My Fall 2017 TBR List

Hello friends!Top Ten TuesdayHappy Tuesday! How is your week coming along? I’m still finding a rhythm — deciding when I study best, navigating the gym and yoga classes, attending rehearsals and club meetings — but I’m slowly getting the swing of things and, more importantly, have plenty to look forward to throughout the semester. The complete control over my schedule is certainly a shift from my high school mindset, but take no complaints from me: it’s my favorite part of college so far.

In my few free hours before class today, for example, I wanted to share my Fall TBR List! These seasonal posts have become somewhat of a tradition, at least on my end; I love scouring Goodreads for the newest releases, and it’s always fun to plan my reading, however loose of an idea, for the season ahead. This time around, I doubt I’ll get to all ten books — I’m still learning the best way to carve out personal reading time in between assignments — but when is one’s TBR list not growing?! :) What books are you hoping to read this fall?

And as always, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the amazing team behind The Broke and the Bookish. Pop on over if you too would like to join in the TBR-making fun!

Race to the Bottom of the SeaFirst up, I have Lindsay Eagar’s sophomore release, Race to the Bottom of the Sea. I adored her magical realism debut The Hour of the Bees I actually consider it one of my favorite middle grade novels — but her newest book takes on a different genre: adventure! Following the protagonist Fidelia after her parents die, the story has everything from a greedy pirate’s kidnapping scheme to treks beneath the sea to find treasure. With a stellar illustrated cover and high praise to boot, this will surely serve as a lovely literary escape next month. {out October 10}

There's Someone Inside Your HouseWhile I feel as if it was just yesterday that I graduated from high school, fall is moving full steam ahead: the school year is well under way and Halloween is just around the corner! And with a creepy, glowing cover and a chilling synopsis, Stephanie Perkins’ There’s Someone Inside Your House seems fitting for the Halloween season. Though she is best known for her sweet, romantic contemporaries, in her newest release, Perkins puts her own spin on the “classic teen slasher.” I typically don’t go for such stories, but what’s October without a spooky read to keep you on your toes? {Out September 26}

Echo After EchoMystery! Theatre! Relationships! You don’t need to ask me twice to read a book with those elements. Amy Rose Capetta’s debut, Echo After Echo, had me sold from the synopsis alone, in which the protagonist Zara heads to New York for her stage debut, only to find herself following a mystery and falling in love. With early reviews praising it as “gorgeous, intense, romantic, [and] mysterious,” you can bet I’ll be reading this as soon as a copy comes in at the library. {Out October 10}

Shadow of a PugWhen I read the first book in the Howard Wallace P.I. series, I had no idea the treat for which I was in:  a wisecracking narrator, a smart schoolyard mystery, and an homage to all things noir. Since devouring it in one weekend, I’ve recommended it more times than I can count; you can then only imagine my excitement over the release of Shadow of a Pug. In this second installment, Howard and his partner Ivy are on the case for their missing school mascot, Spartacus the Pug, only to encounter complicating classmates along the way. It’s the middle-grade mystery genre at its finest. {Already out}

Dear MartinI’ve seen nothing but praise for Nic Stone’s debut, Dear Martin, but I take that it’s for good reason: the novel, due out in October, tackles and confronts the issues of police brutality and racial profiling, topics both rare, but entirely necessary, to see in YA lit. As the title suggests, the main character Justyce finds solace in writing a journal to Martin Luther King Jr., an exercise that proves all too timely when he is entangled in an unwarranted encounter with the police. It’s been recommended alongside Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, so I’ll be sure to grab both at the library next month. {Out October 17}

MoxieIf the cover of Moxie doesn’t have you running to the bookstore to purchase it, I’m not sure what will; the strong, black and white illustration of a girl in control is the only indication I need that this is the feminist title the YA world has been looking for. The story? Spurred by her mother’s “Riot Grrrl” past and a number of sexist administrative decisions, main character Vivian creates a feminist zine for her classmates. It hit shelves today, so it’ll only take a quick walk to the campus bookstore before I have a copy of my own (!). {Out today}

One Mixed-Up NightThe premise of One Mixed-Up Night, the debut from author Catherine Newman, is, simply put, just good fun: taking a cue from From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, main characters Frankie and Walter decide to run away to spend one night in IKEA. My sister and I often joke that there is no better store to get stuck in — with a bountiful supply of Swedish food and plenty of places to sleep, what more could you need? — and From the Mixed-Up Files remains one of my favorite classics, so this is already shaping up to be one of the best reads of the season. I can’t wait. {Already out}

Here We Are NowThough I haven’t read the debut from author Jasmine Warga, I couldn’t resist the fun and beautifully designed cover that graces her next release, Here We Are Now. Thankfully, the synopsis is equally interesting: Taliah never thought she’d meet her rock star of a father, much less travel with him, until he one day shows up at her doorstep and requests she’d come with him to meet her grandfather. Already my interest is piqued by the complex family dynamics and road trip plot, so here’s hoping I can sneak a read of it in between preparations for finals. {Out November 7}

Bad Girls with Perfect FacesWhen reading slumps hit {and I’m expecting plenty this fall given the college schedule and lack of time}, I tend to turn to psychological mysteries, stories that are fast-paced, full of revenge, and made up of deeply flawed characters — it’s hard to put down a book with those elements! My choice of such a read this season? Lynn Weingarten’s Bad Girls with Perfect Faces, said to be “a love triangle that takes a turn for the dark” when Sasha’s best friend Xavier goes back to his ex and she takes it upon herself to end the relationship. It comes out on Halloween, so you can be sure I’ll have my own copy come November. {Out October 31}

PatinaFinally, I have yet to read a Jason Reynolds book I didn’t thoroughly enjoy; time and time again, he makes me smile, cry, and think a little more about the world around me — all in the span of one novel! I think the trend will continue to hold true when I read Patina, the second installment in Reynolds’ Track series. While the first novel focused on the sprinting accomplishments of Ghost, Patina shifts the attention to fellow runner Patty, whose home life has her turning to the track after school. In the hands of Reynolds, I expect nothing short of an excellent read. {Already out}

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

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My Favorite Books of 2017 (So Far!)

Hi friends!Top Ten TuesdayIs your week off to a good start? I’m making my way though Adele Griffin’s Be True to Me — who can resist a ’70s set story of romance and betrayal? Not I, clearly — and whipping up a recipe with fresh fruit from the farmer’s market before popping some popcorn for tonight’s iZombie finale. It’s the pattern of my summer thus far: relaxing and reinvigorating, just how I like it!

In addition, I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that we are now halfway through 2017, as evident by this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic: Best Books We’ve Read in 2017 So Far. With college and other extracurriculars on my mind during senior year, I didn’t read as much as I usually do, so you’ll find below the eight novels I did read that I consider current favorites. What books have you enjoyed so far this year?

Before I begin, a reminder: Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the always wonderful bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish. Pop on over to read posts from others or to add your own!

The Upside of UnrequitedTo start, Becky Albertalli’s sophomore novel, The Upside of Unrequited, is nothing short of a gem. It was the first book I read this year, giving me ample time throughout the winter to suggest it to friends and family alike ahead of its release this past April. I’ve continually recommended it for good reason: the characters are drawn with humor and plenty of heart, and Albertalli shapes the story with her knack for teen romance. A book is good when it has me smiling from beginning to end.

How to Break a BoyI’ve read quite a few young adult debuts this year, but none have stood out to me so much as Laurie Devore’s How to Break a Boy. Taking the typical “mean girl” narrative for a spin, Devore delivers a compelling and realistic story that packs an emotional punch and develops characters who are certainly flawed, but who also force readers to listen, think, and reflect. I’m only bummed that the novel has flown under the radar since its release, as I, for one, can already tell it will be one of my favorites by the year’s end.

We Are OkayLike any form of art, there are some books that enter your life at the right time.  My list of such novels is long, but among them is Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay, which I read and fell in love with this past spring. Weaving together such emotions as grief, love, and loneliness after the narrator’s family has been lost, it is quiet and simple and right up my alley. The lyrical, pensive, and oft-melancholic style won’t appeal to all readers, but I myself plan to read it once or twice more through, along with the rest of LaCour’s collection.

Flying Lessons and Other StoriesOn the middle grade end of things, one book comes to mind from what I’ve read this year: the anthology Flying Lessons and Other Stories, compiled by one of the founders of We Need Diverse Books. That the book showcases kids of such a wide range of backgrounds, abilities, and interests is reason alone to recommend it, but I consider it a favorite of the year because not one story fell too short from the bar, a rarity with short story collections. Is it too much to hope for another one in the works?

The Names They Gave UsI absolutely adored Emery Lord’s 2017 release, The Names They Gave Us, but that should come as little surprise, for Lord has consistently written novels with well-developed characters, strong familial and friendship dynamics, and plots that make me cry, not because they are sad, but because her writing can prompt a cathartic release. The Names They Gave Us follows in the same tradition, as readers follow the protagonist Lucy’s summer as a camp counselor and her mom’s battle with cancer. In short? I loved it.

The Importance of Being EarnestIt’s not often that I share the books I’ve read in school here on Ciao Bella, if only because I typically found my English classroom curriculum rather dry {or, on the flip side, found no reason to review a classic already loved and adored by so many, myself included!}. With that said, however, this list wouldn’t feel complete without Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, a play I read for AP literature. I rarely laugh out loud while reading, and yet, Wilde’s satirical look at Victorian society had me giggling with each flip of the page. A winner, no doubt.

The Things They CarriedSimilarly, The Things They Carried also hails from my AP Lit syllabus, though its setting and subject are a far cry from Wilde’s English drama. A collection of stories linked by the Vietnam war and the experiences of the author Tim O’Brien, the novel effortlessly moves between fact and fiction to produce what has been rightfully called a “classic work of American literature.” As someone who generally avoids “war stories,” for lack of a more specific term, I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did, nor did I expect the stories to linger in my mind for so long.

The Careful Undressing of LoveFinally, for someone who has felt unsatisfied with Corey Ann Haydu’s work in the past, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed her latest release, The Careful Undressing of Love. With thanks to Haydu’s dreamy and descriptive writing, readers are invited into an enchanting, reimagined world where the Devonnaire girls reside. From the eye-catching cover to the stunning last chapter, I was captivated from beginning to end. Magical realism fans would do well to pick it up.

Have a lovely Tuesday!
B

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Top Ten Anticipated Reads for the Rest of 2017

Hello!

Top Ten TuesdayHappy Tuesday! How are things? I’m nearing the end of a whirlwind month of events and am now just left with a few more rehearsals before I gather with my grade for Class Day and Graduation. It’s an exciting time, for sure, but I’ll be honest, I’m also looking forward to reading and blogging a bit more once things quiet down. Are there any other graduating seniors out there? How is your end of the year coming along?

With all that said, I want to thank you for sticking with me through my brief hiatus! To ease back into blogging once again, I wanted to participate in a weekly favorite: The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday. Back in January, I shared my most anticipated releases from the first half of 2017, but now that the year is halfway over {how does time fly by so quickly?}, this week’s topic has us rounding out the list. So without further ado, here are the novels I can’t wait to read in the coming months, presented in rainbow order, naturally. What books are you excited to grab?

Far From the TreeFirst on my list is Far From the Tree, a new release from an old favorite, author Robin Benway. Dynamics between family and friends are Benway’s sweet spot, and so I’m excited to see what’s in store when the three main characters, Grace, Maya, and Joaquin, all adopted since birth, realize their ties as biological siblings. With a heartfelt plot, a unique and developed group of characters, and a stunning cover to boot, I think I’m in for a treat. October, come quicker? {out October 3}

Neighborhood GirlsI have anxiously been awaiting the release of Jessie Ann Foley’s sophomore release ever since I read and fell in love with her debut, The Carnival at Bray. Fortunately, I won’t have to wait much longer, as Neighborhood Girls will be coming to bookstores in September. A literary coming-of-age tale, the novel tackles the impacts of crime on a family and the harm done by toxic friendships after Wendy’s father is sent to jail. In all truth, it could be about anything and I’d clear my calendar on the release date – I’ll buy anything by Foley! {out September 12}

Little & LionIt’s been several years since I read Brandy Colbert’s debut, Pointe, but its rich characterization and dynamic plot are both still vivid in my mind. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to reading her second book: Little & Lion, which has been described as “a stunning novel on love, loss, identity, and redemption” in its exploration of mental illness and sexual identity. Its release date thankfully falls before I head off to school, so I plan to devour it in a day – I have no doubt the wait will have been worth it. {out August 8}

The ArsonistWhenever someone is in need of a suspenseful, compelling mystery, I have a list handy. The novel on top? Stephanie Oakes’ debut, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, a page-turner that kept me up far past my typical bedtime so that I could finish it. I wouldn’t be surprised if her next book, The Arsonist, does the same, given its intriguing synopsis: main characters – and outsiders – Molly and Pepper work together to solve the death of a German teenager in the 1980s. Early reviews have consistently praised the lyrical writing and strong character development, so I take that as a sign that Oakes has produced another winner. {out August 22}

The Great HibernationI fell in love with Tara Dairman’s writing at the first mention of a young protagonist who loves to cook {that’d be Gladys of All Four Stars fame}. She’s an author I continually recommend to middle grade fans, and so, I can’t wait to get my hands on her next novel, titled The Great Hibernation. Who can say no to a middle grade mystery, particularly one that involves small town traditions and a cast of whip-smart kids? It goes without saying, but September couldn’t come soon enough. {out September 12}

Genuine FraudThere are few authors as revered as E. Lockhart in the YA world. With a career spanning over ten years, she adds what I expect will be another favorite to her growing list of novels with the release of Genuine Fraud. Inspired by The Talented Mr. Ripley, the story offers a character on the run, hiding with the help of multiple disguises. Additionally, in the fashion of We Were Liars, we readers are surely in for lyrical writing, complex characters, and an intense mystery. Yes, yes, and yes. {out September 5}

Click'dTamara Ireland Stone has written stellar YA contemporaries again and again, to the point that I consider her an “auto-buy” author; no matter the title or topic, I know I’m in for an excellent read when I sit down with one of her novels. I’m sure I’ll find it the same with her new book, Click’d, which follows middle school student Allie after her very own app goes viral. It’s marketed to a different age group than Stone’s typical audience, but I just see that as an excuse to fuel my middle grade obsession. In short? I can’t wait. {out September 5}

They Both Die at the EndIf there’s any consolation to the year 2017 has so far been, it’s the fact that Adam Silvera has not one, but two books hitting shelves. I still need to pick up his earlier release, History is All You Left Me {thank goodness summer vacation is nearly here}, but in the meantime, I’ve been reading up on his next novel, They Both Die at the End. Combining elements of the science fiction and contemporary genres, the story focuses on two strangers brought together by their impending deaths. Tissues will certainly be needed. {out September 5}

Before the Devil Breaks YouLibba Bray’s The Diviners and the sequel, Lair of Dreams, are wonderfully written and developed, but the series is also notorious for the wait between installments. You can then imagine my surprise when I found the title and release date of the third book: Before The Devil Breaks You, out in October. This time around, the Diviners are tasked with facing the ghosts that haunt an asylum on Ward’s Island. I can’t wait to dive into the 1920s paranormal world once again – and, better yet, right before Halloween! {out October 3}

Tash Hearts TolstoyFinally, I haven’t yet read a book by YA author Kathryn Ormsbee, but my excitement remains sky-high for her June release, Tash Hearts Tolstoy. The YA genre is sorely lacking in representation of asexual and aromantic characters, and so, I’m delighted to see the storyline tackled with the grace and respect it deserves: when the protagonist Tash becomes an Internet superstar, she also finds herself crushing on a fellow vlogger. Her only issue? How to tell him she’s asexual. It’s a book that already makes my heart happy. {out June 6}

Have an awesome day!
Bella

Psst. Need more 2017 books? Here’s my list of debuts that have caught my eye.