Thanks to icebreaker694 for tagging me in this post. Like icebreaker694, I am not a coffee drinker, but I think I’ve got this.
BLACK: A SERIES THAT’S TOUGH TO GET INTO BUT HAS HARDCORE FANS
- The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Seriously, these books (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order) are frustrating for readers because Dashner builds suspense by only giving teeny, tiny bits of information. The first book starts with Thomas arriving in a place called the Glade. He has no memory of how he got there or memories of life before the Glade. An organized community of boys live in the Glade. Each day, some of the boys venture out into a giant maze in order to find an escape route from this strange place–but they must return before nightfall. Massive doors keep the Glade protected from disgusting, mechanical slug creatures called Grievers that would kill the boys. Their strange, though structured way of life is soon interrupted when a girl shows up in the Glade–and she appears to know Thomas. You’ll be scratching your head as you read. While I wouldn’t call myself a big fan of the series, I did read ALL FOUR books because I had to know what on earth was going on!
PEPPERMINT MOCHA: A BOOK THAT GETS MORE POPULAR DURING THE WINTER OR A FESTIVE TIME OF YEAR
The Christmas Story, of course. There are countless versions of the birth of Jesus, but a favorite at our house is Baby Blessings Christmas. We read this book so many times that I have it memorized! “An angel said to Mary, you are God’s chosen one, to be the mother of his child, his one and only son…” I like the rhythm and rhyme of this book. It’s definitely great for little kids. It’s a board book too, so it’s nice and sturdy for babies and toddlers.
HOT CHOCOLATE: A FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK
- Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees
This book was published in 2001, so it wasn’t around when I was a child, but it is one of my favorite books to read to my daughter. I love the rhythm of this silly book about a giraffe named Gerald who attends the yearly Jungle Dance, only to be laughed at by the other animals for not being a good dancer. He walks away sadly, but a kind cricket gives him some advice that maybe Gerald just hasn’t found the right song yet. In the end, Gerald finds the music and the moves and the other animals are impressed! I talk about it more here.
DOUBLE SHOT OF ESPRESSO: A BOOK THAT KEPT YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT FROM START TO FINISH
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My knowledge and experience of video games and role playing games is practically nonexistent, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this sci-fi book. This book imagines a world where reality has become so depressing that people mostly spend time online as avatars. They go on quests, play games, interact with people, attend school, and conduct business all through impressive computer systems. When the creator of this online community (a programming genius and ’80s pop culture nerd) dies, he sets up the ultimate quest. The main character, Wade, joins millions of others in an epic hunt through all things geeky of the 1980s. I was on the edge of my seat to find out if Wade could defeat the evil, corporate giant. There are tons of references to movies, music, manga, comic books, arcade games, and video games. Oh, and the warning that people shouldn’t only exist online: people need to live in the real world too.
STARBUCKS: A BOOK YOU SEE EVERYWHERE
- The Girls by Emma Cline
This was one of the most popular books of this summer. There was a lot of hype – which is expected when the 25-year-old author signed a three-book deal for a rumored $2 million. The Girls tells the story of a young girl who gets involved with a Manson-like cult. I was intrigued by the cover, the concept, and the hype, but the book didn’t deliver for me. It felt very repetitive and the scenes often felt too short to reveal anything important. While there is a graphic, gory scene near the end, it didn’t really feel like a climax because the readers were already told what was going to happen early on in the book. My biggest problem with the book; however, was that the main character didn’t seem to change or learn a lesson. She has these interesting experiences as a young girl, but doesn’t seem to do anything with her life from that point on. What was the point of it all?
THAT HIPSTER COFFEE SHOP: A BOOK BY AN INDIE AUTHOR (SHOUT OUT)
Um, I can’t think of one. I went through my Goodreads list and I don’t think I’ve read anything by an indie author lately.
OOPS I ACCIDENTALLY GOT DECAF: A BOOK YOU WERE EXPECTING MORE FROM
- Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
This book was being marketed as the next Gone Girl, so I was excited to read it because I read all of Gillian Flynn’s novels and she doesn’t have enough books! But Gone Girl this was not. The author’s writing style was gritty and the narrator was selfish, but it lacked the cleverness of Flynn. It was a bit more amateur. I considered giving up on the book many times, but it seemed like there was foreshadowing of something interesting, so I kept reading. Sadly, I felt there were a lot of missed opportunities in the book and too many loose strings. Don’t be fooled by the marketing! I wouldn’t recommend this novel.
THE PERFECT BLEND: A BOOK OR SERIES THAT WAS BOTH BITTER AND SWEET, BUT ULTIMATELY SATISFYING
- The Sky is Everywhere and also I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Forget about John Green – these are the YA books you should be reading! Both are bitter because the characters are dealing with grief after losing a person who is very important to them. But there is a lot of sweetness as well as the characters gain hope. Sweetness is also shown in some humorous moments and some budding relationships. Nelson’s writing style is relatable and lovely. I read I’ll Give You the Sun first, so that book has my heart, but The Sky is Everywhere was wonderful too. I gush about I’ll Give You the Sun in this post and this one.
GREEN TEA: A BOOK THAT IS QUIETLY BEAUTIFUL
- All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Wow, wow, wow. This book is a must-read. This book covers mental-illness in a way that teens (and adults) can relate to and learn from. Violet, already dealing with the loss of her beloved sister, finds escape and hope with Finch, a classmate who is familiar with darkness. Violet gives him a new lease on life, and he tries his best to stay “awake” for her. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Finch is living with bipolar or some other type of mental-illness. Unfortunately, the people around him are too clueless to get him the help he needs. This book is so on-topic and wonderfully and powerfully written. I cried, I chuckled, I stayed up late reading – I was hooked.
CHAI TEA: A BOOK OR SERIES THAT MAKES YOU DREAM OF FAR OFF PLACES
- Anna and the French Kiss and Isla and The Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
These YA books by Stephanie Perkins are cute, fun reads. In Anna and the French Kiss, Anna is sent to a fancy boarding school in Paris and falls for a super cute boy with a British accent – every girl’s fantasy, right?! In Isla and the Happily Ever After, the characters also attend school in Paris, but there are also moments in New York City and Barcelona. It makes you wish you had the jetset life that the characters in the book have.
EARL GREY: A FAVORITE CLASSIC
- The Giver by Lois Lowry
Ok, so it’s not really that old (it was originally published in 1993), but it’s still a classic to me. Lois Lowry is a phenomenal Young Adult and Middle Grade author. This book focuses on a future that seems to be perfect at first glance. There is no fighting, no war, no greed, and no crime. But the main character, Jonas, soon finds out that his world is missing a lot too – there is very little choice or free will, there is no creativity or individuality, there is no color, there is no love. It’s just a carefully controlled world of sameness. It’s a classic dystopian story that readers of all ages can appreciate. (FYI: It’s completely different and completely 100% better than the movie that was released in 2014. Skip the movie. Read the book!)