut was YA, but I would consider this to be New Adult/chick (women’s) lit. If you’re looking for a New Adult novel that isn’t a “junior romance novel,” then New Money is for you. (There is, however, romance in the story, just not a gratuitous amount of it.)

Something I really enjoyed while reading New Money is that it felt like I was watching a movie or a television drama. The characters are easy to imagine and the narration and dialogue read smoothly like characters on screen would. When I told my students about this book, they told me it sounds like Hart of Dixie which stars Rachel Bilson. It would be fun to see these characters come to life, although I did have a hard time liking Savannah at times. She’s navigating this new life and begins to forget who she is and where she comes from, as I’m sure many people in her position would. Rosenthal has written characters readers will cheer for and characters readers will despise. It’s these characters that kept me engaged. The story is sweet, and while I predicted some of the events that took place, I still wanted to read to the end to know the fate of each character. Savannah is beyond college, but I still think my high school students will enjoy her story, so I plan on buying a copy of New Money for my classroom.

As always, thank you for the Flash Reviews idea, GreenBeanTeenQueen!

My Summer 2013 TBR List


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

I haven’t written a Top Ten Tuesday post since April!  I’m glad it’s finally summer so I can make more time to blog and read.  Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about the summer reads at the top of our list.  There are more books that I want to read this summer than I can possibly list, so I’m going to break this down into a few different categories and include more than ten books.

Backlist Titles (Released in 2012 or earlier):

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles (Goodreads)–I’ve had this on to-read lists like this before, but I still haven’t read it.  There’s really no excuse, especially since it’s so popular in my classroom.

The Gray Wolf Throne & The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima (Goodreads)–I’m cheating and making two books count as one since I need to finish this series.

Fingerprints of You by Kristen-Paige Madonia (Goodreads)–I haven’t read many reviews for this one, but I remember seeing it at Barnes & Noble last summer, being drawn to the cover, and reading the first chapter in the store.  I knew I was going to like it, but I didn’t buy it (so stupid).  After that I didn’t see it at the store again.  One way or another I was chatting with Kelly @ Stacked about this title and she offered to give me her copy 🙂  I’m confident that my students and I will like this debut.

Jumping Off SwingsThe Gray Wolf ThroneThe Crimson CrownFingerprints of You

Recent Releases (Released in 2013):

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (Goodreads): Before the release of The 5th Wave, I posted the book trailers made to advertise it.  My students were hooked; I had to create a waiting list.  I ordered a copy and when it arrived I read the first couple chapters.  I’m hooked as well.

Over You by Amy Reed (Goodreads): I have a couple of Amy Reed’s books in my classroom, but I’ve never had the chance to read them since they’re always checked out.  I’ve read the first forty pages of Over You, and even though I’m still getting used to the writing style for it, I really like the story.  I’m looking forward to finishing this over the summer.

Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin (Goodreads): It’s summertime, so I should read a summery book, right? 🙂

The 5th WaveStyle: "Porcelain vivid"Rules of Summer

Upcoming Releases (2013 ARCs):

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles (Goodreads): Jillian @ Heise Reads and Recommends is a wonderful friend.  She’s even more wonderful for sending me her ARC to read 🙂

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller (Goodreads): If you know how much I LOVE Trish’s debut, Something Like Normal, then you can understand why I’m excited to read her sophomore release.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (Goodreads): Did I mention how wonderful Jillian is? 😉  I’ve been wanting to read this since that crazy last page of The Raven Boys.  I love it when friends share!

Wild CardsWhere the Stars Still ShineThe Dream Thieves

NetGalley Titles:

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan (Goodreads): This August release has so many aspects to it that make it intriguing. It’s LGBT, it has Iranian characters, and so much more. I hope it’s as good as it sounds!

Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles (Goodreads): Jo Knowles makes my list twice and it’s because she’s a great author!  It’s told from a guy’s point of view, it deals with teen pregnancy, and I’ve already heard awesome things about it. This releases in September.

New Money by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal (Goodreads): I loved Lorraine’s debut, Other Words for Love, so I jumped at the opportunity to read her New Adult release, New Money.

If You Could Be MineLiving with Jackie ChanNew Money

3rd Hour Book Love

I’ve posted the results from both of my Honors Sophomore Seminar classes and today I’m posting the results from my English 10 class.  Almost all of the students I have in this class I had last year when they were freshman, so it’s fun having them again and seeing their list of favorite books read in 2012.  Quite a bit of discussion, surprise, and debate was created when I shared the list.  Some of them were very passionate about their favorites and the recognition they feel those books deserve.

As a reminder, the titles my students chose are titles they read in 2012 and feel are award-worthy.

1st Hour Book Love / 2nd Hour Book Love

Top Choice: The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
**I’m slightly surprised to see this as a top choice again.**

The Hunger Games

What students said about The Hunger Games trilogy (Goodreads):

“It’s very gripping.” -Nathan
“I like that it’s different.” -Ciara
“I loved all the action.” -Todd

Honorary Titles:

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach (Goodreads)
**I have more guys than girls in class, many of which play football, so I’m not surprised to see this title on the list :)**

Stupid Fast

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer (Goodreads)
**I’m surprised this is on the list because my copies of the series have been collecting dust and taking up space.**

Breaking Dawn

The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner (Goodreads)

“It’s an overall great story because you can actually feel the emotions.” –I wish I remembered which student said this…

The Pull of Gravity paperback

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles (Goodreads)
**Not as many students in class knew about Jumping Off Swings, so a few students took time to book talk it which sparked some new interest.**

Jumping Off Swings

Nightshade trilogy by Andrea Cremer (Goodreads)
**So many of the girls in this class are sharing and loving this series.**


Gym Candy by Carl Deuker (Goodreads)
**The guys in my classes request this book the most, especially my sports players. They love Carl Deuker’s books.”

“I like it because of all the expectations the main character faces and how he reacts to them.” -Jake

Gym Candy

The Duff by Kody Keplinger (Goodreads)
**There was some shock that Shut Out didn’t make the list.**


Paranormalcy trilogy by Kiersten White (Goodreads)


Boy21 by Matthew Quick (Goodreads)
*At first this wasn’t on the list, but I found out that’s because they didn’t think they could include a read aloud book. I was told to add it to the list because it’s a great book.**


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