Top Ten Anticipated Reads for the Rest of 2017


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!

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

My Spring 2017 TBR List

Hello, hello!

Top Ten TuesdayHappy Tuesday! I’m home from school today thanks to a mid-March snowstorm, and while I can’t say I want winter to last any longer, I’ll take any opportunity to read a little longer, sleep a little later, and bake and blog a bit more. On that same note, it seems strange to write about the books I hope to read this spring with snow still piling up outside my window, but it’s that time of year for The Broke and the Bookish‘s seasonal TBR lists! At this point, you surely know how it works: I’ve rounded up several novels I hope to read in the coming months {in addition to the books I’ve already featured earlier in the year}. I like to think of it as a no-pressure way to bring some variety to my bookshelf. What do you want to read this spring?

A Season of Daring GreatlyTo kick off my list, I have A Season of Daring Greatly from seasoned author Ellen Emerson White. I’ll admit, I was originally drawn to the book solely for its clever cover, but the synopsis kept my interest: mere days after her high school graduation, the main character starts an athletic career on a major league baseball team. A similar premise has found success on the small screen {have you watched Pitch?}, so I have my fingers crossed it resonates with the YA audience  – myself included! – just as well. {already out}

FireworksLike many an author in the YA genre, Katie Cotugno is a writer I continually see in reviews and discussion, though whose work I have yet to check out. I’m hoping to change that this spring with the release of her novel Fireworks, a fun romp in which two best friends are unexpectedly thrown into stardom. Realistic fiction is right up my alley, YA can always use another music-centered plot, and ’90s settings are some of my favorites. Needless to say, I’ll be grabbing this as soon as it hits shelves. {out April 18}

Forget Me NotOn the middle grade side of things, I’m looking forward to reading Forget Me Not by debut author Ellie Terry. Already garnering several words of praise, the novel follows narrator Callie as she navigates moving to a new school, making and keeping friends, and dealing with Tourette syndrome; just as exciting as the plot is the prose, Callie’s story written in verse. It releases today, so I hope a copy will make its way into my local library circulation soon. {out today!}

I Believe in a Thing Called LoveIf the bright colors on the cover of Maurene Goo’s sophomore novel, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, doesn’t have you thinking spring, I don’t know what will. The story inside seems to me to be just as fun: after years of failed flirting attempts, Desi turns to Korean dramas for lessons on how to win over her crush. With promises of a sweet heroine, strong family relationships, and scenes that have readers laughing out loud, this sounds just like the fluffy, light-hearted read I’ll need come May. {out May 30}

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will MatterWith a title as humorous as One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, should I expect anything less than good things from Scaachi Koul’s memoir? Koul currently writes for Buzzfeed, and in her first published book, it’s said that she brings the same “clear eye and biting wit” that one can find in her work on the web. I love a good essay collection when things get busy {i.e. hours of AP preparation are made all the better with a few funny passages}, so I’m counting down the days until I have a copy for myself. {out May 2}

The Fashion CommitteeI consider Susan Juby’s The Truth Commission a hidden gem of the YA shelves; it has a set of memorable characters, a sharp sense of humor, and a wonderful blend of quirk and heart. You can thus imagine my excitement when I came across her newest book – and companion novel! – The Fashion Committee, slated for release this May, in which characters and friends Charlie and John compete for a spot at the same prestigious art school that won my heart the first time around. I can’t wait for its reappearance. {out May 23}

The RefugeesSince devouring Flying Lessons and Other Stories in one sitting, I’ve been itching to try another anthology. Add in the current political climate, and I think there’s no better time than the present to read The Refugees, a collection of short stories centered around the Vietnam War by author Viet Thanh Nguyen. Since its publication in February, it’s been praised by readers and critics alike; I think it will only be a matter of weeks before I too get to fall in love with the characters Nguyen has crafted. {already out}

The Sky is EverywhereMy spring reading list has no shortage of new releases, but when it comes to backlist novels I hope to read, I have my eyes on only one: Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere. Her debut, the book has been described as “a celebration of love [and] a portrait of loss” as the main character finds comfort in other after her older sister’s sudden death. I’m excited to fall for a new love triangle, of course, but more importantly, I’m excited to finally have reason to join in the Jandy Nelson fan club. {already out}

WindfallWhen someone is looking for well-developed characters and cute romances, I’m quick to recommend any book by Jennifer E. Smith, as she has time and time again delivered pitch-perfect contemporaries. That said, it’s been far too long since I last picked up a novel of hers, which is why, perhaps, I’m so anxious for the release of her next book, Windfall. With an interesting premise, a well-drawn protagonist, and a colorful cover to boot, I can’t see why Smith wouldn’t be keeping up her streak. {out May 2}

Word By WordFinally, for my fellow “word nerds” and budding lexicographers, can we all agree to read Kory Stamper’s Word by Word at some point this spring? Stamper, an editor and writer at Merriam-Webster, invites the audience into the history of dictionaries, including such tidbits like the first use of “OMG” and the length it can take to define a single word. Readers who have already seen a copy have awarded it high praise, which I take to mean that this nonfiction piece will have me smiling from beginning to end. Yes please. {out today}

Have a wonderful day!

Ten Things I’m Thankful For

Hello, hello!

Top Ten TuesdayHappy November, friends! How are things? For my American readers, how’s the Turkey Day preparation? I myself simply have to power through a morning of classes before I’m granted a brief four-day break. I hope to use it wisely: between the outings I have planned with friends, I’ll be reading {currently devouring Una LaMarche’s You in Five Acts – it’s a delight}, baking {this time of year calls for an abundance of cookies}, and Christmas present buying {cue the holiday fun}. In the meantime, as a small practice in gratitude, I wanted to participate in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things You’re Thankful For, a fitting prompt with Thanksgiving a mere day away. I had hoped to get this up yesterday, but expressing thanks can and should be a daily habit, yes? :) {If you too want to create a list of what you’re thankful for, you can find all of the details on The Broke and the Bookish HERE!}

FriendsTo start, perhaps it’s a bit predictable, but I’m incredibly thankful for my friends: those who’ve stuck with me since middle school, those I’ve met just this past year; those I know from working on shows together or bonding over blogging or sitting next to each other in the same class. They make me smile and laugh; they’re supportive through class president woes and never-ending tech weeks; and they are as talented and friendly of a bunch as one could ever ask for. In short? They all rock.

FamilyIn a similar vein, my family is my everything. I’m so fortunate to have loving parents who support me in all that I do; they push me to try my best, of course, but they don’t let me sacrifice what I love for what is the norm. My siblings, too, are close to my heart, my brother always ready with a comeback and my sister always ready with a hug. They make my heart swell, and needless to say, I love them a lot.

HealthIn my day-to-day routine, it’s easy for me to lose sight of all that my body enables me to do and, furthermore, it’s easy for me to take my health for granted. Type One Diabetes is no fun, but I recognize I could have to deal with far worse {consider this a shout-out, as well, to the doctors and nurses who’ve made my life – and that of so many others – both safer and easier. That’s no small task}.

EducationAs much as I complain about the workload and the early wake-up time, I’m truly thankful for the education with which I’ve been provided. Particularly now, as a senior, I’ve found time to reflect on all that my school has offered me, from the amazing teachers who’ve made their impact to the classes that have not only developed my interests, but challenged me to think differently. Education also extends to my home, where I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in a family that encourages learning of all forms.

ArtOne of my favorite quotes is “Earth without ‘art’ is just ‘eh.'” It’s good for a laugh, but it also speaks to the value that art brings to our lives. Any type of art, be it a written work, a performance, a painting, a layout, serves a purpose: to allow us to make sense of the world. I’m glad I live in a society where creativity can flourish, and in addition, I’m glad that artists go to such lengths to present pieces that ask audiences to look deeper. I think it’s just the coolest.

BooksWhat’s a world without books? One I don’t want to live in, that’s for sure. Books teach us to empathize, connect, and understand, and I feel so lucky as to have encountered such a large number of well-written novels over the years, all of which allow me to experience events and lifestyles I may never encounter outside of literature. Authors deserve many years of my gratitude for crafting such rich, creative, and influential stories, as do the booksellers, educators, and librarians that make my bookshelf feel never-ending.

TheaterI’ve spoken about my love for theater and stage managing at length here at Ciao Bella, but it bears repeating, as the auditorium has grown into my home away from home over the past several years. In theater, I’ve found both a passion and community, and I’m so appreciative of the teachers who trusted me with a headset, as well as the casts and crews who keep me coming back, production after production.

OpportunitiesWhile hard work can go a long way, I’m not blind to the privilege I’ve been afforded: in other words, I’m lucky to have so many opportunities in my reach. I live in a wonderful town; my family supports me in what I’ve done and what I hope to do; and going into next year, I have what feels like the whole world of higher education in front of me. This is a rare combination, and I can certainly do a better job using the platform I’ve been provided, particularly following the election, but today, I offer these opportunities my thanks.

YogaI’ve been practicing yoga for so long now that classes have simply settled into my weekly routine, but nevertheless, I’m so thankful it’s a form of exercise that has entered my life. While the poses have proven terrific for my flexibility, yoga also does wonders for my mental state, prompting me to find the calm when things get stressful. Or, as my yoga instructor likes to say, “wring out the ‘blah’ to bring in the good” :)

BloggingFinally, this last one was easy: I’m so thankful for all of you! Ciao Bella began as a creative outlet, but I quickly learned that blogging is just as much about interacting with readers as it is writing drafts. I feel the need to apologize with each new post – they’ve grown so sporadic – but every time I come back to write, I feel as if I’m welcomed back into the blogging community with open arms. Ciao Bella turns 5 {!!} in just a few days, a fact that wouldn’t have been made possible without your support.

Have the most wonderful Thanksgiving!