All the Recs, Bonus Content

If You Liked That, Try This: Contemporary Romance Edition

Hello, fellow booklovers! For today’s post, I’ve decided to suggest books similar to those you’ve already read and loved. Since we’re in the throes of summer, I decided to start this bonus content series off with a list of YA contemporary romances — my go-to genre for summer reading! Let’s jump right into this thing, y’all!

If you liked To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, try Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

While this may seem like an out-there pick, I promise there’s a method to my madness! Eleanor & Park combines the elements of quirky and flawed characters we can’t help but love while also tackling the complicated topic of a person’s first time falling in love. Not only that, but both To All the Boys and Eleanor & Park do so in a realistic way as opposed to idealizing life and love like a lot of other YA contemporaries tend to do, making them that much more relatable to their audience.

If you liked Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, try Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welsh.

One of the parts of Anna and the French Kiss readers can’t help but love is the protagonist traveling abroad and finding themselves in a country that’s completely new to them. If you were one of these readers, Love & Gelato is going to be right up your alley. Both of these reads also have some pretty sweet romances, and while they weren’t all that realistic at times, I couldn’t help but ship these cute couples. If you’re looking for books that take you on international summer adventures right from the comfort of your own home, definitely check these two beauties out!

If you liked Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, try Just Listen by Sarah Dessen.

If you were a big fan of the playlists Matson included in Since You’ve Been Gone, you are sure to love the musical tie-ins in Just Listen. In addition to this obvious connection, both books highlight two teens who are trying to figure out who they are without the support of their best friends (who have basically become their sisters) behind them. If you’re looking for a similar read to Since You’ve Been Gone that gives you all the feels and has you rooting for the protagonist as they struggle to figure out who they are and become who they want to be, Just Listen might just be the perfect pick-me-up for you!

If you liked Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry, try The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia.

Nowhere But Here is one of those books that has it all: a unique concept, multi-dimensional characters that constantly surprise you, and a whole truckload of romance. If you’re looking for a book with similar features, The Lovely Reckless would be the perfect choice! Similar to Emily and Oz in Nowhere But Here, Frankie and Marco both have tough exteriors as a result of their negative past life experiences, but as they get to know one another, they manage to let their guards down just enough to begin healing. Oh, and did I mention that there’s street racing in The Lovely Reckless? Not exactly the same as the motorcycle club situation in Nowhere But Here, but if you’re an adrenaline junkie (or, like me, live vicariously through fictional characters as they do risky things you’ve never have the guts to do in real life) and are looking for a fix, The Lovely Reckless may do the trick!

If you liked Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines, try The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Until Friday Night and The Problem with Forever both have an element to them that’s rare in YA: the main character refuses to speak after experiencing a traumatic event. While the protagonists in these books come from different backgrounds, their journeys are similar in that they’re both trying to overcome the pasts that have held them back and move forward. While there are romantic interests in both books, the romances are placed on the back burner, which I appreciated because I found the characters’ individual journeys much more compelling than the relationships. If you’re looking for another book that places most of the focus on character development but still have romantic undertones, The Problem with Forever is a good option for you!

If you liked Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi, try Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett.

Awkward first encounters and undeniable connections the protagonists try to pretend don’t exist, but to no avail? Yeah, I’m a big fan, too! While Emergency Contact focuses mostly on communication via text between Penny and Sam and Serious Moonlight on in-person interactions, many of the things we all love about Emergency Contact also ring true in Serious Moonlight: witty characters that are fully aware of their quirks doing their best to adjust to their new-found independence, the characters’ willingness to dream big and go after what they want in life regardless of the struggles it takes to get there, and stunning writing that keeps you hooked from beginning to end.

If you liked My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, try No Place Like Here by Christina June.

As you’ve seen from some of my other posts, My Life Next Door is one of my favorite contemporaries of all time. However, a good many of the elements I fell in love with can also be found in Christina June’s No Place Like Here. If you enjoyed the complex family dynamic in My Life Next Door as well as the sweet romance that blossoms from a strong friendship and mad respect for the other person, No Place Like Here is your cup of tea! I don’t have all that much to share about these because I want you to get to experience the awesomeness that are these two books for yourselves. Trust me when I say you won’t be disappointed with No Place Like Here, especially if you are a My Life Next Door mega-fan like I am!

If you liked The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren, try Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally.

Oddly enough, I was totally shocked that I enjoyed both The Last Thing You Said and Breathe, Annie, Breathe as much as I did, and for similar reasons. Both of these books tackle the tough topic of the protagonist losing someone they were close to unexpectedly, and the guilt they feel about being alive while their loved one is not. In both instances, the person lost was very young at their time of passing, making it that much more difficult for those living to overcome their grief and continue living like the person they lost would have wanted them to. If you liked the fact that the healing of the characters took precedent over the romance that bloomed in The Last Thing You Said, you should definitely give Breathe, Annie, Breathe a shot!

Well, there you have it, folks! I’ve always loved reading these types of posts and seeing what books other readers suggest. Do you have a favorite contemporary that didn’t make the list, or maybe you have an alternative rec for a book I’ve listed above? Let me know below! Until next week, lovelies! 🙂

Bonus Content, Favorites Lists

Blast From the Past: My Favorite Childhood Reads

While I didn’t really start reading for fun until I was in the 8th grade, there are still so many books I remember reading with my family or at school that I look back on fondly. With so many kiddos (and adults!) being stuck at home this summer in need of entertainment, I couldn’t think of a better time to share some of my favorite childhood reads that have stuck with me through the years that you may want to introduce to the littles in your life!

Hearts will ache over 'Flowers for Algernon' story | Arts And ...

I’ll be the first to admit that this may be an odd choice for this list, as it does have some more mature elements to it that most young readers won’t completely understand. However, I couldn’t leave it off because this was a book that I remember reading with my grandmother in elementary school. I always say that reading with others is a great way to bond, and this definitely rings true when it came to my reading Flowers for Algernon. If you know a reader who enjoys books that are emotionally charged and gripping until the end, I highly suggest giving this book a try!

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters.: Steptoe, John.: Books

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters is a story I read in school, and I still remember every detail of it to this day. I appreciate the fact that it gives the reader insight into a culture they may not be as familiar with and provides a universal message that transcends both time and geographical region: kindness reaps reward.

The Trumpet of the Swan: White, E. B, Marcellino, Fred ...

The Trumpet of the Swan was another book I had the opportunity to enjoy with my family. The cast of chitchatting animals (an E. B. White specialty) was such a cute touch, and I loved that this book carried the overarching theme of working with what you are given, but not letting obstacles get in the way of what you’re striving for. I think this is a lesson we could all learn from, as it’s easy to get discouraged and want to give up when you continue to hit road blocks!

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Big Book: Numeroff, Laura Joffe, Bond ...

I know what you’re thinking: EVERYONE loved this book as a kid, and you’re probably right! I remember it being read to me at school on numerous occasions, and I just thought it was such a cute one that it had to make this list. The other books in the series (If You Give a Pig a Party and If You Give a Moose a Muffin are two that come to mind, but there could be more now) are also sure to bring a smile to your face! Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-28 (8580001055886 ...

Whenever my class would take a trip to the school library, I would head straight to the Magic Tree House section. Every one of these books takes the reader on a brand new adventure, and I remember being so excited to see what setting Jack and Annie were going to be whisked away to next as the series went on. If you know of a young reader who loves books full of adventure, I’d highly recommend you read these to them. They are sure to be a hit!

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble®

I’m sure this is not the first time you’ve seen this book come up on a list like this, as it is just that good! Giving and giving selflessly to others is something people of all ages struggle to do, and I think The Giving Tree does an excellent job of explaining this lesson to its readers. The fact that this message could be so well explained in so few words makes this book that much more special and powerful. I recommend this book to literally everyone because the moral that’s at the forefront of The Giving Tree is timeless!

Rainbow Fish Big Book: Pfister, Marcus, James, J Alison ...

While the moral of selflessly sharing with others was a nice backdrop to this book, what I remember the most about The Rainbow Fish are the illustrations. The vibrant colors and the way the sparkly scales added texture to each page made this book extra eye-catching. I think it’s the perfect book to gift your little ones who are just starting to read on their own. It also makes for a great bedtime story for you to read to them! - Anne of Green Gables - Montgomery, L. M. - Livres

In addition to just enjoying Anne’s shenanigans she manages to get herself into, I loved how this book highlights the importance of family, friendship, and working hard to achieve your aspirations. I also appreciated the fact that Anne, like a lot of people, hasn’t had a cookie cutter life — an element of her characterization that many readers will find relatable in one way or another, even if they haven’t experienced exactly what she has. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom eBook: Martin Jr, Bill, John ...

The sing-song voice of this book is what really stood out to me as a child. The overall concept of using a coconut tree to help little ones learn their letters is so genius and by keeping the concept so simple, I think children are better able to understand the educational component of the book because it’s at the forefront of the story rather than being overshadowed by other plot elements. The vibrant colors of the illustrations were also a big hit for me (still a huge fan of all the neons, y’all!).

Charlotte's Web (Trophy Newbery) - Kindle edition by White, E. B. ...

I know I already have a book written by E. B. White on this list, but Charlotte’s Web is one of those books I remember so vividly from my childhood that it would just be so wrong not to include it here! White is well known for tacking tough topics in ways children can understand, and in Charlotte’s Web, he tackled the complex themes of friendship, sacrifice, and coping with death. While I wish I could say that I totally understood this message when I first read it, that would be a total lie. Ultimately, I was drawn in by the adorable talking animals, but I guess that would be a good (and super intentional) distraction to any young reader!

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., Eric ...

I’m so happy to see that this book is still popular today, as it has a lot of things going for it, particularly for very young audiences. I had this book read to me before I could read on my own, and it was not only fun to listen to, but it also provides little ones with a some schooling along the way. If you’re looking for a book that focuses on helping littles connect objects with their meanings and learn their colors, this book would be a perfect choice!

Holes - Kindle edition by Sachar, Louis, Vladimir Radunsky, Bagram ...

I’ll be honest with you all: I had to read this book in 6th grade, and at the time, I just felt like I couldn’t connect with it at all at my age. However, after reading it a couple years later, I began to understand why it’s so well-loved. I also have to admit that I fell in love with the film long before the book (sorry, not sorry) but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that there were so many great things to appreciate about the book alone: well-constructed characters, a unique plotline, and the fact that the writing is beautiful and flowy, but still relatively easy for young readers to understand.

This list could literally go on for days, but I want to hear from you! What books do you remember loving from your childhood?

Bonus Content, Book Tags

The Hamilton Book Tag!

One of the things on my bucket list is to see Hamilton live in New York City, but come this very evening, I’ll get to do the next best thing: watch a recording of the real deal on Disney+ while overindulging in all the snacks and singing along (I’m tone-deaf and don’t even care because HAMILTON) to all my favorite songs. And yes, before you ask, I’m getting Disney+ for the sole purpose of watching this musical (judge me if you want, but I am HYPE!). While there’s nothing like seeing a play in a real theater, let’s celebrate this awesome soon-to-be alternative with a fun book tag!

*Maureen Keavy created this tag, so be sure to head over to her YouTube channel to check her version out!*

I think it would be so much fun to spend some time with Andi and her crew from Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings’ Androma Saga, traveling through the Mirabel galaxy. I already felt like I was on a whirlwind of an adventure while reading it, so actually being there experiencing what the characters were would be pretty cool (err, well, the parts where they were not in harm’s way, that it!).

I could pick so many for this one, but Brienna from Rebecca Ross’s The Queen’s Rising has got to take the cake! She’s so driven and works incredibly hard to achieve what she wants, which for the majority of the book is to study a Passion and learn it well enough to be chosen by a Patron to work alongside. I just find her so likable and relatable, and her tenacity served her well when things didn’t go as planned. I’m hoping more people will be able to see how awesome she is in Book #2, The Queen’s Resistance.

I read the Legend series by Marie Lu years ago (it was one of the first series that got me into reading, actually!), and to this day I don’t think I’ve ever seen another character who is as dedicated to their cause as June was when it came to finding her brother’s killer. At only 15 years old when this series kicks off, June has gone through some pretty tough times, and I can honestly say that she rivals, and, in a lot of ways, surpasses so many of the older protagonists in other books in terms of tenacity and motivation to achieve her goals. Pretty incredible at such a young age, if you ask me!

I guess this depends on your definition on “villain,” but Warner from the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi takes the cake on this one! He’s so snarky, witty, and charming… ughh. Even when you’re hating on him for being a complete JERK, you still can’t help put feel a twinge of love mixed in there as well! He also has some of the most legendary comebacks of all time, and while I shouldn’t have laughed when he was roasting everyone, I just couldn’t help myself!

This one was a hard one for me because I’ve marathoned a lot of great series, but I think the one that’s the most impressive is the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Somehow I managed to read all six books in under a week. To this day, I have no idea how I managed to do it, but I guess that goes to show you how great of a series it is!

I really enjoyed Rhen and Harper’s alternating perspectives in Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely. It was cool to see what was going on in both of their heads considering the circumstance they met under were less than ideal, and I thought it was really fun seeing what Rhen and Harper thought of each other and how those feelings shifted from each of their perspectives (no spoilers, friends! You’ll have to read it for yourselves!).

I know there are lots of Potterheads out there that probably want to punch me for not choosing Harry Potter for this one, but I wanted to be more original than that (and, well, ya see, I haven’t read Harry Potter….), so I’m going to go with the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan! One of the things that I think makes this series stand out is that even though it’s technically classified as middle grade, readers across the age spectrum continue to have so much fun giving Percy Jackson a read. Plus, Greek mythology will never go out of style, right?





While slightly unconventional, I have to go with Lysandra killing Arobynn Hamel in Sarah J. Maas’ Queen of Shadows. I mean sure, she killed him while he was sleeping, but that man NEEDED TO GO, and it was certainly one of the most satisfying moments of the entire Throne of Glass series for me. It was also one of the first times we really see Lysandra start to fight back against those who made her past pretty miserable, so while it may not have been a true, all-out fight on a battlefield, I think the internal wishy-washi-ness faced by the characters involved in plotting and executing Arobynn’s death still satisfies the “fight scene” aspect of this category!

Whenever I need a little pick-me-up, I always reach for any of the books in Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series. They’re just so sweet, fluffy, and entertaining, and I don’t have to think really hard about the plot– I can just kick back and enjoy the story!

I don’t usually wish that there were more books in a series, but I do find myself wishing that some standalones had sequels (weird, right?). However, there is one series that I’d really like to see more of, and that is the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie. I still remember reading this WAY BACK in 2014, and I loved every moment of it. I would pay big money to get another book in this series because I’d really like to know what kinds of trouble Cassia, Xander, and Ky are getting up to years after their original stories came to a close!

Most BROTPs consist of just two people, but I can’t resist assigning Rhysand, Cassian, and Azriel from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas to this one. Not only do they make a dynamite team, but they’ve also been through so many dark times together, which have only managed to bring them closer together. Unlike the very serious interactions they have with almost everyone else, these guys are always goofing off and making fun of one another when they’re together (err, when they aren’t busy saving Valaris, that is!).

My answer for this one totally has to be the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. For some reason, I decided to read four or five of her other works before I finally decided to pick this series up, and boy was I kicking myself for waiting so long when I finished it YEARS after it came out because it was SO GOOD!





No death hit me harder than that of The Thirteen from the Throne of Glass series. Since (I hope) you’ve read it if you’re reading this, I’m not going to elaborate on what went down and relive this terribly heartbreaking moment for myself or you all, but I really hope I’m not the only one who cried all the ugly tears when reading their death scene!





Without a doubt when Roth gets sent back into Hell. I mean, yeah, he comes back and he and Layla get their happily ever after, but my heart FREAKING BROKE in the interim because I was convinced he was gone for good!

One plot twist? How about like a million all thrown in at one time (not to mention all the itty bitty ones scattered throughout the book) that managed to give me miniature heart attacks? Yeah, you guessed it– I’m talking about Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, the second book in the Six of Crows duology! I swear Kaz has to be some evil mastermind with all the tricks he has up his sleeve, but I couldn’t help but love every plot twist that was thrown my way over the course of this book!

QOTD: Are you going to be watching Hamilton in the very near future, too, or maybe you’ve already had the chance to go see it live? What did you think? Did it live up to the hype?

I’m encourage anyone who wants to do this tag to go for it! Or, if you’ve already done it, drop your links below so I can check out your answers!

A Few Updates, Bonus Content

Why I Started Blogging

Literally my favorite shirt ever! Purchased the JLA Lux/Origin box and this shirt was included.

I know you guys have been used to recommendations and/or tips going up each week as bonus content, but I wanted to try something different this go round. For this week’s post, I’ve decided to go for a more discussion-like vibe where I tell you all a little bit more about me, beginning with why I decided to start my own book blog in the first place.

There are honestly tons of reasons why I made the decision to start this blog, but the main reason is that I wanted to create a space where readers could feel at home and have a convenient, welcoming place to go when looking for recommendations, reviews, and other bookish content. I have my bookstagram and Goodreads accounts that I love dearly, but having this blog as my own platform has allowed me to not only continue sharing my love of reading, but has also given me the chance to put out additional content for fellow readers they may find helpful outside my normal review and photo scope.

When all of my schooling is complete, I would love to either become a literary agent or work in a managing editorial capacity at a book publishing house. What this has to do with blogging, you ask? Well, for one, it keeps me writing. While I don’t necessarily want to write a novel myself, I think it’s important to keep honing crafts you may need down the line, and this blog has given me the opportunity to write about one of my biggest passions: literature! Having my own platform also gives me some professional credibility. Regardless of how many people read my blog posts each week, employers and other book publishing industry professionals can tell how much I love books and reading by just glancing at my posts, as well as get a sense of who I am through my writing style and the kinds of content I put out into the world.

Trust me when I say that I have had my fair share of days where I’ve had no idea what exactly to write about and post for the week. But what I’ve learned from this experience thus far it it’s okay not to always know exactly what you’re going to post. All that matters is that I put together quality content that I know will be of assistance to someone out there, and knowing that this platform has the power to do that has made the experience that much more rewarding!

QOTD: Have you started your own blog, or maybe you follow some pretty rad ones? Leave me links below! I’d love to check out what others are writing about. 🙂

Bonus Content, Bookish Tips

How to Find More Time to Read

Between work, school, and all the other responsibilities that come along with adulthood, I can attest to the fact that it can be really hard to find time in each day to curl up with a good book. But, by the same token, nobody wants to feel like they have to force themselves to read a book they’re supposed to be reading for fun. In this post, I’m going to share some of my favorite tips on how to keep yourself reading, but in a way that makes it not feel like work!

Read a Little at a Time

This is one of my favorite tricks in the book (no pun intended) because even if you can only get through a chapter or so at a time, you’re still taking the time to read something! They do say slow and steady wins the race, and a little at a time is better than nothing at all. And, this effort racks up. Think of it this way: if you read two chapters a day for a week, you’ll have made it through a good chunk of your current read, and a month into this process, you may have finished two or three whole books!


I know there have been whole debates on whether or not listening to audiobooks constitutes true “reading,” but I am Team Audiobook all the way and totally think they count! The best part? You can literally listen to them almost anywhere! All you have to do is download your favorite audiobook app, pop in your earbuds, and press play, and you’re reading, just through the ears rather than through the eyes! This is the perfect option to keep folks with long commutes to work or school reading when physical books aren’t an option, and a great use of the time you would normally spend (if you’re like me) pondering world affairs or twiddling your thumbs!

Always Carry a Book

I know so many of you all are probably thinking, “What? Why would you ever leave the house without a book?” More often that I’d like to admit, I leave my current read at home because I think I won’t have time during the day to read any of it. But, sometimes the best laid plans don’t work out and you’re thrown a curveball, leaving you with a broken down car on the side of the interstate on your commute home (yes, this happened to me) and this new-found time is perfect for a little light reading to keep you company. Learn from my experience and just keep a book handy when you go out. That way, you have an activity to fall back on when you hit an unexpected snag.

Join a Book Club

This method reminds me a lot of working out — you’ll find more time in the day to sweat it out (or, in this case, read it out) when you interact with other people who are doing the same thing! While I’m not a part of any formal book clubs, so many of my book-loving friends have told me that reading and talking books with others motivates them to find the time to read themselves. Plus, a book club also puts you on a relatively structured schedule, as you’ll be reading to a certain chapter before your meetings, and you’ll definitely want to keep up with the group so you aren’t spoiled by your fellow book clubbers!

Make a Reading Goal

As someone who is SUPER achievement-oriented and hates ending a day without feeling some sense of accomplishment, setting a reading goal for myself is an absolute must! With my varying schedule, I stick with making a yearly goal where I challenge myself to read a certain number of books by the end of the year, but you can totally customize this tip to your own needs. Maybe making weekly or monthly goals is more your style, or basing your reading goal success on a certain number of pages read better suits your lifestyle. Regardless of what your goal ends up being, just having one to actively strive towards will likely be just the incentive you need to keep you reading on a more routine basis.

Reallocate Your Free Time

We’re all guilty of sitting in front of the TV or scrolling through our news feeds for what feels like five minutes, but when we finally look up at the clock, a huge chunk of time has passed us by! If you’re looking for more time in the day to read, consider being more aware of how much time you spend each day on these mindless activities, and reallocating some of that time to reading. While I certainly don’t suggest eliminating these hobbies completely (I’m totally a Food Network and HGTV addict, myself), I think you’ll be shocked to see how many pages you can get through if you dedicate just a small portion of this time to your current read.

Rise and Shine with a Little B&B

Why not swap out your morning news watching with a little book reading while you eat breakfast in the morning? Even if you aren’t a morning person, reading a little bit of a book you’ve been enjoying first thing is sure to help you start your day off on the right foot! And, if you’re really digging this tip, consider setting your alarm for 30 minutes of so earlier than normal. That way if the chapter you end on is a total cliffhanger, you can use this extra time to find out what happens next instead of worrying/obsessing about it all day like I would be!

It’s Okay to Take Breaks

It’s totally possible to have too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to reading! Forcing yourself to read when you really just aren’t in the mood will not only make the experience less enjoyable, but you could end up setting a book aside unfinished that ordinarily, you would have loved. If you’re anything like me, then it’s unlikely you’d ever pick that book again and could be missing out on how good it really is. This being said, make sure you aren’t pushing yourself too hard! Sometimes our schedules are freer than others, so take advantage of the free time when you have it, but don’t panic when you don’t.

QOTD: When do you do most of your reading? I think most of mine happens in the evenings and on weekends, but I wish I had more time in the day to devote to a good book!

All the Recs, Bonus Content

8 Books Sure to Put You in the Summer Spirit

There’s nothing I find more relaxing than sitting in the sunshine with my nose in a good book. With summer quickly approaching, I couldn’t think of a better time than now to throw some summery book recommendations your way! Regardless of if you’re about to head out on an island getaway or just enjoying the warmer days from your own backyard, here are some books that are sure to make the perfect companion for your summer adventures!

1) Moonglass by Jessi Kirby Moonglass (9781442416956): Kirby, Jessi: Books

I chose Moonglass for this list because it’s an emotional, raw, hit-you-in-the-feels contemporary with a stunning beach setting– a setting that provides so much comfort to our main character, Anna. While moving to the area was hard on her, I love that Anna starts to embrace her new home as she learns more about how important the area was to her mother, who she lost unexpectedly ten years earlier. While a super sweet romance was also blossoming in the background, I appreciated that the majority of the book focused on the importance of remaining connected to loved ones who have passed and rekindling relationships with those you’ve drifted away from. Overall, I really enjoyed all this book had to offer, and it just seems fitting that it be read in the summer months!

2) This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This Is What Happy Looks Like (This is What Happy Looks Like, #1)

Can we all just take a moment and appreciate how simple and sweet this cover it? In addition to the setting being a quaint little town in the summertime and the characters taking advantage of all the fun that comes along with the season, I specifically chose This Is What Happy Looks Like for this list because Smith’s writing is so captivating, poetic, and reads so beautifully. There’s just something about the fluidity of her words that blend in so well with the aspects of summer that are at the forefront of this book. In all honestly, I really can’t think of another book that better fits the description of “summer pick-me-up” than this gem!

3) The Beholder by Anna Bright The Beholder (9780062845429): Bright, Anna: Books

There’s something about loose fairytale retellings that draw me in during the summer months. The Beholder just might be my favorite to date, though, because it’s got a little bit of everything I look for to keep me enthralled in a fantasy: a strong female lead who, while understandably kind of a hot mess, always manages to find the strength to keep going, undertones of the Odyssey, and even a little romance thrown in. If you’re missing your weekly episodes of “The Bachelorette” while they’re in the off-season, this book may just be the perfect alternative to help you pass the time, as Selah is the star of her own version of the show, just in literary form and, well, ya know, there being a dash of magic thrown into the mix!

4) What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick What I Thought Was True (9780803739093): Fitzpatrick ...

I chose What I Thought Was True for this list because the overall theme of mending bridges is at the forefront. What better time than summer to take the opportunity to learn to forgive and rekindle a relationship with someone you were once close to? This is exactly what Gwen spends her summer doing on her homeland of Seashell Island, in addition to trying to figure out what she wants out of life after graduating from high school. A lot of big decisions are made in the summer, and this book would be the perfect read for high school and college seniors who are fixing to start new journeys of their own. Maybe they’ll even realize that they have some relationships mending to do themselves before they venture off to begin their new chapters of life!

5) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir An Ember in the Ashes (9781432850340): Tahir, Sabaa: Books

I’m not really sure why this book screams “summer” to me, but somehow I just can’t imagine reading this fantasy novel in any other season! Maybe it’s because in a lot of ways, this book is the total opposite of what I would use to describe summertime– pretty dark, cold, gloomy, and slightly depressing, at times. But, the adventures these characters set out on are super action-packed and suspenseful, so even if you can’t go on one of your own this summer, you’ll be able to escape from the real world for awhile when reading An Ember in the Ashes!

6) The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever

I find that some of the most grand summertime adventures don’t have to take you someplace new. For some people, like Macy the Perfectionist, your not-so-fun but oh-so-important trials may take place right at home. I loved that this book was all about how taking advantage of new opportunities that are outside your comfort zone help you discover so many new things about yourself you never knew existed. It’s also a testament to how surrounding yourself with good people can help heal old wounds. The sweet romance that blossomed in this book was just the icing on the cake to make this one of my favorite summer reads to date!

7) Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Since You've Been Gone

While I could have picked literally any of Morgan Matson’s books for this list because she’s the QUEEN of summery contemporaries, I chose Since You’ve Been Gone because its premise is very different from those of her other books. This book has less emphasis on romance, and more on the importance of personal growth and independence from those we tend to use as a crutch to avoid challenging ourselves. I absolutely adored all of the summertime activities on the list Sloan left Emily to help push her out of her comfort zone and how Emily seemed to embrace the whole experience, even though I would have found quite a few of the activities listed terrifying myself! I was so engrossed in this compelling story that at times, I felt like I was accompanying Emily on her escapades, which was so much fun to experience! Overall, I just felt like all the working pieces of this book fit the mold of summer to a T, and I think a lot of readers will be able to relate to Emily’s journey of breaking out of her shell at a really critical time in her life.

8) Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welsh Love & Gelato (9781481432559): Welch, Jenna Evans: Books

Love and Gelato is the perfect summertime read, with is gorgeous Italian setting, whimsical descriptions of all the country has to offer, and the adorable bond that forms between Ren and Lina as they scramble to uncover a hidden secret about Lina’s family. This books stands out from other contemporaries in that it’s such a quick, fun, and enjoyable read and while it does have some emotional moments in it, the focus remains on all the good life has to offer! Not only will this book lift your spirits when you’re feeling down, but it will totally convince you to bite the bullet and take your own summer trip abroad!

I hope you all find this list helpful as we head into the summer months! What are some of your go-to summer reads? Let me know below!

Bonus Content, Favorites Lists

If They Write It, I’m Reading It: My Top 8 Auto-Buy Authors

Do you ever find yourself reading a book just because a certain author wrote it? Whether it’s their writing style, ability to create the most relatable characters, or the insane plot twists that leave you reeling, you just can’t stop yourself from picking up their latest and greatest as soon as it’s released. I can totally relate, so I thought I’d share my current list of auto-buy authors with you all today!

Jennifer L. Armentrout

There’s no way JLA wouldn’t make this list, considering she’s the writer who got me into reading. I marathoned the entire Convenant series in less than a week, and from then on I was hooked on her writing style, characters, and the terrible (but also fabulous) cliffhangers she manages to throw readers at the end of so many of her books. I’m definitely a JLA superfan, and it’s likely if you ever ask me for a book recommendation, there’s a solid 98% chance I’m going to recommend one of her books to you if you haven’t read anything by her before– you’re welcome.

Ryan Graudin

One of the things I love so much about Ryan Graudin’s writing is that there really is something in each of her works for everyone. She’s hit on time travel, motorcycle racing, and her books almost always have a little dash of history thrown into her fantastical worlds. Regardless of which book of hers you pick up, one thing’s for sure: in addition to having unique overall concepts, Graudin’s execution of said concepts in each of her books is always spot on and keeps the reader on their toes from beginning to end.

Huntley Fitzpatrick

Huntley Fitzpatrick writes hard-hitting, emotional story lines for her characters to walk through while simultaneous creating these characters with some of the most charismatic personalities I think I’ve ever seen in YA contemporaries. There’s just something about the combination of the two that manages to lure me in every time. I can still remember My Life Next Door in vivid detail, and it’s almost always my go-to when someone asks me for a contemporary recommendation. So, even though you aren’t asking, give this book a try if you haven’t read it yet, and if you love it, then definitely check out some of Fitzpatrick’s other masterpieces!

Leigh Bardugo

I forget how much I love Leigh Bardugo’s writing until I pick up her latest releases (with the exception of Six of Crows duology because it still has me SHOOK years after I read it). In the moment, I love the adventures she takes her readers on, and the characters always have such unique voices and distinct backgrounds that influence how they became the way they are. And when the next book in the series comes out at least a year later, I somehow manage to know as soon as I start reading the newest book exactly where the previous one left off, no matter how long ago I read it, with all the smaller details falling into place shortly after. Pretty amazing, right? Yeah, that’s why she made this auto-buy author list– her stories stick with you.

Morgan Matson

There’s something just so sweet and charming about all of Morgan Matson’s books that keep me coming back for more. In addition to the romantic components, there’s always some kind of family and/or friendship dynamic at the forefront of all her stories. There’s also usually at least one super cute pet involved, which is totally an added bonus for all the animal lover (like myself) out there!

Mackenzi Lee

If you need a good laugh, Mackenzi Lee’s books are the way to go, let me tell ya! Her writing style is so quirky and fun, and the dialogue she creates between her flawed characters is hilarious (and kind of inappropriate at times, but I love it!). I have no idea how she does it while simultaneously targeting key social issues, but because of all these things, I will forever be picking up her books!

Jenn Bennett

This author is actually a recent addition to my auto-buy list! I received an advanced reader copy of her latest publication, Serious Moonlight, and since then, I’ve purchased her other two books and really enjoyed them. I love contemporary romances that have unique concepts and other elements that make them stand out from the crowd, and Jenn Bennett is now my go-to when I need to spice up my reading in this genre.

Sarah J. Maas

I can honestly say that there hasn’t been one book written by Sarah J. Maas that I’ve haven’t loved, even when she’s breaking my heart into teeny tiny little pieces and continually plotting how to do so over and over again every time she sits down to write. Don’t let that deter you from reading her books, though– I swear they’re so good and it’s totally worth it every time! Her world-building is off the Richter amazing and you can’t help but love each and every one of her characters (or, in some cases, love to hate them!).

Do you have an auto-buy author that didn’t make the list? Let me know below!

Bonus Content, Bookish Tips

8 Tips for Pulling Yourself Out of a Reading Slump

No matter how much of an avid reader you are, it’s likely you’ve hit a point where all of the sudden, you just can’t fathom picking up another book. Or maybe you’ve cracked open five, but give up after a few pages into each of them because you can’t seem to find the motivation to keep reading. Regardless of whether your reading slump lasts a week, a few months, or even a year or two, it can be disheartening and really frustrating to work through. Lucky for you, I’ve got some tips to help you rekindle your love of reading so you can get back to putting a dent in your TBR pile!

Take a Trip to the Bookstore

Ahh, yes. This is personally one of my favorite methods of making your reading slump a thing of the past! You may have astronomically long TBRs and so many books on our bookshelves at home that we haven’t read yet. However, sometimes it’s best to just walk through your local bookstore and pick up something new that catches your eye. I would also suggest this approach to anyone who feels totally bummed out by their lack of motivation to read. For some reason, I find bookstores to be some of the most calming and centering places on earth, so this option could also help you refocus your energy!

Re-Read One of Your All-Time Favorites

What better way is there to find the motivation to read again than by picking up one of the books that made you love it in the first place? Sometimes it takes going back to your roots and reading a story that captured your heart once before to help you work through a reading slump. And if you’re like me and need to narrow down the playing field of your all-time favorite reads a little more, consider giving any book written by one of your favorite authors a shot!

Read a Book Outside Your Normal Wheelhouse

Typically a high fantasy reader? Maybe it’s time to branch out and pick up a contemporary. Sometimes reading a bunch of books in a particular genre can cause you to burn out. If you think this may be the cause of your reading slump, try a different genre, or maybe even take this a step further by replacing your love for YA with an adult or new adult novel. Switching things up may help your brain “rewire” itself so that you can go back to reading what you usually love to in no time! Who knows? You may love this “replacement” genre equally as well as your usual reads!

Find a Change of Scenery

It’s human nature to fall into a pattern of doing certain things in the same place every time. Heck, I sit in the same chair at the dining room table for every meal I eat! If you’re in a reading slump, it may be a good idea to leave your usual reading spot and find a new one instead. I’ve found that this method works best for people who tend to read almost exclusively inside– be adventurous and sit outside on a nice day rather than staying cooped up in the house. A little fresh air does the body good, and a good book will take care of the rest!

Reorganize Your Bookshelves

Even if you aren’t in the mood to read, taking some time to give your bookshelves a face lift will keep you connected to your love of books. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even find a hidden gem in the mix that you forgot about that’ll pull you right out of your reading slump!

Pick a Different Format

We all have our own preferred formats of literature. You’re probably thinking, “What does it matter? The words are the same regardless of formatting.” While this is true, reading too many of any one format consecutively could lead you into a slump due to your brain and eyes not getting a much-needed change of pace. Try swapping that paperback out for a digital version of the same book on an e-reader to spice things up!

Talk Books, Don’t Read Them

This one sounds totally crazy, I know, but instead of sitting down with a book and reading it, try talking to some friends about all things books or checking out some new Bookstagram/BookTube accounts. Hearing about the kinds of things others are reading might just persuade you to give a book you wouldn’t have picked up yourself a try! While it doesn’t necessarily keep you reading, this method does help you say involved in the bookish community, which is full of people who have struggled through reading slumps themselves and totally feel your pain!

Just Wait It Out

Everyone’s brain needs to take a time-out. It’s important to remember that reading should be a fun activity and not something you should feel forced into doing, so read at your own pace and take some time away when you need to. All the books will be anxiously awaiting your return when you’re ready to dive back in!

I hope these tips help you work through your next reading slump! Do you a method I didn’t include that helps you? Let me know below!

Bonus Content, Favorites Lists

Top 12 Eye-Catching Book Covers That Are Sure to Lure You In

We’ve all heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but let’s be honest: a gorgeous cover is a sure-fire way to draw any avid reader in. Whether it be bright colors, metallic detail, or even something as simple as a unique font, we’re here for it! Here are some of my personal favorites that would be hard for any book lover to resist. And, if you’re like me and just HAVE to have these pretties on your bookshelf, purchase links are attached to all the photos!

#1: The Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

Bonus: The pages of the hardcover editions are SPRAYED. So cool, right?

#2: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Hazel Wood (Hardcover) (Melissa Albert) : Target
Fun fact: This was one of the books I didn’t end up finishing (just wasn’t my cup of tea, but a lot of people love it!). I’m not too upset about buying it though because the cover is absolutely stunning with its metallic gold detailing and whimsical images!

#3: The Cursebreakers Series by Brigid Kemmerer The Cursebreaker Series 2 Books Collection Set by ...
This book series isn’t just pretty to look at– it’s one of my favorite series of 2020 so far! You’ll have to pick this one up in person to do it justice, but the pearly, iridescent lettering really makes these covers pop!

#4: Wicked/Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire (Barnes and Noble Exclusive Edition)

Wicked/Son of a Witch (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions)
I fell in love with the metallic lime green details and the metallic gold sprayed edges on this one!

#5: Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
Not only are the colors on this cover as vibrant in person as they are in this picture, but the title is actually 3-D rather than just looking textured!

#6: The Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

This is one of the best series I have ever read, reveal me ...
I don’t know about you guys, but I think these covers get prettier and prettier as the series goes on! The best news? Regardless of if they’re in hardcover or paperback, the covers are equally as pleasing to the eye (yeah, pun intended).

#7: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1) by Sarah J. Maas
STUNNING cover and a captivating read to boot? Yeah, I think this cover is worthy of the queen of fantasy herself! I also love the illustrations on the inside of the cover. They’re just as vibrant as the outside cover!

#8: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

This one just screams “happy happy happy” to me. The vibrant colors and images on the cover perfectly sum up what this book is all about, and just like with the words within it, I just can’t help but love its cover, too!

#9: Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I could be a little biased here, given that this is one of my favorite books of all time, but I just love the textured look of the feathers and the font on this one!

#10: Save the Date by Morgan Matson Save the Date (9781481404570): Matson, Morgan: Books
I just think this one is so innovative! This cover also encompasses one of the most iconic (and chaotic) moments in the whole book. Love all the moving parts on this one!

#11: The Montague Siblings Series by Mackenzi Lee

In addition to the unique font, the little cartoon drawings in the background just make this cover so much fun to look at!

#12: The Passenger Series by Alexandra Bracken

These covers are full of intricate detail, from the images in the glass containers down to the reflection at the bottom.

Do you have a favorite that didn’t make the list? Let me know below! One thing’s for sure: there are too many stunning book covers to count!